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My husband has developed a way of compulsively showing off and bragging over the nearly 40 years I have known him. No one likes a show off. It seemed he always had the biggest, the best, the most expensive, and the all time favorite, that which others don’t have access to. He loves to tell people about how he had special access at exhibits or private auctions that they could not have. I imagine this comes from a place of deep insecurity that compels him to try to make himself and his belongings seem superior to others.

The bragging and showing off is not without a basis in reality. He is financially very successful. He has excellent taste and a degree of expertise with regard to his collecting of fine antiques. I was often embarrassed when we were with friends and he was doing “show and tell” with his latest acquisition. Why would he tell our kid’s friends that this or that flute from his collection was worth $60,000? Or tell our friends that this piece of art is signed and numbered and is only one of 30 extant? I personally never felt those details were that important as far as conveying the story about the piece unless he was trying to impress someone.

One of the worst aspects of this supriority complex was when he would criticize or try to diminish the value of other’s prize possessions since he had something better. I know he often hurt my sister’s feelings when she would proudly show him something she had acquired only to be shot down by Mr. Big Stuff with an opinion about the inferiority of her find.

When we completed construction of our lake house in 2001, he bought a spectacular wooden canoe with a graceful inlay of swans in the hull. It was an unusually tippy canoe, but with his superior sense of balance he was able to cruise the lake with no trouble. He was proud of the canoe, and had some story about where it was made and how. Of course, it was rare. He warned guests about how easy it was to capsize the canoe, but would allow them to use it if they were willing to risk it.

He was paddling around in the canoe near our dock one summer day, when my sister decided she was going to show him what she thought of him and his fancy canoe. She swam under the canoe and tipped it over with him in it with great force. He was visibly shocked and annoyed. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was as if she was doing my dirty work for me since I am disabled and would not have been physically able to turn that canoe over with him in it as much as I wanted to. The canoe was blown into the lake by a storm and spent too much time in the water and was heavily damaged. He has yet to repair it.

My husband may have every material thing a man could want, including 2 beautiful homes, a luxury car, 2 motorcycles, and toys galore, but he no longer has me.

Young stroke survivor, mother, champion equestrian, tambourine player, storyteller,

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