Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Let me start from the beginning...

It was nearly three years ago, I had just gotten out of a relationship, so I had no interest in meeting anyone. Plus, I am a busy mom to two boys, so dating was the farthest thing from my mind. One Friday night, I stopped in a local juke joint for some live music and some much needed adult interaction. As soon as I walked in the door, I noticed him. He looked so lonely and miserable...and far more handsome than I remembered him being in high school. We spoke quite a bit that evening. Although I don't recall every topic of our conversations, I distinctly remember the feeling I left with. I felt that there was a strange energy between us. A connection. We 'Myspaced' for the next couple of weeks, as if we were old friends...but with the excitement and anticipation of new lovers. When I saw him again two weeks later, it was ON. I had never witnessed so much passion! It was almost too much for either of us to handle. In the movies, people talk about hearing music when they kiss their lovers, but everyone knows this doesn't happen in real life. It did for me. I am not even exaggerating. Every time we kissed, I heard the same stupid Faith Hill song "The Way You Love Me". Every time. I'm not even a fan of Faith Hill's music. Explain that.

So, within weeks, three to be exact, he had told me that he loved me. I will admit, it was a little premature, but it didn't seem superficial at all. I was crazy about him! I felt a connection to him that I had never felt before. Everyone around us saw it, too. People, oftentimes complete strangers, commented on how well we complimented each other and that there was this aura about us that just made others feel like they were missing out on something. We had found something in each other that the rest of the world would never know. He was the answer to all of life's questions....some of which had yet to be asked.

Over the next few months, as we were getting to know each other, I began to notice things that weren't quite lining up. It became apparent that he had much trouble with interpersonal relationships and was still struggling to figure out who he was as a person. I just attributed that to age (he was only 26 at the time) and his parent's divorce. At the time, I didn't think much of it because I was so mesmerized by his charm and wit. I had reasoned that he was too intelligent and well spoken to have any severe emotional troubles.

Pretty soon, his ugly side began to emerge. He didn't like to be told what to do and he was very sensitive to (what he perceived to be) criticism or rejection. I also noticed that he was showing a different face to each person he was around. He was different things to different people. I realize now that this should have been a HUGE red flag, but at that time, I saw him as a hurt, damaged soul who desperately needed loved. Every story he told of his childhood involved abuse and neglect. That was precisely what drew me in. He needed love and I had SO much love to give. And after all, love does conquer all, right? Was I really that stupid?? People who had known him for years, especially his ex-lovers, were warning me to just give up. They would say that it was a waste of time, don't bother. But I didn't listen.

We barely made it through that first autumn. Sometimes he would ignore phone calls and bury his face in the sand for a couple of days, but always to return somewhat if he just needed a little space to "recharge". Seems normal enough. I thought to myself "this is going to be a wild ride, but I love this man and he is definitely worth the risk". Whoa, was I ever right about the wild ride. As soon as winter hit, he tried to fight the urge to break things off with me. He lost that fight around mid January. We broke up, but continued to talk and see each other on a regular basis. Throughout that time, he was constantly changing from hot to cold, up to down, in to out. He was completely unpredictable. Sometimes, he would stop talking to me for days or even weeks. He would make up things to be mad at me about, say that I was a liar, though I couldn't tell you what it was I had lied about...and neither could he. I wondered why I would subject myself to that kind of emotional torment, but couldn't seem to break the spell I was under. I had told him that it seemed as though I was under a spell. He said that he felt the same. We talked openly about our situation as though it were happening to someone else. We often joked about it, like it was a television show we were glued to...just waiting to see how the season would end.

Our relationship went from strange to more strange. We got back together and things were harmonious again, like they were in the beginning. Then after a few months, he dropped me..all of the sudden, with no explanation. I was devastated. I didn't know what had happened. If I ever tried to talk to him about it, he accused me of being "crazy". I was the crazy one?? I was so confused.

I know at this point, any SANE person would have moved on and not thought about that jerk again for a second. I was doing my best...or so I thought. We did get back together. This time, I tried to be very careful. I wanted to take the time to figure out why it hadn't worked before and what needed to be different this time around. I had been seeing a therapist and I suggested he see one too. I knew that I could no longer take on the responsibility of "fixing" what had been damaged so many years ago. In the beginning, I wasn't even aware that this was what I was doing. I was taking in the stray dog and giving him the love and affection that no one else could give him. I was overlooking his negative traits, because that is what I do. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. At this point, I just wanted to love him for who he was and help him to be the person he wanted to be. I wanted to have a normal, healthy relationship. With him.
He had told me that he imagined we would bounce off of each other enough over the years then eventually things would just fall into place. He said he always knew I was the only woman for him, but never quite knew what to do with me. I have often felt the same way...about myself.

Things shifted in our relationship. We grew much closer than ever before. I allowed him to get close to my kids and this was something he seemed to be very comfortable with. He eventually moved in with us and everything seemed great. I was so goddamn happy. We were all very happy. We were all delusional. Throughout our entire relationship, he and I had never argued like other couples usually do, we always seemed to be on the same page. The only time we had any trouble was when he felt threatened. So, as long as I acted a certain way and went along with his ideas, we were golden. I had learned, essentially, how to walk on eggshells. This man lived in my house for nearly 7 months, but only paid bills two of those times was after he had moved out. He made twice as much money as me. I didn't pressure him about the bills because I felt so sorry for him for being taken advantage of by the owner of the apartment he was renting as a music studio. He worked that angle perfectly. I feel so stupid for allowing that. I didn't allow my ex-husband to treat me that way, why was I allowing it with this man? This man was different. He didn't belittle me on a daily basis, like my ex-husband did. He only did it about once or twice a month, when he was angry and I could usually talk him through it...or he could go somewhere else for a little while then come home and explain that he is sorry that he doesn't "communicate better" and will try a different tactic in the future. I always bought it. I honestly didn't realize that our relationship was so unhealthy. I was completely blind to it.

At times I had wondered how he would handle major life events because it always seemed that when things got tough, he would bail. I knew it was because that was all he knew to do. I could help him to find the strength and courage to face challenges instead of running and hiding. We had been through so much together in such a short period of time, and he had proved that he could be my rock when I needed it. We were each other's rocks. When my mom got married and moved to the other side of the planet, he was here to remind me that even though I was going to miss her, it wasn't the end of our relationship. Just meant that we would appreciate each other that much more. He joked that he only wished his mom would move to another country. Then, when my brother spent two months in the hospital, nearly died, had emergency heart valve replacement surgery, a brain aneurysm, etc., he was what kept me going. I was so scared that we were going to lose my brother. I felt that I had to be the one to handle everything because my mom wasn't here to do it. I am forever grateful for the support he gave me during that time. Another struggle he helped me with was the struggle against alcohol. We had both been battling with alcohol dependency for years, but through each other's support, we were finally winning that battle. (Tomorrow is my 180 day mark!!) I also was able to quit smoking. I had tried in the past, but was unsuccessful. I am very proud of these accomplishments, but I don't think that I could have done it without the support and encouragement I got from him.

When he left, I was utterly shocked. I did not even see it coming. I can barely type these words without reliving that horrendous pain. Literally, one day he was talking about putting a ring on my finger, then the next day he hated me. He packed his stuff and left...never to speak to me again. I had done NOTHING wrong. Yet, he told me to "get help" and not talk to him. He didn't bother even saying goodbye to my kids. It was absolutely devastating. No one in my family could believe it. They all really liked him, because none of them had seen his ugly side and I had never told them about it. I never wanted anyone to have a negative opinion of the man that I loved. He, on the other hand, has worked especially hard to damage my reputation in any way possible. He is actually telling people that I abuse my children! Just like he used to tell me he is certain his brother-in-law sexually molests his daughters. He has convinced people that I am the one who is crazy. These are the same people I had been taking up for. These are the same people he had told me he hated, had no respect for and "never wants to know" or be around. Now he is back to his old destructive habits. Now I see what a fake and a hypocrite he is.

When I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, suddenly everything made sense. His obsession with pornography and masturbation, his inability to feel empathy for others (he is actually quite aware of his lack of empathy), the inability to observe any boundaries in relationships & other aspects of his life, his over inflated ego that interferes with everything he does, the way he objectifies women, the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on.

Learning of this disorder has enabled me to 1) Not hold any resentment toward him. He knows not what he does. It is a defense mechanism. 2) Not take it personally 3) Know that I am not crazy and that I am not a bad person. When I shared information about NPD with his family, they reacted very negatively. I guess I should have expected it. They know that something is not right about him, but aren't exactly sure what it is. I would think that they would want to encourage him to get the help he needs, but apparently not. There is nothing I can do about it and my therapist says that it is no longer my problem. My objective is to figure out why I get involved with narcissistic men and how to change those patterns.


  1. Thanks for the link!

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      Thanks again.


  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I've just emerged from an abusive relationship with a NPD man. It's been hell on earth.It was only learning that he had this trait that made me finally understand that there is no fixing it. He's 53 and has a trail of broken relationships.He encouraged me to move 5000 miles to a new country. It's complicated. I look back now and wonder how I could have been so naive. I'm still moving through my anger. I can't believe how much emotional abuse I tolerated. My compassion for him was huge. Like you I need to learn what it is about me that allowed this to happen.


  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I am still trying to understand how and why I dated someone very similar to your guy, and why it was so very difficult to let go. My children were involoved in the torment that he put me through, and although the eldest was never treated badly, my youngest certainly was, as he pinched him, used belts on him, and even wooden spoons. I have been continuously working on healing from that journaling, therapy, codependecy book-reading, etc. At one point, I jokingly told my therapist that maybe I was narcissistic, it was a joke to cover the fear of reentering a relationship- with anyone. The man that I was with consistently told me that a relationship had to be 60-40...that the man was the man. Although I was the one responsible for a house, a career, raising two children, etc., he still believed that this was true. I know that this is what HE thought (coming from another country and having been previously married to a wife without any children or a career), but I had been in a very healthy marriage before, and I whole-heartedly know what a healthy relationship is: it's 50-50...and it is kind, it's easy, and it just simply works.
    Needless to say, I now know what to look for...and that includes taking things slowly, as I did my 1st marriage. Unfortuantely, this guy had a way of breaking the doors down and giving ultimatums- all within the 1st few weeks. Through it all, I confided in him as most couples do, but if he was upset about anything that had taken place at work that day (even crying), he would say, "That's my business" and I eventually felt as if there was no way to "get in". He also called all women crazy, and made very rude comments about Americans, in general. It has been an uphill battle, but I know in my heart of hearts that I have made the right decision to remain apart.
    I can honestly say that I will trust my 1st initial gut instinct, from this moment forward. It really DOES say a lot.
    PS~ I honestly thought that I was "over" all of this, but I have had family members and coworkers try to try to get us to reconnect. All that I feel that it's accomplshed is to make me think that somehow, this time it would be different.
    And, to make people understand the personality traits that they may not see, I think they should wire his phone, his apartment and his shop. Maybe then they'd hear his "other side".

  5. WOW...

    Strange but whenever I read someone’s else story of verbal and emotional abuse it’s still open my eyes to the similarities that these relationships share. The many red flags the emotional manipulations as well as the all to well know isolation tactic. They are all here one by one.

    Thanks for sharing..

  6. I could have written this same story almost word-for-word myself. And worse yet, I am a mental health professional who should have known better. I also saw the red flags but that "spell" you speak of is intense. So I actually married this narcissist. We had only met 3 months prior to the marriage. I still can't believe I didn't wonder why he was in such a hurry!

    Bottom line, I am now free and completely recovered. It took a lot of time and anger, but in the end I believe I became a better person and most definitely a better therapist. We are human and make mistakes.

    In the off moments that I feel the need for any type of revenge, I just remember that I am a happy person who enjoys life to its fullest. The narcissist (sadly) never will.

  7. Thank you all for these posts. What a great site this is.

    Dear Clearlybefuddled - you sound like a wonderful woman. I hope you will soon look back with relief that this is all over. And many congratulations on winning the battle with alcohol. Way to go.:)

    I met my N four years ago. I had eight years of sobriety but relapsed during the whole mess. I am trying again but it's tough - so well done to you. You have given me hope this evening that all will be well.

  8. okay, so hear i am in the midst of "going back to him" Part of me crys out...DON'T...but the other part like you did says ..." this is so different, so real, so amazing and wonderful" so i have decided to "go back" to another try. this guy is going through a divorce and i'm not sure he will be able to completly leave. He has moved out, but feels guilty about it. So I ask myself, because he feels guilty, am I misdiagnosing him with Narcissism? I found Histrionic Personality Disorder to be also very much a possiblity. I told him about that, and he made fun of me for "researching" him. But now he says he really thinks that is what he is suffering from . I ALWAYS look at the good in people, i believe that everyone has is just buried deeper in some.
    So back to the original "relationship" with "Mr.B" He makes me feel things I've never felt before (I'm almost 40, divorced 3 yrs and have 3 kids) you talked about the singing you heard when you kissed....WOW , it's something isn't it? I feel as though my breath is totally taken away when I kiss him. He started picking fights with me pretty early on in the relationship (say 2 months or so) I used to think "what the heck just happened here? What did I do wrong" , then I realized it wasn't me. He now admits to me he realizes that the closer he gets to someone, he can't "deal" with it. He freely admits to trying to push me away by picking fights. Now he is in counseling and wants to "figure himself out" AMEN for that right? I'm not sure. Everything online warns you so much to stay away from the N and HPD type people. I want to trust him, I want to open up all of my heart again, but it is so scared. my friends don't like him (only one has really met him) because of things i told them about him in the beginning. NONE of them trust him. I should read into this, but I keep refusing to. I posted something about Sheep in Wolves clothing on weird someone told me to get The Devils Advocate and watch with an open mind. (they know him fairly well and think Mr. B is EVIL. Twice in this movie, they referred to Sheep in Wolves frickin weird. Then, as I reasearched more i stubbled on an article that warned of that and a book i was looking to buy suggested I get "sheep in wolves clothing" to read . I'm freaked out. my girlfriend says there are no such things as "coincidences"....i really love this man and feel like we can help each other through each of our issues (my mom was/is narcissistic- which also makes me ask is it just that this is all I know?)
    I'm going VERY VERY SLOW, but i would like some reassurance that i'm not crazy for wanting to give him another try. He is VERY aware of the things that is does and is trying SO very hard to change who he is.
    HELP!!! what should i do?
    signed , the shepard of the sheep afraid of the wolf!

  9. Anonymous, only you can answer that question. I think you should listen to your gut (that which prompted you to research personality disorders in the first place) and don't ignore the red flags. I made the choice to continue trying to make my relationship work because when things were good, they were really good. I felt that it was worth the cost. I never considered what that cost would be...nor did I consider the price my children would pay.

  10. I thank everyone for sharing. Through reading all the posts, I've realized a lot about my own relationship. To take the time and think about what you want, what is good for YOU and your family. If this person's traits are acceptable. Can they truly change, only they can answer that. I am in a relationship that the trust has been broken, so I am at the point that I need to decide whether or not to go on. And my gut is saying no, I would be happier apart. I'm so angry all the time, and I believe it's because of my situation. I am going to make an appt for a therapist to help myself. If your with a N then they can make you feel like things are your fault, even if THEY have been unfaithful. It's amazing how someone can use words to make you feel so awful about yourself. I deserve better and I have had enough!

  11. Wow.... To read all this is truly amazing... I found Npd by researching a weird relationship (at the time that had I thought finished) I was wrong as I don't think they ever truly let you go.. The spell is strong... I felt like I had never felt before!! But when I think back to our very first date when I opened up to him he had what I can now only describe as 'a Cheshire cat' smile on his face.. I remember feeling a red flag situation. But I never took any notice of it.. In the first 3 months of my relationship with him it was like being on a rollarcoaster. He would pick me up so high ... Then drop me so low it was incredible how I allowed it.. Never any sex although we slept together.. He always said he had a girlfriend who he did not often see but that was why no inimate contact.. After Reading some extracts on the net I thought she was made up. But I have since seen her and now I really feel for her.. My n has a string of 'friends' Iike me.. With the real girlfriend the center pin.. It is all very strange. I still feel the pull of him after nearly a year or it but now ' even though I have to see him because our lives collide on a weekly basis, I keep him in perspective and try not too feed him too much. Moving on is hard.. But with this sort of personality it's the only thing you can do.. Thank you for the other posts they were good grounding again..

  12. Well here I sit a year later after the last comment I see on here. I am just now finding out what a narcissist is. I dont know if my ex is one or not because he is also an alcoholic. This is Thanksgiving day and he moved out suddenly without a fight or explanation or anything this past Saturday. I was with this man for 6+ years and yesterday I texted him Happy Thnaksgiving and he called me and pretty much told me that I treated him like a dog and left him to himself all the time. To understand, you have to know that day in and day out, he would sit outside and drink beer and depress himself. At times no even coming in the house but just turning on his pickup and sleeping there. Or coming in and passing out in the chair. Early on in the relationship he told me that his ex didn't pay attention to him and worked all the time. Now I see why she worked all the time. It was to just be away from him. He has moved in with his sister who has told me all along to leave him because of the way he is, but now she takes his side. This man talks so much crap about everyone else and how they are stupid for the things they do. One so called friend of his is an amazing husband and my ex would constantly talk about how stupid his friend was for doing whatever his wife wanted. Nobody ever lived their life right according to my ex. I could go on and on but it would take forever. But then there were times that he was the most amazing person that I knew. Now he blames me for his drinking, even though he has been doing it since he was 15 and he is now 47. I used to sit and drink with him but it got to where it would end up in a terrible fight and he would leave only to come back the next day and make ammends. I finally stopped sitting and drinking with him and tried to make my life normal by doing things in the house, which is why he says that I didn't pay attention to him anymore because I left him outside drinking alone. I am so hurt and dont even know where to go from here. I am an intelligent, warm, funny, independant person. And yes, I have pretty much paid all the bills myself for the last 6 years while he chose to go buy a brand new pickup although he had a2007 that he doesnt drive and a classic pickup that he does drive. But he chose to go buy a 2013 that he doesnt drive either. But he says that people are jealous of him for everything he has which is nothing except vehicles. But now I am second guessing myself because I feel like maybe I did ignore him and make him feel unwanted. One other thing is that he lost is father at age 7 and his mother at age 13. He constantly says that his mother abandoned him. Well she didnt, she died of cancer. I tried to help him understand this but to no avail. I would appreciate any input you may have. I didnt write this very well because my head is spinning from all the emotions. Thanks for listening.

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