Thursday, June 18, 2009

Suddenly, it all makes sense.

Throughout our relationship, I knew that he wasn't emotionally well, I just didn't know how unwell. (yes, I realize now how emotionally unwell I was for even wanting to continue dating him...we'll get to that)

When he left, I was devastated. I believe I've mentioned that a few times. I can't begin to describe how brutally painful it was. For those who have been through it, I don't need to explain. It just didn't make any sense to me! It was like something inside of him just snapped. I had seen it happen with him before, but this time was different. Two days earlier, we were actually talking about how "normal" we were and how great that felt. "Normal" simply meant that he was still there. We had nearly made it through the entire winter without one of his episodes. How could I have known that two days later, he would be gone.

Almost immediately, I started reading everything I could find on mental illness. I had always suspected that he was bipolar, so that was where I began. I just couldn't understand how he could, all of the sudden, be so detached, so cold and distant. And why was he saying all these horrible things about me? When I found information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it was like a light bulb turned on inside my head. From that point, I wanted to know more. I discovered a plethora of websites, personal blogs, articles and books relating to the subject. I couldn't believe the number of people, usually women, who had been through frighteningly similar situations. Some women had been to hell and back trying desperately to make things work with their partners, only to wind up alone and confused.

I soon realized that nearly every romantic involvement I'd had since adolescence was with a narcissist, though not necessarily a disordered narcissist. Suddenly, everything made sense. I was conditioned to have this type of relationship because one of the most significant people in my early life, my paternal grandfather, was a disordered narcissist. I was my grandpa's main source of narcissistic supply....his mirror. This was what made me special. We were inseparable. He often had to be reminded that he had other grandchildren. I can still remember how it felt when he had found a new mirror. It wasn't long after my grandma died, he started spending time with a neighbor lady. All of the sudden, he disappeared from my life. I know it's hard for others to believe or comprehend, but I assure you, that's exactly how it happened. I was 13. Throughout my adult life, I looked for relationships that would give me that same feeling. I am told that no one else understands him, no one else ever loved him, no one else 'gets' him the way I do. And I really believe these things to be true.