Actually, this post is to myself. You’re welcome to read it and comment upon it, which is why I’m posting it on my blog. :)
This evening, as I made my simple dinner, which consisted of cracked black pepper turkey, banana peppers, and an orange pepper from my garden on a whole grain sandwich thin, it occurred to me that every single ingredient in this sandwich, down to the pepper plant in my garden, had been purchased and provided by my ex Narcissist.
I looked around and saw the grill he had bought for me, the toaster oven, the electric can-opener (because my hand-crank one wasn’t good enough, apparently), the stand mixer, the microwave, the vacuum cleaner, the case of Yuengling beer that I’ll never drink, all the boxed and unhealthy pre-packaged meals in the pantry, every bit of “phude” in my freezer – all but the chicken does not qualify as real food to me – was purchased by this man.
I saw the third “mondo” fan in my living room that he’d purchased because two weren’t enough. I saw the Pampered Chef apple corer and peeler, complete with stand, that he’d purchased, saying I could re-engineer it into something to use with my jewelry-making business. A wire twister (which I already have), perhaps.
On my drive home from work, I saw my ultra-bright headlights – special ones – that he’d bought and installed, saying I needed them, even though I drive a small SUV that sits me up higher than most sedans and that already had perfectly good lights. As I was getting out of my car, I saw the two, now emptied, $50 gas cards he’d bought me in early May. I tossed them in the trash can on the way in.
On the way up my steps, my raised garden, which he “surprised” me with on his day off by working all day in the hot sun to have ready for me when I got home that evening, stared me in the face. As I entered my home, the bag of rock salt in the corner of the foyer grinned up at me – it’s been there since winter – he bought it. There was the tray of Kentucky Coffee Bean Tree seeds that he’d collected and brought over to give to me thinking I could incorporate them into jewelry. The list goes on and on and on.
I never asked for these things. The garden I simply mentioned, in passing. Last April, I’d said I was going to have some soil brought in and build a raised garden out front because I love to garden. I was going to do it. I wanted the satisfaction of knowing I’d done it myself.
This is what he did. I asked him to stop, repeatedly, and he wouldn’t, citing as a reason “it’s what I do. I see a need and I fill it.”
I started to feel as though perhaps I’d misjudged him and then I backed myself up. Whoa. Reality check.
While the food I ate tonight was healthy enough, the majority of the food he brought in here, against my protestation, was unhealthy, full of additives and chemicals, and high-calorie. I remember coming home one Wednesday, early in our relationship, before he had a key to my home, to find bags of groceries spread out on a table in my basement. Not only had he bought groceries, he’d brought a table to lay them out on. I opened each bag to find it was full of things I wasn’t supposed to eat. I’d told him on our first date, when I’d made bruschetta, which I’d told him about beforehand, and to which he never replied that he didn’t like tomatoes, that this was the way I ate. I ate as many whole foods as I could, and I tried never to eat anything that was processed or pre-packaged.
I remember dishing out the bruschetta and as I did so, he said, “Hmm. I don’t usually eat tomatoes – don’t like them, but this looks different. I’ll give it a try.” I remember thinking “why didn’t he tell me he didn’t like tomatoes?” I’d described the dish to him, so he knew what was in it.
I didn’t need the grill. I never even thought about having one. HE used it – not me. It’s a dust catcher now. I didn’t want a toaster oven. I wanted a TOASTER. I’d mentioned I was going to go to the local discounter and pick one up for $9. I don’t toast that much, but when I wanted toast, I wanted toast. In he came with a shiny new toaster oven. I don’t use it much. HE used it.
I had a microwave – but apparently it wasn’t good enough. It was good enough for ME – all I ever used it for was quick-thawing and occasionally making whipped eggs for egg sandwiches. In came a brand new microwave.
I didn’t have a “normal” vacuum cleaner. I used a shop vac. I live in a converted church that is very old, has the original wood floors and drops a thin layer of dust daily. So I would shop vac everything. It was quick, powerful and easy. In came a “normal” vacuum cleaner that’s cheap, doesn’t hold much dust or fur (I have two cats that shed mightily), and needs to be emptied before half a room is finished. He insisted it was too much for me to carry the shop vac up and down stairs and that I use his “normal” vacuum. There went that form of exercise.
I didn’t need the apple corer/peeler. I don’t core or peel my apples – and I rarely make apple pie or any kind of sweet with apples. I certainly wasn’t going to re-engineer it to twist wire since I had a perfectly good wire-twister, which he’d already seen me use.
What I realized, during my reality check, was that this man had insinuated himself into my home, set it up the way HE wanted it, and in doing so, intimated that the way I was functioning wasn’t good enough for him (or anyone, apparently).
Last June, he brought me an a/c window unit that he casually told me he’d removed from his attic, since it wasn’t needed there. I was grateful, until he dumped me, when he informed me that he’d taken the cooling source from his young adult children’s rec-room and the attic, where the pool table and all the gaming equipment lived, was now too hot for anyone to use, and he wanted it back. No dice. Sorry. It’s mine now.
I have other items that he “stole” from his family home. A dehumidifier. A humidifier. The “mondo” fan. The stand mixer! I read recently that domicile theft is a not-widely-known characteristic of those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
At one point, when I had asked him some questions about things I’d read in the Bible, (he was actually a pastor for many years!), he said he’d bring a bible over and we could go over them. Next day, he shows up with two bibles – one for him and one for me. He handed me “mine” and I opened it up to find it inscribed to his wife from her mother! I immediately handed it back to him and told him it was inappropriate and “bible study” could wait. He got snarky about it and attempted to shrug it off by saying “well, she doesn’t use it – she has tons of them.”
Excuse me? Did the inappropriateness of his gesture totally escape him? Yes, it did. He saw nothing inappropriate about stealing from his wife to give to me.
So much for thinking I’d misjudged him.
This was my evening after work tonight. A lesson. Just because someone does things that seem nice, it does not mean that the person is doing those things from a kind and pure heart, and for the sole purpose of “filling a need” when the “need” is seen.
I spent the first four to five months of this relationship in pure bliss, thinking I’d finally found Mr. Right. The red flags were waving at me like a toreador dancing around a bull. It’s not that I chose not to see them. I flat out DID NOT see them. Not until about the middle of month five and definitely month six.
I’m a private person who enjoys living alone and likes having quite a bit of “me” time, yet I allowed this man to take over my life almost every day of each week for 15 months.
I truly enjoy coming through my front door now, knowing that I don’t have to scramble to clean the kitchen, vacuum, cook dinner and be all “beautiful” in the 45 minutes before he would show up. I enjoy walking through my door into my home, putting my handbag and shoes where I want, gliding into my CLEAN kitchen (because it’s not full of dishes he left the night before), feeding my kitties, preparing a simple and HEALTHY meal for myself, sitting down at my table to read my email and eat, and then going into my living room to make jewelry or read or DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT TO DO WITHOUT FEAR OF CRITICISM.
Don’t ever allow someone to take over your life and your home. I won’t do that again. Ever. If you see it happening, take a deep breath, step back and try to view it objectively, even if you are head-over-heels for the person who is doing it. Even if you think you LOVE that this person is taking such “good” care of you. Stop and think and assess. Ask yourself why this is being done. Ask it many times.