Learning the Truth

Allison, whose blog is Pieces of the Heart, wrote the following as a comment to my post : Narcissists Fold Spindle and Mutilate.  I thought it was worthy of its own post because it is full of the wisdom of experience.

Leaving an abusive and/or narcissistic relationship is difficult and once gone, an individual can many times be presented with an issue that is almost just as difficult to deal with:  that of “outcast mentality.”  Leaving the abusive relationship doesn’t mean the abuse magically vanishes.  It simply diminishes.  It is up to us to make it stop.

I don’t want to write too much here, other than to let you read Allison’s reply to my post.  This is a woman who has chosen her battles and has won or is winning the war.

“Not being accepted after leaving these types of relationships causes greater “outcast” mentality. When I finally pulled up my bootstraps and decided for a better life, it took me a while to really understand that I was not all the things that had been said to me in those non-relationships and by those who judged my decisions. The ONE thing that kept me centered through obstacles and continued abuse, even after I separated myself from it, was seeking a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, my higher power. I learned that I was truly loved, NOT from what someone told me, but from what I understood from a thirst to know. I researched and studied the Bible on my own, so I would know the truth personally.”

This comment could only have been written by someone who has sought the truth of her situations and came to personally know that truth.  Learn the truth so you will know it, personally.

 

Advertisements

Narcissists Fold, Spindle and Mutilate: Where and how to get help

I just read a post entitled  No Longer Dead and I knew immediately what this woman was dealing with based on the first half of her post.  My assumption is that the second half is her, telling herself that she will not accept this individual any longer until or unless he acquiesces to her completely legitimate and emotionally healthy demands.

If this woman has been dealing with an NPD, she was dead to him from the beginning.  She never truly existed as a human being worthy of love, respect, dignity and empathy.  She was simply this person’s mirror.  It appears she spent years being devalued and discarded and then finally got sick of it, found her strength and decided to move on.

This is a good post to read.  Many times, when we are the focus of devaluation by a narcissist, we don’t know what the heck is going on.  All we know is that nothing we do seems to be good enough; everything is our fault; we are crazy.  Nothing is wrong with the narcissist and he or she makes it very clear to us that we are the problem.  Still, when we’re in the middle of it, it’s difficult to step outside the fishbowl and peer in.  Objectivity seems to be the lowest on our list of priorities, with survival of a relationship that never was being our top priority.

Even if you’ve been married to an individual for most of your adult life, if you are being treated the way the woman in No Longer Dead was being treated, you haven’t had a relationship.  A relationship takes two people.  A Narcissist absolves themselves from relationship responsibilities before they engage with another individual.  A narcissist doesn’t have relationships; he or she merely has mirrors.  Even if you’ve been married for 30 years to a narcissist, it sadly means that you’ve been a mirror (and nothing more) for 30 years.

Narcissists can’t love another human being.  They don’t love themselves, even though their surface would indicate that they do love themselves – too much.  Scratch that surface and you find nothing.  Narcissists are fragile shells and to keep their shells intact they abuse before they can be abused.  This is why they are hyper-vigilant for the slightest criticism.  They twist and spin words that they believe might be critical (even if they aren’t) and deliberately make them critical so they can set about stomping the purveyor of those words into submission.

Narcissists are emotional vampires and they have memories like elephants.  Those who share emotions, who show they have emotions, who are compassionate and empathetic, are considered weak to a narcissist, ergo; they are FOOD.  A narcissist will suck you dry, and when you finally realize what’s been going on and stand up to the narcissist in your life, they will pull out every emotion you ever shared with them, twist and spin it and fling it back at you with deadly accuracy.  When they see their mirror has gained strength, thus providing the mirror the means of seeing the narcissist for what it truly is, they will move in for the emotional kill.

There is a point at which you, as a mirror can avoid this emotional kill, if you truly see what’s going on.  It’s a nanosecond in the scope of a 30-year marriage, or a many-years-long “relationship” with a narcissist, but if you see it, and flee when you see it, you will have a slightly diminished time frame during which you have to heal and rebuild your emotional health and strength.  If you don’t see it (and many of us don’t, and no one but you can say when that point is) you will be so emotionally crushed that it may be years before you have the strength to bootstrap yourself out of your situation.

If you are experiencing any of the issues described in the first half of No Longer Dead you MUST take a step back, grab your journal if necessary, and start assessing things.  Just start writing, and don’t worry about how things come out.  This will allow you to re-read and identify what’s truly going on.  If you don’t write, see a counselor.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Get an objective view of your situation.  While you’re doing this ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT A NARCISSIST NEVER CHANGES.  THIS IS NOT A RELATIONSHIP; YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO SAVE YOURSELF, NOT A RELATIONSHIP THAT NEVER WAS. 

I don’t recommend seeing your family pastor or priest.  Why?  A pastor (and especially priests) are trained to keep the marital unit together regardless the circumstances.  If you see a priest you may be told it’s your responsibility (if you’re female) to act in submission with your husband’s will, regardless his will.  Depending upon your denomination, a pastor may tell you the same thing.  Fundamental Christian pastors may tell you (if you’re female) that you’re the one with issues since you’re not acting in accordance with “God’s” will or your husband’s will.  Trust me on this one, I’ve been there.

Most religions don’t recognize personality disorders as an acceptable reason for divorce.  My experience has taught me that when religion enters the picture, it is the woman who pays a huge price when her mate is a narcissist.  If there are children involved, you must get them away from the daily influence of the narcissist or you will have children who grow into damaged adults.

I believe that faith in a higher power is essential.  Many don’t believe that, and I respect their choice. For me, though, if I didn’t have faith in a higher power, I’d never have made it this far in life.   If you don’t have faith in a power greater than yourself, all that’s left to see you through your turmoil is whatever reserve of inner strength you may have.

My best advice for getting free of a narcissist (and you are with a narcissist if  all or most of the first half of No Longer Dead applies to you) is to seek secular help.  Prayer works, regardless your form of worship or faith.  Positive thinking works, but getting there is difficult.   Narcissists have many crossover traits to alcoholism, as well as to Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Even if the narcissist in your life doesn’t drink, that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have alcoholic traits.  It’s very easy for someone to believe they are not an alcoholic simply because they don’t drink.  Alcoholism is defined not only by the consumption and need for alcohol, but by a very clear set of behavior patterns and those behavior patterns align with the way I’ve seen narcissists act.

If you are with a narcissist who does not drink, the odds are good you have a dry drunk on your hands.  Al-Anon is a great place to get the help and support you need in dealing with a dry drunk and/or a narcissist.  Please open the link for dry drunk to read the characteristics.  You will see that they align clearly with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If the narcissist in your life drinks, it’s very important to get help through Al-Anon.  There are meetings everywhere and while some view it as a betrayal to the person with whom they are involved, that is simply misplaced loyalty.  Most of us who wind up with a narcissist in our lives have had prior experience with some form of emotional dysfunction in our lives, probably during childhood, when we are most malleable and taught to accept behaviors that are truly self-damaging.  Regardless your faith, if you believe in a higher power you must ask yourself if your higher power would find your situation acceptable, and would that higher power believe it to be something that is good, healthy and uplifting for you?

Remember this:  Martyrdom is not the glorification of God or any other higher power.  It is the glorification of EGO.  Many times, we have our egos too invested in who we are; that which we allow to provide us our criteria for life is our ego, not our SELF, which involves listening to the still, small voice and acting from within a higher level of knowledge with regard to self.  If we act from within the self, and not the ego, martyrdom to the cause of a narcissist becomes anathema to us.  In martyring ourselves to another’s abuse of us, we deny that which has been universally given to us:  love, in all its forms. Martyrdom is not love.  It is the glorification of our own egos, and that is not a good thing.

If you are with a narcissist, and you have sublimated yourself to that individual’s monstrously sick manipulation, you are martyring yourself.  STOP NOW!  

If you don’t stop the madness now, you may find yourself dealing with a massive case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Trust me on that one, too.   PTSD can result from recurring, consistent emotional abuse.  Couple that with the physical abuse that some experience when with a narcissist and you’ll wind up with a full-blown case of PTSD.

Pink Blinders

I hear so many people, fresh out of relationships, blaming their ex-partner for the entire debacle.  I hear (mostly women, but some men) casting blame like boulders.  I would say there’s probably only one instance when the demise of a relationship truly is NOT at least partially your fault, regardless your behavior, and that’s when you’re involved with an NPD. They’re an entirely different breed of monster and I’m not addressing them further in this post.  To learn more about them, read my other posts categorized under NPD.

Aside from that instance, I don’t think any of us can be totally absolved of fault in the demise of a relationship.  When we enter a relationship we make a choice to do so.  Some of us engage far too quickly when we think we’ve found the person of our dreams.  There are several issues with that:

1.  Sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we really want.

2.  Sometimes what we think we need isn’t at all what we need.

3.  Sometimes we are engaging simply to assuage the pain of a recently broken heart, thinking that having a new “love” interest will distract us.  It will.  It will also distract us from learning what went wrong in the preceding relationship and learning from our mistakes.

4.  Engaging too quickly, which means becoming physically involved, or taking ourselves off the dating scene after just a few dates with someone, usually spells disaster.  It’s essential to take the time to get to know the person, instead of attempting to force the individual to fit our ideals.

There are reasons that young women used to be chaperoned when they “walked out” with “gentlemen callers.”  First, these women were still girls, usually not out of their teens.  Even if they were older, their experience with men was usually limited to that of father, brother, uncle and/or elderly neighbors.  Cousins?  These women (girls) were chaperoned with their male cousins because cousins used to marry.  Here we are, in the 21st century, with a 50% or higher divorce rate, and a whole bunch of adult humans who can’t or won’t engage with a new potential partner in an emotionally healthy fashion.

Chaperoning provided a few benefits, regardless how stifling or old-fashioned it may seem. First, the chaperon would usually be someone older (but not always) and could observe interactions.  They would watch body language between the couple and listen to the verbal interaction.  Back then, because society was so “polite” people learned how to read body language and interpret language that we might, today, simply allow to pass us by because we think we have so much better information upon which to rely. We can do a background search on a potential partner.  Hey – I did that and he came up clean.  First date, he asked me for my panties AND since I wouldn’t oblige, asked me if I’d follow him home and lock him in a male chastity device.  The N I dated came up clean.  His divorce records were public, so I read them.  I didn’t read carefully enough.  PINK BLINDERS.

While I’m not advocating that you engage a chaperon for six months, I AM advocating that you watch and listen.  Pay attention to body language and if you aren’t well-versed in it, research it.  There’s a tool for that.  It’s called “the internet.”  If you found this post, you can find many on body language.  🙂   Listen, and I mean really HEAR what the other person is saying.  Over time, you will hear what you need to hear to know whether this person is right for you.

Observe how this person interacts with others.  If the way s/he interacts with others doesn’t jive with the way s/he is interacting with you, you should then ask yourself why there is a difference.  Ask the person why there is a difference and listen to the answer.

All of us have ideals and the danger of an “instant relationship” is that we don’t give ourselves time to get to know someone before jumping in, heart-first.  We meet someone who appears to fit our ideal for the right partner and because we’re human, ergo imperfect, we don’t remove the “Turbo-Charged Romance-Driven and Comes in Ten Shades of Pink to Coordinate With Every Ideal You Have Blinders!” (as seen on TV, and $19.99 will get you two pair, in different shades)

What if…and here’s a revolutionary new idea…WHAT IF you chose (because life is about choices) to take things slowly?  What if you chose to tell your prospective ideal partner that you’re willing to date him or her, but want to take the time for both of you to get to know each other prior to taking dating to the relationship stage?   What if you kept your options wide open?  What if you chose to do the emotionally healthy thing?  What if you decide to put yourself in control, as opposed to immediately handing that control to someone you barely know and have dated only a few times?

Fearful question, the “What if.”  Lots of things could happen, but ALL of them would be positive, even though they may not feel like it at the time.  Below are a few of the fears that prevent people from taking things slowly and empowering themselves by remaining in control of themselves and their relationships, with the upside of that fear in bold italics:

1.  If you don’t jump right in the man/woman of your dreams might get away.  If the man/woman of your dreams won’t wait for you, after you’ve expressed a desire to take your time about it, the odds are excellent that this isn’t the individual of your dreams.  Move on. Bullet dodged. Take the Pink Blinders off. 

2.  You’re lonely and feel as though you’ll never find someone else, so when you do meet someone with whom you click, you believe it’s your last chance for love so you’d better grab it now.  there is never a last chance for love.  The feeling that you’ll never find someone else is the hole in yourself that you are seeking to fill with the presence of another human being.  Fill it yourself.  That’s a huge burden to place upon another person, and the odds are good that if you place that burden upon them, you’ll be in another of those “I’m never gonna find someone to love me” situations very soon. Take the Pink Blinders off.

3.  You’re lonely, financially burdened, need help, and this individual presents a way out.  You convince yourself that they are the right person for you because you’re desperate for someone to take care of you and you feel overwhelmed at the thought of digging out alone.  Being lonely isn’t a good enough reason to jump at an instant relationship.  Learn to like spending time with yourself . Get a dog.  Borrow a dog.  Read a book.  Go to a mall and say hi to strangers.  If you are financially burdened and feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to take care of yourself for another moment, step back and assess the reasons why you feel that way.  If you’re in over your head, adding a partner is going to make it worse, not better.  If you feel you can’t take care of yourself, no one, and I mean NO ONE is going to be able to do that for you.  Learn to take care of yourself and you will be immeasurably more attractive to potential partners. Take the Pink Blinders off.

4.  You’re getting a bit older and you feel like you won’t ever have sex with anyone but yourself, again.  Ever.  In your life.  Ever.  And that thought is unpalatable to you.  Um, do you really want to take on another human being, complete with emotional baggage, engage with them on an emotional level (because you’re smart and you don’t have casual sex), and, as my good friend, Ana, said yesterday: “be willing to put up with a lot of shit…” just so you can ensure you don’t miss out on having sex?  If you’ve been sexually active most of your life to this point, what on earth makes you think you won’t have that again?  And if you don’t, is it really the end of the world?  Would you engage in instant relationship, risking your heart, your emotional well-being, and perhaps even your health, just to be certain you had full naked body contact with another human being?  Take the Pink Blinders off.

Ask yourself an all-important question when you meet the someone you think is the individual of your dreams:  “What am I willing to give up for this person?”  Relationships require sacrifice and if you’re thinking you’re “in love” with someone you barely know, please ask yourself that question, because there’s a chance the price you pay for jumping in with your pink blinders on will be an extremely high price, paid on credit, and with a high interest rate. You’ll pay, emotionally, for quite some time.

So, now you’ve made a choice.  Your choice is to jump in, regardless your intuition, regardless your common sense.  The pink blinders came with super heavy-duty temple adhesive (that the infomercial conveniently “forgot” to mention) and you just can’t seem to take them off.

You’ve spent a few months seeing this person and you thought you were their bestest and only.  You thought they felt the same way about you.  You just KNEW they did, because why else would  they be calling daily, emailing, asking you out?  But wait!  They’re not really doing that.  Check your phone records.  Check your email.  Review past conversations.  Oh no!  In the past month, you’ve  initiated everything and you didn’t realize it.  That’s because you can’t get those damned pink blinders off and it’s your own fault for buying them in the first place.

So, who’s to blame for the failure of your relationship?  Really?  Was there ever a real relationship?  What were you telling yourself that made you think that after a few dates you were in a relationship?  No, you can’t plead temporary insanity in this court.

You are the only person who has control over your relationships.  If you choose to hand that control to someone else, it’s your own fault.  You can’t blame anyone else.  If you see behaviors you don’t like, and allow them to persist, you are merely watering the garden of undesirable behaviors.  If you react to those behaviors with an “eye for an eye” doctrine, you’ve just proved your emotional immaturity to everyone, but yourself, because you’re probably still wearing those pink blinders (although, at this point, they may be sitting a bit askew on your face).

I believe that too many people are in love with romance.  I cringe every time I read a forum post or hear someone say that they are divorcing or leaving a long-term committed relationship because they “just don’t feel the romance and excitement anymore.”  Grow the hell up, people!  Marriage and committed relationships take work, and I pity you if you’ve bought into the pop-psychology that says “if the person is right for you, you won’t have to work at making it work.”  That’s bullshit.  Humans, by our very nature, are fickle and easily distracted creatures.  We want what we want and we’ve been saturated with self-help material that tells us we are entitled to have what we want, and that we can get it just by “thinking” it.  We don’t have to work for it, we don’t have to put forth any effort.  We simply have to think it into existence and et voila! there it is!

I have two ex  husbands who told me post-divorce, that they went into marriage thinking that if they didn’t like it, got bored, or it wasn’t “working” or felt like it was “too much work” that they could just jump out of the marriage.  That’s precisely what they both did.  The first ex has “just jumped out” of two marriages now and I believe he’s getting ready to do it with a third.  The second husband just jumped into a marriage.  He married me because all his buddies were getting married and he didn’t want to be the last man standing.  He jumped out of our marriage for an old HS girlfriend who dumped him a month after he left my son and me.  Karma can be a bitch.  🙂  Approximately two years later, after not dating at all, he met and moved in with a woman who is the best friend of his step-sister.  He lived with her for 3 years and bought a house with her.  He didn’t marry her until two weeks ago, and what I and many others see that he apparently does not see, is that the woman he married resembles me very closely.

Second ex is loaded, and the odds are good that he jumped into this one wearing his pink blinders and then by the time he finally got them off his face, he realized he’d been living with and signed a mortgage with this woman, so he may as well marry her. His family and friends would have expected it and he’s ALL about the expectations of family and friends.  The expectations of a wife don’t matter.  At all.  Second ex learned nothing from the mistakes he made while with me.  How do I know this?  Because HS girlfriend, who he left me for, and who is still “technically” single, just showed up as a friend on his FB page.  She wasn’t there for 3 years.  I know this story and I feel for his wife.

I’m certain she’s been told the same lies I was told about HS girlfriend.  New wife has her pink blinders on and has probably had them on the entire time.  It’s easy to wear them with Second ex.  He’s filthy rich, he’s Cary Grant-Gregory Peck handsome, he’s intelligent, articulate, and oh-so-attentive as long as life is going his way.  He’s also an unmedicated bipolar who relies on daddy to get him out of jams.  My guess is that New Wife hasn’t seen this aspect yet.

Lest you think any of this about Second ex is sour grapes, let me relieve you of that thought.  While I’ve stayed in touch with him over the years, and he showed interest in reconciling, I made certain he understood that I was NOT going there.  EVER.  The emotional damage he did to me can be forgiven, but never forgotten.  The emotional damage he did to my son will never be forgiven OR forgotten.

I was wearing pink blinders when I met him, when I moved in with him and when I got engaged to him.  I wore them up until 4:57 pm on a monday in August of 2004 when he came home and said:  “I didn’t sign up for this, I’m leaving.”   He was gone by 5:04, with just his car keys.  I was blindsided so badly my pink blinders went flying off my face and I saw him, within seconds of that statement, for what he was.

How many ways can you spell A N G R Y?  He told me later that he didn’t dare attempt to get past me when I blocked his path to the stairs leading to our bedroom.  He said he’d never seen me look like that.  Of course he hadn’t because until this point, I’d been wearing my pink blinders and though life was gloriously rose-colored.  I had my little family, I had a lovely home, I had a man who, by his accounting, daily, adored me, I had my every need, want, and desire promptly taken care of.  It’s amazing how fast an individual’s brain can react once the pink blinders have been torn off the face.

I have to own just as much accountability for the demise of my marriage as he holds, though.  I didn’t pay attention.  I didn’t give myself enough time to get to know him.  We moved in with each other within 3 months of meeting.  We got engaged within 9 months of meeting and were married 11 months after that.  Even when his brother attempted to undermine us by having a “secret” phone conversation with Second ex about my son the “problem child” (his brother has children now and one who is waaaaaay more of a “problem child), I didn’t see that as a red flag.

I was angry that Second ex didn’t tell his brother it was none of his business and to stay out of our relationship, and Second ex and I had a grand fight over that, but I allowed it.  That set precedent.  I should have gathered my son, my belongings and my life and moved on, right then.  A man who allows his family to be disrespectful of the woman he’s chosen to marry, and to denigrate that woman’s child is no man at all.

I reacted to bad behavior with equally bad behavior of my own.  I grew passive-aggressive, but no one could have told me that.  I wouldn’t have listened.

Second ex’s parents divorced when he was 5.  His mother raised him in a broken-down trailer, so poor they had to use dish soap for shampoo.  She did this, even though Second ex’s father was and is a multi-millionaire who would have provided.  She blamed her ex for everything, refused to accept any help from him, and raised her two boys in poverty, making them drink “Dad sucks” kool-aid daily.

When I came on the scene, she thought it was grand that I had an adolescent child.  She swung immediately into grandmother mode and my son’s favorite place to be for almost a year was with Second ex’s mother and step dad.

One day my son came back from their house telling me that he’d been disciplined harshly for something minor.  I called and asked about it.  I figured the truth would be in the middle.  It was.  I thought the situation was resolved.

Oh no.  Second ex’s mother called a “family meeting,”  a meeting that excluded me, and decided that if my son could “lie” about that situation (he didn’t lie, he exaggerated, and he admitted to the deed he’d done), then what were the odds he was going to accuse them of child molestation at some point?  WTF??????  To this day I have no clue where that came from!  So without a word to me, they, including Second ex, decided that my son wouldn’t be allowed to visit his favorite place any longer.

And still I did nothing but get angry and blame Second ex for being spineless.  Who was spineless?  Me.  I allowed that shit to happen and still didn’t pack my son and myself up and leave.  I indirectly gave permission for this kind of abuse to continue, and continue it did.

Even with all that, during the course of our marriage, I didn’t allow myself to believe that  I was truly seeing was WHO Second ex was.  I chose to believe that at some point he’d stand up for me.  I chose to believe it because I WANTED him to do it.  We don’t always get what we want.

There is more horror that I could write about, but you may be bored by this time, so I won’t.  The entire point of this missive it to simply say:  Stop and think about what you are doing before you do it.  The consequences to yourself (and to others) if you do not think, may be so massive you pay the rest of your life.

Remove the PINK BLINDERS now!

Sorry folks, I suck at brevity.  🙂

Trolling Redux

I lifted the text below from planetjan’s  blog.  It is part of her post entitled Narcissistic Game Playing.  It has eerie significance for me because the last sentence echoes something my N said to me.  Read the lifted text and you’ll see some bolded text at the bottom.  I’ll clue you in below that text.

When it comes to relationships, narcissists have two birds to kill. First, because they think very highly of themselves, they use relationships to self enhance not caring whether this involves exploiting others. Think of it as feeding the beast. Although the narcissist desires perfection in a partner, in reality their partners (mere humans) are doomed to come up short. This game is not a cooperative game, but one in which the winner takes all.

But here’s the rub. Relationships are good in that they can provide positive attention and sex, BUT they are bad in that they demand emotional intimacy and prevent the narcissist from receiving attention and sex from other partners. If only they could have it both ways… (The feelings of the other person do not factor into the N’s thinking.)

So the narcissist turns on the charm, using all the extraversion and confidence he can muster to reel in a new partner. But “they would be careful to keep this relationship from becoming too intimate or emotionally close lest they lose control. Finally, narcissists would covertly seek out other potential romantic partners.” So it should come as surprise that the narcissist lacks a sense of real commitment to a relationship and is always on the lookout for an alternative, frequently flirting with others.

In this way, the narcissist maintains power in the relationship and a certain amount of freedom. If things go sour in the relationship, he’s already got his eye on his next target.

“Narcissists’ self-regulatory blueprint involves bringing people in and extracting esteem from them. If that entails being, in turn, charming, exciting, deceptive, controlling, or nasty, so be it.”

When I was in the devaluation phase with my N, he sent me the email I’ve pasted below.  First, understand that I’d already broken it off with him.  In a prior email he’d told me if I had something “important” to discuss, to call him, and not tell him in email.  So I called him and left a message letting him know I had something important to talk about.  He didn’t return the call.  So I sent him an email breaking things off with him.  The next day he sends me an email about a photo of me telling me how much he likes it.  I replied with:  “did you get my phone message?”

Below is his reply.  He completely ignores that I sent him an email two days prior telling him that I no longer wanted to be involved with him.   Obviously, nothing regarding me is important enough for a phone call, because he justifies sending what should be an “important” email by stating it’s going to hurt regardless what way he does it.  Devaluation.  I’m not worth a phone call.  At this point, it didn’t matter, except to confirm my growing knowledge that he’s a selfish, manipulative bastard who is incapable of sustaining any sort of intimate relationship.

I tell him I’m breaking it off and that translates to:  “you seem to want more than I can give right now.”

Then he gives me the slam-dunk.  He tells me he may be fooling himself into thinking he can maintain frequent contact with me right now, and in the same set of keystrokes tells me he’s trolling and has intention of spending that time he doesn’t have looking for other women.  The eerie similarity in the bolded text from PlanetJan’s blog text and what is in red and bolded below makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: RE: ops
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 12:46:11 +0000
From: The N <the N’s email>
To: ‘Me’ <my email>

I think I’m going to hurt you be it in person or not so this has just got to happen now.

I like talking to you.

I like spending time with you.

But:

From my perspective you seem to want more than I can give right now.

I may be fooling myself into thinking I have enough time to maintain frequent contact with you and I certainly don’t want to give you any illusions.

 I am trying to bring a number of people into my life right now and it has been/will be taking a lot of time.

________________________________

I thought I’d got to the laughing point about this man, but this bit of serendipity made me want to go shower.  It made me shiver in horror at the thought of the monster I’d believed was a wonderful man.  It also confirmed, without any doubt whatsoever, that the man with whom I thought I was involved is a hardcore Narcissist.  There is so much going on in this email that I would emotionally exhaust myself attempting to deconstruct it any more than I have.  It would also cause me to become depressed again, and I’m not going there again.  I’m worth so much more than to allow myself to cycle down into depression again because the man of my nightmares is actually a living, breathing entity who lives 4.5 miles from me.

Trolling

I have a theory about dating sites and it includes a huge generalization.  You can bash me for generalizing, but I’m going to do it anyway. I think dating sites are, by and large, a clearinghouse for nutcases.  I say this, and I’m a veteran of dating sites.  I’ve also been told by the men I’ve met who have stayed in touch with me as friends, that I’m an anomaly in that I’m sane.  I’m not sure I can agree with that, since I once dated a guy who called me “bat-shit” crazy, but he’s a friend of mine, and he says that while it’s true, it’s in a good way.

I think there are several reasons people use dating sites.  Speaking from the female experience, I can say that there truly was a point when I wasn’t sane.  This was around 5 months after my husband and I separated.  I did what many people do when they’re in relationship pain – I hopped on a dating site in the erroneous belief that getting a new man interested in me would help ease the pain caused by the split with my husband.

I wonder if everyone is as naive as I was when I joined my first dating site.  I actually believed that if a man evinced enough interest in me to see me for more than a month, and see me two or three times a week that he wasn’t seeing anyone else.  I was a serial dater, and I simply assumed everyone else was one, too.

My first experience with a troll came as quite a shock to me.  Here I’d been dating this man for three months, very regularly.  We’d become physically involved and by the end of the third month, he was at my home almost every day.  One day I woke up and realized I hadn’t taken my dating profile down, and since I assumed (silly me) that I was in an exclusive relationship with this man, the right thing to do was to make myself unavailable online.  So I headed out to the dating site…to find my boyfriend’s face staring at me with “online now!” glowing brightly beneath his chin.

His IM was open, so I IMd him asking why he was “online now!”  His reply made me want to shower, immediately.  He said:  “Because I’m looking for dates.”  It was  nonchalant, in my face, and I felt used, dirty, angry, hurt, and above all – STUPID.

I sat there, stunned for a bit, and then replied back:  “How long have you been doing this?”  He replied: “what do you mean?  I’ve had this account for almost a year.”  Well, that told me what I needed to know.  I broke it off with him in IM.  I simply said: “Oh.  So the entire time you’ve been practically living at my house, eating my food, taking me out and about and sleeping in my bed, you’ve been seeing other women?  He replied: “yup.”  Clearly no remorse there.  He even had a key to my house.  I replied:  “Okay.  You can have the other women, I don’t want sloppy seconds.  Bye.  Locks are changed today.”

Three years later, I get an email from the same man, on a different site,  introducing himself to me.  I obviously made a huge impression on him.  Sure, my photos weren’t the same as they’d been three years earlier, but it was still me and I hadn’t changed the way I looked.  He didn’t remember me – AT ALL.  That was established  when he replied my email that said  “what, you don’t remember me?”  with: “No, should I?”

It’s so nice to know I’m not the least bit unique.  (snort!) I replied:  “Ahh.  It’s nice to know I’m not the only stupid woman out there.  Obviously there are plenty who will allow a dumbfuck shit like you to practically live with them for three months.”  He didn’t even have the good sense not to reply.  Instead he whines:  “I don’t see why you have to call me names.”  Yeah, whatever.

I took my profile off all sites and gave myself a break from online dating for a year.  During that year I got leered at by toothless 80-year-old men and groped at a gas station by a 20-something.  I was asked out by a gorgeous podiatrist who was a regular at the coffeeshop where I was a regular.  He gave great foot massages – until I found out he was married.  My next date was a guy I met at the local fine arts museum.  He SAID he was single.  He APPEARED to be single.  He very obviously didn’t share his apartment with anyone else.  Turns out “single” to him meant having an 11 year affair with a married woman who, when she found out about me, started stalking me.

So I gave up.  I spent another year just being by myself.  I still went to museums and lectures but I turned down all dates.  I couldn’t trust men at that point.  I couldn’t trust myself to be able to tell if a man was a GOOD man.  Then I re-upped on the dating site.  The emails came pouring in.  I had more date offers than I could accept.  This time, I watched each man I dated.  Each one of them evinced “serious” interest in me, lavished me with attention, and every night, I’d hop online, hide my profile in a flash, and go looking.  There they were – all of them – each man who was “serious” about me – trolling.

I recently asked a male friend why men continue trolling even after they’ve become involved with a woman to the point where they’re having sex and are spending most of their time with her.  He said it’s because dating sites create the illusion that there’s always something “better” around the corner.  He also said that his circle of single male friends, all of whom were on dating sites, were there simply because the pickings were so easy.  They could have sex with a different woman every night of the week if they wanted to.  Some were in “committed” relationships with two or three women and their rationale for this behavior was that they were entitled to do that, because what if they dumped the others in favor of just one and that one turned out to be “crazy?”

Dating sites perpetuate the myth that the grass is always greener elsewhere.  My N is still out there trolling.  I keep an eye on him because when he stops trolling I know he’s fallen into self-pity mode and will soon be contacting me.  I like to be prepared and since his profiles are all public, I don’t have to belong to any site to see them.  My N, by the way, has been trolling dating sites for just over seven years now, and he trolled his way through a six year “relationship” with the victim prior to me.  I’m really glad I never became physically involved with him – God knows what STDs he has.

It’s the trolls and my experience with my N that sent me running screaming from online dating for good.  Why should I invest any time in a man who is obviously only seeing me until he finds something “better?”

See, that’s the problem with online dating.  People seem to think that if they don’t continue trolling they might be “settling” in some way. Pop-psychology, and all sorts of relationship self-help books would have us believe that we are entitled to have everything we want and that there is ONE person out there who will magically have every quality we’ve ever idealized about, and that ONE person is just around the dating site corner.

I’m now convinced that online dating is just a relationship disaster waiting to happen.

I’m also convinced that if you’re on a dating site, and you’re fit for human consumption, you will figure out, sooner rather than later, that dating sites are Darwin’s waiting room.  Those who are fit leave and survive by getting REAL lives.  Those who remain (the ones whose profiles show them as being members for more than 6 months, and always show as having been online within 24 hours) are doomed to the emotional stasis found in chasing shiny objects across the universe.

If you find your date “online now!” directly after a date with you, dump that idiot and move on, otherwise YOU are the idiot.  If you date someone who has been a member of a dating site for more than 6 months and you’ve seen that person is online daily, YOU are the idiot. That’s my opinion.  Feel free to disagree, but don’t come posting here when the door to Darwin’s waiting room opens and your name is called.  That’s not mean, it’s common sense.

Of course, if all you’re looking for is a one-night stand or a quick heart-break,  have at it.  There are trolls a’plenty hidin’ under them there dating site bridges!

 

 

Recovery: Staying Off the Rollercoaster

This post is written from the position of remaining free from your recently ended relationship with an NPD, but you can use these methods for healing yourself from almost any unhealthy relationship. 

So you’re free.  It may have been your choice, or you may have been permanently discarded.  Either way, you’re FREE.  Janis Joplin sang:  “Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose…”

The aftermath of a relationship with a narcissist leaves you in an emotional state where you might feel you really don’t have anything left to lose.  Good.  If you have nothing left to lose (because the narcissist took it all from you), then you can start rebuilding your emotional strength.  Remember:  there’s a silver lining everywhere.  If you can do it, reach down and find that reserve of strength – think of your strength bank like your gas tank.  When the gas light in your car comes on, it means you’re on empty, according to the vehicle’s sensors.  You’re not on empty, though, because you can still drive at least far enough to get to a gas station and gas up, right?

It’s the same situation with your emotional strength.  When you feel you’re on empty, there’s always a teeny bit left.  There is just enough to get you to the strength bank so you can refill.

Narcissists attempt to totally destroy a person before discarding.  It’s a torturous path because the devaluation begins with your first meeting.  It’s insidious.  You won’t recognize that you’re being devalued until you’ve spent a significant amount of time with this individual.  One day it will all seem too much for you.  You won’t know what this person wants.  You’ll do something right today and tomorrow it will be wrong.  You’ll be criticized for things you weren’t aware you did and you’ll turn yourself inside out attempting to right imaginary wrongs, because by the time the criticism escalates to this point, the N has brainwashed you into believing that there truly is something wrong with you.

1.  Tell yourself, over and over, even if you don’t yet believe it that nothing is wrong with you.

2.  Find some way to channel the negative emotional energy.   For me, it’s writing.  For others it may be exercise, therapy, cleaning, taking up a new hobby.  Do whatever you can do to NOT sit around and castigate yourself for “screwing it up,” because the N will have quite definitively told you that the reason the two of you are no longer together is your fault.

3.  If at all possible do not maintain any contact with this person. You may continue to receive phone calls and emails from the N, but those are simply attempts to either devalue you even more or entice you back into the pairing (it’s not a relationship), so the N can begin the cycle again.  Ns hate to lose their narcissistic supply, even after they’ve   used, abused and discarded you.  They go looking for new supply, and if they can’t find it, they’ll come back to you.

4.  In my case, writing emails THAT WERE NEVER SENT was incredible therapy for me.  I would pull up a random email from my N, hit “reply” and remove his email address from the “to:” field.  Then I’d begin deconstructing what he’d said in the email and I’d write my reply to his bullshit.  I’d slam his ass against the wall, pick up my figurative steel pipe and bludgeon him until he was bleeding and crushed, slithering down the wall, like the squashed insect he is.  Then, so I could track my healing progress, I’d save the email to my drafts.  I never clicked “send.”  Don’t ever send an N your emotions.  You will find them being used against you with more brutality than you knew existed.

 Below is an example of what I did with one of his emails to me.  This never got sent:

On 7/30/2011 2:10 PM, Narcissistic Bastard wrote:

Your prior email and phone calls had and have elements of anger, damming analysis and insulting conjecture of my character. It is disturbing if you cannot see it.

I imagine it IS disturbing to you, asshole.  Guess what?  I “cannot see it.”  I notice you say “it is disturbing” rather than “I am disturbed…”  That’s quite telling.  You’ve just projected on me again.  Translation:  “You’re a disturbed individual because you refuse to accept my indictment of you as your own reality.”   Oh, btw, your selective memory is showing.  My “prior phone calls” (which I’m assuming are calls you believe happened within the past week) consisted of ONE phone call that YOU made, while you were drunk, where you unleashed enormous amounts of vitriol on me in what you probably considered was a charming and light-hearted manner.  

 When I detect this type of anger and criticism, I retract rather than argue which is why I did not want to (and still do not) talk to you personally about it.

When I detect a control freak, I run like hell.  I’m not going to talk about it.  I dumped your controlling ass, or have you forgotten?  Oh wait, it doesn’t count if I dump you.  You have to dump me for the “relationship” to be over.  Silly me.  I pity the woman who falls for you and stays with you.

 As far as I knew we were friends and I tried to make that clear repeatedly. Something is making you angry and it is now feeding on itself. The below said clearly that you were and are angry (insults are a pretty good indicator) and are very dissatisfied with me as a person in now many many cited ways both in your phone messages and email.

Insults?  Phone messages? WTF kind of drugs are you ON, idiot? “Something” is making me very angry and it is feeding on itself?  Snort.  I told you what made me angry.  It’s not feeding on itself.  You can’t stand that I found you lacking in any way, and it makes you angry that I would dare to tell you about it.  Sorry bub, that’s the way life goes.  You’re gonna be one lonely man.  

I do not care to have these things keep appearing from you.

What things?  The drugs must be good.  Are you like Alice, with the “drink me” bottles?  Oh, I now I see.  You have issues with math.  One email telling you how I feel translates into several “things” onto which you project your own anger and lack of self.  That’s right.  You’re incapable of empathy.  Even your rage and control are copies – you copied them from mommy.   When you look in a mirror you see nothing, that’s why you need people.  A static object reflects emptiness to you, but a warm-blooded, vital, confident and loving woman translates to feeding time for you.  

I have tried now on several occasions to ask you to stop sending these angry things but you will not.

When?  What things?  Oh geez, I’m a stupid woman again, aren’t I?  I’m such a bad mirror.  I keep forgetting that YOUR reality is the only one that exists and you make it up as you go along.  And look!  There you go with multiplication again.  I’m guessing you sucked at word problems in grade school, because the word problem:  “if my human mirror sends me one email expressing emotions I don’t want to hear about, how many emails expressing these emotions have I received?” got answered in the plural.   You failed, li’l buckaroo.  Miserably.  Wait.  That’s what you do.  You only appear successful because you’ve stolen that appearance from other people. 

I will ask for one more email from you.

It will contain only one thing.

 An agreement that you will take the next three weeks of quiet to cool.

And we can maybe try contact again if your anger has settled.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. OMG.  You’re serious.  Come to me pathetic insect, so I can squash you beneath my steel-toed boot, thus freeing your airspace for others, who are of worth, to breathe. 

 This is the last email from me that will have any content from me for at least three weeks or longer if you so desire.

You think this email had “content?”  What, you’re going to send me MORE emails without “content?”  Sweet bleeding Jesus, man, step away from the keyboard and shackle yourself to your crawlspace.  Better yet, take your inflatable kayak out into some class 5 rapids.  That way the stench of your decomposition won’t create issues for your neighbors.  Oh darn, I forgot again.  You only TALK about shooting class 5 rapids in your inflatable.  You tried to convince me that information from one of the top kayakers in the world is all wrong, because you know everything. 

I wrote this but did not send it.  I have a million other replies to this particular email, because after spending much time deconstructing it, I realized it encapsulated the horror that is this monster.  He showed himself to me; he showed his complete alignment with the DSM-IV criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.    Try it.  It might just help you.

5. At first, you will still be on the rollercoaster and you’ll have to take it at your own pace.  You might feel strong and empowered for 15 minutes and then feel like you’re the worst person on the planet for the next 3 hours.  When this happens, force yourself to remember the horrible things this person did to you.  Remember the kindness, love and compassion you gave this person and how those gifts were treated.

6.  You’ll spend a bit of time checking your email and phone to see if your N has contacted you.  If that person has contacted you, please, please, please heed this advice:  DO NOT REPLY IN ANY FASHION if at all possible.  If you are divorcing an N, and there are children involved, you may have to reply.  Check with your attorney first and if you can, have your attorney reply.  If you feel your children are in danger, do what you have to do to get them away from this person.  Contact your attorney, first, to make certain that everything you do is legal, because if it’s not, your N will delight in using your actions against you.

7.  Reach out to your support network.  If you don’t have one, and you might not have one at this point, because Ns love to manipulate their victims into withdrawing from their support system, get one.  Call all those people with whom you may have lost contact during your prison sentence with the N, explain the situation. Those who are truly friends will always be there for you.

8.  Seek group counseling.  If you can find a Co-Dependants Anonymous meeting near you, please do.  Here’s the link to their home page:  CoDA .   I know they don’t have a lot of meetings, but they do have online groups.

Something I’ve noticed in my journey:  Many of us who fall victim to Narcissists fall into a group I like to call Adult Children of Dysfunctional Parents.  I’m an adult child of alcoholics, and if you are familiar with the behavioral issues inherent in alcoholism, you will recognize that they are crossover traits to NPD.  Many alcoholics display Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Disorder traits.  Regardless the category in which our parents or other authority figures in our lives are placed, the odds are excellent that we experienced such horrendous emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse at their hands that we left home emotionally paralyzed, with poor self-esteem, and we engage in self-sabotage by setting goals for ourselves that are well above our reach.  This is typical, since our parents or authority figures did that for us – we were well-trained.

It’s going to be tough, but you will have to re-invent yourself.  This is not a superficial process t that is grounded in image.  This is a very deep and painful process that is grounded in SELF.  If you’ve been involved with a narcissist, particularly for an extended period, you have been emotionally damaged.  It’s now time to heal and deal.  The first step is to acknowledge the abuse and allow yourself to FEEL your feelings, regardless how painful they are.  Don’t dwell on them, simply allow them to come, feel them, cry, scream, go run a mile at top speed, punch pillows – do whatever you need to do to let them go.  You cannot hold onto these feelings.  They MUST go.  Do something that will allow you to feel good about yourself.  If your N said you were incapable of doing something, and you believed it, go DO that something.  Whether you succeed or fail is of no importance because what the N was truly saying to you is that you don’t have the guts to TRY.

You may go through a period of deep depression.  I did.  I elected not to take anti-depressants.  I’m very familiar with depression, and I know when I’m cycling too far down to be functional.  I allowed myself to be depressed; I allowed myself to feel the feelings and then I’d say “enough.  now DO something.”  Then I’d get up and do whatever made me feel good about myself.  That feeling would last until the next round of pain washed over me.  I’d feel it, sometimes wallow in it, and for me, I’d write it.  Writing is my therapy; it clears my head and releases pain I didn’t know I had.  Do whatever allows you to release pain.  If you don’t know how, just go take a brisk walk.  That’s a great start – exercise releases “feel good” endorphins.

Whatever you choose to do to heal yourself, do NOT – I repeat – DO NOT – let your N know you’re doing these things.  Do not send “I’m healing from you” emails.  DO NOT make angry phone calls to that person just to make yourself feel better.  You want this person out of your life for good.  Treat them as though they do not exist.  Regardless how close they may live to you, make that distance a universe.

You can do it.  You’re free now.  That means you have been given the gift of life.  Being with a narcissist is the death of Self.

Three deep breaths.  1. 2. 3. GO!

 

Lessons Learned

I’m new to blogging about dating, but I thought I’d give it a try.  I’ve been in the dating world, primarily trolling dating sites for 7 years, yet I’m still single.  Why?

This isn’t a blog designed to bash men or women.  It’s a blog generated to help us all understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

So I’m going to start with my most recent experience.  All names have been changed to protect the “innocent” and while right now, my knee-jerk response is to kick his ass to Mars, I won’t do it.  First, my neighbors might object to  seeing a rather tall (and somewhat portly) man go flying off my front porch.  Or not.  They already think I’m weird, so maybe I should give it a try?

Let me tell all of you THIS first:  Before you go buy the Rori Raye and Christian Carter stuff, know that what they are “teaching” is common sense, for the most part.  What I find objectionable about both of them, though is that throughout their seminars, CDs, books, etc., the underlying theme is that women must change their thinking, women must learn to understand and interpret “manspeak” and male body language, etc.  There is very little that teaches men how to listen to a woman, how to understand her and when it’s not a good idea to retreat just because he doesn’t like what he’s hearing.  I’m not telling you not to buy it.  I’m simply stating that if you give yourself time to sit and think, if you take the time to honestly assess yourself, your actions and particularly your REACTIONS when you’re in what you first thought was a great relationship and then it just fizzles, you’ll figure out what went wrong.  And it won’t be entirely your fault.  It won’t be because you said the “wrong” thing to a man and he couldn’t handle it.  Usually.  Not always.

So here’s my first scenario, and I followed the “Rori Raye” school of man-interaction:

Mr. Man calls me while he’s preparing dinner.  Note that I am not invited to join him for dinner, he is preparing it for himself and his son.  I didn’t expect to be invited, nor did I have the time, if he had invited me, so that’s not the issue.  We talk and the talk turns to some heavier stuff.  I was in the middle of a thought, explaining something to him – something he’d initiated – and he says:  “Hey, I need to jump off now, the burgers are done.”

Okay, two things happened here.  First, he called me when he knew full well he had only limited time to converse and did not let me know this.  I believe this to be intentional on his part – it was his safety net.  “If I call now, she’ll be happy I called, I can talk about this thing, give my thoughts and by the time I’m finished speaking I won’t have to hear much of what she says because dinner will be ready and I’ll have to hang up.”   Usually, we will talk for an hour or more.  Sometimes we don’t talk at all.  Ours isn’t a committed relationship, so I don’t expect to hear from him daily, although I usually do hear from him daily.

Second, he cut me off, with a dismissive tone, mid-thought, and in the middle of a conversation he had broached, with “Hey, I need to jump off now, the burgers are done.”  HUH????  Okay, sometimes a burger is just a burger and when it’s done it’s done.

As a woman, when I have to cut a conversation abruptly, I will either call back later or send an email that explains my behavior, apologizes for it and asks to continue the conversation.  Apparently this is not what a man does. And we’re just supposed to accept this, we’re supposed to speak to him using our “surrender” attitude.

So I tried it.  I wrote him an email that said something to the effect of: “I feel sad that our conversation was cut short so abruptly.  I feel dismissed and insignificant.”    When Mr. Man received this email, he began with an apology and then, as I read further, it became a projection.  He apologized for “jumping off abruptly” and then goes on to tell me that I “heard what wasn’t there” and that I “talk in stream of consciousness” so that when I paused, it just happened to be when the burgers were done and while he knew it was important and heavy stuff I was talking about, hey the burgers were done.  Wow.  He said more, and it was mostly all projection of blame on me – I was wrong, I’d heard him incorrectly, and by the time he reached the bottom of the long-assed email he’d written where he says:  “If you ever feel this way again, please tell me and I will say I’m sorry” I was feeling like the biggest heel on the planet – as he’d intended.

Lesson 1:  Food is more important to this  man than anything I have to say to him.

Lesson 2:  This man pretends to own his behavior and is excellent at manipulating others into believing his faults are theirs.

2nd Scenario:

Mr. Man emails me at home one morning with “Hey – how’s your morning?”  I know him well enough to know he doesn’t want to hear me say “fine” or “great!” especially if it’s not that way.  So I replied with:  “Well, not so good.  Just got an email from a long time friend and I’m actually icing down my eyes because I’ve been crying about what she had to tell me, and I have to meet a student in 30 min.  Can’t go with puffy eyes!  :)”

He replies:  “What happened????”

I replied:  “I’ll tell you when I get back.”

So when I got back, I told him.  He was at work, but he emails me constantly from work, and we talk about some fairly heavy things at times, so I emailed that one of my best friends had just let me know she’d been diagnosed with cancer.  I even included the important snippet from my friend’s email.  Mr. Man says he appreciates these little things from me.  Okay – this came at me while I was waiting for my own results of a cervical biopsy; it came a week after my dad had been hospitalized for a seizure/stroke and three days after I’d heard that the contract work I was expecting suddenly dried up and my financial ass was, once again, hanging out in the wind.

Mr. Man did not know about the cervical biopsy – I hadn’t told anyone about it – was going to wait until I knew something definite.  Maybe I should have told him, but retrospectively, I dunno.   He knew about everything else though.

No email reply.  I spent most of the rest of the day putting together lesson plans for my new student and then that evening on the phone with my friend.  Shortly after midnight, I realized I hadn’t heard a peep out of Mr. Man.  Not a friggin word.  Nada.  By one a.m.  the “committee” in my head convened and I was livid.  I hadn’t spent all day ‘waiting” for him to call, or “testing” him to see if he’d acknowledge me.  I’m pretty good at handling my own emotional situations, but since he’d been glued to me pretty much daily, if not in person, then in phone or email for 3 months, I suddenly realized that something was wrong.  If I’d received an email from someone I had told I considered “long-term relationship material” and that email contained something as heart-breaking as a friend being diagnosed with cancer, I’d have been on the phone, pronto, regardless the time.  I’d have emailed as well.

I didn’t sleep that night.  Perhaps that contributed to my anger and distress.  Who knows?   All I know is that by the time I realized Mr. Man had not found it in his supposedly huge heart to contact me about this, I was hurt, angry, confused and every emotion in between.  So I knee-jerked.  Totally.  I sent him an email telling him how I felt, and that while I knew he would see it as a test and one he failed, if he took the timing of my day into consideration and WHEN I realized I hadn’t heard from him, he might understand my hurt, anger and confusion.  I was a hair’s breadth from showing him the proverbial curb.

Whoa, doggies!

So he sends me an email back saying that “now he needs ‘time’ because just as his insensitivity in not sensing my need rocked my boat, the result rocked his boat.”  WTF????  Can this man just not say “OMG, I’m sorry. I got caught up with other things, and I totally forgot.  I am SO sorry.  Do you want to talk now?”  No, he can’t.  He projected on me again.  Sure, he did it in a way that made it appear that he was owning a part of the situation, but in reality, what he was saying was this:  “I don’t like it when you get angry with or feel hurt by me and express that anger or hurt and now I’m going away.”

What the fuck ever.

So I replied.  “Take whatever time you need.”  Oh – he also told me if I needed to talk to call him any time but that he would be listening more than talking.  (translation:  “call if you want, but I’m going to be listening for any signs of anger or hurt and if you display them, I’m taking my toys and leaving the sandbox.”   And he also requested that if I had anything to talk to him about to call him, tell him it was important and he would call me back.

So I decided to give him time, and not to call just yet.

That evening (apparently “time” has a very short meaning for him) he calls me around 8:30 pm.  The first words out of his mouth:  “Hey, I stopped on the way home and bought a bottle of scotch.  I’m not sure I like it much, it’s not smokey or peaty enough.  You wouldn’t know the brand.”  HUH????  Okay first, he knows full well I’m well-acquainted with just about every single-malt scotch out there.  I don’t drink a lot but I’m a single-malt girl and I try different brands all the time.  This is a clue that he’s been imbibing fairly heavily, because his insults are usually cloaked in sincerity.  Second, he calls me after he’s popped the cork on a bottle of scotch???   So I listened.  He talked a mile a minute, saying nothing and I knew he was drunk.  He’d stopped on the way home, bought the scotch, started drinking for whatever reason, got buzzed and then thought it would be a good idea to call me.  For whatever reason.

Now, to his credit, he did apologize for being insensitive to me, but again, he projected his own insecurities and inadequacies on me.  “You know how busy I am.”  “You have so many friends that I wasn’t sure who you were talking about in that email.”  Oh that was a gem.  Did it matter? A friend (whose name I gave him) was diagnosed with cancer.  He knew I’d had a terrible three weeks.  He knew what my stressors were and he also knew that I hadn’t dumped ANY of them on him until he asked. He would ask about things and I would make mention of things – I’d told him about my dad, about the contract work, etc, but I didn’t go into huge detail.

Lesson 3:  This man is all about himself.  He refuses to take real ownership of his behavior.  Wait, wasn’t that in Lesson 2?  Silly me.

Fast forward to Thursday night.  I knew I wanted to break it off with this man, and that’s not something that one does in email.  It’s not right.  And since he’d requested I call him and let him know I needed to talk and that it was important, I did just that.  It was 12:45 am and I knew his phone would be on vibrate, so I didn’t worry about waking him.  I left a message.  Granted, it WAS a bit muddled, but it said:  “You requested that I call you if I have something important to talk about.  I’m in a bit of a muddle here, and I do need to talk to you.  Can we meet to talk?  It can be someplace neutral if you prefer.  I’m hoping this call didn’t wake you and that you’re sound asleep sawing logs.”

The next day he sends me an email commenting on a photo of me he likes.  I replied: “Did you get my voice mail?”

Wow.  That must have been the wrong question.  I wonder if Rori Raye or Christian Carter have an answer for that one.  What did I say wrong?

He replied:  “Whether in person or not, this has just got to be done now…”  and then launches into all the “reasons” why he can’t spend a lot of time with me, why he can’t do this, can’t do that, isn’t sure about this or that and then says:  “I’m attempting to bring a lot of people into my life and it is/will be taking a long time.”  yeah, okay – that’s fine.  Dude. I was going to break it off with you.

So I thought for a bit – I was appalled at the email, because while he’d asked me to call if I had something important to say, and I acceded to his request – I HONORED him and RESPECTED him by doing it, he didn’t accord me the same honor or respect.  That’s what appalled me.  That’s when I REALLY knew.

So I emailed back that it was all okay, and told him that I was fine with it all and that I was glad he was being so clear (he wasn’t, but what the hell, I was dumping him anyway), and  that he hadn’t hurt me.

Oops.  I think he WANTED to hurt me, cuz the next important email from him was a psychiatrist’s dream.

In it he told me he detected anger in me and a certain dissatisfaction with him.  Well yes,  good detection, Sherlock.  But he also rambled on about insults and damning analyses of his character and this had me wheeling back from my laptop saying:  “WTF??”  Then it hit me.  He was either very buzzed or drunk when he wrote it.  Or so angry with me for taking control away from him that his anger overtook him, because there were misspellings everywhere; there was poor grammar and his syntax was so garbled as to need a translator.

But people, here’s the kicker – this is a man who doesn’t get it:

He said:

“I will ask for one more email from you.”  (huh?)

“It will contain only one thing.”  (excuse me?)

“It will be an agreement that we take three weeks so your anger can cool and then maybe we can get together and start again.”  (by now I’m snorting, and am not certain whether to reply or not.”

Then, at the bottom, this treasure:

“this will be the last email you receive from me for three weeks that has any content from me in it.”  Um – is someone else sending his emails?

YAY!  I get three weeks break.  But I doubt it.  He’s angry and projecting it.  He’s angry because he knew I was going to dump him.  I would have liked to stay friends, but I don’t know that can happen, not after this last email of his.  He’s angry because I found him lacking in some way.  So what. We all lack in some way.  He certainly found ME lacking and had no compunction about projecting his OWN inadequacies upon ME.

I replied with one word:  “agreed.”  He doesn’t know what that means.  He thinks I’ve agreed to his controlling, angry and manipulating terms.  No, I haven’t.  All I’ve done is agreed that if he contacts me after the three week time frame is up I MIGHT respond, and if I DO respond, it will probably be to tell him that we can’t be anything and I will tell him why.  He ain’t gonna like it, but at least I will feel I’ve done the right thing.  No, I won’t insult him, I won’t disparage his character, and I will make every attempt to use language he can understand, but he won’t understand.  He can’t get outside himself enough to get inside someone else’s shoes.  He can’t see anything except from his perspective.  That’s not going to serve him well.