So My Latest Narcissist…

…oh lord, what do I say?  The signs were all there.  He charmed me from the beginning; he was “perfect.”  He was too perfect.  He did everything for me.  Only…something was always not quite right with him and I knew it.  I chose to ignore it.  I was in a financial bind and he showed up at the right time after inveigling a way to actually meet me.

We worked at the same company for 5 months.  I went in as a temp, knowing that the assignment wouldn’t go permanent.  He noticed me from the beginning, or so he says, but waited four days to actually manipulate things so he could come sit and get to know me.  When i think back on that conversation, it was all about him.  He didn’t ask a word about me.

He was charming.  He invited himself on our first date.  I was going hiking and he just invited himself along.  He was so obvious and so “sweet” that I said:  “well, why don’t you come along.”  Turns out he doesn’t hike.  He strolls.  Slowly.  I didn’t find that out until we were at our destination. So we strolled.  He was separated, he said – had been for more than a year, and was filing for divorce by the end of the year.  He promised.  He swore.  He said he couldn’t envision himself back with her.

I believed him.  I wanted to.  I’d been told by all who knew him (and they were all co-workers) that he was a great guy and I couldn’t do any better.  I had a cardinal rule at the time:  Never date a married man, separated or not.  I broke it.  We had a great time.  I suggested we get together again sometime soon. I didn’t expect it to be the next day – which was a monday.

I got home before he left work and next thing I know he’s texting me saying he is 20 min away and bringing supper.  I was very taken aback.  We hadn’t discussed this.  But I thought it was kinda cute (red flags are NEVER cute) and so I told him to come on.  For the next 15 months I had no evening to myself other than Wednesdays when he was “paying bills.”  With his wife.  I questioned it and got a glib response to the effect that they were both still responsible for the expenses…

Uh huh.  I swallowed it.  For around four or five months he was able to keep the mask from slipping, although I saw it go a little cockeyed a couple of times when I asked about his plans for filing for divorce.  He would tap dance around it, tell me he hadn’t thought about it, anything to just shut me up.

He told me he and his wife had lived separate lives for years prior to him telling her he wanted to divorce.  While they lived beneath the same roof, they didn’t share a bed.  Just expenses.  Co-workers corroborated this.  Of course they did – that’s what he told them. I still don’t know the truth of it, but I suspect it.

Each day, after work, he’d come over, spend a couple hours but was always home by 9.  That must have been just before his wife came home.  She worked a strange schedule.  Then he started spending saturday nights at my house, and when I thought to ask, he said he just told her he was out with friends, and when it got late, he just crashed at whatever friend would take him at their house.  Lie.  Big lie.

He was supporting me, financially.  Groceries, gas, paying bills I couldn’t pay and I had no clue where his money was coming from, until he told me he’d taken a loan from his 401K – and since it went into the joint account (notice he didn’t give it to me to use as I saw fit, even though it was supposedly for ME), and he told his wife it was for a person at work who was in need.  Well, I saw about $500 of the $5,000 loan he took.  His wife spent the rest.  No apologies to me, just anger when I asked him why he’d done that instead of putting it in his own account.  Seems he didn’t have his own account – yet he’d been “separated” for more than a year.

January I caught him in a whopper of a lie.  Big one.  He denied it until I pushed so hard he had to admit it and then it became my fault.  You know how that goes.

That’s when he started withdrawing, stonewalling and gaslighting.  He grew cold and distant and any emotional support I thought i was getting went away.  In reality, there was no emotional support.  HE can’t empathize.  The only feelings he can feel are his own and those are all about how right, good and wonderful he is, so naturally I should have no problem with him.

I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that he discarded me when he realized I was way too close to the truth about him.  My niece had just died, and this man couldn’t even ask how I was holding up.  When I told him about it (stupid me) he replied “sorry – sucks.”

The following saturday, even though he knew I was dealing with my niece’s death, learning a new job, my mother’s illness, and some other pretty heavy stuff, he texts me:  “I bought a Hyundai.  Here’s the link so you can see it.”

Huh?  Why do I care about his car?  Well, it turns out he felt he “failed me because he couldn’t fix my financial situation.’  (God complex.)  Instead of being a normal person and accepting failure and moving forward or trying a different tack, he just dumped me.  It was an excuse – he wanted me gone – that way I wasn’t a drain on his finances and he could buy a shiny new car.

That night, I was under great duress and I emailed his wife a letter that stated this man had been having an affair with me for 15 months and it included things she probably needed to know if she wanted to make intelligent decisions about her life.  I doubt she heeded them.  He read her email before she did and blew my phone up, frantically attempting to get ahold of me to beg me not to tell her – you see, I’d also said I was mailing a hard copy in case her husband read her email and deleted it.  He rang my phone and texted so much that I had to silence it.  He even drove by my house to see if I was up.  His last text said “Now that you have me at your mercy, I’m begging you to let me tell her myself..”

Yeah. Right.  Like that would ever happen.  So I sent another one, snail mail, to her mother’s address, which is where she’s living.  I have heard nothing since then, and while I’m thankful for the silence, I think the other shoe will fall, in time.  I’m watching my back carefully.

I loathe him; I despise him; he’s a liar, a cheat and a fraud, and I know enough about NPD to know I need to have no contact with this man.  Maybe telling his wife was the wrong thing to do, but at the time, I felt a helluva lot better!  I dunno now.  Hey – maybe it will serve to get them back together (as if they were ever really apart!) and then he won’t be out there hurting other victims.  Who knows – he’s a Narcissist and they always find their supply.

He’ll tell his wife whatever she wants to hear right now – because he stands to lose a ton of money if she divorces him.  She was hoping – for almost three years now – for a reconciliation.  So apparently he wasn’t as “separated” as he said he was.  It’s just that her schedule was wonky and he exploited it to get his supply.

He hurt me badly.  It started in january – maybe before.  I still didn’t see the signs.  I thought he was depressed, I wondered if I was going crazy, I tried to work with the stonewalling and would confront him on the gaslighting.  None of that works.  He’s a narcissist.  I know all this.

Lesson learned:  You can still get caught in the trap.  There’s a lot more to the story, but I won’t tell it.  It’s not worth telling.  He’s a liar, a cheat and a fraud and if his wife has any sense (and I don’t believe she does) she will divorce him.  My guess is, though, that she’ll take him back because he’ll be so contrite after being caught.  Things will roll along very well for a few months and then the monster will be back for her.

At least he’s out of my life.

Advertisements

Emotional Constipation. NPD? Maybe.

How long can a narcissist keep the  mask from slipping?  The longest I’ve seen is about 4 months, but there are moments during that time when I’ve thought I saw part of his face twitch and slide a bit.  Yup, turns out I’ve got myself someone who seems to fit  many of the diagnostic criteria for NPD.  

I’m not certain about it and I don’t want to “label” just yet, and besides, I’m no psychiatrist, but there are signs and have been signs for months.  I’ve been seeing this person for 15 months.  When we met, he told me he’d been separated for a year and was planning to file for divorce at the end of 2012. 

As a hard and fast rule, I have never dated any man who was simply “separated.”  He had to be divorced.  For more than 2 years.  I broke my rule.  I’d heard from mutual acquaintances how great this guy is, how horrible his marriage (24 years) had been and what a douche his wife is.  I was told I “couldn’t do better.”  

For the first 4 months, I believed these statements.  He was kind, loving, giving but he was also smothering me.  We had our first date on a Sunday and were supposed to go hiking.  When we got to the mountains, I find out he doesn’t hike.  So we walked around the lake, talking, etc.  I did notice he wasn’t much of a nature boy.  I’m a nature girl.  Still, I figured I could work with that – and I could and can. 

On Monday, I left work, came home and started cleaning the bathroom fan filter.  I get a call that says:  “I’m 20 min away.  Whatcha want for supper?”  I freaked.  On the phone.  His response was to simply say:  “My car just pointed itself in this direction.  No worries.  I’ll bring supper.”  We’d made no plans for Monday, he’d said nothing to me, and I’d counted on an evening alone.  Yup – I let him come over.  New relationship and all that.  RED FLAG! He just assumed I’d be okay with it.  I wasn’t okay with it but I didn’t say anything.  My bad.  So, every day thereafter, with the exception of Wednesdays, he did the same thing.  Came over, brought food, gave me grocery gift cards (I was trying to make ends meet on a low-paying temp job), gas cards, killed all the weeds outside, painted my bathroom, painted my kitchen, cleaned, did laundry, and was all-around wonderful.  Only he never asked me if it was okay and I thought I’d won the lottery and felt as though I’d have the money taken away if I challenged him on his ever-presence.  So I stayed mum.  I’m not so healed from NPD after all, am I?  I don’t seem to recognize the red flags when they’re ON my face, smothering me!

Fast forward to the end of 2012.  No divorce papers filed.  Can’t get an answer from him as to why not.  That’s when I find out he’s moved back into the family home, but she’s supposedly moved in with her elderly mother who needs care.  He’d moved back in 2 months prior and hadn’t told me.  I have no clue when she moved out.  Even now, I don’t know. 

When I asked him about the divorce he would get angry and withdraw.  He’d stare straight ahead, drum his fingers on the arm of whatever piece of furniture, and say something like:  “I’ve answered that question a thousand times already and I’m not answering it again!”  Well, no, he hadn’t answered it even once.  He’d tap danced around it, ducked and weaved, side-stepped, and changed subjects with lightning alacrity.  

The “discussions” begin – but they weren’t really discussions.  I’d talk and he’d get pissed off.  He’d tell me to get off his back.  He’d throw out some reason or another why he hadn’t filed for divorce yet.  His final reply about it was:  “I’m afraid to, okay?  You happy now? You just emasculated me!” 

Um, no, I didn’t.  I deserved an answer and that answer isn’t and wasn’t good enough.  By this time, I’d become dependent upon him for financial help.  I’d been laid off again and unemployment wasn’t paying enough to  pay bills.  He would make my car payment, pay my electric bill, pay my phone bill and buy food.  I’d do the rest with my UE check.  

Life begins to hammer me.  Lots of crap happened – temp job started; temp job ended.  Was told I’d be hired at one job after leaving on a friday and by monday I was unemployed. Unemployment screwed up my benefits and I didn’t get paid anything for almost 2 months.  Nothing.  Dept of welfare screwed up food stamps and those were a month late. They cut me off for July stating they never received “appropriate” documentation of my income.  Yeah they did.  My state is staffed with incompetent idiots.  They received it more than once. I gave up on them. 

Then my timing belt broke and took out a lot of engine parts.  New engine to the tune of $1,824.  There I was, totally dependent up on this man – no money, no food, no transportation.  Do you think he offered to help pay for my vehicle repair?  Nope.  I was totally dependent upon him for transportation.  Why would he help me become independent again?  He would bring food, but nothing healthy.  Even after telling him I can’t eat certain foods, he ignored me.  Just brought what HE wanted. 

Then we got in a huge fight and he decides not to tell me he’s volunteered for the local fireman’s carnival for three weekends in a row.  We didn’t spend much time together as it was – he was over almost every evening after work, but would always leave by 9 because he had to go home and get his “shit in a pile.”  Yeah, it’s a pile of shit, all right. 

So silly me, I go out and buy a couple of books on male/female communication – give one to him and I read the other one – this was prior to the carnival.  He’s had that book for 3 months and hasn’t cracked the binding.  He SAYS it’s because he doesn’t want to take it in the house since “she” might find it.  WTF???  Excuse me???  

I was still unemployed so I gritted my teeth, knowing I needed this man’s support. I still do – just started working again, but I’m no where near being back on my feet.  I hope to be there within 3 months.  Meanwhile I’m making nice with someone I don’t even want around me anymore,  Luckily for me, I don’t have to make excuses for not wanting to sleep with him.  It’s been too hot to sleep in my bedroom upstairs and so I’m sleeping on the sofa or an air mattress in the a/c in the living room.   He’s noticing something though because he’s trying harder these days to be super nice-man again.  I’m not buying it.  He sees his supply diminishing and knows there is no one else to get it from, so he’s trying to reel me back in.  Keep in mind, and I didn’t say this up front,  this man is extremely inexperienced with women.  He’s spent his adult life married to the same woman and if I wrote his life story here you’d understand why I totally believe him when he says he never cheated on her.  Ever.  Anyone who knows him will back that up – while it hasn’t been impossible for him, he has spent his married life caretaking for a woman who has had illness after illness after illness and once she got better, she refused to work.  He’s spent his adult life working extra jobs to support her and the two kids.  He pays almost all the bills, even though on Jan 1, (she’s working now!) they agreed to split the bills exactly in half. Almost immediately his wife’s mother needed round the clock care and so his wife couldn’t work full time.  So he’s paying everything again.  I tried to explain to him what was going on, but he doesn’t care, won’t listen.  Why?  BECAUSE HE’S NOT GETTING DIVORCED.  EVER.  He hates his wife, and he did finally file, but she’s contesting and he’s just ignoring it.  He won’t ever go through with it. 

So, how stupid am I?  Pretty stupid.  I’m in too deep and I’m attempting to extricate myself. At this point, 15 months later, he tells me he can’t provide me emotional support (yeah, like he ever used to????) because his “tank is empty” from all the time he spent caring for his unappreciative wife.  

I don’t feel sorry for him.  I’m not going to kick myself anymore.  I’m just working toward extrication.  It ain’t easy.  After this, though?  I’m probably done with relationships.  I can’t seem to pick a man who is good for me.  I thought this man was, since after 3 years of not dating and just taking care of ME, we met totally by coincidence.  I wasn’t looking and he wasn’t either.  (so he says.)  

Used to be I could do no wrong.  Now, I’m just another harpy like his wife.  No – he’s never called me that name, but he’s articulated on many occasions that his bad behavior and negative reactions to my needs are due solely to spending “the last 20 years dealing with that shit.”  Uh huh.  And he was a pastor, too.  Oh yeah.  You read that right.  

He says he does what he does because he loves me.  I’m supposed to be totally happy with financial support, food I can’t really eat, and his presence a couple hours a day.  I’m not ever supposed to ask about the progress of his divorce, or anything that might upset him. I’m supposed to just be a good little mistress, sit down, shut up and smile.  Tell him how wonderful he is.  Oh, and I’m also supposed to make him “feel like a man.”  I got told recently that I don’t do that enough.  He told me this in the middle of my most recent layoff, when I was freaking out about money, and was having other issues that I needed help with. He didn’t help with any of them – he simply intimated he wasn’t getting enough sex or home cooked meals.  He hasn’t had any since.  He’s not happy about it. Gosh.  

I’ll get out of it.  I just need to get all my ducks in a row and very coldly and calculatingly use him for what I need until I can move on.  If he won’t talk, won’t be honest, expects me to read his mind, won’t divorce, yet expects me to always be there for him – he can sleep in the bed he’s made for himself.  

Wish I had time to tell the entire story.  It’s a tale.  I don’t have the time,  though.  

And while I do have empathy for anyone who is primary caregiver to an ailing family member, the fact is that it’s not my fault he never sought help; it’s not my problem that he allowed her to drain his “tank” and it’s not my fault that I’m a normal woman who would like a man who interacts on a normal level, emotionally.  This guy is about 14, emotionally.  I already raised one teenaged boy.  Not raising another.  What’s galling about it, and I know better than to write this because it’s normal N behavior:  he would say he’s been nothing but fantastically wonderful to me.  He can’t look in his own mirror.  What he’d see would be too much for him to process.  

Oh – and when he and his wife were splitting up he agreed to counselling. He says he went to 9 sessions and walked out on the last one because each session was all about what he was doing wrong and how he’d treated her like shit.  Well, if you’re close enough to smell that it’s shit…(and I am!)

 

Another From Search Terms: Does a Narcissist Know They Treat People Badly?

Yes and no.  How’s that for a contradiction?

A narcissist believes they are good.  They have conditioned themselves to believe that they are ALL good and have no character flaws.  They believe anyone who questions their “goodness” is bad.  They believe, from conditioning, that those who are “bad” must be punished.

So, do they know they treat people badly?  I’d say, that deep down, in that place where they have their emotionally arrested selves hidden, they know.  This will never come to light. Not an inkling of it will be allowed out of the locked drawer where the Narcissist keeps everything he sees as a poor reflection of himself.

If a Narcissist apologizes to you for treating you badly, you’d better read the fine print, which isn’t immediately visible because it is contained between the lines.  Mine did it thus:  (bold and italics are mine)

“I apologize if I hurt your feelings, but you know this is how I am and if you take it personally, that’s your fault.  If I do it again, tell me and I’ll apologize, but know that it’s just how I am and that I will do it again.”  

See what he’s done?  First he declines to admit that he actually DID hurt my feelings.  He states “if.”  This is typical of an NPD.  They’re not going to admit to hurting anyone’s feelings, so they use a qualifier that absolves them of blame and places all blame on you.  What this man said to me in that first sentence is this:  “I’m not apologizing for anything.  The entire issue is immaterial.”

Next, he absolves himself of accountability for his actions by stating “you know this is how I am.”  Because I “knew” this was how he was, I was then simply supposed to accept it, smile, and shrug it off by telling myself:  “oh, that’s just how he is. He didn’t mean anything by it.”  I’m not supposed to feel anything but loving acceptance of his little quirks and because (since he’s already told me this in his apology) he’s accepted “how” he is, then something’s wrong with me that I don’t accept it.  I’m supposed to actually support and encourage his unacceptable behavior, because after all, HE accepts it and encourages it within himself because he sees nothing wrong with it.

After that he tells me it’s MY FAULT my feelings got hurt and it’s my fault because I found “how he is” unacceptable.”  THIS little bit of information will be stored away for future use against me.  A Narcissist won’t tolerate anyone finding anything about them unacceptable.

Let me tell you, this piece of it came out about a month later in a long-winded nasty diatribe where he tells me how horrible I am, how undesirable I am as a partner, and that he doesn’t have “romantic feelings” toward me because I’ve “evinced dissatisfaction” with him.  Poor boy.  Oh dear.  See – this is classic NPD.

What I didn’t know at the time is this:

1.  He’s NPD

2.  NPDs don’t HAVE romantic feelings.

3.  I wasn’t in a relationship.

4.  All the stuff I saw in him that I thought was so wonderful was simply him reflecting MYSELF back to me.  He stole my compassion, empathy and any trait he thought was good and could be used to make himself look good and he reflected it back to me.

5.  At the point where his hyper-sensitive, as-seen-on-TV, get-it-now-for-the-low-low-price-of-$19.99-but-wait-if-you-order-in-the-next-10-minutes-you’ll-get a-second-one-free Little Orphan Annie Imaginary Criticism Decoder Ring  scrambled my communications he pulled out every bit of information his LOAICDR had given him, and using the companion LOAICDR Translation Tool for Narcissists, the free gift that came with the rings if you ordered within the next ten minutes he decoded a message that said “My feelings are hurt” to mean “You are a bad person, you’re stupid, worthless, and will never amount to anything.”  You see,  the LOAICDR is extremely sensitive and the companion Translation Tool for Narcissists has only one translation for anything that’s perceived as criticism. That translation is compatible with all the emotional abuse heaped on the Narcissist prior to age 6.

6.  The Translation Tool for Narcissists does provide instructions for keeping this from happening again, which is to immediately spin the situation, deny accountability and project blame for any and all hurt on the victim.  It then tells the Narcissist to react with vicious devaluation of the victim before the victim has time to sort through all the Narcissist-speak.  It instructs the Narcissist to stomp the victim into submission and do it HARD and if that doesn’t work, to simply throw the victim in the trash and go get a new one.   But I digress.  Let’s get back to the deconstruction of my N’s “apology.”

Then he says:  “If I do it again” meaning that there’s doubt he did it in the first place.  He says to tell him “if” he does it again and he’ll apologize, and then qualifies that with the justification (completely rational to him) that it’s just “how” he is, and then he goes on to tell me he WILL do it again.

It’s classic Narcissist gaslighting.  It’s classic Narcissist-speak for: “You’re crazy, I’m not.  You’re bad, I’m good.  You’re worthless, I’m omnipotent.”

Anyone besides me see an issue with this “apology?”   I hope so.

A Narcissist will defend his or her right to treat you badly, and they will do it using a rationale that is only logical to them.  When a non NPD hears the narcissist explaining WHY he or she did what they did, it will ALWAYS come out as an action they could not control because you MADE them do it.  You won’t have time to process it because it will be followed up with more vitriol.  Remember this:  Every horrible thing a Narcissist does or says to you is a projection of what he KNOWS to be true about himself.  It has nothing to do with you, it is not true about you, and the Narcissist has to convince you that it IS true about you, particularly if you are their only source of supply at the time.  They are desperate to stomp you into a submissive little mirror. 

A Narcissist does not own his or her actions.  If they did, there would be no narcissists.

If you are being treated badly by a Narcissist, the odds are very good that you’re to blame.  Didn’t you know that?  (read sarcasm, please).

If you are being treated badly by a Narcissist (not IF – WHEN) it is because you did not reflect appropriately to them.

When you are being devalued by a Narcissist it is NOT your fault.  It is simply because the Narcissist does not view you as anything other than an object with an expiration date.

If you stay with a Narcissist, beyond the point where you realize what’s going on, you will continue to be treated badly, and then it really WILL be your fault, because you made a choice to stay. 

If you stay with a Narcissist thinking you can fix them, you are DELUDED. Get help NOW.

If you stay with a Narcissist because after you had a deep, heart-felt conversation with them, and things got better, you’d better be prepared for an emotional nuclear warhead to plow through you.

Narcissists don’t HAVE “deep, heart-felt conversations.”  They let YOU talk, and they make assenting noises if they’re at the point where they realize they’re about to lose their current supply and they don’t have any other supply lined up.

So – clear as mud?  A Narcissist is a walking contradiction.