I get a lot of emails asking a lot of the same types of questions and so this week I thought it might be a good idea to post some of the most common themes.
Question: I’ve been dating someone for almost a year and he will make plans with me and then he doesn’t show up. He doesn’t call me to cancel and I can’t reach him when I call. It makes me crazy, but he’s always got an excuse and then he is so nice to me after that it makes me overlook what he’s done. Why can’t he be like the nice him all the time and how can I get him to stop standing me up?
Answer: I like to deal in reality – and the first question I would ask you is how easy is it for you to change something about yourself? It’s not easy right? So trying to change other people is impossible. So if you’re waiting around for someone to change I’d suggest you rethink your strategy. He can’t be the nice guy all of the time because that’s not who he is. He’s nice because he wants something from you – your forgiveness, so he can keep doing what he’s been doing.
The bottom line is, if someone stands you up – baring a medical emergency, there is no excuse for it – come to think of it, even if there was a medical emergency I would still shoot a text message, “Sorry I broke my spleen, can’t make it for dinner.” Only a serious douche bag stands people up and then disappears so they don’t have to face any consequences.
When you aren’t wearing rose colored glasses the greens looks green and the reds look red and you’re not afraid to call something what it is. There is no excuse for that type of behavior. It is a betrayal of trust and it shows a massive lack of respect. It says, ‘I don’t care enough about you, or anyone else, to even give you the commonest of common courtesies. That’s who I am.’ If you can’t trust someone with their word then they can’t be trusted with anything and they’re not someone I would want to invest my emotional currency on. Sorry, but there really is no way else around that and if you brush off that behavior, like it’s no biggie, you are just giving an invitation for more of the same. You should never be ok with someone disrespecting you.
Question: It drives me nuts when I text my boyfriend and it takes him forever to text me back. Sometimes he will go days without answering me. Is this part blowing cold, or part of the discard process?
Answer: I like honesty and directness so here it is – he does that because you are not a priority to him. He does that because there are little to no consequences when he does it – he doesn’t fear that you will get pissed off enough to walk away from him and if you do he’s probably okay with that. That may sound harsh and it is, but if someone cares about you and doesn’t want to lose you, they will consistently behave in a manner that demonstrates that. You know the old adage, ‘actions speak louder than words.’
When I was involved with my last Boomerang Narcissist I can remember one day I was having a conversation with him via text. I was writing volumes and his responses were short and periodic. At the same time, a guy I knew, that had a crush on me, was also texting me volumes and I was the one responding to him with periodic short replies and at that minute I had a huge a-ha moment. It all made sense and I realized my Narcissist’s feelings for me were the same as my feelings for my friend, who had a crush on me, whom I had no interest in.
Question: My question is what is your opinion or insight on the mid-life crisis, specifically with men and what part does NPD or (being emotionally unavailable) have in it? Is it possible to exhibit behaviors to these disorders upon mid-life or do they just become more prevalent?
Answer: NPD is a pervasive disorder. Its onset is measured typically in late adolescence – not in mid-life. I won’t pretend to know the dynamics of a mid-life crisis. I do know that some people have a very difficult time with the aging process. Mid-life could trigger many different changes to someone’s behavior – depression, anxiety, fear, regrets, physical pain that may cause someone to emotionally pull away from their partner. If your spouse or partner didn’t exhibit the behaviors of NPD before middle age then they didn’t just develop it later in life. The best thing you can do is have a heart to heart talk with your partner and try to get them to open up about what’s going on with them.
Question: I’ve been dating a guy for about 6 months and things were great in the beginning. Over the last month or so he started to pull away. He started to ignore me and behaving just like what you wrote in the discard phase. Two days ago he told me not to call him anymore and that we were done. I don’t know what to do I’m devastated and I don’t know what I did wrong.
Answer: My dear you did nothing wrong. I think it’s important to understand that just because someone breaks up with us it doesn’t necessarily make them a Narcissist. He might be a Narcissist – I don’t know, but usually when there is a break up, it’s typically unpleasant and not everyone that does it suffers from a personality disorder.
I know you are probably looking for answers as to what happened, but you have to realize that sometimes people just aren’t the right fit and that doesn’t mean that you are responsible or lacking in any way. I’ll give you an example, my long term Narcissist was part Native American he had long shiny black hair, darkish skin, a strong square jaw – he was beautiful. He could have been on the cover of a romance novel. When I first started dating again after he left me I met someone that looked similar. Because of his appearance I was both drawn to him and repulsed by him at the same time. It had nothing to do with him and everything to do with my past experience. I didn’t treat him well and our relationship was short lived.
The bottom line is you don’t know what preexisting thoughts, prejudices, beliefs, issues fears, or flaws bounce around inside someone’s head. And besides sometimes people are mean, selfish jerks, that’s just who they are. It’s better you find out now, rather than when you’re married with 3 children and you really need them.
My dad said to me once after I had been dumped by my first love, “Don’t wallow, don’t pine, and don’t ever beg for someone to care about you when they don’t. Instead become the best you, you can be and make them eat their words.” So take the focus off of him and your hurt and put it onto you. Being hurt and angry is actually a great motivator for self-improvement – don’t waste it.
Question: I had a best friend that I realized was toxic and quite possibly a Narcissist. Everything was always all about her and on her terms and she would freak out if anyone ever said or did anything that made her look even slightly bad. It all came to a head one night and we had a screaming match and we both said we didn’t want to speak ever again. That was four months ago and I find I can’t believe I’m saying this but – I miss her. I wonder if she thinks about me and I wonder sometimes if I didn’t make a mistake.
Answer: It’s hard to lose a best friend, some say even harder than losing a spouse because you don’t ever expect to lose your best friend and with women you are generally a lot closer to your bestie than your husband. Your friend wasn’t all bad – no one is really all bad or all good and what you are missing is all the good times you spent together. What you have to keep in mind is that if you ended your relationship with her because she was unhealthy then you were actually doing something positive for yourself and taking care of you. You deserve to have friends that reciprocate your feelings and your behaviors. You have to remind yourself that you deserve to have people around you that are healthy and interested in you, but before you can do that you have to get to a healthy place first and by cleaning out your toxic friends it sounds like you’re on the right path. Keep being positive and doing right by you – soon you will attract the right kind of friends.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net