“Well, he wasn’t happy,” our mutual friend said with a shrug, like it made perfect sense. In my head I kept thinking, ‘I’ve put up with his cruelty, his selfishness and all of his issues for seven years and HE’S not happy? ’
I’m a big fan of the quote, “What you feed grows,” my partner made the decision to stop watering our relationship and to start watering his co-workers garden. By the time I had become aware of it, he had emotionally checked out.
Ours was a typical Narcissist/Codependent relationship, where everything was all about him. The thing that threw me was that despite my unhappiness and mistreatment, I still wouldn’t have left. The idea of leaving never even occurred to me. It was just the way it was. It honestly, would have taken a crow bar to get me out of it. I was going to marry this man, regardless. In fact, we were just days away from our engagement party and a month away from our destination wedding, when he decided to end it.
Once the sting of it wore off, I started to ask myself some important questions, like – Why wasn’t I the one that left? Why wasn’t he the one sitting there hurting, wishing he would have treated me better? Why did I stay? What was wrong with me?
I was calling my decision to stay loyalty. I believed that you were supposed to work on your relationships, not just throw them away when you ran into some obstacles. The problem for me was I was involved with a Narcissist and Narcissists don’t do loyalty. If they catch a scent of something that better feeds their ego, they’re gone with the wind, with an arsenal of justifications – like, “I’m not happy.”
His behavior was so perplexing to me, because in my family you stayed together – happiness wasn’t something you thought about, or even talked about. You stayed together because you made a choice and you were obligated to see it through. God knows my parents weren’t happy. I can’t recall ever seeing any affection between them. They didn’t sleep in the same bed, never touched, or said loving words to each other. That was my model of what a relationship looked like. So the question of why didn’t I leave was answered with, because it didn’t even occur to me that I could.
His abuse was usually subtle. I couldn’t point to anything major, like cheating, or lying and say, “I’m leaving because of that.” So I didn’t really feel like I had a good enough excuse to leave, besides he had convinced me I couldn’t make it without him, nor could I do any better. That fear was very real.
Staying together is what couples did in our grandparent’s day, or our great-grandparent’s day. people weren’t disposable, like they are now. Back then, once you made the commitment, you stayed together, through thick and thin. I like that idea in principle, but there is a line.
The best way of ensuring a successful and lasting marriage is to make sure you’ve made the right choice in the first place. Your spouse is the single most important investment you will ever make in your life. If you’re going to tie your hitch to someone else’s wagon you better make sure that you both want to go in the same direction and that both of you are committed to doing the work.
If you’ve got issues and concerns early on – that’s the time to act. Time doesn’t make those issues go away and it doesn’t ensure loyalty. Just because you’ve invested x number of years, doesn’t mean you continue if it’s not working. I’ve compiled a list of reasons that I think are acceptable reasons to break your commitment.
If there is abuse of any kind: Physical, emotional, psychological, sexual – This should be a no brainer. Often when we’re involved in it, we tend to miss the forest for the trees. If you are physically assaulted, if there is blatant and recurring cruelty, disrespect, manipulation, or belittling – all of these are acceptable reasons to end your involvement.
If there is addiction of any kind: Drugs, alcohol, porn/sex, gambling or shopping, if your partner can’t control their behavior, then any of these issues are an acceptable reason to say adios. Some people may choose to stick it out and help their partner overcome these problems, and some do kick their habits and live normal lives, but for me, I really like stability. I don’t want to be surprised in the middle of the night that my spouse was drinking and driving and killed someone. I also don’t want to wake up one day and find out that my sex addicted husband hit up every prostitute on the block and has given me HIV, because he couldn’t control himself. I don’t want to invest on an unpredictable investment. I’d stay clear of anyone with these issues.
If they have mental health issues: Anti-Social PD, Narcissistic PD, Borderline PD, Schizophrenia, Dissociative Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder…. There are a lot of illnesses I could list here. Just like with addictions, there are people that choose to stand by their partners, who are going through some of these ailments and if it works for them and makes them happy that’s great. I know a man that suffers from Schizophrenia, who is married and has 4 children. He had a very rough time of it several years back and spent a lot of time confined to an institution. They’ve been fine now for about a decade and are very happy, but for me, for the same reason I site with people with addictions, I like stability and I don’t want to live my life wondering if the medications are going to stop working, or if they will stop taking them and something unthinkable happens. If you want to have children, passing on the impairment to any offspring also has to be a consideration. If you’re involved with a psychopath, or a narcissist just get out, there is no reason for you to stay.
If there is infidelity and a lack of trust: Some people can get past infidelity. I’m just not one of them. I’m a firm believer in Dr. Phil’s statement, “The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.” If you could betray me one time, you’ll betray me again. If I forgive you for your betrayal and take you back, I believe it gives you a green light for more of the same, because there were no adverse side effects other than hurting me, which you didn’t have a problem doing in the first place. Some spouses do cheat once, learn their lesson and never cheat again – it does happen, but I wouldn’t want to bet on that pony. The anguish and the self-doubt that goes on inside the partner that was cheated on, is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy. I’ll pass.
Likewise, if your partner is a compulsive liar and you can’t trust a thing they say, I would suggest that that is an acceptable reason to break your commitment. There is no stability without trust and if your relationship doesn’t have it – it’s not a relationship. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
If you’re the only one trying: Sometimes people can be married and yet they live completely separate lives. When I was in school I worked part time as a waitress, I’d notice the same guys sitting at the bar, night in, night out and I mean from the time work ended to the time they had to go home to bed. Most of these men were married, but seemed to, for whatever reason, have no interest in going home and spending time with their families.
Some spouses will go home from work and immerse themselves in their hobbies and not say two words to their spouse. They don’t participate in family functions, there is no physical relationship and they live just like roommates. If you’re both okay with this then great. I personally would rather be single. The problem arises when one partner wants more from the relationship and the other spouse isn’t willing to put in the effort. If that is the state of your relationship and you’ve tried repeatedly to re-engage your partner without success – then I would say it’s an acceptable reason to end it.
When you make a commitment to someone and they make a commitment to you, you should both have a reasonable expectation that there will be trust, stability, respect, companionship, and love.
As a codependent I hadn’t been taught about boundaries and self-worth, nor did I have a healthy relationship model to follow. I didn’t have the tools to discern the difference between healthy relationships behaviors and unhealthy relationship behaviors. Perhaps if I would have watered the seed that I can leave if I’m not happy, the outcome of my relationship would have been very different
All of this is just another example of the kinds of things I had to teach myself as an adult. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have invested seven years of my life in a doomed, dysfunctional relationship and I would have definitely been the one to end the engagement.
At this stage of my life, it’s all about risk management. I’m more willing to take chances with my financial investments than I am with my emotional investments. Life and love is a lot easier if you know the rules. It’s even better when you make them.
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I recently walked away from a 3 year relationship with an in denial alcoholic. Addiction runs in his family and I believe his brother is a narcissist and a very unpleasant (to put it mildly) individual.
When I met my ex he told me his drinking/partying had got him into trouble in the past with girlfriends and that he didn’t want to make the same mistakes with me. I believed him & given that he was 38 years old hoped he might grow up. He acknowledged himself that he wanted to, or so he said! We’d been together a few months, when for financial reasons he decided to move into his mothers house, where his adult brother also lived. Worst decision he ever made. She fleeced him for rent, which to me is awful. I wouldn’t dream of making money off my own son. My ex is a nice guy (apart from the alcohol & drugs) but he is not at all assertive & his family treat him like shit. They are well known in the area they live in as they are always drinking in pubs etc.
Right from the start I was warned about his brother by people in their social circle, that he had issues, was insanely jealous of the brother I was dating etc etc. I could see for myself how he treated people, there seemed to be conflict surrounding him all the time. But I kept my concerns to myself for a long time as I didn’t want to hurt my partners feelings. I mentioned the brother one time to the sister, who replied “you can’t trust him, he’s sly and tells lies all the time”.
At first I didn’t worry too much about the brothers behaviour affecting me or our relationship as i lived quite far away from his family. My partner would spend time at my house and so I didn’t see them too much.
But I began to realise how much my partner drank. He told me he had taken drugs socially in the past but didn’t anymore. But I know his brothers did & this did concern me when he was with them. He had said to me ‘it’s not that easy’ when I had mentioned to him that perhaps he should tell his brothers he didn’t want that lifestyle any more.
Over time he started to let me down, he’d turn up late, very late or not at all. Always very drunk, hungover & stinking of alcohol. I’d fall out with him, he’d assure me it would stop and our relationship was what he wanted to focus on etc etc. I was also told his brother had been bad mouthing me & I started to feel very uncomfortable being in the same room as the man. He would make racist comments in my company all the time, but only when I was there, no one else. Then I’d see him being overly nice to his sister’s partner ( who is black) He also racially verbally attacked a man in front of me and my partner. My partner would always try to down play his brothers behaviour & said he was sick of having to defend the man to everyone. His family were just awful, we’d be out in his local area and people would approach us and say to my ex partner ‘**** why is your mum giving me dirty looks?’. Things like this happened regularly. His brother attacked me in front of a group of people one day and basically acted like a nasty bully. Everyone got up and left the table and later said to me they were cringing and couldn’t believe what he’d done. And my partner tried to make out it was his brother just having a joke with me. NO it wasn’t. The man was very jealous and resented the fact his brother had a decent person in his life. People kept telling me I had the nice one, that he was nothing like his siblings as he hadn’t been brought up with them. Very complicated family but I could see he was so bothered by what his family thought about him/me/us and was constantly trying to please them. Very dysfunctional behaviour for a man of 40. He was desperate for approval all the time and didn’t even realise it, so very sad. They were hostile to me at times and the brother was behind it all. Causing trouble etc, it got so bad I developed anxiety and didn’t want to be around them. I am a 43 year old professional woman who has brought up 2 very well mannered, balanced sensible children. My teenage children behaved impeccably when I started this relationship. I’d been single a long time prior but have a good parenting relationship with their dad. I didn’t dream that at the age of 40 I’d have to put up with someones awful dysfunctional family. How naive of me. I realised I deserve so much more, my ex partner already has alcohol related health problems yet refuses to admit he has a problem with drink. I couldn’t stay any longer & listen to his constant excuses or watch him destroy himself with alcohol. And I realised I certainly didn’t have to put up with his vicious brother. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I ended the relationship. It was so hurtful that my ex let his family drive me away but sadly he can’t seem to see past the bottom of a pint glass. I still have anxiety and have had to speak to someone about this and also what it is about me that made me stay when I could see classic addict behaviours early on. I know walking away was the right thing to do as the relationship & the toxic people around my ex were dragging me down.
it’s been a year of NC . I met him with her NW. Why she doesn’t realize what an asshoel he’s? why they don’t broke up? In the main time I miss him so much. I’ve been dating but I keep dreaming our home together. Where now he lives with her.
Savannah what can I do?
I honestly didn’t even know that emotional abuse was a real thing until years ago after leaving a 14 year relationship and realizing it had happened to me. We need eduction about this… We need to educate our children our daughters and sons so it doesn’t happen to them.
Reading your blog and reading the comments help me to know there are other people going through what I have been going through for the past 5 years. He has cheated and lied even left me and moved in with someone last year but cheated on her and came back to me. I have been put down called names cheated on and told everything is my fault. When I mention things he told mW in the past he tells me I’m making up lies. My opinions don’t count neither do my feelings. If I do everything he wants we don’t argue. He is supposed to move to a different town in a few months and I know it will hurt me but I really can’t wait. I told him when he does its over because I’m not going to worry and lose sleep over where you are if your home or if your with someone else. I really can’t wait til he moves. Maybe I’ll get my life back again I hope.
So many thoughts to process after reading this post. Please bear with me:
My friend is buying her first home. Our conversation that we had about the process made me think about relationships and a previous post on this blog about not getting involved with people who are “broken downs.”
My friend went to go look at a house and we met up after she saw it. I asked what she thought about the property. Her answer: “It has potential.” She really wants the house and is set on it even though it is NOT move-in ready.
It’s an old house in an up-and-coming neighborhood where the cost of land is rising and there’s a lot of redevelopment going on. The house needs a lot of work, so right now it’s really affordable. But in five or ten years, if she sells the place after fixing it up, she could make a good chunk of cash. She doesn’t think it’s a bad investment. My friend has the time, skill and money to take on this project.
This made me think of how many of us women, codependent or not, get into a relationship with a man based on who he COULD be or who we WANT him to be, not on who he is right at this very moment. But unlike a house, we can’t fix a person or foresee or hope that they’ll mature or change!
So many of us stay with a man because we see “potential” in him and then we put up with all of the things mentioned on this list.
I know a woman who is in a marriage that many of us would consider a nightmare. Her husband spends most of his free time at bars with his single friends, many of whom are women, or at home playing video games. He doesn’t help around the house or spend much time with their two children. He also throws parties at their house and will invite over random people that he meets in bars. Because he is the breadwinner he feels entitled to this behavior.
She has said she didn’t like him when they met. He partied too much. She’s the quiet type and doesn’t like to go out. She had hoped that after marriage, he’d “calm down.” He didn’t. Nor did he calm down after having two children. She confessed that she and her husband have not slept in the same bed in years.
Why not leave? She won’t leave out of loyalty and because of the kids.
I know that kids complicate things, but why isn’t not being happy enough of a criteria in our society for someone, especially a woman, to end a relationship?
We’re told to stick with it and be miserable, especially if we have children with someone. Many of us also say things like “I’ve spent 10 years invested in this relationship, I’m going to MAKE IT WORK!” Doesn’t it make more sense to end the relationship and not lose any MORE of your time?
I think it’s a mistake to view the time you spent with someone as wasted time. It’s even more of a mistake, if you are a recovering codependent like I am, to stay with someone solely out of obligation. I admit I’ve done that too. I stayed in toxic friendships and relationships because I felt that I “owed” to them. But that is no way to live and is not fulfilling.
Of course I wish I was never with my Narc for two years. Those are two years that I cannot get back, ever. Those are two years that I could have spent dating someone else, doing other things and saving money. But I can’t look back on my time with him as wasted time.
Being in that relationship pushed me to wake up to the fact that I am a codependent and have a LOT to work to do on myself. Before I met him, I was living in ignorance about my issues and that I was repeating the same destructive patterns in my dating life, over and over again. Being in that relationship forced me to face the dragon.
We can’t beat ourselves for the amount of time we stayed in these relationships. But we can reclaim that time and our own lives by leaving!
I have been fortunate in that my narcissist and I have never met. I “met” him online and he started the love-bombing by messaging earlier this year. He was amazing. He sent me a picture and if it is him, he is very good looking. Tall and lovely. What really caught me though, was the way he so eloquently spoke. I did notice right off that he knew an awful lot about me (through my profile) but I knew absolutely nothing about him. I mentioned this and he told me I could ask him anything, but in small doses. He did answer my first questions but then I noticed, after re-reading everything, that answers to my future questions were conveniently never answered, or answered in such a way that it never was really answered. Between love bombing and distracting me, I never saw the next phase coming. The devalue phase. The first couple of times of devaluing threw me for a total loop. I couldn’t understand it. Luckily for me, help by you and other websites were there for me. It was textbook narcissism. I found it quite interesting to see what he would do next. Because we had not connected physically and because it had only been a few months, it made it easy for me to detach from him on an emotional level. Don’t get me wrong, when the devaluing happened I was very distraught and doubting myself so much, that I could barely get to work in the morning. But once I realized what he was, it was very much an AHA moment. So I decided to study him. To watch and see the steps listed on every narcissism website to see if they would come true, because of course secretly I had hoped it wasn’t true, that he was different!. But sure enough, it all went down just like everyone says. But now, I was playing along too. And it felt really good. I have been able to use some of the things he told me to use it against him. But this doesn’t really work because he is so sure that everything he does and says is correct, that it barely phases him. He has an excuse for EVERYTHING. I have to laugh sometimes. Its just so textbook. The reason I am not going no contact is because I sent him nude pictures of myself when he was love bombing me. I KNOW it is the stupidest thing I have probably ever done in my lifetime, but he was relentless and hounded me constantly about it…..”you don’t’ love me”….”you are going to be my wife so I will see it anyway”….blah blah. So I am terrified that he will release these pictures somehow on social media if I try to go no contact. I am trying to keep/maintain a “friendship” with him in hopes that he will not do this. Recently, he entered the “discard” phase. I played along, pretended to be broken hearted, I love you please don’t’ leave me blah blah but he told me that because of my past (sexual), that I no longer qualified to be a long term relationship prospect and that he had to move on, that he didn’t’ want to be friends because he would be too jealous. I told him if that’s how he felt then what could I do (sniffle sniffle) to get him back. he claims he could never “trust” me and that he was raised to believe that there are consequences to everything that someone does and that I never thought about that during a one night stand I had last year (the only thing I told him about my past sex life) and so he could NEVER trust me ever and I am not wife material. I am still worried worried worried about the pictures so I continued the charade. But after a few weeks of him telling me it was all my fault, blah blah, I told him I was disconnecting my media account to “try” to get over him, which I meant to do. He panicked a little, threatened me with the pictures and now says he can be my friend so he can hang around and “see what happens” because he loves me still, though I have disappointed him so deeply (even though it happened before we even met). I am so terrified those pictures will come out if I don’t try to maintain some kind of friendship with him. Here’s the thing though. Now he is going to “come home” which is supposedly near me and he is threatening to visit me just to “see how I am doing”. I have no intention of EVER meeting this man and now I am afraid he is going to show up at my door. I am not sure what to do. If I go no contact, he will surely show up at my door, I have a gut feeling about that. I am in a quandary. I am not sure what to do next. Help?!
@SMKHM — It’s hard to say what this man is, how harmful he is and what you are dealing with exactly, because you have never met him in person, but based off of what you shared, there a couple of things that come to mind:
#1). He may have been vague about answering your questions because he is a Catfish (pretending to be someone else and never had any intent of meeting you), or he is married and looking for his thrills online.
#2). I hate to say it, but there are many men, especially married men, who meet women online and press them to send nude pics. They are pervs who collect them. The fact that he pressed you to send these photos was a huge red flag to me.
#3). I urge you to find out what are the laws regarding “revenge porn” in your state (if you live in the U.S). Revenge porn is when someone posts or shares a nude photo that was given to them consensually by the other person, but the photo was meant for their eyes only. Giving someone a nude photo of yourself does NOT give that person consent to post it or share it with others. Revenge porn is a crime in many states such as California. In fact, the founders of such sites have gone to jail recently in cases that were highly covered by the media.
If you are really worried about these photos being out there, ask a lawyer who specializes in these types of laws what your options might be. If you can’t afford one, check if there is a law school in your city that hosts free law clinics, many of them do. It’s at least best to know what recourse you may have.
But ultimately, only you can assess how unstable this man is and whether he would do something like that.
In addition to what NR said it couldn’t hurt to go to your local police and ask some questions and let them know this is going on. If he is really threatening you, then that is blackmail/harassment.
In the mean time, if you need to distract him by telling him what you think he wants to hear as a means of not angering him, then so be it. I would try to not throw him into a rage since you don’t know what his temper is like.
If he has a harem the last thing he would want to do is appear like the ‘bad guy’ in front of them. However, if he’s a splath type, who knows. Better not chance it and talk to someone in law enforcement.
From what you’re saying, even without the pics threat, he sounds like an asshole. Blaming you for a one night stand? It sounds like his goal was to see if you’d submit to him and send him the pics and once you did, he got what he wanted and hence the discard.
I wouldn’t mention you went to the police or got lawyers involved unless he is absolutely threatening to release them. A lot of times these guys will bluff as a means of bullying. Yet if he’s just being a typical annoying narc, it’s best to let him think he won. ‘He showed you!’
He doesn’t need to know you have one up on him, unless of course, he really begins to threaten for real. Don’t blame yourself over this–it happens. We all know how manipulative these guys can be and how over the course of several months, they can manage to earn our trust.
Most narcs are cowards who are too concerned with their reputation to draw that kind of legal crap around. But if he’s more of a sociopath, they tend to just want to win and punish you. Don’t show you’re afraid of him.
It can’t hurt to talk to someone in law enforcement just so you know you’re prepared if he does continue to threaten.
Just so you know…I take continuous vicarious rides on your writing, along the windy territory of my own personal healing. So, thank you. Again. This entire piece can be summed up in these few words: “If they can’t control their behavior.”<—— First, let me say Savannah, I truly adore you and your writing style. You really are a smart, smart woman! Romans 8:28 is a good verse. When I was in Texas two years ago, the lease manager at corporate housing I stayed at would say "I can't believe the suffering we've endured is in vain and without a greater purpose." She would speak of God's crafty ability to take the broken shambles and assemble a new masterpiece. Sorry, I'm rambling in a few directions at once, but will converge and reconvene with this one point: Learning about narcissism, and my own relational patterns, complicit in the dance of codependency…has changed the lens by which I observe human dynamics of interaction through. There IS a line, as you said. And it IS a cool concept, loyalty, commitment. The new me is compliant with my new strategy of loyalty to me first. Sounds like a narcissist, right? Nope. But I learned quite a bit from my ex narcissist. I learned how to "see" it before it gets too close, and how to protect self and ward it off. I now know how to dissolve its energy and watch it fizzle and fall to the ground before it ever reaches me. I feel SO good about cutting my narcissist co-worker from my life. I AM no longer tolerant of the subtle abuses in the form of manipulation and mean spirited BS from people who have less than my best interest at hand. I'm done. I respect me, so I require my friends respect me too. 🙂 It's ok if you've got your issues, but it's not ok if you "can't control your behavior" regarding those issues, and I have 0-toelrance for anyone who projects that shit onto me. That's not mine. I'll happily bear your burdens WITH you, but I am not a whipping post for all your un-contained behavior. Peace out.
Hit it on the head. 32 days no contact- started alanon. 8 years wasted. Thanks for this. It’s helpful to see others get it.
Good for you. However, it was not really wasted. It was the path you took and you would not be where you are now if you had not taken it. It is just the way it was and now you are here and moving forward. Good work.
THis blog hit home for me. Married to my first husband for 11 1/2 years then met another man, married him and together for 7 years. Key to happiness– don’t pick a man who has few or no male friends. Recovered/ current addictions-stay away from. My second husband was a recovering alcoholic/drug/tobacco. Oh was he a charmer!!! Then we get married (his mask starting falling off) he took up porn and shopping. Took out credit cards, left porn on computer for me to find. Many women on his cell phone contact list. When leaving the house to walk the dog I watched him get on his phone. THen come home and sit on computer the rest of the night. As much as I want to find a good man to spend the golden years with, I am much happier knowing I am in control of my life and not dependent on or have to put up with being second, third or last in his mind. I am stronger, happier and living the life I want. My next step is to move completely away from them to another state! Moving to the other side of the county has helped for now. Thank you Savannah for your blog. I share your blog with other women who are in the same situation with men who have NPD.
Forgot to say: I heard that “I’m unhappy” thing for years before I knew he was cheating. I just didn’t know about it. In addition to the above, I found out he was an intermittent alcoholic, who would drink excessively and have to be detoxed (3x) when he was feeling bad for himself for leading a dual life. So shouldn’t I be happy to have him out of my life? What’s wrong with me that I’m not?
I went through this as well and was abused in just about every sense of the term. Like many folks who are abused I think I stayed because I ‘loved him’ and was able to recall what I thought were the ‘good times.’ I didn’t even realize he was a narcissist until after I left (the last time he physically hurt me) – and after he’d begun to try to destroy me and my life during and after the divorce and domestic violence hearings. Had I know he was NPD I don’t think I would’ve called the police that day and would’ve just left. But as we all know hindsight is usually 20/20. I’ve tried to date a bit in the last year or so but find my trust level is pretty much zilch. I’ve done lots of counseling and healing work and thought I was better but seems like my boundaries are pretty much non-existent. Sheesh!
As I am going through a divorce after an almost 35 year marriage, I see myself completely in this post. He cheated repeatedly with the same woman. He says he is a compulsive liar (and that I finally believe). The abuse was so subtle that I felt terrible about myself and thought everything was my fault. He told me I was fat all the time. He told me I was a nag. I was just trying to communicate but he never wanted to talk. Even at the end, I couldn’t leave though I was bitterly unhappy. I thought we were supposed to be together forever. He had other ideas and left me for his girlfriend, who he had also left several times before to come back to me. The last years, I wanted more. I wanted a physical relationship and some connection. We were just room mates. We had dinner together. We went to the movies together. There was just zero connection. We went to marital therapy for years and he lied. I tried so hard but he had already disengaged. Now, after all, this he is trying to get whatever he can from me in the divorce instead of walking away and doing the right thing even though he says I am the best person he knows. In addition, HE went no contact- treating me like I am entirely invisible and irrelevant. We have a son together- what message does this send him? He can’t even act like an adult in parting. I should have left years ago. But I never would have. So in addition to being alone, I was dumped. When he told me he didn’t love me (despite the roses and the love note), I should have believed him. When he told me he was a bad person and I should stay away, I should have believed him. Now he gets to run off to ‘paradise’ (his description) with the love of his life and I am left here to pick up the pieces. I go to CODA and I am hoping I will learn to demand better so I don’t repeat this with someone else.
Your posts are extremely helpful. I was in a fifteen year relationship with a narcissist and even stayed in the relationship after he inappropriately hit on my 34 year old daughter when I was out of town with my grand children. When I’d finally had enough, I simply told him that I no longer wanted him in my life. He had been de-valuing me for some time and it wasn’t until later that I understood narcissistic supply and that I was no longer a source. In less that two years he was married while his only response to me when I brought up the subject was to give me a paper cigar ring and state “don’t ever say I never gave you a ring.” I’m still recovering after two years. To make matter worse, I learned of his marriage from one of his former girlfriends only a week after I lost my mother. I resented him so for interfering with my grieving process for my mother and felt like I’d been robbed all over again. I hope I can forget all this some day but I still find it hard to trust and move on.
I would put compulsive lying and lack of trust on top of the list. Without trust, without honesty, you have NOTHING, not even friendship, let alone a intimate relationship. Trust, respect and honesty is at the core of every healthy human relationship. take those elements away, and what have you got? You’re thrown off balance, you feel confused, lost, in 2 words, you’re getting f$&@. By a man you trusted and believed in. That’s what lying does. It destroys EVERYTHING.
I always find your blogs interesting and enlightening. Thank you for another insightful read.
I too was in a totally lopsided relationship with a narcissist when he discarded me one week after asking me to marry him. It was such a total shock — I really didn’t see it coming (although my friends did and were relieved). Despite how awful the relationship was, I could never have been the one to end it. I too ask myself constantly why I didn’t just walk away. I was miserable, yet I couldn’t break it off. Thankfully he did, and I”m trying to use the knowledge I gained as a result of that painful experience (15 months ago now) to learn about myself and grow. I’m much better about enforcing my boundaries, but like Free, I seem to attract men who want to suffocate & control me. At least I have the sense to end it before it gets too serious. But I wonder what is it about me that attracts these types? I am a strong, independent, intelligent woman. I guess they see my co-dependent characteristics and that draws them to me?
I am going through the same thing. I am not far out from my relationship but I have tried dating some of the other times when he would leave for months at a time and I felt the same way. Annoyed and repulsed. I’ve wonder the same thing “What is wrong with me?” My mind knows that man is going to be the death of me..I know it..I do. But damn this heart of mine. I find writing things down helps. I journal alot and then go back and reread it when my mood is better to see what I need to work on. Sometimes it really helps.
I plan to print this out and leave it on the kitchen counter along with the separation agreement when I get the opportunity to leave permanently. This article says it all. No he won’t get it but it will give me a voice.
I know this may be off topic, but what about when your own mother is a Narcissist? Your writings have helped me a lot because I was also raised without knowing what boundaries, rules & limitations were so I grew up very shy & not assertive. Anywho, I’ve grown out from my timid self… However, how come my mother has a six sense of when something very important in my life is about to happen (i.e. job interview, dance recital or big event) but she tries to ruin me without telling her of it? What I mean by ruining me is, she’ll try to pick a fight with me, she’ll degrade & disrespect me to the point of harassment… in other words, she’ll do her best to rain on my parade. But, how is it she knows of my special day without ever saying anything to her or my family?
So true, isn’t it, that the narcissists are so similar. No wonder they’ve made a classification for them “narcissistic PD”. And, yes, it is certainly those of us who are weak in some way who are attracted to help them or stay with them because of loyalty. Thankfully, we have learned and have gotten away. We appreciate the help, experience, and support of others to maintain our strength and to continue on our path to healthy relationships. And for our all loyalty, they do not need us. They will simply find another supply and continue happily on their way. If supply is low, they will try to get ours back, and that is where we need most to stay strong. Face our life elsewhere, continue on, upward, without the narcissist, but with friends like here to encourage us. Yes, there are better choices to make.
Being totally Co-dependent setting boundaries is something I have always found difficult. In fact, up until recently I didn’t really know what boundaries were. I just wanted people to like me at all costs. Just like Savannah has detailed in this blog, I stayed in abusive relationships, usually emotionally abusive, apart from one 5 year relationship where I got my fair share of black eyes and fat lips. I stayed because I didn’t think I deserved better. Interestingly enough though, I have just broken it off with a nice man because he was too ‘full-on’ wanting to see me all the time and kiss and cuddle me all the time (early stages of relationship). I found this really uncomfortable but I didn’t want to tell him to cool down as I didn’t want to ‘hurt his feelings’. I went a long with it until it got to the point where I was totally overwhelmed and repulsed by him. What the hell is wrong with me, it still makes me cringe to think about it! I sometimes think I am an emotional retard and I missed out on the ‘user guide’ for life. I guess setting boundaries is a way of showing self love and learning about who I am – what I want and what I don’t want.
Also thanks for your kind words last week @NarcRepellent I tried to reply but the site wouldn’t let me.
@Free. Hello Free. From what you’ve said about your nice man, it seems to me that you’re probably learning to trust your ‘red flags’ more. Someone who constantly wants to be with and want to kiss and cuddle all the time doesn’t sound very balanced. Very often narcs can be over the top very quickly in order to make the supply feel a sense of intimacy that isn’t there. Healthy humans like to take things slowly and not rush into things, not only for themselves but they don’t wish to rush the other person into anything too soon either. My last relationship with a narc was a very rapid one in which he put me on a pedestal and made me feel that I knew and could trust him. It only lasted a few months but left me with a mental breakdown.
So please don’t think that there’s anything wrong with you. You are recovering, and things might still feel confusing for a while as you make sense about it all, but learning to trust yourself and, as you so rightly said, having the self love to find out who you are and what you want, is the very best thing you can do. 🙂