I often wondered about it, especially in the early going, how I would feel when I got the news that my ex-Narcissist ended his relationship, with the woman he left me for. There was never any question of it happening, only of how and when. I knew him. I knew his patterns, how he thought and operated. Hell, I even started a blog on it.
I’d asked my friends, long ago, not to tell me anything about him and his life. I know, at this stage of the game, that there is nothing, that he is doing, that has any baring on me and my life. I honestly don’t want to know, better still, I don’t care. But the call came from a well-meaning friend, who couldn’t contain herself, until she spilled the beans.
“You’re not going to believe this. He left her. He not only moved out, he took a new job 2 hours away,” she said.
I felt an emotion I still can’t name. I think I was supposed to feel happy, relieved, vindicated, but as it sunk in, the two primary feelings that battled for control were – sadness and indifference.
I should have felt smug. After all, this woman, the one who whispered things into my fiancé’s ear, encouraged him to leave me and take up with her, was now the one in my shoes. She was already married, had two kids, was 5 years older and was…well, rather plain looking. I never thought for a minute that he would be interested in her.
Every day they talked at work. They lunched together and confided their secrets. Every day there was another derogatory story about me, another example of how I just didn’t measure up. She listened, she sympathized, she encouraged, complimented, stroked his ego and played the role as his savior.
His Narcissism thrived on the attention. His ego absorbed her reassurances, as she told him he deserved better, deserved to be happy. She gave him the courage he needed to toss me aside.
Before I knew what was going on, she, as head of his HR Department, sent a copy of his updated life insurance policy to our house, with her replacing me as the beneficiary, with the relationship section filled out as, “true love.” Two months after I left our house, she was pregnant.
It’s funny how we put much of the blame on the other woman, as if the male was some, poor, unsuspecting, victim to her siren call. Sure she played a big roll, but she wasn’t the one who betrayed me. She wasn’t the one who I trusted, who I was building a life with, who threw me away, like yesterday’s news. He was responsible for everything and now he was doing it again, but this time the stories were about her, about how she didn’t measure up.
This was her Karma. She finally got what was coming to her for the role she played in my pain and it should have made me happy, except it didn’t.
I felt….sad. Sad that she was now where I had once been, in a tremendous amount of pain, confused, shocked and blind-sided. Sad that an innocent little boy has the worst, most selfish, uncaring father in all of humanity. Sad that he gets to destroy the lives of others with very little in the way of consequences.
I was amazed at how indifferent I felt about him. It was a testament to the amount of work I have done and how much his kind repulse me now.
The truth is, these two people gave me the greatest gift. Their actions forced me on the road to healing. I wouldn’t trade a hundred lifetimes with him, for where and who I am now.
I’m a girl’s girl. I like women. I support women. I empower women. I love to see women succeed, women in power, women warriors. So I hope, that this other woman, who now has another woman of her own, is able to see his betrayal as I do.
Looking at his pattern, I would say that he used me to get him into the company I worked for. I wrote his resume, told him what would be asked in the interview, talked him up to the interviewers and prepared his answers and his clothes. He thrived in the interview, as most Narcissists do, using his charm and fake confidence to win them over. Once in, he transferred to a sister company, where he met her. She was a well-respected and well-liked department head. At this point, he had used me up for all he could get, so my time was up. With her help, he rose through the ranks there. His job required him to travel quite a bit and deal with other companies. His charm and good looks, impressed the other company and with the help of another young lady at the new company, he was offered a position there as the Chief Financial Administrator. A six-figure a year job for someone who, barley had a high-school diploma, and who built his entire career on the backs of the women he pretended to love.
I came across a study by Campbell and Campbell, 2009, that really solidified the pattern I observed in his behavior. It was a study on the Narcissist’s need for self-enhancement. The study talks about the system of Narcissistic Relationships as emerging (brand new relationships) and enduring (anytime past the honeymoon phase).
As no surprise, the authors found that Narcissists do extremely well in the emerging phase, but poorly in the enduring phase. Campbell says, “The overall dynamic is for the Narcissist to run the system until he or she hits a wall, where self-enhancement is not possible.”
A study by Campbell and Green, 2007, describes the relationship system as a hurricane, which feeds off of warm coastal waters. They will grow and grow until there is no more warm water, or they run onto land and the hurricane dissolves.
Narcissists don’t like to stay in the same place forever. Their show gets old and becomes tiresome and doesn’t generate the same level of attention they require from their admirers. They like a fresh audience, because they wear people out. As Campbell says, “You can’t stay in the honeymoon phase forever.” On top of that, Narcissists are very black and white thinkers. In Campbell and Campbell’s 2009 study, they illustrate that there is a greater benefit for a Narcissist to leave the enduring relationship and seek out a new emerging relationship. They prefer to throw the proverbial relationship baby out with the bathwater rather than to stay and work on it. Working on it, does not provide the same amount of supply juice, so for them it’s out with the old and in with the new.
I know that while explaining his behavior, this study will not take away her pain. It’s difficult to spend years of your life with someone and to give them a child, only to find out that you were a pawn in their chess game. If I were to give her advice right now I would say – to start with, just breathe, take some time and take care of you. Get your head on board first by educating yourself on what you were dealing with. Understand that this was only going to end one way and it was not your fault. Once you have a cognitive understanding, the emotional and psychological aspects of the trauma take a bit longer to sort through and heal. The journey isn’t for the faint of heart. Follow the lead of those who have gone before you. There’s a way through. Go at your own pace and at the other end, you too, will find the greatest gift he could have ever given you – yourself.
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at freedigitalphotos.net