After being dragged through the wringer of an NPD abuse relationship, it is very difficult early on to have a perspective other than total shock, despite the fact that you floated around in the abyss for a long time unhappy. Many will look at you and roll their eyes wondering how you could have been so blind. Allegedly they will claim to have seen EVERYTHING all along – and in such emotional turmoil, most of us don’t have the wherewithal to ask: “Well why the hell didn’t you school me?” I love those kind of friends who can watch you careen full speed into the Mack Truck and can only offer what they saw in hindsight. These are the same friends who will show you their ass in your time of need. It’s just another ‘symptom’ of this plague…you will get past it – dump them too.
I went through a very difficult time recovering from this ordeal, I never thought in a million years one asshole, a stupid one at that could wreak so much havoc…he seemed so…harmless? I laugh cynically when I think such a thought, and yet, this chump ain’t “The Devil” and frankly, is a simple read once you know what you need to know. Our challenge or our handicap was we didn’t know then what we know now.
I see many clinging to the illusion that this will take a lifetime to recover from…I can only speak of my experience but I will go out on a limb and say I don’t think I am alone. Many of us come from dysfunction stemming from our childhoods, some with more baggage than others, but the bottom line, if there is residue there, it will carry over. If no one taught you self-care, and that it is healthy and normal to put yourself first, that you have to really love yourself before you love anyone else, if no one taught you that you are worthy of love, if all you got was the message that it was your job to serve others, then you’re gonna walk around out there at a disadvantage. Going through this experience if we are wise, teaches us that boundaries are not Ta bu, and that at the end of the day we can’t rely on externals to make us happy. For the most part, I still hold that I was pretty ‘together’ when I met this disordered character; however, there was something about the ‘dynamics’ his ‘victimhood’ that somehow called out to me…and it is a combination of things…by nature I have always been a nurturer and I was taught certain morals, stand up for the underdog…I was raised by a very strong-willed opinionated woman, and so without wanting to, I somehow morphed into this being who as a result of life experiences learned how to stand on my own, take care of myself and others and saw my own vulnerability as a sign of weakness. Other chauvinistic screwed up males in my past helped cement this notion as well as what appears to be a carefully crafted and disguised misogynist media, that relentlessly hammers the message that we as WOMEN must constantly concern ourselves with what makes men happy…all they have to do is lay back and once in a blue bring home a tube of KY FOR HER.
The current ‘supply’ in the Narcs life reached out to me in response to an email months before and had some questions which I did not hesitate to answer. This was not in an attempt to do anything other than let her know the deal, although I did not really care either way what she elected to do with the information. For a time, I was afraid of the Narc, but that was due to trauma. In hindsight, I don’t fear him, because I believe I’ve done enough to keep him at bay. I know how his mind works, I know the PD, and I know that with what I’ve done, it’s enough for him not to ever want to see me again. I did things unconsciously I believe in a survival/protection mode that brought this about, and so I don’t view this as a ‘rejection’ by him, but rather my drawing a line in the sand, one he knows better to respect if he wants his peace. In exchange, I make it my business not to concern myself with anything he does, he can get married or drop dead, either way, at this juncture I could be the one who downs a cheeseburger without wincing and that is a good thing when it comes to him. Equally, I don’t wish him harm, I am at indifference and it serves both of us well.
When I received the notification of contact from this woman, my heart raced, my hands shook, I could feel pulses in my ear pounding and I could not believe the effect and the physical impact the Narc had on me…I presume my body was under the same stress with him, just concealed but it explains the random panic attacks I’d have – it explained a lot of things. Here was a woman who in my estimation really did not do anything to me intentionally or directly but yet just the mere connection she had to him had me trembling…I bit the bullet anyway and responded. I don’t regret doing so, I think it was a compassionate thing to do. When she finds herself where I was, she might not have as difficult a time as I did recovering. I had to do the grunt work from scratch, I was at least able to give her a leg up…what she does with it is her choice, I had no need to control anything, still don’t…I don’t care…
NONETHELESS…(there is always a but…) this woman a victim in the making shared something with me…she shared that the Narc admitted to “Using” me…it didn’t hurt because cognitively I knew that is what he did…it’s what Narcissists do, they use everyone. I didn’t feel the need to bring that point home, as I feel this woman is a grown up and should be capable with all I shared to put two and two together. If she can’t then the only teacher will be experience, I had nothing to gain from it but had I pushed, it would have just cemented the notion and the picture I am sure he painted for her that I am ‘scorned’ and ‘crazy’ and so there are some things you let people figure out for themselves. They’re either going to get it or they won’t…NO one crowned me the FAIRY NARC MOTHER…but I have to admit for a while I was a bit miffed at the arrogance of this twirp’s using my kindness as a crutch to get into the pants of another unsuspecting fool…a fool just like I was…and BRAGGING about manipulating and using someone. It kinda makes you wonder, but then again one must be conscious in order to ‘wonder’ and therein lies the problem. Some people are so desperate that it doesn’t matter what is blatantly in their face. One’s self-esteem can be so low, that yes, in a weird way there is a form of inverted narcissism at play which says: “Despite the track record, I am better, I can do this, I will be the one to master this!” Therein lies some of the problem. With NPD, you can’t fix a damn thing. Being sensible, had someone told me or shared with me what I shared with her, like flies on shit I would have been connecting dots…I’ve always had a survival chip in me despite whatever I’m going through which is why I believe I never fell prey again to his B.S., as when the hornet’s nest came undone, I scrambled with a madness to understand DESPITE the cognitive dissonance. That doesn’t mean I am better than any victim, I know how hard this is, but it is who I am, and so I am sharing…which brings me to addressing the “I’ll never….” promises we make in the aftermath of this experience, and something that needs a little perspective.
We are human, and a basic human need is love and companionship. While we may have ended up with someone who took advantage of us and exploited our kindness for weakness because they suffer from an incurable asshole disorder…that does not mean that it is in our best interests to shut ourselves off from the rest of the world. Perhaps this experience was brought to our doorsteps because there was a breakthrough we had to experience in order to be that person who could have a healthy relationship. Perhaps there were parts of us that were broken or in need of fine tuning and this was the only way that could be brought into our awareness…if we were in a better place ourselves, I think when these creatures appeared, the ‘healthy’ in us, or the enlightened in us would have said: “RUN!” Which explains the ones who didn’t bite…it’s all an ‘education.’
I think back to how this individual presented…this individual in hindsight did one hell of a number on his ex-wife, engaged in a scenario of triangulation – in fact, I never even thought I’d end up with this person, early on my subconscious was telling me he was spineless. Because I did not know about NPD, I could not see clearly what was happening, and because of the perception that this individual was ‘helpless’ playing the victim card, I bit. THAT IS NOT A CRIME! It was an error in judgement because I had no prior experience or past reference to note this was a red flag. This individual was good at playing the victim, he was charming, he was…helpless and I felt strong enough to offer help and support. That is not a bad thing at all, it is what we as individuals who are capable of love do for one another with or without a ‘romantic’ intimate connection if we are able to love and attach.
To hear the words: “He used you” from this woman, I could not help but wonder…”Is this woman trying to one up me, as if she has the ‘prize?” I could not understand the MO there either as I made it clear she could have him gift wrapped! In fact, I went out of my way to make threats to scare him enough that he’d never think of hoovering again, so I wasn’t sure why she felt the need to offer that as I was thinking…”Dearheart, if he could admit this to you and you see the evidence in front of you, what makes you think that you really are that special in light of the facts of the illness and the history that somehow YOU have been crowned capable?” Knowing what we know about this illness, if I were a sick puppy it would take NOTHING to have him back because all they thrive for is attention. The element of time, would have made me at his ‘primitive’ level, ‘fresh meat’ all over again because it’s about his EGO. All I’d have to do is throw him a bone and he’d be eating out of my hand again…this I knew also – but it would not be in my best interests. The reality: He never WAS good enough for me so why bother? I let her play at jockeying for the illusion of position, I even let her brag about her accomplishments, I withheld slamming her with mine because some arguments are really just moot points, I’m secure within myself, I had no need to devour her whole although I too know how to chomp down when I feel the need to – I choose not to. I reasoned: “Perhaps the universe was working on her behalf in terms of her journey…” Lord knows to this day he hardly has any clue who I am and what I was about and that is because he was too busy being self absorbed. I’d note how he’d brag about his ex wife’s accomplishments, and while honorable that she held a job, I really did not see what was so spectacular about it, but see – that too was an indication at how “Simple” he was. Being good natured and secure, I did not feel the compulsion to whip out my Curriculum Vitae in a round of “Let me prove myself…” At times it is a fine line determining when one’s good will is an act of good will vs. control…so I let it go until today. Now is when I have it in my body mind and spirit to share without wanting to clobber the Disordered one over the head. When I think about the times we were intimate, I still feel as if I were raped…it was a sham and he is a fraud…
Does this mean I am destroyed? Not at all. See, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world, and people, I’ve learned that yes, evil can and does exist right here on earth, we don’t have to die and go to hell to experience it…but I’ve also learned how to detect it, and I am aware of a lot of things in people, I could not see before. Prior to this experience I was blind, but now I can see. I can see so clearly, and I can protect myself in a way that I never knew how to before. I can sense when someone is delivering a line of shit, and when someone is sincere and truly suffering and has the volition to help themselves, they just need a helping hand. There is a distinction between someone who needs to devour a soul to survive…and someone truly in need.
That being said, what these disordered people do to others once out of your realm, how they do it is of no consequence to your growth and development. It takes time to heal, but healing does not come picking at your scab on a daily basis watching it bleed, and talking about every vile thing they did. There is a time for that but it is not the whole recovery process. They did what they did, it’s messed up, but the longer that you stay stuck on it, the longer they win, and the longer you are hurting yourself. Blogging helped me tremendously with getting it out, anytime I got angry I got it out – but not in a manner to slander, or ‘out’ the offender, it was more about ME and what I was going through and what I was processing. Those ramblings are in another blog: Random Musings of a Former Muse, because this blog covers another leg of the journey.
Your feelings are natural and normal under the circumstances but it is important to maintain perspective. This person was not bound to your soul at the moment of birth. You are doing yourself a disservice when you cling. Sure, this was a violation bar none, a violation that I believe qualifies as emotional rape. Please do not get a Narcissist confused with a psychopath…I am speaking distinctly about a Narcissist here and so if you were with someone higher up on the Axis II Cluster B totem pole, I might not seem to have any grasp of your experience, I can only speak for my own; however, if you have been entangled with a pure breed Narc, your best course of action is to understand and realize, they targeted you because you had something so wonderful, vibrant, strong and capable, they needed a piece of you. Being strong and compassionate you took the bait because under false pretenses they demonstrated to be something they weren’t. Unless crystal balls are real and you had one, there would be no way for you to know what you were getting sucked into.
Go easy on yourself and don’t deny yourself the gift of happiness. Instead, pat yourself on the back – what you were was a good person, a loving person and a compassionate, empathetic person, who got caught up in the web of a miserable, empty, incurable person who may or may not even have the insight to know what they do – and no, you don’t have to have sympathy for them, you can have indifference. What you can’t do is stop living and believe the whole world is Narcissistic…what you can’t do is give up faith and hope, what you can’t do is close your heart because in doing that, every day slowly you will die a little death.
Take the time to get to know you again, find some shred of happiness in the simple things, work your way up slowly. Look OUTside of yourself. For all of your challenges, there are others out there, going through so much more toil and trouble…we have to humble ourselves sometimes and realize that we are not the center of the universe either…
And when it comes to the “Other Woman” pray for them, for they know not the web of shit they are caught up in…
All the best,