Keeping up [Narcissistic] Appearances

Oil on canvas
Oil on canvas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t written about narcissism for quite a while now. Yesterday, however, it was brought to my attention again in a most direct way.

M was organizing the garage and came across two packages that I’d left on a shelf out there after the divorce. I had forgotten about them. M brought them in so that I could decide what to do with them. Both of them were from the ex-narcissist and I had put them in the garage because I didn’t want them in the house. I felt that I needed to hang on to them for a while in case there was more legal stuff from him, but I also felt that if I had them in the house, they might somehow contaminate the air.

Sound odd? I have to say that I don’t completely understand it myself. At the time, I still had furniture belonging to him in the house. But somehow, these parcels needed to be outside.

Perhaps it was because they were attempts to engage me, to ensnare me, to get me back.

One contained a book, a biography, and I’m fond of reading those, as Harry, the ex-narcissist, is aware. Inside the front cover was a letter. Yesterday I read it again and had it really brought home once more why he is such a dangerous person.

It was highly manipulative. It began by saying that he had read the book and thought I would like to, as well. He went on to claim that he was in therapy. Then it segued into a highly angry and very factually inaccurate lecture about what I had done to him: how I had abandoned him, betrayed him, and mislead him. That on our last evening together I had berated him and thrown a tantrum. That I had driven him to despair and suicide. That I had colluded with my counsellor to  bring him to his knees.

Want to know what really happened?

Here is how it went: while we were in a restaurant in another city, he started berating me for eating too much – this happened a lot –  and also started loudly commenting on the eating habits and sizes (they were completely normal) of the family seated across from us – also something that was happening more frequently.

When we left the restaurant and returned to the vehicle, he continued to harangue me about my weight until we stopped for gas. I went inside to pay – of course it was me paying – and when I came back out, he started shouting and  swearing at me about how I had slammed the vehicle door and that no one had ever done that to him before. I went around to the other side of the vehicle, picked up my suitcase and started walking away. At that point, a police officer who had witnessed Harry’s tirade stopped and asked me about what I was going to do and if I needed assistance. He left his number with me.

I found a hotel for the night and flew home the next day. The day after that, I informed Harry that I was divorcing him. This incident was the catalyst, the final straw, so to speak. That minuscule amount that just does you in. He had shouted at me for the last time.

Grounds for Divorce (song)
Grounds for Divorce (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, back to the letter. After the lecture he went on about how we had had some good times together before Christmas. Reality: he came by in November to pick up some of his furniture; a good friend of mine did most of the interacting with him and another accompanied me when I went with him to his storage locker a couple of days later to pick up some things that he had “accidentally” taken from the house. I was never alone with him and never gave him one iota of encouragement, but according to him, we had had “good times” and I was sending positive signals for a reconciliation.

He then ended the letter by saying that he still loved me and wanted to get back together.

Its construction was interesting: get me to buy in by beginning with a subject of interest – biographies. The book was intended as a present. How can a present be bad? He followed this up by stating that he was in therapy. Great, right? Wrong. This was the thin edge of the wedge; he tried to take me off my guard and soften me up before going in for the kill.

Genetic Manipulation
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He then attempted to elicit a response from me by writing a series of exaggerations and falsehoods couched in the emotional language of the pseudo- victim. He was betting that I would respond on several levels – that I would feel called to defend myself about his inaccuracies and falsehoods, that I would feel sorry for him, that I would feel guilty, that I would consider taking him back. His intent was to engage me in some sort of discourse and then make use of further manipulation – twist my thinking so that I could no longer tell the difference between reality and his fictional accounts.

The other parcel contained ceramics that do not belong to me; again, they were designed as an entry to further contact.

I have destroyed the letter. I am giving away the book and the ceramics.

If nothing else, this shows how careful one has to be when eliminating a narcissist from one’s life. It’s extremely important not to respond to their manipulative attempts at communication, even if it appears to be completely harmless. Tough to do, but completely necessary.

If you have been in a “relationship” with a narcissist, it is paramount that you cut the contact as soon as possible.

Appearances can be deceiving, and Harry is very, very good at keeping his up.  After all, that’s how I got involved with him in the first place.

14 thoughts on “Keeping up [Narcissistic] Appearances”

    1. He was just doing what narcissists do – zeroing in on a weak point and exploiting it. His new woman probably is secure about her weight and he can’t use that as a way of manipulating her. I’m sure there’s some other weakness, though, that he is already using or planning to use. I was always self-conscious about my weight, as many of us are, and that was one of his control points.

      Glad to know that you are no longer involved with him! 🙂

      1. Thank you. It is interesting, now that I am no longer with him, my weight has been dropping and I am in much better shape — better shape now than I was 10 years ago! Funny how that happens after on escapes the negative atmosphere of a Narc.


  1. Must have felt good to destroy the letter. Getting rid of the book and ceramics will hopefully feel like a final cleansing. I think I might be tempted to smash the ceramics to bits!

    1. It was good to destroy it, and especially knowing that I wouldn’t need it as evidence in case there was more legal stuff – his time to object or make fusses has long since been up. I don’t feel angry about what he did and tried to do any more, just happy to be out of it. My only concern – and there’s nothing I can do about it – is that he’s currently trying to control and manipulate someone else. Unfortunately, he more than likely is as he has a long history of this.

  2. I am so pleased that you are well and truly out of the claws of that monster. Not only a narcissist but a pig as well! I say take a hammer to the ceramics and anything that he had dealt with and smash them- that will cleanse you also. Glad you and M are now happy and Mr up himself is out of your life xx

    1. I am so glad, too! M is a wonderful man – I can’t believe how fortunate I was to find him. You and Jenny both agree that I should destroy the ceramics but I’m really not angry any more, just so glad to be away from him. I really hope that no one else gets ensnared by him because as you say, he is a total pig (actually, that might be an insult to pigs! 🙂 ).

  3. I can’t believe how idiotic he was. You deserve so much better- and obviously, got it. I am sure he is still stewing in his chaos. Funny how with time and distance we can see the manipulation with such clarity. Good for you!

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