Tag Archives: Narcissism – One Woman’s True Story of Marriage to a Narcissist

Mourning the Loss of a Narcissist

There are many types of losses, most of which are natural and normal, even if they hurt like hell. Most of us will experience the loss of parents and grandparents, the loss of a relationship or two, the loss of a friendship. Some losses are much worse than others; the loss of a child, for instance.

Even under the best of circumstances, loss carries a huge emotional load, but when you’re dealing with the loss of a narcissist, there are whole other dimensions to consider.

It’s not just the actual physical loss: the loss of the person, the loss of that relationship, the loss of that duo-dom.

It’s the loss of much of yourself.

You’re stuck in mud, your feet becoming larger and larger as the mud adheres to your shoes and tries to hold you tightly.

You’re not just hurting from the loss of the relationship, you’re hurting from the loss of yourself: your self-confidence, your judgement, your logic.

Breakups are painful, but when the breakup involves a narcissist, there is so much more to navigate. Narcissists are litigious and aggressive, so a good lawyer (read expensive) might be required. In my case, the ex-N became threatening and I had to go to the police. I had to change my door locks, install an alarm system and hire a security company.

In the meantime, he was hammering away with every type of hoover he could think of.

At the time I didn’t know that that behaviour had a name and I didn’t know about no contact. I just wanted to get his stuff out of my house.

The simple fact is that you might not even realise until much later what you have been involved with, and until that becomes clear, the mud will stick to your shoes in a big way.

When I got my ex-N out of my life, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about narcissism, but I knew that he had to go and I had to get help.

I was fortunate on several levels: there were no children, I had financial stability (my ex-N put a huge dent in that but I was essentially okay), and I had a good supplementary heath plan and could afford counselling.

The counselling portion of my quest to reclaim my life was very important because I wasn’t just mourning the loss of a relationship; I had to come to terms with the underlying reasons for my involvement with the narcissist.

That was hard – very hard. It required me to look at myself in ways that were uncomfortable and difficult.

I had to get to know myself better. And getting to know myself was paramount because it is my best defense against further involvement with another N.

In the meantime, my sense of self, my judgement and confidence were all on life support and I had no trust in them at all.

I had to rebuild, and the structure that came out is nothing that I expected. I like it though. It’s a good structure, even if it’s not pretty.

Most of all, I had to let myself grieve: I had to recognise the guilt and stupidity I felt about myself, forgive myself for that part of my humanity, and allow myself some relief from the self-criticism.

With help, I let myself off the hook and began to learn what I need to learn from this experience.

What are your thoughts about mourning?

What to Say to a Narcissist to Get Him Back

When I take a look though my search terms, I am sometimes surprised at what I find there. “Narcissist piano” showed up there, three times. I did a post about it. Another time, I did a post on a very serious search term: how to get a narcissist to love you. You can read that post here.

Now I’ve found this lovely search term: what to say to a narcissist to get him back. I suppose that on the surface, it’s not so different from “trying to get a narcissist to love you,” but maybe the searcher is thinking of other things, like trying to get the narcissist back to force him into his share of the child-raising, or something else like that. But I wouldn’t bet money on it.

Maybe the searcher wants the narcissist back so that she can treat him as badly as he treated her: revenge! Hummm. That is a possibility. We human beings can get pretty angry at the injustices done us and sometimes it helps to fantasise about getting our own back. So yes, I can envision someone typing this into her google search, visions of vengeful scenarios dancing in her head.

But given the whole narcissist trainwreck that gets dumped all over the victim’s lawn, there’s probably always some fantasising about revenge, but on balance anyone who has escaped a narcissist probably doesn’t want him back. I mean, there might be those who fantasise that the narcissist has been cured, has mended his ways, has learned his lesson, yadayadayada. But no one dreams about getting the actual narcissist back, with his narcissy ways intact.

Unless …

This person is in denial.

She’s heard others say that he’s a narcissist. She’s looked it up and seen some descriptors of narcissistic behaviour that apply greatly to this person. Maybe he’s told her that he’s a narcissist.

So, the word “narcissist” is out there, but she’s not taking it as seriously as she should. She’s dissociating from it?

Denial is an amazing thing.

Denial can cloud a clear vision.

Sometimes, denial can be a good thing. It can help us to make the adjustment after a traumatic or distressing event; it can give us time to take in what has happened. In the short term, it can protect us.

The problems start when the denial goes on for too long, especially in the face of mounting opposite evidence.

We can get that way about our relationships, and can find ourselves hanging on by the threadiest of marginal hopes that what we are seeing isn’t what we are seeing.

Or choosing to not see at all …

… and even inventing another “reality.”

What to say to a narcissist to get him back? How to get a narcissist to love you? How to get a narcissist to chase meI wonder about the people who type in these questions. Sometimes, I worry about them a bit too.

Do they just not know what a narcissist is? A real, live, NPD narcissist?

Have they convinced themselves that they can “cure” the narcissist with their love? That all the narcissist needs is a chance to see that trust is possible? That love is possible?

Is the narcissist simply a challenge? (And if so, this brings with it a whole other dynamic – is the person who’s trying to win the narcissist back also a narcissist?)

Or, is this simply human nature? A very human need to show that problems, no matter what they are, can be solved? That there really is love in a world that so often demonstrates the opposite? That there are second chances and that they do work?

In other words, that there’s hope. And perhaps, that’s the most human of human characteristics. And also perhaps, it’s incredibly misplaced sometimes.

What do you think? Is hope sometimes misplaced? How do we know when to have hope and when to not have hope? Is denial hope or hope denial?

 

Emotional Labour and the Seasonal Narcissist, Part II

NPD narcissists consume a huge amount of emotional labour. And before you know it, you can be down on your knees, completely exhausted, while the narcissist continues to, at the very least, be extremely dissatisfied.

There is no filling them up. They are never full. They are never sated. They are never content.

They simply have periods of digestion. Slowing down, savouring, enjoying … that’s not something with which they’re comfortable.

And yet, they desire the relief that slowing down and savouring can bring. They want it desperately and will chase it far and wide, but don’t know when they have it and are even scared of attaining it.

If they slow down … they might have to really consider themselves. And why bother with doing that? Because there you are, ready and willing to help them avoid their inadequacies and polish their fantasies.

Your love, your work, your labour will save them. At least for now. Until you do something human that screws up their picture of you and they start convincing you that there’s serious stuff wrong with you.

Up until that point, you’ve been pouring your emotional energy into them to shore them up, to give them a sense of self-confidence, to make them happy, to take away their pain, to provide them with everything they think they have been missing. And you’re beginning to feel depleted and exhausted.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Because when you start to think that they’re right, that there’s stuff wrong with you and that that’s why they’re detaching, you will bear down even more.

You will expend labour on improving yourself, fixing yourself, correcting yourself. You will forget about your efforts to help them. There’s a terrifying, growing list of stuff you have to attend to, right now, before they walk out the door forever and it will be all your fault. Your emotions are twangling like a poorly strung violin.

All that work. All that labour. And this is what you get?

img_20161019_144940

How did this happen?

Well,  it happened because that’s how a true NPD narcissist is. The second they acquire whatever they have been chasing, they lose interest. And make no mistake, you are a “whatever.” After the chase has been won, you simply become a source of supply. Supplying what? A supply of whatever the narcissist saw as being desirable to take from you.

It could be money. Or status. Or connections. Or a place to live. Or warm fuzzies. Maybe it was all of those. It could be that you provided yourself as a person to control. Or as a person to feel superior to. Or maybe you’re a challenge to be dismantled, in which case you supply him with proof that no one is better than he is. Whatever the combination of holes you were filling for the narcissist … that’s what you were doing. Filling holes.

And filling holes is time consuming, hard labour with little reward; few of us will want to shout, oh, look what I did! A hole to be proud of!

So. The seasonal narcissist. A narcissist behaves according to three operational seasons: idealising, devaluing and discarding.

Oh yes. Narcissists can take apart a seasonal holiday, too. I’ve written about that before, and you can read my scribblings here and here. But to the narcissist, you are also seasonal, and you have a beginning, middle and end.

Is there anything seasonal about the narcissist from a conventional point of view? Yes, there is.

Think Hallowe’en. Think hobgoblin.

Personally, I tend to think dentist, as in that stuff you find in the spit cup they give you. I certainly don’t think Valentine’s Day. If there’s a season out there for the narcissist to manipulate your emotional labour and “prove” to you that you’re anything but special, it’s Valentine’s. In fact, it’s one of their favourite discard days.

Have you had a seasonal experience with a narcissist?

What Makes Someone Chase a Narcissist?

Right now I’m working on Part III of “Where Does Narcissism Come From” but it’s not ready yet as I’m just now recovering from a nasty bout of flu. So, in the meantime, I’m recycling. Here’s an old post that continues to generate a lot of interest. Have a good weekend. 🙂

In the Net! - Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival

This post has been prompted by ruleofstupid, who produces one of the best blogs at WordPress, in my humble opinion. If you haven’t dropped by for a visit, you really should. His social commentary, poetry and music are by turns thought-provoking, funny, witty and sad, but never ever boring. I’m really surprised that he hasn’t been Freshly Pressed yet. If you think that’s a message to the powers that be for them to do so, then you’re right. Get going, WordPress!

In any event, RoS commented on my last post that he wanted to read about the other side of this narcissist issue. What makes a perfectly sensible someone chase a narcissist instead of telling them to f**k off? Well, the first simple answer is that the people who are involved in narcissist-chasing don’t realize that that’s what they are doing. The second simple answer is that usually, narcissists are…

View original post 834 more words

Time for a Change

So I’m thinking of changing the title of my blog.

When I first started this project, all I wanted to do was throw my voice into the growing chorus of warning about narcissists and the damage they can do to the rest of us. And I intend to keep posting about that topic.

But I also find that more and more, I want to post about other things – as you’ve probably noticed.

It’s interesting how this blog has changed since I started it – it has almost taken on a life of its own, something that I think is a good sign of growth and moving on – a very suitable notion for spring.

And I have moved on. I no longer feel the intense urgency to write about narcissism that I did in the beginning. I have crossed a Rubicon of sorts – I’m no longer inside the box but outside, having a peek, grateful that I’m no longer trapped in there. In the light – a much better place to be.

In tandem with this is the fact that I have a wonderful relationship with M, that we’re making plans together, that despite the crap, one can have a perfectly ordinary, perfectly good life again.

Yes, I was married to a narcissist. And I lived through it, even though there were days when I seriously thought I was losing my mind. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I felt like I was in hell.

I’m still cleaning up the financial mess that he left me with and I will be doing that for a while, but M is also helping me.

There are times when I still wish that I had never laid eyes on him, but then I remember how much I have learned, and I would never want to give that up, in spite of how much it cost me.

But I’ve moved on and my blog title should, too.

Any suggestions? 🙂

Happy Easter – I Think.

Easter postcard circa early 20th century
Easter postcard circa early 20th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spring has just started and we of course will have Easter in a couple of days. For many people this is an important religious occasion but the idea of a spring celebration of some sort has been with us since ancient times.

Many places in Europe have a bonfire night at some point during the spring, the idea being that lots of light will chase away the darkness and usher in the longer days more quickly.

Down through the ages and across many cultures there has been an emphasis on rebirth and growth and rejuvenation and young, fluffy animals and, of course, on eggs  – those classic symbols of birth and new life.

It’s fun to get together with family or friends to have a few egg fights (with the hard boiled ones, not the raw ones!) to find out which egg will be the “champion.”

As a child I really enjoyed Easter. The whole Easter egg hunt bit was a lot of fun.

I grew up with roasted lamb and roasted salmon at Easter and we often finished off the last of the frozen or canned produce from my mother’s garden from the previous year.

Now, of course, we can get almost anything that we want at any time of year, day or night, as long as we are willing to pay the price. Strawberries from New Zealand during December. Quinoa from South America, a product my parents had never heard of. Wine from South Africa. “On demand” movies at three a.m.

There is, of course, the argument that we should be more cognizant of “eating locally” or should attempt to follow the “Hundred Mile Diet.” The global food industry is seriously contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and our desire for exotic products like quinoa is harming accessibility to the indigenous peoples for whom it is a basic foodstuff.

Despite these arguments, though, I have to say that I’m simply nostalgic for the times when we actually had “food seasons.” Of course, I ranted about a related topic in one of my Christmas posts which you can read here.

Easter eggs // Ostereier
Easter eggs // Ostereier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, I got rather annoyed when I saw the chocolate eggs gracing the store shelves back in January. They were literally competing with the chocolate valentines. I commented on this to one of the store employees who said that they had no choice but to put them out because they were shipped to them and couldn’t sit in storage. She told me that she had heard the same complaint from other customers, a response that may or may not have been true.

The fact is, there’s nothing special about it any more.  Many of us have access to so much plenty that we have no appreciation for where it comes from or for what it takes to land in our stores. We have everything we could possibly want and our expectations keep escalating. A few days ago I watched a teenager of about 14 deliberately damaging her iPhone. She then bragged to the people she was sitting with that it was okay because her parents would get her a new one.

Our desire for whatever we want, when we want it, is inflicting hardship on those with less means. It is causing environmental damage.

We’re fat. We’re complacent.

When I was a kid, I could tell what month it was from what was available in stores and even in my own back yard.

I think it’s Easter. But frankly, given what’s on the store shelves, it could be August. And that’s a little sad.

So, in this season of rebirth and growth, we might want to consider doing a little “growing” ourselves by keeping an eye on where items are coming from. To perhaps buy “locally” more often. To be a little less demanding and a little less entitled. To be a little more in control of our basic narcissism.

To be a little more considerate.

And that’s never a bad thing.

To Accept an Award or not to Accept …

Liebster Blog Award
Liebster Blog Award (Photo credit: ObscuredDreamer)

I’ve been nominated for the “Liebster Award.” Twice. I’ve also been nominated for the “Versatile Blogger” award. I would be lying if I didn’t say that this made me feel all warm and smiley. It certainly did. All three times. However, I would also be lying if I said that I would be comfortable in accepting them. So, I just wind up in a real conundrum. I want to acknowledge and thank the people who have nominated me, but I also don’t want to jump through the hoops of acceptance and put up the badges, either.

If I have it correctly, the “Liebster” works like this (the “Versatile Blogger” award is similar): if you’ve been nominated, you can nominate others who have less than 300 followers. They answer some questions about themselves and then they nominate others who have to answer new questions developed by the latest nominees. And on it goes. It reminds me a bit of a chain letter or chain e-mail.

I can see the advantages of participating. If you’re relatively new it spreads word of your blog around and may encourage people to take a look. This is tempting to me because my purpose is to get the word out, as widely as possible, about all those narcissists out there.

However, I wouldn’t be comfortable answering the questions and I definitely wouldn’t be comfortable displaying the badges. I don’t want to get too much into my personal life for obvious reasons. My ex-narcissist, like most narcissists, is volatile and vengeful. If he were able to verify the author of this blog, I’d be in trouble, even though I’ve also protected him. Not that he would get anywhere much, but he would probably try to sue me, something I could really do without. He’s about as litigious a person as you could ever come across – in fact I would say that if he’s anything to go by, it’s a characteristic of narcissism. For that reason, I’ve been careful to keep the identifying features to a minimum. I don’t want to say what I do for a living or where I graduated from high school or how many children I have.

There’s also the fact that I’m just not comfortable, generally, with sharing that sort of information or with displaying badges.  I would like to acknowledge, however, the people who have nominated me.

First of all, Project Southsea. He’s a good young writer with a wonderfully dry sense of humour who does manage to get himself into some interesting situations. I very much admire the fact that he’s willing to share these awkward experiences with the rest of us.

Secondly, there’s trophydaughter. She was very kind to nominate me and also offered to let me dump the rules! She’s dealing with a narcissistic mother and writes fluidly and candidly about the frustrations and difficulties of handling with that situation.

Thank you both. You honour me.

I also want to suggest an alternative to the blogging awards, however. Teeny Bikini, author of  The Jiggly Bits, passed this idea on to me, which is to nominate people for the WP Reader’s Choice Awards. You can nominate a favourite post – an excellent idea. And by the way, if you haven’t visited Teeny’s blog yet, you are really missing out. She’s funny and edgy and completely wonderful. Take a peek.

There are so many good writers, artists and poets on WP, and I really enjoy all the people on my reader, but here are some particular favourites, in no special order:

1. Narc Raiders – Betty does excellent commentary on narcissism.

2. the wind horse blog – Zen Doe’s writing is absolutely beautiful.

3. rarasaur – More beautiful writing, just for the pleasure of it.

4. One Old Sage Musings – thought-provoking and sage commentary.

5. Ned’s Blog – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snorted coffee while reading Ned’s column.

6. Kimberly Harding – Kimberly’s artwork is powerful and visceral and yet it also communicates delicacy and humility .

7. Rule of Stupid  – I’ve “nominated” RoS before. If you haven’t taken a look yet, please do! RoS also did a similar post; I have to credit him with the idea for this one.

8. Ramblings from a Mum – Ramblings is kind, warm, gentle and quite a storyteller! Do take a look!

9. Scott Williams – Scott provides sensible, wise commentary on the stuff that can really make us nuts.

10. Planet Jan – Among other things, Jan has written excellent, well-researched pieces on narcissism.

It’s very difficult to choose from the people I follow, but there you are. I hope you find one or two whom you can really enjoy!

How do you feel about awards?