My malignant narcissist ex bullied our son without mercy through most of his childhood. I wrote about that in this article and a few others, so I won’t rehash it again here.
My son is 23 now and lives in Florida. He moved there, in part, to escape from his father and our dysfunctional, sick relationship. He always hated our almost constant fights. He lived in Illinois before he moved to Florida. He hasn’t lived in North Carolina since 2010, when he was still 18. I only see him once a year, if that. I try not to let the huge distance between us bother me, because he is doing so well, has many wonderful friends, and is involved in so many activities that make him happy.
Financially, my son is doing better than I am because of his drive and ambition and he’s doing light years better than his helpless narcissistic bum of a father, who still lives at the Salvation Army, even though he gets disability now and could get a small apartment if he got himself put on the list for available apartments. Once I asked him why he didn’t do this, and he actually said he would rather live in a shelter than in the projects. He said he thought he was too good to live in the projects. As if the Salvation Army is any better! I think the real reason he refuses to do what he needs to do to get an apartment is because he’d rather be homeless so everyone can feel sorry for him. Other people’s pity gives him an excuse to act entitled and needy. He takes a perverse pride in acting as pitiful and helpless as it’s possible to be.
None of his immediate family feels sorry for him anymore. Not even his daughter, who was his only defender for a long time. He has lost her too.
My ex has a weird attitude about children. He says he hates kids, which isn’t such a terrible thing (lots of people don’t like kids–I’m not even overly fond of them) but I remember him getting annoyed when I put up the kids’ baby photos and photos of them as children around the house. It angered him. He also got upset when I would talk about something the kids did when they were younger. He accused me of being too sentimental and living in the past. I thought his reaction was strange. I just thought wanting to put family photos up around the house was the normal sort of thing any mother would do. He always hated any displays of sentimentality or nostalgia. The only thing he told me when I questioned him about his strange attitude was that he hated thinking about the past because of his own painful childhood.
I have noticed many narcissists have a bizarre aversion to sentimentality. My mother is the same way. She hated displaying family photos around the house (except in bedrooms) because she considered family photos in public areas tacky. She actually said she threw away most of the family photos, when I recently asked her if I could have some. She might be lying or she might have actually thrown hem away. I would not put something like that past my cold fish of a mother.
When I was living with my ex, I remember his strange Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude about his estranged son. Most of the time he acted like he didn’t care about him. He never seemed interested in his activities, watching his Youtube videos (which are very good), and would change the subject if I talked about how well he was doing in college or in his job. It seemed as if he was envious of his son for being more successful than him, instead of proud of him. He really just never wanted to talk about him at all, except to make inappropriate and sometime lewd jokes about him being gay (he always insisted it didn’t bother him Ethan was gay).
He never seems to really miss him, and almost never calls him. Once Ethan left the state, to my ex it was almost as if he never existed. If Ethan had died, I doubt Michael would have cared much. He cried more when our dog Daisy died than I think he would if something had happened to one of our children, especially our son.
One time when they did speak on the phone, Ethan said something Michael didn’t like–he disagreed with him about something political (Michael spent most of his time ranting on political websites against anyone who disagreed with his views and trolling conservative websites). For months after that, Michael refused to talk to him at all. Ethan tried to call him a few times, but was always hung up on rudely. When I asked Michael why he did this, he just said his son was an “asshole who doesn’t deserve the time of day because he doesn’t agree with me.” True story.
But occasionally Michael could get all maudlin and weepy. Many narcissists do that. It’s weird. Usually it’s when they’re drunk. In Michael’s case, it happened when he was stoned (his main goal in life seems to be procuring weed). These tearful, sentimental moods came randomly, for no reason.
One day I came home to find the news channel he always watched off (for a change). I found Michael standing in front of the bathroom mirror, sobbing in an exaggerated way like the baby he is. Crying uncontrollably to the point he was actually choking and gagging. I asked him why he was crying. He told me he needed a hug. I complied but felt repelled and held my body stiff. I did not feel empathy or much concern, mostly just disgust and annoyance. At this point I hated him so much after years of his abuse and constant gaslighting that touching him, especially touching him when he was this vulnerable, with snot and tears all over his prematurely aged face, made me feel a little sick to my stomach.
He never told me what was bothering him. He probably didn’t even know. He went into a diatribe about how he wanted to buy Ethan the best camera he could find and it made him feel terrible that he was unemployable and so poor he couldn’t buy him even a cheap camera. I reminded him that Ethan already owned several cameras that he either bought or his grandfather had bought him. Michael continued mopping at his eyes and interrupted me, talking about the brands of cameras he would buy Ethan if he could.
I don’t think that’s what was bothering him. But he did get maudlin like that occasionally and it was always strange and disturbing and just happened out of left field most of the time.
I’ve noticed that about narcs. Most of the time they look down their noses at normal displays of sentimentality or the normal expressions and feelings of love parents have for their children or other family members, but when under the influence of alcohol or drugs they get maudlin and weepy to a disgusting level over inconsequential things that really don’t matter. I always felt myself recoiling at these over the top and inappropriate displays of emotion.
Michael wasn’t actually an emotional person at all but used emotional displays to get attention and pity, or to hoover me after he’d been abusive. When we were first dating and “in love,” he would frequently become all teary eyed when he told me how much he loved and needed me. He cried when he asked me to marry him. He cried when we were having sex. At the time I was incredibly moved and overwhelmed by feelings of love when he did this. I thought it meant he was a big sensitive softie with a huge heart. I loved his “vulnerability.” God, I was so naive. I read somewhere that some narcissist men act like this when
wooing a woman trapping their prey.
Why are narcs so creepy?