The N vibes are strong with this one.

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A few weeks ago I did some work for my landlord, clearing out one of his properties where the tenants were being evicted so he could get it ready to sell. The landlord is craggily attractive, about my age. He told me he is divorcing his wife. He didn’t say why, and I didn’t ask. I felt embarrassed when he told me this. I really didn’t want to know why. At first I didn’t connect this news with his recruiting of me to help him clear out one of his properties.

I got paid well to help him clean up the place, which was a disaster. The first day I wore a Hazmat suit (due to meth dust and dog fleas). The second day I wore skinny jeans and a tank top. He complimented me on the dragonfly tattoo on the back of my right shoulder.

He didn’t touch me but I noticed the way he kept looking at me, like a dog looks at bowl of food. I didn’t have a problem, in fact I barely registered this. Otherwise, he was perfectly fine. He didn’t try to touch me or make suggestive remarks. We actually had a good time clearing out the place.

He took me out to lunch while the flea bombs were working, an expensive place with excellent Greek and Italian food.

I didn’t hear from him again until this morning. When I saw his name on my phone, I assumed it was about the rent, part of which is late again. But the text said he liked the outfit I wore the last time we worked together, and could I please text him a photo of me in it.
I did not reply to this text.

I know this guy’s a player and probably a narc too. I get strong narcvibes from him. Especially because he’s flirting with me before he’s even divorced. But I don’t want to get on his bad side, because I don’t want to lose my apartment! When your landlord begins to flirt with you, things can get pretty dicey.

I’ve had enough experience dealing with narcissists and am pretty well educated about them too. If he’s really just love bombing me because he sees me as good potential supply, I think I know how to disarm him without angering him: appeal to his ego, while at the same time making the rejection MY fault, putting no responsibility on him. Like a razor blade wrapped in a sugar cube. He’d barely register that it’s a rejection at all. I’d say something like, “I’m really flattered you liked my outfit that day, but I was in an abusive relationship for years and am not over it yet. I’m still just trying to work on myself, find out who I am. I do find you attractive (that would not be a lie, because he is) but right now, I couldn’t handle anything more than just friendship. I’ll be happy to be your friend, but that’s all I can be right now. Besides, you’re not divorced yet. Wait until that happens and then we can talk about this more.” I still have no problem doing work for him should he ask again.

I would not be leading him on or saying anything that would cause narcissistic injury (assuming he is a narcissist at all). It’s also leaving a window of opportunity open, on the off chance that in the future I find he’s not a narcissist at all and someone who might actually be good for me.

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Adventures of S.K. “The Loser”: cartoon diary of myself at age 22 (two of two)

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My expression here definitely reflected my attitude at the time about dating.

This second cartoon story (also drawn in 1981) describes the way I longed for a fulfilling romantic relationship, but at the same time was quite ambivalent about the prospect, not having had good role models with my own parents’ marriage, and living in a time where marriage and family were still looked upon as a second-rate occupation for women who were “losers”, i.e. couldn’t do anything else. And yet I still longed for that dream husband and family…

As it turned out, I didn’t marry until I was 27–5 years after I drew this cartoon. Of course, THAT relationship was far from ideal. In the mental state I was in (and already attracted to narcissistic men), I was right to be wary!

The first cartoon story can be seen here.

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I really wish I would have continued this hobby…

Why you should never jump into a new relationship after narcissistic abuse

The Wheel of Abuse

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Not all abusive relationships involve physical abuse. Emotional and mental abuse can be every bit as damaging, and sometimes more so. (Click image to make larger).

A new friend of mine (a survivor of several abusive relationships with narcs) and I were talking on Facebook. Rather than try to paraphrase, I’ll quote her directly–and then give my own opinions.

Friend:

“I realized he [her malignant narcissist ex-boyfriend who she’s still in minimal contact with but who is still trying to gaslight her and get her attention by stalking her on Facebook] did everything on that wheel except for the Economic abuse. He started to subtle test the boundaries…and realized I wasn’t game. Although I believe he probably still believes I’ll contact him again. It’s amazing, [Lauren.]

The more time your away, they stronger you feel. Your self-esteem comes back slowly. I get those frightened moments when I think my new boyfriend will just Abandoned me out of nowhere. I understand why the Psychopathic free support group did not recommend a relationship right away. They know you suffer from PTSD from the aftermath of this abuse. It’s difficult. I find myself having dark flashbacks. I also believe you have to be careful and choosy about your women friends and surround yourself with only kind people. We are fragile and vulnerable after this abuse.

My reply (My original reply was short–I embellished it when I wrote this post. I hope my friend sees it).

These are all great points. It makes sense to stay out of relationships if you’ve just escaped from an abusive one because of the PTSD you probably have or even worse problems such as major depression–you need time to find yourself and work on yourself. You need time to be selfish and not have to answer to anyone because you’ve been giving, giving and giving some more with nothing to show for it in return.

We’re mentally and emotionally exhausted and need time to recover, just as if we’re recovering from any illness. We need to not have to be responsible for someone else’s welfare or self esteem or happiness for a while before taking the plunge into a new relationship. We need to take care of ourselves and find out who we are–whether that means going to therapy, writing a journal, turning that journal into a public spectacle like a blog or video diary, taking up martial arts, yoga, or finding God. We need time to heal.

Jumping into any new relationship–even with a non-narc–when you’re this vulnerable is almost guaranteed to fail and retard you in your self growth, and if you’ve been attracted to another narcissistic abuser (which is common in codependent, PTSD and Borderline women), you may wind up much worse when all is said and done.

We’re like addicts. Narcs need their narcissistic supply; we codependents need our narcs. Let’s face it: Narcissistic suitors (male or female)–at first–make us feel alive, vital and fulfill our wildest romantic and sexual fantasies (when they are trying to trap you as their prey). In a weakened state like PTSD or depression, your judgment is not going to be great and you re going to be VERY suggestible. Most likely, you’ll also become unconsciously attracted to a romantic partner who reminds you of the narc you just left (or who left you). He made sure you can’t forget him easily, even if he was terribly cruel at the end.

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Anime drawing (artist unknown).

Also, we tend to be attracted to the same type of person anyway. So if you’re usually or always attracted to narcissists, then most likely your taste is not going to change.

Getting involved too early after the end of a relationship with a narcissist is dangerous. Even with a non-narcissist, old patterns will still come up and you will be hypervigilant and suspicious of your new partner, causing them confusion and eventual discord. If you’re falling for a non-narc, that’s a good sign, but if you just left an abusive relationship, please wait. Envision a giant red STOP sign. Be friends instead. Now’s not the time to get involved beyond that level. If you met someone who truly cares for you, they won’t mind waiting a while and being friends with you.

If you’re already falling hard for someone, I know it’s going to be really hard to resist the pull of a new romance. It’s a powerful force, built into normally-wired people’s genes.

But remember, even though it feels like the most exciting, heady, intoxicating rush you ever felt, that feeling won’t last: what you feel is infatuation, a crush–actually caused by changes in the brain that act like a euphoric drug. That’s really what it boils down to.

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Infatuation so soon after an abusive relationship is really just a form of transference onto a phantom “therapist” [the person you are infatuated with] when you are at your most vulnerable. You’re looking for someone to rescue you. There is no Prince Charming. A love relationship cannot rescue you from yourself, your memories, or your PTSD. By its nature, it can’t. You are the only one who can make you well, with the help of therapists, counselors or another other trusted person who is not involved sexually or romantically with you.

So be patient, wait until you heal yourself and feel more confident. Then if you fall in love, dive in and enjoy it–and with any luck it might turn into the real thing.

Thank you to Mary Pranzatelli for this idea.

Want to date a hippie?

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This is an actual ad, not a joke.