“Let me be your voice” project – Sleeping with the enemy…

I don’t write a whole lot about sexual abuse — and the story told here may not qualify as what most people would define sexual abuse to be — but still, the woman who wrote this post had something that was precious to her stolen from her, and her boundaries were ruthlessly violated. This post is more explicit than what I usually post, but I think it’s important, because something so precious should be freely given, and boundaries need to be respected. I’m glad this writer ended the relationship because it sounds like her lover thought nothing of taking what wasn’t his, in essence, raping her.  At the very least, he was incredibly obtuse.  It sounds like the writer had a PTSD-like reaction to what happened.  Rape usually does have that effect.

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Also, please follow Cyranny’s Cove.  She has an awesome blog!

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As part of my “Let me be your voice” project, once again, I am honored to host the story of a lovely reader who sent me a painful recalling of her past. I wish there were no such stories to share, but since there are… I hope letting it out at last will help and bring relief.

I’d also like to remind you that if you have a story you would like to get off your chest, but just don’t feel comfortable publishing on your own blog, I’ll be more than glad to help by posting it in the Cove, leaving all the credit to you!  Just write to me here.

So here is her story. And I’d like to thank the author for her trust. *Hugs, my dear!*


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I decided to talk today, because I kept this story for myself for too long. And I cannot believe I…

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“Free Ride” (part two) by Anonymous

Free Ride (part two)
By Anonymous

(continued from Part One)

king_castle

John also started making hundreds of plans – once he wanted this, next minute something else. Ordered me around like a boss- do this, find this website, look up this information. Next minute all plans were forgotten and he had another idea. In fact, it seemed he did not know what he really wanted or what he was doing.

He was also full of contradictions.  On day six of our online chat he had proposed to me and started planning our wedding. However, a few weeks later he decided he did not want to remarry. He said, “in my previous marriages the courtship was always great until signing the certificate. And then things started to go wrong. If you kick me to the curb I want it to be clean and simple”. A few weeks later he decided he needed to “reconsider the certificate, after all I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

One day I saw him in front of the computer filling in a questionnaire .  It turned out to be a dating site where he had an active profile and his status was “not in a relationship.”  When I asked him why he was filling it in he replied innocently, ” Oh, they keep sending me this silly form over and over again… I have not had time to complete it yet.”  Lies.

After nine days we had an argument and he said he wanted me and the dogs to relocate to New Zealand!   “Let’s just take the dogs and walk out, get a plane to Auckland, drop your job, leave this awful place for good.  Take one bag with stuff just like me and leave everything behind just as I did. We will settle down in New Zealand, it looks like a great country welcoming newcomers! The weather conditions there are outstanding. You know nothing about New Zealand and neither do I, so it is going to be a new experience for both of us. We can make a new start there.”

WHAT?? I could hardly believe my ears!  I said no, I am not going anywhere, you must be totally crazy! He got angry, went online and said he had already booked his flight ticket to Auckland. Then he grabbed his bag with the very few things he owned ( a few items of clothing, a very old towel and a toothbrush – his ONLY worldly possessions) and walked out to stay in a hostel.

A week later I got an email from John saying he was still in the hostel waiting for his flight back to America.  He wrote it in a very sad, pitiful manner and I immediately felt he was trying to manipulate me into feeling sorry he was leaving so that I would take him back.  I refused, and he flew off to New York to stay with his younger son.

In his email John admitted being responsible for the failure of our relationship, as he was “unable to cope with my passion for dogs and the world of music. Maybe a better man could handle it.”

Later I figured out he had also emailed his ex-wife on the same day, but this version was totally different. His email to her said I didn’t want him here, as my life with the dogs and the world of music were more important to me than a relationship with him.

He knew perfectly well his ex-wife had been posting “all latest news from Europe” on her Facebook timeline for the whole family and mutual friends to read. She posted what John had written in his email to her and now everybody could read between the lines: “Oh, poor John… He wasted so much time and money to travel across the world for the love of his life — and what did the ungrateful European witch do? She didn’t want him there. She treated him like a crap. She kicked him out.   What a horrible woman.  Poor John!”
I was furious when I read this post!

After John left, I got in touch with his ex-wife to ask her what I had done wrong and to get some feedback. She said for sure nothing at all, it was most definitely him.  She told me in their 30 years of marriage John was very self-centered, controlling and manipulative. They moved 31 times to different states in America.  Before marrying her, John had already been married twice, and both of those marriages failed.

Her friends said she was the one who had kept John stable for so long as she was well-known for being an extremely patient and tolerant person.    She said their second bankruptcy was the last straw and she decided she was better off on her own, so she divorced him. She also told me John had no money and could never manage or save it, so he lived pension to pension.

He did not know how to manage money. If he wanted something he didn’t care how it would get paid, he just went and did it, and usually expected other people to pay.   This is how he has gone bankrupt at least five times in his life!

She said John had probably overwhelmed me with his outlandish fantasies trying to spend money that didn’t exist, he did not even have enough money for his full fare back to America so his son had to lend him some .  She hadn’t warned me in advance because she thought I might think she was trying to sabotage things or I would not believe her and she didn’t want to interfere.   She explained that she too had fallen in love with a charming, warm, loving and caring guy, that it was like falling under a spell and she let it go on for far too long.   Once John was comfortable with her and confident he had her in his web, he dropped the warm and caring facade and started his exploitative, entitled behaviors.

On his Facebook profile John boasted about a long list of “achievements”–but he had never finished anything or stuck with anything for long.   He dropped out of one school after a year because he was bored, other schools because of their “horrible teachers,”  etc.   The jobs he had he also quit or got fired from after very short times.   He tried to start some business but they always failed due to lack of finances or investors .   He never had any real plans or goals and didn’t seem to know what he really wanted.

He always thought he knew everything even if he was factually wrong. You tried to explain the reality to him and he just didn’t get it and would get mad. He liked to think he was an expert on almost everything from child rearing to car repairs or grooming dogs.  He took no responsibility for his decisions or actions, and blamed other people for his misfortune, bad luck, and wrong decisions.

Every night before falling asleep John practiced his “Fugue Dreams” in which everything was possible –he achieved everything he wanted and there were no issues, no limitations, restrictions or boundaries, no illnesses or accidents, no money needed. And there was always plenty of sex with me because I was “spectacular” in his Fugue dreams. I think this world of fantasy and reality mixed up in his mind into a bizarre alternate reality and nobody was able to explain him the Fugue dreams were delusions.

Later I heard there had been a lot of drama going on in his life.   John only spent a couple of days with his son in New York and flew off to Seattle to live with his best friend.  After a few weeks he fell out with this friend after 40 years of friendship (they had a big fight–I guess his friend was reluctant to carry out John’s orders or failed to comply with his many unrealistic and outlandish demands), spent a few days camping out in a forest,  then flew off to Florida to pick up a car which had been offered to him as a free giveaway, but turned out to be a huge scam instead ( neither the person nor the car existed).

From there John returned to New York by bus and spent a couple of days in the Salvation Army dormitory.  After that he was sharing a room with an old diabetic guy in a building run by a foundation that helps the homeless.

This was the last time I got some news about him, since I have been No Contact for several months now. I do not expect him to contact me again because I think to I am “dead to him” now.

I still wonder what hidden agenda this guy had? To find a roof over his head, a warm bed and an ” ideal love” in it as a special bonus, maybe he wanted a relationship as an island of stability in his totally messy and chaotic life… Or he wanted me as a sex object (of course he denied that when I asked).  Or maybe the excitement caused by the relocation and vision of an ” ideal love” served him as a distraction from the misery of his internal world. There’s no way to know.

Although John acted over-confident in some ways, he seemed extremely insecure whenever there was an issue in our relationship. If the misunderstanding was insignificant he usually asked, “Are we on the same page, baby?” “Are we a team?”  Or sometimes he’d panic and anxiously ask, “Are we done?” or “Is it over?”   The same happened whenever another man was just mentioned.   When I told him my guitar coach from the USA had just taught me to play a new tune, he got scared: ” Is your guitarist with you now?” I told him to relax, my coach teaches me via YouTube.  One day we were making holiday plans for summer and John said he wanted to bring me to America for two weeks and asked when it was the best time for me. I said the end of August would work, but I would need to be back at home beginning of September.  He freaked out:  “Are you meeting another guy?”

Every time he was ready to drop our relationship and I had to reassure him there was no other guy in my life and it seemed to take ages to make him feel okay again.   Maybe somewhere deep inside he felt he was out of my league and had nothing to offer.  After all, he had no home, vehicle, possessions, status, financial security…nothing.

His stepdaughter also told me John loves it when people beg him to come back to them or stay with them, then he feels by accepting their charity he is doing THEM a favour. He loves playing the “poor me” victim card and wants everybody to feel sorry for his misfortune and failures.

I know after breaking up with me John unfriended almost everybody on his Facebook account, deleted everything back to 2009 and only left two photos, his original profile photo and one post. He deleted all information about his place of residence, status, education, job, etc.  He created a “secret” account, so I could only see that it existed when I was trying to block him from contacting me via his old profile, but nothing can be found or seen about this new profile. He apparently does not want anyone from the past to see what he is up to now.

“Free Ride” by Anonymous.

Sometimes I get emails from people relating stories of narcissistic abuse. The other day I received one from a woman living in a large city in Europe, about a covert narcissist who seemed relatively harmless at first, and made all sorts of promises, seemed to be madly in love with her, but soon all kinds of red flags started to appear. She slowly began to realize how predatory he really was, taking over her life and exploiting her goodwill and generosity.

Financial abuse isn’t talked about that much, but it’s a common tactic used by narcissists in abusive relationships, and it’s a primary theme in this post.  My ex exploited me in similar ways, and financial abuse was one of them.   This story is long, but kept me on the edge of my seat. I asked her if I could share it here because of how well written it was.

Free Ride (Part One)
By Anonymous

king_castle

John (not his real name) contacted me via Facebook last October.
As an active member of many fan groups dedicated to music I post quite a lot of stuff every day. He added to one of the groups, saw my postings, liked them and immediately sent me a private message. As a 52 year old childless and separated woman I got a bit curious who this person might be. I said to myself, “Well, you never know…”

John sounded very intelligent, funny, witty and smart, so I decided to continue our conversation.   He asked me to send him a couple of photos and provided me with a few of his.   I saw a quite attractive, handsome, and sporty man of 70, but not looking a day older than 60. He was retired and divorced, living in America, and had adult kids living all over the country.

When I sent him my photos John reacted, “Exactly what I imagined…”
Soon we were chatting on Messenger for three, four, sometimes six hours on a daily basis. I started to become addicted to our chats because they were so incredibly mentally stimulating and creative.

On the fifth day John said he had fallen in love with me. I became his girlfriend Proposed to me on day six. Now I was his “lovely fianceé.” I got very suspicious and cautious. I thought, “How in hell could this guy fall in love with you knowing NOTHING about you??” We could not even meet in person, for he’s in America and I’m in Europe.

John was very smart with words. When he dropped his first L-bomb I said, “Look, I don´t like big words. You know nothing about me and I don´t know much about you.” He replied promptly, “Oh, America is such a big country! We use a lot of big words here.” He always seemed to have the perfect answer to just anything I might doubt or distrust.

In a few days he started showering me with his flattery, affection, attention. “I am here for you 24/7,” he assured me. I thought to myself, ” This guy must be making fun of you”, so I took it lightly and just played the game to see what was going to happen next.

Surprisingly enough, after a short time he made me feel there was a strong connection between us in spite of 8,300 kms of distance; he was always able to sense how I was feeling in that particular moment: sad, excited, upset, happy, depressed. Whenever I was depressed, he immediately phoned to cheer me up. I was impressed. I said to myself, “Wow… if this guy is able to sense how you feel from that huge distance, what might he be able to do if he was here with you?” It was just amazing and … magical!

Soon I was the love of his life. The reason for his life. He loved me more than life itself. He was so crazy in love with me he could not even think straight. He wanted to take care of me, my well-being and my health. He felt simply “over the moon” and blessed with me.

After several days he started being more and more pushy, so I said I loved him back, and when he proposed to me I accepted, actually still taking it all as a joke.

But then, one day I suddenly saw a long post on his Facebook page announcing to all his friends and family he had found “the one ” and “special” woman, was ready to commit to her and relocate to Europe! I could see a lot of comments made by his ex-wife, sons, stepdaughter and friends congratulating him and wishing both of us a lot of good luck. I was so perplexed my mouth almost fell on the floor. Literally. After he had posted his announcement along with a photo of me, his flattery and attention were almost endless, I could hardly come up for air.

I already knew John was divorced and homeless and living in his small car, so I got suspicious he might be just one of those losers who had nothing more to lose, but was trying to gain a lot (two months before we met on Facebook John had moved out from his ex-wife and got rid of practically all his possessions including the majority of his clothing.) He must have sensed what I was thinking because that moment he asked me, “Do you have any doubts about me?” I replied, ” Do you expect me to support you financially ?”. He said no.

I read in one of his earlier posts he did not fancy the idea of paying high amounts for rented rooms or houses, so he decided to live in his car and save up for a motor home. That made sense to me. He was receiving his regular pension, so I was not dealing with a guy with zero income after all.

Our daily chats were still great, but from time to time something strange happened. Every now and then John sounded very childish and immature, as if he was living in a childish fantasy land. Once we were role playing a scenario I was not comfortable with (it involved some graphic sex). I wanted him to stop and said, “Hey, watch out…sorry, a red flag.” He got offended, quit the conversation and went offline. I think any normal person would apologize and promise not to do it again. He did not.

The next day he was not on Messenger, but instead wrote me a long email saying the thing he hated the most was “changing rules in the middle of the playing field”, described how I had “floored him” with my comment the previous night, how he must have misjudged me, wished me good luck, a great life full of joy and happiness in the future and used expressions such as “God bless you “, etc. He told me how he will hold me in his heart, love and cherish me forever. How he hates to have to say goodbye to me, but there is nothing else he could do.

I was reading this message thinking, “WTF? Is he making fun of me, trying to manipulate something, or what? It was just a GAME! We were not negotiating the best strategy for the key military operation in Iraq! Is this guy normal?” I replied explaining I had no idea about his pet peeves (because he never told me) and that I thought his reaction was completely disproportional to the situation. And suddenly I found myself on the defensive end of the conversation apologizing for hurting him! In my reply I also asked if he was sure he was normal and healthy (which I think any average person would find quite offensive, but he did not)
He admitted in his family there had been some mental issues. His mom suffered from schizophrenia, his dad was an alcoholic and his brother had some other kind of mental problem which led to his suicide at the age of 40.

This incident kept me pretty alerted, to tell the truth. All the time I had a feeling there must be something wrong with John, but I just could not put my finger on it.

John never called me his “soulmate.” He did it in a more sophisticated and sneaky way: when we were chatting online, one day he asked, “Baby, can you do one exercise with me?” I said ok.
“Fine, I am going to ask you three questions. You can only answer yes/no. No other options.”
The questions were: “Will you love me unconditionally? Will you be my soulmate? The third question was a sexual one. I thought such questions were ridiculous and weird, especially the last one. But I was amused and said yes to all of them. Now I know that was probably my first big mistake. These questions gave me the general impression of engaging in a business negotiation rather than romantic courting.

Upping the ante.

In November John changed his plans. Instead of buying a motor home he decided to relocate and move in with me. He scheduled his relocation to Europe for September 2016. His plan was to drive and move slowly all across America first for almost a year, visiting his kids, grandkids and relatives to say goodbye to them. In August he expected to reach New York, visit his two sons, sell the car, purchase his flight ticket and leave for Europe permanently. I thought, “Fine, I have one year to get to know him better and decide how to handle this strange relationship.”

In December 2015 John changed his mind again and decided he could no longer live without me. He wanted to relocate as soon as possible and rescheduled his flight for January (without even asking me if it was convenient to me or not). Instead of being happy as a kid on Christmas Day I got really scared. I thought, “Man, this is moving too fast!” I was really alarmed when John added, “I was thinking about where to find the money for my flight ticket because in January and February I will still need to pay some bills in America, and I got a brilliant idea! Who cares about paying some stupid bills! I do not intend to return to America so why should I worry about paying them? I can use the money to be with my baby in just a couple of weeks!”
This message threw me totally off balance. What kind of man just decides to neglect his financial obligations on an impulse?

When I look back I think this was a ruse. I am almost sure he had no bills to pay (he had no property, no car, no assets – so what bills might be waiting for him to pay?) What I suspect is he was trying to make me feel guilty and responsible for his arrival and spending so much money on his flight ticket (only for me of course!) so that I would feel grateful, obliged and indebted to him forever. That way I would not dare ask him to contribute anything when he arrived, or buy food or things for some time, maybe many months.In the meantime he might be putting his pension aside in a secret account for his dream motor home perhaps. Or something else. If I dared to ask him to contribute, he could always pull out his winning card and remind me of his sacrifice and thoughtful gesture: “I spent so much money in January for you only. I would expect you to appreciate it and return the favour”, or something like that.

I said nothing to dissuade him from coming. To be honest, I was still convinced he was making fun of me….Or, that it might be one of those online romance scams. The scenario fit it perfectly well (the scammer pretends to be very interested in visiting his “love” and in the very last moment something unexpected “pops up”: he has a bad accident on the way to airport, he gets mugged or robbed, etc. And then he is in a huge need of money for hospital bills and needs the victim to bail him out.).

John Moves In.

On the day of his scheduled arrival I went to the airport and was waiting in the arrival lounge. And when he suddenly turned up, I got incredibly emotional. I ran up to him, hugged and kissed him saying, ” So you did come! I can´t believe my eyes!” But his reaction was strange. He acted indifferent, only kissed me lightly saying, “Hi, baby” and immediately made his way to the exit. I could see a stupid smile on his face and felt something was…off. I would expect the man who was so CRAZY in love with me to be a lot more emotional and enthusiastic, to hug and kiss “the love of his life” more passionately … but that did not happen.

We were travelling to my place by bus and all the way he was chatting up the people around us and flirting with the women who happened to be sitting close enough. I was now something like a live accessory. Strange.  In my flat the situation was similar. So talkative and funny on Messenger, but here he was and he was barely talking to me.

His reaction when I let him in my flat was ridiculous.  He looked round the room, saw my collection of dog statues ( I have been breeding and showing dogs for 30 years and many breeders and dogs owners have been supplying me with such gifts) and said to no one in particular but within earshot of me, “Uh-huh …obsessive compulsive disorder.”   Next he came up to the cupboard where I have plenty of cups, medals and rosettes from dog shows and started studying them very thoroughly.  When I began to show him things in my flat as I expected he would be interested in everything in his new home, he could hardly keep attention on anything and he seemed unfocused and distracted, not noticing what I was telling him anymore.   He seemed to be impatient and want to move onto the next thing, and then the next.

For the first three days after his arrival, there weren’t any problems.  I went to work and left John alone and when I returned I saw he had bought some groceries, cooked lunch, taken the dogs out and fed them, he had even done some cleaning and fixed broken shelves and things which my ex-husband had not been able to repair for ages. He seemed to be very proud of himself.  And I was really impressed. On day four he probably came to a conclusion he had made a great first impression and that was enough, I was not deserving any more, so he stopped doing things . Perhaps I was not giving him the attention he had expected to get.

In a couple more days he started criticising:

My flat: cold, too small, sub-standard. He said he had seen many bad apartments in America, but none of those places were as bad as this one. He did not understand how I could not afford a better place and had to live within my means or even below them so that I could save some money for rainy days.   But he knew exactly how big my flat was ahead of time and what it looked like because I had described it and shown him pictures.   When he saw the pictures, he had promised to help me renovate and upgrade it.   Now he just said,  “Well…okay, it can be renovated, sure, but it will still remain a very small space.” Just one of the very, very many promises he made and never kept.

The city: ugly, boring, all buildings look the same.  He could not understand why foreign tourists loved it, blah, blah. He could not live in such a sub-standard country, this is not a home to him. We live here like it’s the XIX century. Prices are too high. “How come you earn so little money and have such high prices and you do nothing about it?” he complained.   He had champagne tastes on a beer budget.

My lifestyle: music ” consumes” me. When we were still chatting on Messenger I asked him openly, “Are you ready to accept my lifestyle – taking part in dog shows, going to see concerts of guitar bands in various countries, car meetings, etc.?” He said yes. And now I got blamed for this all because he had left America and everything he loved behind, including his family and friends just for me, but I was not willing to “make any changes in my lifestyle.”

In bed I was too quiet. He wanted me to be loud and talk dirty to him.  He made it clear he must be my # 1 prority, as he had only come here for me (this was repeated several times) and all his time, his devotion and his money were mine now. Anything else – my job, dogs, interests, passions, friends were not to be as important to me as him.  Instead of earning my trust, love and respect, he was demanding and enforcing them.

Soon he was getting offended by everything.  He did not cook anymore.  I took the dogs for their walks.  He either went with me or not, depending on his mood and whether or not my behavior merited his company.  He was becoming moody and easily hurt by little things.  I began to walk on eggshells, never sure what might set him off. Everything he did was “my way or the highway,” no compromises allowed.  I was even afraid of expressing my wishes or dreams.  He was now my boss making all decisions and I was a subordinate who had to listen and obey.

On day six he gave me the cold shoulder and spent the whole evening pretending to watch TV in a language he didn’t even understand just to keep from talking to me.  I ignored him right back.  Because the silent treatment failed to work, the next day John tried out another tactic. When I came back from work I found him lying on the sofa.  He announced very proudly he had not taken the dogs out or fed them. I shrugged my shoulders and said I would do it, no problem.  But I was thinking about the fact that I had looked forward to getting an equal partner and a helping hand, but instead I got a moody, capricious, angry teenager.

(Continued in Part Two)

 

“No one will ever love you like I do”: NPD men in love.

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With Valentines Day coming up in a few days, I think it’s time to talk about narcissistic men in love.   I think I have enough experience with such men to be able to write about them and talk about some of the red flags to look for in a new relationship.

Narcissistic men can make the most ardent lovers and define the cliche, “he swept me off my feet.”  Relationships with narcissistic men, in the beginning, can be truly fairy-tale like, and a narc man who’s chosen you as his prey will stop at nothing to make sure you know he’s the most romantic, giving, attentive, unselfish, committed man you’ve ever met.   He’ll profess his eternal love for you, wine and dine you, present you with expensive chocolates and roses,  never forget your birthday or Valentines Day,  take you on weekend getaways to romantic locations,  and talk about marriage and even “making babies with you” early in the relationship.   Narcissistic men can be intense and women who are drawn to emotionally intense relationships (often Borderlines)  are like putty in their hands.  Narcissistic men are often drawn to BPD women too, because a BPD woman is most likely to give them exactly what they need, at least in the beginning.   Occasionally, a narcissist man who has proposed to you might actually stay true to his word and marry you.  But that doesn’t mean you’ll live happily ever after–anything but, in fact.

An NPD man’s intensity, which can be incredibly alluring to certain types of women, is exactly what makes them so dangerous.  Their “love” for you is feigned.  They are not capable of love.   They are predators.  All you are to them is supply.  Every last one of my lovers, including my ex-husband, was a narcissist, and almost all of them seemed incredibly romantic.   A couple of them eventually D&D’d me (devalue and discard), with no explanation or reason, shattering my heart into a million bits, while others became increasingly possessive to the point where I felt like I was suffocating and couldn’t wait to get away.

One of two of these narc men were covert, but most of the ones I knew were more the overt, grandiose type. Pretty much all my relationships with men followed this same sorry pattern, which I am going to outline for you.

The storybook romance.

inlove

The narcissist is very insistent about getting to know you, and wastes no time making his first date with you.  You will notice how intensely he gazes at you and that can make you want to swoon, but make no mistake–it’s really the look of a predator stalking his next meal.

He takes you out to an intimate, expensive restaurant and buys you anything you want on the menu, no matter how expensive.  Typically, he’ll offer you bites of food from his own plate, sometimes feeding you.    (He’s luring you in, setting you up for the kill later on).

He calls you daily, always seems to have time for you, seems like the most romantic, understanding, sympathetic man you’ve ever known.  He always listens to your problems, and seems to empathize.  (He is anything but these things, but he is a very good actor).

He is always buying you gifts, sometimes very expensive ones.  He can seem like the most generous man on the planet.  (Keep an eye on your finances here–mine bought all those gifts for me using MY credit card).

He tells you he loves you early in the relationship, maybe even in the first few weeks.  He may even get tears in his eyes while he tells you this (blech).  He might tell you you’re the only woman he’s ever loved, and how lonely he was before he met you.  (WATCH OUT.)

Sex with him is emotional and intense.   (Oh, honey, he’s got you trapped in his lair now).

He begins to complain and berate his former girlfriends, and talks about how deeply they’ve all hurt him (right, because nothing is ever his fault).   If he never seems to take any responsibility for the demise of his former relationships (or if he’s the type that gloats about how HE dumped THEM), that’s a huge red flag.  Don’t ignore it.  He’s telling you something.

He may propose to you at this point, or talk about what beautiful babies you’d have together (any man who doesn’t really seem to like children, but still wants to “have babies with you” because the combination of your genes would be “so beautiful” is almost certainly a narcissist).  Blargh.

The narc begins to show his true colors. 

hoovering

At this point, he may suddenly start seeming colder or pulling away.  He stops calling you as often, or seems annoyed when you call him, giving you some vague reason why he’s “too busy” to see you or scolding you for bothering him when he’s in the middle of an important meeting.   This is the beginning of the discard, which means that you’ve sated his supply and he’s grown bored.   He needs the challenge of the hunt again, and will probably dump you soon.  There is nothing more he needs from you.

Other narcissists tighten their hold on you.  If he senses you beginning to pull away, he’ll up the ante and take you on vacation or bring you roses every night.  This is called “hoovering.”  He’s sucking you back into his den of doom like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.   Most likely you will fall for it, and once you’ve reassured him you still adore him and think he’s the smartest, handsomest, sexiest man you’ve ever known,  the abusive behavior begins.

The dream becomes a nightmare.

brokenhearted

If the narcissistic man you’re in love with doesn’t D&D you, then it’s common for them to begin to abuse you once he’s certain you will stay.  Often, this begins on your wedding night, when it’s too late for you to escape without enormous expense and inconvenience.   I don’t have to go into the various forms of abuse he could use–they could be mental, financial, emotional, and sometimes physical.   The man who seemed like the most understanding, romantic, empathetic, attentive man you’d ever known has transformed into a coldblooded, unfeeling, abusive monster.

Early red flags.

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There are many red flags I haven’t listed here, but the following tend to be the first ones you’ll notice before any real abuse begins.

  • He complains about his exes and seems to blame them for everything that went wrong in their relationship, without ever admitting anything was his fault.
  • He moves in too fast, declares his love or proposes marriage too quickly for your comfort
  • His intense look unsettles you a little.
  • He has mysterious “meetings,” friends and “family matters” that he doesn’t discuss with you or seems annoyed when you ask about them.
  • After seeming to want to be with you all the time, he suddenly seems to lose interest in you, and never explains why.  If you try to pin him down, he becomes angry or irritated.
  • He’s always talking about what a perfect couple you are or how beautiful the two of you look together, sometimes even wanting to look at both of you together in the mirror.
  • The intensity of his ardor or attention overwhelms, scares or disgusts you.
  • He brags about how many women have fallen in love with him (overt N).
  • He moans about how no other woman has ever loved him (covert N).
  • He begins to question your whereabouts or why you don’t spend more time with him.
  • He accuses you of looking at or flirting with other men.
  • He uses tears to get sympathy or get his way.
  • He likes to play cruel jokes on you, just for fun of course.
  • He acts jealous or seems upset when you want to spend time doing anything that doesn’t include him.

Further reading:

The Narcissistic Lover’s Playbook

All My Narcissistic Lovers

Narcissist Man in Love

 

 

 

 

Forever alone, revisited.

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This is going to be another “running naked” post.

I have mixed feelings about being in a relationship. On the one hand, I long for it because I can’t deny that my inability to connect with anyone on a deep emotional level has caused me a lot of sadness and pain.

At the same time I need my solitude, and it’s almost always my preferred state, due to my avoidant personality. I’d much rather do things alone than do them with others. I’m simply too selfish and don’t want to give of myself to anyone else. I think the selfishness stems from fear though. I’m too afraid: I struggle with fears of rejection, abandonment, judgement, engulfment, being hurt, being used, being abused, etc. I have little to no interest in sex, although I can be sexually attracted. (maybe this is TMI, but I prefer my fantasies to the real thing).

So I have a sort of conundrum. I don’t want to grow old and die alone, but at the same time I don’t want to and am afraid to do what it takes to avoid being alone forever. I was married to my malignant narcissist ex for many years, but the marriage was extremely dysfunctional and I was always in the codependent role. Thinking about the marriage’s failure (which was inevitable from Day One) now makes me feel sad, although for a long time I just felt rage (which is why I started my first blog).

I would only consider a relationship with a non-narcissist now (and really, not with any Cluster B), but that’s a problem because I’m simply not attracted to non-disordered people. I never have been.

The other problem is I’m “in love with the idea of being in love.” Like most Cluster B’s, I become limerent easily (though less so than I used to) and get addicted to the whole “high” that infatuated feeling brings. But it never lasts and I know intellectually it’s not real love. It’s a type of addiction that feels as good as a drug, but the crash (and there always is one) is just as bad as coming down from a powerful drug too. I miss that drug-like high of falling in love though.

To rectify this longing, I live the limerent experience out in my mind by developing powerful crushes on people who cannot give me anything in return for a variety of reasons. Oddly enough, this lack of reciprocation is okay with me. I don’t feel like anything is “unrequited” because I deliberately and consciously get attached to a person only in my own mind and prefer not to share my feelings with the person in question. I have an active enough imagination that there is no need to play it out in reality. In fact, I’d probably run away in terror if it became obvious my feelings were returned. I’d get off on the supply that comes with that, of course–but it would send me into panic mode too. It’s very weird. I don’t know if this is just an eccentricity of mine, or if this sort of thing is experienced by others. Having an active imagination does have its benefits. It’s very narcissistic though.

I think unless I can become non-disordered (which is unlikely), that I need to accept the idea of being alone for the rest of my life. On a day to day basis, I’m okay with that, but it’s sometimes so hard when you look around and everyone else in my age group is married or in a relationship, and I have to do everything on my own. You’re treated by society as defective and if you don’t make a good living, it’s hard to even survive. I feel like a freak sometimes. I can’t look at singleness as a permanent lifestyle or I get very sad and afraid. I have to do what they do in AA, and take things one day at a time.

Narcissist man in love.

rumi-lion

One of my narcissistic lovers was a man I’ll call Daniel. I met him during my divorce proceedings. It was a short lived but intense relationship. As short lived as it was (it lasted all of 3 months), I decided to go into more detail about this particular relationship because of all my narcissistic lovers, Daniel was the most classic (and possibly the most malignant) textbook example of the course of a typical relationship with one.

Daniel was actually as bad a malignant narcissist as my ex, but of course I didn’t know it at the time. I met him while I was still married but the marriage was, for all intents and purposes, already over and we were separated. Daniel had that intense predatory stare, which I took to mean sexual and romantic interest, but it was really his way of sizing up me as prey.

I met Daniel at work. He was several years younger than me. I had been training him, and our eyes kept drifting to each other. He wasn’t the fastest learner but he seemed very friendly and always pulled his chair as close to mine during training as he could. Because I found him so attractive with his large liquid brown eyes, long eyelashes, and curly dark hair with its hints of gray, I didn’t mind the close physical proximity. I still remember the way he smelled–clean, like soap and shampoo, with a hint of muskiness.

Daniel became irresistably attractive to me. Narcs have a way of doing that to people like me. Although not all that intelligent, Daniel was actually a cerebral narcissist who had very little interest in sex after the initial physical passion of the first month or so. He thought of himself as very smart and after a while his know-it-allness became all too apparent.

Not long after meeting, Daniel approached me on break and told me he found me beautiful and kind and he’d like to take me out to dinner. Of course I said yes. That evening I went home walking on air and found my sexiest dress to wear. He picked me up on time, armed with a bouquet of red roses. We had a nice dinner and Daniel was attentive and romantic, gazing into my eyes, holding my hand across the candlelit table, and constantly telling me how beautiful I was and that he couldn’t believe my husband didn’t appreciate me more.

After dinner we went back to his apartment and he just held me and kept gazing into my eyes and telling me over and over how beautiful I was. He closed his eyes when kissing me. He didn’t push for sex and even said he wanted to wait until I was ready. He was perfect! I felt sexy and needed. At times when declaring his undying love for me, his eyes even got a little damp which I took to mean he was overcome with emotion and his feelings for me. This “vulnerability” I perceived made me fall harder for him. I couldn’t believe anyone could love me this much. He made me feel so special. I didn’t know it yet but I was falling into a yet another narcissistic predator’s trap. I should have suspected something fishy when he didn’t bat an eyelash when I told him I was still legally married, even though separated from my husband at the time.

We made love on our 3rd or 4th date and he told me he loved me and then held me all night as we drifted into sleep. For about two weeks I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. We couldn’t get enough of each other and would spend every free moment making love. It was all so magical I hadn’t even noticed he’d stopped taking me out or spending money on me. His abuse had already started but was so well-camouflaged by his physical ardor that I couldn’t see it.

love_bombing

Two weeks after we started dating he told me he wanted to marry me. He didn’t have a ring to give me, but promised he would get one later, when he had the money. (He had the money–the guy was living on a trust fund left him by his wealthy parents and had bought his expensive apartment and he was always buying himself expensive toys). The funny thing was that I never actually said yes to his proposal. I told him I’d have to think about it, although a part of me wanted to scream “YES” from the rooftops. Something–I wasn’t sure what–was holding me back from accepting his proposal. He kept talking about how he wanted to make me pregnant (I was 42 years old) and how beautiful our children would be. He even told me he wanted to see me give birth. But I noticed whenever we were in public together, he seemed annoyed by any children who happened to be around and complained about parents who “couldn’t discipline their children properly.” He also criticized my parenting skills, telling me I let my kids “control me,” even though he’d never met them or seen me interact with them.

Daniel complained about his ex lovers, and although in his late thirties, he had never been married. He told me terrible stories about the women he had dated and how they had all been cheating whores, heartless Jezebels, or how unattractive, stupid, or crazy they were. He told me the most intimate details about them–one woman had a “smelly vagina” and another had acne all over her backside. Another had been in a mental hospital and embarrassed him in public with her crazy outbursts. I didn’t want to hear these details but he assured me I was perfect and different from all those other women.

After a few more weeks I noticed Daniel seemed to be easily bored and prone to fits of unreasonable rage. His rage toward others around us began to turn toward me, and he started to become very critical and controlling. He had stopped buying me things, but one day told me he was taking me to Victoria’s Secret to buy some new lingerie because he thought mine looked frayed and ill-fitting. Of course I was thrilled to be taken shopping, and when in the store, began to pick items I liked. I found a black satin teddy with lace trim and he grabbed it from my hands and put it back, saying “I don’t like that color on you. It makes you look too pale.” He seemed to be getting impatient with me in the store and disapproved of anything I pulled from the rack. Finally he made his own choice, and insisted on buying that for me, even though I wasn’t impressed with his choice. We drove back to his apartment in silence. He seemed so angry but I couldn’t figure out why. I noticed his road rage too–he seemed to get impatient with other drivers easily but was constantly cutting off and tailgating people himself. If I told him to take it easy with his driving, he would get even madder and tell me I was trying to control him.

The night after the shopping spree, he said he didn’t want to have sex because he was too tired. I took this at face value and figured he was just in a bad mood and would be over it the next day. But he had changed. Or actually, he hadn’t changed–but was now beginning to show his true colors. Whenever I tried to initiate lovemaking or even touching, he began to pull away, making excuses that he didn’t feel well or was too tired. When we did have sex, it felt rushed, as if he wanted to get it over with. He stopped telling me he loved me.

One night he received a phone call from an old girlfriend and spent two hours on the phone with her while I pretended to read. I wasn’t really jealous, but was annoyed and found it strange that this was the same woman he had told me was crazy. I asked him about that and he got enraged, telling me to mind my own f–ing business.

Daniel liked to travel around the country and never once asked me if I wanted to go. He’d always announce these trips a day or two before he was set to leave. He’d always return with shopping bags full of goodies–for himself. His idea of “gifts” to me were the freebies they give out in hotels–tiny bars of soap, shampoo, or dollar keychains or even hotel “Do Not Disturb” signs. Once he brought back some homemade fudge and I asked him for a piece of it. He said no.

The silent treatments and verbal abuse became nearly constant. I felt like I was walking on eggshells and it seemed I could do nothing right. Once I asked him why he never wanted to kiss me anymore and he said it was because of my breath. (No one had ever accused me of having bad breath and I even tested it by blowing on my daughter’s face and she said it was fine). I remembered the woman he’d dated who had a “smelly vagina” and realized that he would be telling some future lover (because at this point I wanted to break up with him) about my horrible, stinky breath and “controlling” ways.

He seemed to hate me, but also became upset and angry when I told him I wanted to spend time with my kids (who were living with their father for a short time during the divorce proceedings). He told me they were spoiled brats who would grow up to be criminals because I always gave into their wishes. I know now he was jealous of them. He always wanted me around, but was always so mean. I was always short on cash because I didn’t earn that much but he didn’t seem to care. Once I needed some gas money and he said no, even though he had stacks of $100 bills all over his apartment and in drawers.

We broke up on my birthday. He had come to my house late, and his gift to me was a “Toonces the Driving Cat” coffee mug. Although he obviously didn’t pay much for it, I thought it was a thoughtful gift (for him) because he knew I loved that old skit from Saturday Night Live. He took me out to dinner, which had become a rarity. He was very rude to the wait staff, but he always had been (that’s another red flag to look for–narcissists are notoriously rude to service personnel).

Shortly after we got back to my house, we got into an argument and he shoved me so I fell onto the couch. That was the first time his abuse had become physical. I knew it was a matter of time before he would start hitting me. I told him I would not tolerate physical violence and he started making fun of me for being such a baby about a “little push.” We kept arguing. He told me to give him back the mug he gave me. I told him no, because it was a gift and I liked it. He insisted.

I went and fetched the mug from the kitchen, and brought it to him, sweetly saying “here,” before smashing it on the floor as he reached for it. He stood there staring at the shattered remnants on the floor and then looked up at me with his mouth hanging open, said “You’re too crazy and too violent for me,” and stormed out the door, slamming it behind him. Me? Violent? I didn’t realize he was projecting his own violent tendencies onto me.

soulmate

A week later I found out I was pregnant. I called him to tell him I needed money for an abortion. He said he would not help because there was no way it was his! This from the man who a month earlier had told me he wanted to watch me give birth.

Fortunately, I never had to have an abortion because a week after that I miscarried. Daniel kept calling me, acting as if nothing had happened, and would tell me all about his life, never asking how mine was going. He acted like we were best friends. He even told me about a woman he was dating who was “perfect for him,” with no thought given to my feelings about this. Of course I really didn’t care and just felt sorry for the poor woman who didn’t know what she was in for yet. I wondered what he was telling her about me. Probably that I was insane, violent and a bad mother who had terrible breath.

I’d listen patiently to Daniel ramble on and then tell him I had to go. After about six months of his weekly phone calls, I finally worked up the courage to tell him to leave me alone and never call me again. I also blocked his number. That was the best choice I made in that relationship.

A Beachside Affair (guest post).

Here is another guest post by the same writer who contributed “The Narc from Costa Rica.” Again she has asked to remain anonymous, but I think this story does a better job of describing the narcissism of a man who seemed to be extremely romantic. Talk about a whirlwind romance!

It’s common for narcissists (especially somatic ones) to act very romantic in the beginning of relationships. But the problem is, it’s an ACT. They can sweep you off your feet with their charm, declarations of undying love (which are lies), seemingly endless desire to make love to you, and gifts of wine, candy and roses. They also can move in very fast, and it’s not uncommon for one to propose marriage very soon into the relationship. (There are other narcs who are relationship-phobic, usually the cerebral type.). My ex proposed only three months after we met. He was cerebral though, so not all “romantic,” fast-moving narcissists are somatics.

The man in this story, Michael, seems to be a covert or “vulnerable” narcissist. They can seem to have very deep emotions and be quick to express their insecurities and vulnerabilities, but they’re still dishonest and manipulative, and they still have no empathy and will leave you in a heartbeat if a better source of supply comes along. Covert narcissists can be more dangerous than aggressive (classic) narcissists because you never see what’s coming. They can completely fool you because they seem to need you so much.

A Beachside Affair
By Anonymous

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My whirlwind relationship with Michael lasted for only 3 months. It was a summer love, like something out of the movies. Our affair ended abruptly, leaving me completely gutted emotionally and even physically. It was as if he’d ripped my heart out and taken it with him, leaving me with a huge hole inside my soul.

I met Michael on the beach. We quickly became obsessed with each other. He was like an addiction to me. I went to work during the day and all I could think about was Michael. I’d go home and polish myself from head to toe, making sure I looked and felt as beautiful as possible. Before I met Michael I just didn’t feel good. I was in a failing marriage to another narcissist. My husband ignored me. He never talked to me and I was dying inside. I remember that I’d go home and get drunk on wine, just to blur out the feelings of emptiness I felt from my husband’s coldness, on top of having suffered an empty childhood and adolescence due to having been raised by a narcissistic father and a borderline mother who wasn’t much better.

I knew having an affair was wrong, but at that point I no longer cared. I needed to feel loved and needed. Michael fit the bill perfectly, at first. I remember the day I met Michael. He was beautiful, his tanned muscles shimmering and rippling in the sun. We talked for a little while and before long he started to kiss me and held me for 4 hours straight, as the sun went down over the ocean.

After that heady experience I made a decision to leave my husband because I no longer could stand being with him. There was just no comparison.

I’m not sure why Michael had me under such a powerful spell. I’m not sure if it was inverted or covert narcissism or codependency on my part that made me so attracted to him. I know he mirrored my own narcissism and I think that was part of the attraction. Or (in my thinking at the time) maybe it was just that we were both artists that craved something more and we needed attention and had a burning desire to express our vision of life through our art. All I know is that when the two of us got together we melted together like butter. All the love that I never got, all the love I craved and all my neediness was being filled by Michael and I couldn’t get enough of him. He was everything to me.

beachside_romance

Michael had an apartment in a very famous town in coastal New Jersey that was known for its rock n roll legacy, especially Bruce Springsteen. Famous bands played in a place called The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Back then, over 30 years ago, the town was run down and almost abandoned. The Stone Pony was the only thing that held the weak fabric of this town together. But I loved it there. This run down seaside town was always beautiful to me because I always felt like this was my home. I still do. I knew that one day I’d play up on the same stage where other famous artists had played. There was fire in my belly. A void that needed to be filled with a whole lot more than a man’s love. If there was an Angel on Ocean Avenue, she was certainly watching over me.

Micheal was an art student who had nude sketches of himself all over his wall. He played the guitar too and we often played music together and I would sing. I use to stay at Michael’s house every night. We went to parties at the homes of mutual friends we had met out on the beach. The bonfires were wonderful and we would all sit around and sing songs. We sang Beatles songs and Bowie songs and I felt like a reincarnated hippie. My favorite song we sang was David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

“Tell my wife I love her very much…she knows.
I’m here and I’m floating in my tin can.
Far above the world. Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.”

beachside_romance2

There was magic and presence and energy and the love in all the people we met at these parties and on the beach. People liked to watch Michael and I, because they were intrigued by our obsession and need for each other. We vicariously fulfilled their need for romance. I felt so validated, loved, sexy and happy. It seemed too good to be true and it was. This couldn’t be real life. It was too perfect.

We were a study in contrasts physically, and I think that’s another reason for the fascination our friends had for us. Michael had beautiful blue eyes and long blonde silky hair, and a great body. I had long black hair and lots of curves. People liked to photograph us together. We use to sit down in front of a long mirror in his room and stare at the contrast. We made each other feel beautiful. And together, we were. At that time it seemed we were good for each other’s self-esteem. At the county college Michael was studying for an Associates degree in graphic arts we were both asked to pose nude for $10 dollars an hour for the students who sketched still lifes in the human anatomy drawing class.

Michael’s background was sad. He told me that he was beaten by his father with a belt consistently during his infancy and his dad was also an alcoholic. Michael was depressed and he had to take psychiatric medication to fight his depression from the abuse he endured as a child. I remember watching him go into this weird state where sometimes seemed almost frozen and off in some other universe (dissociation is a common symptom in people with NPD and BPD). When in these near-catatonic states, he’d punch the floor or the wall over and over again, sometimes lasting for up to 20 minutes. It was sad and very scary. He was not mean or malignant though. He seemed like a gentle, artistic soul who just couldn’t take care of himself. He was never controlling, but seemed very needy for my constant attention and love. I think he was a covert narcissist.

Our affair came to an abrupt end at the end of that summer, because Michael left me for another women who said she was in love with him. She was willing to pay the rent on his apartment. So in the end, he chose money and security over me. I was devastated because the drug of my addiction to him filled me all summer and was suddenly ripped out of my heart in an instant and the devastation and grief was almost too much to bear.

But if I’d known about narcissism, I would have known Idealize and Devalue is all part of their game. They can’t help it. Even covert narcissists are at heart predators out to use you and throw you away when you’re no longer of use to them.

My next phantom lover was a drummer named Karl. I was so needy that I of course fell into the hands of another narcissistic man. And so it goes on…

All my narcissistic lovers.

johann_heinrich

Not long ago, when I started studying narcissism in depth for this blog, I came to a shocking and disturbing realization: Every single one of the men I had relationships with or fell in love with were narcissists. It’s because I was trained by my family to be Narcissistic Supply, and as a Borderline, these relationships tended to be stormy.

Having BPD means I’m not the ideal codependent doormat, and when I felt violated–even though I’d allow the abuse to continue because after all, I was trained that way–I’d still try to fight back, at least for awhile. This led to lots of drama and some truly terrible fights with narcissistic men who I could never fix, no matter how hard I tried. I sure wish I knew then what I know now.

I have always been attracted to narcissistic men and they have always been attracted to me. I’m easily taken in by their elaborate displays of romance and promises in the beginning–there’s no one more romantic than a narcissist trying to procure you as supply. It’s fun while it lasts, but as soon as they know they have conquered you, the abuse begins. One red flag to watch out for: a man who moves in too fast, or starts talking about a permanent commitment or marriage only weeks after you met them.

Here’s a list of the narcissists I was seriously involved with (or married to). Only one wasn’t a narcissist, but he was severely bi-polar. The names are made up.

narcjoke

Steve P: my first serious boyfriend in high school. Steve called constantly (like 8-10 times a day at first), wanted to be with me all the time, regularly sent flowers, was very passionate and loving at first. He actually would cry because he “loved me so much.” After a while he became physically and mentally abusive, insulting me, questioning me about other boys, what I was doing when he wasn’t around, calling me names, and finally becoming physically abusive. One day, with absolutely no warning, he called me and told me he was dumping me because he met someone else. I was enraged at the nerve of this but actually relieved to be rid of him finally.

Mark S: my second serious lover during my college years. Mark was very cool–knew everything there was to know about art, music, theater, and he had offbeat, interesting friends. He used to take me to the East Village in New York City where we’d attend all the punk and new wave clubs and shop in funky vintage clothing and record stores. We had a lot of fun. But he was also an intellectual snob and looked down on my “pedestrian” tastes in music, movies, etc. He looked down on my friends, whose intellectual abilities he felt were beneath him. Mark saw himself as a rogue and a cultural rebel, and after awhile his constant put downs became annoying and we’d fight. He also never wanted to have sex (he was a cerebral narcissist), thinking it was a huge waste of time that could be better spent feeding his mind with new cultural experiences. After about a year, he told me I was too boring and my tastes too commercial and pedestrian, and he dumped me for a woman who looked exactly like me but was apparently much more hip and “in the know” about what was cool and cutting edge than I was. He wound up marrying her.

new_wave_guy

David B: David was not a narcissist; he was bipolar and suffered from severe depressions and substance abuse. He drank heavily to self-medicate and was always in and out of the psychiatric ward. He regarded me as a sort of mother figure and I liked the idea of being needed so much. But his neediness and clinginess became cloying and suffocating, he was constantly drunk, so eventually I left him, not without a little guilt in doing so. But he was really driving me crazy.

Michael B: The malignant narcissist I married. He is actually a psychopath. Michael acted very much like Steven in the beginning–showering constant attention and gifts on me, moving in very fast, talking about marriage just three months after we met. Being that I was in my mid-20s, I was open to marriage and he seemed perfect. I should have seen one HUGE red flag: the expensive engagement ring he insisted I have was purchased with my own credit card, because he had already maxed all his out. He always lived way above his means. He’d take me to expensive restaurants and insist I pay (and of course, he would pay me back later, but he never did). The rest of our story can be found in the articles under “My Story” in the header. Let’s just say the man is a psychopathic monster with serious substance abuse issues and a parasitic monster at that.

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Daniel S: The only lover I’ve had since the divorce. Well, okay, we were actually still married. (I’m not proud of this). But my marriage was already long over and I was desperate and miserable and not thinking straight (not that it’s an excuse to cheat). Daniel was actually a worse malignant narcissist than my ex, if that can be believed. He had that intense predatory stare, which I took to mean sexual and romantic interest, but was really his way of sizing up me as his prey. Of course I found him irresistably attractive. Unfortunately Daniel was another cerebral who had very little interest in sex. After a huge show of ardent romance and all that goes with it, he started the abuse, which included insulting me and comparing me (unfavorably) with his past lovers and what he saw as an “ideal woman.” He said he wanted babies with me but constantly criticized my parenting skills (as if he could know, since he never met my kids). He raged a lot although he never actually became physically abusive. He sulked and gave me the silent treatment when I didn’t do things his way or wanted to spend time with my family. He was stingy and although he had a lot more money than I did, he always made me pay my own way on dates. He obsessed about money. He would buy me things and constantly remind me how much those things cost him. He also would give me gifts and then ask for them back later, telling me he was only letting me “borrow” them. I am serious about this. After I ended our relationship (due to guilt at least as much as his abusive treatment), he still continued to call me constantly “as a friend.” After several of these phone calls, I finally worked up the guts to tell him to bug off and blocked his number.

ucallthislove

I have not had one lover or husband who was a just a nice regular guy. There have been a few of these men who seemed interested in me, but I always found them boring and rejected their attentions because I didn’t feel any “chemistry” with them.

I think it’s time to change all this. I want to start dating again soon. I know what red flags to look out for now so I think I can avoid the narcs, but can I fall in love with a normal man who will treat me well?

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

The Wheel of Abuse

cycle_of_violence
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.

infatuation-vs-love1

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.

Because several of you asked…

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A few of you asked me to go into more detail about Molly’s ex Paul and exactly what made me realize he was a malignant psychopathic narcissist. So I am doing that now.

Paul was smoking crack, which is easy to hide because it doesn’t smell that much and a person can still act sort of normal when high on crack. He seemed to have a hair-trigger temper though, which is common in both crackheads (I’ve known a few and they’re all quick to rage) and narcs.

So here we have a crackhead narc, a ticking time bomb. My daughter knew about the crack, but because he continued to give such a nice, mature, intelligent impression (the guy was very intelligent) no one believed her (because she’s had a history of drug use) ; the weird behavior she displayed at his house on Christmas wasn’t her on drugs (which he said it was). Her behavior was because she was scared and depressed and having panic attacks (another thing she suffers from) because of all the mental and borderline physical abuse (he would threaten but didn’t actually hit her) she was undergoing while she lived with him.

I felt so horrible when I realized I’d been turned into a flying monkey against my own kid, who was definitely the victim.
Maybe it was some kind of weird karma, because when she was younger those roles were reversed: she’d been used by my ex as a junior flying monkey against me.
The talk we had cleared everything up.

When I look back at things now, I realize there was something a little “off” about Paul that I couldn’t put my finger on. He seemed perfect: older (38 and mature), good job as a med tech, nice home in a nice neighborhood, good looking, and very nice and friendly. What’s a mom not to love? He told me he loved my daughter — this was 3 weeks after they met. He was moving so fast. She wasn’t comfortable with moving that fast but played along partly because she didn’t want to disappoint me (Hell, I wanted to date him myself!)

But there were so many red flags we both chose to ignore. And I say chose because I did see them.

I did think it was odd that he was 16 years older than her (she’ll be 22 in April) but rationalized that at least it wasn’t some 22 or 23 year old jobless basement dweller playing video games and smoking pot all day (like a couple of her exes were like). I thought he was too old, but thought that might be a good thing.

It would have been fine had he not been a predator. He was actually telling her he wanted her to have his baby! A month after they met. He has two kids right now, ages 9 and 2, he never sees and isn’t allowed to see. He also came to North Carolina suddenly, with no plan. He said some people in Florida (where he moved from) were stalking him. Another red flag. And all he talks about is his son all the time but his baby daughter–it’s as if she doesn’t exist to him. (They had two different mothers). He is apparently not on good terms with either of them.

Also, when he took my daughter down to Florida in November, they stayed two days and made the rounds visiting all HIS friends and family (and making “secret” trips where my daughter would be told to stay in the car and wait–VERY suspicious!) , but when my daughter asked to go see her brother (who was about 5 miles away from where they were staying), the psychopath told my daughter he didn’t have enough gas. He knew full well how much they had been looking forward to seeing each other. She hasn’t seen her brother since last March.

I think Molly’s whole experience of living with a psychopathic narc was meant to teach her something and wake her up from her own descent into narcissism. Before she met him she was very narcissistic and abusing drugs. She was making terrible choices.

Since this experience(which we talked about in the conversation I posted about), she put two and two together. She knows all about narcissism and psychopathy because I talk to her about it a lot, and she herself identified him as a narcissist without my having to tell her. She says she realized she was becoming a narcissist herself because now she’ s been the victim of one and sees how immoral her behavior had been.

I hate to say this, but Molly’s 30 days in jail probably helped too. She had time to read a lot (something she usually won’t choose to do on her own) and think things over. She realized how “bad” she was, and wants to change.

So I think she may be borderline, but may also be at that point I was back in 1985 when my friend’s calling me out and telling me she couldn’t be my friend anymore because of my narcissistic behavior, woke me up and made me stop myself before I slid down the rabbit hole into true narcissism. That ex-friend was actually being the best friend I could have had at that moment, even though I was devastated over her rejection of me. I believe she saved me from developing NPD.

Some things happen because they’re a wake up call from God. Perhaps his purpose was to educate her about herself in a unusual and painful way. It probably took something that dire to save her from herself.

Here are all the red flags we chose to ignore:

1. They met in a mental health facility-a 5 day drug rehab program. Probably not the ideal way to meet a potential suitor. (Both were also diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety–that doesn’t mean he’s not a narc–they often have comorbid mental disorders and addictions).

2. He came to this state without a plan. He said he was escaping people who stalked him in Florida and just kept driving until he found this area and decided this was where he wanted to live. He has no family or friends here. He paid for his house in cash within days of arriving.

3. Taking her to Florida and not allowing her to see her brother

4. Making her wait in the car while he visited people he was “doing business” with.

5. He seemed very easily upset or angered by things, but it took a while for this to show.

6. He seemed a little too perfect.

7. Moving too fast in their relationship, even talking about marriage and children.

8. He wanted my daughter to move in with him, then complained about all the money she was costing him.

9. Told me horrible things about my daughter and got me to believe them.

10. He was insanely jealous and questioned her whenever she spoke to a male friend on Facebook.

11. He has two children by two different women–neither is on good terms with him and he is not allowed to see his son or daughter.

12. Kept talking about the money Molly was going to get from her car accident settlement–and then got me to let him “hold onto” it (I trusted him more than her); the next day the money was gone.

13. Making me jump through hoops to get my cat back. Instead of just dropping her off at my house or letting me come pick her up, he released her into the woods; shelter personnel found her and I had to pay $85 to get her back.

14. He was a pathological liar.