Wasted Time

The vast majority of the time I wasted with my narcissistic ex was trying to understand him. Because I was trying to do that with the expectation that I was dealing with someone who held similar values, deep down inside, as me. Now, I can appreciate diversity. I love it. I’m glad we’re not all the same. But underneath our differences lies a commonality, core values that extend to all human beings. Well, maybe in a perfect world. But it’s still a standard to which I believe most people do adhere to. What are those values? Well, common courtesy, for one. Respect. Some level of integrity, honesty, and kindness. Seeing oneself in another – not as in making them invisible or merely a reflection of you – that’s what narcissists do – but seeing yourself in another through empathy, recognizing their humanity they share with you. Trying to understand a person without that core is futility. There needs to be something that anchors or grounds the differences found in people to something good, something reliable, solid. So that even as mistakes are made, misunderstandings, personality quirks or whatever, there’s someone there worth understanding. Under whatever it is that upset you … Continue reading

Set up…and other war stories

So what’s your “favorite” manipulation or crazy-making incident or outrageous behavior you’d like to enter for the records? This isn’t my favorite, but it is a biggie for me, the anger of which has taken longer for me to heal. It’s not the lies or the cheating or even the “run of the mill” verbal and emotional abuse. It’s being set up. Do you know what I mean? It goes like this… You go to him…after making sure it’s the right time, the right place, he’s in a good mood (but not too good, because you don’t want to ruin it), he’s not in a bad mood (because how can you burden him with another negative thing?), it’s the right season, temperature, day of the week and all the stars are lined up just so, and of course, there’s nothing else more important happening like a night out with the guys, a card game or his night to clip his toe nails. You get the picture. And so you approach him and ask him about something that is bothering you, because of signs, or what you might have heard, in this case his infidelity, and you don’t accuse him (you … Continue reading

Those Sudden Changes

One day he calls. He’s as nice as can be and engages in friendly conversation. I’m civil, but I learned long ago not to read anything positive or hopeful into such behavior. I have no desire to linger, but I’m not rude. Sometimes it helps to leave him in a good mood. My daughter might benefit from it, when she has to be with him tomorrow. For her, I’ll play along. The very next day he appears at my door. Knocks once, and steps in, not even waiting for me to answer. I look at his face. His eyes are shiny, almost wet, his face is red. He’s not drunk. No, it’s not that. I can feel it. There’s that familiar rage, the one I know so well. It’s just underneath the surface waiting for the slightest excuse to explode onto the scene. He cannot hold it. He asks if she’s ready. Well, almost…he’s early. He immediately starts yelling. He needs her to be ready when he says he’s going to be here. His hand is jabbing at the air as he speaks. He’s daring me to a fight. I point out he’s early. He immediately argues, like he’s pained … Continue reading

What was I thinking?

By Learning2Swim What was I thinking? “What do you do when you’re in a relationship with someone who’s always right?” This is the question I asked of a friend of mine when I was dating my NPD. It was not a criticism of the woman I was dating, rather, it was praise. I actually believed that she was always right. She was so good that even though I observed the pattern of “outcomes” from our disagreements, and further, even though I observed the unlikely nature of her perfection, I still believed it. She had me from the beginning. When an outsider sees the details of an abusive marriage they often wonder how the submissive partner would ever choose to be in a relationship like that. On some level, they ask themselves, “How could they be so stupid?” The usual answer is that the aggressive partner is not always that way, or at least did not used to be that way. “They used to be so wonderful and charming.” In my case, and I think probably in most cases—even those that rationalize with the above explanation—this is not true. It is true that my NPD is not always demonstrating manipulative, dishonest, … Continue reading

A Mother’s Turmoil

By AnotherChance63 After stumbling upon this site by chance and reading many of the heartbreaking stories herein, I have decided to share my own. I grew up with only one sibling, a sister, and a severely bi-polar mother. I won’t leave my father out as he was a good one, when he was around. Being a doctor, he was often gone and thus did not see or even seem to care what was transpiring between my mother and me. My mother hated me and made it manifest every day of my childhood. Interestingly enough she adored my little sister and made it evident there would NEVER be anything I could do to deserve the love she had for her. My mother never worked and rarely lifted a finger to do anything around the house. It was common to come home from school and find her still in her pajamas either in her bed or on the couch, crying. I tried to help her (by doing laundry, dishes, etc.) and even let her take the credit for it. But nothing was good enough to please her and it seemed to make her hate me even more. She would often tell me … Continue reading

On the Precarious Front

By Reflector “There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.” ~ Jane Austen On the “precarious” front this week, my daughter’s mother (MDM) called. She wanted to talk, yet she let on as if she hadn’t been served the divorce papers. It was only later that my lawyer informed me she had received them. I therefore had no clue where the conversation was going. I was puzzled by her unusually receptive tone and her considerate, yet pointed questions. In brief MDM wanted to know if I would reconsider the whole divorce decision and seek counselling with her… etc, etc. *sigh* My encounters with MDM require close scrutiny of my motivations. I don’t know which is louder – the external critical parent voice that comes from her, my own or both? As much as I analyze and re-analyze, it’s impossible to come to one hundred percent certainty about another person. As Austen says, “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.” However, in spite of human limitations, discernment is necessary and one of the … Continue reading

Another Kind of Relational Loss

by Reflector “Most people tend to notice other people’s energy and actions before they notice their own. They become preoccupied with what others are doing or not doing, projecting their ideas about why they are that way. They carry on with criticism or comparisons, while their deeper feelings go unattended.” – Doc Childr and Deborah Rozman Sometimes I think I’m attending deeper feelings when I’m really focused upon my reactions to others. It’s easy for me to confuse the two things. Yesterday while I was filing for divorce, I was focused upon what my daughter’s mother might do once she receives the document. Filing a divorce is one of the most anticlimactic events I’ve ever experienced, like amputating an arm or a leg. In the beginning phase of my separation I rode on a wave of anger and indignation that provided fuel. I looked forward to the day when I could break with the past and just move on. However, ending a relationship looks easier from a distance even when the marriage is harmful. However, the final showdown doesn’t ring victory, since only you experience the scourge of a bad marriage and there’s no one to applaud your determination one … Continue reading