2015-05-24 - 1:01 p.m.
So the mystery personality disorder is Narcissism. My ex would not at first glance accept the notion that he is a narcissist, because he is not super proud about his looks and he doesn't gaze lovingly into the mirror for hours on end. That is just the basic preconceived notion about narcissism. This commonly accepted image of the narcissist is not all-encompassing or terribly accurate.
Narcissists are not always the flashy, overtly self-promoting type. Some of them have some other thing that they consider to be their special quality. Something about them makes them seem (to themselves) as if they exist higher above us mere mortals. They feel and act as if they are above the rules. They hold up double standards for the people they interact with. In their opinion, it is ok for them to do a thing, but egregiously wrong for others to do the same.
"Particularly in the quieter narcissists, there may not be signs of overt self-reference and promotion. But there is defensiveness and reactive anger if they are not recognized or if they can't get their way."
Bingo! That describes the type of narcissism my ex displays. For him, intelligence is his super power. He is very intelligent and he is known for that. My main complaint about him during our relationship was that he held me to a double standard and always had to have his way. When I did not cave and go entirely his way, he was angry, punitive, and would keep that up until he got me to cave in. This is how he behaved the second time we were a couple. Before he left me the first time, it was all good. Until he disappeared. He was wonderful to me for a few years. However, I was 100% adoring towards him. I was a narcissist's dream.
He did a great job with that initial charming part where the narcissist makes you feel so special and loved. Wow, I ate that stuff up. Here's me, writing about my ex and his psychiatric problems, but you'll notice I'm the dummy that fell so hard for someone that it literally took me YEARS to realize I'd been played. What a maroon!
I fell right in line, I played my part really well, especially in the first few years, before he realized I wasn't going to give him what he wanted - to live with me without the real life commitment of marriage. Then he just dropped me and moved on to a girl with no hang ups about shacking up. No biggie. Just trade one female for another. The "female comfort unit" had no feelings to consider. Totally interchangeable are we.
All that talk of me being so special was a means to an end, unbeknownst to me. The second time around, I loved him as much as ever, but I trusted him less due to the unfortunate abandoning I'd gone through at his hands and my fear of a second abandonment. I'm sure that made me seem less adequately adoring to him. He discovered he could charm the pixel panties off of a broad spectrum of women online and that was like crack to him. No wonder he wouldn't give it up.
Meanwhile, I put a lot of work into removing the obstacles that I thought were preventing us from getting married. He always said he wanted to marry me, but getting him to make one single move towards it was like trying to poke a noodle up a tiger's ass.
I made fantastic progress on getting my end of the obstacles out of the way. I had grown my career, had excellent credit, was legally divorced, raised a kid, paid off a house, and moved out of state, to a state he claimed to want to live in. In all this time, he made exactly zero changes. He still owes every defaulted loan, every penny of back child support unpaid, no career, legal problems, tax problems, personality problems. Zero progress was made on his end. Who is the dummy who was still hanging in there? Yep, I thought I could help him straighten out his life and get on track.
We had more struggles the second time around, because I was acutely aware that he was getting more and more bossy and demanding and I knew that I am too... feisty, independent, stubborn, grown-ass... to be able to accept that for my life. I was very concerned about the power struggles and I tried to discuss this with him many times, but guess what? This kind of thing angers a narcissist. You get nowhere with this. I didn't even know he was a narcissist. I just thought he was a hard case. I knew that in order for our marriage to work, he would have to understand that I've got to be me. I can't live my day to day life under someone's thumb. Any moves I made towards trying to get him to be fair, see my viewpoint, or respect my right to decide how I am going to conduct myself in this world were met with incredible resistance, anger, and threats. At the end, he had spiraled down to a barrage of baseless accusations, constant anger, contempt, and during this time he was charming and wooing his next "female comfort unit" on the side.
He lives with her now, by the way. She didn't have any moral reservations about spending time with someone else's man, getting on a plane to go shag a stranger or 3, or shacking up with my guy. She was super adoring too, so BONUS! I used to just search my brain trying to figure out why he would accept someone like her for a girlfriend, because he has mercilessly made fun of people exactly like her. But if I consider that my ex is a narcissist and she gave him the adoration he wants plus total unquestioning submissiveness, then it makes sense that he would choose that and not care about the other details. It's hard to find someone who will willingly play that role and he had to snap that up while the opportunity was there. Here I was, trying to get him to treat me fairly, consider my feelings, and accept responsibility. Why would he stay with that?? Now I understand.
Yesterday's post was just a fraction of the stuff I have read about narcissists that matched my ex. I sort of hurriedly threw together a bunch of things that rung a major bell of recognition for me. I could cite many more references and give many more examples. I just wanted to frame it up well enough to be recognizable so when my ex reads it he will see himself and maybe deep down inside he can admit to himself that this explains his numerous failed relationships and lost jobs and difficulties with others.
I also want him to know that I see your spots, leopard. I know that I am not perfect. Far from it. I was the dummy who fell for the trap of a narcissist! I was the one who gave up years of my life grieving and feeling intense loss for this guy who never really cared about my heart. I was shallow in my youth, then I was clueless and not very self aware. I've done wrong things, I've made mistakes. But I loved YOU. I really and truly fell in love with that sweet, funny, charming, smart, lovable guy you presented to me. I was really hurt by you. Twice. (shame on me)
I've come a long way, baby. I believe I now truly understand what happened and I take responsibility for my own vulnerability to your charms. I reject your unnecessarily cruel assessment of me. I'm not evil. I'm not a pit viper. I'm not a cunt. I'm a good person and your skewed opinion of me hurt me very much but it's not the truth. I refuse to suffer any more about that.
In the end, I still have this little hurty spot down in my chest. It's the wound that you put in my heart. It's the love I still have for you. I'm going to have to carry that. Always, I suppose. I'm sure you think I hate you, but you're wrong.
Narcissism is a behavioral problem and as such it can be helped. But you have to be honest and you have to want to begin to operate in the world in a different and healthier way.
I wish you well in this and I will always love you and be your friend.