I have serious question that I have been wrestling with. I know my cheating ex-wife is a narcissist and tried to put all the blame on me. And yes, good riddance of her. What’s tough to swallow, and this is a serious question, is that on the surface the new guy is better looking, taller, and has more hair than me. Isn’t there something to just realizing this fact and moving on?
I wrestle with it, since I am dating as well, and yes there are some girls I am attracted more to. But trust me, I value character, integrity, and morals. My ex obviously didn’t.
She didn’t love me. How I looked. How I spoke. Everything. I snore. I know about the skein of fuckedupness….. that tangly mess. But isn’t it okay to own some of this? Or is it buying her shitty bill of goods?
Happy New Year,
Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist and orator once said: “A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.”
Which is just a more erudite way of saying: Consider the source.
A person who loves you will not insult you. And a person who does not love you, cannot insult you. Not really. They can’t really land any blows on you, because they’re not intimate with you.
When you love someone and commit your life to theirs, you make yourself vulnerable. One of the ways we make ourselves vulnerable is believing what our intimates think of us. You spend a lot of time around this person, and they mirror back to you every day if they’re pleased or displeased with you. If you’re with someone who is constantly and forever displeased with you (and then replaces you with someone younger and hairier), it’s hard not to take that personally, to internalize the message that gosh, you suck.
But consider the mirror. It’s in your cheater’s best interest to reflect back to you that you suck, because it absolves them of personal responsibility (at least in their fevered, little minds). Your snoring, less-than hirsute ways make you simply intolerable, so screwing around on you is something they were driven to do.
Did you ever read Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen”? It starts out with the tale of some evil goblins, who have created a mirror that reflects everything into something ugly. They’re flying over Scandinavia one day, carrying the mirror — and it drops and shatters. Fragments spread across the land in tiny pieces. Anyone who gets a shard of this glass stuck in their eye can now only see ugliness where there is beauty. The little boy in the story gets a piece of glass stuck in his eye and leaves his good friend Gerta to go live with the Snow Queen. (A fable for infidelity if ever there was one.) HCA writes about the mirror:
When we are at the end of the story we shall know more than we do now, for he was a bad goblin. He was one of the very worst, for he was a demon. One day he was in very good spirits, for he had made a mirror which had this peculiarity, that everything good and beautiful that was reflected in it shrank together into almost nothing, but that whatever was worthless and looked ugly became prominent and looked worse than ever.
The most lovely landscapes seen in this mirror looked like boiled spinach, and the best people became hideous, or stood on their heads and had no bodies; their faces were so distorted as to be unrecognizable, and a single freckle was shown spread out over nose and mouth. That was very amusing, the demon said.
Your ex has a piece of goblin glass stuck in her eye. I’m sure you do have a freckle or a paunchy tummy or a balding head, but these things have become distorted and seen out of proportion to what is true and good — that you’re kind and faithful man who is worthy of love.
It’s good to be self reflective. It’s a quality that sets you apart from the disordered freaks who have no empathy or powers of introspection. It’s great to want to improve yourself, whether that’s being a kinder person or a less chubby one. But the people who love us, who truly get us, look past our imperfections. We’re all imperfect. We all snore. It’s only narcissists who think they deserve special, super-human perfect people to feed them kibbles. You were once apparently an acceptable supply of kibbles, until you weren’t. So, really it’s nothing personal.
You need to value relationships with people who don’t traffic in kibbles. I’m not saying physical looks don’t matter. We should all strive to look as spiffy as we can manage, but you only have yourself to work with. No one can make you taller, and who gives a flip really? Just like you’d like to find a woman with good character, there is a woman out there who wants the same. Who will likes you for you. Who delights in your idiosyncrasies and ignores your freckles. As you do hers.
As for your ex and her hairy companion? Practice “meh.” Who made her judge, jury, and executioner? Why are you giving her that power? Or as the shrinks say — “Don’t internalize the judgement.” Why would you look to a cheater freak for validation? You may as ask your local tinfoil hat schizophrenic for his opinion.
Surround yourself with the people who love you. Internalize that love, and you’ll attract the right people. Examine your values — are you buying into the narcissist bullshit? That you’re only worthy if you look a certain way or earn so much money?
Don’t date the goblins, Steve and I’m sure you’ll be just fine.