Five years ago, I unknowingly entered a relationship with a raving narcissist. I didn’t know anything about the disorder at the time. I just thought he was quirky and kind of a jerk, but he was MY cute, quirky little jerk. Fast forward 3 years later, after moving in together, the abuse, flirting with anyone/thing that moved (the waitress, the neighbors, his ex-girlfriend, the dog), it all started to fall apart. I felt like I was slowly going mad. His controlling behavior, put downs, commitment issues, triangulation, the other women… I was miserable and yet still loved him. He ended up dumping me, I had to move out of his place and re-build my soul, my dreams, and hopes for the future. But I did, and I read and read. It was then that finally all the weird, off handed comments, like how he didn’t have empathy, and all his crazy making abusive behavior, started to make sense. I ran the hell away, went NC, and blocked the asshole from of my life. This lasted 2 years.
The problem is (and this is a big one) this last year I broke NC and went back… three times! These times include hysterical bonding sex and casual “hang outs,” but zero relationship (brief periods of love bombing followed by interactions all on his terms). It’s like before, only a thousand times worse. I am almost 100 percent confident I am participating in his harem (although he wouldn’t call it that, they are all just his “friends”). Just a couple days ago, I cut it off again, because the abuse combined with his lack of love is so blatant, it literally makes me want to throw up. But he acts like he desperately doesn’t want to let me go, so then I think, does that mean he loves me? It can be so confusing, especially after I step away for a few months. That’s when I start thinking maybe he’s not that bad, maybe we can “just be friends,” I feel guilty for cutting him from my life, and feel bad for abandoning him. I am in therapy with a good therapist specializing in the disorder and FOO issues, and I do truly do want to heal and move on.
Please… do you have any words of advice to help me pull my head from my ass and stay the hell away? I really do want to find a real, loving relationship. I know staying on this horror ride only leaves me stuck, literally spinning in around circles.
Dear Nauseous Chump,
There’s knowing something, and there’s doing something.
Here’s what you know: He’s toxic. He’s a cheater. You’re not the only one.
I know staying on this horror ride only leaves me stuck, literally spinning in around circles.
You know it, but what are you DOING about it? You managed no contact for two years, but during that time you devoted your research to HIM. His issues, his narcissism, what genus of what species of jerk he is.
I’m not saying that time is wasted if you come to a conclusion, (TRUST THAT HE SUCKS) but apparently you needed to do more research, and got kicked in the teeth some more. Perhaps it’s time to form a congressional subcommittee.
You could have taken that time and untangled your own skein. Why was this relationship acceptable to you? Just think! You could’ve filled those two no contact years with DOING fuckwit-neutral, fuckwit-irrelevant things that YOU enjoy, getting to know people who aren’t fuckwits, who don’t require hours researching the DSM manual.
So let’s untangle your skein a bit.
I just thought he was quirky and kind of a jerk, but he was MY cute, quirky little jerk.
You can spackle any adjective you want over “jerk” and it’s still JERK. Cute, quirky jerk is still douchebag I wouldn’t want to sit next to at a dinner party.
Why do you think “jerk” is all you deserve? That you have to dress that shit up and take it out? Why was that OKAY with you?
Yes, no one is perfect and we’re all fairly mortifying to one degree or another, but I’m talking JERK.
When you sit on that shrink sofa, go explore why you don’t feel worthy of even a JERK. But you’ll have to pick me dance hard to keep that jerk! So long as you WIN the jerk, and he’s your jerk, his jerkiness is acceptable?
How about — you don’t traffic in jerks. Because you are not a jerk, and jerks don’t reflect your values.
Just a couple days ago, I cut it off again, because the abuse combined with his lack of love is so blatant, it literally makes me want to throw up.
A jerk who makes you puke. #winning
But he acts like he desperately doesn’t want to let me go, so then I think, does that mean he loves me?
No. He loves kibbles. Look at his actions and learn the difference. People who love you don’t treat you like shit and make you compete for their love. He “desperately” doesn’t want the game to end. He’s totally A-okay with you debasing yourself for a few of HIS precious kibbles. The rate on return is 1 kibble of his to 10000000000000000000000 of yours. Is that okay with you?
Real love makes you feel SAFE, not insane. Drama isn’t love. Drama is turbulence and barf bags.
It can be so confusing, especially after I step away for a few months. That’s when I start thinking maybe he’s not that bad, maybe we can “just be friends,”
Bargaining stage of grief. It’s okay to feel lonely, or miss what future you thought you were going to have, but be clear-eyed about him. He sucks.
Here’s a dirty secret, but the cycle of abuse is a big high — the honeymoon part, that is. That moment you “win”, when he wants you and fucks you, and CHOOSES you, and insists that all of this was a terrible misunderstanding. (Your misunderstanding. You’re dim, and he would explain it to you, but you’re not sophisticated enough to understand.) But for once, you have a BRIGHT, SHINING KIBBLE! And it’s so powerful — because you’ve imbued it with your power.
And of course, he’s not All Bad. No toxic relationship is without its hooks. If I tell you he’s a jerk, you’ll tell me about how nice he is to his pet iguana, or how he helped his elderly neighbor rake leaves once, or his lovely thatch of chest hair. AND WOMEN LOVE HIM! So there must be SOMETHING there that EVERYONE sees and YOU’RE GOING TO MISS OUT ON!
So what. Who are YOU? Is that ENOUGH for YOU? Is disrespect, and being thrown over for the next Miss Kibbletits your idea of friendship? Aren’t you worth more than one quirky, jerk kibble?
I feel guilty for cutting him from my life, and feel bad for abandoning him.
He abandoned YOU. He threw you out of his house. You’re not the bad guy here. Go google DARVO. Methinks you’ve been mindfucked. (You can stop that with no contact.)
Quit seeking validation from fuckwits. You fell off the wagon, now dust yourself off and get back on. You’ve given this man all your power, and you need to take it back.
Get busy DOING. Fill that new life, and rewire the reward centers in your brain for mightiness. There are not “real, loving” relationships with fuckwits. But you can have one with yourself. Stay strong.