Let's start with what is a narcissist, because that term gets used very often and easily these days. First off, all of us have the tendencies to experience behaving even bad behaviors such as a narcissist. Have you ever been cornered in a situation and act out to defend yourself or a loved one. Think about a mother protecting her child, she is kind and loving but if put in a situation she will fight to protect her children and even to the extent of harming another. A true narcissist is non of those, a true narcissist is a person who has either experience such pain as a child by their parents but also it can be a child that was overly praised growing up , becoming intitled. In these cases the narcissist sole goal in life is to achieve their life goals with no regard towards those they hurt along the way. It has been proven that 1 in every 20 people is a narcissist; so if you are in a space of 20 or more people the likelihood of their being a narcissist in the mix goes up. Everyone has met one or two in their lives but that doesn't mean you knew they are a narcissist. They walk around just like anyone else, and if anything you may have found them charming and funny to be around.
In the mind of a narcissist, the first thing they try to find out when they meet new people is what could they benefit from them? Maybe they are looking for a new job, they will charm their way towards the career they want by be-friending a beneficial person and once they get the job, they may never be heard from again. In an intimate relationship, for the most part they look for an individual they can control, the people they are most likely going to target are people with in securities, no boundaries, and empathic people. In the beginning of the relationship they will do what they call love bombing, make you feel like you are the most amazing person in the world, it is a world of crazy passion and a feeling like no other, and so the person being targeted will fall deeply in love and become so blinded to reality. Yes I understand that most know this phase as the love bombing phase but anyone can love bomb, I agree 100% with Richard Grannon where in a relationship with a narcissist it is "Love leveraging" as he mentions like the vampire myths. A vampire cannot come into your home unless you invite them in, and their technique is quite the same. They charm you in a way to believe that they are the person you have been looking for that one perfect person that every one says doesn't exist, and they set you up so that you made the choice to choose to love them, you chased them and let them in even though they were not being their authentic selves. This sets you up so what ever could possibly go wrong in the future, it was your fault you fell in love, and then you are left with guilt and it's that guilt that will bind you in the events that will happen in the future.
The after some time things start to calm down a bit and you have your first fight, second fight and so on, and then you start noticing the gaslighting, but at the same time you start losing your mind because you cannot believe that the person you fell so in love with could treat you that way, say those things, or refuse to take responsibility for their actions when there is so much "LOVE" between you. I cannot recall how many times, I went into an argument knowing I was in the right and by the time it ended he had me convinced it was my fault and I would turn right back around for round two,,, three,,, until I was so depleted I just couldn't argue my side any more to get through to him to take responsibility for his actions. Every argument had what is called word salad, while maybe you could be arguing about why the baby's diaper hadn't been changed, the narcissist could be throwing in comments such as "well, last week you didn't take out the trash" or right in the middle of the conversation they throw in "Did you know that Jane got into a car accident?" anything to remove the focus on their lack of doing, understanding, what ever it was that caused the fight in that moment. After time you will start to feel really tired, and your thoughts begin to become a blur and you are trying to do a million things but cannot keep up and then they will begin to blame or shame you for your inability to focus.
I am a doer, and I have reason to believe that was one of things thing s that attracted my narcissist to me. When I say I am going to do something, I follow through. With that being said, my professional life was improving and I was making more money than my narcissist partner. When we moved in together, my kids at the time were young and I wasn't getting financial support from their father, my narcissist partner gave me a heart felt excuse how he had to continue to support his ex until she got on her feet because they had a young child together. My understanding this was a bump in the road, and soon we would move on from this in a short time. Well, his ex got on her feet, even got in a new relationship and had another child with her new man, but some how I was now supporting a family of five on my own. When I would confront him, it was just another exhausting fight, where I was depleted by the time we were done, nothing was solved because of all the gaslighting or the tears would come pouring down because he had two kids in another country :the feel sorry for me syndrome" because my pain is greater than yours.
We were married, divorced. I thought to date afterwards to get my mind off of what ever kept trying to pull me back. Who ever is reading this the worse thing you can do is jump into another relationship after a narcissistic relationship. The men I dated somehow seemed creepier and I ended up going back. Mind you the whole time we were split up he had been stalking me and I even had to get a restraining order because he would show up at what ever time yelling at me how much he loved me and why I am dating other men. I have pulled over several times while driving my car and he would be openly following me. Looking back the look in his eyes were as if he was satisfied hearing me scream at him. In the end I went back, not just this once but after two break ups.
During the second break up, I tried so hard to understand what was keeping me in that relationship, I read every book and understood he was a narcissist and yet I still went back. This time I thought I knew how to control the situation and that I was strong enough to make it work. Any of you ever hear yourself making the excuses to loved ones for your narcissist partners behavior, or even your own behavior? I have had people who care about me tell me how I cater to his ever needs to make sure everything around him is to his liking. The house I bought and investing all my savings into and even hurt my back doing 90% of the work on it alone had to be to his liking. When we got back together that last time, he had "love leveraged" me that we couldn't live together unless he was on the title of my house and what I do to "compromise" and "work on our relationship", yes of course I added him. At this point I was so drained, working three jobs, taking care of the house, and anything he didn't want to deal with. In his mind he just had to work is one job and no responsibilities when he came home and would just sit in front of the TV the whole time. The only time he had energy was when other people were in the picture, if it was friends or guests he was the funny man I fell in love with but when it was the kids and us, he would make constant remarks to cause us to argue and fight with each other. I always was making excuses because I was too tired to deal with him, towards the end we fought 99% of the time.
My moving abroad was a light at the end of the tunnel, a chance to escape and find myself again. Slow and quiet things down so I could see straight. I always had to plan everything but as soon as I got here it was if the universe was saying "that is not going to work for you anymore" and every thing that could possibly could go wrong, did, and though my healing process had began I gave attention to what was familiar because I was so scared. Unfortunately, that insecurity aloud him back in. He started the love leveraging again, but his time I wasn't quite buying it. Before I left he told me he stayed behind to get his citizenship, but when we were in public he would tell people he was staying behind incase I didn't get a job, but I never understood why he kept saying that when I had a job. When I did end up losing my job and held him accountable to his statement that was world war three. In that moment I knew I was different because months had gone by where I had quite time to mourn all the bad things in our relationship and I studied his behavior over and over again. I was just barely starting to look inwards at this point and started being clear about my boundaries if he wanted to join me here and we talked about the possibilities of making it work.
His last visit mind you at his point he has "KNOWN" me for 17.5 years, I took him to my favorite village here and to the art museum I so adore, he was quiet until we left and were out of the public eye, out of no where he began to scream at me "I HATE ART! I HATE MUSUEMS! I HATE YOU TAKING PICTURES! I HATE YOUR VIDEOS!" Those who know me personally know that basically he stated he hates who I am. That weighed on me for almost two months until one fine day, I knew I was done. After how many break ups, divorce, fights, etc,,, every time I would ask myself why I keep going back? What is holding me? Why can't I break this when I know it is bad for me? All the questions I had for the last 15 years, the answers just came flooding in. For the first time I truly saw him for what he is, but I am not saying just that he his a narcissist but how empty his soul is, how lost he is and that every moment I thought was a shared moment because I wanted to believe he loved me , it was moments I had put together but there was never a moment he took the time to make special for me and when I would beg him, I got shamed. All the moments I thought were good times, he would fight with me before we would head out or before guests would show up so that I could not enjoy a joyful moment in my life to its fullest and how many times I had to put on a fake smile because I was dying inside with his hurtful words. When I announced the break up, everyone responded but you guys looked so happy. What people don't know is everyone of those videos there was a fight but the funny part was he made sure to remind me to tag him so he can share them, even though he hates them so much.
Only a few weeks out since the break up and I just cannot unsee the ugly, but what really made the change was changing my focus. When I began to focus on the things I was doing wrong, was when I could see what was being done and holding me back. I had some loved ones express their concerns because of how I would cater to him and when I began to look at the situation from their eyes that was when I was able to see what I thought I had under control was actually emotional and mental abuse. I am not going to say recovery is easy it is not, especially after that amount of time. Have you ever pulled fat off a raw chicken and you can hear it rip off? That is what it feels like, as if I am ripping off something that has been attached to me for so long. Out of no where I begin to get anxiety for no reason, I begin to tremble and shake. I avoid being around people and all I can thing about is why? I know I still have a road to recovery and time will heal the scars. I am focusing on my own healing because I hope to help others who are going through the same thing to never reach how far I did in my relationship but to see their truth before it's like ripping off chicken fat off a raw chicken.