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Narcissism--first-hand account.
December 26, 2005
4:13 pm
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whidbey
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Wow, I can't believe this web site. It's fantastic. I'm just coming out of an incredibly painful relationship with a man who I now know (by reading these threads) to be a complete Class B, narcissistic personality. Um, I think that's what I read...

These things I am reading are all so incredibly classic of the whirlwind I've been on for the past year. I e-mailed this guy I had met before, about 20 years ago, through a mutual friend whom I was visiting in Los Angeles. He is a musician in a classic rock band (that's what we say now rather than golden oldies, right? lol) We went out a few times way back then, and I came home. We kept in touch, off and on through the years, a few phone calls, Christmas cards, etc. Last fall, he called me and then kept calling. At the time, I was much overweight but had already begun to change my lifestyle and lose weight (so, he doesn't get credit for that... 🙂 ). He wanted me to fly down last winter, but I wouldn't until I had lost more weight (my decision). Well, he kept calling and calling. Finally, I got the ultimatum (first red flag, in looking back) that "we had gone as far as we could on the phone," and I had to decide to go down to see him or not. Soooo, I did, having lost enough weight (in my opinion) to feel comfortable with myself. I can't really go into all that has happened over the past year, or I'd be here all afternoon, but suffice it to say, he has every trait mentioned in these threads of narcissism and Class B personalities, and holy cow, did I fall into it. We had seen each other about once a month, or every other month since last March, a weekend at a time, and he would call every day, sometimes twice a day, most especially in the beginning. Talk about an addiction... oy... In the beginning, he would be out on tour and call and call, making me think I was truly his life line in this world. In April, when I was supposed to just come down for a weekend visit, he suddenly called and said, "Come down here for six weeks or so until I go on tour!" I work out of my home, so that was easy enough, and I thought, what the heck? Live a little... (having not been in a relationship at all in 10 years). A bit of a back-up, I have a dog, and all along that seemed to be okay with him. Okay, so he flies up, we drive down (and that trip had its own drama, let me tell you), dog and all. We get there and, unfortunately, my dog (greyhound) wants to go for his cat. I tried to explain how to make that work out (I have two cats at home; they all live peacefully). But now, everything was an inconvenience. Finally, after five days of sulking, he goes into a rage because I didn't leave a door open "properly." Having PTSD from past abusive relationships, I freak (and rightly so) at this rage. So, the "experiment" is off, and I drive home by myself (1,228 miles, one way). He keeps calling and keeping this thing going (okay, now, how sick was I to continue, I ask you? Another oy... moment). He had even begun to tell me that I was putting the dog before him, and to make it work, I would have to give up my dog. Fortunately, I never went for that ruse.

Finally, in August, right before we were to take a motorcycle trip up to my house from his, he got into a motorcycle accident and was hurt pretty badly. Soooo, off I ran (sans dog, left her in the kennel) to care for him. What a looonnnnggg and informational six weeks that was. I allowed myself to be bullied, verbally abused, manipulated, you name it, during that six weeks, all in the name of me thinking he would have no one else to care for him if I didn't (which he probably wouldn't, very few friends, understandably). He even began to tease me and taunt me about other women. I was helping him go through his e-mail (both arms were broken/hurt) One old girlfriend e-mailed him, whom he couldn't even remember, but "Let's save that e-mail." Teased me about it later. Then, he got a card from someone in France. I made a joke about a French tart sending him something, and I got the remark, "You get three questions about her." I only asked who she was, and she was someone he met on tour and still talked to regularly. I asked no more questions, and probably shouldn't have even asked the first, playing into his game. Later I read the card (it was left out, in the open, and he had said I could read his cards in the beginning), and she used all the intimate phrasology that he used with me. That was it for me, and when I left after the six weeks, I tried to discuss it with him. He couldn't because he wasn't "emotionally" up to it. So, I decided I wasn't going to let my life hang on someone else's decisions and made the break myself.

All that being said, this is possibly one of the most painful breakups I've ever experienced. His phone calls and attention in the beginning was as addicting as heroin (not that I've ever done that, but from what I hear...), and it has been a battle for the past three months to keep from calling him. Incidentally, during this three months, my abusive father passed away, I got sick, going through the emotions of this break-up, and my estranged daughter picked a fight with me on the day of father's funeral. He even called a couple of weeks back and actually suggested that what I needed was a "bike ride and some good sex." I told him where to get off, that I had never felt more used than that six weeks I was down there, and that he needed to think about how he treated people or he would be lonely for the rest of his life. That was empowering, but yikes, the pain still exists.

Okay, I know this is long, but if anyone actually made it all the way through this, I appreciate being able to "vent." It is so wonderful to be able to read that there is actually a CONDITION that he has (and no, I don't want to get back together), and there was a REASON for my confusion through this entire relationship, the games they play, etc. Thank you ALL who have posted on these horribly dysfunctional relationships. It is a load off my mind.

December 26, 2005
8:29 pm
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sdesigns
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Hi Whidbey: Well quite a story. I'm sorry you had to experience an N.

If you haven't already, please read "How You Become Prey to a Charmer/ Abuser" by Ladeska. If you go to thread search and type that in you'll find it. I think you may relate to what she had to say. Good luck, SD

December 26, 2005
8:43 pm
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Shaney
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Hi whidbey - wow... quite a romance. You made the right decision for a million different reasons - thank God that it wasn't five years like my last relationship with a guy in a band. It was the worst five years of my life - he hated my dog too, and my dog hated him. That, in itself, should have been a warning of what was to come - but we usually look right past those red flags in the beginning, and all we see is the band, the motorcylce and that edgy sort of fun we seem to be having. Be glad, and know that you will live to be happy. Those band guys... sheesh.

Hang in there - love, Shaney

December 26, 2005
9:00 pm
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prettyinpink
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whidbey...It is a painful experience being with a N. I am still in shock about all the years I've spent with my NH(12), and it IS only 7 wks since we shared the same bed together. Well, 9, actually, as he moved into the spare room and slept on a mattress on the floor for two weeks before we moved out, hoping I'm sure that I would change my mind and move with him.

Garfield has alot to share about N, you might find this very informative.

sdesigns, I am going to check out the thread you mentioned...thanks so much. Pink

December 26, 2005
10:46 pm
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Lass
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Whidbey,

Welcome! Yes, there are a few of us here who can completely relate to the experience of the drug called an N. And yet, like an alcoholic, the cure is in the removal of the substance, and in working on ourselves.

Merry Christmas!

LL

December 26, 2005
10:54 pm
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whidbey
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Thank you all for the warm welcome. I'll try and find that thread. In fact, it may have been the one I had found when I googled "narcissism and personality disorders." I just kept reading post after post of exactly what I had gone through. I truly thought I was completely past all that business in my life. I have cut myself a little slack since he and I had not really spent all that much time together, aside from the monthly weekend. He turned out NOT to be what he represented himself to be on the telephone all those months we had talked before I saw him for the first time. That being said, I look back now and see all sorts of red flags that I should have paid attention to, and will, from now on, if I even bother to get into another relationship. I was actually pretty happy and content before he came along and will be so again. However, as I stated before, reading that there is actually a condition and behavior pattern he fits into like a glove has somehow taken so much of that pain away. I'm just glad to be out of it. Thanks again. You all are great!

December 26, 2005
11:13 pm
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whidbey
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Just to add.... I found that thread, and Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle! That was my relationship to a tee. I'm going to print that out and keep it. Thank you SO much!

December 26, 2005
11:20 pm
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sdesigns
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Hi Whidbey: Isn't reading that for the first time an eye opener? I thought you might benefit from it. I printed it oout and even carried it around with me for awhile- plus I took it on vacation w/ me once.

"reading that there is actually a condition and behavior pattern he fits into like a glove has somehow taken so much of that pain away." that's eactly how I felt as well. I felt less like it was personal and it was his own problems- had nothing to do w/ me.

However, I next journeyed into why I let someone like that into my life and why I ignored the red flags. All interesting and very humbling stuff.

I now know it had more to do w/ me than him. Only I can be responsible for setting myself up like that. I was a volunteer and not a victim.

December 26, 2005
11:37 pm
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whidbey
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sdesigns,

You are 100% correct, and yes, I've been through the whole "what on earth was I thinking?!?" Even before I found this site, I swore to myself that I would never again be a doormat for anyone, no matter what. Thankfully, I've been through an extensive amount of counseling for the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father, who, incidentally, passed away at the same time all this was happening the past three months. I feel as though that chapter in my life is passing, and I am ready to leave all of it behind and grow. I honestly feel that it did happen all at once for a reason. I was able to go through the grieving for "what should have been, could have been" all at once. Of course, as a child, I had no control over what happened to me. As an adult, I do, and that is a freedom I will relish and cultivate.

December 27, 2005
8:57 pm
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hopeinhim
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Whidbey,
I am impressed that you wised up so quickly. The narcisist does make it easy - but, at least you were not with him longer. My husband moved out 4 weeks ago and we were coming up on roughly 6 years together.

Talk about grief - but, I don't miss him and I don't want him back. I am grieving that I won't have the marriage that I wanted and the loss of time spent with somebody like him.

I am trying to be positive- we have one daughter together, and I love my stepdaughter. I also am now a homeowner and will keep the home. He does feel some remorse (either that or he wants to look good) and is giving me restitution by not fighting me on issues as we approach the divorce process.

It does not seem to match up when you think about how attentive- and, what you would think is loving they can be.

Why the name Whidbey - are you from Washington state like myself?

Smiles,
Hope

December 28, 2005
5:51 am
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whidbey
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Good catch, hih! Yes, I am. Yes, that truly seems to be what causes the most pain, afterwards, is wondering what happened to the person I talked to for months on the telephone. It certainly wasn't the person he turned out to be, even with a small incident on the first visit. One truly does think it's a "fluke" moment. I can't even begin to count the moments I would sit and listen to his "monologue" of how stupid everyone else was, the members in his band were all "ignorant working class" people, not to mention most of the rest of the world. The funny (not haha, just revealing) thing was, when I met the other three guys at a concert in Vancouver this summer, they were all the nicest, most gracious, kind gentlemen to me, with whom I could hold very intelligent, and/or normal, meaningful conversations. I remember wondering why on earth he held such low opinions of these people.

Then, of course, the drama queen moments in the relationship, of which there were many, the rages, the tantrums, etc. All the small little "gouges" and cruel sarcasm disguised as "jokes." Some of them were about my weight, even after I had already gotten down to a weight to where I was looking pretty darn good, even if I say so myself :). In the beginning, of course, it was all praise on how well I was doing, yadda, yadda..., but then came the comments that I still had a little bit of extra skin under my chin (trust me, even being my own worst critic, it's not bad at all, and geez, I AM 50 years old...), skin under my arms wasn't toned and perfect, oh, just so many little things. Once he even "affectionately" called me his "little piggy." When I told him that was unacceptable, he said, oh, I didn't mean it to do with your weight at all. Yeah, right. I was once told I was the complete antithesis to what he was usually attracted, the tall, slender blonde. Ok. What did that make me? He actually said to me, on the first visit, "I just want you to know that I'm not at all repulsed by this *waving his hand at my body* and how you look." Repulsed?!? I stared him straight in the eye and told him a LOT of men wouldn't be repulsed by how I looked, and he backed down quickly. I took way too much for way too long, but I did have my moments of standing up for myself, of which I am proud. On the whole, however, not enough. When he was injured, the few, very brief times I mentioned my shoulders ached from having worked all day, he would immediately, and I mean immediately turn it back to himself and his ailments, without even an acknowledgement of what I had just said. Finally, at one point, I looked him square in the eye and told him, "well, this isn't about you, it's about me." Oh, okay... However, even the next morning, when he started in on his self-monologue, he stopped and said, "Oh, is it still all about you?" I replied, "No, it was just that moment. It doesn't always need to be about me." Another silence, no comment. These are just a fraction of the moments of narcisism, small gibes at putting me down, etc. Again, I sure wish I had been armed with the knowledge I've gained here, back then.

His hearing isn't all that great, and after one of his tantrums and rages (in which he prided himself that they weren't directed at me, but oh, I would know it if they ever were !! ), and having been in physically abusive relationships in the past, I would get very quiet, as one with that kind of past does, legs like rubber, literally nauseous, etc., doing anything not to direct the rage at one's self. He then accused me of turning into "two different people" where I wouldn't talk to him for hours, or would speak so low that he couldn't understand me (can we say fear, anyone? They was classic PTSD symptoms for me). In reality, it was he who had become two different people; I was just reacting to his behavior. At any rate, he actually came to me and said that he had had this problem with another girlfriend of not speaking up so he could hear her, and well, she was no longer around. Veiled threat or what? Sigh... Most of that was when I was caring for him after his injury, and the pain and anger at the accident having happened was the convenient scapegoat. However, I spoke with the wife of a friend who has known him for years, and apparently this rageful behavior is nothing new. Something I found out afterwards. Go back to him? Nuh uh, no way. And yes, even though I stayed too long, I do give myself credit for standing up for myself and ending it after only months, rather than let it drag on. As for the women and his looking, saving e-mails, continuing to carry on intimate conversations with women he met on tour, etc., well, I told him I had too much respect for myself than to wait around for him to decide whether he wanted to be with me or not, and that he didn't get to decide how my life was going to turn out (I thank a Dr. Phil show for that particular enlightenment). Turns out I should have "respected" myself way sooner, but hey, after 10-11 years of not being in a relationship at all, it was a reminder of what I did NOT want, or deserve, in my life any longer. It was intensely painful to make the break, but I also knew I couldn't be just another one of his discards and wasn't going to wait around for it.

Soooo, in retrospect, while I did, in fact, ignore too many red flags in this (a slip-up to old ways from my past), I also caught it before it got so much worse, and I credit myself for that. After reading the articles on narcissism and the charmer/abuser, I realized he is the poster boy for both, and I mean without exception. That was incredibly empowering for me and has literally taken most, if not all, the pain away from the breakup for me. I feel LUCKY that I got out when I did.

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