By the time the Narc entered my life I was 32 years old; he was 47. We worked for the same company and he saw the implosion of my marriage from the sidelines. He witnessed the multiple phone calls from Dale, and my reactions to things Dale said. He made understanding noises, said things that led me to believe he was a whole new breed of man; a man who understood women and what they really want.
We worked together for a year before we hooked up. He had been through what he described as a horrific divorce, but over the years I have come to understand that the only person who went through hell in that marriage was his ex wife, but that is neither here nor there.
He love bombed me from the start. He convinced me that I was the most beautiful, intelligent, interesting and unique person on the planet. He listened to me vent about Dale’s bullshit; sympathized with my pain, consoled me, told me that I deserved better, that there was a man out there who was worthy of me. When I moved out of Dale’s apartment, the Narc was right there to slide into my life. And I welcomed him with open arms.
His declarations of love started almost immediately. He “just knew” we were meant to be together; the two of us would do great things. He said that all his life he’s only wanted one thing: to have a “truly intimate relationship.” I wondered aloud what that meant and he told me it was a relationship where both parties knew all the secrets of the other, their deepest thoughts and emotions, really, truly knew and understood each other and shared hobbies and interests, worked as a team in all things, loved unconditionally.
Sounds great, right? No one had ever had any interest in what my true feelings were, much less bothered to ask my opinion on anything important. He asked probing questions about anything and everything and listened raptly as I shared my thoughts, feelings and dreams. He seemed to soak it all up and he even remembered things I said from one conversation to the next. To say I was smitten would be an understatement of monumental proportions.
And then one day about three months in he made a disparaging comment about my favorite hobby: knitting. He said it baldly, firmly, as if it was an irrefutable fact. I did a double-take. He was smiling, so it was a joke, right? Did he say it to see my reaction or start a debate to see how committed I was to this particular hobby; after all, debate is a very sophisticated way of communicating if you’re an adult; he said so all the time. I was confused, a little hurt, and not even sure he said what he said five minutes later. He went on as if he had said nothing at all.
This was a HUGE Red Flag! The Narc was gauging my reaction to his devaluing of something I loved. He was testing me to see if I would fly into a rage and kick him out of my apartment (what a normal person might have done) or accept what he said without question, or a very mild argument at best, showing me to be a ready victim for his games.
He pressured me to marry him. Thank all that’s Holy I said “no.” He pressured me to move in with him way too soon. When he couldn’t get me directly under his thumb, he started setting up situations where I would “owe” him. He insisted that my (paid for and cheap to run and insure) car was dangerous (he had been involved in a couple horrible accidents and had a fear of cars in general, or so he said) and not stylish enough to suit me and he would buy a new one and I could pay him back over time. And so the financial abuse began.
As soon as I owed him money he began to change the way I dressed, buying me clothes he liked that made me feel uncomfortable. I told him the look he preferred didn’t suit me, but he insisted that I would only be “better” if I took his advice. Since I base my fashion choices on what doesn’t itch, I believed him and let him dress me and dictate how I wore my hair.
He asked me what my ultimate dream would be and I shared it with him: five acres in the country where I could have my horse at home and maybe raise a few sheep away from the Big City. He made me believe it was his dream, too. He put money down on a little farm and we moved into what I thought would be the house I would grow old and die in. That’s where true hell began.
All of a sudden, I was an idiot. Though he had not spent any time around horses he began to lecture me on their care and feeding and exercise needs. He would get angry if I didn’t spend time with the horse; he would get angry if I did spend time with the horse. I was working too many hours; we needed more money. I needed to spend more time in the garden; I needed to spend more time with him. It went on and on and got worse over the two years we spent in that house. I never did enough cleaning, the laundry was never done, my cooking sucked, I was lazy and sloppy and I don’t even remember what else.
Crap like this went on for years, getting worse with every move, but I was also becoming numb and didn’t really notice him amping up the pressure.
Fast forward to 2012. We had lived together and apart and at that time I was living in a house that he bought (without my knowledge or consent) working two part-time minimum wage jobs to give him the $600 per month he claimed we needed to survive in a tourist town at the edge of freezing-cold nowhere. A Tourist Town where I could not find work in my field. He, of course, was “retired” and “disabled” and could not even look for a Real Job. It was (according to him) my turn to take care of him after all the things he did for me. It was my duty and I should be grateful for the opportunity to finally pay him back.
Yeeeaaaaahhhh. He lectured me almost daily about what was wrong with me and how I was the cause of his lecturing and yelling and angry outbursts. These lectures and blow-ups were interspersed with kind words and gifts, leaving me feeling like I was going insane – does he love me or hate me right now? It changed from minute to minute.
And then came the Final Straw, the incident that made me open my eyes and search for a name to put on what our relationship had become: he left for a trip and refused to tell me when he would return so I hacked his e-mail and discovered that he was carrying on a Facebook relationship with a woman in Italy, sending her “love” and “kisses” and wishing she lived closer so he could teach her to build boats while she taught him to speak Italian. On my birthday, while he was telling me that I didn’t deserve a gift because I wasn’t being nice to him, he was telling her that he is “not good with languages – [he] speak[s] from the heart.”
I hacked into all of his e-mail accounts and discovered that he was also carrying on an intimate conversation with his first long-term love.
It was at that point I started my blog, chronicling his abusive ways and my reactions to them. At first I didn’t have a clue that his systematic tearing me down had a name, but I soon came across the term Verbal Abuse and I started tagging my posts with those words. It was then that Paula found me and gave me a giant piece of the puzzle when she said, “Your verbs can’t be abused – but your emotions can!”
OMG. I finally had the words to describe what had been happening to me for years and I could put a label on my abuser (Narcissist) that enabled me to take a step back from his rage and disengage emotionally enough to protect myself against his tirades and begin to look for a way out.
As I became stronger, the Narc escalated his abuse, not even trying to defend his actions any more, just flat out blaming me for everything he did. I found myself angry all the time, shouting back at him on occasion, walking out of the room when he started in on me about some trivial bullshit mind game. I was in a towering rage, a rage I knew I had to keep alive if I wanted to escape from the hell I lived in.
My exit from this toxic relationship wasn’t easy. It wasn’t quick. If I hadn’t had the support of understanding friends IRL and many, many blog readers and commenters, I don’t know if I would have left because he made me feel so weak and helpless, even though I was the one doing all the work (figuratively and literally) in the relationship.
I’ve been free of the Narc for just over 5 months, and No Contact for a couple of weeks. I am still very much affected by his crap every day, but now I can control my reactions and silence his voice in my head for hours at a time. You see, he brainwashed me so thoroughly that by the time I moved out of his house I had very little free will left, I heard his criticisms in my head constantly and was so frozen with indecision that I was incapable of doing anything without his prior approval. He had no need to get physical with me – he had built a very strong cage around me with his abusive words and actions and I was his prisoner.
If you have never been in an abusive relationship (and I pray that all of my posts sound like sick fantasies) you can’t understand the depths to which these monsters will sink in order to control your life so they can feed off your emotions. Without a victim, they are nothing, just hollow shells unable to feel emotions or connect with others in any way.
In my next post I’ll talk about the connections I see between these three men and how I became so tasty an emotional treat that I attracted three of them in a row.
About the Author
It’s a textbook case, and I have been a textbook victim. We read our scripts and stayed in character to the very end. I am angry. Between three men, a Psycho, a Socio and a Narc, I have lost 25 years of my life to Domestic Abuse. I refuse to be a victim any longer. I have taken over control my destiny and speak out in the hope that just one victim will see their life in my story and escape their abuser. For the moment I am writing anonymously as I sever all ties with the Narc. I will not give him the satisfaction of breaking me.