STAGE TWO: DEVALUATION
After the idealization stage, the narcissist begin to notice your “flaws” and blames you for no longer living up to his unrealistic image of the “relationship.”
The non-stop love and admiration is replaced with on/off, hot-and-cold behavior. This is also the stage when the narcissist begins searching for your replacement.
IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE REACHING THE END OF YOUR ROPE with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
SOME OF WHAT I’VE BEEN CONDITIONED TO EXPECT AS A SIGN OF HIS LOVE AND COMMITMENT…
- Daily declaration of love and deep appreciation throughout the day
- Over the top texting, phone calls, and videos (he couldn’t get enough of me)
- Almost immediate response to texts
- His laser-focused attention
- He has eyes only for me… he was BLIND to other women.
- Staring at my face during our “video dates” (he just couldn’t BELIEVE how flawless and stunning I was… fell for this like a wet noodle.)
- He made it his mission to make me feel safe and protected.
- Us… in love… forever.
… how on earth can he NOT be my soulmate?
THE MASK STARTED CRACKING…
The narcissist wears many different masks that are appealing to different people. He creates a special mask for each person he targets, to make himself the perfect, only option.
But since the mask is not real, it’s only a matter of time until the mask inevitably begins to crack.
I started noticing these little cracks as early as a few months into our relationship… However, because I was so neck-deep dancing around in our perfect relationship, I brushed off those little “peeks into his truth” as, “he must be having an off day”… “that really made no sense at all, but no big deal”… besides, those little things were so insignificant compared to how “perfect” he was for me. ~ I just failed to see that if I put those “little things” into one pile, it would bury his perfectness.
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT. ALWAYS.
can mislead, but your is never wrong. We are naturally wired to set off internal warning signals and responses to protect ourselves. Many of us flat out disregard our gut feelings, blaming past painful experiences.
We brush them off thinking we’re being unfair to the person whose actions triggered the alarm… don’t make them feel bad… don’t embarrass them. We second guess ourselves and choose to protect another person’s feelings over our personal safety.
The “just like that” moves that I noticed him regularly pulling off… went like this:
I was ecstatic when he decided to go back to church after his divorce. I supported him 100%… we even started praying together first thing in the morning. He constantly thanked me for inspiring him to return to his faith. (Apparently he couldn’t do church while married because his ex-wife won’t cooperate.) He told me he wants to eventually get baptized at his new church and asked me to be there to share in his special day. I was sooo excited.
All of a sudden, he tells me he’s getting baptized… NEXT WEEK. I asked him to please wait until I can be out there (we had to wait 6 months before I could meet his kids… one year before I can stay in the same house)… his answer, “No baby… this is something I feel I have to do.” ~ #pattern
I was so happy and proud of him and loved hearing him talk about it, but I also couldn’t help feeling disappointed and left out. Baptism is a HUGE EVENT for my church… he initially asked me to be there and I was so looking forward to celebrating with him when it was official. That PISSED HIM OFF. “What was I supposed to do – wait for you? If the roles were reversed, I would be happy for you! Why can’t you just be happy for me instead of feeling sad you couldn’t be here?”
I actually wondered if I really was being selfish. I apologized and asked him to give me a few days to shake this off… #selfesteemdestroyed
Of course, he posted an announcement with photos on FB and received plenty of positive feedback. ~ Lots and lots of approving, admiring “supply” to validate my puppy wuppy’s self worth. Which was the point in his doing all this to begin with… he was starving for public attention.
Getting a dog…
We both had a Pomeranian in the past and talked about getting a Pom together when J and I relocate to Houston. He said he wasn’t ready to get a puppy now because he wasn’t ready to commit to the responsibilities of taking care of one yet… still getting a hang of taking care of two little kids on his own.
~ Guess what happened tho… no, really. Guess.
He nonchalantly informs me that he started looking for a dog. When I asked him, “I thought we were gonna get one together?” He answered, “Two years is too long a wait, baby.. [son] will be [older] and I want him to have a dog while he’s younger than that… besides, [daughter] wants a dog so bad… this is something I feel I have to do.“ ~ #pattern
I was crushed… but he was kind enough to reassure me we will get another dog as a family when we relocate. ~ empty words are so easy to speak.
Again, he turned to FB with an announcement and photos of the new puppy. ~ More approval and attention to validate my man’s self worth. Now that I’m aware of what this was about, I really hate it.
J & my visit to Houston…
We were supposed to visit Houston at the end of July 2017 so he can finally meet my son and I can meet his kids! Omg we were all sooo excited! My soulmate had so many things planned for us…
Go on a haunted tour (because my kid and I love this stuff. He nixed that at the last minute because apparently those tours are only for adults?) … Go fishing – possibly with ex’s dad (also canceled because the dates will fill up quickly anyway?) … Visit Joel Osteen’s church (because I’m a fan) … Then go to the beach with the kids when he gets them in the middle of the week (because it’ll be so much fun)!
But then he canceled – a week before the trip. Apparently, he told his ex about the visit so she wouldn’t hear about it from the kids (and take out her anger on them)… and she blew up. Started calling him horrible names in front of the babies… threatening to hurt me when she sees me… telling them I’m a bad person and that their dad “will be living with a witch”. His little girl was clearly upset. I was horrified. Those poor babies… I told him I’m here to support him in any way… suggested he speak to an attorney and talk to his parents. He said he’ll figure it out… and that was that.
~ It was so strange… after the phone call, I had the most uncomfortable feeling… like he wasn’t being truthful with me. He sounded almost “fake” breaking the news to me… like when a child tells his teacher his dog ate his homework.
Next day, I woke up to no text from him. I reached out and asked what’s going on… he said he just didn’t know what to say. He then asked me to stop interacting with him on FB because his ex told him my comments on his posts hurt her. ~ so now we’re walking on eggshells for her? The thing is, he told me she blocked him when he and I got together. When I asked about that, his response was, “I don’t know… maybe her mom or sister tells her about your comments.”
This left a VERY DAMAGING impression on me…
Although he said he’ll figure this out and we’ll make it work, nothing was being resolved. He said he spoke to a lawyer and felt relieved knowing his rights… but that was the extent of it.
- Said he needs to confide in his pastor… never happened
- Said his dad told him 2 years is too soon. It’s still too early for me to meet the babies ~ How? I saw them every day on FaceTime. They’re aware I exist.
- He canceled our plans for Halloween as a family (without telling me, it was supposed to be “understood”)
- He stopped including us in plans for his family Thanksgiving trip to FL that he invited us to join.
- He canceled our plans to spend Christmas together (again, something I should’ve just understood)
- Then started casually mentioning his ex wife again in conversation about our day… like nothing happened.
I was so confused… we had that huge family plan, he canceled and there’s this horrible issue attached to it… yet he seemed to go about his day like everything was fine. I felt like I was sitting alone in limbo… and asked him what was going on…
- He told me I should’ve known things were better because HE was no longer upset.
- He told me I should’ve just understood that meeting his kids (in person) is out of the question… with no plans of doing so in the immediate future.
- When I told him I felt invalidated…like he completely disregarded the fact that J and I were a part of this plan and now he’s moved on like nothing happened… his answer was, “What am I supposed to do… mope around and be depressed?”
~ No emotional empathy. As far as he’s concerned, I don’t have independent thoughts and feelings so if he’s OK, I’m OK. (Narc mentality & consistent with our breakup)
He started questioning if this is something he can tolerate for the rest of his life (as in “keeping Carmen around might be more trouble than I care to deal with“)… “Do I really want [ex wife] banging on our front door like a lunatic for the rest of my life because she knows you’re inside?” “She’s the mother of my kids… she’ll always be there.”
I wondered why I was no longer good enough for his kids… why was *I* the disturbance in his life? What did I do wrong… and how was I supposed to fix it?
After I explained how hurt and confused I was… that this was a big deal and I don’t know how he thought it was perfectly normal to brush me and my son off as long as he was fine, he said he will do better at supporting my feelings – but offered no resolution for our families spending time together. Nothing was being fixed… not even future plans to make up for that lost visit. When I try bringing it up, he complained I’m always stressing him out.
He grew incredibly frustrated and told me my attitude drained him because I was giving nothing back. He asked for a day of “Happy Asa” (my Japanese name) so he can recharge. No sadness… no arguments… only positivity and smiles. I loved him and I wanted him to be happy so I made it a point to share only positives with him. I started the day asking if we can plan trips again because doing that always made us so happy… he said he’d love that. When I asked why we stopped, HE BLEW UP. Said I’m pointing out something wrong in him… AGAIN. He had this condescending chuckle while saying, “You couldn’t even give me a few hours without problems.” ~ contempt, ladies and gentlemen… My heart felt like lead. I just couldn’t win.
Why am I letting him down like this? I just want to make him happy like I used to… why am I constantly failing him?
QUALITIES HE USED TO LOVE, HE NOW FINDS ANNOYING
He was happy Joshua is older so his kids have a role model to look up to. But near our breakup, I noticed he started comparing how different the stages of our children are… “Our kids are at the opposite ends of things. Yours is going to college while mine are decorating pumpkins”, “Mine go on play-dates while yours have interviews with the college dean.” ~ because hooking up with moms at kiddie play-dates provides more validation for his self worth than having integrity ever can.
He used to apologize for staring at me non-stop during our video calls… even breaking out in tears because I was “unbelievably stunning.” ~ lol. I’m such a sucker. Eventually, he stopped focusing on me during our video calls… glancing at the TV, looking things up on the computer, playing with his dog. And when I question him, he would over-exaggerate staring into his phone, raise his voice and say, “I can’t just stare at you the whole time like this!” ~ by that time, I was no longer providing him with supply like I used to… this is why he had to keep shifting around to draw supply from everything else around him.
He always lovingly called me his “sensitive angel”… he adored my “big, sensitive heart.” But all that love and gentleness was mangled into… “I’m sick of this… why do you have to get worked up about stupid sh*t!” ~ there was no reason to continue role-playing the part of the sweet and protective man that I knew.
Things just felt “off” sometimes…
I couldn’t identify exactly what it was. He wasn’t setting off blaring warning signals… things just felt “off” sometimes. It seemed like he couldn’t really “feel” for other people… emotionally shallow… just gliding around on the surface.
I explained it away as… “perhaps he has a hard time putting himself in someone else’s shoes because he was protected and doted on as a child… spoiled…” My closest friends… even my son… heard me try to figure this out.
Similar to a care-free spirit… or a child? But not as innocent… “ignorant” and “inconsistent” might be more like it? ~ totally brainstorming as I type this.
- Like when he said didn’t want this to be “just an affair”…
He asked if he can fly in to see me, but his divorce was still pending and he and his ex-wife still lived together (while she was waiting to close on her house.), so I told him I don’t want to see him until the divorce is final. He agreed. “You’re right. We should do this the right way. I don’t want this to be just an affair… because I love you and I will honor our relationship.” ~ This is after he’s confessed “he’s in love” with me… but if I agreed without his divorce finalizing, this would’ve been an affair? And does he make it a habit to fly out to meet women? He travels for business so it would be so easy.
This conversation initially made me feel uncomfortable, but I chose to be grateful he didn’t want this to be just an affair… #denial
~ Later, he told me about a few out of town events he was scheduled to speak at… I told him I want to fly out to see him speak… but those dates came and went without word or travel.
- Or when he said he didn’t know how to “smart shop”…
I confessed I’m not a very smart shopper… I buy the prettiest item and only brands I am familiar with. I told him I’m willing to work on this, but he said he’s the EXACT SAME way… and his ex was always raging about how he never compare prices.
He kept me on the phone as he shopped for groceries for himself for the first time (after his ex-wife moved out) and he was all over the prices! Comparing which is a better deal… knowing which stores carry certain items at better prices. I told him how impressed I was at how quickly he improved his shopping habits. “I always keep track of which stores have the best deal on stuff… you know, if I can save a few bucks here and there…” ~ Then why did his ex always rage about not comparing prices?
Maybe it was just out of habit. #nohesjustaliar
- Or when he said HE did ALL the cooking for the last 10 years…
He told me in all the years he and his ex wife were married, she never cooked. He didn’t mind because he’s an awesome cook and HE did the cooking… EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I appreciated that… I LOOOVE cooking… I LOOOVE food… I even have a food blog! And I thought it would be so much fun for us to cook together… he was ecstatic! (Did I mention already that he suggested we start a couple’s food blog?)
Shortly after that, he called me on his way to “pick up” a chicken dinner. ~ I thought he cooked every night? Eh, no big deal. But this was routine… he grabbed dinner for the family several times a week.
Then after his ex moved out, he started experimenting with recipes… often asking for my recipes and advice with ingredients. I loved it! But I noticed he was always making those same dishes that he just learned to make… didn’t he like anything he used to make? ~ I thought it strange because if he’s been cooking for all those years, there should be a few dishes he kept making for himself?
Like Queen Elsa, I let it go… #alreadydecidedheisperfect
- Or when he expects me to instantly snap out of heavy emotions…
When something negative or painful occurred during the day (argument, death, loss…) and I shared it with him… he was always nice enough to listen. What baffled me was if I still looked sad once I finished telling him about it, he asked with frustration, “What’s wrong now? Oh, are you still sad about what you just told me?” ~ zero emotional empathy. He “hears” that I’m upset, but cannot think much of it because he’s not personally affected.
Sometimes if I’m still affected the next day, he’ll go as far as saying, “Are you going to be like this for long?” “Is this how it’s going to be like forever? Because I don’t think I can do this.” “I thought we already talked about this – why are you still down about it?” ~ because I’m not a robot like you are.
Maybe I am being too sensitive… I need to take better control of my emotions before I lose him. #selfesteemdestroyed
- And when he said NOBODY knows about the pending divorce yet…
He told me he didn’t want anyone in his business or giving unsolicited advice. That made sense.
But he’d mention things like… how a woman he used to work with pursued him hard once she found out he and his ex were separated… that a mutual friend of his and his ex asked him out for a drink after she found out they split… or that he heard the girl working at the front desk at his gym wanted to ask him out because he’s now single. ~ was this “narc speak”… “nobody” meaning “everybody” in normal-people language? because in his world, the only one who actually is “somebody” is him?
I’m so lucky he picks ME every single day… I need to be at my best if I don’t want someone else to steal him away. #selfesteemdestroyed
Those were just a few examples of the little “cracks” I ignored… little bits and pieces continued to crumble but I always brushed them off thinking I was just being fussy.
AFTER THOSE 14 PERFECT, AMAZING MONTHS…
You ignore their increasingly “less than soulmate like” behavior and find yourself making excuses for him… giving more love, praise, and affection in hopes to get back your dream-come-true relationship. This is devaluation.
My heart loved him completely… but more often than not, something just didn’t feel right. Thinking back, I know I felt the warning in my gut as soon as he triggered it with his words or actions, but I’d immediately brush it off… and feel the discomfort long after the incident. ~ I repeatedly shrugged off my internal signals. I trusted him over myself. (Or at least I didn’t want to push him away)
Where are my love-texts?
You can’t NOT notice it. He abruptly stopped blowing up my phone with loving, adoring texts, pictures, and voice messages… just like that (< this is a recurring move with him). It went from waking up to several messages like those I shared so far, to – “Good morning, my beautiful queen! Have a great day today!”
My initial thought was, “Did I do something to upset him?” Yes, it might seem petty, but remember, I’ve been conditioned for OVER A YEAR on a DAILY basis to expect countless messages of love when I woke up every morning. This was one of the “standards of love” I’ve learned to expect from him. When I asked if all was ok, his answer was, “Yes! Everything is perfect! I love you, my angel!” ~ perfect?
When I asked what happened to all the loving messages, he confessed, “Well, I really don’t like texting…” ~ you don’t like texting? My phone was always FULL from all your messages! Followed by, “I sent you a sweet good morning text and even told you I’m thinking about you… I thought I did good… I guess not.”
I felt awful… he’s so busy with work and 2 kids… I should be grateful he takes time to connect with me instead of being so selfish… #selfesteemdestroyed
You know… whenever I brought his changed behavior to his attention, he would quickly start the pity play. Of course, I found myself apologizing for being ungrateful… then comforting and reassuring HIM that he’s perfect and how much I appreciated him.
When we pity, we are at the moment, defenseless.
Dr. Martha Stout, “The Sociopath Next Door”
To draw out your insecurities, the narcissist creates an impression of being wanted by many and plants seeds of “fear” in your head.
He would have all sorts of women “loving” and commenting on his FB posts (with hearts and winks like there’s a private understanding…). When I ask about them, he would always say he never noticed them… they mean nothing to him… just people he met through friends or people who connected with him for business. ~ yet, they were always, always there.
We had this discussion again later, when he told me he makes it a point to “like” or “comment back” at people who have engaged on his updates… ~ so… he notices each and every one of them?
(More on his Facebook addiction next…)
He mentioned a few times that women often made passes at him at church while he watched the kids play in the playground. When I asked how that made him feel, he tells me he doesn’t notice them. ~ so how did he… never mind.
He once said that a mutual friend of his and his ex wife asked him out for a drink… I asked what his response was… “I told her I’m taking time to be on my own right now.” When I asked why he didn’t tell her he is already in a relationship, he answered, “Why? Was I supposed to?” ~um… YES.
~ I found myself disliking and resenting people I’ve never even met… I realize now that this same negativity was felt towards me by others in his “supply.” #triangulation
And the ex-wife…
He spent MONTHS telling me how selfish and horrible his ex was… she neglected him and their kids… never cooked… addicted to TV and rarely spent time with them… never showed any support for him and his business… constantly insulted and made fun of him… never showed affection or appreciation. Just horrible.
On top of that, she contacted me at the start of our relationship in the most hostile and obnoxious manner… calling me vile, stupid, and ugly; accusing me of taking advantage of vulnerable men going through divorce There was no reason for me to not believe what he told me about her. She was so mean, I told him I never want to hear about or deal with her. He agreed and suggested I block her…
But he slowly made her a part of our daily conversation like it’s no big deal…
- I went shopping but I’m glad ex-wife called to tell me she already bought it.
- Ex-wife said they’re going to a restaurant so I’m going to meet them.
- We should go on a trip to (wherever)… ex-wife and I really enjoyed this area.
At one point, I found him post on FB something similar to, “The marriage vow was to love, honor, and obey. You don’t have to live under the same roof to keep the vow.”
~It was revolting. I told him if he wants to keep his vow to his ex, then I have no place in this relationship. He insisted I misunderstood… he meant “exes should be cordial with each other after divorce.” No, not a misunderstanding… THIS is perfect example of a narc holding on to reliable “source of supply”. and making certain I felt threatened by her.
FACEBOOK… HIS PERSONAL GOLDMINE!
I’ve learned from diagnosed narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths I spoke with, that FB and other social media sites are commonly used to scope out new targets. They are constantly gathering new “supply & sources”... disguised as “friends”, “fans”, “mutual connections”… all throughout the relationship to insure plenty of supply.
He had a habit of paying a little too much attention to other women on Facebook. Claiming he engaged with everyone… all women and men he’s connected with. Totally untrue… they were primarily attractive single women… and women showing lots of skin and cleavage.
Some women aren’t the least bit bothered when their significant other gives attention to photos of other women on social media. But keep in mind, mine repeatedly claimed to “be blind” other women “they are all a blur”… this was a statement of affection and commitment. When you say things like that… then turn around and give attention to other chicks’ appearance, I’ll feel like you lied to me.
I asked him to be mindful about this because his actions makes me feel disrespected and insecure. To me, when a man behaves that way, he’s telling the woman who posted the photo, “I see you and I like what I see…” – capturing her attention. When a man is in a committed relationship, there is no reason to seek out that kind of attention.
He PROMISED he won’t interact with them like that anymore. He wanted me to feel “safe”… even offered to unfriend/block those women from all social media sites because he doesn’t need them. I accepted his promise and told him there is no need to disconnect from anyone BECAUSE he promised.
Additionally, he volunteered to “hide” those people from his news feed to eliminate any chances of “accidentally liking” anything, because my peace of mind is most important to him.
I appreciated his effort and understanding in resolving this… and being so patient with my insecurities. ~ see how messed up this is becoming? #selfesteemdestroyed
He promised not to give attention to womens’ “selfies” from that point on to show his respect for me… the “love” reaction was reserved only for me… he no longer sprinkled other women’s photos with them. The public interaction dramatically decreased. ~ of course, this doesn’t say much about private interactions… he could’ve very well been telling others that he has to limit interaction to keep me from complaining…
Sadly, this annoying social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) problem continued… he had an excuse for everything, each time invalidating me even more… I felt like I was losing my mind.
I remember seeing a text from his ex-wife at the beginning of our relationship, implying he’s always on the darn site… “Oh, sorry, I couldn’t respond because I’m busy taking care of the kids… something you should try doing. Why don’t you just go back on Facebook?”
I really grew to hate Facebook…
I have a number of connections on Facebook… family from around the globe, friends from my childhood in Japan, business connections, women I’ve “met” on mommy sites and blogs, etc… I always loved sharing updates about my child, the food I feed him, funny jokes and stories, places we explore, as well as my business wins. But soon I found myself avoiding social media altogether. I was fearful of what I might find… what he could be doing “by accident”… I didn’t want to see anything that could possibly disturb my peace and I certainly didn’t want to argue about this AGAIN.
I just wanted him to be the way he was at the beginning of our relationship… my hero. I figured if I don’t see anything, I won’t keep burdening him with my insecurities… #selfesteemdestroyed
But he WANTED me to react…
When he was aware I haven’t logged on to any of my accounts, he reacted to my ordinary responses to him (ie. Him: “What are you making for dinner?” Me: “Ummm… I haven’t decided yet… Japanese fried chicken or tuna poke”) with, “Did I do something?” When I inquire about what he meant, he’d reply, “Oh, no… I just thought I did something to upset you. I just want you to be happy.” ~ I learned to translate this to… “I interacted with women in a way you would not be happy with. I know you haven’t seen it yet, so you should go check it out.” Not even kidding… every time he asked the random, “Did I do something?” it’s virtually guaranteed he “liked” a provocative selfie or commented with something “from the heart”. #triangulation
Several weeks after he promised not to be a jerk all over Facebook, he was back at it again. I told him he broke his promise and I am hurt. His response, “Yes, I promised, but there’s always exceptions…” ~ Nope that won’t fly. And what happened to “hiding” them from his news feed?
I actually had to explain to this grown man that promises are not meant to be broken. Especially promises that affect someone you love’s sense of peace and well being. A PROMISE means you will stand by your word. His response was,
Ok, I’ll be more mindful about the promises I make from this point on since you take it so LITERALLY.
~ I can’t even…
So I told him because he broke his promise and I’m not feeling safe, I’ll take him up on HIS earlier offer… I want him to unfriend those women. He lost it… accused me of trying to control him.
When is this going to end, baby? What’s next? You’ll tell me to stop going to the gym? Or church? That I can’t go to the store anymore? You’ll tell me I can’t take the kids to birthday parties and school events because there are single moms there too?
~ Where did THAT come from? (Btw, a school event is apparently where he picked up his new target, so listen for this confession!) HE was the one who offered to do it… now he’s trying to back out. He reluctantly obliged. (… however, our mutual friends informed me that he reconnected with all these women “he doesn’t care about” as soon as we split)
He even added how he “confided in some of his friends” about my “demands” and they agreed I’m trying to control him and limit him from “socializing”. They feared I will only get worse. ~ I see… I’m controlling because I expected him to keep his promise AND because I accepted an offer HE made. And if he “confided” in anyone, he simply dipped into his existing supply, or turned to a potential replacement.
PROVOKING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
... then showing anger, frustration, and contempt for feelings he set you up to feel
During Hurricane Harvey…
He told me he might open his home to those who need a place to stay. I would normally find that to be such a generous gesture, but I immediately felt my stomach twist in knots. He “reassured” me he won’t be inviting single women or anyone I may not feel comfortable with. “Don’t worry, baby… I will always act as if you were right here.” ~ I believe he was setting up to invite women to stay with him, “what was I supposed to do, baby… turn her and her kids away?” #fearandanxiety
Threats to end “us”…
When he behaves in an insensitive manner and I voice my concern or hurt, he would say… “I can’t keep fighting like this all the time.” “I’m done” ~ 1. We did not fight “all the time” 2. Done? As in finished with the relationship? When I would ask if that’s what he meant, his response always was, “No, I meant done with texting/talking about this.” ~ I dunno… felt like you were trying to get a fearful reaction out of me… #fearandinsecurity
Invalidating my feelings…
We were about to watch the “Trolls” movie (just the two of us) – because his babies were fans I wanted to understand the characters & story… lol. But we got into an argument about his insensitivity. I was upset… bawling my eyes out because I was frustrated by his inability to UNDERSTAND how cold and disconnected he can be. His response? “Baby, you’re being silly… we’re OK!” “C’mon let’s watch the movie. It’ll make you feel better!” He then starts the movie, eyes instantly fixed on the screen… with a big smile on his face… laughing every once in a while. I sat next to him… watching him disbelief until I just walked out. ~ Studies found narcissists have an emotional age of about six or seven years old. #nowords
Plants seeds of fear that he is searching for another partner…
He mentioned in passing that he was looking through articles listing features women found attractive in men. I asked, “What women?!??” and his answer, “You…? Everyone…?” I felt offended. “Who else are you trying to appear attractive to?” “Baby, I’ve sent you articles about things men find attractive in women… remember? I said you fit all of them!” No… sending me articles listing qualities men might find attractive in me is completely different than saying he’s reading up on how to be attractive to “every” woman. ~ Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like an awfully disrespectful and mean thing to say. #fearandinsecurity
About a week before our breakup, he told me when my October 19th trip was canceled (due to dad’s birthday & son’s college tests), he thought it was a “sign from God” that maybe this wasn’t the “right relationship.” I asked what was going on and he went on about how long distance relationships are not normal because we’re so far apart ~ that’s why it’s called long distance… that he’s tired of going to bed alone ~ we knew what we were getting into … and that he’s been neglecting his friends just so he can be home to talk to me ~ no, he told me the friends he had were all friends through the marriage, which is why I was his everything. He later reassured me that he was down because he missed me so much, and that he’s ok now. ~ nope, he was already cheating on me.
Complete lack of emotional empathy…
When Houston was hit with Hurricane Harvey at the end of August ’17, entire communities were wiped out… people lost lives… their homes… animals. Total devastation.
I constantly felt anxious, depressingly helpless, and afraid for them because they’re so far away. But because he lives in a community built to minimize damage in case of a natural disaster, his home suffered no damage and he lost no water or electricity. He had food in the fridge and freezer so he and the kids would be fine for a while… I could breathe again.
After a few days, several stores opened their doors but they were very limited in supply… good thing he stocked up on food and water! But then he said something extremely disturbing:
I’m so over this stupid hurricane… I can’t get fresh fruits and vegetables anywhere. I have canned and frozen ones, but they’re not the same.
I was shocked… speechless. People lost EVERYTHING… even LIVES. And here, this guy was safely sitting in his perfect house with running water, electricity, and food… and he’s complaining about not being able to buy fresh produce?
I told him he should be counting his blessings… and he responded, “Yeah, I know there are people out there who lost so much and I shouldn’t complain… but still…”
This was one of those… “OMG… was he SO PRIVILEGED that he’s so FAR REMOVED from everyone’s real life?” ~ No… he’s SO FAR REMOVED from the reality that EVERYONE *is* real life.
You’d think after a few of those instances, I’d be off running the other way. A person with healthy personal boundaries who constantly defends them would’ve ran without even giving him a chance (Awareness & Prevention is the ONLY effective self protection.) But I hung in there for almost two years. If I didn’t catch him in that lie, I’d probably still be there… spending more time with him in Houston next weekend… and planning a birthday celebration for him here in Vegas. I would’ve still believed I was in love with him because he was so perfect during the idealization stage.
All you know is you want them to stop pulling away and will do whatever it takes to bring your perfect, loving, affectionate, and attentive partner back (because YOU are clearly doing something to mess this up somehow), so you try to be more lenient, forgiving, and accepting of his growing lack of respect, forgetting about promises he made more often, flirting with other women where you can see it, lying…
This completely destroys your self respect…
Now you’re at a horrible place where you begin to feel grateful for whatever scraps of good your abuser throws your way. This pathetic gesture known as “dosing” brings you false hope that the idealization will return… so you continue.
THIS. This is Desperate Love.
VALIDATION FOR THE RECOVERING:
At some point, you’re going to blame yourself for staying in the relationship. Other people will also question, “if it was truly so bad, why didn’t you just leave?”
Listen… you were tricked into falling in LOVE. Love is the strongest of all human bonds. And because you believed you were in love, you were more easily manipulated by the one you were in love with. This person who made himself out to be someone who truly loved you and promised to look out for you… conditioned you to ignore your intuition – your gut feeling.
You have been manipulated. It’s covert emotional and mental abuse. It’s pretty serious… and you are not to blame for falling in love and trusting the person who “appeared” to love you just as much.
Makes me wonder if that’s why I didn’t want him to respond to my “I love yous” with “I love you back”… felt like he was simply reflecting it back to me without actually meaning it. #emotionalempathpowers
Honestly… just reading all I wrote above makes me want to smack myself for being so blind and foolish. I loved him but as the relationship progressed, I KNEW things increasingly felt worse. But because I was lead to believe he’s my perfect partner… and because he “reassured” me that the negative feelings were due to my past relationships and HE will help HEAL me from the pain… I trusted him over myself.
YOUR INTUITION IS NEVER WRONG
He even explained my feelings away with religion… “Your thoughts can only come from one of two places… one is from God… the other from the devil.” Encouraging me to believe that when I felt my gut warning me about something disturbing, it was not coming from God… a place of love and good. The truth was… it was coming from a good place… the internal warning signals God has blessed me with, and I chose to neglect it.
Bottom line is… don’t beat yourself up too much for getting suckered in. If this “scam” was so easy to spot, there wouldn’t be so many websites, professionals, recovery groups, and resources to help people heal from a narcissistic relationship
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS STAGE:
- If you feel that something is off – TRUST YOUR GUT. Insecurities and fear can mislead but your intuition is NEVER wrong.
- My gut repeatedly told me there was something “off” about him… from the very beginning ~ *sigh* I never trusted it, but this experience taught me that my internal warning system was SPOT-ON during this entire relationship.
- The narcissist’s mask begins to crack very quickly… you just don’t see it right away because
- 1) you’re not looking for it and
- 2) you’re already swimming in his love illusion that you will (un)consciously make excuses for his questionable behavior.
In case you missed it…
ALWAYS ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT
[ Stage 3: Discard (The Split…) ]
If you feel like you’re reaching the end of your rope with nowhere to turn, call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or the 24-hr Crisis Text Line by texting “HELP” to 741-741. In an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
P.S. Lemme know what you think!
Carmen is a mom, life strategist, religion teacher, best selling author, advice columnist, foodie wannabe, and advocate for victims of narcissistic abuse. She is currently living la vida loca in Vegas with her not-so-little human… prepping him for med school while pseudo-adulting, Tahitian dancing, and exploring the delicious world of bubble tea *woo!*