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Living with a narcissist

(405 Posts)
Abitwobblynow Fri 22-Jun-12 23:55:12

Is hard. Busy taking one day at a time whilst I work on myself and developing stability. He isn't horrible but he isn't available either.

Anyway, now that my eyes are opened, it is sad/interesting to see the mini-moments that announce his narcness, that I was so blind to before! If I see them, I can either set boundaries or self-soothe to stay calm.

Last weekend, he tells me he bought a Ferrari. *

So, phone rings (he is on a business trip). Telling me about his evening out with adoring female acolytes (he likes them best). I started telling him about two of our friends, who are having issues.

Silence, and then: well then. I must go.

I have come on so much. I used to be destroyed, now I feel vaguely sorry for him. It must be awful to be that empty.

*Don't worry. Whilst I did not cause him, cannot cure him and certainly can't control him, it went down on the list with all the other toys for misappropriation of marital assets when the time comes.

foolonthehill Sat 23-Jun-12 00:14:35

well done wobbly...feel you should perhaps progress your name to "nolongerwobbling" or "solidasarock".

tallwivglasses Sat 23-Jun-12 03:08:31

It looks like you gave it your absolute complete and utter total best Abitwobbly. That's all you can do.

A word I've seen several times on here - 'disengage'.

Oh and breathe too x

empirestateofmind Sat 23-Jun-12 03:16:42

Well done wobbly, but you sound very tired and down. Do look after yourself.

tallwivglasses Sat 23-Jun-12 03:27:13

Actually I recommend a walk - even if it's pissin' it down tomorrow. Get out in a park if you can. Nature, does you the world of good.

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 08:22:50

Wobbly, this situation can only bring you down. You've given me some very caring advice in the past about learning to deal with this sort of behaviour, but I'm afraid to say, I have ignored it and gone with the majority vote.

H is leaving the family home today. Its been a rough few weeks, I've cried my heart out grieving for the man I wish he was (I don't know if he ever was, perhaps it was all in my imagination) and I'm so gutted that my DCs won't grow up in a stable family home like I had. However, I won't be sad when he leaves tonight. I feel sick when he comes in the door and I can't wait for the freedom that will come when I'm on my own.

He is being very reasonable about money for the sake of the DCs, which helps a lot, but even without that, if I had to give up my little business, go and get a 'proper' job and rent somewhere new to live, it would still be worth it to be out from under his shadow.

Please think about how long you are prepared to allow yourself to be ground down by this pathetic excuse of a man. You deserve to live a full and happy life, that includes sharing it with people who make you feel good, not this toxic low-life. xxx

SirSugar Sat 23-Jun-12 09:46:56

Watch Bridesmaids

daffydowndilly Sat 23-Jun-12 10:06:11

Narcissism by Melanie Tonia Evans

I found this website and found bits quite interesting, after my therapist suggested that my X was a narcissist. It is all about recovery from a relationship with a narcissist (and you can get 2 free ebooks/newsletters/articles).

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 10:07:11

SirSugar, I just bought that on DVD - is it a bad idea to watch it on the day my STBXH has just moved out?!?!

Abitwobblynow Sat 23-Jun-12 12:11:09

Wow, Doing - how are you? I will check your thread.

Thanks for that web reference. THIS is what I am trying so hard to get a grip on:

"Co-dependents recover themselves by embracing self-love, self-acceptance and self-validation and realising that the narcissist is totally incapable of granting this. As I painfully discovered, my need to be known by my narcissist as a good person, who was trustworthy and who did genuinely love him, nearly took me to my death. My need for this provided him with the ammunition to keep putting the hoops up higher and higher, and he gaining the drug of attention by watching me trying to jump through. The goal I was aiming at was never real or available.

My greatest lesson and gift out of this exchange was to take on my real mission: grant myself the love, validation and acceptance of ‘who I was’ rather than attempt to receive it from sources who reflected back my lack of love for self. This was a journey of true humility and self-ownership that finally gave me the hope that I COULD work on me and create the life I deserved. As such I embraced it full-heartedly."

I tried to write about the moment of learning to stand still and feel (develop self and boundaries) but, having not very good boundaries [yet!] I was incoherent, misunderstood and accused of all sorts of things: having a personality disorder, being drunk and a child abuser.

Never mind, I didn't take it on board [getting there!] and MNTowers eventually stepped in.

But gosh it is sad to realise you have hooked your life to pain and emptiness.

Abitwobblynow Sat 23-Jun-12 12:12:41

He came home, and within 30 mins I was told I was a bad horrible crazy person full of resentments. I didn't quite stay calm, but I didn't quite lose it either.

Onwards and upwards. One day I WILL stay calm and keep in touch with myself.

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 14:01:34

I read Daffy's link too, its quite enlightening isn't it?! To accept that its not you who is unlovable, but he who is incapable of giving love to another frees you up to concentrate on yourself. I think to stay living with him you really do need to detach, stop looking for any kind of validation from him and switch off from his opinions of you.

Treat him as an inconvenient house-mate until you find the strength to go it alone (which you really must at some point for your own sanity!) If it helps, I once flushed my very annoying house mate's toothbrush in the loo. She still annoyed the hell out of me but whenever I heard her brush her teeth I felt so much better about it [evil emoticon] grin

What was this part Wobbly "I tried to write about the moment of learning to stand still and feel (develop self and boundaries) but, having not very good boundaries [yet!] I was incoherent, misunderstood and accused of all sorts of things: having a personality disorder, being drunk and a child abuser." - accused by whom? Your H?

daffydowndilly Sat 23-Jun-12 14:41:01

Codependency is incredibly difficult to grasp. I have been trying to get my head around it for the past year, since I was diagnosed with it. There are lots of good books out there, by Melodie Beattie, Pia Melody, Codependency for dummies (actually surprisingly good book), as well as CODA (codependents anonymous) meetings. Codependents seem to be the perfect match for narcissists, as they are their polar opposites (one is mememe and the other youyouyou).

I also have been accused by my XH of having "severe mental health issues". Which is untrue. I have had severe relationship issues though! And that certainly led to me losing any sense of myself for quite a long time. Since splitting up I have been learning to put down boundaries and not feel guilty. Every time that little uncomfortable niggle in me comes up, I know that I need to say no or restrict, and the abuse I have had because of it.... but I need to separate out emotionally as well as physically and become my own strong, healthy person.

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 15:13:23

My STBXH finally, after much badgering from me, apologised for hurting me and then in a later conversation said "but how was I able to keep treating you like that? Because you allowed it"

It took me several hours to process this and realise that this was not the case at all, then the following morning I quietly and calmly said "I did not allow it, I told you it was unacceptable and hurtful, but you carried on doing it anyway. I put up with it because I loved you too much to walk away from it. Luckily now I don't."

I think there's a fine line between blaming ourselves for being emotionally abused and taking responsibility for wanting to be loved despite our partner's faults.

Abitwobblynow Sat 23-Jun-12 15:18:10

How are you doing, Doing?

daffydowndilly Sat 23-Jun-12 15:25:38

I have had that same conversation. Apparently, I didn't put down strong enough boundaries during our marriage, therefore I was to blame for his behaviour (which really was unreasonable and abusive and self-destructive). I tried so hard to stop him and did everything I could barring walking out (and tbh nothing would have worked). I was given promise after promise, full of charm and 'love', that he wanted to and was going to change, and it was like living with jekyll and hyde. Enough to really mess with your mind. I suppose combined with wanting the happy family ending for my children, catholic guilt, fear of failure and abandonment.

I had taken on so much self-blame for all of it and that was so damaging to my health, that now looking back, I refuse any longer to accept blame for the breakdown of our marriage, or future responsibility for his health and well-being. His behaviour and treatment of me was wholly unacceptable and abusive, and it was not my job (and indeed it would have been impossible anyway) to police it within the marriage. It was my job to have walked a long time ago and remove myself from harm's way. Which I have now done. At last.

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 15:44:03

I'm remarkably OK thank you Wobbly. I haven't posted on my old thread as it ended up being just me talking to myself most of the time! But I've been actively using my experiences to try and advise others. Its been a tough week, trying to sort out finances and transfer the family business into my name (I have no idea about the money/accounts side of things so will have to learn fast!). I've had plenty of tears and 'why me?' moments, but actually now I'm coming out the other end feeling very positive about it all.

I must say that a lot of that is due to the practical support H has given me and the fact that he's being very reasonable about money to make sure the DCs will be able to stay in this house. We were always living just outside of our means and that will probably be squeezed even tighter now, but at least I don't have to move house on top of all this. I think he feels that he owes me something for what he has done to me - the best thing to come out of the apology I squeezed out of him.

Your H doesn't sound like he would be as amenable sadly, which would make things harder for you I know, but its so sad to think of you enduring this endlessly sad

It sounds like you have already detached a lot "now I feel vaguely sorry for him. It must be awful to be that empty." so you are halfway there. Think about an exit strategy - it doesn't have to be soon, but just so that you know you have options.

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 15:45:41

Daffy, your situation sounds exactly like me. The 'abuse' I endured was very mild (mainly belittling me, criticising me, making all of us feel inadequate, a bit of gaslighting, withholding attention/affection from me & the DCs) but it was enough to bring me down and make my life joyless. I didn't even get any promises of change ("this is just how I am, I can't change.") and the undertone was, why should he change when I was the one with unrealistic expectations.

So eventually I listened to what he was telling me. I was expecting too much - not from life, not from a husband, but from HIM specifically. He was a narcissist (think it was you Wobbly who told me that!) and I could not be married to one of them and keep myself happy and fulfilled, so the decision was made.

I too have never accepted any responsibility for the problems in our marriage because I honestly don't think I could have done any more or any better. The only way I could have made him happy was to leave him to be as selfish as he needed to be, allow him free reign to do what he wanted, when he wanted and with as much of our joint money as he wanted, while I took care of his house, his DCs, his meals, his washing and making his life as easy as possible, 'servicing his needs' when he wanted regardless of what I needed or wanted.

That's not a marriage, that's slavery.

daffydowndilly Sat 23-Jun-12 16:18:22

Agreed Doing!!!

It was my therapist in the end who suggested my x was a narcissist, and it makes so much sense. But still hard to get my head round the things he says and does, I guess because it is so the polar opposite of how I would behave.

My abuse was 'mild' too I guess, drip drip drip - similarly belittling, criticising, gaslighting, no affection/sex, I was unrealistic, he also drank, didn't come home several evening a week - he needed decompression time, I was cruel to expect him to do household/children chores as they were too mundane for him and he was depressed don't cha know, and the world was too stupid to acknowledge his superior mind and abilities.

And apparently I was the one emotionally abusing him by not quietly accepting the above. sad

janelikesjam Sat 23-Jun-12 16:28:52

I think women need to learn to say "F* O**" loud and clear sometimes, just like that without any explanation, discussion or anything at all. Loud, clear, in yer face, and mean it.

Something not learnt as young women, even confident, self-assured types. Unfortunately, because its seen as not "nice" and its not "ladylike" and I think there is a learned response to please men, look up to them, and not make them angry either sadangry

daffydowndilly Sat 23-Jun-12 16:29:42

Absolutely!!

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 18:16:23

"the world was too stupid to acknowledge his superior mind and abilities" that was the bit that caught my attention in the link above - being 'normal' and just like everyone else was so beneath him.

Even the fact that his job was working shifts, he said he'd never want to work Monday to Friday like everyone else (and be able to spend time with the DCs at the weekends) because that would be too predictable and boring. He liked working when 'everyone else' wasn't and having time off in the week when 'everyone' else was at work.

I've often said to him, your job doesn't make you special you know. Its just a job. Yes there's an element of responsibility and its pretty well paid, but actually its just an anti-social shift work job.

I had to make sure he was never woken up at night when the DCs were babies as his job was so important and responsible that he needed to be well rested (WTF?! when I think about that now I feel like a total mug! 8 months of BFing 3 children = 24 months of me being awake in the night and making sure not to wake him up.)

Sorry for hijacking your thread Wobbly. Its just so reassuring to know that others have been through the same experiences. Please use our experiences to help you to see how wrong this all is. x

DoingItForMyself Sat 23-Jun-12 18:20:48

Jane, I have learned to say that over the last 2 weeks. I'm sure that's why he left so quickly. He kept saying "we can't keep arguing around the DCs, things are going to be awkward and I don't want to have to watch everything I say etc." So I said "well then FUCK OFF! No-one's asking you to stay. If your new house isn't ready find a friend with a sofa and just fuck off." So now he has grin

daffydowndilly Sat 23-Jun-12 18:52:54

Scary... mine also never once woke up with either child, they were BF and I was told repeatedly how unthoughtful I was if he didn't get his full much needed 10 hours of beauty sleep - since otherwise how could he be expected to cope with his important job (if he was out on one of his very frequent late night benders however that had no bearing, it would still be my fault for being inconsiderate for not letting him sleep in so he still got his full quota - he also felt that work should realise how important his sleep was to him too, strangely he lost his last job?!). If either child ever cried day or night either I was the one that had to settle them (as they were BF), they would just be handed straight to me. WTF. It is amazing what you put up with when you are under that stress and how gob smacking it is when you begin to slowly realise what was going on. I find it so liberating to write it down. Also comforting that my experience is not unique.

porridgelover Sat 23-Jun-12 19:40:32

May I join in? I clicked on this thread out of interest...but you are describing my ex to a T. The never disturbed sleep with small babies as he had to be fully functioning for his so important job. A job where he was the boss and set schedules a month in advance but could never guarantee to me when he would have a weekend off.
'the world too stupid to acknowledge his mind and abilities' smile (he got and still gets extremely angry that I scored better than him on an IQ test once- I must have cheated!grin grin
the constant drip of 'losing' things in the house, driving the car all wrong so he got car-sick, my inability to understand his 'instructions' the name calling, belittling, isolating from friends and family
the sexual abuse and his addiction to pornography- he wanted me to watch the most vile stuff and used me to ''get his rocks off'' in the process.

Abitwobbly. I admire how much you've learned and I've learned from your chats with others. Well done for not responding to his latest. My mantra is 'stay inside yourself'.

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