My Life With A Narcissist – Part 1 – Is Your Ex One?

Preface from Eddie Corbano: Narcissists are out there and they need to be recognized and exposed. I knew they existed, but never had an idea of the devastation they could create in other people’s lives. Until I read Marce’s post about her personal experiences with a narcissist.

It was in fact so helpful, that I asked her to write a whole article on the topic to educate people what narcissists are and what they do… and most of all – to help you identify if your Ex was one of them.

This is an article in two parts, starting with Marce’s story – her suffering, her attempts to fix things and ultimately… how she got out.

You will find that the following is written from a very subjective, personal point of view, and this is exactly what makes it so helpful and valuable.

Please read this. This is a MUST for everyone.

John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Narcissism:
“A pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance, and ambition.”

“‘I am in love with you’, I responded.
He laughed the most beguiling and gentle laugh.
‘Of course, you are,’ he replied. ‘I understand perfectly because I’m in love with myself. The fact that I’m not transfixed in front of the nearest mirror takes a great deal of self-control.’
It was my turn to laugh.”
– Anne Rice, Blackwood Farm

By Marce.

My life with a Narcissist – A Personal Story

In the beginning, he was considerate, understanding, charming, suave, loving, and this is what “sucked” me in.

I WAS IN LOVE – hook, line and sinker.

The Suck In

The relationship was intense and romantic, and he wanted to spend most of his free time with me. He called me pet names like “Princess” and “gorgeous.”

He told me that I was beautiful and “just perfect.” He made me feel secure in the relationship and said things like, “he would ALWAYS be there for me” – he was going nowhere.

He kept telling me how much he loved me, and needed me, and that he had never met, (or found), anyone like me.

However, this was short-lived because, after the “honeymoon” or “sucking in” stage, the tables turned.

Why?

Well, Narcissists love the “honeymoon” stage where they can just have fun and not be responsible or accountable for anything. Nor do they have to deal with any REAL issues that are necessary to take the relationship to a deeper emotional level.

He loved the romance, adoration, admiration, and uplifting that I gave to him… and I think he thought he had found THE ONE who would tolerate his weirdness without questioning it.

In the beginning stages of our relationship, I NEVER questioned anything because I loved him and completely trusted him. What I did not know at the time is that he did not have the ability, or willingness, to move past this stage of the relationship and that soon he would get bored.

He groomed me and trained me up to be the perfect source of his narcissistic supply – in fact, he even told others in my presence “she is in training.”

He also told me on occasion that I continued to “pass” all the tests he’d set for me. When asked what he meant, he changed the subject and said, “I just can’t fault you in any way.”

I would laugh coyly, but little did I know that he actually meant it – he was training me up and he was testing me ALL the time to see if I fitted in with his plans.

Getting his attention and love made me very happy – so in reply, being his constant source of attention, sex, affection and nurturing was absolutely no problem for me at all, and in fact was very easy for me to do naturally.

I loved him, and I wanted him to be as happy as I was.

The Devaluing

So what happened after the “honeymoon” stage?

“Was it something I said?”

I saw a change in him which resulted in a change in me.

I was still his eager, willing, worthless, doting floor mat – BUT I started asking questions because things did not seem right in the relationship.

Although I DID take this very personally at the time and thought I was doing something wrong, and it was ME that was the problem. I also felt that perhaps I had failed to do something that I should have done or said.

Was it something I said?

So I would re-hash conversations over and over again in my head. For FEAR of losing the love of my life, I used to end up apologizing for something that was NOT my fault, and that I did NOT cause or create.

In fact, often I did not even know WHY or WHAT I was apologizing for, but I did it anyway because I did not want to lose him.

Then I started to see a side of him that created so much confusion for me.

With no valid reason, he started distancing himself from me, failing to keep arrangements that we had made, he seemed distracted and would make excuses.

When I tried to establish what was going on and told him I felt we needed to talk about things, he quickly distracted me by sidestepping the questions. (Narcs are brilliant at dodging questions that they do not want to answer, or in fact, cannot answer, on important issues that affect you).

One time after probing, he admitted that he had changed towards me, but offered no explanation or a valid reason why.

He made me feel like I was going crazy, especially when I caught him out in a lie. In fact he would often say things like, “You are insane!” or, “You are always looking for problems!” or, “If that’s the way you feel about it, let’s call it a day!” or, “You have no idea what you are talking about!” or, “Don’t you trust me?!”.

Narcs are very subtle liars – they simply omit information and say things like, “You took it out of context” or, “I never said that.”

A few more classic examples are, “You read into everything I say and hear things that are not even there” or, “The reason I never told you the truth is because you always react just like this.”

One of my best was, “But I told you,” when we BOTH know he never did!

“He made me feel like I was insane and was suffering from short-term memory loss”

So yes, he made me feel like I was insane and was suffering from short term memory loss, and all this made me paranoid, distrustful of him, insecure, sad, out of control, fearful, drained, lethargic and vulnerable.

AWFUL feelings to have, especially since I was never normally like that.

He just became a LOT of hard work and was high maintenance – I felt that he was not putting any effort into the relationship and that I had to do all the hard work to keep us together.

The only thing I was 100% sure of during this devaluing stage, was that I loved him even more, (now that is insane, isn’t it?).

And so I carried on like this, even though there were so many unanswered questions and concerns I had.

Deep down I KNEW things were not right – but I could not put my finger on the exact problem, though. He created smoke screens, and I so wanted to trust him.

So I kept trying to “behave” and in the process I neglected my job, never met up with friends much, refused to go out at night in case he made contact with me – my personality changed, (I became an introvert).

And worst of all, I became complacent.

It was okay to be ignored, it was okay for me to do things I would never normally do, (even sexually), it was okay for him not to call or to go out of his way for me, or it was okay for him to disappear from time to time, it was okay for him to forget my birthday.

I also made up excuses for him in my mind to make myself feel better. I lied to myself that it was not his fault or that he has so much to deal with or that he has lots of stress.

The bottom line here is that he conditioned me to accept his bad behavior, and not to question him or show how upset it made me that he did this to me – because he was NORMAL and I was the INSANE one with unreasonable demands.

So I ended up turning a blind eye and pretty much suffered alone.

I allowed my boundaries to be bent – I allowed him to overstep the line.

He once said to me, “Why do you allow me to abuse you? Would you take this crap from anyone else?” To which I answered, “No I wouldn’t, and it’s because I understand you and love you.”

I was his perfect supply.

What I found was that as long as I was submissive, made his life fun, praised him and gave him ALL the attention without expecting or demanding anything in return, things went well.

The moment I started to express my dislike of something, disagreed with him or if I expressed my own opinion that may not have coincided with his, I became a THREAT to his perfect world of control.

Jules-Cyrille Cavé [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Break-Up – Dealing With The Aftermath

That’s when he went “cold” on me, giving me the silent treatment.

I was cut off and abandoned, (he ran away – disappeared) – which is the only way a Narc knows how to deal with this, and also his way of punishing you for non-compliance.

With a Narc, it’s all about HIM, HIS day, HIS life, HIS ambitions, what HE is doing or going to do. He feels he is entitled to constant attention without having to invest anything more into the relationship other than the initial time it took him to “suck you in.”

Why?

Because that’s what he wants, that’s what he expects.

He is incapable of love

“He was looking for unconditional love, but was totally incapable of giving it back in return”

And the worst thing is that you have to tolerate his indiscretions and his unacceptable behavior.

Of course, this is an unrealistic game to play in the REAL world, and I started to realize that that was all it was to him – a GAME.

To add to the confusion, he would come back days or weeks or months after having disappeared telling me he loved me.

He did say, “I will always come back because I just can’t stay away from you,” but I figured out that it is NOT the kind of love NORMAL people are familiar with.

He was looking for unconditional love but was totally incapable of giving it back in return. He wanted HIS needs met but didn’t give a damn about what I needed. He loved the way I made him feel, and he loved the way he made me feel – desperate and needy and stupid because that puts him in CONTROL.

So you may be asking: “Are you telling me he never loved you and never had any real feelings for you?”

Yes, of course, he had real feelings for me, but they sure as hell were NOT love.

After my research on Narcissists, I learned that they only love to the extent that they are ABLE to love.

I say this because love does not USE people, love does not ABUSE people, love does not DEVALUE people and love does not DISCARD or ABANDON people and toss them to the side like rubbish.

Love does not use people

I, (the dumpee), was devastated and emotionally I had been reduced to a mere “zombie” of my former self.

I immediately started researching everything and anything on “relationships,” “men who just disappear,” “booty calls,” “will he come back to me,” “no contact,” “how long would I have to wait,” “what must I do,” etc.

Every day I learned something new – but the articles, although very valuable and informative, just didn’t quite fit his profile and/or our situation in its entirety.

Click here to read part two: My Life With A Narcissist – What I’ve Learned

  • Hi, I have a personal story to share and get some guidance. A little over a year ago, I was 7 months out of relationship with a narcissist. He left me with my self esteem destroyed to the point where his last words were “you don’t inspire me.” This even though I am a lawyer, a writer and have a good solid group of friends in my life. It was devastating but I got through it. I enforced no contact, focused on my work and writing, traveling, and meeting new friends. I dated a little bit but nothing serious. I started to feel myself again full of life, laughter and light. Then at the seven month mark, at a party, I ran into a man I used to be acquainted with (we had mutual friends and were connected through social media, both FB and Instagram). I was always attracted to him, so it was easy to fall for him when he made his move. I will call this man T, for purposes of this post.

    T was so attentive and loving and wanted to spend every chance he got with me. He even came to find me while I was traveling abroad with a friend (I had suggested it to him but never thought he would take me up on it…he did). We had a romantic time but he was quick to try to define it and lock it into a relationship. I was a bit hesitant. I told him I had just come out of something that took me a while to get over. That I was feeling better about myself and did not want to jump into anything too quickly. I told him about my fears of making another mistake. He swore up and down how he loved me, how he’d never met anyone like me, how he had not felt like this about anyone before. Those statements, although nice to hear, made me worry. I remembered how the first narcissist made similar statements. I also thought that considering T was 40 years old, that that didn’t make sense that he had never felt that way before. But soon enough, I got carried away with him. It was hard not to. He loved photographing me, focusing on my body, complimenting me, even fantasizing about having a kid with me (he denied he ever said this later on). I was swept away, even though my intuition was still telling me to be careful. When making love to me, it felt at times like he was challenging himself (how he can make me come in a certain position or way…he kept pressuring me to go with it and keep trying). At some point, I had to tell him to stop pressuring me on that, that it didn’t feel right. Thankfully he stopped that.

    Also, I tried to hold back on some things…I didn’t always say I love you back and I tried not texting him every day so that I maintained some distance (he later blamed me for all of this).

    As time went on, around month 4 or 5, I started noticing things that did not sit well with me. He still lived at home with his Mom (he is 40 years old). At first he explained that he needed to go back home to take care of his dying father 3 years prior. But I later found out that he had not had his own place in over 8 years, and that now 2 years after his Dad’s passing, he was still living at home. I also bought into the fact that he said he needed to be home while he was working on building his pharmaceutical startup and was trying to secure a second round of investment (the first got the company off the ground 6 years ago, but to date had not led to a second round of investment). I kept wondering why he didn’t actively pursue a Plan B, he was a graphic designer by trade but he claimed that he had not had a client in over 1 year. As time went on, the money dried up and we could not plan many outings, trips, etc. Whenever he would agree to go to a restaurant, he would later complain and then bring up my lifestyle (as if he was criticizing me for it). But when I’d bring up his lack of funds and inability to dream of a future with me, he would say he felt demeaned or I was nitpicking or trying to start an argument. So I would quickly shut up about it. I tried different tactics…for instance referring him to someone I knew for freelance graphic design work. He dismissed it each time claiming it was beneath him. How he couldn’t be distracted from that greater goal and how he wasn’t just going to settle for making 100K in a City where everyone was making that much and didn’t mean they were the smartest people. He always remarked how “different” he was from everyone else and how no one understood him and how I didn’t understand what it meant to be with an entrepreneur.

    Then around month 6, I also started to feel uncomfortable over other things. He often bragged about his past work in the film industry and all the celebrities he had met. How different he was and how “he was now working for something bigger than even himself.” He also talked to me constantly about exes (I did as well, but later regretted this kind of dialogue as it created a toxic atmosphere and added to my own insecurities) and girls he had kissed but didn’t want to be anything but friends with. Some of those girls were still his friends. I remember telling him once how that made me feel uncomfortable and how I’d rather not talk openly about such matters. To his credit, he stopped talking about the exes.

    But there were other issues that crept up. Month 6 or 7, T decided to start showing me photos he would screengrab and save on his iphone. Some of these photos were photos of top models and other hot women in sensual poses or of nude body parts that he would see on Instagram. I didn’t understand why he needed to keep those photos and why he tried showing them or pointing them out to me. When I questioned him about it and told him that it made me feel “less than” — he responded how he does this for “artistic inspiration” and that he is an “artist.” How I don’t understand him. I asked him how about my feelings, don’t they matter? He said yes but that HE mattered more. He accused me of being insecure and jealous.

    Things just started to deteriorate from there. I started noticing a pattern of this stuff reoccurring. When I’d call him out on it, he would dismiss me as “jealous” and “if I didn’t love you, I’d tell you to go fck yourself, like I’ve told others I dated in the past.” (He said he had not been in a serious relationship in 8 years before he met me). He even sent me a psychology today article on jealousy.

    I tried to move past this, but deep down it was so damaging to me. All of my issues about my own body surfaced. Plus I felt like I couldn’t approach him about any of this. I tried being patient but the resentment kept building up until one night when I could not sleep, I woke him up and asked where was all of this going, what was his Plan B, why couldn’t we dream together of a future, and I mentioned how anxious I was that if he did actually make the millions he was seeking, would he then “trade up?” I asked if it was better that we end it. He later accused me of effectively breaking up with him in that moment, which was not my intention at all. It was simply to point out all that was making me feel anxious and unsafe in this and see if he would show any inclination to reassure me or help shift the dynamic in the relationship.

    He started blaming me for everything at that point. Played the victim. Started crying, said he had spent numerous sleepless nights wondering why I said the things I said to him, how he felt misunderstood, how all he did was try to love me and what was wrong with me for putting him through this.

    The relationship went on for another couple of months. But he changed completely during that time. He was not as affectionate (he hardly kissed me), he would make sarcastic comments then later pretend he was just joking and that I was just too sensitive or trying to pick a fight. He started saying things like “I never want to be married or have kids” and even went as far as to deny that he had ever expressed a desire to have a kid in the beginning. I started to feel like I could not trust my own sense of reality anymore. He blew hot and cold. Sometimes contacting me frequently, other times disappearing for days only to turn around and accuse me of not communicating more with him when I questioned him about going days without hearing from him or seeing him.

    And the sex stopped. He did everything to avoid intimacy (other than hugging). He would be on his phone from the minute he opened his eyes, he would make me watch netflix all night until he would pass out on the couch. And when I started complaining or asking or trying to initiate intimacy, he would say to me “that’s all you can think of? Getting laid?” I remember crying a lot and starting to feel like I was losing myself in all of this. I felt like I was drowning. But I was so afraid of abandonment, that I was hyper vigilant, being careful now not to say or do anything that might upset him. At some point I asked him if this was his passive aggressive way of ending things — to bring me to a point where I explode or I end it. His response “if I wanted to end it, I would.”

    Fast forward to the final discard — he tried to break up with me the first time a week before Thanksgiving. Then ended up staying the weekend and another weekend thereafter, even bringing his cousin to my Thanksgiving dinner. I was hanging on to hope although I knew he was behaving ansty and continued with his sarcasm and snide remarks throughout the course of the last few weeks. Finally, one day when we were supposed to hang out to have “a discussion” and then go see his friends, he called me and ended it officially on the phone. You can imagine my devastation. It was one of the most surreal experiences in my life. Here I was feeling I had done everything to keep him happy despite the put downs and the lack of intimacy. Yet here he was ending it and blaming me for it all.

    We met up one final time that turned into another weekend of him staying at my place. Again, I thought perhaps there was some hope to turn it all around. Nothing. He said “did the fact that I stayed over this weekend, help you? Do you feel better? Can we stay friends? How will we be able to manage this without you pressuring me into something more?” At the point, I turned around and said that this had to stop, that I had to unfollow him from social media (to which he replied “what, you are just going to delete me?) and that I needed to do it for me. He kissed me like he hadn’t in months and left my apartment. I haven’t seen him since.

    We exchanged a few texts with him once again saying how he spent months crying and asking “why” I was telling him the things I said, how misunderstood he felt and how he developed a mental block to the point where he could not perform sexually. That he was not withholding (even though he had previously told me that he didn’t want to touch me because of the anger he felt towards me… which turned him off). But that when he realized what it was doing to me, and that he was tired of feeling weak and cowardly, he had to STOP and END it. I replied taking all the blame and pouring my heart out.I never heard back.

    I wish I had not sent that final text pouring my heart out as I now realize that I accepted all the blame. But he has left me with so many scars. The pain from all this is excruciating. And what I struggle with is the blameshifting. Was it truly all my fault? Did I cause the arguments? Did I push him away like he accuse me of? Or is he the narcissist? He painted himself as the victim, the tortured artist that nobody understands. The entrepreneur that is so different that nobody understands. Meanwhile I felt I gave myself and my soul to this person and I am an empty shell of the self that I worked so hard to build after the last narcissist. To the point where I fantasize about breaking no contact and reaching out to him to find out if he got the second round of investment, if he is doing ok.

    Please any clarification and insight would be greatly appreciated. Does this sound like a narc? How can I make peace with all of this and move on? Should I have stayed his “friend?”

    • For sure! Sounds like what happened to me, but mine lasted for 6 years with 2 breakups. I let him back, but then I educated myself. It’s been 10 months of no contact. He tried twice to email, but I did not respond.

    • It would be great if I could get some guidance and advice from Marce on what I shared. I found her input in the past was on piint and trust her judgement. Please Marce, if you can either reply to me here or privately by email. Thank you for your time

    • Hi Sabrina

      Sorry it took me so long to respond to you. I was abroad for a month travelling and just returned home this week.
      I am also so sorry that you had to endure the trauma of Narcissistic Abuse, not once, but twice.

      I have no doubt in my mind that “T” is a Narc!!
      And no, you should not and must not stay “friends” with him.
      Walk (rather run as fast as you can) away from him, and don’t look back. He does not deserve you.
      You are an intelligent, insightful, educated woman and the bottom line is, he has ZERO to offer you, even though you may not see this right now….but you will when the RIGHT man comes around and by “RIGHT”, I mean a NORMAL person!

      “T” is not a NORMAL person….he has a mental disorder/ personality disorder and therefore you are not in a position and never will be in a position to help him or to change his behaviour.
      He needs professional medical help and probably medication too.
      The major problem with this type of mental illness is that these people do NOT usually seek the help they need, because they honestly and truly believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them….it’s the rest of humanity that has a problem, not him/her.

      If however, they do agree to get medical help, most of them will NOT stick with the program and/or pull the wool over the medical professional’s eyes (so to speak).
      They are brilliant manipulators and liars and unless the medical professional specialises in Narcissism/Personality Disorders and has many years of experience in this specific field of sociopathic behaviour, they often do not pick it up or the person ‘fools’ them.
      Like he ‘faked’ you in the early stages of the relationship, they fake healing too or stop taking their meds.

      Some definitions to help you understand who and what you may be dealing with:
      “Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD or APD) is a personality disorder characterized by a long term pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others. … Antisocial personality disorder is the name of the disorder as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).”
      “Individuals with this disorder are sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.”
      “A person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”
      “People who meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those who have traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder can operate in extremely manipulative ways within the context of intimate relationships due to their deceitfulness, lack of empathy, and their tendency to be interpersonally exploitative.”

      These two disorders exist on a spectrum ranging from malignant to antisocial and everything in between. So symptoms vary from person to person e.g. some Narcs are sex/porn addicts and other Narcs withhold sex completely to punish their partner for non compliance; some Narcs give you an elaborate explanation why they are breaking up with you and other Narcs just go silent and disappear out of your life without a word, no closure and leaving you terribly confused because according to you everything was great.

      Due to the overlap of symptoms in these two disorders, many people question whether the person they are in a relationship with is in fact a Narc.
      I often get asked, “So is the person I am describing to you a Narc?”
      I say if you have gone this far in your research and if you post on this blog for assistance, then YES he/she is a Narc. Don’t ever doubt your intuition and gut feel.

      If you continue seeing him as a ‘friend’ one of two things will happen…..
      1. He will escalate the ‘friendship’ into a romantic relationship again by going back to the ‘honeymoon stage’ and pretending to be the wonderful, caring, loving person you met and fell in love with initially (the suck in). The moment you think he has changed and things are going great, “the devaluing” process will start again, only this time the abuse will just intensify and become far worse than the first time round. Then, eventually, “the discard” will come.
      OR
      2. He will use you as a booty call as and when he feels like it or when he is between relationships with other women, etc. (friends with benefits), which to be fair is degrading and very hurtful especially if you have strong feelings for him.

      Either way, both of the above scenarios is just not acceptable to have a happy and normal life with him right???

      It appears to me that his primary caregiver is his Mother. And this suits him perfectly, because he has a place to live, get fed, get his laundry done, not have to take too much responsibility for bills, not have to answer to her, etc.
      I would even go as far as to say, he more than likely abuses her too….physically and/or financially and/or emotionally.

      Have you heard of the term Gaslighting?
      “Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.”
      This manipulation is a very common thing that Narc’s do to make you think/feel that you are mad, you are at fault, you are the crazy person, you are the liar, etc.
      Don’t fall for this guilt trip he puts you on.
      He does this to make you vulnerable so that he can control you.

      “He also talked to me constantly about exes”
      Him talking to you about his exes is called Triangulation which is a very common trait for these people.
      Basically they like to manufacture love triangles by bringing in another person into the dynamic of the relationship, whether just talking about the exes or actually having an affair with them, this way, he maintains control over your emotions. Jealousy is a powerful tool for a Narc.
      Note : Often sex is withdrawn because they are in fact having an external relationship with another woman and therefore having sex anyway behind your back.

      I can go on and on…..but I have already said so much.

      You need to take care of YOU now. You need to create BOUNDARIES for yourself (what are your deal breakers BEFORE you get too emotionally involved with someone?).

      Only you can make yourself happy, don’t rely on anyone else to do that for you. Take back your power and your life. Reclaim your dignity. If you pick up on bad vibrations or if something about a person worries you, don’t ignore the red flags but rather trust your gut instinct – that’s all you have to fully trust.

      Remember you do not have control over anyone else about how they feel or operate or behave, but you do have control over yourself. Love yourself again.
      Stop trusting people’s words and start focusing on people’s actions.

      Don’t waste any more time with what degrades you and hurts you. Don’t coexist with pretence and lies.

      Good luck…..hope this helped you
      Regards
      Marce

      • Marce,

        I was so happy to receive and read your insightful response. You helped validate my experience and shed light on what I went through and what it is I need to do to save myself and move forward. Just an update, I am happy to report that I am one month into NO CONTACT. Despite how weak I felt especially during the holidays, I was able to tap into some kind of anger and reminders (I had written them all down so as not to forget the abuse and the humiliation). I realized that my dignity, even in moments of utter loss and weakness from the withdrawal symptoms, mattered more to me. I still have tough moments. I imagine it will take time. I still wake up in the middle of the night and ruminate. Also, I have moments where I question if I was to blame or if part of what he was saying as the reason to ending it was in fact true. But now I know that this questioning on my part came from all of the gaslighting and cognitive dissonance I endured while in the relationship and also the things he said while breaking up with me.

        I am, however, starting to go out with friends and just recently signed up for another writing workshop. At times it is a struggle, and find that I am so physically and emotionally exhausted. But I keep pushing myself forward. If I feel down, I just ride out the emotions and tell myself that tomorrow is another day and one day I won’t feel the intensity of this.

        A few difficult things left to tackle now are as follows:

        1) Some family and/or friends telling me things like “why couldn’t you get out of it sooner if you sensed something?” and “it’s been a month, you should be feeling better by the day.” This is not helpful at all and makes me feel like something is wrong with me for being so attached and still suffering.

        2) Even though I unfollowed him on Instagram, I still go on to see if he posted anything or followed anyone new (he has a public IG profile). It’s like I can’t help but go and check. I obsess over it and then feel like crap. The interesting and perhaps telling thing is this: he was not posting anything for 1 month since Dec 19 (the day after we last saw each other and communicated). Then sure enough on Jan 19 (one month exactly to the day), he posted a photo of an apartment I am not familiar with. And the following day, he posted one more photo of the light fixture in that same apartment. Of course, my mind went to a bad place. That he has already found another woman whose apartment he is now staying at. I mean, it could be anything but that is where my mind went. And I feel awful. I am not sure if these are strategic posts on his part (given the one month mark and the ambiguity of the images displayed…almost like an insinuation that he is with someone else, whether true or not…) I keep trying to tell myself that even if he has found someone else so soon after, that just confirms what a psycho he is. And, furthermore, the fact that he would post these type of things. I also try to console myself with reminders that he will find another victim to abuse and to lovebomb and eventually discard — probably someone who actually does have her own place (like I had) and who could give him a couch and a bed to surf on while he is still living with Mommy. I keep trying to remind myself of the utter waste product and sorry excuse of a man that he is — 40 and still living at home and trying to leech on to women who have their lives together and can provide him distractions from his childish existence.

        I know I need to stop looking. Eventually I think I will because the urgency to survive and thrive is greater than anything else. I was able to ultimately do it with Narc #1. I can eventually do it again with Narc #2.

        If you have any other insight on the above, please feel free to reply. I do come back and read these posts, which are so validating and comforting. Thank you again Marce!

        Sabrina

        • Hi Sabrina

          Going NO CONTACT is not easy for anyone. Humans thrive on communication and bonding with other humans….so to go NO CONTACT is unnatural for us normal people. Remember you are not going NO CONTACT in order for him to miss you, etc. You are doing it for YOU!!!
          So it gives YOU the chance to recover, heal, move on, get over him, etc. And you eventually will – trust me!!
          How long will it take?
          It doesn’t really matter – it will take as long as you want and need it to take, because this is all about you now……however, you will know when that day comes and for each person that day is different…it could be weeks, it could be months, it could even be a few years, but when that day comes – you will experience a GREAT feeling of satisfaction, peace, growth, release, freedom, calm, strength, etc. 🙂
          TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME.

          One month of NO CONTACT (well done), but it is only the beginning…….you still have a long road to travel. You are going to have good days and bad days; sometimes you will feel on top of the world, and other times you’ll be so depressed you won’t want to get out of bed….IT’S NORMAL!!!
          We all went through that.
          Just hang in there……

          He will try to make contact with you again….most of them do…..but the reasons are not because he loves you or misses you…he has ulterior motives and sadly he’ll hurt you again that’s a certainty!

          Those family members and friends won’t ever fully understand what you went through unless they have experienced it themselves. Breaking off with a Sociopath is NOT a normal run-of-the-mill breakup that they are familiar with.
          We are talking about a soul destroying relationship and break up that they more than likely have never ever had to go through.

          Checking up on him, whether it be via snapchat, instagram, facebook, viber, skype, etc. is also NORMAL. We have all done that.
          Obviously it is not healthy for us. In fact it’s torturous for us…..but we do it anyway. Because we loved this person dearly, because we are confused, because we cannot get our heads around the entire experience, because we cannot believe people like this actually exist, etc. etc.
          Once again, in time, you will start doing it less and less….again every person is different.
          TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME.

          “The interesting and perhaps telling thing is this: he was not posting anything for 1 month since Dec 19 (the day after we last saw each other and communicated). Then sure enough on Jan 19 (one month exactly to the day), he posted a photo of an apartment I am not familiar with.”
          This is so interesting and just another affirmation for me that they have so many, almost identical, modus operandi traits.
          Mine was exactly the same in this regard with things like timing….incredible!
          At first I thought it was just coincidental, but over the years I saw the trend.
          So yes these posts are strategic and intentional.

          I’m always here if you need to speak to someone….because I so understand you and what you went through.

          Marce

          • Hi Marce. Thank you again for your last reply. Here I am now a month and a half after the last time I saw him or talked to him. No contact has afforded me a mixed bag so far. Let me explain. There are days I’ve felt I had so much clarity over the situation. I even tapped into anger over the things he had said or did to me before the breakup. Whenever I got weak, I would look at my written list of all of the demeaning or awful things and I would be able to snap out of it.

            The last week, however, has been excruciatingly difficult for me. One of the reasons being I feel a hidden shame that by now I should be over this or at least feeling better. But instead I feel I have regressed. My anxiety is back, my heart races, my body tenses up and at times I feel like crying (sometimes I still actually do).

            The other reason is that we have a couple of mutual friends and the last few weekends I hung out with them at 2 birthday parties (he was not invited to either, which I already knew so I did not have to worry about that). Photos were posted on IG where I was tagged with these friends. Of course, as expected, he did not like even one of those photos. Again, not that this is surprising but it highlights the fact that I still crave his validation. This is so upsetting for me, because I am smart enough to know that this kind of man will never validate me or acknowledge my existence. I think hanging out with these friends although fun in the moment, set me back in some way because I ended up having to explain why he was not with me (they did not know), recap the story, and ultimately secretly wish for his validation upon posting those IG photos of me having a great time with those people.

            The other reason being that a friend of mine whose boyfriend broke up with her just got back together with him. His reasons for breaking up with her had to do with his fears or anxiety that he was not good enough for her. He agreed to meet with her after exchanging some very deeply emotional emails, he communicating his desire for her despite his fears and asked her if they could try again. As she recounted her story, I felt a pang of envy (which I of course felt ashamed for because I truly want the best for my friends and want to be happy for her). I could not help but wish that I could have that to. I thought what if I end no contact and reach out to him? What if he has realized that he misses me and that during this time he has changed but does not initiate contact with me because he too proud or afraid that I would reject him after all this time?

            But then the rational part kicks in and says wait a minute here…. this is not a man who was able to communicate with me in a healthy way. When I pointed out issues and concerns, I was accused of starting an argument again, I was told that I was demeaning or making him feel bad, I was given the silent treatment for days after, he did not sleep with me for 2 months before the final discard… And how can I forget how he showed me a photo of boobs he had screengrabbed on his phone (as if to taunt me months after the first time I pointed out how that behavior was affecting me).

            And yet there is this internal battle. It feels like I live in a constant state of dissonance and that I have regressed. I feel like I am tempted to break No Contact. I look at my friend and wish that could be me. I ask why is it that I cannot experience what she just experienced. I hate these feelings. I feel ashamed to come to you again asking for guidance and help. Is this normal what I am experiencing? What advice can you offer? How can I get through this? When will this torture end?

          • Hi Sabrina
            Yes of course you can end no contact for all the reasons you have given above. That is entirely up to you…..I know I did several times during my ‘no contact’ for very similar reasons to yours like maybe he is too proud, maybe he thinks I will reject him, maybe he now realises what he has lost and doesn’t know how to go about contacting me without feeling foolish, etc.

            Even though I got advice to not break no contact from many who had been through this before, I kept thinking to myself and reassuring myself that my relationship was different….I loved him with all my being and he loved me too. I knew he was/is a very stubborn and proud man, so I thought I’d give it a shot….(not once, but several times).
            But you know what? The end result in each case of ‘return’ was exactly the same as the very first discard….in fact worse and more hurtful each time. And each time, I had to start all over again going no contact, feeling terrible, depressed, etc. etc.
            I discovered that all I was doing was opening up my old wounds each time and then stabbing these very wounds with a knife…..that’s when I figured out, he will never change because that is who he is…someone who doesn’t want to change and frankly is unable to.

            Battling the good and evil, pros and cons in your head and heart is VERY NORMAL.
            You are not going to get him out of your system for a long long time yet…..that’s the scary part.
            You making contact with him will just take you back to a very hurtful time in your life….
            You cannot compare your friend’s relationship with your own, because your relationship was not a NORMAL one, your discard and breakup was not a NORMAL one.
            It was a psychotic one!!
            That’s the major difference here, and you need to recognise the difference.

            Never feel ashamed of yourself or of your situation…..the only person who should be ashamed is your ex. Sadly however, people like him do not feel anything, let alone shame!

            You can talk to me or anyone else who has been through this hell…..advice : don’t talk to people who have never been through this as they usually do not understand the depth of the issue and therefore are unable to give you the correct advice.

            “Is this normal what I am experiencing? What advice can you offer? How can I get through this? When will this torture end?”

            YES, YES, YES and YES again VERY NORMAL!!!

            Do you know I STILL have a bad day here and there??? And it’s been years….
            But I have more good days now than bad days and that’s how I know how far I have come.
            I was a wreck…..no more though!!

            I can only tell you how I got through it…..I can’t speak for others:
            * I travelled
            * I kept myself busy
            * (VAIN I KNOW)….but I went on a diet to shed some kilos (lost 10kgs), I upped my beauty regime, spoilt myself with salon appointments, etc. That was my way of being the best version of me, slim/fit/attractive and young for my age.
            Something the ex can never take away from me….he is 7yrs older, and no doubt feeling the effects of aging – he will ALWAYS be older hahaha.
            * I help other people who went through the same thing….talking about it, reading about it and helping others reminds me why I never want to go there again.
            (All your letters here have touched my soul, because I KNOW EXACTLY how you feel and exactly how I felt…..it just brings back all those horrid memories.)……and this helps me heal further.
            * Spending time with people who DO love me and care about me. Real love, not the bullshit he was dishing out.

            When will the torture end?
            I do not know….no one knows.
            Every situation is different…..every victim is different…..
            If I knew the answer to this question I’d be a billionaire over and over…..

            Just take your time….one day at a time.
            Get through the bad days, have fun on the good days. It’s okay to regress like it’s okay to progress….just hang in there.
            Going back to him is really not the answer and definitely no good for your future well being.

            Marce

          • Hi Marce,

            Thank you for your last response. I felt the need to reach out to you and let you know that I never reached out to him (thankfully he has not either). I am now 2 months No Contact. It has not been easy and I imagine I will continue to have my moments.

            This Valentine’s Day, and the days leading up to it, was tough. I knew I would be vulnerable so I made a decision to stay away from Instagram altogether (where he usually posts updates/pics). I haven’t even looked at other people’s posts. I started feeling lighter and suddenly more interested in bringing the focus back to myself. I started a blog and have already written 4 articles about the healing process. I wrote them as a lesson to others (kind of the way you have been doing) and rooted in my own experience. This act alone has been incredibly therapeutic. I hope to one day be able to help others through their own journey out of the mire and to educate people about this horrific disorder that leaves others in such terrible states. Honestly, I feel there should be a law/statute for victims to seek redress for this type of emotional abuse. As a lawyer, maybe one day when I feel better and strong enough, I may take this up as a cause in my life. But I digress…

            I also want to report that I started writing short fiction stories and for the first time last night, I read one out loud in front of my widely published teacher/author (highly respected yet so humble — how different from the narcissist) and other students. The feedback I got was unexpectedly validating. To hear people saying that they think my work is great and encouraging me to keep at it, was an amazing feeling. What is wonderful is that there is no narcissist in my life to demean me or find a way to sabotage this experience for me.

            Ironically enough, I went on a date with someone new last night right after my workshop. His negative energy and questioning as to why I was pursuing writing and why I chose a downtown restaurant (instead of somewhere near my own neighborhood), sprinkled with intermittent gripes and other negative comments for the one hour I spent with him, made me realize that this world is replete with toxic people (probably another narcissist or histrionic/neurotic type) that I need to watch out for. I realized right away that in that moment, I had the power to say NO. I walked away and will no longer see or communicate with this person.

            Of course it is easier to do this before one actually sleeps with the person and/or trauma bonds. This is why I am realizing it is crucial that we recognize the signs from the outset before we allow these vampires into our hearts and homes. No more for me! I’d rather stay single and celibate until I find the right person who compliments me, even if it takes a long time.

            That said, I hope I can keep this up. I feel a strength and a shift happening within. I know that this is mostly because I have stayed away from Instagram, disconnecting from any reminders of him, pursuing my interests and spending time with loving and understanding friends. I fear the hiccups but hope that I can get through those too as they arise.

            Will keep you posted….

            Thank you again Marce for all of your amazing insight, wisdom and guidance through this journey of healing and recovery.

          • Hi Sabrina
            You are most welcome….
            Remember me giving advice to others and reading about other people’s encounters with these anti social maggots, forms a great part of my healing too, for which I am very thankful.
            That is why I am so so proud of you and what you are doing to help others and of course what you are doing to help yourself heal.
            Nothing and no one is more important than you right now…..mainly because, if you put yourself first and foremost and learn to love yourself unconditionally, it will give you the strength and confidence to maintain your boundaries.
            People must either respect your boundaries or move along…it’s that simple…and YES, before you get too emotionally involved with them.

            One day you will look back on this process and realise how far you have come.

            You deserve a good, honest, reliable, genuine, caring, loving, sincere man in your life who adores you…..and he is out there!

            Regards
            Marce 🙂

  • This article gave me goosebumps. I can relate to it so well. I had a break up few days back. I was in a relationship with this guy for 7 years and we were about to get married in two months. My relationship was a diaster. There were time in the beginning when he used to care about me so much. Everything seemed perfect. Then we hit a rough patch. And things changed after that. We used to fight so often. And every fight was no less than a break up. Every time he used to block me and blame me for everything. He used to use call me cunt whore stupid and every demeaning thing. Every time he used to say i haven’t done anything to earn his repect and no matter what i do he cant respect me. He used to abuse me my family and call my friends stupid. He said that i dont deserve him. And used to make me feel piece of shit and stil i kept on going back to him apologising my no fault. Once i just told him that if you get late then atleast inform me before and on this thing he made a issue telling me that how his time is so valuable and while i did nothing in compare to him. He behaved so wierd on my birthdays. He dint wish me and then made me feel like that how stressed he was because of his work and i used to give myself reasons for his mistakes. Every thing was above him his dreams, his work, his ambitions, his stress. He used to tell me openly that he cant love me until he respects me n i hv to earn his repect. He cant respect my teaching profession. And i used to belief his all words. As if i gave the right to control my life. There came a point when he made me beg not to leave me. Every time i used to disagree with him. The situation was same every time. He used to discard me. One moment he was looking wedding venues with me and next moment he was fighting with me and tellin me how much he hates me because i am not good enough for him. He used to block me and used to go on solo trips to gain his sanity. In the end i told him that if he hates me so much then there’s no point to get married and he agreed blaming me to manipulate into marrying him and disappeared. Can these signs of a narcissist? Am still trying to get over him. Its so difficult. My self esteem is completely destroyed.

    • Hi Monica
      Without a doubt in my mind, yes he is a Narc/Sociopath.
      And every time you take him back, forgive him and carry on where you left off as if nothing happened and as if everything is okay, the situation gets worse and worse and could become quite dangerous for some people in your situation.

      My advice is that you walk away….actually no, RUN for your life.
      They never change, they have mental disorders that you cannot fix, that no one can fix.
      Good Luck and look after YOU now
      Marce

  • This hit home! I’m 6 months away from him but still feel a need to understand. Each story is different, not my own. I learn so much every day from other people!

  • All these stories are so very similar and mine alike I have been seeing someone for 6 years on and off which in the beginning though I wasn’t proud of myself and will openly admit he was with someone for which he said and told me he wasn’t happy…it didn’t last too long and I then met someone else and was in a relationship with that man for 18 months which eventually ended. I then a few weeks after recieved a very strange email which eventually turned out to be the guy I was seeing before anyway still in his relationship I decided to just meet him for drinks and chats which eventually ended up with us being more than that. Anyway with all the broken promises I ended it only then to recieve a email a month later saying he had left and if I was still single wud I like to meet up with him…foolishly I did anyway after months of lying cheating me actually falling out with two of my kids over him and him basically going from prince charming to a complete asshole making me feel like everything was my fault and never communcating with me about anything I wud have a drink and it wud all come out how he made me feel and his faults he ended it but as much as it hurts I just feel I can’t keep going bk cos he’s done so much and I’ve taken him bk everytime he has no respect for me anymore…I will always love him but I know now that I need to let go and love myself more.. reading all these stories makes me so sad because it’s awful for anyone to go through I take valium daily just to help me through the day x

    • Your story and I are similar! He told me he wasn’t happy in his relationship and I wasn’t happy in mine either. I went through everything you went through. It’s been over a year and I still think about him. I don’t miss the ugly side of him, I miss the friend he was before his mask came off. I’ll never see that friend again. So many questions to ask him, but I know I will just get stonewalled and treated like crap again. I feel bad for his new victim. They have no idea what they’re in for.

  • I think my ex was a narc. Mainly a long distance relationship that went on for a year, but when I met him in the US he made me feel like I was the most interesting and important person in the world, pretty much declaring his love for me 10 days after we met. I returned to Australia and we chatted for at least an hour every day, with dozens of text messages. Thinking back, most of the conversation revolved around him, but that didn’t worry me. He’s an extroverted, good looking, funny guy, 10 years younger than me but he said he much preferred older women, and had never felt anything like what he felt for me. We planned this amazing future, he visited Australia for two weeks, which was bliss. I returned to the US a couple of times. He was very needy, always getting worried if I didn’t return a text within seconds, and never wanting to hang up the phone when we talked.

    And then two weeks before I was due to visit with some of my family he broke things off, completely unexpectedly, saying there was no one else, but the “spark” had left the relationship, and he’d felt for a while that it was all too one sided (ie I didn’t return the feelings for him as strongly as he did for me!).

    He really made me feel like I had been in the wrong, where all I had ever been with him was kind, helped him get over the many dramas that kept happening in his life. I still ended up visiting, but he was cold and distant for most of the trip (occasionally being really nice, which only served to give me false expectations), saying I was his best friend and he still needed me in his life, even if we weren’t together.

    Tried to continue the friendship, but every time I would tell him it’s hard for me as I still had strong feelings, he would turn it back on me, and tell me I was making him feel shitty. Anyway a few weeks later I asked him if he was seeing anyone else. He said he was just “chatting”to someone he met on a dating site. I was mad with jealousy but tried not to act upset (he would only get angry with me). And then the next thing I know he tells me he is moving to Australia, but not the city I live in. I asked if it is where the new person lives and he said yes, but that’s not the main reason he’s moving there.

    I told him I just couldn’t cope with this, that he wasn’t being fair to me, that this is something we had planned together for a year, and within a month of meeting someone else he’s now moving over to be with her. Again he turned it around on me, saying I was ruining his Australian “adventure” and we had our first full blown argument. He ended up blocking me from FB as well as his phone number. I sent him several emails, apologising (for what I don’t know!), and he replied each time with really, really angry emails (I’ve since learned that Narc’s HATE to be criticised), telling me I had disrespected him, that I was evil, that I was a slut, that I would be so, so easy to forget.

    A couple of weeks later he told me he was too decent a person to continue hating me, and he would let me back into his life, but I had better watch what I say, or he’ll have no hesitation wiping me from his life forever. Stupid me was so grateful I agreed to all his terms and even assisted him financially for his move to Australia (to be with someone else!).

    I know there are two sides to every story, but I really feel I did nothing wrong during our relationship to make him treat me like this. He is now in Australia and it nearly kills me to think of him enjoying life with someone else. He still sends me texts and pics constantly saying what great friends we are, how he still thinks I am one of the most amazing people ever etc, but does not want to visit me, or let me visit him.

    Anyway, I am on day 3 of NC. It is so hard, but I’m at the stage where it’s been 4 months since the breakup and I still feel miserable all the time. I have to get this man out of my head and out of my life.

    Have I been in a relationship with a narcissist??

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