I have been alone for a week now. He has been absent from my daily life, after being a part of it for 5 years, for 7 days now.
And the sense of peace is unnerving.
When one lives with a Narcissist, in the beginning – it truly is a thing of magic. They engage in a full-on assault to your mind, body, heart and soul in love-bombing. They shower you with attention that truly just makes your good sense go on permanent vacation. In my case…it was coming home to a remodeled house. It was gourmet dinners prepared and executed to a degree that would make Wolfgang Puck green with envy. It was a surprise trip to Venice Beach over Valentine’s day so we could watch the sunset over a romantic dinner. It was the stuff every woman dreams of and truly believes doesn’t exist.
Now, I fully realize that the puppy love/romance phase generally dies down from the initial stages. But, with a Narcissist – it is peppered with little digs. He learns that you don’t like a certain food – he chides you because it would work well in the menu he’s preparing, ‘But some people are too picky.’ He learns that you feel your thighs are bigger than they should be…he ‘pinches an inch’. He learns that you have a bad day, ‘Well suck it up.’ Just little digs that make it seem like you’re being unreasonable. Yes, you do have giant thighs – it’s not in your head. That catering to a small like becomes an issue with your narrow mind.
Again…it seems small. Then…when they sense that they have you weak, in my case, he would poof: Just vanish. For a week. No inkling…just come home..and a note explaining he’d gone ‘away’. All the attention you were used to getting…all the companionship you were accustomed to…GONE. No idea why, no idea where he’d gone…just ‘Poof!’ Then, when the worry as to if he’s OK, where he is…what he’s doing gets to be too much…he appears on your doorstep with a completely plausible, on the surface, explanation: Stress of separation from the kids, job hunting….you name it, it’s there.
Now…most normal people would slam the door after the first poof. But, when you’re entangled with a narcissist, you being a mental push and pull. You become so accustomed to trying desperately to get that Love Bombing phase back…and at the same time, those little digs that become more frequent settle in and convince you that it’s YOU who is flawed…and if you just be ‘better’, he will love bomb you again, and all will be right with your world. It never enters your mind to be angry they ran off like a child – You become conditioned to keep your anger at bay in the company of a narcissist: You aren’t allowed to be angry. You aren’t allowed to be contentious. You are only allowed to be a worshiping sycophant – working only to get back into their good graces and be showered with love again.
But it never happens. You learn that to be ‘home’ is to walk on egg shells. You know the play book has changed…but no one gives you the updated copy. You learn to take the digs, because it’s better than showing the slightest bit of hurt or negativity, because those will bring out forms of Narcissistic rage. Those take the form of yelling, or, in my case, bouts of deafening silence and pouts. You try to be pleasant to crack the exterior – just to get some acknowledgement that MAYBE…just MAYBE…you are back to being not disdained. You are rarely ‘loved’ again at that point – you learn that ‘not disdained’ at least keeps some semblance of peace.
However…for 7 days…I have experienced peace. I come home to the apartment…and there is no one expecting to be worshipped. No one expecting to have his slightest household accomplishment doused in praise. No one to ignore my need for having a bad day and needing to talk about it. No one to make me feel less than I am. My home feels like a foreign country for the past 7 days, as I realize these 4 walls are now MY domain…to make how I want…to live in how I want…and to care for myself as I need.