Unnerving Peace

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.

It’s peaceful.

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In the beginning…

In the beginning…it was nothing short of magical.

Kyle and I met 15 years ago, online.  We were three hours apart.  While long distance relationships may not seem like the ideal circumstance to cultivate a lasting relationship, given our situations at the time, it was actually ideal.  He was a custodial single father with a full time job, and I had a demanding job that required lots of travel.  I had just gotten out of a marriage the previous year, so I like the ability to be a ‘part time’ girlfriend without the demands of 24/7 access, so to speak.

Narcissists are known to be better than Don Juan in the initial stages of a relationship.  And boy…did Kyle deliver in that department.  Prior to us meeting face to face, he showered me with gifts, home made treats overnighted so they were still fresh, flowers, cards…..I was soaked to the bone with his romantic overtures.

Once we met – our first date was truly the stuff of romance fiction:  Reservations at a luxurious, expensive restaurant, my favorite song in the CD player, candles in his pocket he whipped out after we sat down to ensure we had a candle-lit dinner on our first date, a string of pearls delivered during dessert by the waiter:  Truly…just un-fucking-believable in terms of off-the-charts romance.  By the time our first weekend together had commenced….I was hooked.  He cooked restaurant-quality dinners, gave me a massage….it was truly just more than I could have dreamt of.

Today, I kick myself for allowing him back into my life.  Hindsight is 20/20, and the distance provided him a much-welcomed buffer as to my discovery of his Narcissism – however, getting dumped by him via email on Valentines Day,  and then, when he returned and began the Love Bombing they are known for in the initial stages…I had forgotten the searing pain that my new love inflicted when he callously dumped me on a day specifically meant for love.   

After we reunited, and spent 9 months together, at least Valentine’s Day went OK that year.  He just waited for my Birthday to tell me he had met someone else.  Someone who he would eventually marry, then leave after 7 years…and return to me.

Ugh…as I write this, I am SO angry with myself for not being able to understand this pattern that is so typical of the Narcissist:  Ping ponging between their Narcissistic suppliers until those suppliers are completely and totally used up.  I had no idea what I was up against at the time, but still…what part of the good sense I assumed I possessed was on vacation those times?  Why did I accept the excuses of fear of his feelings and uncertainty about how to handle our situation?  I had no problem with it.  I would have happily tried and worked something else to accommodate – but it was never discussed with me.

But, I have to realize that, until a few weeks ago, I truly had no concept of the maniacal personality type I was up against.  I was outmatched in the deception and manipulation department before I ever agreed to meet him.  It’s hard to admit that the qualities I am most proud of about myself:  Loyalty, sensitivity, and empathy, were nothing more than means to an end in his Narcissistic goal setting.  He would exploit those to extract what he wanted, when he wanted….and was so skilled at it, I had no clue what he was doing…even after it was done.

The 8 years between our last breakup and our reunion erased a hellluva lot of the raw pain that ensued after the two breakups during our first two years.  I wished to hell I’d remembered that.  It would have made slamming the door in his face so much easier…and, as it turns out, a brilliant move on my part.

However….that’s not how it went down. 

I had so much more to painfully learn.

The Long Road from Hell

My world was shattered last week, Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at approximately 7:20 p.m.  My fiancé, the man I had been building a life with for the last 5 years, arrived home from a two week trip to God knows where, and informed me that our life together, as I knew it, was over.

I would love to be able to summarize, briefly, what caused it — but it wasn’t any single event.  Our relationship had grown a bit…sedate.  Demanding jobs and familiarity can cause that.  But no fights, no explosions.  Just a two week ‘poof,’ from him, a return, and what artifacts of his life he could pack up within the span of several hours, and he was out the door — leaving me in a pile of emotional and financial rubble.  No idea where he went.  No idea with whom.  I was literally blindsided, and the only thing I know is the partner I had come to rely on is gone with reasons I can only deem suspect.

In wondering what happened, I reached out to some trusted friends, who told me that, perhaps, I should research Narcissism…because ‘Kyle’ (Not his real name) seemed to fit several of the major categories for Narcissism.

Upon reading and learning more, I was numb.  It was as if each article, each link….every morsel I was picking up was just a mirror of the life I had been living, and a picture perfect portrait of the man I had been building it with.  What was worse…I could not deny my own reflection in the words detailing what their victims became and suffered.

Because I have to become healed, and get back to the person I was…I am starting this blog.  I need to understand all the complexities of this vicious, life-altering Tango I had been unknowlingly dancing to since we reconnected a long time ago.  I feel as if I am an empty shell of a woman now…used up and discarded, and he is happily starting a new chapter, with zero regard as to how much he has destroyed the life I was living to the core.  I don’t know who the fuck I am anymore, and I have to find that person again before I can pick up the shards of this shattered existence and try to live again.

Being on the receiving end of Narcissistic Abuse is undeniably fucked up:  It’s incremental in it’s takeover of the victim.  I almost wish he’d hit me:  THAT I could verify when/where it happened.  The little digs…the love bombing….the discarding….you absolutely cannot fathom how confusing it is to live this existence with a person who is patient enough to extract enough when they need it, and crafty enough to do it before your eyes and not have you see what’s happening, until it’s too late.  By that time..you will not recognize the person who has looked back at you in the mirror.

I need to understand this…and, more importantly…I need to work my way back to some semblance of who I was.  I need to let other people who have this ‘What is going on with me’ gnawing in their soul to look very hard, and maybe recognize they are headed for a huge crash if they don’t switch direction NOW — and with any hope, they can see some of their life as I tell this story, and get themselves out before more damage is done.  Maybe others who are on the same journey I am will feel less alone as they realize someone else if going through the same fucked up mess of rebuilding their life as a stranger to themselves and keep asking the question ‘How did I get here?’

Thank you for visiting.  I hope you’ll come back.  I hope I come back, too.