The Narcissist Does Not Change

Here I am years later, and I find myself marveling over the fact that the Narcissist does not change. I have read it a million times, that person’s with NPD or disorders of this sort are incapable of the insight required to make a real change in one’s life. Yet, when I experience it first hand, I am still surprised. I often wonder, when will I not be surprised anymore? It has been nearly 3 years since the Narcissist walked out of my life to spend it with her new supply that she was cheating on me with. Looking back, I now know it was for the best, and is it was the only kind thing she has ever done for me. My days are more peaceful and my nights are restful without her in my day to day life.

I am not able to go no contact, which we all know is best, because I have kids with this person. I do not co-parent with her, it is impossible to do so with someone who only considers themselves in any situation, and uses her children as pawns. A better term I have heard to describe it is parallel parenting. I do the best I can when I have the kids, and leave her to do what she does when they are with her. This limits the amount of contact, something I have been practicing for a few years now. Yet, I still am surprised how the Narc acts when we do have to interface. Here is an example. I had to attend a school function for one of the children I had with the Narcissist. I arrived at the function and started to meet with teachers as needed. Part way through the Narc comes up to me and asked if I would see the teachers together with her, instead of separately, so that it was easier for the teachers. I simply responded “no”. I did not want to do that, and I had previously made that clear multiple times in the past year. I was going to hold my boundary; I was not angry or mean about it, I simply stated that was not my preference. When I said no, I got the disapproving look followed by the words “you never work with me” that she huffed as she walked away. I was surprised. Surprised she still asked, and would get angry at me for expressing my preference. This is now someone I barely speak to outside of the written word, and she wants me to ‘work’ with her; spend time with her. Why, after all this time would she want to do that? We don’t talk at all, why would we want to sit there together and talk to someone else and pretend we are raising the children together? Further, why does me saying no, get her angry at me. Why? Because the narcissist never changes!

The fact is I have changed. Without the Narcissist in my life I have begun to realize my self-worth. That my feelings and wants matter just as much as anyone else. I have found who is worth me giving my time too. Now that I am surrounding myself again with emotionally and psychologically healthy people it almost seems foreign to me when I cross paths with someone who isn’t. I bettered myself as a result of the divorce, and I expected my ex to do the same. However, she can’t. This cold, calculated manipulation she performs on people is all she knows. Instead of explaining to me why she wanted to see the teachers together, she immediately turns to trying to guilt me into feeling bad about “not working with her”. That is the only way she knows how to handle life. It’s sad actually. I can’t imagine going through life like that. I don’t have to anymore. The Narc will; she will not change.

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Love Story

This week I am going to table talking about the discovery and recovery part of the Narcissist’s abuse for a bit and concentrate on who I was before a victim. I want to share what I am finding about myself, and what I believe made me susceptible to the Narcissist games. For, to truly heal, you must look in on yourself and understand you. You must love yourself.

Life experiences define who we are and what each of us view as ‘normal’. Humans, being typically social beings, look for people to interact with, to learn from, and hopefully grow as a result. Everyone has different experiences and therefore look for something different in life. Some of us are completely happy to march to their own beat. They have friendships, but are just fine with that. Others of us search for that companion to build a love story with. Someone you choose to get intimately involved with and plan to spend the rest of your life with. I chose the latter.

Now, what did I look for in an intimate partner to love for life? Starting at the beginning; I was a shy kid growing up. I remained that was much of my pre-teen and teenager life. I really didn’t date in high school; I was too timid. My parents, particularity my mother, were not interested in seeing me date. I began to fill the void of not dating with a story of what love was going to be for me in my mind. I imagined it over and over again. I became a hopeless romantic, fantasizing about life and love playing out as it had in the stories I heard, the books I read, and the movies I watched. For reason’s I am still discovering, I built my perfect love story as the fairy tale of the knight in shining armor saving the princess.

I started dating looking to fulfill this love story I created in my head. I was so naive, and still so shy, it was a recipe for disaster. I was constantly framing my relationships in the story so much, that I did not get to enjoy and learn as I feel I should have. Looking back at my first encounters with people I chose to enter a relationship with, I always wanted to rescue them. I wanted to make the day easier for them, fix something for them, or make them feel better, all as a show of my affection. I wanted a princess to sweep off her feet, put her in my coach and drive her to our castle to live happily ever after. I remember truly story boarding it all in my head. Once I found her I would be her everything, and she would be my everything. I would do anything to stay atop that horse as her knight in shining armor. That is what I was supposed to do as a loving partner. I knew no other way.

So I gave myself to anyone I dated. I really did. After a few failed attempts at the fairy tale I started to learn. I learned that relationships were two way, and I had to be more than a knight on a horse and she had to be more than the princess. However, I kept turning to that original fairy tale in my head. Then one day I found the girl I wanted to spend my life with. She was so sexy, outgoing, happy, and full of life. I just wanted to be part of it. My friend introduced us and she instantly rejected me. Unexpectedly, that rejection did the opposite of what I expected. It drove me wild. With that the games began, and I did not even know it.  After a few more attempts she started to show notice, explained her life to me overnight. Told me how she was struggling threw life, dealt a bad hand, but wanted so much more. If you have not guessed it, I dove right in and rescued her. Rescued her from what I was told was a different path than she wanted to be on. She was stuck there because of family and friends abandoning her. So I listened to the story, I helped her, and we became one mindset. It seemed like destiny. I was so absorbed in the rescue of my Narcissist lover and could no longer see any other story. It was our love story.

Shakespeare once wrote a love story. You may have heard of it, Romeo and Juliet. Two kids fall in love; they decide to marry even though the families will not hear of it because they are enemies. Romeo decides to run away, Juliet fakes her death because she can’t live without him. Romeo really takes his life because he will never find a love again, such as her. Shakespeare wrote probably the truest love story ever written, correct? Did he? I believe he was writing a story of how lust, infatuation, romanticism, and the story we create of love in our heads can destroy us if we are not careful. Look it up sometime; there are many out there that have taken a different look at this play such as Joseph Pearce in his post ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is not a Romance.

I still am discovering why I built up my story of love as I did. Quite simply, I believe I was emotionally underdeveloped for my age. So when another great story teller came along and filled in all the chapters I was missing, I was hooked. Now, if only those chapters were real or true. As we know, they were not. The narcissist lied to me over and over to paint this picture of my perfect partner, that I had created in my head. It’s like she knew. The narcissist is good at reading you and mirroring your deepest needs and most sincere qualities. They have none of there own, so the steel yours. Therefore, I thought it we were soulmates, I thought it was the love to last a lifetime. I was wrong. 

I am now divorced from the narcissist. I see the world, love, and life differently now. I nearly fell for others with NPD qualities since, but have learned to discern those traits, and part ways with those that possess them. In hindsight, with the emotional intelligence I own now, I could have re-written my love story. Where then, would I be now?

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Secure Me

Locked Gate

When I was finally discarded, I instantly felt threatened. I remember waking that following morning (OK, I did not really sleep at all that first night), I feared I was about to loose everything, I feared she would do anything to destroy me; actually kill me. Instantly, I was in self preservation mode, protect me at all costs. Almost as if I was dropped into a war zone. I instantly felt like a soldier that had zero knowledge of what he was about to face. It was such a strange feeling. Hours before, I was in bed, crying. I just lost the love of my life; she left me for another man. Left me with children, to raise on my own. What was I going to do? That following morning, that all disappeared. All that was present was this fear of danger. Her mask fell off. I was now seeing the real her; and it was like looking the devil in the eye.

While this was my first marriage, this was not the first break up I had ever experienced; I had many before being married. I can tell you, this felt very different from any breakup I had with anyone before. In fact the feelings I was having were completely confusing to me at the time. I was experiencing an awakening. While I was not conscious to it while I was with my narcissistic partner, my mind always knew she was bad for me. When she left, all these repressed feeling and thoughts came rushing forward. I didn’t sleep for a long time. Now that my heart was broken it was no longer clouding what my mind was trying to tell me all along. My mind wanted it’s turn to speak. Speak it did, 24-7, there was no time for sleep. I processed a lot in those sleepless nights. Very hard things; things I did not understand, things that were causing me great fear. 

That feeling of fear grew and subsided throughout years of recovery. The path of recovery was never linear and consistently confused me as the feeling of fear would build within me and then fade away. I would have tremendous days of confidence and happiness, and then one word or email from the Narc would send me in a tailspin. Years later it is still there sometimes; much less than it ever was. It is there so infrequent now that it has allowed my mind to travel in a eye opening direction. In the direction of true introspection, and very clear retrospection. After a traumatic experience like the Narcissist discarding you there will always be triggers that take you back to moments in the experience. Moments that you will begin to relive and try to understand. I have learned to channel what I am feeling about the memories into real healing. The healing is coming from reflecting on what I was really feeling in those moments. Let me explain…

One evening I was talking to my current girlfriend about day to day life. She also was married before. We talked about what we handled in the household, what our partner did, and so on. During one of my explanations I was triggered. I was explaining I did most of the grocery shopping, and thoughts came rushing back in a way I never saw before. I started reliving those evenings in my head. Leaving the house to go grocery shopping late at night, after a long day. I started to remember it was one of my most peaceful moments in my life. Getting out of the house, away from her, was peaceful. That recollection got my gears turning and all sorts of memories started to come back. Memories of how all my anxiety attacks would happen when heading home to her, never while heading out. All the times I would collect the kids, run home, and get dinner ready, being on edge as I tried to have everything ready for her arrival. The dreams I would have as I slept, about how much simpler life would be single again. The constant uncomfortable feeling I had in a social situations involving her, but I was completely at ease in social environments that did not include her. The list goes on. I came to realize I was always on edge around her. 

The need to protect myself at all costs was there, but buried deep within me. My mind was constantly trying to tell me to get away. It was causing me physical pain and fear to try to snap me out of it. Panic attacks, numbness in my limbs, tension in my jaw, grinding teeth at night, headaches. I would not listen to my mind and body though. All I could remember was all the happiness this person brings me. I was waiting for that next great loving moment with her. My heart was blinding me from the truth, while the rest of me was slowly dying. Deep down, buried in my subconscious, I always knew how bad she was for me. They say listen to your heart. Well guess what, your heart can be fooled. Listen to it all, your mind, your heart, your body, your soul. Love yourself, protect yourself, feel your emotions; then love another. 

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