This is not an angry tirade, it’s a small chapter of my life that may help anyone else who has survived living with a narcissistic boyfriend. I can finally write about it, and I really miss writing in general and I’m feeling a bit rusty.
Not writing is far worse for me than the usual writer frustrations of writer’s block or editing for hours on end. It’s a lonely job too, one that kept me inside, relatively trapped for about a year. At the end of July, I was engaged to someone who shall remain nameless. Roughly three weeks later he kicks me out. This was a shit storm, I lost my mind, I immediately feared homelessness. Literally.
After three days of couch surfing, I came back because it occurred to me I’m on the lease and he cannot kick me out even if he wanted to. He, in turn, decided he should leave. Normally in a fight or flight situation I’m the one who chooses flight. I figured this time around why not choose the other road it may make all the difference.
For nearly two weeks my head was spinning because he would not give a reason for the breakup. I still have no clue other than yes we argued a lot but the arguments themselves never really made any sense. These arguments always began by some opinion I stated he did not want to hear, such as: The nomination of Hilary Clinton is historical. And that was actually a fact.
Who argues over a fact? I decided to journal this out for my sanity’s sake. The sudden temper tantrums. Imagining that he supported me when he never wanted to hear about my writing, my interests, but gladly taking whatever little money I had because I did not want to ask him for anything.
Two examples of him clearly reversing the reality of our relationship: Stating being around me made him feel like he wasn’t sure what to say because it might make him angry. Stating that he nearly fainted at work because of all the stress he had after the break up.
As I was literally crying my eyes out and freaking out over potential homelessness it was all about him. Typical narcissistic personality. Here we go again, I thought, yet then again I’ve had plenty of practice with this type of person because of my mother. (Coincidentally, today is her birthday.)
Why did I not notice these traits when I first met him?
I met him five years ago. We reunited last year while one of my best friends was dying. The friend who was trying to help me find a home so I wouldn’t be homeless.
I was caught off guard by a message from the abrupt-breakup-guy-to-be, coincidentally he lived right down the street from where I was going to move in with my friend Mark, the one dying in a hospital from a failing liver.
He took me up to the hospital to help me visit Mark. In all this chaos, I had no chance to make a clear decision and jumped into a new relationship. Perhaps as a matter of survival; I had nowhere else to go and this guy knew that.
The honeymoon phase: A trip to Delaware with his family. He was with me during the long 5 months it took for me to get my dentures and felt ugly and did not want to go out and do much. Suddenly, we really just weren’t going out and doing much even after I got my teeth. I started to look for work outside the home.
Seven months of searching and he even said he’d rather me go to school because he made enough to take care of both of us. Few days later, he is claiming to be running out of money and I need to get a job.
When I had my first panic attacks around him last fall, I was the one who needed therapy. We both went once, too. I thought he truly cared. Turns out he just was setting up what was supposed to be evidence of how crazy I am. His own mother is telling me on the phone this summer I need therapy.
Newsflash: Healthy people seek out therapy. It does not make one look psycho. What makes a person look mentally unbalanced is when they make sudden irrational decisions to pack up and leave, offer no reason, and do not understand how this affected more than just myself but my children also. If you cannot apologize for hurting someone else that is a sign of being completely unhealthy mentally.
Second Newsflash: Last fall I purposely tracked down a therapist specializing in narcissistic abuse and PTSD. Which is probably why he actively sabotaged me seeing my therapist by instigating fights right before I had an appointment. Crap, the last time I was supposed to see her I couldn’t because he told me before he left for work that day I should pack up and leave. I called her in a panic and she tried to insist I come in but I was scared and took off for the night to stay with friends.
Get a job? The weekend of the breakup I was supposed to see my daughter and had a job interview on the following Monday. Perfect time to start a nasty fight! Weird thing is, that Friday, when I had written down the job interview information I had a funny feeling I should not let him know about it because he will sabotage it. Technically, a few days after the engagement he called it off but we agreed not to cause Facebook drama by removing the engagement and changing it to something else. No one else knew but us, except if he told anyone else I would not know.
Third Newsflash: Does said-breakup-guy know what I write about for a living? I’m sort of an expert here at how narcissists behave. Just this past weekend he played the I-miss-you-game and left a minute and 15 second voicemail about remembering all the good times. Which, apparently, boiled down to one photo on Facebook of when he bought me flowers. I texted him I was thinking of him too, like how I never got an apology. Suddenly I’m psycho and he did not miss me anymore because I was treating him like shit. Yes, bringing up that I wish I had gotten an apology is an example of how I treated him like shit.
Fortunately, I learned after surviving the abuse from my own mother what gaslighting is and breakup-guy is an amateur compared to her skill level and expertise.
I really had never been more severely hurt by a break up more than this one, not because it was a particularly healthy relationship; It was the abruptness, the sheer lack of concern about my need to find a job, having nearly no money saved, and two kids who I need to support. The only other time I was almost forced on the street was when my own mom gave me five days to pack up and leave but at least she gave me five days. That was in 2013.
When I was kicked out of my mom’s house, my friend Scott took me in for four months until I could afford my own place. During this year’s breakup, I tried to message Scott while on my three-day-exile. He would have helped me that’s the kind of guy he is. After two days of no answer I get a call informing me he had died, suddenly, in his sleep. He was only 44 years old.
See, usually I flight, I do not fight, and this time there was no Scott’s apartment to run off to. Why not make both Mark and Scott proud and stay put this time. All they wanted was for me to be happy and have confidence. I remember the last time I saw Scott, back in July, he said he was proud of me.
I’m not writing this because I’m bitter or angry, actually, choosing the harder choice- the choice to stay in the same house and take on all the utilities and rent on my own- was the healthiest choice I have ever made. And I have handled the solitude of living alone because I also go out and see my friends or they visit me. I suddenly am living my own life on my own terms.
Those who know me know I usually scoff at meditation. This July, though, I gave in and admitted to feeling a lot of negative energy at home. So a friend from the other side of the country mailed me healing meditation rocks and I put them in a bowl of sea salt.
(An aside: Scott was a long time AA member who helped run my former SOS meeting and the last time I saw him he also credited me for opening up his mind and that he wasn’t as into AA anymore. He kind of rolled his eyes at me about the rocks, “Yeah, right, you- meditating? You’re joking right?”)
I like to believe choosing to accept these rocks led to the series of events that led me here: The engagement, the breakup, forcing myself to get out and meet people, forcing myself to accept help even though it was embarrassing, thinking outside the box to find odd jobs to get me by. Positive choices can lead to positive results.
I am actual thankful for the breakup. It was a mistake I made. I have to remember I am not the one who finds narcissists; Narcissists find you. They seek you out. I have to remember that. This mistake that led to here and now, where I’ve never been happier even though I’ve never been more scared of the unknown. Yet I will never know unless I try. Not trying only leads to failure.
[Author’s note: This has been updated and edited to include links and to add a few words on gaslighting.]