It Actually Happened

In the wake of so many women speaking up: their courage, the important attention on sexual harassment and the fact that women have suffered predominantly in private for so long, I feel more empowered to speak up.

I wish I could share everything about being manipulated by a narcissist – and still seem like the sane one – but I’m afraid I can’t. Most importantly though, I am not sharing my story as a means of revenge, or to scare off his current girlfriend – and that is a fine line to clarify.

So many people don’t get the fundamental piece/peace (double entendre) of #MeToo – it’s speaking up for ourselves. Sharing our story – not for revenge or personal gain, or to end a career – simply because we need to say that it actually happened.

I realize that in taking the time and effort to explain my version of experiences – I am bringing him to life, and prodding the hornet’s nest. A lot of people in my life are afraid of him. Afraid that he’s capable of doing far worse than the pain he’s caused. If I were to come close to threatening his very existence, pull his facade down and let the world see him for who he really is – they feel it’s possible that he’d make the ultimate power move, the final manipulation: use one of his cherished firearms to end me and my spotlight on him for good.

“I’m not abusive, she is.” 

Being with an emotionally abusive person who claims that *I* am the abuser is unbearably frustrating. I’m opinionated. I can be snarky, bitchy and very difficult to be around. I am particular and stubborn, and can hardly mask my emotions. But I’m no abuser. Here I am, the crazy defending her lunacy, which proves his point.

See – she’s so fucked up she can’t even move on. She needs help.

Blaming him is easier. It is a handy launching pad to support the anger I feel. But I cannot blame him alone. I’ve mentioned in previous posts – and I’ll repeat it – he showed me who he was, I simply didn’t believe him. There is no blame really. We were both in the relationship. Neither of us were pulled along against our will. 

His second divorce was not yet final when we first started dating. And earlier this year, his friend revealed that he had proposed to his second ex-wife on the very day that his first divorce was final. I was sick. He had gone from woman to woman to woman to woman. Just. Like. That. But he has a way of poeticizing his journey.

Thinking about the kids dizzies me with nausea. How do you justify ripping two innocent children who loved me away abruptly, without a goodbye or conversation? I was in their lives as someone who had shown and promised to love and protect them, blended by my commitment to their father. A single day before he decided to put me on a bus and throw me in the trash, the two of them ran giddily through the house that we were going to buy.

The kids bolted out of the car towards the old swing hanging from a big tree along the path to the side door. He snapped at them for jumping onto the swing, and corralled them into the house which opened into a cozy, airy space and true old New England farmhouse kitchen that I fell for at first sight. We were led through the wide open foyer, dining and living rooms, complimented by beautiful light old wood floors, and windows that seemed to go up and down and stretch the entire width of the space. The view to the back was of a private, wooded yard of tall grass, trees and the shell of a garden.

As we turned the corner by the cutest built-in nook, our eyes locked and we both knew this was it. We didn’t say a thing. Through the bedrooms upstairs, onto the deck overlooking the yard, we envisioned sitting together with one of the many special mugs collected from one of our getaways, filled with delicious coffee. The rest of the house tour continued on like this – one sigh after the other, more looks between us, our hands squeezed tight, communicating with our eyes, our hearts. That was who we were after all. The “us” we had cultivated and fostered over the three and a half years, and the “us” that we’d continue to define and covet for the rest of our lives – in just six months, we’d be legally bound.

In the creative space built over the garage, he translated my cues to his friend, the realtor helping us out that weekend. “Let’s make this happen.” Right, his friend nodded and understood, we wanted this house.

While the kids ran from space to space, their voices echoed throughout the empty rooms, they mapped out where they’d set up their bunk beds, put their animals, their gaming area, and identified different Pokemon characters throughout. I was confident this would be a happy, loving home. We used to say “you are my home,” and finding this dream house was a pure bonus because I was happy as I’d ever been with him, the cat, and the kids every other weekend in our tiny two bedroom urban space – huddled around the makeshift dining table for four, or snuggled up on the low couch binge-watching our shows, or working on our plans – lately with laptops side by side humming over complex pieces of a sophisticated series of spreadsheets that outlined all the details for our upcoming wedding. Content.

When your reputation is at stake, and it’s the person you used to love who is doing the smearing, there is a burning inside that fills you with disgust and rage. And humiliation. But then I think – well, he’s doing it again. The threats continue. I doubt myself. Even after I know his true colors. He’s a manipulative smooth con man. Very smooth. When people hear the term “narcissist,” typically they think it means self-indulgence, or an inflated ego. It’s so much more than that.

*The inevitable narcissistic relationship cycle adopts the following patterns:

  • Idealization is all about worship, adoration, and making you feel like no one can love you like they can. You are “love bombed” receiving incredibly fast declarations of undying love, constant contact reminding you of the unparalleled love shared, and intense focus on you and meeting your needs.
  • This is starkly contrasted with devaluation where the abusive narcissist does a 180 and deliberately undertakes to convey contempt for you, keep you insecure about the relationship, and dismantle your sense of self and power. The focus is to debase and diminish you.
  • Discard delivers on the threats embedded in devaluation. You are rejected and abandoned with brutality, disposed of like an inconvenient thing, at times this is done with less energy invested than one would in actually taking out the trash.

More on narcissists here.

Everything has been deleted. Erased, un-connected, un-hinged, un-linked, un-done. Didn’t happen. He has tried and will continue to try to diminish me, as if I never existed. But he can’t. Because I do exist. And I’m not going anywhere.

speakup

5 thoughts on “It Actually Happened

  1. I have experienced the same thing from the opposite side, i.e. my narcissist (and I use the term “my” loosely) was female. It never ceases to amaze me how they all use the exact same tactics and methods. I never would have believed it until I experienced it. I certainly understand how you feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really eerie, isn’t it? I’ve read some of your stories as well in addition to others – and there are so many commonalities. There’s really nothing left but to examine *ourselves* for being part of the con. You know?

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