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Dated a Narcissist?

LineInTheSand posted 1/13/2020 16:46 PM

Oh boy, where to begin? Has anyone here dated one of these creatures? I ended the relationship over a year ago, but my head is still spinning occasionally due to his crazy making behavior.

I honestly did not know people like him existed! Sheesh! He was sweet and charming in the beginning but little by little his mask started slipping. He made excuses for his crappy behavior (poor childhood, his dad wasn't around, etc). He just made excuses for every darn thing!

When the verbal abuse crept in, I was taken aback by it, to be honest. He, of course, apologized and said it would never happen again. And, yes, indeed it would happen again. There was a pattern to his behavior, and he lacked empathy. I finally ended it with him when he called me degrading names via text. His excuse? It was my fault because I had gotten him upset.

For those who haven't an inkling about narcissism, please research personality disorders. There are plenty of videos about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) on Youtube. Please educate yourselves. These soulless creatures walk among us and appear to be human--but they aren't.

[This message edited by LineInTheSand at 5:02 PM, January 13th (Monday)]

AbandonedGuy posted 1/13/2020 17:09 PM

I sank days and days and weeks into watching those NPD videos. I got myself one of those "covert" narcs. I think she was probably lower on the spectrum, but she most certainly was one the whole time and goddamn did those traits amplify when she got caught with her hand in the company cookie jar. She probably got off on the massive discard she got to perpetrate at the end. Some of my all time favorite hits:

Pulling some majorly deceitful shit to get her way
Love bombing (I miss the love bombing, I gotta admit)
Treating even the smallest benign criticism as a personal attack on her being

These people are sick in the head and god help anyone who has to deal with them once they're out of your life.

Phoenix1 posted 1/13/2020 18:28 PM

Yes, they are out there. Sadly, many of our members found themselves married to one. Extrication from marriage can be downright terrifying for some.

Glad you saw him for what he is and removed yourself from it!

NorCalLost posted 1/13/2020 18:30 PM

Pretty sure my ex-husband (at the very least) has some narcissistic tendencies.

He love bombed me like crazy at the beginning of our relationship. "You're the most important person in my life and will be until the day I die."

But he also had an awful temper that he blamed exclusively on me. He lied to me about being loyal, about how he would never LIE to me, about how he'd never cheat on me - and then when he did cheat, he denied ever having cheated.

He called me horrible names when angry, lied to other people about how our relationship ended in order to save face at my expense, and flew into a rage when he learned that I had exposed him. He became threatening, verbally abusive, and ultimately cut me completely out of his life and blocked every form of communication that he could think of.

Because of his lies, his daughter and others who I loved no longer have anything to do with me. It's been awful to know that I was so stupid as to give him passes for bad behavior, look the other way, accept blame, and continued on loving him for years - which only exacerbated his behavior and further enabled him to continue ruining my life.

I wish I had gotten out sooner. I wasted years trying to love basic decency into him. I can't get those years back.

Snapdragon posted 1/14/2020 11:50 AM

My ex is not a diagnosed NPD. He simply has strong tendencies in that direction and displays many of the classic behaviors. Many.

People have told me that I "give up" on guys way too soon while dating. While that may be true, when I see the beginnings of "training behavior" I keep a very close eye on things and stay ready to bolt for the door. What is training behavior? It's the small steps over the boundaries of good behavior to test you or to push your boundary. It isn't a "whoops". It isn't a misunderstanding. It isn't your sensitivity, insecurity, etc. It is very deliberate but easily brushed or excused away as innocent.

Example of a beginner lesson and the subsequent intermediate course:

*Making you just a tiny bit uncomfortable when he/she is just a tiny bit flirty with the server in the restaurant (or whoever). You won't say anything but your body language will be sure to show that you notice and don't like it. Win for the narc. Beginner lesson complete.

Later on in the intermediate course the flirty behavior will be more obvious and if you say anything you will be accused of being insecure, jealous, being rude to service people, or some other accusation that gaslights the bad behavior as being on your part!

Other beginner training examples from my own life:

*That little insult that is laughed off as "just kidding" when you show your hurt. Being just a few minutes late, forgetting part of your order or instructions when bringing take-out food home, not consulting you before making plans that include you, putting your precious wool sweater in the dryer and shrinking it. All done with an oops, sorry! My mistake. I didn't mean it. No ill intent intended! Bullshit. Training lessons. But, since you would never pull such an asshole move on purpose you let it go as an innocent mistake or oversight. He/she can be scatterbrained. He/she is under so much pressure right now. He/she was just so excited about the event I got committed to it without my permission. Any myriad of excuses and justifications we make so we don't have to look more closely.

But, after you've been through it and come out the other side you have a level of vision that is nearly X-ray! You can see the training bullshit a mile away. It seems so insignificant and minor to anyone looking in or anyone you explain it to. "I broke up with him because he constantly over-cooked my steak" sounds so petty, doesn't it? But, when coupled with other subtle trainings being implemented it all adds up. I use the steak example from experience. My ex seemed to relish in the pleasure of denying me a steak cooked medium rare. Why? NPD assholiness, that's why. My only way to get a decent steak was deny him the privilege of cooking mine. He got a bit of pleasure out of that, too. Since, now I was doing both the grilling AND the indoor cooking. I couldn't win. But, at least I had a good meal.

Never again. I'd rather chance giving up a good man then end up with anyone on the narcissistic spectrum!

J707 posted 1/14/2020 13:58 PM

The absolute worst! I was with mine for over 17 years. I had no idea until Dday and me pushing for divorce. That's when all the nasties and mindfucks came out of her, mask was completely off. Talk about a head trip. The more I researched it gave me shivers. I knew then that she was always NPD, I just didn't know it or refused to see it. I now see the end of our marriage/divorce as a true blessing! Someone on SI said, "The only eggshells I'll be walking on now are the ones I accidentally dropped while cooking". Ain't that the truth. They truly are horrendous individuals, try and stay far away from them.

WornDown posted 1/14/2020 14:57 PM

I went a step further and married one. Together 25 years before I hit the eject button.

They are definitely destructive.

pureheartkit posted 1/18/2020 00:40 AM

Yes, train you until they devalue and discard.

It's a form of abuse.

They are spectacular in the early days though. That's when they are building the grand deception.

Newbeginnings24 posted 1/20/2020 00:04 AM

With distance comes clarity and what a shame that all my family and friends saw what I see now many years ago, but they never said.

I lost my identity but I am now being blamed for being a loyal and caring wife. How does that even work? They play the victim all too well.

Problem is MIL is one too. Oh she’s so thoughtful, so supportive and a shoulder to cry on. All whilst she promotes this to her friends, funny she misses off the bit about hiding the OW and back stabbing her STBDIL.

I am starting to see the advantage of being free from them.

Hugs to all the NPD survivors x

SuchMickleCare posted 1/20/2020 05:18 AM

Snapdragon, I feel like if you wrote a whole post on these “training courses”, it would be fascinating to read the small and big ways these people groom us to endure their treatment.

People have told me that I "give up" on guys way too soon while dating. While that may be true, when I see the beginnings of "training behavior" I keep a very close eye on things and stay ready to bolt for the door.

Yep, 100% agree with your feeling of that. Not worth the risk of ending up with another narc. I’m not dating again yet, but I intend on sticking to that logic.

Not sure if my ex has NPD, but he definitely exhibited narcissistic traits (many, I would learn through IC, mirrored those I grew up thinking were normal as a child of a covert narc parent). So, I suppose I’ve been “trained” from a young age to silence my needs and justify/ignore bad behavior from others, among other things. Part of my recovery is learning to recognize those behaviors so that I don’t fall into familiar traps again.

My “training” in the relationship with ex started right away. It begin with intense love bombing of course, which set the standard in my mind for how it must feel to be loved. Then would come his emotional withdrawal (often for no discernible reason, always resulting in my doing anything I could to get back to that “happy” place). Then there would be “small” deceptions, along the lines of: telling me about his day but omitting the part where he got drinks with a female friend. If I found out and made it known how his omission made me uncomfortable, he’d drop phrases like “Well, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal” or “One of my exes was crazy and accused me all kinds of awful things”... statements like these accomplished a few things: it shifted the blame onto me for making something out of nothing (how dare I), it showed me that future boundary issues weren’t that big of a deal either, and it planted the insidious seed that for me to be lovable I had to be different from his accusatory exes.

The small deceptions would eventually get bigger, weirder, more elaborate or confusing, as his appetite for attention & validation was never satisfied, and all along I would be made to feel jealous/paranoid for pointing out holes in his stories. Pepper in some occasional love bombing, which my love-starved self absolutely craved, and I’d be left spinning wondering if I truly was insane. Add to the mix that at some point when we did a few months of couples counseling, he learned to parrot several nifty new lines which could temporarily quell my suspicions/anxiety as he also got clever about taking his cheating further underground.

One my valued takeaways from that shitshow when it finally ended was how to really, truly believe a person is who they show you to be. I’m very lucky to have some mature loving friendships in which, with practice & therapy, I’m learning to rewrite my understanding of how a secure healthy relationship actually looks/feels. I’m also learning how to protect myself from the behaviors of my covert narc parent, but that’s a while other story!

[This message edited by SuchMickleCare at 5:21 AM, January 20th (Monday)]

AbandonedGuy posted 1/20/2020 11:53 AM

My narc did that pull away crap to me in freakin month TWO. Boy was I naive. It's a miracle on par with surviving a plane crash that we somehow made it 12 years.

Newlease posted 1/22/2020 12:11 PM

Yes, first relationship post-D. I was way too vulnerable to the love bombing. I had never experienced it before and after all the pain and rejection from XWH, it made me feel so good.

Then the subtle emotional and verbal abuse started. It's was so insidious that I didn't notice it until I was walking on egg shells trying to please him all the time. It took me over 2 years to finally end it.

Current SO is steady, kind, never talks down to me, owns his shit, calls me on mine when necessary in a loving way, and I never doubt his love for me.


deena04 posted 1/25/2020 11:47 AM

Oh yeah. I am fairly certain I was married to one. It’s a hard escape, but a worthwhile escape.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 1/28/2020 10:10 AM

WH scores "very high on the narcissism spectrum" and I can tell you, honestly, I thought people like him were only in movies. I cannot wrap my head around how messed up his head is, no matter how hard I have tried. I can't say he is "broken" as he seems to function daily (as in, you know, pay his bills, go to work, not murder anyone...) but he's not NORMAL. Thank goodness as if he was normal, I'd be living on a island in solitary for the rest of my life!

The sad thing is, he knows it. He actually made a comment to me once that rang of how f-ed up he is and how he knows it to be true and how internally miserable he is when he thinks about it. He, in talking to me about something non-infidelity related, but tragic, said:

"You're normal, so I know you will know the right reaction to this and I know I don't." He accented the word "normal" in a way that made me realize the was jealous and a bit resentful of me, for being normal. Like he had been born with a birth defect - he got ripped off and has to do all this work to be normal, and I just get it for free - and it was so unfair to him. It also told me in no uncertain terms, his brain isn't working right because he can't even figure out what normal is sometimes - so he's guessing. Can you imagine having to read other people so you can play along and act normal all the time instead of just living?!?! How freaking exhausting.

It was in that moment that I realized the whole unfairness game of infidelity that I play with myself pales in comparison to the unfairness game he plays with himself when he allows himself to really look at who he is. It also explained to me why he doesn't want to look at himself very hard for very long - as he sees a person full of flaws and issues and he doesn't understand why they are there or what to do about them. He feels like this every stinking day we talked about the A and in relation to other things too. I've wasted so much time and effort on my own fairness issues (it's unfair I was the "good one" yet this happened - it's unfair that he can just move on with his life seemingly unscathed and I'm heartbroken, it's unfair that I wasted all my time on him, it's unfair...) yet my issue are related to HIM, not me. His..his belong to him alone.

He isn't right in the head, and he knows it. What a way to live. (No, this isn't a "poor him" post - it's simply a realization that there are really more of these messed up people out there then I ever imagined - this site is a prime example of it as I think some of the worst perpetrators are people who are high on the narcissism spectrum, and unfortunately this site is filled with their victims).

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 10:13 AM, January 28th (Tuesday)]

Superesse posted 1/28/2020 12:41 PM

ThisIsSoLonely, That description of your WH as not feeling he is "normal" and how you get the impression he resents having to go through life watching others, just to know how to feel and act, or "mimicking" is a hallmark of another disorder that can appear a lot like NPD. Look into Aspergers, now lumped in with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This studying others to catch clues is what Aspergers people say they do, and they truly have a different kind of brain wiring, from early in life.

In my undergrad abnormal psychology course, the only relational facts we were taught about Asperger's was that they exhibit some degree of social awkwardness. It said they still have a deep desire to connect, even though they don't quickly pick up on social cues how to make that happen. Yet our text book (2007) made it sound like when or IF they can marry, they are "loyal to a fault." In reality, not so much, I've learned. Emotionless infidelity isn't a big deal when you don't feel a connection with another. I will not give links here, but maybe it is worth checking out? Especially sites that are addressed to spouses of Asperger's Syndrome people.

[This message edited by Superesse at 7:31 PM, January 28th (Tuesday)]

crazyblindsided posted 1/29/2020 16:25 PM

My STBX was diagnosed by a therapist as having strong NPD tendencies. I couldn't see the forest from the trees until D-Day 2 that's when everything started to unravel and I started to put the pieces of my M together.

It took me years as I fought with this new info. Once False R hit I had no doubt he is NPD.

I am having to put myself together again piece by piece it is the worst trauma I have ever experienced and I am a survivor of sexual abuse. The trauma bonding is hell to go through as it feels like my mind is playing tricks on me and I have to rewire my neural pathways.

what a shame that all my family and friends saw what I see now many years ago

Yep my parents noticed his small criticisms of me constantly. Silly me I thought I had to work even harder to make him happy but he was always moving the goal posts so I would fall short somewhere and he let me know about it.

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