When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist there are always red flags. Warning signs, that, if you had any idea what was about to happen, you would abandon ship immediately. But, (N’s) are so good at what they do, so subtle, and so covert in the way they operate, that you are blind to the red flags. Even the smartest, most intelligent people, have been unable to see the red flags. I certainly didn’t see them. It took a long time and a deep understanding of what had happened to me, before I could gain the perspective to see that there in fact warning signs.
My now ex-(N) and I met as co-workers. My initial reaction was that I didn’t much care for him. (warning sign #1) Even before we had our first date he half-jokingly told me he didn’t like kids. (warning sign #2) We didn’t work the same schedule and often made plans to get together late in the evening after he was off work. Plans which he often broke, calling me to say he couldn’t come because of… (fill in the blank). Then, usually around 11pm or later, after I had already gone to bed, he would call and say he’d be right over! (warning sign #3)
(N’s) have to be in control, or at least have the appearance of being in control. As it turned out, (N) had very little control over his own life. At the age of 23 he was living at home, working a full-time job and handing over his paycheck to his mother. She controlled his life. So, in turn, he took control of someone else’s. Mine. And so it began.
Later on I would find out that he had lied to me during the early months of our relationship. Lies about the stupidest things. For example: he lied about having graduated from high school. It turns out he didn’t. He failed a class his senior year, had to take a class during the summer, and got his diploma in the mail. Why lie about something so trivial? If you’re going to lie about the little things, chances are, you’re going to lie about bigger, more important things. Just don’t lie. He lied about having traveled to another part of the country. Turned out, he had never left the state of California. He was building himself to be something he wasn’t. All in an effort to gain control over me.
An he did. And for more than ten years I fell victim to his emotional rape. And let’s be honest, that’s what it was! It’s like a drill sergeant tearing down a new recruit in order to build them back up again. Only in this case, the “building up” never came.
I was put down, demeaned, belittled, undermined. My spirit was wounded. Oh sure, there were happy times. The “honeymoon phase” when things were okay. I quickly learned that sex would usually buy me about 48 hours of peace. Yes, I used sex as a barter for serenity! It made me cry then. It makes me cry now. And even the honeymoon phase wasn’t enjoyable, because I was always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to to drop. For all hell to break loose. I never knew what would set him off.
Yes, it is no wonder now I am so skeptical of everyone I meet. I missed the red flags before. I’m not about to miss them again! And just when I think I’ve conquered my “trust” issues, I realize, I have not.
I’ll be honest, something happened recently that set off this spark in me! I can’t explain. Well I could, but other people that I care about could get hurt in the process. The point being, I hate seeing people that I care about get emotionally raped. It hurts. Not only does it stir up old feelings, but it makes me mad. I want to protect the people that I love and care about. And that’s the thing with (N’s), they operate so far under the radar as to not be detected. You don’t even realize you’ve been sucked in, until it’s too late. Certainly the people on the outside don’t have a clue. If I had known, I could’ve done more to help. I hate to think my experiences were in vain.
– J. Ela