Isolating

It’s Narcissist Friday!

I have received many emails and comments that talk about how the narcissist has separated the writer from family and friends over the years.  This is a sad but common occurrence in narcissistic relationships.

In spite of the fact that most narcissists seem to surround themselves with people, narcissism is fundamentally an isolationist disorder.  Narcissists only show the image of themselves to others.  They share only what they can control.  They hide from others.

Narcissists hide because they are afraid.  They are afraid of facing the reality of their incompetence and vulnerability.  That fear causes them to be very aware of the power of others in their lives and world.  People with power to expose their weaknesses or put them in uncomfortable situations must either be controlled or avoided.

I have suggested before that the narcissist sees a person in one of three ways: tool, toy, or obstacle.  A tool is used to get what he wants.  A toy is used for pleasure.  An obstacle must be removed or overcome.

Every person in a relationship brings others with them.  A young lady may have parents or siblings or friends who have been supportive.  A business colleague will bring a network.  A friend will bring other friends.  These support people must fit into one of the three categories for the narcissist.

Parents, for example, are often seen as obstacles.  Narcissists will sometimes move their families away from grandparents or they will refuse to attend family gatherings.  Younger siblings, sisters for example, might become toys for the narcissist to use to build his self-esteem.  Grandparents could become tools, sources of money or comrades in convincing a wife to comply.  Some narcissists are able to convert a spouse’s family and friends, but most simply isolate.

Many times I have been told that the narcissist required the victim to move.  He couldn’t lose his job.  She (the N) couldn’t leave her hometown.  He had to stay close to his kids.  So the new spouse or girl/boyfriend leaves her job, his hometown, her kids.  It will be okay, we will visit often.  But it doesn’t seem to happen.

Your friends wonder why you don’t call, why you can’t connect, what has happened.  There really isn’t any answer except that the narcissist seems so strange about it.  You don’t want to get together with anyone without him, but you certainly can’t go with him.  So, you begin to separate yourself.  Just to keep the peace.  Just to avoid a hassle.

But the hassle is purposeful.  It’s in the plan.  And the little comments or outright lies.  They begin to get under your skin.  Who could be so wrong all the time?  Maybe there is something to what he says.  He says that your mom hates him and wants you to get a divorce from him.  Nothing could be further from the truth, but you better keep them separate.  Better not go to Thanksgiving this year.  He would just cause a scene anyway.

Pretty soon, you are living far away from your parents.  To defend him, you have to stand against them.  Same thing with your siblings.  Then your friends.  Pretty soon you are alone.  That was the plan.

Listen: I know this can be very hard and scary.  There could be a real risk if your spouse is violent or given to very strong reactions.  But you are a person.  You need other people.  They may need you.  Get in the car and visit your parents.  If he doesn’t want to go, let him stay home.  Call one of your friends.  Get to know a neighbor.

And if you are afraid of the reaction you will get from your spouse, there may be even more reason to reconnect with people who will stand by you.  Tell them that you are afraid.  Yes, your narcissist may get angry or act hurt, but you have a right to be you.  Your feelings are valid and important.

Narcissists neither know nor care about the feelings of others unless they can use those feelings for more control.  Don’t expect your narcissist to do what is best for you.  Expect him to do what he thinks is best for him.

If you are afraid of abuse, please be willing to report anything to the law and let your narcissist know that you will report it.  Take pictures, go to the hospital, call the police.  I wish I could emphasize this enough.  No spouse should be afraid of being abused.  It isn’t right and it should stop.  That’s what the heavy hand of the law is for.

Be careful, but you have to take care of yourself.  So many have told me that they are all alone against the abuse of their narcissist.  If you can avoid this early in the relationship, do it.  If it ends the relationship, let it end.  You have to be healthy.  You have to be you.

23 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

23 responses to “Isolating

  1. Repol

    Isolation was a slow process for us, but it definitely did happen. I didn’t see the signs, and being in a conservative Christian community, the teachings even supported isolation by promoting the “primacy” of the marriage bond and relationship over all other relationships.
    “A man will LEAVE his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two become one flesh” was translated to “in a good marriage, the wife gives all of herself to her husband, and the husband is the only emotional support a wife needs.” So when there is abuse and narcissism, there is nowhere to turn.
    After we got married, my husband told me he didn’t want me talking “too much” to my parents. He would look at the phone bill to see if I had made any long distance calls from the house. He told me he was trying to strengthen our oneness, because his first wife could never leave her family and that was what destroyed their marriage, he said.
    I worked in an office then, so I would make calls to my family from there, on breaks or at lunchtime. The company would give us each a personal billing code, and at the end of the month I would just pay them for my long distance. That worked for awhile, but one afternoon he and I were both home together and my parents called. I remember being so happy. I took the call and they were both on their extensions and we talked for about a half hour. I hung up the phone smiling, and turned around to find him standing in the room with a handgun in his hand. “Do you want me to use this!? he yelled, holding it up. Then he put it to his own head, “Or is this what you want? Do you!? Don’t you EVER disrespect me that way again or I will! I will use this!” and then he picked up my cat and threw him at me from about 15 feet away, and left the house with the gun.

    Now I know that I should have called the police right then. They would have caught him with the gun and in his rage and things could have changed before I got more and more trapped. But I didn’t. I didn’t know a wife COULD call the police about her husband. I honestly didn’t even know that that was abuse. I mean, he didn’t use the gun. Now I know, but now it’s 15 years too late. I could have been free, with my youth. I might have started over. I just shrank to the floor, terrified and praying and crushed, all my idealism about marriage and community and happiness in this life draining away from me. I thought it was my fault. I had chosen poorly, I was the one who wasn’t wise, as I have been told so many times since then, “I made my bed, now I had to lie in it.” I didn’t have to get married. I chose to, and “life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get,” but I had no idea that I had a right to ask for something better after having made that choice.

    Isolation got worse and worse over the years. He didn’t want to be with people unless it was on his terms, and he didn’t want ME to be with anyone either. He would make me pay with sexual favors for any outing or even a phone call or having anyone over. If it didn’t make me “frisky” enough to reward him, then I would be kept up all night while he fumed and raged over how I wasn’t meeting his needs. Then I would be too tired to do a good job taking care of the children the next day, and I would crucify myself over being such a bad mom and they would see me, slowly going crazy.

    Don’t let isolation happen. And don’t turn yourself into a prostitute in your own home because of your need for some emotional fulfillment. Please. Don’t do what I did. It cannot be done. Women are not meant to be prostitutes for their husbands. I don’t know if I was tool, toy, obstacles. In some ways, I think I have been a bit of each to him.

    But I have to have a person or two in my life around whom I can let my hair down, be real and not vigilant. God hasn’t really given me that with consistency, but there are a few and it’s mostly through the Internet and not face to face. I’d prefer face to face, but that’s still hard to come by. People live in couples and operate in couples and now, those who know us, don’t want him around, so we are never invited to anything any longer. Sometimes I can get away now with a friend, and my husband and I have a written document on file with the church leadership saying that he isn’t allowed to pull a gun on me or demand sex in return for letting me have a friend or keep me up all night or call me profane names. And I have made a couple of road trips to see my dad and brothers without him. But it’s still hard. It’s still not a robust fellowship with others. I still can’t show hospitality the way I feel called by God to do. It’s a life of limbo. This is the chocolate I got from the box.

    • Repol, he sees you as a tool, a toy, or an obstacle depending on the circumstances of the moment. That’s how he makes you feel crazy. When you’re a toy or a tool, he treats you well. When you’re being an obstacle to his wishes, he will treat you like dirt.

      Also, what the heck is wrong with your church leadership that they didn’t tell him to get out of the family home and get treatment? A written document on file with the church means NOTHING. I feel ill seeing that you are being spiritually abused by your church to go along with the abuse from your husband.

      • I have to agree. The act of waving a gun as a threat, either to himself or to you, is something that must be reported. In fact, it maybe should be reported even now. This man is unstable and could be a danger to others. The church leadership has no right to keep that information private. They are not only mistreating Repol, they are endangering the community and overstepping their position.

        This should rile us up!

    • Wow, repol! I hope many will read this, especially those just beginning narcissistic relationships. The combination of narcissism and Christian legalism is very powerful. But even those not in the church should be able to see the progression of narcissistic control. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Penny

      You didn’t get chocolate, you got the box. Get out of the box. Now. It’s not too late. Get out of that “church” too. Jesus made a whip to clear out the box b/c of their perverted use of piety. GET OUT!

    • prairiemom

      Repol, I am so, so sorry. Do not believe you have to live that way, a way that may destroy you. A dear friend of mine has been living with a husband similar to yours (though his specific behaviors vary), and he finally brought her to the end of her mental and emotional strength. She recently tried to take her own life. I had to pick her up at the hospital… her son came to stay with me VIA A SHERIFF VEHICLE!! She never realized how much her narc was stealing from her mind and heart. She still does not realize it and blames most of it on herself. God help her if she goes back to him (and God help her heal if she is strong enough to stay away from the Narc).

      She knew her marriage was hard, but she did not see this coming. Please do not wait until you are so low that death seems better than living your life, or until you are catatonic from a severe nervous breakdown. I know that sounds alarmist, and I would probably have thought so a few weeks ago until I saw this very scenario unfold before my eyes. Remember that God is your father, your daddy, and you are His precious daughter. Even human daddies don’t take kindly to their daughters being mistreated by wicked men. God bless you and guide and protect you.

      • Repol

        Thank you, prairie mom.

        I wasn’t quite catatonic, but I did have that breakdown. I am recovering now, pursuing things for myself, and waiting to see what psychological evaluations say about my husband.

        He seems better at present, but I know not to trust yet. I honestly don’t know if I ever can. He has been through “better” phases before. He is still spending addicted and I am planning to go see a lawyer in the next couple of weeks–I have to make the appointment–to find out if there is anything I can do, legally, to prevent his spending habits from bankrupting me, ruining my credit, or even reaching into the children’s little bit of savings.

        So in that regard, I am beginning to make some plans to protect us. I plan to have my brother named custodian of my estate in the case that I die while the children are minors. I know he would take care of them financially whereas my husband won’t or can’t. It’s a terrible scenario.

        I am thankful for this place. I have felt more stable in reality since finding it and hearing that my story is not unique–narcs always act the same way and victims respond so similarly. I no longer feel crazy, and even if most people in the community will never believe what it is really like, I feel a sort of justification just from this body of people, reporting the same stories. By the testimony of two or three witnesses a matter is established. Narcissism is real and it is extremely destructive, especially when there is no support for the victim. I am so thankful for all of you here.

    • Cecilia K

      Wow, even knowing how cruel and insane narcissists can act, this story still shocked me a little. I think it may be the scariest one I’ve read on “Grace For My Heart” so far. My heart really goes out to you, Repol. And I can’t recall if I’ve read in more recent posts whether or not you are still with your husband, but I pray God is protecting you from harm.

      It’s easy for me to say, but please don’t beat yourself up for not calling the police at the time. Maybe your circumstances today would be different, but maybe not. Maybe the police wouldn’t have done anything, or maybe they wouldn’t have caught him, or maybe he would have stashed the gun where they couldn’t find it and would have made up some story to make you sound like a lying lunatic. Who knows?

      You acted at the time based on what you had been taught and believed. You had not received further revelation, so you did what you thought was right, and we must believe that God will glorify Himself (or has glorified himself?) even through this sick ugliness and make beauty from these ashes.

      I so wish I knew if any of you guys lived near me, because I would so love to reach out and be that face to face contact you need for comfort and affirmation, but I realize we all want to be safe and remain as anonymous as possible. I guess for some (or many) it might be difficult to get away anyway.

  2. Sunflower

    Wow, that was one awful read!! I’m so sorry, Repol. For me it was so slow and subtle. I’m 60 now. When I was 23 we moved and mom said, “He wants to take you away from us.” I thought she was imagining things. She usually didn’t say much (wonder why? in a Mennonite church?). Or she would give me money and say to him, “This is just for her.” It wasn’t long that he didn’t think much of my mom. She died when I was 26 and now I wish I could ask her about her life, what she really did know. She wrote a book for her 5 daughters but dad destroyed it. Just writing this, I want to cry. One phrase I heard over and over, “You’re just like your sisters!!!” in a disgusted tone of voice. And I think my sisters are great. Of course.
    If you have heard Mark Gungor speak (Laugh you way to a better marriage), he recommends leaving him as soon as possible (to shock him into getting help and for the purpose of restoration), while you still care and while there is hope for change. He says that most women wait till their ‘give-a-dam’ breaks and then they just divorce him because it’s too late.

  3. Fellow Survivor

    Ladies, my problems were not quite as pronounces are some of yours but my Ex showed the same pattern of exclusion. I have two good friends going back to elementary school. I was in their weddings and they were in mine. One called me everyday for 3 months to check on me and the other at least once a week. Very good friends, more like brothers.

    Anyway, in the first 7 or 8 years of our marriage we (me and the ex) did stuff with those couples on a regular basis. My first friend’s wife and my ex would go the woman’s events monthly for years. Anyway, when the children came along we stopped doing so much together for obvious reasons. Anyway, one day about 5 years ago the ex wants to go out ‘as a couple with some friends” I say what about my best friend and his wife? She’s like, no not them. So she would rather go out with HER friend and a husband I don’t even know than my good friend and his wife who was friends with the ex. That never quite made sense to me but it does now.

    I work in a family business with my Dad. He doesn’t do much anymore and is almost 80. Her big demand was for me to quite afer 18 years and get another job. Why? Who knows. Because of my job I have total and complete flexibility. I can take my kid to the dentists, or doctors or daytime dance classes. I could be there for both of them at a moments notice. I can’t tell you how many times my ex would call me at work and say I left my phone or something else at home, can you pick it up and bring it to me? I have flexibility to do that.

    Anyway, she wants me to quit this job, abandon my parents who can no longer do the work and find something else. I once asked her ” If I got a job that paid $30,000 less than I make now and I was out of town 5 days a week traveling, would you prefer that over what I do now?” She said YES. What’s that all about? My parents are months shy of 80 and one day I will inherit the company. She knows if I left if would fail and my parents would be without any income. But nooooooo, its was all about her.

    Anyway, that’s my rant for the day. But I definately see the pattern, some more pronounced than others.

    God Bless You Repol. I am thinking about you.

  4. Mel

    Repol I was really moved by your story. It is quite amazing how we allow ourselves to remain in the trap they set up. You deserve to live an authentic life, to be yourself, to share your life with friends and family as you wish. You do have a choice when faced with such an unreasonable man.

    I left my husband, with our four children, after 20 years of marriage. In that time he never pulled a gun, we don’t keep them in the UK, but he threw objects at me, was unfaithful and treated me like a prostitute in my own home. It took a long time for me to wake up, realise that I was minimising his bad behaviour because I had become so accustomed to it, and confront him. He called everything I said a malicious lie in front of a marriage counsellor who knew my story. He said everything had to be swept back under the carpet where it belonged and never mentioned again. When we discussed the issue of freedom (to come back to your topic Dave) he said that he ‘let me go’ to book club once a month as if that was some huge concession on his part.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that the longer you accept a bad deal the more normal it becomes when in fact it is compeletely unacceptable.

    You have a choice to make. I have learned through God’s word that he looks for us all to live lives that bring him glory. I think the tough question you have to ask yourself, as a Christian, is can you do that in this marriage?

  5. Fellow Survivor

    Hosea 4:17 has given me much courage to step away from the pain of being involved with these people. It says “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone”. It will be beneficial to read all of Hosea to get the proper context of this admonition. But for me and my EX N, she worships herself and will do anything to service the self, so the idol is herself, or more properly described as her “false self Image” She values her ” false self image” more than her husband, her marriage, or even her own children. That is some serious Idol worship. Anyway, once they have stepped away from cherishing their wives or husband or children, then they have crossed the line and we are not to have anything more to do with them. No matter how hard we try nothing works. Our energy and gifts need to be used elsewhere and not fruitlessly. And trying to get them to see the error of their ways is a fruitless excersice. To much worry, to much pain, to much of my whole self has been expended trying to make her happy, and it will never happen. So I must “let her alone”

  6. UnForsaken

    Kudos to the first three paragraphes here, and thanks All for your comments. My prayers are with you, Repol. I’ve Never had it that bad, but in my heart I know they give good advise here…..
    “You don’t want to get together with anyone without him

    , but you certainly can’t go with him” Can really relate to this, but I’m surrounded by thos with N behavior, so my N says I’m anti-social. Amazed by the Peace an great Kindness when I’m with those who wish to be near God(rarely in a church, always understanding suffering)!

    • Penny

      Repol–good for you; first steps are the hardest. I would strongly encourage to call an attorney “yesterday” & get that appointment scheduled! “Time’s a-wasting'”. Depending on what state you live in, if it is “community property” then your N has legal rights to any & all finances, including invading those of your ‘minor’ kids. But so do you! YOU have rights, as do your children. YOU have a voice. A good attorney will be your voice–you need to tell the attorney that you are in danger and will probably need a shelter–that will get you an appt sooner. You need a skilled person to walk you thru this so that you can avoid a crisis & protect yourself & your precious kids. It won’t be easy, but it will be better than what you are living with now. Please read Matthew 10:23–the context is different but the goal is the same: Jesus told His disciples “whenever they persecute you, flee”. He gave them permission to protect themselves from those who meant to harm them! Only the Holy Spirit can change your husband’s heart, not you, not your church.
      God calls us into truth & light, never into darkness. “What fellowship has light with darkness?” Jesus wants you to be safe. Jesus wants you to be in the Light . Don’t wait. Go. Please. We are all praying and care about you.

  7. Helen

    It’s amazing how your posts pin point the things that have happened while being involved with an N. It’s was a reality check to read it, it hurt so much but it helps to keep my eyes open-this is exactly how I was treated. Tool, Toy, Object, all three apply to my life w/him. After reading Repol’s account of how she is being treated, I cried for her and I pray for her and her children. As I think back on my own experience, how could I love, make love or make a life w/someone who has the capacity to be so cruel to me when he claimed to love me so much. He makes my skin crawl and the last few months of our marriage there has been very little sex to no sex. So if he makes that claim during the divorce, it’s true, and I will tell my lawyer why. I put as much emotional and physical distance from him as I could make excuses for. His phone calls have turned from ‘what did I do wrong’ and ‘I just want to hear the sound of your voice’ to ‘you’re going to be sorry’, ‘you’re so immature’, ‘you’re wrong to treat me this way’, ‘I told my dad what you’re doing to me, he’s mad at you, he’s coming to help me out’ and on and on. He shut my phone off, that’s okay, I have a back up plan and will have a number that he can’t call or leave messages. I’ve blocked him from Facebook and my email. I’m getting a protection order filed this week, and separation papers, then looking for a divorce attorney. Change is coming, coming fast, ready or not. I am so thankful I am safe, the house is in my name. I’m in my hometown, surrounded by family, they are aware of everything now and so supportive. I have a support system of friends that have ‘been there, done that’, there’s nothing these friends have not been through. I didn’t get recriminations or why didn’t you tell me. I got love, warmth, prayers, a friend to have coffee and cry with. I’m starting a small micro biz and I had my first opening weekend the response was amazing, healing and fulfilling. There is life after an N, God’s promise is real. For Repol, believe, have faith, get out of harm’s way and be free. God be with you.

  8. John

    I could never figure out why my ex-wife would tell me terrible things her parents said about me that seemed like unfair attacks. Just for the sake of the relationship, I would have been more diplomatic if someone close to me didn’t like her. After the relationship was over and I talked with them, I realized what she had said she totally made up. It served the purpose of disconnecting me from them because I was upset with them. This in turn made it that much less likely that I would discuss anything about her shady past with them.

    When we visited my family, it hardly ever went without incident. There would always be some problem (she conveniently created) before during or after the visit. The drama that ensued made it less likely for us to plan things with them in the future, a lingering bad feeling from the time before creating the perfect distance. Narcissism is a true sickness and it is only many months after getting a way from a narcissist that the true depths of their lies and manipulation become visible.

  9. Cecilia K

    In the two years I was with my ex-boyfriend (off and on), he did not try to directly isolate me, as in, he didn’t try to keep me from spending time with my friends and family (although he immediately took a disliking to my new roommate when I moved in with her and immediately became close to her). At least, he didn’t complain or get angry when I would. I have to wonder, though, now…he Was rather demanding of my time. He didn’t seem happy unless I was over at his house every possible minute (but few times did he reciprocate and come to mine – but for at least a quarter of our relationship, probably, I did live with other people, so that’s more understandable).

    And even on Saturdays, after I had worked a full 40-hour week and wanted to sleep in and have a nice, relaxed morning, he would often ask me to be at his house by 7:00 a.m. I rarely agreed to come That early – not even my employer asked that of me – but I would usually try to be there by 8:00 (and that was still way earlier than I would have liked). I felt like that was one of those things I needed to do to deny myself and show him that his desires were important to me, to show him I loved him. I hoped that eventually he would reciprocate and say, “You know what, sweetie, why don’t you sleep in this time. I know you enjoy that – and you need it. We’ll just get together whenever you’re ready.” But of course, that never happened, so every once in a while, I would just Tell him I was sleeping in, and i would be there when I would be there.

    Anyway, all that to say, that I wonder if that was maybe a more indirect way of isolating me – by trying to keep me at his house all the time. And then, when I moved in with my new roommate and got close with her, that was the first time he ever started exhibiting jealousy of one of my friends. Since I had committed to live with her for a year, I refused to ask if I could get out of my commitment early in case “Eric” and I wanted to get married before that – he repeatedly asked me to talk to her about it. And since I refused, that meant I cared more about her than him, in his eyes.

    I tried to explain my conviction about keeping a commitment, as well as the fact that he and I needed at least that much time to rebuild trust and connection, as well as the fact that I didn’t know yet if I wanted to marry him. (He responded, “Well, I don’t know if I want to marry you either.” Please! Really? I said, “Well, you sure are pushing pretty hard for it for someone who doesn’t know.”) I added that it should reassure him of my commitment to commitment. How would he feel if I married him and then later asked to get out of it? But of course, she was nothing to him but an obstacle. And it was ultimately an evening when I decided to go have dinner with her before calling him for a nightly chat that ended our relationship for good. He demanded that I choose between her and him. And I chose her.

    So anyway, that makes me wonder if, given more time, if the isolation problem would have gotten worse. He didn’t start to manifest signs of it until the end, but I wonder if we had gotten married, would the isolation efforts have intensified?

  10. Cecilia K

    And also, after I moved in with the new roommate, I spent less time with him – so of course he resented her even more. I mean, I still saw him at least three or four times a week, I would say, which I think is quite sufficient, especially given the fact that when we first reconciled, I had originally thought about insisting that we keep our visits to once a month, but then I felt like that was maybe too much to ask of him, and I thought, mmm…maybe once a week, but then I just didn’t have the heart, nor the will to stick to that, as I imagined it would have created even more tension.

    • UnForsaken

      Your right on the money, Cecilia K. There have been so many times I’ve had to question my decision making based on whether or not I was just trying to keep everything low-key and status quo! The tension escalates in our minds only thinking about the many options in their possible reaction. What I’ve had to admit to myself is that it isn’t imagination. It’s a darn good educate guess! Once around it for a while, changable as they are, I began to see there are only a handful of choices they keep putting in rotation. Those choices can look Very different from each other, but there is something to link them : the motivation!

      Yes, he had started isolation on you. This can look very natural and normal and even feel that way. The more I look at my life the more I’m surprised I wasn’t More isolated. It’s so easy. A little comment or two, making it too Uncomfortable for you to go to something the next time/for you to stay at home so you feel you must go…. manipulation in general. And I usually come to the conclusion it was “my” choice! They make something so odd feeling that Any choice is getting out of being backed into a corner, and the temptation is to grab the nearest choice without looking at it! Sometimes they don’t care what choice “you” made so long as they had a hand in controlling it!

      Prayer and a lot of space have begun to help me heal, but it is hard to keep the boundaries even then. Isolation is not an easy thing to break – it’s something I haven’t managed yet – but the more I learn about boundaries and healthful relationships the more I have confidence I Will!

      So blessed to hear how you escaped and are doing well! It gives me a small chuckle now and then to think about the silly things I’ve experienced/seen happen/heard here. The irony in how God teaches us what Real love is……!

  11. Cecilia K

    Exactly, UnForsaken! And through my past two relationships, He has done just that…by showing me what Real love Isn’t, He has shown me what Real love Is! Prior to my last two men, I didn’t really have any long-term relationship experience, at least not in terms of heading toward marriage, so I wasn’t sure what was normal – or healthy. I knew what my ideal was, but perhaps I was not being realistic. And since I had two serious relationships in a row that were rather similar in nature, I struggled to accept that perhaps that was what a normal relationship was. To make matters worse, my first serious long-term relationship was with a Bible college grad/former preacher who had been married before and claimed that his first marriage (which ended because his wife had died) was just a shining example of what a marriage should be. In other words, I felt like I had to be humble and defer to his judgment on everything, whether or not I liked it. But the more I talked to family and friends, and the more on edge I became, I finally decided that whether this was normal or not, I could not live like that – especially not for the rest of my life.

    Anyway, between my two narcissistic relationships (and I’m not saying that either man was truly a narcissist, but they both exhibited what I now know to be narcissistic behaviors), I was blessed to reconnect with a man from my distant past who has reassured me of what real, humble love should look like. Circumstances prevent us from being together, much to my disappointment, but at least I know now what I shouldn’t settle for.

    • UnForsaken

      It’s Good you have somebody to talk to about this stuff. Looking back lately I keep on seeing the parents of the kids I knew and recognizing more Narcissism – Ns or not! That is what I knew as normal. It helps no end to have a kind of visual on what Is healthy. (I’ve been blessed with a great sister and a very elderly adopted grandmother who helped me see the total weirdness in this by just Being themselves.) Sometimes things are easier and I feel so blessed, other times the reminders of what we really are dealing with teach me the Truth and empathy I lack. Somehow I feel even more blessed after that.

      Blessings on Your journey!

      • Cecilia K

        Thank you, and on yours as well! And I just want to also give credit to my roommate, as well, whom I forgot to mention earlier as also having helped me see what a true loving relationship is like. Although not a marriage, it’s obviously similar in learning to adjust to a different person, and we have had such a peaceful 14 months together so far, and several months ago, it dawned on me, so This is what a healthy relationship must be like.

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