As most victims of narcissistic abuse you have probably spent hours surfing the net collecting all the information you can on the subject. You are amazed at how your partner fits the description to a tee, right down to the fact that he never apologies, of sure he’s given “apologies” like: “I’m sorry you made me do that” “If you hadn’t done …….. I wouldn’t have done >>>>>>>” , “If I got sex more at home I wouldn’t look elsewhere”, any way you have been there and know what I am talking about.
So when he calls out of the blue or shows up at your door after no contact for weeks or maybe even months and is crying and looks like a little boy who’s lost his mother and begs you to talk to him for just a few minutes, you cautiously let him speak. After all you are curious, you have never seen him quite like this, crying, contrite, remorseful, you’ve never seen him vulnerable.
For the first time ever he apologizes for everything he ever did wrong, his hands shaking, tears streaming down his face and you think he must mean it, he has never let himself be vulnerable like this and you love him so much.
You have been away from him long enough that you are going back to the way you were before you met him, you are calm, rational and logical and you can look back on the relationship and are shocked at how you responded to some situations in the relationship. It was so unlike you to snoop, be suspicious, cry all the time, go into rages because you were so frustrated, you just weren’t yourself. So when he starts to admit all his errs; you, being the fair, understanding honest person you are; take responsibility for your part in the relationship’s troubles. The two of you talk just like you did in the beginning, open and honest and it feels so good, you really feel he must be sincere. You don’t want to punish him, you want to forgive and forget and he is asking if you can just put the past behind and take it from here. You know how hard to would be for him to ever admit fault, surely he wouldn’t do that if he didn’t really mean it, after all you have stayed away, you didn’t beg him, he came to you all on his own.
If he was a normal person you would be right, he must mean it, BUT he is a narcissist!! and a narcissist will say and do anything to get what he wants at the time. He has studied human nature and he has saved his best for last, he would prefer to not use contritiness and vulnerability to get what he wants but when he is lacking ns and needing a boost to his ego, or money or a place to live he will resort to anything; besides he can always deny ever saying it later.
But right now in front of you, with pleading eyes full of love and not loathing, with words coming out of his mouth you never thought you would hear, making promises of undying love and faithfulness how do you walk away? What if he really does mean it? what if you walk away and he really has changed? how will you know if you don’t give him another chance? WHAT DO YOU DO??
Well, you could come on this site or any other site on the net that talks about loving a narcissist and ask if anyone has met a narcissist that apologized and what happened and you would be told by everyone to RUN!!! BUT you still cling to the belief that, although he fits the description of a narcissist to a T, and the last time you were with him all but killed you; you are different from every other woman who has been involved with a narcissist. YOUR narcissist is capable of love, he is just confused and hurt from his past, you can tell he loves you, you two have a special bond, something those other women didn’t have. You feel sorry for them and he did treat you horribly but deep down you always knew he loved you and now he realizes it too. Go ahead, he’s lying to you, might as well join the party and lie to you too.
Hey! I am not criticizing you for wanting to believe him; I have done it 3 times!! Finally the 4th time I found the balls to walk away, but I still didn’t do it to his face, I sent an email to him and his new woman telling him to stay away. The really sad thing is that once you have heard the first apology every one after that is exactly the same and you want to look behind your back and see if there is someone holding up cue cards.
so cherish the first one; it’s easier to believe the lie when it isn’t an instant replay.
OK Ok I know, you really want to know what to do and I am being sarcastic and a smart ass, sorry.
Let’s look at this as rational, mature, intelligent women dealing with a normal, caring, honest, man who is truly remorseful. The only reason you wouldn’t want to look at it that way is if you truly are lying to yourself and don’t believe him but you don’t want to face the truth. Hey got that t-shirt also. “If I challenge him, if I make him work for my trust, if I make him accountable, if I don’t make it easy he might not stay.” you can also lie to him and yourself and say, “I forgive you but the first time you cheat, hit me, ………. fill in the blank; I am out of here, this is the last chance.” Go ahead, say it like you mean it because you know you won’t walk away once you recommit, you are going to hang on even tighter. And sure you can promise top not snoop or be suspicious because you have been away from him long enough to forget the things that MADE you suspicious but once you are back together he will go back to his old ways and guess what, you will be expected to trust him explicitly and keep your end of the bargain even though he isn’t.
But we are talking about a normal guy who realized that he treated you like crap and wants you back. For one thing, I hate to break it to you but a normal guy just doesn’t switch between being an asshole and being a nice guy; he just doesn’t. A normal guy might have an affair but he doesn’t abuse and criticize every aspect of you, a normal guy doesn’t call you every name in the book, discard you like a used condom (a normal guy uses a condom an N doesn’t have to because you should be willing to die for him) and then show up all sorry because a normal guy would never be that cruel, he wouldn’t think of it. but we are pretending so we will carry on.
What is an apology and what are your responsibilities should you accept the apology? An apology is in my mind; a promise to not do it again. An apology is admitting you were wrong and changing your behaviour.
Now the forgiver, if he chooses to forgive has some obligations also, they can’t forever more hold the offense over the other person’s head, they can’t expect the person to continue to apologize over and over again, wear sack cloth and ashes forever more and the forgiver can’t bring up the old offenses in new arguments, lay guilt trips or play games like tit for tat. BUT the forgiver does not have to jump in with both feet with only the word of the narcis……sorry normal guy’s word that he has changed.
A normal guy will know he has to earn your trust again and be willing to do just that.
You want to forgive him, set some boundaries and STICK TO THEM, if he has changed he won’t have a problem with that.
Here are a few very logical and reasonable boundaries that should be put into place.
– he must be tested for STD’s and show you the results before you have unprotected sex with him ever again. NO ACCEPTIONS!!! this is your life we are talking about and I don’t care if he says he didn’t have sex with anyone else, he has lied before and now he is/should be willing to prove his honesty. What has he got to worry about, why would it be an issue? hey you can get tested too if he wants right?
– Whatever the offense was, whether it was personal ads, a porn addiction, another woman he was seeing, him not acknowledging you on his Facebook, passwords on his phone MUST stop immediately!!! not it will stop when you trust him again, not when you change he will change. NO he came to you, he wants it to work, he fixes the problem. That means removing any personal ads immediately.
– You get total unrestricted access to his computer and phone. Privacy smancify, he was dishonest and now he can prove he is a changed man. If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to hide plain and simple. Sure he can still hide stuff but it is not as easy and if you check enough times and never find anything eventually you will get bored and stop checking ( but just to be on the safe side check once in a while) If his phone rings and he is out of the room there is absolutely no reason why you can’t answer it, you are in a committed relationship and everyone he knows should know that, same goes for Facebook, or any other social media.
– No living together for one year, you are both adults and should be able to support yourselves and take care of your own needs, don’t let him slide back into the house where you are doing all the cooking, cleaning and compromising, let him take care of himself for awhile, he is a big boy and a “normal” guy will like being able to have you over to his place and cook you a dinner, he will like the independence and maybe will learn some talents that he will bring to the table when you do decide to move back in together.
– YOU maintain a life separate from his, friendships you maintain, girl friends you don’t put on the back burner because he wants to see you, he can find something to do for a night that doesn’t involve another woman. If you can’t trust that he can handle a few hours without you without chasing down another woman then there is no hope. “You went out for dinner with your friends and I was lonely so I put a personal ad on the net” is not an excuse, a normal guy would not even try to make you believe that horse shit, he would be afraid you’d throw something at him. NORMAL guys do not cheat because you weren’t there for a few hours let alone if you went on vacation for two weeks!! Come on!! we are being mature intelligent women now right?
– You in turn have to accept he might want to spend some time with the guys, deal with it………this is one area you have to fight the jealousy and insecurity. But you have every right to know where he is going, who with and when he will be home. You are allowed one phone call and he had better answer!!
– Any, I mean ANY signs of infidelity, put downs, or physical abuse (even intimidation like raising his fist or punching a wall) it is DONE!! no 3rd chances, no discussion, no excuses, no apologies, no blaming, call the cops if you have to, put his stuff on the curb and change the locks, change your number and call a girlfriend (because this time you have friends) tell her to bring the ice cream and cry your eyes out and be thankful you were smart enough to not swallow his lies hook line and sinker and you don’t have an STD and you will get over this.
Up to you to decide, do you trust his love? does he love you enough to prove it? scary isn’t it? I didn’t trust his love enough to test it and you know what? he didn’t love me, wish I would have tested it now.