I did this post 2 days ago and it never posted so it is a bit late but still relevant.
The narcissist meets us and starts wringing his hands in glee, they love us! we make perfect victims, because we are quick to fix things. We have very high expectations of ourselves, many victims are over-achievers and perfectionists and try hard to make everything perfect and keep everyone happy, often to our own detriment. It is not a bad thing to want to make people happy but we have to realize , it is not our job to fix things; sometimes the best action to take is to let people figure it out on their own and let them have the sense of accomplishment that comes with solving their own problems. If we feel responsible for fixing everyone else’s problems it only makes sense that we are quick to accept blame for the problems in the relationship with the narcissist.
If you are like me you are tuned into the feelings of others and can easily anticipate the needs of others. If I know something irritates someone I will try to avoid doing that thing or I pick up a small gift that I know they will like. (That was one of the things I found hardest to deal with, seeing something I knew JC would want and not picking it up for him or if I got scrap I knew he would want I would have a hard time scrapping it and not hanging onto it for him and until I stopped hauling scrap I still thought of him every time I got something he would have liked. I am sure that he stayed with me at times just so he could get shit off my truck) If it is a hot day I will be the one with sunscreen, a chest full of ice and cold drinks. I will make an emergency pack for someone traveling the mountains in winter just in case they get stuck in a snow bank. It should come as no surprise that we are quick to take the blame with the narcissist. I remember when I went back to the wospos I thought I knew him so well I could avoid most of the issues we argued about simply by anticipating a situation and fixing it before it became an issue. Fine in theory, but impossible when the person you are trying to please keeps changing his mind concerning what is an irritant to him or fabricate situations you have no control over. Sometimes we have to not be so efficient and caring, not just with the narcissist but with all the people in our lives.
(On the other hand the narcissist will go to great lengths to find out what you like, dislike, where your weaknesses are and use them against you. He will purposely buy himself something he knows you want, or ensure he has to work late the night you are to get a special award or he will dangle the engagement ring carrot; he would marry you if you would ………. fill in the blank.)
We can give a shoulder to cry on, hand them a tissue, even offer words of advice if asked , but then we need to stand back and let them deal with their own issues. If they don’t heed our advice and they fall flat on their face we don’t say “I told you so”, we hand them another tissue. I have found that at times when I don’t know what to do, it is best to not do anything and just
You may think, “But if I don’t fix it, if I don’t worry about it, no one else will and it won’t get fixed.” I have news for you, 40 % of what most people worry about never happens; 30 % has already happened and cannot be changed; 22 % of what we worry about are problems out of our control. A mere 8% of what we worry about are things we have any power to change. By fixing someone else’s problems you might be doing the wrong thing, what we think is the perfect solution is often times not what should happen. We are afraid of the uncertainty of letting things unfold as they should. We don’t want to hand over control, we see it as affecting our future so we want to control the outcome. When you start to “not fix things” you might be surprised to discover that the best solution just happens, or the right solution becomes glaringly apparent, all on its own.
It is a fine line sometimes, when you love someone you want to help them, that’s what it’s all about right? What would this world be if we didn’t reach out to help those around us? But, how do any of us learn lessons? How do we get stronger? by going through adversity usually. By not allowing people to go through their own rough times we are denying them an opportunity for personal growth. We are in essence saying, “I don’t trust you to be able to solve your own problems.” That’s rather rude and cruel actually. If a person keeps making the same mistakes, maybe they haven’t learned the lesson they are supposed to learn because we keep fixing it for them.
Sometimes we think we know what will make us happy, if only we could fix this one thing, then we would be happy and everything else would fall into place and we get so focused on what WE think is the solution we take on responsibilities not ours to pack. In our efforts to avoid hurting we cause ourselves more pain, more worry and we end up giving more of ourselves than we can afford to lose. Sometimes the best solution is one that we don’t like but it still might be the best for us in the long run. We end up compromising our boundaries in order to keep the peace or we set down rules that we don’t enforce. For instance, the N screws around, we confront him and lay down the law, we will not allow infidelity, he has hurt us and we don’t know if we can forgive him. He promises to be faithful, promises counselling, whatever he/she thinks will appease the victim and we take him back without waiting to see if he follows through, once we are back in the relationship he continues on the same course of action and denies ever saying he was at fault and we don’t leave, so nothing is ever solved. He has just crossed another line so next time the line will be moved closer. in the beginning personal ads were the cause of the fights, 5 years down the road you are finding him in your bed with your best friend. Why don’t we make him prove he is sincere? what is the hurry to get back together? Deep down we fear that if we don’t let him come back he will find some other woman and leave us, but that would give us the answer to what we need to know. Does he love us enough to be willing to work at saving the relationship? the answer……… No and then we would have to decide to leave or knowingly put up with his cheating. It is easier to “believe” his lies and take him back because then we can always say “He lied again, poor me, why does he keep hurting me?” and the answer is, because he can, because we allow it.
We end up feeling resentful. I am sure I am not the only one who; once they were discarded thought, “How dare he discard ME! after all I put up with!! he has a whole lot of nerve discarding me!” Like I said to James, “YOU have had enough, YOU are done??! YOU were the one who always had personal ads, YOU were the one who screwed around.” and he said, “And what did you do?”
I, feeling very self-righteous and noble for standing by my man through all the shit he put me through; said, “I stayed” and he looked at me with loathing and said, “Exactly.”
If I wouldn’t have been so gutted, if he hadn’t been so f’ing cocky about it, if his sister’s jaw hadn’t hit the floor, I might have laughed and said “Bravo !! Touche!” but as it was I was speechless and walked out of the room. It is a harsh reality when the truth slaps you in the face, especially when it is the only truth that’s come out of his mouth in years.
I would not be this broke if I hadn’t bailed him out numerous times, if I wouldn’t have handed over the money when we were broke. If I would have gone and bought myself meals and not worried about whether he ate or not, like he did with his son and I. You know what? If I hadn’t bought the groceries, he would have found a way to eat but he knew I would take care of it. I heard some great advice on Oprah one time about lending money; “Never lend more than you can afford to lose.” and it stuck with me. Of course I heard it after James and I were already split but it is the way I operate now. When my son was in need and wanted to borrow money I would give him what I could afford to give, because payback is a bitch and then I am never disappointed or angry if he didn’t pay me back. Of course my son is not a narcissist (thank the good Lord!) he doesn’t try to bleed me dry and now that he is making money and I am in need he “pays me back” in many ways. There have been times I could afford to help my son and I felt guilty (not that he made me feel guilty, I put that on myself)but he found a way on his own.
I certainly have received a lot of help the last year or so and I don’t know what I would have done without it, but I hope that the people who helped me didn’t sacrifice their own comfort and security in order to help me. I don’t think any normal person expects others to suffer so they can live in comfort, but a narcissist has no problem with it, in fact, they expect it. It is almost as if they really enjoy it when they have while others have not.
You have to remember; the narcissist is only with you because you have something he wants, that might be:
– your reputation, standing in the community, a trophy on his arm, to better his position in business or he might just need his ego fed or great sex at that particular time. But have no doubt, he is not interested in your wants or needs any further than using them to manipulate you and dangle a carrot.
I made the mistake of thinking I had nothing left financially so what was there to lose by going back?
No one, not you, not society, nor the legal system places value on a person’s emotional well-being or mental health and when it comes down to brass tacks, they are the ONLY thing you can not afford to lose. And they are the grand prize to the narcissist because part of his tactics to wear you down so you give him material things is emotional and mental abuse. When he has bled you of everything material and he no longer needs you he will finish you off by slandering you, making sure to destroy your reputation, your ability to earn a living or have a roof over your head. Once he is done with you he wants to know you have nothing, NOTHING, left to rebuild with and that means ALL of you. A person can always buy more stuff but not everyone can come back from:
– Having their children taken from them
– Being falsely arrested on trumped-up charges
– Being committed to a mental institution
– Being slandered to family, friends, on the internet, and to bosses
– Being beaten, shot, stabbed, raped
– Being overtaken with fear to even leave the house because he stalks them, hires people to stalk them, puts tracking devices on their vehicles, sabotages their vehicles and much more
– PTSD can disable people for the rest of their lives, they can never live a life free of anxiety or can take years to recover enough to ever work again or ever have another healthy relationship
Believe me, you have more to lose than you can even imagine and if you don’t believe me and think “he/she would never do that to me” you will be in too deep to save yourself by the time you realize I was right.
Over the course of the last 5 years I have changed in how I interact with people and what I worry about or try to control. It is not always easy. This Christmas I had a very difficult time with my emotions, I wanted my son home for Christmas, I worried about lack of money, I had to do A LOT of self talk, self-analysis, and I had to admit I was over reacting, trying to control things that were not mine to control and I had to apologize to my son. I checked with other people about things I was upset about to make sure I was not totally off base and accepted their answer. Many times we have a right to be upset, it is the way we handle it that gets us in trouble. I ended up apologizing to my son, explaining where my reaction was coming from and then I went no contact for over a week. I fought the urge to call and force a response from him but I stayed strong because I want my son to want to see me out of love not because I guilted him into it. In the end he worked 7 days a week to spend Xmas with the family and we spent Boxing Day together, packing him up to move away and I was fine with him moving. I know he has to do what he feels is right. We talked all day, about things on his mind, his stress, his worries and I apologized for adding to his stress and I asked, “What do you want from me? what can I do to help you?” and his reply was, “Just keep being the mom you have always been.” It was the exact thing I needed to hear and it came from his heart and that was the best part.
As it turned out even with all my worrying, even with PayPal not working, and my funding being delayed I just had the best Christmas I have had in almost two decades. It was the first Christmas I have been able to give everyone a gift, in fact I had so many gifts for Kris and his little family it took 3 of us 20 minutes to pack all the gifts in and they told me I need serious help.
But you know I have been buying gifts for months, every time I had an extra few bucks and saw something on sale I picked it up. I painted a lot of gifts and they were the ones everyone seemed most excited about. My mom never needs anything so I painted her 6 red Christmas Baubles for her red and white tree and she was thrilled, I painted a table for my brother’s boat.
I painted Kris a huge Christmas ball to commemorate his first Christmas with Kaela, I painted her one and will do that every year so she will have a collection of cool tree decorations when she is grown and Kris a Christmas plate,
Kaela and I walked Stella and she got to run free with a standard poodle we met on the way. Kris, Jen and Kaela and I took a walk to the park, then after dinner the women went for a walk while the men cleaned up (my mom took the brave step of handing over her kitchen to the men instead of having to do it all herself). It was a beautiful night, cold but dry, the lake was like glass and the park residents all chip in on decorating the trees with lights and all along the shore the big cedars are lit up and it reflects off the water, across the lake people have lights on their homes. The moon was just a sliver, it was so peaceful, and as we walked other groups of people would pass us and we would exchange “Merry Christmas” greetings, Stella made friends with everyone along the way, Kaela held hands with everyone alternately and was such a good girl.
I came home feeling loved, appreciated and once again through the help of God and friends and family I have made it through another month) and in warm loving feelings and not once did the wospos cross my mind. Not once!
It was the kind of day you want to bottle up so you can sniff it or let a little of it out some time in the future when you are feeling insecure, alone and unloved to remind yourself you are loved and important and special and THIS is what life is all about. Not perfect, not to your high standards, not a Norman Rockwell painting …………… simply imperfectly perfect.
I have to catch up on the blog and will be replying to everyone comments later today.