Thinking that they could have somehow prevented the narcissist from leaving them or abusing them is one of the main reasons victims stay and find it so hard to let go.
The narcissist leaves, immediately gets involved with another “love of his life” and appears so happy. The victim and the casual observer might believe it was the victim’s fault because the narcissist appears happy-go-lucky, loving, generous and caring. It is like living in the Twilight Zone where someone steals your personality and you are left empty like they used to be. He was doing everything I had wanted him to do, for the new woman, he was a mini ME and indignant that I would even suggest he might do something illegal or hurt me in any way. Narcissists are constantly studying human nature and especially the character of their victim and they use the information, lines, beliefs, morals of their victims to hook the new victim. If you could be a fly on the wall you would hear him using the same lines he heard coming from you.
How sick yet ingenious is that?
The victim on the other hand wants to crawl out of their own skin, the intense emotions are scary and they feel out of control of their own mind and body. They feel soiled by the evil of the narcissist, like by association they are as evil as he is declaring them to be. How did they get this way? Why are they this way? When did they lose control? and how the hell do they ever get back to the way they were?
How did it start? Once you understand and accept the relationship for what it is you will see very clearly the steps that got you to where you are.
The narcissist knows that history repeats itself and a good way to predict how a person will treat you is to look at their past relationships so they are usually very careful to isolate the victim from anyone who has witnessed his past transgressions, either by moving to a different town or by not allowing them to get close to those people who know the narcissist best. By not allowing the victim to get too close to his family he also ensures his family has no choice but to take his word for it when he professes he is the victim of a psycho bitch. His family ends up thinking he just makes poor choices in women.
Even if a family member does see the narcissist for what he is, they rarely “out” the narcissist and risk alienating their whole family and the family (even if they know deep down there is something extremely wrong) will cling to the hope that this new woman will change the narcissist with her special love. If the narcissist feels there is any possibility that his family will tell the victim about his past he will go to great lengths to keep the victim away from them.
JC was quick to take me home to meet his family but I immediately felt an elephant in the room, the interaction between him and his family was stilted and not natural and warm. I felt ill at ease, which was not like me when I meet new people. When he told me that his family didn’t really like me, I felt hurt and it made sense why I felt uncomfortable. For the first 8 years we were together any time we were supposed to be going to his family’s he found a way to prevent it from happening and other times he went alone. I found out later that he told his family I didn’t want to visit them.
Without a track record of his past we are left to take his word for everything and he appeared so honest in the beginning, why wouldn’t we believe him?
If his ex is in the picture more than likely she is trying desperately to get him back, quite possibly even apologizing profusely. He isn’t taking her calls, you have heard him on the phone telling her that he has met the love of his life and is happy and to leave him alone. He says he doesn’t want to hide anything from you and shows you her texts, if she wants him back that badly he must be a great guy! If he was abusive why would she want him back? That’s what I thought when JC’s ex called him, if he was an asshole why would she even be his friend?
Victims like to think that the narcissist doesn’t realize the hurt he inflicts and he is so self-absorbed and unaware of how other people feel that he inadvertently hurts them but that is what they want you to believe. They know damn well what they are doing and will orchestrate events in order to manipulate the players in his life to give him the desired results. I played right into his plans even though I knew better. I knew exactly what he was doing yet I did it anyway. I called and begged him to not do this, even though I didn’t really want him back, I knew he was toxic, I didn’t respect him, I was embarrassed to admit he was my boyfriend so why was I begging him not to go with this new woman? Because he did it in such a cold callous and vindictive way, he blamed me for everything, he was cruel beyond anything I had ever experienced and I had been stripped of everything and it was obvious he had it planned all along and that was why he came back to me. I didn’t want to admit that I had been sucked in, that I willingly walked into his trap, I didn’t want to admit the truth. So I ended up helping him secure his next victim, my phone calls, him not answering my texts gave him everything he needed to secure his next victim. I proved I was unstable, madly in love with him (so he must be a great guy) and if she had any doubts about getting involved with him I erased them and she was thinking; “I am not going to lose this great guy, my love is special, he appreciates me so much, he is choosing me over her, I win!!!” The truth is, the narcissist wins!!
Then the abuse starts. As with most victims, JC would tell me if I would only do this or that he would be happy so I would give him exactly what he asked for and then he would be upset I did it, tell me to do something else and deny ever saying he wanted me to do the first thing. He had me running in circles, changing the rules daily, saying one thing then denying it. It drives a person crazy. There were times I totally lost it on him out of sheer frustration, I would shock myself with my reaction. Looking back I can see why it happened, there was no discussing anything with him. He twisted my words, corrected my grammar, twisted facts, accused me of things and I would end up defending myself, or he would simply refuse to discuss anything and walk away. Eventually, I would become a screaming bitch, desperate to be heard and understood; and he would say, “and you always say you love me, that’s really loving alright.” and I would immediately feel guilty and apologize.
I felt forced to do things I would never do ordinarily, like snoop, hide money, lie to him…… because I couldn’t trust him but all those things served to make me feel like a bad person and believe him when he said no other man would put up with me. Sometimes he would leave evidence of his infidelity for me to find, like when he “forgot” to sign out of his hotmail account and I saw his POF profile. He wanted me to find it, he wanted to get me upset, it was all part of the abuse, control and manipulation, reprogramming of my mind, breaking me.
I had never been like that in my life, but his refusal to admit things I KNEW to be true, the way he twisted my words, the way he rolled his eyes, walked out of the room while I was talking…… all drove me to the point of insanity.
I would leave because I didn’t like who I was with him and as soon as I was away from him for a while I would return to the calm rational person I had always been. As long as I could get away from him, I could date him; when he made me angry I would just go home, he couldn’t badger me if we lived apart. I always thought I had come up with the solution. “If I did this or acted that way or if I anticipated his needs” we could avoid the fights.
It became clear to me that the best way to keep him on his toes and treating me half way decent was to keep him guessing. As soon as I let him move in he would start treating me like shit again so I rationalized that I could keep the relationship alive by keeping it in perpetual “dating mode”. For a couple of years I didn’t allow him to move in and kept my own place, I never knew if we were a couple or not. He would show up at the door most nights. I didn’t let him bring anything in the house, not even a change of clothes because I knew if I gave him an inch he would take a mile, eventually his stuff would work it’s way in. It is not in my nature to not be loving and giving and I would weaken and let my guard down. As soon as I relaxed and showed love back or did something nice for him, he would pull away. Yet when I was aloof he complained I didn’t love him. I couldn’t win for losing. It was a constant tug a war. It was an impossible scenario to keep up.
He created the belief that even though we fought all the time, we were so in love we could not stay away from each other, we were destined to be together, we needed each other; I even had proof of it from God, whenever we were split or I was fed up my truck would break down or he would get injured somehow. He promoted my faith in God and even created situations that could only be considered miracles, that I believe now were just elaborate ruses on his part. Read my post on the Bible here.
He kept me attached but never gave the relationship the nurturing needed for it to grow, he kept us in perpetual chaos in order to keep me from getting to really know him. The longer the relationship with a narcissist goes on the bigger the lies and deceit has to get and at some point the narcissist has to walk away or be exposed.
When the final discard comes he has to destroy the victim in order to confirm his story, he has to villainize the victim and become the victim themselves. In his mind it is him or them, he has to get everyone on his side in order to hook the new victim and alter history. He cannot just walk away amicably, what if you decided to expose him for who he really is? He has to discredit you before you discredit him.
When I finally found him at that woman’s house something snapped in me. It was a dead end street and my truck was facing the dead-end. I got in and drove to the end of the street, he didn’t even look at me and just sat in the car. I turned around at the end of the street and sat there facing the back of his car with the engine running. He was so cold and unresponsive, uncaring and I thought, “I’ll make you care, you son-of-a-bitch, you’ll care when I drive this truck right up your ass.” I revved the engine, I had straight pipes on the truck so it didn’t have the stock exhaust and it was loud, a F550 with a 7.2 L diesel engine that roared. I shifted it manually, revving the engine, the smoke billowing out of the pipes, I had enough room to build up speed and I am sure the whole block heard me barrelling down on him. I was going to drive over that damn car, that would wipe the smirk off his face and destroy his cockiness. At the last-minute I swerved around his car, as I went past I could see he was reading something and he didn’t even look up.
That was it, I drove away and cried for a couple of hours. I fell apart totally, called his sister and she came out to stay with me for a couple of days. Later of course I thought of all the rational things I should have done, like just take the car and park it a few blocks away and not tell him anything. It was MY car after all, I had every right to take it. But no matter what I would have done he would have been able to twist the story making himself a victim and ne the villain.
At the last-minute I was able to think clearly, see the consequences of my actions, I scared myself. I knew I could never live with myself if I killed him, but I can understand why some victims crack, driven insane by the manipulation, the disregard, the cold unfeeling abuse of their love, the denial of the truth.
There was a handful of times I did things I regretted but I always apologized and I never did it again.
When the narcissist starts his character assassination he peppers his lies with enough truth to be believable and to keep the victim quiet. The victim knows they acted irrationally and they are ashamed, The narcissist knows the victim will be honest so all they have to do is embellish the truth. He even told me he was afraid to be alone with me because he didn’t know what I would do and I am sure the new woman was listening to his end of the conversation. When they make an accusation like that the victim doesn’t even try to explain to anyone because it sounds convoluted to their own ears and to defend themselves would take retelling the whole story of the relationship.
After we were no contact for a couple of months my conscience got the better of me and I wrote him an apology letter saying I wished him happiness and that I would always love him. I don’t really regret it any more because all it did was prove I was human. I forgive myself for every stupid thing I did because I was fighting with the devil blindfolded, I did the best I could.
I read comments from people and I see myself 4 years ago. All I can say is, Please do not beat yourself up and please stay no contact. You HAVE to remind yourself that it was all a huge plot on his part and any further contact with him, blaming yourself, or even anger is only helping him weave his web of lies and set the trap for the next one. Save some of your dignity and self-respect, come in here and spill your guts but don’t pick up that phone, don’t send that text message or email.
If it gets really bad, if you feel you just HAVE to apologize, get closure, “be friends” , get a piece of paper and a pen, sit down and;
– write out all the times you acted like a nutcase and what the events leading up to it were. If you just lost it for no reason, then maybe you do owe him an apology, maybe he isn’t a narcissist.
– list all the things you could have done to make him happy that you refused to do but his new woman will do without hesitation. ie: work and pay all the bills, buy him all the toys he wants and never buy anything for yourself, reject your children, etc
– make another list of all the things you denied him that any other woman would have accepted without question. -ie: him watching hours of porn, dating other women, not coming home at night………
– Now make a list of all the times you wrongly accused him of; infidelity, got angry for no reason, screwed around on him, denied him sex for no reason.