I think most victims of narcissistic abuse have to admit they became pretty good actors themselves, so good in fact that they believed their own performances 1/2 the time.
I remember being out in public, sometimes it might be a social gathering with other couples, sometimes it would be with his family or mine and I would put on the performance of a life time. Times when he would have been on me for days over some perceived slight against him or about money, again and I would be devastated deep inside but by all outward appearances we were the happy couple. No one would have known to look at us that he had choked me the night before, or less than 24 hours ago I had been curled in a ball in the corner of the room with him screaming at me that I was an ungrateful bitch while he towered over me with his fist raised threatening to hit me. I certainly didn’t want to let on we weren’t the happy little couple, that we weren’t just like every other couple.
When in the company of other couples quite often the men break off to talk guy stuff and the women are chatting amongst themselves and the some woman would share some annoying habit her husband had, she would go off talking about how he never helps with dishes or how he never does laundry, and she is sick of him being so inconsiderate. I would be sitting there thinking, “If you only knew how lucky you are.” They are bitching about him not calling when he was 10 minutes late or coming home drunk and i never knew when or if James would get home at all. Bitch about him not calling, how about not calling, not answering his phone and not coming home for 2 days?
Or it would be the holidays and someone would ask me what i got for Valentine’s Day, or Christmas and I would say he gets me stuff all year long and we don’t bother if gifts for occasions. Or when someone would have called the cops and the cop took me aside and asked if James ever hit me and I looked him in the eyes and said no. Or when I had been crying for days on end because i was so heart broken and his mother called to see why he hadn’t called her in weeks and I lied and said he was such a hard worker and been putting in so many long hours when in fact I hadn’t heard from him in 2 days and had no idea where he was.
Then there were the performances for my kid, luckily most of them were over the phone because he can read me so well I don’t think I could have pulled it off face to face; where i expounded on how good to me James was and how well everything was going. When I went to my brother’s wedding and told everyone how happy I was with James and how much he had changed and how we had really grown as a couple and going back to him had been the best decision I ever made and how he always puts me first and takes such good care of me.
When his adoptive mother called and her and I would have lengthy conversations about how dedicated, hard working and sensitive James is.
Then there was the time he was sick and in bed and i answered his phone with, “Hello, James’s phone, Carrie speaking.” and there was a long pause before a female voice stammered, “Is James there?” I knew who it was, it was the girl he had been telling me about that sold oil and stuff that came into the shop about a month earlier, she had tattoos every where and was wearing high heels and a dress, she was a model for some magazine but she was not his type. But for someone who wasn’t his type he sure talked about her a lot, I knew if he hadn’t done her, he was planning on it. When she asked if James was there I replied that he was terribly sick in bed at home and asked if I could take a message. I could tell she was dying to know who I was and she asked, “He’s at home?” I said, “Yes, the poor guy, such a hard worker, he never takes days off sick but I had insisted this time he just stay home, they can survive without him for a day. Can I take a message and have him call you?”
She said it was nothing too important and she would call back another day and she hoped he got well soon. In my most loving and caring voice I told her that it was his malaria acting up again and it usually passed in a few days. Of course she asked, “Malaria?” and I told her what a charitable, giving man he is and how a couple of years back he had gone to Africa to help the poor starving Sudanese and gotten Malaria and what a wonderful man he is. Funny, after that call he never talked about her again.
Then there was the performance I gave when he forgot to sign off on my laptop and his MSN messenger beeped in and it was a woman. I again introduced myself as his girlfriend and she could barely contain her surprise and asked how long we had been dating. When I said we had been happily living together for 8 years she wanted to know more but I had to go. I would have loved to chat longer of course and maybe next time.
My best performances though were always with James as my leading man, when he would get himself into shit again and I would come to his side and defend him, expound on his virtues and save his neck again. All in the name of love.
And the times when he came to bed just before the sun came up after hours on porn site or dating sites and pulled me on top of him and I faked an orgasm because I didn’t want him to know that the thought of him with someone else killed any sexual desire I had for him, but I loved him so much i didn’t want to turn him down. Or when he would rescue me after sabotaging my truck and I would be so grateful and go on about how no other man would be able to fix my truck like he did, his McGyver abilities and how lucky I was.
Yes sir, I gave some stellar performances, I knew my lines well, but just like in a TV soap opera they replaced the leading lady, one week it is one actress and the next a totally different actress and no one is supposed to notice the difference, or they make up some far fetched story line that she was badly disfigured in a car accident and now she looks totally different. But the audience goes along with it and life carries on, the orchestrated life of the narcissist that is; and there are no award ceremonies, no golden globes, you are the has-been. Oh they might write you back into the script for a flash back scene but face it, you are done, never to work in this town again.
more true than any victim wants to admit.