Tag Archives: accepting the truth

Lowering Your Standards Does Not Raise Your Self Worth

When we “settle” for less than we deserve, whether we realize it or not; our self-worth suffers.

When we met the narcissist we thought he was a high quality person, someone with principles and high standards, someone in line with our high standards and morals. As we got to know him better we started to witness things that hinted he was not as moral as he pretends to be. A questionable business deal, a friendship destroyed by some disloyalty of his, accusations of wrong doing. You might not be able to identify anything specific but your gut is telling you something is off.

You don’t want to falsely accuse him so you don’t confront him at first or if you do, you are careful to not sound accusatory.

With my ex it was when a neighbor offered to let him buy a motorcycle really cheap because it wasn’t running. My ex didn’t have the $400 so the guy said he could pay over time but the bike would stay with him until it was paid for.

My ex immediately started checking Craigslist for Swap/Trade Ads and found one where a guy wanted to trade a BWM for a motorcycle.

He called the guy and was talking like he had just been out for a ride on the bike and had owned it for a couple of years. He told the guy he would bring the bike down and come look at the car.

He went to the owner of the bike and begged to take the bike home so he could work on it so it would be running when he had it paid for. The owner said OK but he was keeping the registration.

My ex had the bike in his shop less than an hour and had it running. He loaded it on his flat deck and drove out of the park we lived in.

When the owner of the bike got home from work all the neighbors told him my ex had left the park with his bike on the truck. He was furious and I didn’t blame him, I was furious. He couldn’t trade something he hadn’t paid for.

My ex came home with the BMW but the owner of the car wouldn’t give him the registration until he got the registration for the bike.

I was pissed! Now what was he going to do? I knew it!! A person should never lie, it always bites you in the ass. But he was not the least bit concerned. He told me to mind my own business, this is how people do business all the time. I had to let it go but it drove me crazy with worry. What were the neighbors thinking? I was such an honest person.

After a week of the two guys calling him constantly wanting the reggie or money he took the wheels off the BMW and sold them for $400, paid for the bike, got the registration and took it to the owner of the BMW.

He bought the bike owner a bottle of wine and everyone was happy.

I thought maybe I was wrong.

There were other questionable deals and he always told me to shut up and mind my own business, I didn’t know anything about wheeling and dealing. People were always getting upset with him, he was accused of stealing but somehow he always avoided being charged with anything.

I thought perhaps I was being too black and white and maybe there were grey areas of the law. I knew I had always been inflexible when it came to breaking the law, drugs, fidelity.

The more I compromised the more he pushed the boundaries. Life with him was a constant contradiction, praising the Lord one day and stealing the next. Being charitable and kind to others and selfish and mean with me.

He would be so sweet butter would melt in his mouth in front of the neighbors but then every time I walked out of the house by myself the neighbors would come running to complain about how inconsiderate he was. I told them to speak to him directly because I had no control over what he did. I had tried to explain why the neighbors were upset about him working in his shop at 2 am, but it seemed the more I tried to explain the more he did it. He enjoyed pissing people off, yet would try to smooth things over and it always worked.

It was as if he was trying to force me down to his level. At times he used my good reputation to his advantage. People would tend to believe he must be telling the truth because an honest person like me wouldn’t be with someone who wasn’t honest and I always staunchly defended him. I truly thought he was honest just naive. How naive of ME!! I still wonder about some things being the truth or bullshit.

My God, there were so many questionable incidents and for years I gave him the benefit of doubt explaining over and over again that; if you take something that doesn’t belong to you people think you are stealing. I know it sounds crazy to be explaining that to a 40 year old man but he always has some excuse. It was in the garbage so he took it, someone who doesn’t work there any more gave it to him, the boss said he could take it but forgot he said it or changed his mind.

In the 10 years I was with him I had 3 vehicles stolen and he had 3 stolen and totalled one for the insurance money. (I can’t prove it but I know) Six vehicles stolen in 10 years. But I finally did get smart and would keep my registration hidden from him. Now that is a healthy relationship! You hide the registration from the man you love, your soul mate, what does that tell you?

He got fired from every job he ever had. When he had a job he would work 7 days a week. I think because then he would be alone at work and able to steal shit plus he wanted to make sure no one figured out what he was doing. I have never known anyone who went to work one morning and his key no longer fit the lock on the door and he was fired. They were holding his final pay cheque and his tools box was either confiscated or outside the gate.

It happened to him 3 times! And for half of our relationship he was self employed!

I used to insure his truck because I got a 43% discount on my insurance and he had a 43% surcharge added to his. I signed a transfer and tax form in case something happened to me he could sign it over to his name. He told me he had lost it and gave me another one to sign. I was going to fill out the details like the VIN # and he said not to bother, he would fill it in. He kept losing them and I had signed half a dozen of them until one day I ran into a friend. He was on the way to the bank to get money out because he was buying a truck from my ex. I offered to drive him to the bank and I asked which truck he was buying. The blue one parked out front? No the yellow one parked out back.

I argued “No, you can’t be, that’s my truck.”

He insisted that was the truck he was buying, he even had a transfer and tax form with my signature on it!!!

Alarm bells, sirens were ringing, lights were flashing, my own foot came up and kicked me in the ass.

Needless to say, he never bought my truck BUT my truck never ran again either.

* Narcissists do not like to be thwarted.

There were distinct stages of denial I went through until I was in full blown cognitive dissonance before I came full circle to reality again. See if you can relate to any of these.

– At first I truly believed with all my heart he was totally honest and could never break the law or lie. How did I know this-he told me. That’s how. And he said it with such conviction. He had this innocent, country boy, charm going on and I defended him ferociously!

– After he had been accused several times of stealing I still told myself he was stupid. He didn’t mean to steal, it was a misunderstanding. How did I know this? Well, because he told me they misunderstood his motives.

– I eventually got to the stage of telling myself I was not responsible for his actions. I would just turn a blind eye to what he was doing in business, his “deals” and lead my life honestly. I stopped trying to “fix” the messes he created.

– There was one problem with not cleaning up his messes. His messes almost definitely automatically became my messes and I would have to deal with them. If he lost his job, we couldn’t pay the rent, we got evicted, I would have to clean up the mess. Guys he has pissed off run us off the road while I’m driving becomes my problem also. Guys he stole from call me and threaten to come over and stay with me until he shows up and they are drunk and yelling about blood flowing and I end up driving around with my dog afraid to go home; it is now MY problem.

– I started to want to warn new friends he made. Like, how do you casually tell someone “don’t do any business deals with him and you might want to start locking your shop. He tends to have a lot of misunderstandings that will cost you money.”

– I started to not tell people he was my boyfriend, especially customers. The voices in my head kept saying, “How can you love someone you are ashamed to admit is your boyfriend?

– I would make deals with myself. If he gets arrested: I am out of here. When I had dumped him one time he came to me saying he had volunteered to go on a missionary trip to Sudan Africa. I thought, “If he actually goes and does this, I will give him another chance.” It took me years to get the truth about what happened in Sudan and it was anything but charitable.

– Finally I could not deny it any longer and could not rationalize it any more. There were no more excuses, I could not turn a blind eye, could not teach him right from wrong, was ashamed to be seen with him, couldn’t trust him to not destroy my truck (in fact I knew without a doubt he WAS sabotaging my truck). I refused to haul anything for him because I was afraid it was stolen. I broke up with him but I made a crucial mistake; I didn’t go no contact.

Any access a narcissist has to you is a bad thing for you!

Miraculously I had managed to retain my good reputation; a person has nothing without their reputation. I was proud of that.

I did not realize how a narcissist operates, well to be honest I didn’t know what I was dealing with at that time. But I have since found out that a narcissist will totally turn the tables on the victim. What he did to you he will say you did to him. The only reason he stole stuff was cuz I drove him to it with my demands for more. I sat my lazy ass on the couch all day drinking, eating bon bons and cracking the whip. He just could not make me happy.

The only reason he screwed around was because I was a suspicious psycho bitch.

He purposely sabotaged my work truck so I couldn’t pay my debts. And he called all my customers with anonymous complaints and then spread the “fake news” so it became fact that I could not be trusted. He called employers as a “concerned citizen”. I figured out what he was doing when I found his blog where he was talking about how a concerned citizen had called my boss. Funny thing is I had purposely not told a soul so if he knew he had to be the one who made the call.

But, having to defend yourself, constantly doing damage control, and wondering who he has talked to, all wears you down. Your self esteem, already low due to his gas lighting and abuse; melts through the cracks.

It makes it so much harder to recover. You either get sick like me and just give up or you move away.

The very best thing you can do? Avoid the whole shit show in the first place! What a novel idea!!

– Don’t trust someone just because they say they are honest – wait and see how they operate over time.

– When you see that their values don’t align with yours. Walk!! Immediately! It is not your job to teach anyone else how to be a good person. If they are over the age of 6 and are lying and stealing it’s too late to change them.

Remember- who you hang out with IS a reflection on you. Are you proud of who you are with? Do you feel perfectly comfortable telling anyone what goes on behind closed doors? Would you want your best friend or daughter dating this guy?

My ex used to say I made him look like an asshole when I talked to people about our relationship. My reply was, “If telling the truth makes you look like an asshole, maybe you should stop acting like an asshole.”

You should never have to lie or cover for your partner. Sure there are things you don’t talk about, like your sex life but you should never have to lie or make excuses for the person you love.

Cognitive Dissonance and How It Helps The Victim Of Abuse Stay

Wikipedia describes cognitive dissonance like this:

Cognitive dissonance

In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort(psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefsideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person’s performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.[1][2]

I always had pretty black and white views on what was right and wrong, legal and illegal, fair and unjust and I had no problem speaking my mind when I thought someone was wrong. I never lied, didn’t tolerate lying from anyone else and prided myself on being a very honest upstanding citizen. 

The first time I remember questioning my ex’s honesty was when he did a business deal. A neighbor had a motorcycle that had been in a flood, he was afraid to start it because it had been submerged. He offered it to my ex for $400. My ex is an amazing mechanic and can get anything working but he didn’t have $400 at the time and had just lost his job.

The deal was the bike would stay where it was until my ex finished paying for it. 

The next day my ex was going through the Buy and Sell; he was always wheeling and dealing and could do quite well at it sometimes. I heard him on the phone saying he owned a motorcycle he was willing to trade for a Mercedes. He was saying, “sure it was running, I just gotten home from riding it”. 

I didn’t think it was right to lie, he didn’t know for sure he could even get it running and besides; he hadn’t bought it yet!

Next thing I know he’s got the motorcycle in his shop and he has it running! Apparently he talked the owner into letting him take it home to work on, but he wouldn’t get the registration until it was paid for.

That same day I find him loading the bike onto his flat deck and he’s heading out to trade it for the Mercedes.  I argued that he couldn’t sell something that didn’t belong to him. I was told to mind my own business; that I had no idea how to wheel and deal. I had to admit he was probably right, I was not a wheeler dealer.

He traded the motorcycle for the car but the owner of the car wouldn’t hand over the registration until he got the reggy for the bike. Now what was my ex going to do??!! 

When we got home the owner of the bike came over spitting mad at my ex. The neighbours had told him his bike left in my ex’s flat deck. Where was his bike??? The whole neighbourhood was up in arms. 

But my ex didn’t miss a beat. He took the wheels off the Mercedes and sold them for $600, took four hundred over to the guy who owned the motorcycle, got the registration, called the owner of the Mercedes and delivered the motorcycle reggie. Everyone was happy. Except me. It was wrong, wasn’t it? He sold something that didn’t belong to him but in the end everyone was happy.

I decided to mind my own business when it came to his business dealings. I told myself that how he did business was no reflection on my standards. 

But he was always being accused of stealing, got fired from every job he had for stealing and people were NOT happy. It got harder and harder to ignore how he did business and was I not just as guilty for staying with a man who stole from people? How could I respect someone who operated opposite to my values.

Then there was the infidelity. But was it infidelity? Was a personal ad actually cheating?  I was sure he wasn’t meeting any women, we were together almost 24/7 and he wasn’t likely to hook up with a Russian Bride. I told myself he was just checking to see if he could still attract women if he wanted to.

Him staying up all night looking at porn and joining dating sites wold have ordinarily been enough for me to walk. But he kept insisting he loved me. I would lay it all out. It’s OK to look at porn, hey, it’s OK to date lots of different women and there are women out there that would be OK with it but I expect fidelity. He would call me paranoid storm, out of the house and I would cry all day. Then he would call, use his “soft” voice, call me Baby and ask how I was. He’d ask if I’d eaten and take me out for dinner. We would be like we were in the beginning. Him staring into my eyes, our hands brushing against each other’s.  Him pulling me close and whispering I love you. Him knowing exactly what to do to drive me insane and then the fantastic sex!!

The next day I would be giddy with love. Certain that he had thought about what I had said and decided he would be faithful. 

After awhile of course I would discover more ads, and eventually he did physically cheat. By that time I was so far into denial I couldn’t face the truth. We had split so many times it had become “just the way we are”. We had such a deep connection and love that neither one of us could deny, we would always end up back together. 

My ex did some really alarming things that in retrospect I should have seen as threats to my safety but I had been denying my gut instincts and basic boundaries for so long I couldn’t recognize the obvious signs my life was in danger.

If his sister had not come to live with us I doubt I ever would have left on my own; my thought processes had become so unhealthy. 

I hear it on the blog all the time; a victim thinks she has control of the situation, the kids aren’t affected, she is “on to him” or the woman he’s screwing around on is a stupid bitch for not believing her when she called the new woman and told her all about him. 

The victim knows that if they accept the truth or stand by their boundaries they would have to leave the narcissist. They will have to face the fact that their fairytale romance was a lie. The love of their life is a fake. It is often times easier to lie to yourself than face the truth. 

The narcissist knows that, that is why he creates the most romantic, movie worthy romance, you are perfect, he is your knight in shining armor rescuing you from all the ugliness of the world, the boredom of marriage, the drudgery of motherhood, whatever it is that is pulling you down. He makes you feel alive, beautiful, safe, exciting, loved just the way you are. This is what meeting your soul mate feels like. This is love, being in his arms becomes like oxygen to the victim so she must somehow rationalize the facts to match her fantasy. 

It becomes so ingrained by her in her own mind that it is very difficult for her to separate the truth from fantasy when she finally leaves the narcissist.

She will go back time after time refusing to fully accept the truth because she has cognitive dissonance and isn’t seeing things with clear eye glasses. It takes months away from the narcissist and the fog that follows them before the victim can think clearly and rationally.

Believing The Lies Because The Truth Is Too Ugly – Part One

 

inconvenient truthI think every victim of a psychopath/narcissist has done it; chosen to believe the lies because to believe what they know to be true is just too ugly.  In a romantic relationship it is often much easier to believe that we somehow “misinterpreted”, “misunderstood” or caused the abusive behavior because to believe someone we love could do those horrible things is just too much for our brains to wrap around. How could we love someone capable of intentionally causing such harm to someone else? But on a bigger scale, we don’t want to acknowledge someone who evil even exists. We all want to believe there is good in everyone and if they commit an atrocious act there must be a reasonable explanation.

And even more than our belief in the good in all people, and our refusal to believe we could love someone so vile, is our reluctance to take the personal loss of giving up the love of our life. We have invested in this person, not just money, but we have sacrificed a lot in the name of love. Many of us gave up family and friends, moved to a strange town or country, had children with the person, we have invested ourselves, we have given this person more than we have ever given any person we have loved; we have revealed ourselves totally, given up our darkest secrets, laid naked and bared our souls to this person. To face the fact that he purposely set us up, that our trust was horribly misplaced and we willingly walked into a trap, that it was all a facade, is just too much to bear so we continue to lie to ourselves and refuse to see the truth even when it is slapping us in the face and the bank account is in overdraft.

We blindly continue having unprotected sex with a man we suspect of cheating because we don’t want to face his wrath, we continue to give money to a man who never pays us back because we have invested so much already we can’t walk away now, we keep thinking that our investment is going to pay off someday and that if we walk away now we lose and the next woman will reap the benefits of our efforts. We don’t want to lose almost as much as the narcissist feel he must win, and the N counts on that fundamental human trait; the more a person feels they have invested the more they  will invest.

truth is truth

At first we don’t trust ourselves, our perception, so many times a victim says, “I don’t have proof” so they wait for proof and they tell themselves if they ever have “proof” of his cheating or catch him in a bald face lie THEN they will leave. But we are given the proof time after time and we refuse to leave, why? Because we don’t want to lose, we don’t want to hurt, we feel we can’t survive without him, he loved us like no one else ever has, they love us despite our flaws, they say they love us and we are perfect for them; no one has ever loved us like that, we know we are flawed (everyone is), we know we are not always easy to love, (no one is) how can we walk away from that? So we tell ourselves that if he can love us with all our flaws, we will prove to him that we love him despite his flaws and he will appreciate us for our faithful, unconditional love; just as we do him.

Victims are usually “emotionally mature” people who are careful to communicate in such a way as to not attack a person’s character. We have taken courses or read books on effective communication skills; we know that you should never say things like “you always”, and we should focus on the action and not attack the person themselves; we are to use terms like, “I feel”. But the narcissist doesn’t play by the same rules, he has no problem attacking our character, he has no problem telling us we are “bad”, he has no problem blaming us for his actions and we are quite willing to look at our part in the problems of the relationship. WE know we aren’t perfect and like they say in all the relationship books, “you can’t change anyone else, you can only change yourself” so we do, we try to treat the N as we want to be treated, we try to emulate faithfulness, honesty and trustworthiness thinking we will get the same in return. But all we do is dig ourselves into a deeper hole and invest more of ourselves making it harder and harder to walk away. Every time we have an epiphany and think we have figured “it” out and have the answers; every time we go back into the relationship with a new attitude and think “If I do this or change that, it will all be ok” we hand over a bit more of ourselves until we feel we have too much to lose to walk away now.

And he is not appreciating our efforts, as soon as we change this or that he changes the rules and wants something else, we end up doing this dance where he is shooting at our feet and we keep dancing but he never runs out of bullets and we get weaker and tired until we stop dancing and think, let him shoot me, I can’t do the dance any more.

We walk, limp away, admit defeat and we believe we just weren’t good enough, we couldn’t dance fast enough, and we feel sorry for him because we know that he is going to have to go along ways to find some other woman who will love him like we did, who is willing to invest as much as we did, who will look past his flaws and see the real man that we know is in there.  We know that behind that ego and arrogant attitude is a man who has been severely hurt by past lovers (or his parents). When you first met him, when he was the sweet sensitive guy you first met; he opened up to you and showed his vulnerable side. You know he is just afraid of being alone, that deep down he is just a scared little boy who is afraid of being hurt again so when he comes to you and tells you he loves you and wants to try again; you go back. You are even more sure now that if you just hang in there and love him enough he will get over this insecurity and allow himself to love you. You will nurture him, love him like he has never been loved before and you will prove to him that he doesn’t have to push you away, you aren’t going to leave, ever, he can trust your love. And he does, he trusts that you love him so much that he can do anything to you and you will always be there for him, you will take any abuse he dishes out and he loathes you for it. He looks at you as a pitiful sucker who deserves to be hurt because you are so inferior to him.  It’s like that line some comedian used to say, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would let someone like me join.” The narcissist doesn’t respect anyone who could love him and take his bullshit.

Why do you continue to take it, well because you know that if you don’t he will find someone who will, he will walk away and the relationship will be over. So you don’t “just take it” you get angry, you tell him how you feel, you refuse to accept his behavior, you tell him you expect fidelity, you are not afraid to speak your mind, to stand up for what you believe is right, you aren’t a door mat. But wait, you are still there and didn’t he just wipe his feet on you again?

I went back for many reasons, many times it was because I truly believed that he would be so sorry one day when he realized what he had lost, when he couldn’t find another woman who understood him and accepted him like I did. I felt he needed me, no one else could look past the shitty things he did, how he sabotaged himself and see the sweet, childlike innocent man I saw and knew was buried inside. I knew he was socially challenged, he just didn’t understand that things he did were wrong, he had good intentions, he was lacking confidence and did the things he did because of his own insecurities, it wasn’t personal. I KNEW he loved me, he was just afraid to relax and enjoy it because he was afraid of getting hurt.

Even when I had proof of other women, even after he was engaged to another woman I still believed he would never find another woman who would sacrifice like I did, who would love him as unconditionally as I did. My own ego, my own confidence in my ability to love with my whole being was my undoing. I didn’t want to lose, I didn’t want to admit defeat.

But as much as that trait was my undoing in the relationship and made me stay much longer than I should have it is also the thing that gave me the strength to come back from the ashes and heal.
Accepting the truth was critical to being able to finally walk away and stop lying to myself. I don’t think I fully accepted the truth until long after it was over and he had moved on. It was not until he twisted everything that ever happened in the relationship around to make me look like the nutcase and himself the victim that the light bulb really went on. When it became clear that he was out to destroy me by slandering me and trying to get me fired and evicted that I realized all those times I had suspected him of sabotaging my truck and other things he tried to make seem like I was just paranoid, I had been right. When I heard the lies he was telling everyone who would listen and making himself look like the poor hard done by guy who had only ever loved me and nothing he did was ever good enough, when he said to me that he was afraid of what I would do to HIM, I knew everything he had ever told me about the women in his past, how he had been taken advantage of; was all lies. He had orchestrated the whole thing, he had known from day one what he was doing, there was no “misunderstanding”, he was not naive and insecure; he was an evil, conniving, and dangerous person who knew all along what he was doing and he had laid out his defense for actions long before he did them. I realized that all the times he called me paranoid and suspicious and I doubted myself and I had been right all along and should have listened to my gut. It was when I accepted that I had lied to myself almost as much as he had lied to me and that I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I would have trusted myself more than I trusted him that I fully accepted the truth. When he told me that it was my own fault he hurt me because I kept taking him back I had to look at myself; I had to admit he was right, and if he was right then I was not just a victim of his abuse I was also a victim of my self doubt and the lies I told myself.

I remember thinking to myself, praying, that he would tell me a good enough lie that I could lie to myself. And then I heard this song. I love the way you lie

This is the lyrics version of the song because if a person doesn’t really listen to the lyrics they might mistake this to be a love song, a song about two people so in love they are afraid of losing the other person, that in some sick way it is love that drives them to abuse. It is a lie victims tell themselves all the time, the same lie I told myself about why he sabotaged my truck, “He loves me so much he doesn’t want to lose me, if he keeps my truck from working I won’t leave him.” I convinced myself that in some sick way it was a sign that he didn’t want to lose me and I comforted myself with that. (It is amazing what we can convince ourselves of when we are desperate). It had nothing to do with love, in fact it was the exact opposite of love, it was a need possess, destroy and discard when he was finished with me. It was control, ownership, it was sucking the life out of someone, but it was not love. Don’t ever mistake abuse for love. At about 3:15 into the song his dialogue songs so familiar to my hears, one minute blaming her, the next taking the blame himself, one minute promising to change and all the while knowing in his head he is lying and it will happen again and again. He says, “Don’t you see the sincerity in my eyes?”

The combination of 6 things helped me heal.

1. Admitting I did have some power over being abused, that I did know the truth but ignored it, (was hard to swallow) showed me that I do have the ability to protect myself against a psychopath/narcissist.

2. Knowing that dealing with crazy, trying to make sense of crazy, trying to assign normal emotions to crazy; will drive you crazy and make you do things you would never do ordinarily.

3. Knowing that I am strong enough to withstand the abuse and keep standing and keep trying is nothing to be ashamed of.

4. Knowing that he was the flawed one and the one lacking, not me.

5. Realizing even if I didn’t want to, I was going to survive.

6. Once I had realized and accepted 1-5 I realized it was up to me from that point on to decide how I was going to recover and whether I would go on to live a happy life somehow, someway, someday.