Tag Archives: values

Knowing Your Worth

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Ocassionally I have a woman come into the blog thinking the man they are in love with is a narcissist because he won’t commit. I have to tell them that just because a man won’t commit does not make them a narcissist. For one thing a narcissist is not that honest. There is nothing wrong with a man for not wanting a commitment. Maybe he should stop seeing a woman who he knows wants a commitment but if he is honest and the woman keeps coming around, screwing him, cooking for him etc even after he has repeatedly told her he will never commit, can you really blame him for taking what she is giving? She obviously doesn’t respect herself or her own boundaries, is it up to him to do it for her? I suppose he should but in reality very few men will. She would call him a narcissist and be angry either way for rejected her.
News flash!! Not everyone is going to love you.
The following is my reply to a woman asking me how she can break away from a man she has been seeing for 3 years who won’t commit and never pretended he ever would commit.

Jane, I am not a trained professional therapist so I am not qualified to counsel you, I can only give you my personal opinion. Plus, I know absolutely nothing about you, your past or how your personal relationships are and have been in the past.
I am guessing this is a pattern in your life, with all people; not just in romantic relationships.
I would guess that one or both your parents were critical or distant and no matter how hard you tried you were never able to win their love and approval, you were never “good enough”.
You were the “people pleaser”, the “fixer”, always doing for others and derived your self worth from the praise of others. Sacrificing your own well being, being a martyr, all in the name of being “loved”. But never learning that you were being used and taken advantage of, not loved.
Most narcissists are not as honest as this man, they profess total commitment but lead a double life, often having many women at one time, all believing he is committed to them and that is where the victim gets sucked in. If the narc would have been honest they would have left the relationship.
The fact that you stay knowing the truth tells me that you rely on other people to give you value.
It is human nature to want to be liked, in fact we tend to try harder to please people who don’t seen to like us. No one likes rejection.
But most people wont stick around to be rejected time and time again. You do not love this man, you have made him your “value gauge”. If you can make him commit then you have value, you are worthy, enough, loved.
The truth is; what he thinks of you has absolutely nothing to do with your value, worth or whether you are loveable.
He has every right to not want to commit, and he shouldn’t continue to sleep with you knowing you want a commitment but most men don’t do the right thing and if he tells you he will never commit and you keep coming around he’s going to take what you keep giving.
You are not the victim of a narcissist, you are a victim of your own inability to defend your boundaries.
You want to be loved and have worth but you have attached your self worth to being loved. Your value has absolutely NOTHING to do with who loves you. You are willing to give up your boundaries, what you stand for; in order to be loved and have value. But you fail to realize that in order to be loved you must be loved for who you are, not the pretzel you contort yourself into, not for the things you are willing to give up but for the things you stand up for. If you don’t respect yourself and who you are (boundaries define who you are) you won’t be respected by others. Respect is essential in any loving relationship, in any relationship period. If you don’t have boundaries and defend them how do you ever feel loved for who you are? How do you ever trust yourself to not be disrespected and used?
Loved based on how much you are willing to sacrifice is never real love, it is never secure and you never feel fulfilled and empowered. You always doubt it.
The way to ensure you don’t get involved with a narcissist is to stop dating until you stop deriving your self worth from a man and know your value without being told you have value. When you love yourself, for all your perceived “flaws”, and are willing to walk away from any man who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are, you will continue to get hurt.
I suggest you stop trying to figure out what the man wants, stop trying to be the woman you think the man wants and start looking at men from the perspective of; is this the type of man I want? Is this man worthy of MY love, is this man’s values in line with MY values? I think you need to find a good therapist who can help you do that.
I know it is scary to let go of this guy and be alone but until you can be comfortable alone and truly enjoy your own company you will repeat history.

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Acceptance

Dating a narcissist requires a lot of acceptance.

Gradually over time the narcissist challenges the victim to accept the unacceptable. In my experience, the wospos accused me of being inflexible and judgemental, he also said that he had a hard time dealing with my negativity; that I always focussed on the negative and should be thankful for what I had.  His favorite saying was,”We are fed and watered aren’t we?” And he couldn’t handle MY warped views of reality.

I had never been accused of being a negative person, I had overcome adversity in my life, more than most people and didn’t let circumstances get me down. I always found a way to make ends meet, wasn’t afraid to work hard for things I wanted, I was motivated, not negative.

His mother praised his resilience. But was it resilience or lack of motivation? Was it resilience or a lack of principles? Was it resilience or out of touch with reality? When a person has the education and skills to make $30 an hour but they get fired from every job for stealing and end up living in squalor; is that resilience or refusal to live within the confines of what society deems acceptable behavior.

Typically a narcissist abhors rules and will seemingly go out of his way to break them; as if to prove he is above the laws other members of society abide by. I actually grew to dread walking out my door because the minute I did I had all the neighbors coming to  me with complaints about JC, how he had been up all night welding, banging, air compressor going, lights on; keeping everyone on the street awake. I would apologize and promise to talk to him, but every time I did talk to him about it he accused me of picking a fight and denied he was bothering the neighbors. I started telling people that if they had a problem with JC they should talk directly to him because I had no control over his actions and in fact he would, “shoot the messenger.”

For many years I made excuses for JC, he was highly intelligent and I knew that often times people who are near genius are rather eccentric, don’t need as much sleep as most people and  have a tendency to get bored with the mundane. I rationalized that he had been raised on a farm in Saskatchewan and hadn’t had to accommodate neighbors near by and that was why he didn’t consider the neighbors when he worked out in his shop at all hours. I blamed his upbringing to a degree because he was never taught to respect other people’s rights. His mother had told me that even as a wee child she would find him out in the shop in the middle of the night. One time when I was telling her about the neighbors being upset with JC for keeping them awake all night her response had been, “People are going to have to learn to accept that that’s just the way JC is.” and I had asked her, “But Mom, when does JC have to accept that people don’t have to accept him just the way he is?” She didn’t have an answer to that question but I figured I had my answer to why he was the way he was.

If a person is never taught how to be considerate how do they know? So I set about teaching him common decency. I found myself explaining things like, “If you take someone else’s possessions they will get pissed off and call you a thief.” It is not a “misunderstanding” when you take stuff that doesn’t belong to you. “It hurts me when you have personal ads, I consider it cheating.” “People call you a bullshitter when you lie about your accomplishments and embellish your past experiences, you are great the way you are, you don’t have to lie to impress people”. “I love you just the way you are, so will other people, but when you lie people lose respect for you, you become a joke and you have no need to lie.”

If you find yourself explaining to a full-grown man that lying is wrong, infidelity hurts you, stealing makes people angry and he should call if he isn’t going to be home at night; RUN!!

I think maybe he learned over the years that this behavior worked against him in the long run and he did get better at following some common decency rules of society. Or maybe he stopped doing things because I stopped reacting and stopped trying to do damage control so it fell on his shoulders and he got sick of dealing with angry neighbors. Mind you, the last year we were together we lived on a farm and he had gotten a 1970 Impala and was awake at after midnight revving the engine, over and over,here to tell him to shut it down; I was going to let him suffer the consequences of his action. After about an hour of this constant revving I was getting angry, it was as if he was doing it hoping for a reaction. I could not believe the neighbors weren’t reacting. I had my hand on the door, just about to walk out there when I heard a man’s voice, “What the Fuck are you doing? I have to work at 6 am!!” Then I heard JC, “Do you like my new car? Listen to it.” and he revved it again. I couldn’t believe his audacity and slid the door open a crack so I could hear better and call the police if the neighbor started beating him with a baseball bat or something. Then I heard a woman’s voice, “I live two houses away and I have been laying in bed for over an hour listening to you rev your engine. Shut that fucking thing off now and go to bed or I will call the police.” I could see her storm off down the driveway, wearing her house coat and slippers. I couldn’t hear the rest of what was said but the man went home and JC came inside and I pretended I didn’t know what happened. After that he was a lot quieter and the neighbor lady had actually come to me and said she appreciated that JC had been quiet at night ever since. I sat in the trailer listening to him, knowing full well that the neighbors were getting pissed off but I swore I was NOT going to go out t

That is not to say you  can teach the narcissist how to be a decent person, it only means that they can learn that certain behavior does not pay off for them, that is not empathy; in fact it is fine tuning their ability to manipulate others and go undetected for a longer period of time. Many narcissists/psychopaths are passive aggressive and have learned over time that obvious displays of anger works against them so they will seek revenge by destroying your property or making you miss an important event, etc As a narcissist ages he learns how to cover his true intentions better, they memorize more responses, have more practice faking appropriate emotions and have learned what behavior will get them in trouble. Many N’s are jealous, I never saw that in James, I didn’t think he was the least bit jealous and he always said jealousy was a wasted emotion. Yet upon reflection, with all the facts I see how he masked it, he had a tracking device on my truck, hacked into my phone, had hidden cameras and tape recorders, he sabotaged my truck to keep me at home. I never once got home before him and I always wondered how he managed to avoid getting home before me, but I know now he was tracking where I was. When I discovered he had hidden the camera and his sister and I figured out he was listening in on our conversations I should have been irate but I wasn’t, I thought it was silly, and laughed because I had nothing to hide and it must be pretty boring for him. I once again accepted unhealthy unacceptable behavior and didn’t view it as dangerous or controlling.

Studies have shown that children as young as 3 can be diagnosed with psychopathic tendencies because by that age children are developing empathy. You can see it in little babies, when one cries the others will join in. You can see empathy in animals, a dog will lay it’s head on your lap if you are sad or can pick up on the fact that you are sick and will lay quietly by your side. Empathy is a natural instinct of most creatures, whales, dolphins, dogs, children; if your partner, an adult can not see his actions are hurtful, do you really think you are going to be able to teach him empathy? What makes you so special that you are going to be able to accomplish something no one else has been able to do in the 20-40 years this person has been alive? Like in my case, I found myself thinking, “Why am I explaining basic common decency to a 40-year-old man?” The longer I was with JC the more came out about his past and the more I realized this man was just not normal and I was never going to be able to change his way of thinking, in fact I began to realize that he enjoyed the pain he caused. Simple things would hit me. Like when his sister had skin cancer on her face and his mother called to say his sister was having a really hard time because it had left a really bad scar. I suggested he send her a nice card and flowers or something and he had said, No, cards weren’t really his thing, it was something his sister would do. I said, “Exactly!! your sister likes cards, I am suggesting you do something nice for your sister. This isn’t about what YOU want.”

He used to talk about how he suspected his ex of cheating and he could not be with someone he could not trust yet he had many affairs with married women and had no problem cheating on me or the other women he dated. When I tried to explain why him having a personal ad on POF was so hurtful to me and used the analogy of how would he feel if the roles were reversed I got a blank stare. After we split and he was with the new woman he told me that he couldn’t talk to me any more because M got upset about it and he had the audacity to say, “You must understand, after all if you were in her shoes you wouldn’t like it either.” They have a habit of memorizing lines they hear from you and repeating them back to you later, which is totally frustrating!!

I learned to pick my battles and let some stuff go, what was really important to me? was it really my problem how he did business? I rationalized that if the neighbors were upset with him, it had nothing to do with me and I should let him deal with their anger and maybe he would learn from his mistakes but he didn’t seem to be a very fast learner and in fact seemed to do things purposely to anger my landlord or neighbors and eventually it would become my problem anyway. If I was evicted because of him, it was my problem.

If he pissed someone off in a business deal and they came after him to beat him up or kill him it became my problem pretty quickly. If he stole from people and they knew he was my boyfriend it was unlikely I would get their business hauling their scrap. It became glaringly obvious the time he stole a trailer from a business next door to where he and I had done a job, the guys saw him come back and take the trailer and they had my phone number and had looked up my address. I ended up leaving my house and driving around because they threatened to come over and wait for JC to show up and I could not convince them that I knew nothing about JC taking a trailer and didn’t know when I would see him again. My calls to JC landed on deaf ears and he eventually stopped answering his phone and totally ignored my pleas for him to take the trailer back because these guys were coming over and I was in danger.  It was at that point I realized, finally, that JC was not the least bit concerned about me or my safety and he would have let these guys do whatever to me because he just didn’t give a shit.

People assume that you are a couple and you have some influence over the other person’s actions. I had co-workers of his come to me and ask me to talk to JC about calling if he wasn’t going to show up for work, his family members calling to get me to have him call them, friends coming to me because they were angry with him, neighbors and landlords demanding I do something about him.

He was so good at denying and coming up with some plausible excuse why he didn’t think it was stealing, I couldn’t help but give him the benefit of doubt and obviously many other people felt the same way because he would get fired from jobs for stealing but he was never formally charged by anyone. When the N doesn’t get charged by the people he steals from the victim has even more reason to doubt their perception of events. Had anyone ever charged him with stealing maybe I would have trusted my instincts more, but he always got off.

JC will tell everyone that he got me started in scrap and he gave me all his customers and connections which is almost funny because in actual fact I hid the fact that he was my boyfriend because I was afraid to be associated with him for fear he had stolen from someone or they had heard about him. In two separate cases I was given the contract to haul the customer’s scrap because for a long time they hadn’t had anyone hauling for them because they had been ripped off so badly by some guy named James they hadn’t allowed anyone on their property since.

I became really torn, how could I be involved with a man I was ashamed to be associated with? What did that say about me? my principles? If I knew he was breaking the law did that not make me as guilty for accepting it? It was after the trailer incident, when my life had been threatened yet again that it finally sunk in and I dumped him, moved and refused to allow him to visit me in my new place. I still had a hard time staying away from him but would meet him for something to eat, would talk to him every day but I was able to stay firm about not allowing him to move into my new place and he finally left the province and I was relieved.

It was easy to do no contact because I wasn’t seeing him everywhere and before he left he had come to me and asked if he could use my shower and do a load of laundry, he had flowers and was all sweet, like they can be; and I allowed him in and yes, we had sex, he said he loved me and I left for work and made him leave the same time as me. He left the next day without a word and sent an email a couple of days later saying that he had thought it was best he leave that way. I sent him a scathing reply and promptly blocked him. I then had a gut feeling I should check history on my computer and I was able to get into his POF profile again. (That should not be possible, I didn’t know his password, I just clicked on the link in history and it took me right into his account. Sometimes I swear God intervened in order to give me the information I needed) I found that he had been talking to women for months setting up to meet them in Red Deer, telling some of them that he just had a “gut feeling” they were the one and he always followed his gut feelings. He laid it on really thick with some of them and with those ones I sent a short message of warning, but it was enough for me to really be DONE this time.

I barely shed a tear, I was so done! After 8 years of being evicted because of him, him sabotaging my vehicles, the infidelity, the lying and stealing, my life being threatened, I really was enjoying my life without him. I found it so easy that I had a false sense of security and immunity to his manipulation. I felt I was so “on to him” that he could never suck me in again. But I still didn’t know what I was dealing with. I had read a bit about narcissists but only a list of traits that he seemed to have most of, I still did not know the depths to which they will go for revenge, or that they are incapable of empathy or love. I still assigned him human emotion and thought he had hurt me as much as was humanly possible. I thought I had him all figured out so when he called months later on my land line ( he had never used my landline number but later he confessed that he had called the house because he knew I had didn’t have call display on my house phone) out of the blue, I took the call when I heard his voice on the answering machine.

It was a matter of minutes, had I walked out the door 2 minutes earlier I would have missed the call, I had my hand on the door knob about to walk out on my way to work when I heard the phone ring. I was going to let the answering machine take it but hesitated and heard his voice, I froze, it had been months and the sound of his voice threw me. You have no idea how many times I wish I would have kept walking and just let him leave a message, maybe with the day to think about it I would have been more aware and cautious but no, I ran to get the phone. The battle between my head and heart began. I kept telling myself I didn’t care about him, I was just curious about what lies he was going to tell me this time. I actually couldn’t wait to hear what bullshit story he had concocted. I felt strong and in control, I was doing well with my business, I had been on a couple of dates, I was able to have a conversation with him and get off the phone without any longing. He was in Alberta, and doing well, I was doing well, I had remained friends with ex’s before, had exs call to just see how I was; this was no different.

But I spent the day thinking about him, I told myself that was normal, it didn’t mean anything but then I received an email from him (I had kept in touch with his mother and he got my email address from her) saying how good it had been to talk to me again and he missed me. He started slow, knowing to keep it light, and it worked, the more emails I got, the more friendly phone calls I got, the more I relaxed.

I had missed our conversations, it was the one thing we always had, we could talk for hours, he understood me like no one else ever had. It may sound crazy but I still felt we had a special connection and even if we couldn’t be lovers we could be friends. I remember the day I had the best money-making day I had so far hauling scrap and I knew he could relate so I called him to share my good news and he was excited for me, I could hear it in his voice. You know how you can hear someone smiling over the phone? He was so good at voice inflection, softening his voice when he said he loved me, he had perfected the hesitation in his speech, of someone fighting their feelings of love and finally giving in and admitting against his will that he was still in love with me.

He was accomplishing what he set out to do, he had me thinking about him again, looking forward to his calls, checking to see if he had called. The sound of his voice gave me butterflies again and again I began to feel like we had something a person just doesn’t find everyday, a connection stronger than either of us. He did know me better than any other man ever had, he knew exactly what I needed to hear, he knew how to make me feel like what I had to say was important and he was interested in my life, pleased for me when good things happened and cared if I was unhappy. When he wanted to, he could be the most intuitive  and sensitive guy I had ever been involved with and I fell in love with him all over again.

When he came to town to talk to me, told me he had been given 6 months to live, a part of me didn’t believe him and was saying, “Don’t fall for it!” but then there was the rational, logical part of me saying, “Why would he lie? I hadn’t called him, he is attractive and could have any woman, he doesn’t need me. Why would he apologize for things that happened years ago if he didn’t mean it? If he hadn’t realized how much he loved me and hadn’t changed why would he make such an effort from so far away?” My rational mind told me that sometimes a person doesn’t realize what they had until its gone and this had been the first time since we met that we had been apart and not talked for any length of time, it had been the first time I hadn’t broken down and called him, it was the first time I had been strong and not given in to him, maybe he had time to think about all he had lost. It isn’t easy to find someone who loves you as much as I loved him, sure dating someone new is exciting but to find someone you have a lot in common with, someone who accepts you the way you are and appreciates you for you is not so easy. I thought, “What have I got to lose? I am independent again, I know him inside and out, I can predict what sets him off” and I had to admit I had built a wall around myself, keeping him at arm’s length because I was afraid of being hurt.

He promised total honesty, admitted to everything he had ever done wrong, told me he realized I was the only woman he wanted or would ever need, he cried, and most importantly we had talked for hours about sensitive issues and not once gotten defensive or angry. We were calm and rational and listened to each other and it was so easy for me to feel giving and loving towards him because I felt he was really listening to me. It was very easy for me to see where I had failed him in the relationship when he had been so open and willing to own his mistakes. I thought we had come so far, really grown, that time apart had done us both a lot of good and now that we had admitted and discussed the areas where we had issues and now that we both realized that there was no one better out there, we could commit to “us” 100% and as long as we kept the lines of communication open and we were honest with each other we could make it work. And he had promised total honesty and only asked for time to prove to me he had changed and I told myself that at the first sign of his old behavior I would be strong enough to walk away.

The first 8 years were painful and he was abusive and I had never been as hurt by any other man, I thought there was no way he could hurt me more than he already had and I would be more aware than before so able to protect myself better than before.

The first 6 months to a year after we got back together were some of the best times we had ever had but once he knew he had me dependent on him (the house deal fell through and my mom had disowned me) we fell back into the same relationship we had for the first 8 years only the dance had changed in many ways. The first eight years we had a pattern of behavior we both fell into. We would fight, I would cry, he would say it was over and storm out, one of us would call the other, we would make up, have sex and things would be good for a while. I could predict when he was getting ready to explode, I was able to get through to him at times but at times during the last year I felt I didn’t know him at all.

The last year was abusive beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It was like the first 8 years were with a one man and the last year I had entered the twilight zone and was living with the devil himself. Many things about the relationship were different, I couldn’t predict what would set him off, sex became practically non-existent and he rarely concerned himself with pleasing me, he didn’t even take his jeans off half the time, he rarely said he loved me, he was far more conniving, told much bigger lies, was so much better at deceiving me, the physical abuse was more frequent and he seemed less able to control it. He seemed less able to hide his disdain for me. I know now he came back to get revenge for me breaking up with him when I moved into the trailer, he had one goal in mind when he came back and that was to destroy me, my business, my family relationships, and in general make me pay, get what he could from me and discard me in the most cruel way possible.

I am not saying he came all the way from Alberta just to screw me up. I think things didn’t come together like he had planned, he wasn’t able to hook the woman he had planned, maybe she caught on to him or maybe he wanted to make her jealous and get her doing the “pick me dance”. Whatever the reason he needed ns and knew I was a good source, if he could win me back it would serve as great ns until he could set something else up and I think now that he had gotten into drugs while out there and needed to get clean and that seeing as he didn’t have malaria, the attacks I nursed him through were actually withdrawal from some drug. Whatever the reason was for him to come back to me, it was not because of love; he needed something and I had it; and in his mind whatever bad happened to him was my fault for dumping him.  I was convenient at the time. Had he been able the suck in another better victim with more to offer he wouldn’t have bothered with me. I have no doubt I would have heard from him at some point if only to see if he could still suck me in, because I know he kept in touch with other exs sporadically.

So when you find yourself “accepting” unacceptable behavior, making excuses for his behavior, defending your values and explaining why you have a right to be suspicious, hurt, or angry, stop and think about it;

– why do you know right from wrong? yet he doesn’t.

– why are you afraid to talk to friends about what is going on? (because you know they would not tolerate it or even have to deal with it because their man doesn’t do shit like that)

You really only have one thing you have to accept………. the truth. The man you fell in love with was a sham. A full-grown man does not need to be taught common decency, in fact most normal children know about empathy and decency without any training, animals raised in the wild show more empathy and concern for other living creatures than the man who professes to love you.

– AND if he is so right and you are such a nut case, paranoid and demanding why does he deny, blame others, lie about it and hide it, expect you to lie and hide it.

– If you are so delusional why is he with you?

Accept this – that you made a mistake, you made a bad investment, cut your losses and get out while the getting is good because it will never get better than it is right now.