Narcissists – traits, explanations, just wtf

Where do I start? There is just so much going on in my mind and heart and soul.

To the outside, it must seem like I live a normal life. I am outwardly happy and positive and enthusiastic. I get the stuff done I need to get done (on the whole).

I try to maintain contact with those people who have been around me and supported me despite feeling like I am in a silent bubble. I cannot stress enough how much of an impact my exes (and my mothers for that matter) abuse has had on me and my life.  Not to mention my sons life. My poor innocent baby.

Some quotes which sum up what I have difficulty expressing better;

‘People would always say, “ I would never let anyone treat me like that,” They don’t realize abuse is not always physical or outright verbal. Some abuse is more insidious and starts out slow, with small continuous small indiscretions, until they program you to accept their bad behaviors. It’s punishing you with emotional distance, and making you feel unworthy, its slowly ignoring your wants and needs, making you feel unloved or unimportant. It’s a progressive manipulation, where you ultimately find yourself wondering how you ever got into that position.’

‘Survivors often feel disappointment in themselves because they didn’t initially recognize the abuse. It takes victims a while to see the patterns because the abusive person works hard to cover the evidence they are toxic. They go to extraordinary lengths to hide the truth. It also takes more than one incident to see a pattern. Like collecting pebbles, it takes many for a bag to become heavy. It takes a long time to feel the weight of the harm done.’

‘A narcissists weapon of choice is often verbal – slander, lies, playing the victim in flipped tales of who was the victim and who was the abuser, gossip, rage, verbal abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional pain. It is a systematic dismantling of anothers persons relationships, reputation, emotional, physical and spiritual health, life and very soul. This is why narcissists are so often called emotional vampires.’

‘A narcissists number one tool is neglect. What better way to crush a persons spirit than to treat a person like that don’t matter. What better way to invalidate them, their needs, their wants, their words, what is most important to them, and what means most to them? What better way to take a person out of the equation and make them feel invisible? The sooner who you are becomes less important, the more the narcissist becomes more and more important. That is why it is so difficult to heal from narcissistic abuse, because its not just the ending of a bad relationship, it’s the realization that they broke your spirit, they stole what’s most important to you, the essence of who you are.’

‘Victims are in such a trance and state of confusion that they don’t know the extent of the abuse, until they are away from their abuser. When you are not walking on eggshells, when you are not in a constant state of hyper vigilance and fear, then you are able to relax a minute, and see more of what is going on. When you start educating yourself you see a clearer picture of how you were manipulated and abused. There is so much damage to a victims mental health and overall wellbeing. All in an effort to gain dominance and control over them.’

Last but certainly not least, the best explanation I’ve ever read about about narcissists (my ex , my mother) and empaths ( that would be me );

‘Both empaths, overly compassionate people and narcissists, May have had trauma or abuse in their background. Overly compassionate people know what it is like to not feel cared about, valued and loved , so they deal with their trauma, by making sure  the people around them never feel this way, even if it is at their own expense. They just cant handle the pain of knowing a person may be feeling lonely , sad, misunderstood and unloved, the way they may have felt in the past.

Narcissists, on the other hand create this false self, that is ever powerful, and will protect them from the world, by any means. They come first no matter what, and nothing and no one else matters. All the insecurity is hidden behind this false self, who is strong and charismatic and knows how to take care of number one. Both have had difficult and painful backgrounds, but they both chose very different ways of handling it. Both need to heal, and find healthier ways to handle their trauma. Narcissists have no desire or interest in change, but empaths can heal and learn better ways to handle their pain. They can overcome.’

I do struggle with the fact that, ultimately, he has zero awarenesss of his issues, that ultimately its him that needs help ( his constant digs about me being mentally ill really get me going believe me – the constant ongoing emotional abuse just doesn’t stop), but that will never happen, as he has not one ounce of self reflection or introspection. He is perfect and every one else can basically go fuck themselves.

Grieving

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If it’s not one thing it’s another. After having been betrayed by my own Mother (nothing new there really) I now stand to lose the only “real” mother I knew in my life – my grandmother.

She’s had a good life, don’t get me wrong, it’s been long and full, she is 98 after all. It’s just that she’s been all I had really, that emanated any kind of mothering feeling, any kind of comforting feeling for that matter. My mother does not have that skill, she completely lacks empathy, so she’s unable to think of anyone but herself. She demonstrated that year after year after year. My Exes heartlessness was not the only one I ignored and forgave and overlooked for many years. I was labouring under the belief that Family is at base good for you, and that loyalty is understood. Boy was I wrong.

I’ve had dealings with my mother recently purely to assist with the logistics and care of my grandmother. It’s been hard to have to deal so delicately with someone who has helped put a sledgehammer to my life and essentially assisted my ex in getting custody of my son , even though she maintains she was trying to be “ neutral “. I’ve told her point blank I’ll never forgive her for that, and it’s not a lie, I won’t. 

We have known this was coming but now she has gone downhill really quickly and I get a text message from my mother this morning saying “she’s going to die this week”.  Tactful as ever.

So I dropped my son off at School this morning but obviously I want to give him the chance to say goodbye to his great grandmother. He’s spent a lot of time with her, he knows she is ill. He understands that she will die, but I am adamant he get the chance to say that himself. My mother is trying to block that, saying he shouldn’t see her so sick. Im yet to hear back from my ex , I’m assuming he will side with my mother. Nevermind that as a small child he had to see my exes mother waste away and had to attend a funeral as well. He was only 4 years old at most. If my Ex blocks this I will be furious. Neither of these people know how to be authentic and neither of them have grieved in a healthy way. For them to make this decision over me is going to make me livid.

Update – I went to visit my grandmother on Monday Night, My ex brought my Son around to visit as well, but didn’t have the courtesy to actually leave the room to let family do their thing. My grandmother passed away approximately 12 hours later.

Deadline passed

So court is done now what

I’ve been connecting with certain networks to find the support I need I guess now that the blazing fight is over. Although my ex has shown no real signs of letting up in criticising me or trying to tell me what to do despite there being pretty iron clad court orders in place.

I fled social media once I left him – facebook etc. I know from friends he’s been using it as a tool to paint the picture he wants all to see, which includes him being father of the year and me being non –existent. He’s consistently reached out to those who were once “ my” friends in an effort to colour views of his “ profile” and to detract from any “ power” I may have had in being the only connection to those people. These include people who have supported me in this horrid journey trying to leave him and survive. Someone I stayed with for a few months, someone who has also experienced domestic violence and honestly should know better. He’s good at framing the picture to make it look like he’s the one who has been hurt – yes I left him. But my god, with good reason – he never hit me but had I stayed who knows. He’s inflicted so many internal wounds I couldn’t name them all.

I may have weathered the storm so far but I am still rather broken and fractured from the abuse that spanned years and absolutely shattered my sense of who I am and what worth I could possibly have as a human being. Take away my favourite role “ mother” and it’s definitely left me reeling. I’m trying to piece back some semblance of an identity. I now have a job I love. It requires an empathetic heart and a caring nature – one I certainly have! The people there are amazing and the work I do impacts not only the vulnerable I don’t know but the vulnerable I do – namely my 98 year old grandmother who has dementia.

I get great fulfillment out of this work, something I’ve been looking for for a long time. 

Building a home again has been fun. Being able to make all the decisions has been amazingly fun and liberating ! This journey is far from over, but a chapter with a new lease on life has started and I feel every single ounce of positivity out there right now. Basically , right now, I’m happy.

Legalities

So, it’s taken me some time to process this, as well as get over the flu, but after a horridly heartbreaking, soul destroying year…..the custody and property cases have settled in court.

This process didn’t go as I expected, in that we didn’t get to the point of trial and being able to fight for our respective perspectives. What happened was a game of chicken, hard ball, shifting offers and ever present conditions. In essence, it’s been about what am I willing to live with. Not whether anything is fair, accurate or true…all of that became irrelevant the moment the legal process kicked in because the process itself has hindered fairness in nearly every instance. It’s hard to explain how, but anyone having gone through this process will no doubt agree.

So, in order to see my son more and to be able to start a new life now, rather than chance it on being able to do more or the same in a year I’ve agreed to certain conditions. Conditions which again impose HIS will on me and my life…so you can imagine I signed the orders with a bittersweet shiver going down my spine. It is, though, about my son…and not about me.

There was never going to be any Justice for me in this process. My ex was never going to be singled out and labelled for what he really is. I was never going to get that feeling I’ve craved for so long – to feel like it’s finally been seen and that what I’ve been through has been worth it. So this is why it’s taken me a while to process this result. This and the fact that a year is a long time to be in flux and funnily enough I now seem kind of used to it.

Anyway, I find myself now facing the exciting prospect of being able to start my life again from scratch….and I’m slowly starting to let myself get excited about that. It’s a scary thing to allow myself hope and to allow myself to look towards the future with a feeling of possibility. I am sure at some stage when I have found a place to live and it’s furnished and feeling like a home I will sit down and I will exhale deeply and feel somehow like it was worth it all. 

Right now, however , I am focussed on being glad about the one thing I was adamant about before entering into this legal shitstorm; I didn’t want this process to change me. I didn’t want to suddenly be one of those people who stoop to low levels and fling lies around and manipulate. So I didn’t. It’s truly painful to do the right thing whilst your opposition is clearly not, however I knew that at the end of this I needed to be able to live with myself….and still like the person that was left. So after having lost so much in this past year, I am glad to have made it out with pride in knowing that I can live with everything I did and said and one day when my son knows about all this, he will not find a different person staring back at him. He will find the mother he knows, the one who adores him.

Prince Charming

A small excerpt to frame this post and explain;

“Emotional abuse can make shadows of the most intelligent women,” she says. “Women in very senior positions at work will feel like frauds because they’ll come home and be treated so poorly.”

According to Don Hennessy of the Cork Marriage Counselling Centre and author of the book How He Gets into Her Head, the one thing all victims have in common is kindness. “They have to be the type of person willing to put another person’s needs before their own.”

The first thing Hennessy asks someone seeking support at the counselling centre is: are you being blamed for things in your relationship? “And the usual response is, ‘Yes, I’m blamed for everything.’ ”

He says abusers groom their partners to meet their needs from the start of a relationship. They usually have a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy and the ability to manipulate.

Something else abusers tend to be, according to Ryan, is charming. “Friends and family will say, ‘Wow, what an amazing partner.’ When everyone’s telling you he’s fantastic, you think he must be.”

So, you see, he isn’t the man he has presented himself as to everyone who knows him. It’s hard to describe how his traits present themselves, because it’s very covert. It was incredibly hard for me to even see what he was doing. It took me to leave to realise it. The distance had a huge part in highlighting things that were just normal for me, or too close to even focus on. Also, I’ve been with this man for 14 years. I’m 42 and I’ve known him since I was 16. We even dated for a little while back then, and he told me back then he loved me. Love and loyalty have ways of making you blind. Plus with him it was always me…my fault….so how could it have been him?

I look back now and I’m not even sure it was love on my part. I lost my father at a young age and my mother emotionally abandoned me pretty much right after that. It’s not surprising to me that I eventually fell for him, after he’s been the only person to really ever tell me they love me consistently.  After all, love is what children crave most and there really wasn’t anyone else to give me that.

It started with poetry, romance and a feeling of relief that I had finally found someone who “got me” and would understand what I’m about. I was excited to have found someone I thought I could share that journey with. I mean I knew he was different to me, in many ways, but I couldn’t see any of them being an issue in the beginning. 

The start of our relationship was intense and blinding and my world rotated around him. I , in fact, left my entire life behind on another continent to start a new life with him, So, I started with severe isolation within the relationship, this only made me hang on tighter to the one person I trusted and knew – HIM.

His friends became our friends and we lived our lives his way – this meant: nice restaurants, exciting social events, deluxe short breaks. It was an exciting life…never dull…very superficial…very materialistic, lacking in depth ..now that I reflect. Given I’m a pretty spiritual person and value authenticity over most things, it’s a hard fact to reconcile. How did I manage to live that way for so long? Being distracted by the constant chase for the newest most exciting thing to happen and eat and see certainly helped.

I mean it did eventually start to feel very empty….and this is where having a child came in. What better way to become a fulfilled person than to give life to something else….a part of you…that you would put first and would love no matter what it did or said. I never ever felt very maternal, but the moment I found out I was pregnant I felt a fierce protectiveness. That feeling hasn’t waned to this day. My connection with my child is intense. I take him in with every sense. Physical separation is painful, as I’m a super affectionate person. When we are together we are literally glued to each other. He wants and needs this physical connection with me, after all he was and still is a physical part of me.

Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Charming. Yes he is, he is easy to talk to. Women seem to gravitate towards him because he is well practiced at looking like he listens well. Maybe he actually did in the beginning, and just decided to stop after a while. It’s very clear to me now that my ex has had zero clue who I am as a person for many years now, and I certainly didn’t refrain from expressing myself in any way. As the years have gone on I’ve become much better at expressing how I feel and who I am. I credit good therapists and an introspective nature.

The bottom line is, well, he’s charming…..on first glance. Look a little closer….focus properly and it should become quite clear that there is no depth behind it…it’s self serving. It feeds his ego. Ultimately that’s why he hasn’t ever been single for very long….he needs another to feed on, to make himself feel bigger and better and superior.

Gypsy needs a home

I’m back to work and stressing about where I’m currently staying. I’ve probably been there 6 weeks now, and I can feel I’m starting to outstay my welcome. It’s a horrible feeling mind you, but I understand that’s going to happen at some stage. Being homeless is truly not a nice thing, however I am truly surprised sometimes by how much it bothers me.

I’ve always felt rather gypsy-like. This may have to do with the fact that someone once told me my last name had Gypsy origins, or it may be to do with my strong free spirit. Either way, I like to attribute my coping with one year of homelessness to this fact. Then, the person I’m staying with may ask me to not be in the house on a certain date or for a certain period of time, and it hits me….it hurts….so obviously having a “ base” is kind of important to me, even if I’m loathe to admit it.

I’ve had to accept that I don’t really have any privacy anymore. I’ve had to adapt to every new place to ensure no one got angry with anything I did. Trust me, this isn’t easy. Everyone has different pet peeves and well I’m not twenty something anymore and I have my own way of doing things. I’ve had to put that behind me for long periods of time. Refuges are very strict. Curfews and bans on certain things are common, and you are essentially monitored 24/7. Staying with a friend is different, there is more freedom there, but there is also a line there that cannot be crossed in terms of closeness when one is living in the same place. It’s a fine line.

In reality, I bring with me baggage, an ex who wanted to subpoena the man who helped me with a place to stay this time. Just for the sake of it. I did my best to protect this friend who has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong but purely by associating with me and having a good heart is at risk of being punished.

Nevermind that my ex took a new girlfriend a mere month or so after I left. 

Nevermind that she was the mother of a child in my childs class.

He has a new victim and he still won’t leave me be. Every piece of communication, whether through his lawyer, or directly, speaks of his total and utter lack of respect for the 14 plus years we were an item. The injustice is real.

Motherhood stolen & eggs

So I’m at work today, just doing my thing, and someone has brought in their child (as it’s school holidays) He’s playing quietly on his ipad whilst his mother is in a meeting. The boy must be around 9, the moment I see him I smile and he smiles back. Then I tear up. Deep breaths in and out. Crying at work is not generally seen as professional.

It’s Easter this week. I’ve requested to see my boy for the long weekend, I mean for longer than normal. This was denied. Never-mind that I spent a whole 4 hours with my child for Christmas, or that for the past year my ex has had him nearly every holiday. The courts haven’t even seen any of the multitude of affidavits I’ve written and had witnessed in an effort to have someone else decide what is fair besides my ex. Who clearly has only his own best interest at heart .If he retains custody of my child he can lower what I may be eligible for financially you see.

My boy misses me. I’ve been his primary carer his entire life – up until I left his father. There were few to no issues with me seeing my son until I got lawyers involved. Once I engaged lawyers, I was suddenly an unfit mother, mentally unstable, an alcoholic ,etc etc….a danger to the child I bore, fed, cuddled, encouraged, comforted, disciplined, taught, laughed with, enjoyed, had pillow fights with, sang with, medicated, washed, cheered for, picked up and dusted off, kissed better, worried about, cried for and just generally adored.

Suddenly he decided I needed supervision. Suddenly everything that happened when he was with me was under the microscope and magnified. Suddenly I was accused of being neglectful because my child fell into a pool whilst he was helping his godmother clean around it. He can swim, and I was watching him when he fell. As was his godmother .He got a mosquito bite (which he has had allergies to) whilst in my care, and suddenly it was the end of the world. It wasn’t enough that I gave him an antihistamine right away and as soon as I dropped him home put some antibiotic cream on it.

Somehow any bites he got at home (with his father) were of no consequence, but when with me it was a reason for me to be scolded and reminded of how to parent. Many letters went back and forth between our lawyers about this one thing. Ridiculous. My ex wouldn’t even know to give him an antihistamine if it weren’t for me. Walking on eggshells whilst I was with him has just morphed into walking on eggshells despite having left him. Everything I do, say, drink, eat, wherever I go – is under scrutiny. 

It wasn’t enough that he had zero respect for my privacy whilst in the relationship. He accessed my private emails and tracked me via his phone and the Find my friends app. He’d ask me why I was somewhere when I was out and what I was doing – because he was tracking my location. He installed smart locks on the front door and cameras. I had my own unique pin code, where every entry and exit was logged. He’d review camera footage which was all recorded. He’d once been upset that I had messaged one of “his” male friends. They also happened to be an old friend of mine (we all went to school together), but he didn’t like it because he was male. I made a point of being very careful he never got jealous. He didn’t need to be, I was a loving caring partner who told him regularly how I felt about him. I just sensed that it was something better avoided.

I’ve been surprised this past year at the things, the small things, I denied myself because he thought they were wrong. Like breakfast for dinner. Seems silly right. But if I ate by myself or without him, I got labelled as selfish and he got upset with me and I got punished. He didn’t think breakfast for dinner was logical hence shouldn’t be done. So imagine my delight the first time I had a nice warming, comforting egg dish for dinner once Id left. It was pure bliss I tell you.

Sometimes it is the little things.