About Me

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I graduated from one of the most prestigious schools, got my bachelors and masters in engineering, had a promising career, and had wonderful, beautiful children. By all accounts and appearances, it would have appeared for a long time that I had a great, picturesque life, but underneath it all, I was married to someone who was diagnosed as being narcissistic. My nightmare started almost immediately after I married this person who was Jekyl and Hyde. I want to share my experiences and to let you know what I had to sacrifice and do to get away from this person. My journey still continues as I am still working to fully recover from experiencing this person in my life. I don't think anyone ever really recovers from dealing with such a monster.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Narcissist- his worst enemy

I am getting ready to buy a house!  I love it!  I just put an offer on a house.  It's been two years in the making, but I am finally at a point where I can do this.  Over ten years, my ex and I had three homes... they were all fixer uppers and not quite what I wanted.  If I disagreed on buying a house, I was just an idiot and didn't know what I was talking about.  I liked to describe our last house as the "clown house".  We paid a lot for a house that was a hodge podge of a fixer upper.  I still remember the day we were going to close on this house.  The seller had not completed the list of repairs on the house, and I knew the house was a shamble.  I still remember to this day, riding to the title company, crying and screaming because I did not want to buy this horrible house.  My ex was so hell bent on buying this house despite the fact that we could easily back out of it for a breach of contract on the seller's part.  I don't know why I went along with it.  Perhaps it was all the threats of what he would do to me if I didn't sign.  I felt so paralyzed with fear because I knew what he was capable of to try to hurt me.  I signed and lived in this clown house for over two years. 

For two years, I watched in disgust and sometimes in amusement as he went on a home improvement rampage.  I hated coming to this clown house.  Everyday, on the final turn, I would get physically ill having to drive up this long drive way to the clown house.  Projects would be started and never finished.  The yard always looked like a construction site.  He would "improve" things just to make it worse. 

When he decided to teach me a lesson a few years ago, he decided to leave me and the kids.  In his mind, he was going to put on a grandiose show (like he always does) and make my life miserable for a few days until I relented and apologized for behavior he deemed as unfavorable to him.  Little did he know that after five years of this nonsensical behavior, I have had it.   He took off on me and I refused to answer his phone calls for five days.  That following Monday I filed for divorce for the third and final time.  I refused to listen to his nonsense anymore and I refused to apology just to make him stop his insane behavior. 

He left me while he was unemployed.  He thought he would dump the mortgage, the childcare costs, and everything else, just to teach me a lesson.  When push came to shove, I decided continuing to be employed and paying for childcare was more important than paying for the mortgage on a house I hated. 

I asked several times to help me get the house on the market, but he refused.  He then proceeded as always to play the victim.  Finally I just stopped caring and the house eventually foreclosed.  I moved shortly afterwards. 

In the midst of trying to hurt me and "teach me a lesson", he ended up hurting himself.  I can't remember the reason why, but only his name was on the promissory note.  So, when we got divorced, I made sure my lawyer put in a statement that debt incurred in our name during the marriage, was solely that person's responsibility.

He ruined his own credit trying to destroy me.  How sad that he was that short sighted, immature, and spiteful.  The narcissist is truly his worst enemy.  By trying to destroy everyone else around him, he fails to realize that he is destroying himself- his reputation, his credit, his happiness....none of that matters to him as long as he gets his way. 

So, today I am celebrating my new found freedom and relishing in the fact that I am no longer fettered by his insanity.  If you are the victim of a narcissist, remember, to step back and let them destroy their own lives.  Staying calm and not playing into the insanity is the best way to not only protect yourself, but to come out ahead.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Did I Not See You Coming

Hindsight is often twenty twenty.  Life is always full of regrets... if only I didn't do this or that, or chose another.  But there comes a point when one has to say... "it is what it is".   I often wonder how I ended up with my narcissist.  I had all my friends meet him and they all thought he was great.  For me, I think it was the long distance relationship we had for two years.  We only saw each other about once a month.  This is the perfect gig for the narcissist. 

The first time I realized that there was a serious problem was a month after I moved in with my ex.  I remember constantly thinking to myself, "Did that really happen?"  I thought I was often losing my mind because he would say and do one thing and when I confronted him about it, he would tell me that I was mistaken.  I remember just sitting up at night recounting the events in my mind to see if maybe I really was mistaken. 

We were supposed to see my college roommate and her new husband for dinner one night shortly after I moved in with him.  I remember he started acting oddly and made such a fuss that I ended up going to see her without him.  As I was talking with my girlfriend, I remember telling her that I thought he was bipolar and that he just wasn't acting right.  What I didn't realize at the time was that this was a pattern of behavior that he would continue over and over... Anytime I had a special event or get together with one of my close friends, he would always act up.  My narcissist was trying to isolate me from everyone I was close to.  I just didn't realize what was going on. 

Later on in our marriage, he moved us far away from work under the pretenses that it was good for the kids... in hindsight I see that it was just another means to keep me further and further away from everyone.  After ten years of being with my narcissist, I realized that I had very few close friends left.  Many of my supposed friends, were so drained when dealing with the drama that came from my relationship with my narcissist, that they just faded away.   There were friends who called our house to talk to me, that were told by my ex that they were no longer welcome because they were interferring in our marriage.  I lost a lot of friends that way, but then again maybe they were not really my friends to begin with. 

The narcissist always appears so charming at first, which is why many of their victims can't fathom that what they are experiencing with this person is really happening.  We just don't see it coming.  How could we... we were too busy falling in love with Hyde, not Jekyll. 

When we finally get away from the narcissist, we are so hypersensitive to the fact that we may encounter another narcissist, that we become overly critical and overly paranoid.  It is the defensive mechanism we develop after the storm. 

I struggle with this every day in all my close relationships.  I know they are not my ex, but when they exhibit any type of behavior that closely resembles some of his actions, I tend to overreact.   My boyfriend is awesome.  He is genuinely a caring person and he has always made me feel that he would never go against me or willfully hurt me.  It is sad that I have to actually think about this, and it isn't just a normal expectation in any relationship for me.  Just one of the many scars left behind by my narcissist.  When we get into arguments, I definitely tend to overreact because I am just afraid of what might happen next... and yet I know he is not my ex.  Nothing bad ever happens, my boyfriend doesn't try to extract some sort of crazy revenge on me, and yet I tend to take action to arm myself as if I am still dealing with my ex. 

I am working on learning to have normal relationships again.  The drama is long gone, except for the drama I self-create!  When we deal with narcissists we should be ready for the worst.  After that relationship is over, it is difficult to imagine and be in a normal relationship. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In This Case- Throw out all reasoning and start from there

Anyone who has been in a relationship with a narcissist will know that trying to reason and compromise with a narcissist is a futile exercise leading only to mental torment.  For years and years I tried desperately to try to reason with this person- to try to get them to see how insane his behavior was.  This only exasperated the situation and gave fuel and energy for him to keep going.  If I tried to reason with him, he would excalate it to the next level to try to "teach me a lesson" for my insolence. 

After the first few years of trying to reason with him, I then resorted to completely shutting down.  This too was a losing strategy on my part.  When I would not give him the satisfaction of reacting to his temptuous  behavior, he would again escalate it to the next level.  I want to share one episode of dealing with my narcissist:

I told my ex that I did not want two large dogs in the house when my twins were born for sanitary reasons.  I asked him to make the dogs outside dogs.  Now mind you- one dog was an 80 lb boxer and the other dog was a 150 lb mutt of some sort.... these were not frail little dogs.  These dogs shed a lot and it was hard to maintain a clean home.  Well, that just opened up a can of worms... his response "I would rather have you leave then my two dogs that I have had before I even met you".  I didn't want to argue with him anymore, so I decided to move into the guest room to avoid any conflict given that I was pregnant.  During the week, to try to extract a response out of me, he threw all my clothes into the guest room and as if that wasn't enough, he went outside, got dirt and threw it all over my clothes.  When that didn't work, he had my oldest daughter come into the room while I was lying down and had her call me a "piggy".  Now mind you I was several months pregnant- so I was not slim at the moment.  When these tactics did not work, he resorted to putting dirty dishes in the room I was staying in, throwing away awards and memorablia from my college years, following me around with a video camera.... During the week, going to work was my only sanctuary.  I talked to my boss about possibly transferring after my twins were born.  He said he would make it happen when I was ready. 
One morning, I had finally had it with him messing with my stuff.  I got so angry, I started throwing his clothes in the garage.  He calmly said, "we need to stop this..." WE.... all week it had been just him, egging me on and when I finally got angry... it was "we".  I just looked at him and told him that I already to talked to my boss and when the kids are born, I plan to leave him.  He had a look about him that I can't describe, but his response was that he had no one and that if I left him that he would probably kill himself... such an odd response from someone who just kept escalating the situation day after day.  I was so angry at this point, that I just told him to go ahead and that it would make us all alot happier... I regret saying this out of anger, but after a week of torment, being pregnant, I just have had it with his behavior.
He calmly watched me get my daughter ready for school, put her in the car, and drive away.  When I got to my daughter's school, I realized I had forgotten my badge for work.  I went back home to get it and would you believe, in less than fifteen minutes, the sherriff's department was at my house.  I went in to discover that he had hit himself in the face- yes he had hit himself... and then told the cops that I had done it... mind you that I am five months pregnant with twins- a high risk pregnancy to begin with.  My reaction was that I starting yelling at him... while surprisingly he remained quite calm...
When the deputies finally calmed me down, I told them my story... I also showed them all the awards that he had thrown away in the garbage.  When they saw that I had things in there from over ten years ago, they began to question his story.  Also seeing how I was pregnant, they starting to question what really happened.   When they told him that they did not believe his story, he INSISTED on writing a VICTIM's statement, so they could forward it to the state attorney's office... nothing became of his "victim's" statement... I should have left him then, but I thought over time he would realize that what he did was wrong and never do anything like this again... I wish I could say that I was right, but this was really just the beginning of more of this behavior. 

There are a few things I want to point out about this whole situation- first of all, most normal people would not remain calm if their spouse had really hit them.  But this is the way of the narcissist.  They keep probing and egging you on, until they break your line of sanity.  And when you do, they miraculously all of a sudden become the victim, they become the one who has to deal with your "crazy" behavior.  Do your remember the incident where Mel Gibson's ex taped a conversation with him in which he was yelling, almost in tears, and just "losing" it... what struck me as odd about the whole situation was how "calm" the women was.  No one knows for sure what transpired between the two of them, but it did always make me wonder how one party could remain so calm while the other person is obviously distraught. 

The narcissist has no limits.  They justify their behavior in their mind... in this case, I never got a full apology from my ex.  He would always say, "you made me act that way".  Hindsight is always 20/20... I just laugh now whenever he says such stuff... I wish my response back then was, "Really?  I really have that much power over you... geez, I wish I knew that back then". 

Finally, I just want to say that there was no reasoning with my ex.  Unless, I did exactly what he deemed as appropriate behavior, he was going to continue to "teach me a lesson".  I love how narcissists are the great all knowing "teachers" and that they should be both judge and jury.  It's almost like a God-complex.  How dare I question the "Great Narcissist".  In his own little fantasy, he was all knowing, all perfect, therefore, I should comply with all his demands.  If I should ever object, in his infinite wisdom, he must exact a punishment only he can deem fitting.  Okay- crazy guy, have fun.  I won't be a part of it anymore and I will take away all means of you ever hurting me again. 

My lift is my life.  I made a promise to myself that I will never again take this kind of abuse and that if I see any signs of someone being a Narcissist, I will not walk, I will run and stay clear of this person's path.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get Out of My Head

After having been with my narcissist for nearly a decade, it is difficult to not hear the insults and be in the world of the real.  So many times when I want to try something new, I often find myself coming to the conclusion that I just am not good enough.

The sad part of this whole routine and dance of low self esteem I do in my head, is that prior to my narcissist,  I used to have a sense of adventure.  The possibility of failing miserably did not deter me from daring to try something new and unique.

Sadly, after having been with my narcissist for so long, I struggle to find that person I used to once be.   I am slowly finding this person again.  My friends who have stuck by me for years remind me that I look like I have taken ten years off of my face and that I am so much more fun to be around again.  No matter how many compliments I get, I still struggle to accept these compliments... since when did I become not good enough to receive these compliments???

Learning to receive compliments and to regain my self esteem is a constant struggle as I recover from my narcissist... One of the things that helps is to slow down, step away from the madness, and really think about what is happening in the moment and not what I think my narcissist would be saying to me as I try new things.  Yes, I fail sometimes, but the big difference is that I am surrounded by people who love me for who I am no matter what.  And yes, I have way more fun trying new things these days.  Even failing has become much more of a joy then when I was in the abusive relationship with a narcissist. 

One of these days I will be enjoying life without giving my narcissist a second thought.  Right now I struggle, but day after day it seems to be getting easier... the more distance and time I put between myself and my narcissist, the easier it gets.

Monday, February 7, 2011

P!nk - So What

This song always picks me up... when my ex starts to get under my skin, I listen to this song and say to myself--- so what!

Laughing at Lunacy

It's been over two years since I have been moved thousands of miles away from my Narcissist.  It is amazing how time and distance has brought so much clarity to just how mentally unstable my narcissist really is.  When I was in the situation, I was so emotionally vested that I was blind to what was really going on.  The narcissist is also a great manipulator.  If you start hearing over and over how worthless you are, from someone who supposedly loves you, you start to believe it. 

My narcissist is with someone new.  Thank goodness!  They seem to be right for each other.  His newest victim, has been married three times and is only 32 years old.  In one year this woman managed to get divorced, get married again, and get divorced again.  She is from the country of Georgia and supposedly she was a lawyer there.  Her oldest son is around eleven years old...Now, in our country, she is making t-shirts at a local tourist trap... hmmmm.... does this make any sense????  Married three times, has two kids, somehow managed to have a law degree- which she never used, and is now making t-shirts?????   Did I miss something here????  So, this is what the narcissist reports to me. 

My narcissist is in his 40s.  Most men would have the maturity to see that this woman is nothing but trouble, but to my narcissist, in his own little world, this all makes sense.  Oh, and did I mention, this supposedly brilliant woman does not have a license or a car????  hmmm.   Why would a smart woman, not have a car or her license in this day and age?  Why would an educated woman be working minimum wage making t-shirts?

I share this story, because my narcissist acts and thinks like he is a teenager or at best in his 20s.  His sense of logic does not bode that of someone in their 40s.  Having been removed from the situation, I see just how immature, rash, illogical, my narcissist is.  When  you are in the situation, living it- you don't see what is so obvious to the outside observer. 

It took a long time to try to deal with this person like a business associate.  I do the best I can to try to extract my emotions from the situation and think through my interaction with him with logic and reason.  When I think through his actions logically, I see just how ludicrous it all really is and was.  Sometimes it makes me chuckle, other times I shed some tears at the wasted years in trying to make sense out of something that never did. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Protecting Your Sanity from a Narcissist

One of the best advice I ever got from my therapist was to have someone else check my emails from me.  Choosing the right person to do this took some careful thought.  I wanted to make sure that this person was not a gossip and would spill the beans.  I found a wonderful friend to do this for me.  She only checked the email once or twice a week and she would strip out all the nasty things he would insert.  She only reported on the important stuff I needed to know and answer.  I would in turn tell her what I wanted in response and she would write back a response void of all emotions.  She treated the emails like she would a business email.

My narcissist would respond back with vile comments still thinking he was writing to me and despite the emotionless response he got from me, he still acted in the same despicable manner.  My friend later revealed to me that she would even get frustrated in dealing with him, even though she had never met or interacted with him.  She understood just how relentless and difficult it was to deal with him.  It was also apparent to her that he was trying to bait me into argument and unnecessary drama.  This is the way of the Narcissist.  They thrive on drama, chaos, arguments, and insane behavior.  They get a sick sense of satisfaction when they get a rise out of you.

His email responses would always come within ten minutes of when she sent responses back to him.  It would annoy him to no end that it would take days sometimes weeks for a response back to his emails.  This taught me a great lesson... respond to the narcissist on my terms and when I want to.  Often times this would help me to calm down before giving him a response.

The narcissist lives in a delusional world of rules that he makes up.  It took me a long time to not buy into his delusional nonsense.  When you are with someone who is narcissistic for a long time you start to believe the insults and nasty things he tells you.  The biggest mistake for me was that I believed he loved me and therefore what he said must have some truth to it.  I learned the hard way that this person is devoid of all emotions for another human being and lacks any type of empathy.  Everything he did was calculating, manipulative to meet the ends of satisying to only person that matter to him- HIMSELF.  Nothing he did was out of love or compassion for me.

If you have a narcissist to deal with on a regular basis, look for ways to shield yourself.  I had to learn to deal with him on my terms.  This meant not responding to emails right away or to not overreact whenever he made threats.  It's easier said than done, but the rewards and benefits of protecting my sanity far outweight the consequences of playing into this games.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Narcissist in the Workplace

Today, I had a short discussion with my boss about people who just don't like to play by the rules, move from one job to another when confronted about their shortcomings, and never get anywhere in the workplace because people eventually catch on that these people just aren't a team player.  Sounds a lot like my ex.  When we were married, he used to come home and brag about his accomplishments.  He used to boast that his workplace would fall apart if he ever left.  Somehow he was always the hardest working person at his place... When we were first married, I used to buy into his lies, but after hearing the same thing over and over, every time he got transferred... I began to wonder. 

Narcissists always believe they are special and possess some sort of magical power.  Hence, they should be treated as special... anyone who disagrees- well to them they are the ones with the problem... how dare they question his awesomeness. 

Working with a narcissist is a very demanding and often degrading task.  Shortly after I left my narcissist, I had lunch with a lady who had the misfortune of having to work with my narcissist.  My initial response when she told me, "oh, I am so sorry you had to experience that".  She described him as "something else".  I had worked in the same building with this same woman years ago.  I never once heard her say anything ill about anyone.  And yet, here she was venting her frustration of having to work with such a difficult person. Just like a typical narcissist, she described my narcissist in the work place as such:  "He used to think I worked for him and not with him".  We both found that to be quite humurous because he was the contractor working for her on her project. 

Narcissists love to take credit for other people's work and they love to demean your work any chance they get.  This was the great demise of how my narcissist lost his job.  He went around for months taking credit for other people's work, trying to steal work from them, and bad-mouthing anyone who did not praise him.  Eventually, those who worked with him got tired of his behavior and some even refused to work with him.  When confronted with his behavior by his supervisors, he blew up at them saying "I don't need this job". 

Remember how in my other posts I said we lived in a little town and you always ran into someone you knew when you were out and about.  Well, his behavior proceeded him as he tried to find work with other contractors.  The same people that he had bad-mouthed, took it upon themselves to warn other contractors to not hire him. 

The only work he could find was with a very small contractor.  It will be interesting to sit back and watch how this plays out because this small contractor has very little room for growth and for moving up within the organization.  This will be very difficult for my narcissist because in his mind he is important, special and deserving of high positions and important projects. 

What I want to relay to those who have to work with a narcissist, is to let this person fall on his own sword.  Attempting to engage or change this type of behavior is futile.  If at all possible let your supervisor or someone higher up the chain deal with his behavior.  Eventually everyone at the work place will see just how difficult it is in dealing with this type of person.  Let his reputation and behavior do the talking- actions are louder than words.  If you complain about this person's behavior, you may unintentionally come across as the difficult person who has issues when dealing with others.  Remember to preserve your own dignity by not lowering yourself to their type of behavior.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Learning to Choose What I Want

In my 20s, I had opinions- however screwed up they were, they were my opinions... somehow in the midst of dealing with my narcissist, I lost my voice.  I gave up trying to explain my desires, wants, opinions... because it was just easier to sit their quietly.  It was too tiring to argue with him.

Since, I have fled from my narcissist, I have been trying to figure out what my likes and dislikes are in so many areas.  In a lot of ways I forgot what it really meant to get what I want... I am still working on getting out that little voice in my head that constantly tells me that I am not good enough, that my choices are horrible and that it just doesn't matter. 

I am in the midst of buying my own home... yeah!!!  Finally!!!!  When I was with my narcissist, every home was what he wanted.  They were all fixer uppers--- because he had convinced himself that he was a master at everything- plumbing, tiling, carpentry... except all of his work was less than par.  This made me dread going home... to see the tile work not lined up evenly, to see the plumbing done not to code, to see paint splattered in odd places like the ceiling and the door frames.  Yet after a long time, I just gave up saying anything.  It was too tiring to argue with a person who thought he was the grand master and all so perfect.  Pointing out flaws in his work was just unacceptable in his kingdom of hell.  His argument to me was that I couldn't do any better so such the F*** up. 

So, now as I buy my new house... I am revelling in looking through endless decorating magazines, looking through houses for sale... and I am taking my time.  I want to make sure that I buy what I want and not what that little voice in my head tells me to buy.  I love dealing with the realtor by myself and telling him exactly what I want.  What a refreshing feeling to take my sweet time, figure out what I want, and to buy what I want. 

This exercise of figuring out what I want and getting what I want has been abundant in all aspects of my life... clothes, food, entertainment.  Not only has this improved my self esteem. but amazingly I have peeled away the sour look on my face that I used to carry and peeled away the layers of frumpiness.  To hear my friends tell me that I look like I peeled away ten years of my life inspires me to keep having fun and keep making my own decisions.  It has also taught me that I can make good decisions on my own without the Narcissist around... and that all the things he said were just nonsense.