~ by “JR”
My story had a 14-month span, but nonetheless, I loved that woman more than anything else, and I had absolutely no clue about what was going on in her mind. My love was real. Hers was false.
As a single man in NYC, I thought I had “met every possible kind” of women in the past… Well, that was until I met my very first narcissist, during a holiday in Lisbon back in August of 2012 (I grew up there, for the record I am half Portuguese).
I saw her, and we instantly connected. She was gorgeous and there was something about her, something hypnotizing. I immediately fell in love with her within a matter of days. The connection was immediate; the level at which we established immediate “intimacy” was beyond surreal, and so was the sexual chemistry. You know that feeling… They swipe you off your feet. I will spare you the honeymoon details. You have all been there. It was perfection. A dream come true. Too good to be true.
She told me, of all the men she had been with, I was by far the one she truly felt a genuine connection with. And believe me… the feeling was mutual. Hey…if this is real love… sign me up, I am buying this!!!!
Being with her was the best possible feeling ever. So we decided to try long distance, given that we would see each other every month for about a week. We thought, “Let’s start from here then we will see how it goes”. I was working remotely from Lisbon the two first months so we ended up spending a lot of time together at the beginning.
But then some things started to throw me off, that where the “less fun” part begins.
First, she would never pay for anything; she wouldn’t even pay for a cup of coffee! I was the one swiping the American Express card and whenever I wouldn’t pay for her, she would get immediately passive aggressive. During New Year’s Eve, we were having dinner with friends, and I paid for her dinner. She didn’t say word.
And that’s when I brought it up: ”you could at least say thank you for dinner, this is the bare basics of proper education”. She went on a massive rage. For the first time in my life, I saw real animosity in someone’s eyes. I had just experienced the first narcissistic rage.
She loved having people take pictures of her. That’s when I realize how self-centered and self-entitled she was. For the first time I thought about breaking up. But I didn’t do it. Every cell in me loved that woman. She was the “sweetest” person I had ever met and that sudden change to me was not a big deal after all. I would tell myself “every woman likes to feel like a princess… get over it”.
She would find any type of excuse to not pitch in. One day she refused to walk to an ATM because she was wearing high heels… and we were walking on pavement. When we were having a conversation, she would interrupt me to speak about herself. Everything had to be about her.
Fast-forwarding 8 months down the road, everything was becoming worse and worse. After her last trip to NYC , I decided that we were through. And that’s when I made a huge mistake. I still kept in touch with her, because she managed to reel me in when she sensed I was cutting the ties… She would tell me she wanted to be THE woman who will take care of me, that she loved me to death.
What man doesn’t want to hear this? I am not a momma’s boy but having a woman wanting to build a “team” with you, is the best thing that can happen to you! Well… words, words, words. No actions. And another red flag…
A month goes by. I had a trip planned to Miami for a week with two friends. I didn’t invite her to come. In my mind, again, I knew it was over, and I needed to move on, despite all the love I had for her.
Two weeks before the trip she tells me “Hey, I thought I would let you know that I am getting married”. And that’s when my world collapsed.
I was still feeling so much for her, she was telling me two weeks before that she loved me and now she is getting married?? I asked her why she would tell me she loved me if she had someone else. Her answer was “you didn’t want me. I was willing to go anywhere for you, I was ready to move to NY, but you didn’t want me”.
So then I told myself “J, you are making a huge mistake by not giving this a chance. This woman is ready to build something with you, and you are being focused on your career, and probably missing on something”. What an idiot I was to think that… So I invited her, paid for her trip. She came… And that’s when sh** hit the fan again.
She would barely speak to me, withhold sex, and give me silent treatments when I would not comply with her. She was COMPLETELY obsessed with herself during that holiday, constantly taking pictures of herself (over 700 pictures of her ONLY in about a week). When I would not pay attention to her, she would go bezerk again… Same old, same old, you get the deal. The engagement was all-false of course. She even lied to me once about her grandfather passing away. I found that out down the road.
Anyways, after that trip to Miami, I told her, “we are done for good now, this is pointless, we have different values”. She kept trying to reel me in but I was done. This goes on for about two weeks after that trip. Then one day, she texts me to say “hey I just thought I would let you know I have committed to a new relationship. I still love you very much”.
And that was it. Over. She had indeed a replacement waiting. I didn’t say word.
So yes. I got it all. The self-entitlement, the lies, using me as her ATM, lying about her past, her “you are the man of my life”, the silent treatments, the hoovers when I tried to break-up with her, the hoovers after the break-up. Her constantly criticizing the people close to me, the gaslighting, the narcissistic injury when I would tell her something that wouldn’t put her under the best possible light etc… Did I mention she had a thing for plastic surgery?
I am 6 months post break and I still think about her. She flaunted her new victim everywhere on Social Media, all over the place.
However, I feel blessed. First because I found a community of people who experienced the exact same thing as I did. And that’s when the healing started, and perhaps the most important part of the healing process.
So What Did I Learn?
In hindsight, I realize my gut feeling was telling me “there is something off with her”, but I didn’t listen to it. I chose to ignore it. All the red flags were there, but somehow I let it happen. If she tells you she wants to be treated like a “princess”… run! I have spoken with many male victims and they all heard that…
This was the first step in my healing process, namely understanding the commoditization of their behavior. They may come in different genders, shapes and sizes but they all act the same way, say the same things, make you feel special very quickly, then will go to great lengths to hurt you. They all move on to a new victim very quickly as well and I know for a fact they love to flaunt it. They don’t accept the break-up and will make you pay for challenging their superiority.
Knowledge is power. Whoever said “Ignorance Is Bliss” did NOT encounter a narc. God knows how I would feel had I not found blogs like Kim’s. The more you read, the more you will know how to spot them and deal with them.
Including not snooping on their Social Media. This one is a tough one. Narcs have so many tools in their arsenal, and social media sites must be hands down their favorite weapon. Mine started flaunting her new victim two days after she said she would always love me, and was willing to spend the rest of my life with me. And of course, she started plastering pictures of them all over the place. When you go No Contact you burn all the bridges. I didn’t do it right away and ended up hurting myself.
You have been through thick and thin. It’s time to find new outlets, be it a sport, a creative activity. I have started a Brazilian martial art and it helps me channel my frustration and the guilt for letting this happen. I think finding a new hobby helps you not beat yourself up to death. The reality is, for many months I woke up and told myself “how on earth could I let this happen”. This feeling was and sometimes still is unbearable.
I want to love again. And if I am to find love again I will share with that person everything I have ONLY if I see actions matching words. I refuse to let ONE narc distort the vision I have of love. I will do it all over again as long as I see consistency in words and actions.
This, to me, is perhaps the most important point of the story. During his award acceptance speech, Matthew McConaughey said, “God has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” Regardless if you are religious or not, be thankful for what life gives you. Your friends, your family. I was lucky enough to be raised in a loving family who gave me everything I wanted. I never had to take student loans; my parents had the means to pay for my education and send me to the best schools. And guess what. Not everybody has that luck. I woke up one day and I thanked my parents for everything they ever did to me. I thanked my friends for being my solid shield when things like these happen, I thanked God for teaching me this lesson now and not 10 years down the road.
Say thank you. Do good. It always always comes back. Always.
I am not looking at life through a rose-colored glass, but six months down the road of my biggest delusion, I was promoted to director at my job and I am not 30 yet. I lived around the world, I work with the most amazing group of people who every day remind me that there is still so much I can accomplish. Take a moment to stop and realize what you were able to do ever since you got rid of an emotional cancer. You will be amazed by the knowledge you have gained. Yes, yes and yes I still think about her, I am not some sort of human that can shut down emotions whenever he wants. But I feel for them, because they all keep repeating the same patterns over and over again.
I understand we all have different stories, paths, backgrounds and experiences, but we have to give narcs credit for one thing. They can enlighten us on many aspects of our lives.
I never thought I would say this, but ironically enough, I don’t regret falling in love with her. Somehow, I guess, she made me want to become a better person.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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