It was over when he realized that he could no longer hide his narcissistic personality disorder. He knew that I knew, and knowing that he had nothing to hide, he hid nothing. The verbal and physical abuse became constant.
Beneath his facade, he was a callous narcissist imprisoned in a desperate need for control and self-gratification. He was contemptuous and jealous because he had no real sense of self-worth; no amount of talent, education and material wealth could save him from himself.
His actions and words proved that he was less than human – disgusting and worthless.
In the beginning, I didn’t suspect he was a narcissist. He seemed “normal” – very bright, charismatic and generous. He was educated and well adjusted to a successful career. Our relationship was close to perfect. We did all the things that normal couples enjoyed. We traveled, shared similar goals and dreams.
Except that he wasn’t really interested in my dreams.
All he was interested in was getting to know my strengths and weaknesses so that he could manipulate them for this own gain. He wasn’t looking for a relationship either. What he was looking for was a source of narcissistic supply to feed his ego and I was being conditioned to become it.
What was it like to be in a relationship with a narcissist? It was fascinatingly heartbreaking in every possible way. The person I trusted most highjacked my psychological reality with the intent to destabilize and use me. What once felt normal left me stuck between excessive admiration and sudden devaluation.
I was “always” and “never” doing something to incite his suspicion or jealousy or anger. He repeatedly replaced my feelings and thoughts with his own assumptions and was convinced he knew me better then I knew myself. He became unpredictable.
A slight remark or a look in the wrong direction could spark his anger.
He couldn’t control himself so he would try to control me – what I wore, what I looked like, and how I behaved. The emotional abuse then started to happen often enough that I began to pre-empt how he would feel in any situation to avoid it.
I thought that it was a phase, that he was stressed and that it would change but it only escalated. The truth is he couldn’t help himself. This narcissistic force was embedded in his functioning and it began to consume him. Nothing I did was enough to stop it.
And then one afternoon he viciously attacked me.
He left me grateful that there was no internal bleeding, that I hadn’t suffered a concussion, that I wasn’t paralyzed or that my face hadn’t been cut up from nearly smashing into the mirror.
When you become grateful for such things, you know that it is time to leave.
But I couldn’t leave. I had to wait till the pain was manageable. The attack had left me in such immense pain that I couldn’t walk. My entire body ached. My back and arms were bruised. I was in shock and he ignored me.
I eventually boarded a plane and went home to my family.
Alone in my room, I started to feel the extent of my trauma. In the darkness, I moved between deep waves of anxiety, grief, and nothingness. The intense burning sensation of the bruising made it difficult to think. I felt confused and disoriented but also safe and lucky.
The wisdom gained from this whole traumatic experience was how not to love. I learned that love is not about caring for someone unconditionally. Love has fierce boundaries and doesn’t hurt with intent. Love is an expression of sharing and not a form of control.
Love is the quality of something that you possess and not something someone can give or take away from you.
Share it with those who know the value of it – Only.