The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

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I have most definitely entered a new phase in my life. In all honesty, it may be the most difficult one yet.  That’s right, more difficult than even the devaluing and discarding phases of being with a narcissist.  I am an expert on that as I have experienced those phases multiple times in the last several years, having divorced a full-blown narcissist a little over 5 years ago followed by dating and breaking up with another one almost immediately after that.

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The new phase; I like to call it nothingness.  It is a place that I never thought I would be.  My life prior to and with my narcissistic ex-wife was pretty full, almost overwhelming, with non-stop activity and excitement.  Clearly, that came to a screeching halt during the devaluing and discarding, but hey, at least she was around during that period and SOMETHING was happening.  Same thing with Susie, the woman I dated on and off for over two years after the divorce.  I say on and off because, since she too was a narcissist, she walked away from me several times only to come back again, four times to be exact during that two year span.  Again, the time with Susie was a whirlwind, always on the go with additional unfulfilled plans drawn up and waiting.

Then, everything changed.  After Susie, something became apparent, and I can’t really define it other than to say that the nothingness set in.  In the last eighteen months since I stopped seeing or communicating with Susie, I have done essentially… nothing.  Yes, I have dated (the exasperating and defeating online style which is where I found Susie too), but it has offered me no worthwhile fruit, nothing that I have wanted to pursue.  It is as if I have lost focus, lost touch with what it is that I want, like I am living in some kind of fog.  Maybe I have grown gun shy after having been with two narcissists in a row… I’m not really sure.

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Months of being alone.  I NEVER would have believed that would happen to me, yet here I am.  At first, I thought it was just a passing phase, that after a couple of months I would find someone else to at least do things with, spend some time with, but nope, just dryness.  Sadly, all of that time alone has provided ample opportunity to think about the past, to remember the “good” times with my narcissistic ex-wife and Susie, and there were a lot of good times and memories.  The bad memories tend to fade over time, but I do force myself to remember them if for no other reason than to prevent reaching out to my ex-narcissists.  I’m glad to say that I haven’t made that mistake.  Yet.

It also doesn’t help to watch my ex-wife carry on with her life as if nothing ever happened (yes, we still work at the same location and I get to see her and/or her current boyfriend periodically).  We continue to act as if we had never met, not acknowledging each other or even making eye contact.  It is a strange, even bizarre, situation and one that I continue to struggle with.  But struggle I must, as I know I cannot engage with her in anyway.  I will add, the last five years have not been kind to her and she has aged considerably (although, I suspect I have as well).  It just adds to the nothingness.

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I also struggle with the fact that I do believe in God (a higher power, whatever you prefer to call it).  I know He can do anything at any time, and I try to be patient, but I also struggle watching the days continue to pass by knowing that I am not getting any younger.  I simply try to maintain my faith and my hope, remembering the promise God made to Abraham that he would have a son, which didn’t happen until Abraham was nearly 100 years old.

The hardest part of this is that it doesn’t seem to matter how much effort I put into changing things.  Nothing changes.  Today looks just like yesterday, which looks just like the day before that, which looks like the months before that… they just run together.  With that said, I am not depressed, I am not necessarily sad, rather I am incredibly bored and I have come to the conclusion that I just need to stop trying to force things to happen and let them happen.  For a person like me, that is easier said than done.

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I have said in many of my earlier posts that I needed to learn patience.  Guess what? I haven’t been given a choice.  I am being forced to be patient, accepting that I cannot change things to be like I want them to be.  At this point, I am not even wondering who will enter my life or when.  Instead, I am simply wondering what is next, and will I be smart enough to recognize it and seize the moment.  I certainly hope so, because I NEVER want to do another 18 months like the last 18 months.

Patience, awareness, and acceptance are key for me right now (and that probably applies to just about everybody).  I am hoping to soon be able to say, the more things change, the more they change.

Conclusions After the Disordered Relationships. There are Many.

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Five years.  It has been over 5 years since my narcissistic ex-wife left for the final time.  That’s a long time and many things have occurred during that period, some related specifically to her, and some not.  I’d like to share some of those conclusions, as I am sure if you have been with a narcissist, you have experienced a number of them yourself.

Conclusion #1 – It is impossible to leave the good times with the narcissist behind, at least for me.  The best times of my life I relate to my ex and, sadly, they are the benchmark going forward.  I suspect I have ruined or abandoned some potentially good relationships simply because they didn’t have “that feel”, something was missing from them.  Yes, I know that “feeling” was created by a great actress, but it still happened and I am unable to forget how great it felt.

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Conclusion #2 – Once you ignore a narcissist, i.e. no contact (even if you pass them in a hallway), they will eventually do the same.  Once I discovered my ex had been seeing someone else behind my back (what a shock, right?), it made it much clearer that I simply had to shut, no slam actually, that door.  Ever since I did that, and after my ex had reached out a number of times (attempting to keep that supply at beck and call) and I absolutely ignored her, she began doing the same.  Today, when we come in close contact (and we still do occasionally as we work at the same facility), it is as if we had never met (despite having known each other for 20+ years and married for 5).  Rather than reach out at this point and risk rejection, she won’t even look at me (which is how it has to be).  It is NOT how I want it to be, and it quite honestly kills me to not engage her, but I KNOW that is how it has to be.  She sucked me back in too many times before I became aware of narcissism and how narcissists operate.  I am also absolutely certain she would engage immediately if I said one positive thing to her.  It shouldn’t be that way.

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Conclusion #3 – Once you have experienced a narcissist, the need to investigate or be suspicious of new acquaintances results in the identification of things in people that you really don’t want to know.  Since the divorce, I have dated considerably, first to cool the sting of my ex leaving, then to keep from being bored, and now to find a decent woman to spend time with.  The fear of being taken advantage of again does have consequences and, as a result, I am still alone (and my ex hasn’t been since she left – again, no surprise there).  My nearly 2 year on and off relationship with Suzy (an avoidant with narcissistic tendencies) that I have discussed in earlier posts ended almost 18 months ago, once again me allowing (?) myself to be manipulated by an even more cunning narcissist.  Yes, I felt really stupid, knowing things weren’t “right” as the relationship progressed (actually it never really progressed other than time).  I am even more weary now which has likely resulted in lost opportunities due to my evaluation and reevaluation of everything that occurs whenever I am on a date (especially before the date actually occurs).

Conclusion #4 – It is okay to be alone.  While it is not my preference, I have learned (was forced really) to be alone for the past 5 years.  Yes, I have had relationships sprinkled in there, but for the most part, I sleep alone.  My fear at this point is that I am going to get so used to being alone that I am not going to be a willing participant in someone else’s life, that I am going to get so set in my ways, doing what I want when I want, that I’ll become reticent at someone new changing my routines.  It is a conundrum.  I am still hopeful that I will come across the right person soon or, better yet, that she will come across me.  The clock is ticking (and that bothers me too as I’m not getting any younger).

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Conclusion #5 – I cannot force anything to happen, and I have learned from that.  Yes, I can make bad decisions, but I have limited actual control in life.  I could not have changed my ex-wife, could not have prevented her from leaving no matter what, just like I cannot force the right person to come into my life.  I have learned that I have a lot less control than I thought I did and it was likely something that I NEEDED to learn.  Whether we want it to or not, life goes on, you may or may not get what you want, and sometimes not getting what you want is the best thing for you.  That I was able to get away from Suzy before doing something stupid like marrying her is a testament to that.  Again, with her, I discovered I could not turn her into what I wanted (even though I tried for a long time) and also that no matter how hard I tried to please her, it was never going to be enough (and she made that crystal clear over and over).  I wouldn’t have been able to accept that in the past.

The bottom line is that oftentimes, life is tough.  We go through good times and bad times and we need to try to see the good during those bad times.  My life is definitely still not where I want it to be, but I have learned a lot in the last 5 years.  My focus now is trying to find the positive in things versus remaining mired in the negative (which is where the narcissist wants you to be).  I have learned patience even when I didn’t want to, and am trying to be better at looking forward, at what is yet to come, instead of thinking about what I no longer have.

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There are still conclusions to be made.  I’m hopeful that I have many positive conclusions in front of me.

It Was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times. Life After the Narcissist.

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It has been just shy of 5 years since the divorce from my narcissistic ex-wife was final.  It’s funny how I don’t feel as devastated now as I did then.  It’s also funny that I still miss her.  I wish that I didn’t.

In all that time since her 4th and final departure from my life in 2014, I have had plenty of time to think.  There are good thoughts, and there are most certainly bad thoughts.  I must regretfully admit that I still have thoughts of her every single day.  They are no where near as strong as they used to be, but they still persist.  That I continue to be alone certainly doesn’t help with that, but I also believe that because I am still searching for someone with her “good” qualities, I’m a bit stuck.  Oh, and don’t think it is because I am lazy and haven’t been trying.  The number of women that I have dated during the period is staggering, almost embarrassingly so.  There is something in that which I need to think about too.

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I realize that we should not compare ourselves to others, but I am still bothered by the fact that she has never been alone since we split up, and here I am…  I know, that is what narcissists do, but it is still difficult to accept.  Same goes with my avoidant and narcissistic ex-girlfriend Suzy (whom I haven’t had any contact with in nearly a year and a half now).  How is it that mean spirited, abusive people are able to jump from one tree branch to the next, never missing a beat.  Are there really that many of us out there, ready to “help” them, to rescue them in their time of need?  Apparently so.

The thing is, the memories of my narcissistic ex-wife absolutely include both the best times of my life, and the worst.  The result is that I continue my quest to duplicate those good times, those feelings of being on the pedestal, where nothing feels like it can ever go wrong and all is well with the world.  That it was that way for a number of years results in a litany of amazing memories.  I will NEVER forget what that felt like, and I want it again.  Sadly, the only place I would likely find it again is with another narcissist (surprisingly Suzy certainly didn’t make me feel that way, although she was as much an avoidant as she was a narcissist).  Therein lies the struggle.

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All of those fantastic memories are tainted by the devaluing and the discards.  I will never forget what those felt like either.  I am certain the remembrance of those emotions are on the edge of my sub-conscious, warning me every time I consider getting close to someone.  I don’t want to say that is the reason why I continue to still be alone, but it doesn’t help either.  I am more convinced that no one lives up to the act the narcissist is able to put on initially, that immediate connection, that overwhelming feeling of finally finding “the one”.  Simply put, no one else measures up to the narcissist.  It is also quite depressing considering that I may never feel those awesome emotions again in my lifetime.

If nothing else, I have learned everything is not what it seems, and that appearances are sometimes just that.  There has to be a happy medium, someone that can actually be elated with me yet be realistic and emotionally sound.  Right?  After 5 years of searching for it, I am not so sure anymore.  While I haven’t experienced the lows that I did with my ex-N, I certainly haven’t experienced the highs either.  I have learned that I can live on my own though, something I didn’t necessarily want to do and something that I had never HAD to do previously.  I did survive, which for a while, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to.

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She was the best of times and the worst of time.  I still do see her occasionally, but we haven’t spoken or even acknowledged one another in over 3 years.  I don’t like that either, but I know the alternative.  Besides, I was her 4th husband, and she had never been “unmarried” for longer than a few months.  It has been 5 years now since she has been “unmarried”, a new (and likely uncomfortable) record for her.  Maybe I’m a hard act to follow (that is what I tell myself).  In reality, guys are probably asking themselves, who or what can be divorced 4 times before they are 41 years old?  No, probably not.  Her ability to act can overcome that.  It doesn’t matter…

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Clearly, I have more work to do.  I have evidence that I am not ready nor do I have a desire to simply “jump” into another relationship, so that is good.  What I really need to do is accept that I will likely not find that “feeling” again, as it was a manufactured, fake feeling created by a narcissist.  I’ll keep hoping for it, but I shouldn’t expect it.  I need to accept a new level of “best of times”, and accept there won’t be a new “worst of times” at the end as the leveler, the reward for having someone emotionally normal in my life.  I’ll keep looking.  One of these days…

What’s Left After the Narcissist?

F775CA15-74B2-4E88-8100-3A86700DD02CLet me begin by saying it has been 5+ years since my narcissistic ex-wife left for the final time, and 14 months since my narcissistic/avoidant ex-girlfriend “Suzy” spoke to me last.  The fact is, I continue to think about them far too much.  I also look at how much I have changed since then.  The question regarding both is, why?

I have pondered that question over and over, and there are a number of different answers.  In the case of my ex-wife, I believe the reason that I continue to think about her is because there actually were really, really “good” times.  Whether or not she felt that way too doesn’t matter.  To me, times were perfect, she was perfect… for awhile.  The lengths that she went to in order to get what she wanted, which at the time was me, were incredible.  I was a definite challenge for her because, in all honesty and knowing her history, I didn’t trust her.

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With that said, there was nothing more that I wanted but to trust her.  If I could do that, then everything would fall into place.  She was beautiful, young, energetic, liked many of the same things that I did; it was perfect.  A little too perfect.  Once she had me AND knew that she could manipulate the divorce to get what she wanted (which most certainly wasn’t me), things changed.  Luckily, even though I was madly in love with her and wanted her to be happy, I wasn’t completely stupid.  As such, I didn’t simply acquiesce to her desires.  And man was she pissed about that.

So what was left after that?  A lot of questions and a man with a broken heart.  The funny thing is, I didn’t see it coming, but I saw it coming.  The way she treated me at first, I would never have believed she could be as mean, hurtful and uncaring as she was once she flipped the switch from I love you to I hate you, but I also knew of her history not only with others before me, but with the 3 previous times she abruptly removed herself from my life.  The bottom line with what was left after her departure was an image of what I wanted a relationship to look like, how that first couple of years played out.  If I could relive that period over and over, I certainly would.  Can I find that again, legitimately?

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With Suzy, things were quite different.  In fact, she was never a giver, other than her physical self.  She was a taker, day in and day out.  She was adept at giving just enough to keep me thinking we were almost at that point of finding bliss, but it never happened.  She could bring things right to the pinnacle of greatness and then, out of the blue, say something really off the wall and in a perfectly mean way that would leave me stunned and thinking “what just happened… and why”?  This happened over and over and in fact is what she did on the last time we were together when out of nowhere and with no evidence accused me of cheating.  She had a way of doing it with calmness and conviction that actually made me feel like I had done something wrong even though there was absolutely no basis for what she said.

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What was left after Suzy?  Confusion.  At this point in my life I have no clue what to expect from a relationship anymore.  I have dated since Suzy, but I have been left feeling nothing after each date for the most part.  I certainly have a hard time trusting and believing.  On top of that, both my ex-wife and Suzy were incredibly attractive, probably out of my league by most standards.  That fits, as the narcissist isn’t interested in the person but rather wants the attention, the supply,  no matter where it comes from.  They saw an opportunity with me, an ability to take what they wanted, and that is what they did.  Now they have moved on… and I’m stuck.

I haven’t given up, but I’m not feeling a lot of hope.  Yes, I know God can make things happen in an instant, and I would love to see that, but after this long, it seems a bit of a stretch.  I feel pretty used up, sad about how things turned out, a little bit bitter at times, and wondering how I ended up here.  It is what it is, I own it and am not blaming anyone but me.  I do wish I could put some of the memories that are in my head on a disc and just visit them periodically instead of almost regularly.  That I have nothing going on, am trying to be patient, and have nothing on the horizon at this point doesn’t help.

302F9E19-1390-4C8B-BFD4-4711E1C3FB96What’s left?  A man with a different understanding of relationships than he had in the past.  A man that does know things will get better but wondering when.  A man that knows at least two women that will not learn from the mistakes they have made, that will continue to invade peoples lives and take from them with no care or remorse whatsoever.  What’s left is a man that is glad he is not like them. 

The Pluses and Minuses of Being Narcissist-Free

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It’s the holiday season again.  I try to focus on all of the good things in my life during this period, and there are a lot, but I also slip into thinking about what I don’t have sometimes.  More on that later…

It has been 5+ years since my narcissistic ex-wife left for the final time, and over a year now since I have had any contact with my narcissistic ex-girlfriend “Suzy”.  I reflect on that often, too often probably.  There are a lot of positives associated with being free from them both, things about them, almost identical things mind you, that I certainly don’t miss.  At the top of the list is how nice it is to not being walking around on eggshells, wondering what I am going to do wrong next, anticipating when the bottom was going to fall out yet again.  And it always did.  I don’t miss laying awake in bed at night, watching them soundly sleep as if they didn’t have a care in the world, while I laid there wondering what exactly I did wrong, how I could possibly fix it (which was impossible if you didn’t know what you did in the first place), and “when” things might return to normal.  Yep, don’t miss that at all.

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In the case of Suzy, I also don’t miss waiting hours if not days to receive a text response.  This is a woman that would get angry if I didn’t respond to her immediately.  What was even worse was watching her respond to messages from unknown (to me) others immediately as we would be having dinner, with no attempt or even inkling to talk about who it might be or what it was about.  In hindsight, I know who it was, as early on, she responded to me right away too.  Hmmm.

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I am also happy to not have to deal with the unexpected tantrums, the notorious wrench getting thrown into the mix when things were going too smoothly, when there wasn’t enough drama occurring.  This happened multiple times with both of them, where they would say something completely untrue in the middle of a nice time for no other reason than to disrupt the nice time.  This was what ultimately led to Suzy and I splitting up that last time, the 4th, and final time.  There is no splitting up just one time with the narcissist.  There were also 4 different breakups with the ex-wife.  Anyway, in the middle of a nice time dining out with Suzy, she implied that I was seeing someone else (multiple women actually) just because I looked at my phone.  I wasn’t even looking at a message, only the time.  This instance was about the 3rd or 4th time that she had done the same thing and, regretfully, I pretty much went off on her as I wasn’t and didn’t want to see anyone else.  That was it.  We haven’t seen each other or spoken again since.

I am convinced she was already seeing someone else at that point and simply desired an excuse to stop seeing me since the narcissist never wants to be the bad person, the reason for the breakup.  After all, they are perfect and don’t make mistakes.  Yep, I don’t miss that either.

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With that said, I will admit that I am bothered by their ability to ALWAYS have someone in their life.  That I continue to have difficulty finding someone while knowing they are frolicking to and fro somewhere with their latest tends to make one feel somewhat less than.  Yes, I realize that is exactly how they want their ex’s to feel, and I do fight it, but it is what it is.  That I am overly careful now, trying not to enter into yet another relationship with a narcissist, doesn’t aid me in my search.

I mentioned up top there are things that I do miss about my ex-N’s, especially this time of year.  Because of their need to be constantly moving and doing things to minimize their emptiness, I am used to being busy.  I’m not busy.  Yes, I do find things to do, but it isn’t quite the same as doing them with a significant other.  That is definitely a minus, probably the biggest one.  When things are good with the narcissist, they tend to be REALLY good.  That is, until one of those minuses occurs, and they WILL occur, over and over again.

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There are other pluses and minuses, and I tend to think of them too often.  No matter, there is no going back, the no contact continues, and my journey to find a non-narcissistic mate presses onward.  At this stage, patience is a virtue.  One of these days, I’m going to get it right.

I’ve Run Out of Things to Think.

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I believe it has finally happened.  Good or bad, I have no new or different thoughts regarding my relationships, or rather, my lack of relationships.  The time I have spent analyzing, dissecting, and ruminating about my last two serious relationships that sadly included narcissistic women needs to end.

It has been over a year since I have communicated with my narcissistic ex-girlfriend “Suzy” and it has been 5+ years now since my narcissistic ex-wife left for the 4th and final time.  With that said, it doesn’t mean the thoughts themselves have ended.  No, I continue to think about both the good and bad times, how I wish things had actually turned out, as well as all of the things that occurred that I simply ignored, thus prolonging the inevitable discard.  Oh, and it is incredible to me just how recent those relationships feel, like they were just yesterday.  I can’t explain it and really don’t want to.

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In the periods between both of them, I did a lot of dating, too much actually, but I don’t really think much about that or those that I dated.  When I think about my love life, I continue to focus on the two narcissists and how things felt, both the highs and, of course, the lows.  I continue to think about how much effort I expended to keep things afloat, and conversely, how little effort they expended.  I have journal entries, hundreds of pages, recording my thoughts and feelings, and they all follow the same pattern – why are all of my efforts never good enough.  Being co-dependent (although much improved at this point in my life), not doing enough according to the narcissist resulted in me trying just that much harder.  THAT is exactly what the narcissist wanted.

That I continue to be alone after this much time combined with the fact that I have put the dating on hold for several months now leaves me plenty of time to think.  I have finally concluded every thought that I have is a repeat of an earlier thought.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  Of course, those thoughts include the obvious thought that both of them have quite easily and convincingly moved on and, based on my thought patterns, I have not.  I need to realign, find some new things to think about, some new things to occupy my mind.

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Someone new would give me that parallel thought line.  However, after all of my dating, I haven’t found what I am looking for.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason, so I am not too stressed about being alone, but it would be nice to have some level of opposite sex distraction.  Yes, I have had that for short periods, but it has been awhile since I knew convincingly who I would be sharing dinner with.  And then the thoughts go back to my previous relationships and I fight myself to leave them behind yet again.

I know I will eventually find that other person that I want to be with that wants to be with me.  More importantly, I need to find a way to be alone and have positive thoughts, good things to think about without slipping into the past.  Clearly, those past times weren’t all that good.  They were only good because I made them good.  If I can do that as a result of being with a narcissist, someone that is only interested in themselves and uses everyone around them to get what they need, I can certainly create good thoughts without them.

 

67A52B01-EB59-4636-8639-B020188ABBCAIt’s a sad depressing thought knowing there are such mean-spirited people all around us.  The truth is, they are.  I know that and I accept that.  I have living proof of it.  I will not let that keep me in a place I don’t want to be in.  Today is a new day, and I am going to fill it, and tomorrow and the day after that, with new and positive thoughts.  It won’t be easy, but only I can do it.  Every day that passes is one less that I have to do something positive.  The narcissist’s both stole enough of my life from me.  I refuse to give them anymore.

The Relationship Vacuum.

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It has been a year now since the most recent narcissist in my life, my ex-girlfriend “Suzy” (not her real name) has been heard from.  In all honesty, I am absolutely okay with that.  More on that later…

The biggest issue I’ve had to live with is the vacuum that exists after a relationship dies, which is even worse it seems after a narcissist leaves your life.  Suzy and I were constantly doing something and had several places that were “favorites”, including her lakefront cottage in a northern resort area in our state.  It was in this same area that I spent considerable time when I was growing up as our family used to vacation nearby.  It was both funny and interesting that I was able to teach her things about the area that she was unaware of despite her having grown up there.  In fact, at the time her and I were dating, her family had three different houses on the same lake, yet I was more familiar with the place than she was.

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The real point is that one gets used to doing certain things, and Suzy and I were together on and off over a 2+ year period.  Since last October, I have done NONE of those things that Suzy and I used to do.  There are a number of reasons for that, including the fact that I just don’t want to deal with the “I remember when…” moments.  Besides that, it would simply feel pathetic if I were to do any of those things or visit any of those places by myself.  I simply don’t want to revisit the good times as they have certainly become somewhat tainted.

Would I do some of those things if there was someone else in my life?  Yes, I would.  With that said, I did resume the online dating BS after the departure of Suzy (which is where I met her in the first place), and I dated 6 or 7 different women.  Yes, I want someone in my life, BUT I have learned it can’t be just anyone.  After having been married to a full-blown narcissist for five years and watching her leave and come back over and over only to result in a brutal final discard, to jumping right back in with another narcissist like Suzy, I have learned a few things.  For one thing, I have finally learned that I can be alone.  No, I don’t prefer it, but it is something I can at least do and I quite honestly couldn’t do that before.  I am also tired of being kicked to the curb.  Maybe I am finally getting selective.

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It is also difficult to find someone “normal” that can provide that initial rush that being with a narcissist can.  I do understand at this point what that really is and that it is a setup to be used, but it is still an awesome feeling.  For a little while.  I get that now, but it doesn’t do away with the desire to find that crazy (albeit fake) connection with someone.  No matter, I did stop the dating thing a couple of months ago as I started dating what I sensed was going to be yet another narcissist and I figured I better stop before I got too far into the process.  I believe it was a smart decision and I have just been learning to be content on my own for awhile.

I mentioned earlier that I am okay with not being with Suzy even though I miss certain things about the relationship, especially being busy and constantly on the go. Sadly, when I think back now, my recollections are somewhat different.  At this point, when I think about Suzy, it is mostly negative.  I can clearly see her lack of emotion, never being giddy or even excited, her unmerited anger at certain times.  I have mentioned in previous posts that she never planned, executed, or paid for anything that we ever did, and the longer time goes on, the more that sticks in my mind.  The bottom line is that it was an entirely one sided relationship where everything was my job and my responsibility.  That she was able to extract herself from my life with absolutely no emotion and no remorse was the final “F you” exclamation point.

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Here’s the kicker, the conclusion if you will.  Recently while surfing the Internet, I came across a webcam in the town where Suzy’s lakefront cottage is located.  The funny thing about it is that it is pointed directly at a small grocery store that I had never been in until I met Suzy.  The biggest reason we went there is they freshly baked their own doughnuts every day, and we would get up early to go get some.  What are the chances that 1) I would come across this stupid camera (and honestly, I was not doing any sort of creeping on Suzy) and that 2) It would be pointed at, of all places, this little grocery store that I knew was there for years yet had never been in until I was visiting as an adult with Suzy?

Yes, I will admit it was kind of a fun memory seeing that little store in real time hundreds of miles away, seeing people going in and out on the camera, wondering if I might see Suzy (I suppose I did in my mind).  Then reality kicks back in, I realize I am sitting in a chair alone, looking at a computer screen, with no serious partner in my life, realizing that yes, there is most definitely a vacuum created after the departure of the narcissist.  Even after a year without Suzy, or five years after my narcissistic ex-wife left for the final time, there is a most definite vacuum.

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I am okay with that.  Maybe it is better to say that I have accepted it.  Living in that post-narcissist vacuum is better that being used day in and day out, lied too, gas lighted, manipulated, and never appreciated.  That is no way to live and it underlines the fact that there are better times ahead.  I didn’t like to wait for things to change in the past, instead forcing change in my own way.  I’m okay with waiting now.  Where ever there is a vacuum or a void, it eventually gets refilled.  I am going to be more choosy on what I allow to refill that void.

Remembering the Narcissist.

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For those of us that have lived in a narcissistic relationship(s), it is difficult to not remember.  In my case, I have had two such relationships that I still reminisce about.  These include my narcissistic ex-wife that divorced me almost 5 years ago AND my narcissistic ex-girlfriend Suzy that I haven’t communicated with in exactly one year.  This time of year is especially difficult as things seem so somber with summer winding down, the sun and the sky looking different, the leaves starting to become more colorful.

There are also plenty of reminders.  Last week I was “lucky” enough to come across my ex-wife.  We still work at the same facility and occasionally our paths will cross.  In this instance, I happened to be near a window as she was walking away from the building, so I stood there for a moment watching her and pondering things.  My first thoughts always tend to include how much I still love her, although what I love is who she pretended to be just for me.  To highlight that, her current boyfriend who also works there and would be the 4th man from the same facility that she married (and the 5th husband) is a weight lifter.  Guess what her current interest is?  Yep, you guessed it, she is doing the power lifting thing too.  On top of that, her hair is now pure black where it was blonde when she was with me.  Yes, she has again shape shifted into a completely different person for yet another intended target.

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I stood there and watched her walk away (and get into the expensive luxury car that I purchased for her just before she left for the final time).  I knew who I was looking at while at the same time I had no clue who I was looking at.  I was somewhat sad, while at the same time I was relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the eggshells and the constant wondering of what was going to happen next.  Yes, I missed the woman that “I” knew, but that woman wasn’t real and she is now very clearly gone.  Oh, the fact that we haven’t spoken one word to each other in 3 or 4 years makes it easier too.  My implementing no contact after discovering narcissism has resulted in her ignoring me as well since there must be something wrong with me since I don’t want anything to do with her.  Sadly, friends and co-workers continue to give me updates and show me social media photos of her, whether I want to see them or not.  I tend to just look away and say thanks but no thanks.

Let’s shift to my ex-girlfriend Suzy for a bit.  That is was during this very season one year ago that I stopped seeing her is certainly not lost on me.  That she is now married simply puts the exclamation point on how screwed up things were.  I knew they were,  but I tended to ignore it, to try to control things rather than just walk away (even though I told myself over and over in my journal that I had to end things).  No, at the time I did not know she was yet another narcissist (or I buried it very well).  It was only after fellow bloggers commented over and over about the possibility in earlier posts concerning her that I started to piece things together.  Just like my ex-wife, her departure was very sudden and unexpected (although not surprising considering it had happened with her on several earlier occasions).  I can remember our last outing as if it occurred yesterday and, in fact, it feels like it WAS just yesterday.

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That last encounter was indeed THE last because I actually challenged her strongly for the first time, turned around her statement that I “wasn’t being truthful to her”.  It became a golden opportunity for me to take all of her gas-lighting episodes, all those times where she spit untruths and lies, and outline to her that I put the pieces together and boldly provided her with all of her untruths.  When she attempted to refute things, I provided even more detail of what she had said or done (thanks to all of my journaling that I had done over the 2+ year period).  She was actually speechless and made the statement that “maybe she should stop talking”.  I took her home and that has been it.  We have never seen each other or spoke another word since, even after dating for over 2 years.  And now she is married.  I am guessing the new supply she had been courting when she initiated that last argument could possibly be the new man.

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Here’s the thing – she knew exactly what she was doing with that last argument.  It was a perfect setup.  The narcissist does not want to be the “bad person” since they believe they are perfect and we are the flawed ones.  She needed exactly what happened to happen in order to walk away feeling good about herself, that I essentially ended the relationship.  I didn’t really understand it at the moment, but it is really easy to connect the dots.

Now, it is simply the memories of both.  Yes, I did do some dating after that last blowup with Suzy a year ago, but nothing has worked out.  It used to bother me being alone and the dating kind of filled that gap a bit.  Now, understanding narcissism, co-dependence, and attachment styles a whole lot better, I don’t really care that much.  I am able to be alone now where in the past being alone instilled panic.  I am also able to look fondly upon the pleasant parts of my relationships with them both while also accepting there was a lot of bad in those relationships.

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Being able to accurately reflect back is definitely a plus.  I have a goal.  That goal is to ultimately be in that relationship that is skewed more toward those pleasant memories, having the positive moments without wondering when the bottom is going to drop out.  One day, it will happen.  Until then, I have all those memories, including those not associated with them, to reflect on.

What Do You Miss about the Ex-Narcissist?

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Time marches forward, no matter what.  This time of year tends to be a more melancholy time for me as it seems this is when most of the negative issues have occurred in my life.  I’m not really sure why either, and I like fall weather.  It’s been 5 years ago exactly since my narcissistic ex-wife brutally left for the 4th and final time and, oddly enough, it’s been almost a year since my narcissistic ex-girlfriend Suzy left for the, yep, 4th and final time.

Right after the discard(s) is when we tend to fret, evaluate, self-blame, and consider reengaging our recently departed narcissistic romantic partners.  Those are the things that I did (and likely would do again), which, since they occurred this time of year, is likely why I tend to ruminate and feel a bit of loss in early fall.  No, I DO NOT want either of them back, but there are certainly things about them that I seem to miss.  What are those things, and why?

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When trying to figure this stuff out, I tend to consider what I am bothered by too much.  In fact, I am so confounded by it that it angers me.  Let’s consider Suzy first.  In actuality, looking back produces little positive traits to desire.  Yes, she was quite beautiful (as many strangers would tell me, and I’ve never had that happen), but clearly her beauty was skin deep.  Our physical relationship was good, i.e. she was pretty insatiable, but it also tended to be very robotic and all about pleasing her, always.  It bothered me that she really didn’t want me to “look” at her during our “activities”.  In hindsight, with her being the narcissist that she is, she realized that she wasn’t actually the perfect specimen that she wanted to be and, realizing that she had a lot of flaws especially in the way she thought about herself, she didn’t want me to notice or see it so I was forced to look away.  Of course, I thought she looked amazing and I told her that continuously, but that was never enough.

Funny though, her knowledge of her own imperfections never stopped her from dressing very provocatively whenever we went out, and by that I mean always.  She had implants that someone (not me luckily) had paid a lot of money for, and they were in fact spectacular.  They were always on display, yet when I would tell her in a fun way that someone was checking her out, she would poo poo it and act like I was crazy, as if she was unattractive.  In hindsight, she absolutely knew that people were checking her out.  That is what she lived for.

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With that said, she never planned a trip or an outing, she never paid for anything, she didn’t buy me gifts, she never surprised me, essentially it had become crystal clear that this was a totally one-sided relationship.  There were so many times that she would just leave me behind and I mean physically continue on without me.  I remember kayaking, taking walks, and other activities where I would stop and she would just keep going.  In particular, I recall riding bicycles around a beautiful island on one of our trips.  I had stopped and she just kept going.  To see what would happen, I purposely waited 10 minutes or so to see if she would come back.  She never did.  I ended up finding her a mile or so down the road and she never asked what had happened to me or showed any curiosity or concern whatsoever.  Therein lies the difficulty.  What is it that I miss so much?  And why, after nearly a year, does it still feel so fresh.  Since the breakup with Suzy, I have dated at least 8 different women, yet no one seems to be quite good enough (whatever that means).

All I can figure is that I had become addicted to trying to please her, to getting that little bit of adulation, maybe even hearing “what you did was amazing, I’ve never had such a good time in my life, and I love you and being near you”.  Nope, I never got that.  In fact, she had only started saying that she loved me about 2 months before leaving me that final time and, even then, it was usually a “love you too” minus the “I” and in response to me telling her first rather than her coming up with it out of nowhere.  I truly believe at this point the only reason she began saying that she loved me was to ensure she could keep me locked in until she had the new guy firmly in place (consider she is married now less than 10 months after we broke up and her and I had dated for greater than a 2 year period).

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Because of my addiction to pleasing her, I had us constantly on the go, creating one memory after the next.  That things have come to an almost complete standstill since leaves me a lot of time to think, remembering all of those places and times.  The bottom line is that she was a companion and nothing more.  Yes, she was a beautiful, sexy companion, but what good did that do me?  So many times during the period that we were together, I journaled that I needed to break up with her, that I had to end it.  I knew what was going to happen, but I just kept trying to get that positive feedback, that little bit of meaningful adoration.  It never happened, and the reality of it was that I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I kept trying.  Now, there is silence.

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The memories of the ex-wife are very similar, although there were times where she would at least “act” like she appreciated what I was doing for her.  Sadly, narcissists live by the same methods which are take whatever you can get and when it looks like things are starting to change, when there is any kind of challenge, then it is time to move on to the next new target, to someone that hasn’t figured you out yet, that allows you to take and take without asking any questions.

They both discarded me as soon as I began questioning what was happening.  I had my opportunity to leave them (and had journaled that I really needed to), but I figured one more nice thing might make them see how great I was.  That didn’t happen and never would have happened.  Yes, I miss them, but I don’t want them.  One of these days (and I’m thinking soon), someone is going to allow me to forget all about them.  I’m looking forward to that.

Controlling the Thoughts. It’s Difficult, but Essential.

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In my most recent post, I identified how I had inadvertently discovered that my narcissistic ex-girlfriend “Suzy” had apparently gotten married since our most recent breakup a little over 10 months ago.  I had come to grips with the breakup during that period which was made easier since we have had absolutely NO contact, but finding out she was married brought all kinds of new thoughts to the forefront.

I have made considerable progress in my co-dependent/anxious attachment style in the last few years.  In fact, most things that used to bother me, especially the rejection aspect, fail to have the same impact they once did.  I didn’t even know what co-dependency and attachment styles were until my narcissistic ex-wife brutally discarded me for the final time about 5 years ago.  With that said, I made a lot of progress in a fairly short amount of time, and I feel pretty good about that.  Certain things challenge my progress however.

The recent understanding that Suzy is married is one such thing.  It is incredible what our minds are willing to come up with if we let them run amok, and everyday since the discovery, I have allowed mine to do just that… until I realized it and put a stop to it.  In fact, I have had to put a stop to it over and over again, but I’m not giving up.

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What are those thoughts that I am having?  The first thing that keeps happening is revisionist history, where somehow I am able to turn Suzy into a saint, essentially forgetting all of the narcissistic and hurtful things that she did and said.  How many times she flatly and out of nowhere clearly told me that I wasn’t a good boyfriend and needed to be doing more, how many times she ignored my texts or phone calls for hours.  There were the times where she, without any guilt whatsoever, told me she was going to an “appointment”, when in fact  I later determined she was meeting with someone else.  There were multiple instances of gaslighting, where she told me one set of facts early on, and over time, those facts changed.  When I would challenge her, she would tell me I had a bad memory and she had never said those things.  Luckily for me, I kept detailed journal entries where I would record exactly what she said, painting a clear picture of the real chain of events.

Sadly, over time and without consulting my journal entries, I would forget the facts, and start believing what she said.  Those pleasant memories are all I started to consciously recall after I discovered that she was now married.  Again, I started to internalize and accept that everything that went wrong was apparently my fault, that if I had only done better, this wouldn’t have happened.  After all, she is married, so there is clearly someone better than me, and it took less than 10 months for her to figure that out, and we had dated for longer than a 2 year period.  This new guy must be SO much better than me!

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But then I remember the discards (four of them), the ghosting where she absolutely and unequivocally ignored my texts, my emails, my letters and my calls for nearly 3 months.  I remembered her daughters, out of nowhere, telling me (in front of Suzy no less) to be careful because there had been a number of men “checking her out”.  In hindsight, I figured out that was their way of telling me there was someone else Suzy was seeing while simultaneously cramming it up there mother’s bunghole.  Don’t forget, she was a narcissist (and very avoidant), was NOT a good mother (and I had witnessed her lack of “mothering” first hand) and had a very rocky relationship with all of her children (and really had no other friends to speak of).  There was also the fact that despite multiple high cost vacations and trips, hundreds of dinners (and she was VERY selective on where we ate given her sense of entitlement), she had NEVER paid for a thing and had gotten to where even saying thank you had become a thing of the past.

But my mind, it wanted to forget all those less than stellar memories and instead focus on the positives.  In fact, even the positives are limited to me simply having a companion, someone to do things with and, yes, someone physically very appealing. Other than that, she really did not add anything to the relationship.  Over the 2+ year period that we dated, she made dinner for me one time.  ONE TIME!!!

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I continue to believe that everything happens for a reason, and that includes this event too.  That this door is more securely closed is another blessing that I need to pay attention to.  Notice I don’t say the door is blocked as she is a narcissist and feels she can reopen that door at will and probably will try at some point down the road.  Many of my friends have told me I dodged a bullet with Suzy, and fellow bloggers and commenters told me for months to get away from her, that she was a narcissist (and avoidant), but I was desperately hoping she wasn’t.  This is yet another opportunity for me to learn something, to recognize that I must implement what I know and control my thoughts rather than let them run wildly all over the place.

I did nothing to deserve Suzy leaving for the last time 10 months ago.  The same issues she projected onto me, she will be projecting onto the new husband.  Poor bastard.  At least I was smart enough to never bring up the subject of marriage.  In fact my journal entries state over and over that “I need to get away from her”.  No matter how it happened (and it clearly wasn’t me that discarded her), I am now that much further away from her.  I need to deadbolt that door and remember the facts.  That she is married did not change her one bit.  She is still the same angry, bitter, hateful woman that she was since I met her.

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I will not allow my thoughts to change reality.  She was a master at doing just that.  Luckily, I am smart enough to recognize who she is and what she has done.  My mind and I, we’ve got this.