That’s No Moon (Avoidant). That’s a Space Station (Narcissist)!

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And the next thing you should say is “I’ve got a really bad feeling about this” (yes, all lines from Star Wars, but they fit lol).  I had an epiphany this week.  I was convinced that my ex-girlfriend “Suzy” was an avoidant.  Given my extreme understanding of narcissistic females based on the crazy making and now historical relationship with my clearly narcissistic ex-wife, I thought I would recognize any new narcissists in an instant.  Well…, it took reading someone elses post on narcissism to seriously open my eyes.  I was honestly depressed when the light came on.

Fellow blogger graceformyheart in a recent post included these words – “We expect relationships to be reciprocal… Narcissistic relationships are not like that… Narcissistic relationships tend to be one-sided.  We give and the narcissist takes.  It isn’t long before the narcissist demands.  If you have been in such a relationship, let me assure you the feeling of being drained is normal…”.   I was dumbfounded, convicted, and quite frankly sad.  How did I miss it?  It precisely described my lengthy relationship with Suzy.

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I can’t say that people didn’t warn me, because they certainly did.  Over the last 2.5 years, plenty have told me to look out, that if she isn’t a narcissist, that she certainly has narcissistic tendencies.  I believe that is how I justified it, that she simply had “tendencies”, and we all have those.  Besides, she didn’t do things quite the same as my narcissistic ex-wife.  In hindsight, Suzy was much more sinister and much more egregious.  After all, her sense of entitlement was so off the charts that she didn’t pay for a THING over the 15 month period that we dated during that 2.5 year span, and she wasn’t a cheap date either.  I kept thinking it was coming, but clearly she had no intention of ever paying for a thing.  Only after I asked her in our last written correspondence about possibly paying for something occasionally did she immediately tell me everything I thought was wrong, that she was right, and bye-bye.  There has been no contact since.

This is the same woman who told me she loved me for the first time after dating for over a year, and then things came crashing down quickly after.  The funny thing is, both my relationship with my ex-narcissistic wife and with Suzy ended almost identically.  Check this out…

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Just a couple of weeks before she moved out for the final time, my ex-wife and I were scheduled to have a weekend vacation in a resort area.  That she was heavily devaluing me at the time, I cancelled the reservation and told her it would probably be best if we didn’t go.  You would have thought I told her that she was ugly and didn’t deserve to live.  She was absolutely livid about it, ranting that she could NOT understand why I wouldn’t want to be with her and that she thought we should go, almost demanding it (even though she was in the process of leaving the relationship).  We didn’t go.  Let’s shift to Suzy…

Suzy and I were, oddly enough, scheduled to go to the exact same place I was going to take my ex-wife (of course, I made the reservations and paid for it).  Prior to going, we were at her cottage and this was the same weekend that she decided she wanted to go through my phone.  I let her, but I was NOT happy about it.  I subsequently told her that if she didn’t trust me, she probably shouldn’t be with me and I added that I didn’t think we should continue on to the resort .  Guess what her response was?  Yes, same as my ex-wife, she was livid and blasted me for not wanting to go with her (even though she essentially told me I was a liar and that she didn’t trust me in the prior sentence).  Is that ironic or what?

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What was it really?  It was a missed opportunity for both of them to be on display, to attain glances from so many strangers, to obtain more supply in a place ripe with opportunity.  They cared less who they were with, who actually took them there.  I was just a means at that point.  I have another example of the parallel craziness.

Just prior to the final discard with my ex-wife, I put together a surprise birthday party for her.  I gathered up all of her minions and arranged for a pretty good group of people to show up.  Everything was going great, and I mean everyone was having fun, the party couldn’t have been going better, and then…  A couple of hours into it, she comes up to me, looks me straight in the eyes, and says “I pay half the bills”.  Taken aback, I said “excuse me?”, and she repeats in a very calm and soft voice “I pay half the bills”.  I wasn’t sure what to think, other than knowing she was full of crap. She had never paid half the bills in our entire history, and on top of that her ex-husband had stopped making child support payments to her a few months earlier and, at that point, she stopped contributing anything.  I was both shocked and angry at the same time.  I essentially told her that she didn’t, that she knew she didn’t and I started to move away from her.  She repeated it again, even knowing I was mad.  I’ll come back to this, but on to Suzy…

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The very last time Suzy and I were together, I had gone to her house and picked her up (even though I had worked all day and had already driven 100 miles that day) because she wanted me to.  I bought dinner (as usual) and brought her to my house.  The next day, I tell her about a festival nearby and we agree to go.  On the way into town, she suggests we stop for a drink, and who am I to tell her no?  It is a nice time, my son joins us, and again, everyone is seemingly having a good time.  As she goes outside to vape, I pay the bill and step outside.  As I approach her, she starts asking who I was communicating with (my phone was in my hand) and, confused, I ask her what she means.  She starts spouting off names of women (some friends, some co-workers, but no one with which I was romantically inclined whatsoever).  She then says something about me being untruthful and things took off from there.  I got upset and for probably the first time, I shared what I really thought regarding who was being untruthful.  Consider this was only about 10 days after the previous looking through my phone incident.  I took her home and we haven’t spoken since.  I truly believe that she was projecting what she was doing (seeing someone else) which also made it so much easier for her to walk away since she had new supply on tap.

Here’s the thing – it is said that when things are going to well, when there isn’t strife or animosity present, the narcissist will simply create it.  These examples run so parallel to each other that I am still amazed by the similarities.  Everything was going smoothly, too smoothly, so lets throw some drama into it.  They were both pro’s at it and got exactly what they were out to get.

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It’s all good though.  Accepting Suzy is a full-blown narcissist does make a lot of confusing things fall into place, just like it did with the ex-wife.  It also makes it very clear that no-contact is the only way to go.  And just to put an exclamation point on it, this is a woman who just four short months ago told me that she loved me and that I continued to be nice to even after all the incidents.  Do you think she reached out at all on my birthday this week?  Of course not.  I am not surprised.  It is all good.  As long as I keep learning, it’s all good.  I will do better next time.  I’m going to keep telling myself over and over.

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Life After the Narcissist. What a Mess.

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I have gotten to the point where I feel the need to develop a post, but I just don’t know what to say anymore.  I am still not content and still searching for that elusive overall peace that I’m hoping to find.  Oh, and there is always that new love of my life that I still, after 4+ years, haven’t found.  It’s a weird place to be.

I think where I’m at is a culmination of a number of things all coming together at once that are leaving me feeling a bit off-balance.  For one, I have yet another birthday approaching that I will be spending alone.  It’s one of those milestones where every year I tell myself “next year is going to be different and I’m going to have a significant other to share it with me…”.  Nope, not this year, again.  I have reasons why I think this continues, but more on that further down the page.

Something else is I had a friend at work come into my office this most recent Friday and tell me he had run into my ex-narcissist in another building at work.  He told me he could not believe “how rough she looked” and that “she has aged considerably in the last couple of years”.  I’m not sure why I struggled with that.  You would think I would be happy about it, maybe sense a little karma, but no.  I actually felt a little bad for her.  I guess that is the me that still has some level of feelings for her, or at the least the “her” that I thought she was.  I continue to be amused that I haven’t spoken to her face-to-face in well over 3 years, even though we pass one another occasionally (yes, we still both work at the same facility).  I have accepted what she is.

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Then there is the fact that I still continue to think about my avoidant ex-girlfriend.  It’s been 17 weeks now since “Suzy” and I have had any contact, with the last bit being her essentially telling me I was screwed up, she wasn’t, and good luck.  Since then, I have done a pretty good job of convincing myself that she was and continues to be bad for me (or anyone else for that matter).  At the same time, I can’t help but wonder how a seemingly decent person can allow someone to put the amount of time and emotional energy (not to mention $$$) into her that I did and then just simply shut the door.  I know, it’s not all that uncommon, but this is me thinking out loud, and the thought is there.  Yes, I have considered what other’s have told me, i.e. that she has considerable narcissistic tendencies (and I have regrettably come to agree with them).  Yes, my dislike of rejection has something to do with it too, but it is more than that.  I like to think that she is indeed thinking about me and what she so willingly and easily gave up, but that is probably not the case and is simply me projecting.  I suppose having the ex-narcissist and then the ex-avoidant in succession leaves me wondering about humanity a little bit, asking if there really are any decent people out there?  I believe there are – I just don’t seem to “pick” them.

Finally, there is the fact that my latest dating “friend” also is no longer, although at least this time it is of my own choice.  Once again, I believe that I made someone who I didn’t know into someone that I wanted to know.  I built her into someone that she wasn’t.  As soon as I confirmed that was the case, I put a stop to it.  Yes, she was nice, but she lived nearly 2 hours away and also, due to her ethnicity, we struggled with communication.  I also just didn’t feel that giddiness that I long for… which leads me back to where I was going in the second paragraph above.  Why haven’t things changed much in the last 4+ years.

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Some things have indeed actually changed.  I’m not depressed, panicked, or just feeling lost like I have in the past.  There have been some good things happen and some good times, I have learned more about myself, learned to live alone, learned to take more chances… but I’m still alone.  I never would have dreamed that nearly 5 years after the final departure of my narcissistic ex-wife that I would STILL be alone.  What is it and what can I do to change it?

There are several answers to that question.  One, I continue to search for that fantasy woman, the one that both the narcissist and the avoidant were able to, for lack of a better term, portray.  On the outside, they were beautiful, charming, energetic, all those shallow qualities the typical male desires.  But on the inside, they are conflicted, angry, valueless, vain, unloving, selfish, greedy, and a bunch of other less than desirable qualities.  The bottom line is that I keep looking for the WRONG woman.  On top of that, I still lack patience.  I have been on a mission to find what’s missing in my life and that clearly isn’t working.  I am moving so fast that I am not able to see what I am passing right by.  I have to slow down.  That is hard for me to do, if not impossible.

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So I sit here reminiscing, thinking far too much about my ex-avoidant girlfriend, being disappointed in my recent “possibility” that didn’t work out, and wondering what will happen next, and when.  I can say that I do NOT consider my ex-narcissist anymore, that I have pretty effectively let that go.  Yes, I think about things that we did and that she had a special “feeling” about her, but I also chalk that up to her narcissistic abilities and that very little of it was real.  I do feel victory in that.

One more birthday alone.  I can do it.  I don’t necessarily want to, but I need to reflect on the changes that I have made, that I continue to change and improve, and that maybe this will be the last birthday alone.  If there is anything I have learned it is that time continues to march forward, and there is no way to stop it.  You can either go with it, or fight it.  I am tired of fighting.  Here’s to my final birthday alone.

Why Do I Fight the Loss of My Avoidant ex-Girlfriend?

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The weather is frigid today at 11 below zero, not counting the wind chill.  Knowing that, I also know that spring is looming, blue skies, flowers, and activities on the lake.  Good times that should be spent sharing with someone else.  I am looking so forward to it.  I am leaving my avoidant ex-girlfriend (“Suzy”) behind just like I am going to leave these cold temperatures behind.

I have started dating again, and I recently met someone who is very different, yet quite promising.  At first, I didn’t think so, as she was missing a certain… umm… quality.  I didn’t think a whole lot about it, but she made me.  That’s right, she continued to be nice to me even after I thought I had made up my mind that she wasn’t right for me.  I believe between my narcissistic ex-wife and my avoidant ex-girlfriend, I had lost touch with what “normal” looks like.  This woman is reminding me there are attractive, normal women that can and do actually care about someone besides themselves.

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Here’s the thing – the feeling that was missing was that “hook”, that allure the avoidant and the narcissist have.  The girl was simply too boring, wasn’t immediately captivating, and didn’t grab my attention.  Oh, she is beautiful, young, very successful with two thriving businesses, but I wanted to walk away.  Why would I do that (and I actually asked myself that question for several days)?

On top of that, after meeting her for the first time, I found myself somehow missing “Suzy” even more.  The worst part is that even after going back and revisiting my journals, finding things that I had forgotten about that were beyond cruel and unusual, I still had a longing for Suzy.  Why?  Because that had become my new “normal”, and we always want what feels normal, what we are used to.  I am intent on changing the way that I think.

Yes, this wonderful new woman whom I only recently met has opened my eyes a bit, even though I was determined to keep them closed, to continue to invite undesirable personalities into my life because that’s what I was used to.  Instead of longing for what I have lost, I need to be celebrating that I actually lost it.  I really, truly dodged a bullet with Suzy walking away from me again.  It has been 16 weeks now since we last had contact, and that is a new record in the 2.5 years that her and I were acquainted.  I will NOT reach out to her, and hopefully my new “friend” will help me see the value in that.

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So what’s different about the new woman?  I have asked myself that over and over because whatever it is, it does feel somewhat foreign to me.  I have only known her for a few weeks, but she complements me, she engages with me (instead of it being a one way street, giving but never receiving), she actually shares.  Sadly, I am simply not used to that and it fees a bit scary.  Oh, I certainly like it, at least I think I do, but it is not what I am used to.  It is violently shoving me out of my comfort zone, but the comfort zone I was used to being in was not a place I should have wanted to be, ever.

Yep, Suzy is gone and I think that I miss her but, in fact, I simply miss being with someone and she dominated my time long enough.  I am sincerely looking forward to being around someone who might actually care about me and not just themselves.  The hardest thing for me to do at this point is leave the past behind, continue to grow beyond the co-dependent that I was (and I continue to get better), to leave Suzy brutally and effectively in the past, in that -11 degree weather, a place that her cold, empty heart (if she has one) can thrive (but on someone else).

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I have entered a new phase.  Here’s to again looking forward and not looking back, to letting go of unrequited love and finding real love.

Looking for What We Want While Dating. Finding Out We Don’t Really Know.

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I have dipped my toes back into the online dating world and the learning continues. If you would have tried to tell me how much I didn’t know about people 10 years ago, I would have said you were crazy.  Now, I continue to find out there is more that I don’t know than what I do know.  Is it just the circumstances?  Possibly, and please let me explain.

If you have been following my ongoing relational saga, you will know it has been quite the roller coaster ride.  First, I married a full on narcissist resulting in bliss for a time followed by the inevitable devaluing, which she implemented for quite some time while allowing me to to do everything I possibly could to keep her, until she finally left for the last time (and was already seeing someone else just a couple of miles away).  Somehow (probably because I wouldn’t give up), the marriage lasted for about 5 years.  After the divorce was final, I went on a dating spree in my desire to find a replacement just like her (how dumb was that?).

I ended up attracted to “Suzy” (her fake name that I gave her), an avoidant attachment type (which I didn’t know about at the time) and we cycled through the anxious/avoidant peaks and valleys just like all the books say.  That continued on and off over a 2+ year period, with the 4th and final time of her departure occurring 3+ months ago.  Being with her was fodder for a lot of my blog posts I must say.  There has been no contact since.

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That brings me to the present time.  I have made considerable improvement with my co-dependence.  I no longer panic like I once did, I know when to walk away from someone, and I don’t allow myself to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone.  I have also learned what to watch out for as far as narcissistic and avoidant traits (and there are a lot f them out there).  With that said, I don’t want to be alone, hence the online dating activity.

I have actually dated some women that are nothing like my ex’s (the N and the A), so that is good.  Funny thing though, I continue to find that in nearly every case, you end up with someone who either you aren’t interested in, or conversely you are very attracted to, but they aren’t attracted to you.  It seems almost inevitable.  These days, I don’t react to it, but I do try to figure out why it is so.  For example, I recently met a very attractive and interesting woman whose husband had died just shy of 3 years ago.  We had a very nice date, fun, good back and forth communication, and it seemed neither of us were in a hurry to leave.  However (yep, here it comes), when I told her a couple of days later that I would like to see her again, her response was that she was “trying to find someone that made her feel the way her husband that had passed made her feel”.

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I understand completely, as that is precisely what I was after following the departure of my ex-narcissist.  The thing is, the chances of finding that person are nearly nil.  Believe me, I tried, going on dates with more than 30 different women before I figured out I simply wasn’t going to find the “good” version of my ex.  Accepting that I was not like the woman’s husband that she lost, I just let it go, wishing her well in her search (and knowing she has a lot of frustration in front of her).

I have also been trying different strategies, dating women of different ethnicities, which I never would have considered in my youth.  Funny how things change.  I recently went out with a beautiful Asian woman (and I am a visual person, so that was a plus).  We had talked on the phone several times before we met which was a first for me as I find the phone a bit uncomfortable and prefer to just meet, so I did know some things about her.  She owns her own business and has been in the US since she was 18.  I also found her broken English kind of endearing.  When we met for the first time, there were a few suprises in store.  After prompting (and without going into a lot of detail), I found out her divorce isn’t final yet (“still going to court” she says) and that she has a restraining order against her husband.  That would have been nice to know before meeting.

Now, as I find myself distancing myself from her, she is relentlessly trying to stay in contact.  If she weren’t still technically married, things may be different, but she is and that could drag on for months if not years.  Sadly, that’s not going to work for me.  As badly as I would like someone in my life, I am going to do it right, and her not really being in a legal or moral position to be with someone else doesn’t work.

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I am still a bit of an overanalyzer, and I find myself trying to piece all of these things together.  I was married to a narcissist, then I dated an avoidant for an extended period of time.  Since 2015, I have dated over 40 different women, yet here I sit, alone.  Given all the dating activity, I would love to tell myself that I am just a “player”, but that’s not the case at all.  I know what I want, but it just doesn’t seem to be in “one” person, i.e. they almost all have one or more things that I am hoping to find, but so far I haven’t come across someone with whom I share enough commonalities, or I don’t have what they are looking for.

Knowing what I do these days about relationship styles and disorders (which sometimes I wish I didn’t know), I am left wondering how anyone stays together.  It seems like a distant dream, almost a fantasy to find that “one” that also thinks you are that “one” for them.  No, I am definitely not looking for perfection… I am smarter than that.  I didn’t struggle like this when I was younger, and maybe there is something to that, i.e. I am in a hurry and growing impatient nowadays because I see time running out.

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I am not giving up and I have accepted being alone, but I do know that is not what I want.  I just have to keep trying to focus on what it is that I really need in my life, to continue to not settle, and to hope that elusive divine connection occurs.  I will not “force” another relationship or take on the responsibility of keeping one going just for the sake of not being alone.  For certain, that much I do know.

 

The Dilemma of Parataxic Distortion – The Lie of the Soulmate

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It’s funny how you come across terms that fit your life, especially when you are experiencing something unpleasant, a situation.  The last several years of my life have been full of relationship strife, what with the departure of my narcissistic wife four and a half years ago, and then the on again off again two plus year relationship with my now ex-avoidant girlfriend.  I want to place blame somewhere so I don’t have to accept responsibility.  I blame it on “parataxic distortion”.

What is Parataxic distortion you may ask?  According to Wikipedia, it is a psychiatric term used to describe the inclination to skew perceptions of others based on fantasy.  We create an image of someone based not on reality but rather on a fantasy that we create.  We essentially take who we are with and we build them into something they are not.  We create our soulmate.

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I believe that I have found something that I am expert at.  I most certainly did this with my ex-N.  She was the most magical person on the planet.  Where is she now?  She is long gone (for the fourth and final time) and we haven’t spoken a word to each other in over two years even though we pass one another within inches quite frequently.  How’s that for a soulmate connection?  I never would have or could have imagined it in the throes of the awesome parts of the relationship, but it is FACT, and I cannot dispute it at this point.  What I thought was in fact wasn’t.  Yep, sure sounds like it fits the Parataxic distortion definition.

Same thing with my ex-avoidant girlfriend Suzy, only this one was even worse.  I knew from the second date there was something not quite right, but I hung in there, convincing myself that it wasn’t that big a deal, or that we could work through it, or that I was just imagining things.  Wrong!  This last breakup is the fourth and final time that we have split up in a little over two years, and I have had NO contact with her for nearly fourteen weeks now.  And let’s not forget that she clearly told me that everything wrong in the relationship was MY fault.  Yessiree, I know how to pick a soulmate (or at least create one in my mind).

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The problem, for me at least, is that I want to have that incredibly close relationship so bad that I am willing to do almost anything to have it.  Sadly, I end up creating something in my mind that simply isn’t real.  Even worse, I consciously know that it isn’t real, but I stuff it down, convincing myself that it is okay, that it will get better, that I just have to keep trying harder and to just keep being “the better person”.  At some point, my significant other will recognize how great I am and that they could never want to lose me.  The issue with that is I cannot control or dictate their thoughts and they are unaware of the fantasy.

The result is my current life.  I sit here alone with an iPad recording my thoughts, wondering when that will ever change.  As you are probably thinking, I know the first thing that I have to do is stop creating fantasies in parallel with choosing the wrong relationships.  I wish it was that easy, I really do.  In fact, the thought that got me looking into this fantasy phenomenon in the first place is my questioning of whether it is simply better to just be alone.  That is a discouraging thought for me, but at the same time it is a logical question that begs to be answered.

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I have quoted the Bible on several occasions in the past where it says “It is not good for man to be alone” and, based on how I feel most of the time, I believe that to be true.  With that said, I am also growing weary of the disappointment that accompanies the breakup of a relationship.  I’m weary of it to the point that I just don’t want to do it anymore.  The reality of parataxic distortion is that, at some point, the true nature of what your significant other is rears it’s ugly head and no amount of fantasizing or distorting the truth can change it.  The result is having to accept you were wrong, the other person is not who you “wanted” them to be but are rather who they really “are”, and you simply cannot change that no matter how much you might want to.

So where does that leave things?  Based on reality, it leaves them where they should have been from the beginning, dissolved and non-existent (and I have the years long proof of that).  Take the fantasy away and you are left with what is or was real, and it isn’t pretty no matter how lovely our mind tried to make it.  In hindsight, it is easy to look back and see all of the evidence, all the signs, red flags, and events that provided a clear indication that what I “wanted” in fact wasn’t what “was”.  I have accepted that truth and also accept my responsibility for creating the fantasy.

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You can’t change narcissists, and you can’t change avoidant attachment personalities.  THEY have to want to change if there is going to be change, and that is a rare thing indeed.  I have learned a lot of lessons in the last 5 years or so, but I still have more to learn.  I do want to change, to get better, to stop making the same mistakes.  I need to add the need to stop creating soulmates or fantasy relationships to my list of lessons learned.  It really shouldn’t be this hard.  Sadly, it is.

It’s the Avoidant Girlfriend Hidden Thoughts that cause Trouble

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I have concluded that being without my avoidant ex-girlfriend is the right place to be, the correct thing to do, but that doesn’t always stop the thoughts.  No matter how logical I am, no matter how I try to convince myself that things will get better, I continue to think the things that I don’t want to think, and don’t think the things that I should.

Do you want proof?  It has been just shy of 3 months since there has been any contact with “Suzy” (the fake name I assigned to her).  The first month or so was pretty even keeled and I actually felt a sense of peace about things.  Looking back on our past, the number of times (four in total) that we had broken up over a little over a two-year period, combined with the freshness of her last deed (accusing me for the 5th time of seeing someone else in a short time period which I was NOT and had no interest in doing) made it pretty clear that things needed to end (again).  She was pushing me away really hard, and it was impossible to miss.

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The breakups consistently occurred as things got too close, although this last one was the most bizarre in that she had actually allowed herself to get close enough to tell me that she loved me (after a combined 17 months or so of dating in between the breakups).  Obviously that was a huge win for me, but it clearly put her in a place where she positioned herself WAY too close to me.  After she said it for the very first time in July of this year, it really did change everything.  After saying it that first time, she struggled to get it out in the few weeks that followed, even after I would set her up for it, looking her in the eyes during a nice moment and telling her that I loved her.  She would just sit there and look at me with a little smile.  That happened so many times that I finally quit trying.  Things continued to go downhill.

So where am I going with this?  Our first breakup occurred in late October, 2016.  On New Years Eve of that year, after not hearing from her for a couple of months, I get an unexpected text essentially telling me that she was thinking back over the year and was thinking about me blah blah blah.  Long story short, I didn’t respond for a couple of days and when I did, I got the expected sarcastic response (how dare I not immediately respond).  There was a little back and forth about this stupid book of hers that I had that she wanted back and that she wanted to meet me to get it.  I pressed a little further and determined that not only was she seeing someone else, but they were going to Chicago for a few days the next weekend.  That killed any desire that I had to see her and we didn’t speak again until she reached out to me again 6 more months later.

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Sadly, I fell back into the trap following that simple text 6 months later, the text that contained no words.  She sent me a photo of a freeway exit on the way to her up-north cottage, a place we had been and had fun at previously, and I took the bait.  That was the start of round 2.  Anyway, I need to get back to the end of round 4 and the real intent of this story…

expected a text from her last night.  I really expected a text.  I didn’t get it.  For several days leading up to yesterday, I calculated that based on her history, there would be a new attempt.  I kept it hidden below the surface, telling myself that it may not happen and, even if it did, I could not reply to it.  It was almost as if I was unconsciously yet with full disclosure trying to prepare myself. Obviously, the weak me, the co-dependent me (what is left anyway) was clearly desiring a text.  I have thought about her far too much in the last few weeks with the holidays and all (doing them all alone yet again) and figured that maybe, just maybe, she was thinking about me too.  That it didn’t occur, that I didn’t receive a text, was at a minimum disappointing.  With that said, it wasn’t good for my ego.

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Maybe that is the final exclamation point on the adventures with my now ex-avoidant girlfriend.  I cannot begin to understand how her mind really works.  Yes, I have read and read and read all kinds of data on avoidant attachment, but that’s like saying I could read medical journals and know how to do surgery.  I simply do not and cannot ever know how her mind functions.  I am better off for it.

So here I am starting off 2019 just like I did 2018 (and 2015, 2016, and 2017) – without a significant other in my life.  The one difference is that it doesn’t create a panic in me like it used to do.  I know there is someone out there, someone who won’t be a “seasonal” partner like I have had for the last 2.5 years.  My impatience and emotionally driven need to have someone in my life all the time isn’t as strong as it was just a couple of years ago.  I am really hoping to make an intelligent choice going forward versus an emotional choice like I have so many times in the past.  I have learned a few things by being so close to both a narcissist and an avoidant (with significant narcissistic tendencies).

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Oh, one other related item that added it’s own perspective to the New Years BS – December 31 was the wedding anniversary date with my ex-narcissistic wife.  I do my best to bury that too, but it still pokes it head out and screams at me occasionally.

I am putting a lid on 2018 and welding it shut.  I am also praying and hoping that at the end of 2019, the year will simply flow right into 2020, that there will be no need to seal up another year of struggle and confusion like the last couple.  It can happen.  Everybody pray for me please.

Revisiting the Past. It’s Okay. Just Don’t Get Stuck There.

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I had an opportunity to return to a place that I love very much, only the circumstances were very different.  This is a place that has been very good to me, an almost magical place that I have only been to as a vacation spot, a fun spot, an escape.  This is a place that I have been to many times with my narcissistic ex-wife, as little as 4.5 years ago.  I have also been there with my avoidant ex-girlfriend back in July of this year.  Clearly, I have to be careful with my thoughts.

The reason for returning there was to take my mom back home after Christmas.  It is a several hour trip and my sister and I agreed that one of us would pick her up, and the other (me), would return her home.  She lives in a resort town in a very beautiful area with lots of fun, exciting, and memorable things to do.  Over the years, I have experienced it over and over, the expansive waterfront areas, the vibrant and fun downtown, the minor league baseball stadium, and a host of other fun and entertaining activities, especially for someone in love.

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Here’s the thing… I had never been there without a significant other (either my ex-N or my ex-avoidant).  I certainly had never been through the town or the area ALONE.  Part of me was regretting the trip before it even started as I knew it was going to have some difficulty associated with it.  Even the drive up tended to be loaded with recalling the little rituals, things that we did, especially the ex-N.  Luckily, my mom was with me in the car on the way up, so I was at least partially distracted and was forced to maintain some level of control over my emotions.  No matter, as I would drive past or through areas of interest or past ritual, I could feel the emotions welling up.  I would tell myself this is where we always jokingly said something funny about the name of a town or this is where we would consistently stop at a certain place, or even where we did something only one time.  My mind never stops remembering.  I kept it to myself.

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I must admit, I probably set myself up by thinking about it so much prior to the trip, but I have been full of emotions lately, with the fairly recent breakup and all.  It has been 11 weeks since I last saw or spoke to my now ex-avoidant girlfriend.  What I realized on this trip is how different my recollections were of that place between my ex-wife and my now ex-girlfriend.  Thoughts concerning the ex-narcissistic wife were overwhelmingly positive.  Memories with the ex-avoidant were much more subdued, as if she wasn’t really there with me at all but rather was simply along for the ride.  It actually made me feel a little angry.  It’s almost as if I were trying to relive the happy times that I had with my ex-wife by doing the same activities with my ex-girlfriend, and they simply did not feel the same.

The risk in all of this is that I don’t focus simply on all the positives, that I don’t again place one or both of them on the pedestal as they do NOT belong there.  The emotions are clearly hidden just below the surface, waiting for an opening, any fissure to bubble out and wreak their havoc.  I tend to keep that place locked up and don’t pay much attention to it, but I have to be careful.  I need to remember all the bad characteristics they both displayed, even though part of me doesn’t want to remember the “bad” them.

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Those emotions escaped with massive force on the drive back home.  As I said earlier, I have NEVER been in that area alone, and after dropping my mom off, I had no distractions, nothing to keep me from venturing through all of my memorial spots completely alone.  It was harder than I expected, and I had expected it to be difficult.  I was able to initially minimize the impact by calling a good friend that understands me and my history, but the call was relatively short.  There really are no answers to what I was feeling, nothing he could say that would help or offer any kind of relief.  I just had to experience it.

One place after the next I would talk to myself about.  Remember this, remember that?  Again, my feelings were so different depending on who I was remembering being with.  As I was passing the minor league baseball stadium, I actually lashed out at the ex-avoidant girlfriend, recalling how different it felt being there with her (only 1 time), that she simply wasn’t “fun”, that it almost felt like a chore being there with her.  To a certain extent, she ruined some of my incredible memories of the place, bruised them somehow.  That the facility was recently sold and will be used in a different way added yet another dimension to my thoughts, as if the old relationships were dying just that much more.

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With that said, I am getting to where I’m not sure how to feel.  I look positively toward the future, knowing there will indeed be someone new in my life at some point.  I am so hopeful that it will be someone who I can feel similar to how I felt with my narcissistic ex-wife, with that level of giddiness and excitement.  Yes, I realize she was a narcissist, but there were indeed some overwhelmingly good times during the relationship.  But the danger of becoming emotionally attached to the wrong person yet again looms large.  I have learned a lot over the past few years, but is it enough?

In case you are wondering, I have had no contact with my avoidant ex-girlfriend.  Out of loneliness, I have been tempted at times to reach out, but I know what the result would be.  On top of that, I am able to go back and revisit my journals which are full of questions and issues, with me telling myself over and over again that the relationship didn’t “feel” right, that I needed to get out, with all kinds of indications of where things would ultimately end up.  I know without a doubt that she is wrong for me and would be difficult for anyone.  I am also convinced (and I hope it is not wishful thinking) that she will reach out to me once enough time has passed and she forgets whatever it was that I did to annoy her.  She has so many times in the past, and she’s not going to change (I have proof of that).

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Like that emotional ride through town, I have to keep my thoughts and emotions in check as much as I can.  Like that baseball stadium that is changing, our lives must change too.  There is no going back, no reliving the past minus the bad stuff, no matter how much we might want to.  If I do things right, hopefully the next person I take to that place (and all the other places that I enjoy) will be someone who truly enjoys it with me and will want to return again and again.  I need to invent some new rituals along the way.  I’m looking forward to that.

Be Wary of the Mind. It Tries to Fool You.

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My mind tries to take me places that I really don’t’ want to go, places that I know I shouldn’t go.  It doesn’t give up easily.  Whether it likes it or not, I am winning.

It has been nearly 3 months since I last saw or spoke to my avoidant girlfriend.  This is the one that I have split up with on 4 different occasions in the last 2 years, with several months typically in between each reunion.  The last split occurred after she again accused me of seeing someone else (multiple someone’s actually).  No, I wasn’t and, in fact, I didn’t want to be with anyone else.  Regardless, that was the last straw for me, I took her home, and we haven’t seen each other since.

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With that said, I believe (but I have no proof) that she was projecting, i.e. she is the one that was actually seeing someone else.  I believe that because she had accused me on 5 separate occasions within a few week period that I was seeing someone else, and she had never done that before.  Additionally, a couple of weeks after taking her home that last time, in a moment of weakness I had sent her an email taking responsibility for some different errors on my part, along with expressing some things I thought she might do differently to improve the relationship.  It was a very heartfelt and long (page and a half) expression.  What I got in return was a short paragraph telling me that I was wrong on every count and that there was no way forward (after being together for nearly 8 months during this stint).  I never replied to it.  There was no remorse, no sadness, no regret on her part.  It was a very insensitive way to end a relationship.  Then again, she never really put much into the relationship anyway (just read some of my earlier posts on the avoidant girlfriend for answers to why I say that).

Given her quick and dirty response, and knowing that she doesn’t like to be alone, combined with the fact that we are going on 3 months with no contact, I have concluded in my mind at least that she has indeed gotten involved with someone else.  To further substantiate my conclusion, she did the same exact thing on one of our earlier breakups, and then lied to me about it when we subsequently got back together.

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Regardless, my mind has been working overtime to remind me of what I no longer have.  Not only is it telling me the avoidant girlfriend is no longer around, it is trying to get me to miss my narcissistic ex-wife and she has been gone for 4.5 years.  BTW – I did walk past my narcissistic ex on a sidewalk just last week (at work), barely inches apart coming face to face, and it was as if we had never met.  I looked at her at the last second and she was staring straight ahead.  It has been that way ever since I went no contact on her a few years ago.  How dare I do that?  Her response was to do the same.  It doesn’t matter, but it feels very strange to have been that close to someone for so long and now to not even acknowledge one another.

I believe that both of the last two relationships that I have had (the narcissist and the avoidant) were such strong personalities (though wildly different) that I have a hard time not having a never ending supply of things to remember.  Of course, the pleasant memories are the ones that bubble to the surface, and there were plenty of those with both (and especially the narcissist).  My mind tries desperately to get me to reach out, saying to me “C’mon, was it really that bad?  Remember all those fun things, and the touch and the passion and the…”.  Sometimes, I want to agree and ask myself “why not, how bad can it be?”.  I know the answer to that.

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Luckily, I have grown a bit over the last few years, grown to understand about co-dependence and narcissism and avoidant attachment styles.  I am able to make the right (although difficult) decision to do nothing, to continue to patiently wait for the right person to enter my life.  My mind doesn’t stop trying though.  It is an addiction being with these kinds of women that I know are wrong for me.  I am doing my best to break the addiction.  So far, even with the recent and overbearing thoughts, I haven’t come close to reaching out.  In fact, I have done pretty good at convincing myself that if my avoidant ex reaches out, which I believe she will, I am in a pretty good place to tell her that she gave me up for the last time.

Why do I believe she will reach out again?  She has EVERY single time we have broken up, typically after she has dated someone else and I have become “the one that got away”, the idealized boyfriend the others can’t seem to measure up to.  A few months after our first breakup, she actually sent me a text telling me to “never change”, that I was “perfect”, and that she was “unintentionally being cruel to me”.  Let that sink in for a moment as one can create a lot of questions out of that one profession of truth.  Hey, I guess I’ve got that going for me, being “perfect”.  I just need to find a “normal” person that will feel that way about me.

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This will be the 6th year that I have gone through the holidays without a “significant other”.  I’m not panicked by it like I once was, but I don’t want to get used to it either. I have to continue to control my mind, to reign it back in when it starts thinking stupid thoughts, egging me on to repeat mistakes from the past, knowing full well how it would turn out.  I absolutely take pride in realizing how much I have learned, being able to make the “right” decisions versus letting my emotions rule me.  I won’t be alone forever.  I’m “perfect”, remember?

Finding the Positives in a Breakup.

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For those that are experiencing or recently experienced a breakup, there tend to be a lot of questions.  Oftentimes there are very few, if any, answers.  If we allow ourselves to go there, we can end up down the rabbit hole, lost, and looking for a way out.  As hard as it may be to believe, there are positives associated with nearly anything that happens in life, including the breakup of a relationship.  Do your best to find them.

I broke up with my avoidant girlfriend 2 months ago now, and haven’t heard a peep since her last email 5 weeks ago.  This was an email that I never responded to as it essentially put all the blame for any issues on me, and I knew that simply wasn’t true (and I do “own” my contributions to what occurred).  Because we had been going through the peaks and valleys of an avoidant/anxious attachment relationship for a couple of years, I wasn’t “shocked” by the breakup, but I certainly wasn’t happy about it either.  I essentially skipped the shocked phase and went straight to the sorrowful or sad phase.

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Like most, I have had the desire to reach out many times.  Funny how going from being in a relationship to suddenly being alone can do that to you.  Most of us have been there before and, as much as we didn’t like it, we lived through it, myself included.  So what do you do during that period?  You can ruminate, you can justify, you can get angry, as well as involve yourself in all kinds of other non-productive activities.  Me?  I decided to try to consider the positives.

Everybody’s case is different, but in mine, some of the things I identified include:

  • I was able to stop wondering when the bottom was going to fall out, as it finally had.  My job during the relationship seemed to be to keep things going, and I did that very well.  In fact, if I had chosen to respond to my girlfriends last email, I am sure that I could have smoothed things over enough to have yet another go at it.  I didn’t do that and I feel some level of respect for myself as a result.
  • I believe this door was closed for me because I wasn’t strong enough to do it for myself.  In other words, God (and this can be whatever higher power you believe in) said “enough”, I’m taking over, and that was that.  Again, I would probably still be kissing her finely shaped behind if things hadn’t ended the way they did, but figured I would leave that door closed this time (and it’s possible I may not be able to open it even if I tried).  Take this break as an opportunity to love yourself, to identity and accept  that you do have worth and do so many things well (no matter that some may try to convince you otherwise).

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  • I am pretty certain that my silence is deafening, and I take some pleasure in that.  The fact that I was the driver of the relationship and did whatever needed to be done to keep it going, that is not lost on my ex.  She very well may be seeing someone new already, but that doesn’t mean she’s not looking at her phone waiting for that “I miss you” text which I would have sent in the past.  I am absolutely convinced that at some point in the not too distant future, she will reach out to me in a non-romantic way (i.e. a happy birthday, Merry Christmas, or “did I leave my coat at your house” text) in an attempt to re-engage while not being overt about it, just in case I choose not to respond.  I admit, that will be a challenge and a true test.  It’s coming.
  • I have a lot more money.  This is the same woman who in a 15 or 16 month period spread over 2 years (due to all of our breakups) never spent a dime.  That was part of the reason for the most recent breakup as I had the audacity to ask about that.  Through my recent evaluation of what and how things happened, I have been able to discern that she was an incredibly selfish person, and not just with money.  She wasn’t a cheap date either, which leads into the next item…

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  • …I don’t have to constantly be discovering new and interesting places to go.  Seriously, this was a huge challenge as she had to be entertained.  I was running out of ideas as we had done the Vegas thing, a cruise, countless weekend trips, shows, movies, comedy clubs, and on and on.  I think we had dinner in every fancy restaurant within a 100 mile radius.
  • This one is difficult, but is huge – take the opportunity to believe there is somebody better out there.  There is someone who you don’t have to force fit, someone that will appreciate who you are rather than what you can do for them.  I had gotten so carried away in trying to make her happy (and always realizing that I wasn’t making her happy AND that it really wasn’t my job), I had lost track of the fact the relationship was supposed to be a 2-way street.  Instead of give and take, it had turned into “I” give, and “she” takes.  That had become the routine and I simply accepted it.

I am sure there are more things than what I have listed and, yes, there are certainly negatives associated with the breakup.  With that said, dwelling on the negatives does no good and they cannot be changed.  Finding that sliver of hope, that silver lining, that ray of sunshine is necessary at this point.  It is all too easy to slip into a frenzy of negativity, blaming oneself for all of the things that happened.  Don’t do that (and yes, I am still convincing myself of that very thing) as it does no one any good and doesn’t change a thing.

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One last thing – don’t try to move on too fast.  A week or so ago, I revisited the online dating world and I have already blocked my profile.  Not only did I determine that I am not really ready to be dating again yet, I got a quick reminder of what a s@#t-show the online dating world is.  Don’t go there until you are truly ready.

Breakups are tough.  You have to go through it as there is no way around it or over it.  Once we get to the other side, all of the other positives will become clearer.  No one said that life is easy, but there are always good things if you take the time to look for them.

A Little Different Take on the Avoidant Ex-Girlfriend

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I love it when something finally comes together.  Just such a thing occurred for me this morning. An epiphany essentially, and better than that, a bit of relief.  Let me explain.

It has been 6 weeks since I was last with my avoidant ex-girlfriend.  The last time we were together was pretty unpleasant (as I have indicated in earlier posts), and her final email to me (3 weeks ago) was just as unpleasant, essentially putting everything bad about the relationship on me.  No, I never did reply to it (and I feel pretty dang good about that!).

This morning, I actually woke up in a bit of a panic, knowing that I was once again alone and had the rest of the weekend to continue being alone.  I leapt out of bed rather than laying there wallowing in my loss, and all of a sudden my thoughts started changing.  I asked myself specifically what it was that I was panicked over, what I was missing, and the answer was very interesting.

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It seems to me that when we are in the throes of a relationship, the goal is to make it better, to make it last, to care for the other person and have them care for us.  It seems that having such a lofty goal is where things went off the rails in my relationship.  Interestingly, the fact that she was avoidant didn’t really matter and, in fact, helped me to get to the place that I needed to get to.  Confused yet?  If it wasn’t that she had an avoidant attachment personality and that I had an anxious attachment personality (that I am working on) that caused things to proceed down a bad path, then what was it?

Answer – it was all of the other things that we simply didn’t see eye to eye on, that we had gaping differences about, that I didn’t see because my eyes were basically shut!  When I really thought about things, I came up with so many reasons that we shouldn’t have been together, so many differences in who we were and what was important to us as both individuals and as a couple.  These are really important things that make or break a relatioship and that I chose to overlook including:

  1. Selfishness/Kindness/Greediness.  I have talked over and over in previous posts how in 2+ years, she never paid for a thing, but there was so much more to it.  I never saw her share anything with a stranger, never saw her provide to a charity, never saw her be truly kind to anyone, even her own kids.  She was not a generous person, i.e. ensuring her needs were met always came first.  I ignored it.  In fact, I supported her weakness in all of these areas by ensuring they were taken care of for her, with me making up the difference in her lack.  Her beauty, sadly, could not hide her selfishness.
  2. Bitterness.  She was a very bitter person.  While she rarely spoke about her ex-husband, when she did, it was full of hate and bitterness, almost scary.  Nothing wrong in their marriage was ever her fault, and he was just a horrible, distant (ironic, eh?) person.  The dislike in her voice was crystal clear, and brutal.
  3. Addiction.  She couldn’t be without her vape.  Even when we would go on trips that included air travel, she would bring a mini-vape that she would sneak out of her purse and use while we were in the air.  She did the same thing in restaurants and bars, even though it is illegal in our state.  She was never without it.  And don’t ever try to tell her that it might be unhealthy.  I only initiated that discussion once.
  4. God.  I am a believer, she is not.  In fact, in parallel with her bitterness, speaking about God, or Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit would be met with anger, dislike, and all of the reasons that He had done her wrong.  Again, I learned to avoid the subject.  This one is actually THE most important of our differences as it would have caused many more problems as time progressed.  I believe HE is the one that closed the door on this relationship because I was too weak and scared to do it myself (even knowing that I should).
  5. Romance.  She expected EVERYTHING to be about her.  She wanted (expected) flowers, loving emails and texts, her car door opened for her, my phone screensaver to be her, photos of her in my house, looking her in the eye and telling her that I loved her… it was a one way street.  She did not go out of her way to make me feel special or desired.  None of the things that I did was ever reciprocated.  In fact, it seemed as though her goal was to keep me at arms length, craving her attention, wanting more, like a drug dealer taunting an addict.  To be blunt, the only thing she ever complemented me on was my penis.  Talk about feeling a bit cheap.  I guess I had that going for me.

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I realize what I have stated is a fairly ugly picture and, yes, she certainly did have some positive qualities.  I need to qualify that statement, as her positive qualities would appear and disappear at will.  I never really knew for sure who I was going to get.  I also understand that we are all broken, every one of us.  We are imperfect and needy creatures, myself included.  What I failed to recognize however is that in my own neediness, I was willing to accept things that most other people probably would not have accepted.  That she was physically beautiful, available to do things (and we did share several interests, especially lake/water related activities) AND willing to do them with me, that was all that I expected.  Sadly, that wasn’t all that I needed (or wanted).

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It is humbling to realize just how shallow I was being.  She was gorgeous, she was available, and I had time.  On the surface, those are great.  But there is so much more to us, and to a relationship, than what is on the surface.  It is uncomfortable to look at things realistically, to identify where I had no barriers, or where barriers were just mowed down, and to admit that was just wrong and was not going to work in the long run.

I will overtly and strongly admit, I DO miss the relationship.  Going from always busy to basically an open schedule (and for 6 straight weeks) does tend to get ones attention, to ensuring that I am overwhelmingly aware of just how empty I allow and have allowed myself to be when there isn’t a significant other in my life.  Sadly, for the most part, I do not miss her.  That is a very sobering thing for me to admit, because I really, really WANT to miss her.

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Looking at the list of not so pleasant differences identified above, it makes it brutally clear to me just how much I overlooked, just how much I changed my own behavior, my own needs, how much I accepted mediocrity to ensure her needs and desires were met.  That’s not a relationship.  I need to keep working on me as I am clearly not where I need to be.  She will also need to work on her.  It is time to stop trying to change her and accept that is not something that I can ever do.  I can only better myself.