This post is a bit of a new direction for me in that it won’t specifically be about narcissism or my narcissistic ex. This is actually about learning about yourself as a result of being with a narcissist and how that plays out over time.
I didn’t know about narcissism or co-dependence until I was seeking therapy following my narcissistic ex-wife leaving for the final time a couple of years ago. Now that I am aware that I have co-dependent tendencies, I am able to see it and feel it under varying circumstances or conditions. I guess if there was anything positive about living with a narcissist, it is that I was forced to learn about myself and why I do some of the things that I do (or did).
Getting to the point and, on a bit more somber level, knowing the past 24 hours have resulted in my co-dependency coming to the forefront and wreaking a little bit of havoc on me once again. I have been dating the same woman for about 5 and a half months, and things have been going fairly smooth and positive during that period. With that said, last night resulted in a bit of poor judgement on both our parts, but more so by me, and now I am not sure what is going to happen. This is where I now am able to detect what my emotions are trying to do, and to not necessarily act upon those emotions and desires.
At this point, I haven’t heard from her at all today, and yes, that is not normal. As a result, my co-dependent self is in a semi-panic, acknowledging over and over my role in the crap that occurred and urging me to act immediately. I have in fact sent her an email telling her how sorry I am for what occurred, that I accept responsibility and am identifying learnings from the issue, but I haven’t allowed my panic to take over. In the past, the old me would have been on the phone non-stop begging for forgiveness, likely coming off as some kind of emotional nut case, but I have resisted it so far.
Yes, I do continue to relive the issue over and over, evaluating how it happened and what could and should have been done differently, but I am not allowing myself to overreact, to accept ALL of the responsibility, even the pieces that are not mine to own. In the past, the thought of losing someone would have instantly sent me into a reactive mode where I would have done anything to turn things around. Not this time. I believe I have done what is right in apologizing, and it is indeed a valid and sincere apology where I am owning my mistake(s), but it isn’t an overwhelming and pleading apology. It is caring and kind, versus screaming “please don’t go” over and over.
At this point, I have no idea what is going to happen and what direction things are going to go. It is very possible that I may never see her again. Based on what I now know about myself, maybe that is the right thing, i.e. to let her go rather than beg and plead for her to stay. I am lucid enough to know at this point in my post-narcissist life that it takes two to make things work and, if she doesn’t want to, then that tells me something about her, that maybe she isn’t where I belong. Yes, I occasionally will feel a moment of panic at the thought of being alone again, but I also don’t want to be with the wrong person yet again.
So here I am, waiting and wondering and trying to remain calm and patient. It is a struggle, but I am doing much better with it than I would have a couple of years ago. I can now easily see how my narcissistic ex-wife used my co-dependency to her advantage, how she would create issues just to enable her to get more of what she wanted. I have to do my best to stay the course, to not allow that old controlling panic to take over and cause me to do things that I will regret later on.
No matter what, I do hope things turn out for the best, whatever that ends up being. I am able to admit that right now I feel sad, I feel a bit angry at myself, and that I don’t want to stay in this place for an extended period of time. Like Dory says, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”. That’s what I’m going to try to do while hoping for a positive outcome.