I’ve been on the site for a couple of days and posted a couple responses but haven’t yet posted my story. I’ll give just a snippet here to introduce my question and will post the full agonizing experience in the stories section later.
I’ve been in a relationship with a guy for 4 years now and I have felt something is not right on and off for most of that time. I’ve hovered around the idea there is some narc problem going on there, but keep steering away from it for a couple of reasons. First – my mom has NPD so I am very very attuned to the signs. At least I thought I was :). And I dealt with one NPD man when I was much much younger (not in a relationship – he was a roommate and friend), and so he became my guidepost for what the NPD male is like. And my boyfriend is not like them. He’s very covert and subtle. BOTH my mom and previous “friend” are histrionic, fly into rather violent (though not typically physical) rages, over-embellish (actually make up) their accomplishments, highly social, and put on a “greater than thou” air in the company of others. This guy is shy, reserved, soft-spoken and doesn’t socialize (except when he drinks, of course, which is when the charismatic charming social butterfly emerges), rejects compliments and denies anything positive said about him. So basically I kept thinking – naw, it’s not NPD, he’s got issues for sure but not that… well, I’m beginning to think he’s got issues all right and NPD is exactly what they are.
The thing is, I am very cautious about throwing that label around – don’t want to be guilty of too-quickly labeling everything based on some past experience I have. And I DO have trust issues as a result of my upbringing. And I AM a little neurotic, also as a result of same and probably just generally being a little wacky :). So could it be that my wackiness just rubs against his issues in exactly the wrong way and he’s not a narcissist, he’s just messed up and so am I?
Either way, it appears this relationship is very very bad for me. I spend most of my time worrying about what I’ve done or said wrong and wondering what he is going to do next, and the rest of my time wondering why I’m not worthy of this person’s love. Not healthy whether narc or not. So going NC seems to be the healthiest decision for me either way.
Here’s the problem – I CAN’T go NC immediately. We work together. I cannot divulge to the workplace that we have/had a relationship and I can’t just suddenly not work on projects he works on. I’ve actually started looking for another job because I don’t know how I could continue this situation when I fully break with him – the work we do is so completely entwined with him that there is no other way. Now, thankfully we work remotely so it is possible for me to limit my physical contact with him or even eliminate it, I cannot just drop all contact at once and even breaking off the physical part of the relationship has to be handled carefully because of the dependencies involved and the way these people tend to react and effect other situations when they feel abandoned and betrayed. I would imagine it’s similar to if you have kids with the guy (which thankfully I don’t) – how do those of you who have had this experience handle that type of situation? What if you can’t quickly go complete NC?