I wasted so much time in my head, with friends, reading on these boards, wondering: Did he ever, ever, for a minute love me? Did he even try to love me?
Some of you wondered, too, because you wrote: Does he love the New Woman? Is he trying to get me back because he loves and misses me? How do I get him to love me again?
By now, you're (hopefully) realizing that your Ex-NarcoPath is broken- profoundly and irreparably so, right? We 'get' that he is so disordered that a relationship, of any kind, is impossible for him. So now we can stop auditioning for the part of His Only Woman (because we now know that, he can't love AND one woman can never meet his 'supply' demands!) and we can stop hoping for some kind of true connection or reunion.
I believe, though, that until we address this 'love' word that we'll just fall for another charming NarcoPath who whispers all the right things. Women are far more taken in by words than men and this is something we need to be wary of in our future. There are many on this board (including myself) that have had more than one Narc in their past and I think we can agree that we don't want to do this again. Part of reaching this goal, and Step Four in Lisa's 'Path Forward' is to Get Real. So here's my plan.
For me, the concept of love is fraught with too many hopes, too many unreal expectations and remembrances of too many painful pasts. The word has been manipulated by Madison Avenue to provoke us to buy things we don't need and look what the likes of Disney did to it! I feel brainwashed by a hundred years of music dating back to 'the moon in June' crap that my grandmother listened to, and, of course, all the Hollywood pairings going back to Fred & Ginger...
So please excuse me if I have a problem with that word.
From now on, I'm going to place much more emphasis on people's actions than their words. NarcoPaths especially, manipulate with their tongues- lies, promises, shameless self-promotion- and they deliver so little in the 'tangible' department. Maybe a few tossed crumbs to keep his admirers in suspended animation- and hoping for more.
And while I'm avoiding the word 'love', in the romantic sense, I'll be replacing it with concepts such as: care, nurturing, kindness, patience, thoughtfulness, tenderness, empathy, humor, good will, peace, joy, faithfulness, self-control, happiness, fun, wisdom. These things, and more, do I bring to a relationship and these are the virtues I expect in return! My question now will be what a person is bringing into my life- in an emotional and spiritual way.
On the flip-side, think about all the abuse and deceptions you put up with concerning Mr. NarcoPath. And, please remember that you called it 'Love'. Reason2Believe started a great topic earlier in the month entitled, 'What We Tolerate':
Her thread got me thinking of all the neglect we suffered at the hands of The Disordered Ones. Not just the overt abuses (remember, we 'took it' because he 'loved' us!) and I wrote, of the Narcs treatment of us, all his:
"Neglected responsibilities, broken promises, controlling all communication (ST included), skipping foreplay, refusing to accompany you to social obligations, 'forgetting' birthdays and anniversaries, ignoring the children... oh God, I could go on all day!"
So, let's go back to replacing, just for awhile, the word 'love' with 'care', 'kindness' or any of those concepts above and let's try this out with an exercise. Instead of asking yourself if he 'loved' you (or does 'love' you), think about the times you were sorely disappointed or humiliated by him- the times he let you down. (With a Narc the list is endless, isn't it?)
Now say (and fill in the blank):
Did he care when _________________________________
-I got a job promotion
-I was sick
-My grandmother died...
Was he showing kindness when ______________________
-he didn't return my phone call
-disappeared for days on end without a word
-he tried to make me jealous with his 'triangle game'
I don't know how that huge 'disconnect' happened between our perceptions of 'Love' and the way a person actually treats us - but maybe that's a topic for another post!
For now, I'd love to know how you've answered this exercise.