I had no idea he was a narcissist, I just knew he was cruel and emotionally unavailable. So I DID send my letter to him. And he responded. It only confirmed why I had the leave.
Below is my letter to him and his response. (If you need any clarification of the back story, I posted more detail in the My Story forum)
I hope this letter finds you well. I started seeing a therapist in the last two weeks since our breakup and she does not think meeting would be very productive for me. So this letter will have to substitute for our walk on Monday.
She also told me I have no obligation to you to tell you my feelings and how I think our relationship went wrong. For me to feel closure, I really want to get some observations off my chest. Whether or not you read this to its entirety, see any redeeming information in it, or never respond to this letter, at least I will know that I reached out and did my best to explain why I had to get out.
June 13, 2015 4:00 pm to August 15, 2015 approximately 4:00am, 62.5 days almost exactly…..
The highs were incredible, the lows were so destructing. I truly had some AMAZING times with you. There were times I felt we had already fallen into a routine as a married couple. I truly wanted THAT feeling to last forever. I hope that I showed you that I could have been a great spouse to you, always ready to help out around the house and truly be a partner to you.
I do hope that you read what I have to say and truly look at why I say what I am about to put into words. While I do recognize that I played a part in the failure of the relationship, I believe that there were things on your behalf that could have played out differently as well. If you can honestly take my words to heart, I think you can gain some ground on being able to work on some things that will help you find your someone special. While I realize it is easier to point fingers than to look at yourself, I would entertain your point of view on what I have to say and how you feel I went wrong in our relationship.
Why did I leave?
There were many things that played into me feeling the need to leave. The main reason: I feel I lost my voice in the relationship. I don’t feel like I had lost myself as I had in my marriage, but I do feel that that would have been the inevitable outcome. Unfortunately, there were many more nights I awoke lying there in your bed asking myself if this is truly where I wanted to be, you just didn’t know about them.
How did I lose my voice?
I had mentioned once to you that I didn’t know how to handle your anger. I still vividly remember the first time that you became very angry with me. It was when I asked if you had heard anything about your interviews. You accused me of badgering you and you raised your voice to me. Your eyes had this look of hatred and you continued to barrage me until I was in tears. Once you had me in tears there was no comforting, consoling or apology from you for making me cry. I honestly was on the verge of getting up and walking out right then. I convinced myself to stay, telling myself you had just misunderstood me and that you were under pressure concerned about the lack of communication yourself; that you didn’t want me to see you under that pressure.
Again the argument around the tattoos also had me VERY concerned. During that exchange your eyes literally turned black and again I saw hatred in your eyes. Again you continued to be relentless in your statements towards me until I was again in tears. You literally got up and pulled away from me asking to give you space, instead of coming together to discuss the situation. You were so mad at me that when you asked me to walk the dog, I knew it was to get me out of the house. I truly wanted to leave then. Afterwards I also did not feel any remorse from you for treating me in the manner that you did. After our arguments, I would kneel down next to your chair, and I now see was a submissive act. It was as if I was asking for your forgiveness, but I wasn’t the one needing the forgiveness.
Your outbursts in traffic while traveling to Montreal also made me think if I truly wanted to stay in this relationship. I did my best to try to console you and calm you down, to no avail. The longer we sat in traffic the more upset you got. Your criticism of me not being able to figure out where we were on a limited map and your angry reaction to my suggestion that you stay on Highway 30 made me feel so helpless. Later that evening I think you felt that I had pulled back from you as you asked me if everything was OK. I think you knew it wasn’t, but I said they were because I wanted to make the best of the few days we had together.
There were many times I felt unnecessarily criticized for some of the things I have done in my life. I am still very hurt at your comment about me not having my shit together while I was going through a very emotional time in my life. It was as if you were not cutting me any slack. The comment about James being almost young enough to be my son was the tipping point. That was so ridiculous and such a reach to hurt me that I felt I had to leave. I do not deserve to be treated that way. There were many other comments that were said in a hurtful manner to keep me in a state of self-doubt, even though I did not deserve to have any. And I still do not believe that someone can support someone else who has an interest of which you find “Silly”. That comment also cut me pretty deeply.
There were times throughout the relationship when I would look into your eyes and I feel I was seeing doubt and sadness, as if you truly didn’t believe you were worthy of being loved as much as I was capable of loving you. There were many times I felt you were keeping me at arm’s length, as if you knew it wouldn’t work out so you wanted to keep me from getting too close. Your joking comments about having to update your dating profile made me feel like you had your hand on the door knob, ready to walk out at any time. I do still feel that you have some self-doubt issues that you need to work through. I also decided that your angry outbursts are truly not a reflection on me or anything I said or did. It was your choice to react in that manner and I am not responsible for your actions, you are. You mentioned I was impulsive with some of my actions, but you were also with your anger. I decided that I did not want to live my life that way. Every time we had a confrontation, it was deflected back to something I said or did. You took very little, if any, responsibility for the escalation of the incidents. Even when all I was looking for was being comforted and reassured, you found a way to turn it around come up with something to hurt me.
My epiphany came this weekend about our arguments. Like I said, it was your choice to react like that and not mine. **(I know this will be hurtful to hear and it will probably anger you, so proceed with caution. It is said with good intentions)** I began to see a pattern in our confrontations and I realized that during each of them, you were reacting possibly how your Mother reacted to you when you were young and I had regressed to a child-like state, doing my best to calm you down and eventually becoming submissive to you, no matter who was right or wrong. All I truly wanted from you is your love and acceptance, just like a child wants from their parent. (Or you from your Mother). My step-father was very much like you in your angry outbursts. When I was a child, it became easier to allow him to always be right because if I tried stating my opinion, it was seen as an act of aggression or lack of respect. I see that I had regressed to my childhood coping mechanism during our arguments.
You said I had a lack of trust for you. How can I trust someone whom I don’t feel like I can open up to without the fear of it turning into an angry outburst. You had me believing it was always something that I had done. I don’t want to live that way, giving in to every word you say.
I want to believe your manipulative ways were not intentional and that this is something you can work on so the next woman you are in a relationship with will not have to go through what I did. I am also going to work on how to recognize when I get myself into these situations and the best way to go about handling them.
Whatever the reasons were that we both let this slip away, I hope we can both look at what happened with the ability to grow and the knowledge that we will take away some valuable insights.
When I was in college, I had an argument with a friend. She was trying to tell another person where a certain restaurant was. She had the address wrong. I kept telling her she was wrong and she kept insisting she was right. I pulled out the phone book there in front of an entire group of people and showed her the address and that I was right. That was the last time I saw her or any of the group of people. I realized later that my desire to be right had overcome my desire to be happy. It wouldn’t have hurt anyone if I had let her believe she was right, even though I knew she wasn’t. It wasn’t that big of deal. I feel there were many times during our relationship that your desire to be right destroyed any chance you could have had to be happy.
I love you still and I hope you made it through to the end of this letter. You truly are a remarkable man and I want you to find peace with your childhood and be able to have a woman in your life that you feel comfortable and at peace with. I am sorry that that could not have been me. When we clicked it was so right. My relationship with James felt too good to be true. This relationship we had, when it went right, WAS TRUE.
Thank you again for an incredible journey, even for the few days we had together……
All my love,
Susan - firstly, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your feelings with me. I've spent time over the past few days trying to decide how I felt about everything you had to say. My feelings have alternated between bafflement, anger, bemusement, and sorrow. At some point (read: now), I feel as though I at least owe you a response, even if it isn't complete (and regardless of whether or not my therapist gives me permission to do so).
One of the things you asked me to do was to share my observations ('I would entertain your point of view on what I have to say and how you feel I went wrong in our relationship.'; 'I want you to be honest, not only about where I went wrong, but where you went wrong as well.'), and that's as good a place to start as any:
**Always assume positive intent** It bothers me to this day that you continue to doubt my intent in terms of my friendship with Anna. Even after I offered to give you my cell phone and laptop to read all of my emails to/from Anna, you continue to doubt. I have to say that I really decided to draw the line when, in spite of all of my offers, you still insisted that I end my friendship with Anna. Same with our discussion of my first marriage. Even though that marriage was only for a few months and over 30 years ago, you continue to bang the drum of 'dishonesty' over it. Do you realize that you and I only knew each other for EIGHT WEEKS? There was no intent to decieve you - you can only cover so much ground in that time. What happened 30 years ago has very little to do with who I am today. One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was to 'always assume positive intent'. I wish with all of my heart that you would have started your judgements of me assuming that I was trying to be fully open and transparent to you (which I was). It would have made this episode so much easier.
**8 weeks - really?** It still startles me to think about how much you talked about 'forever' and 'marriage' and the type of wife you would be. We only knew each other for 8 weeks. EIGHT WEEKS! In my mind it was like 'whoa - just - whoa!!'. It is absolutely true that I enjoyed most of our time together, and that I thought we might have a future together. But to profess undying love to someone that you've only known for a few weeks? That doesn't feel healthy at all. My daughter summed it up best: when I had a cookout here, Emily asked me what was up with you. It seems like every time Emily posted something on Facebook, you would immediately chime in with a comment. Even Em's closest freinds and family don't do that. Your attempt to be close (and overly familiar) to her came off as 'creepy and stalker-ish' (Em's words).
**Staying with the '8 weeks' theme** - in the 7 months you lived in CT, you have burned through 3 8-week relationships. Careening from lover to lover to lover in such a short time raises a red flag. I'm not a therapist, but it sure feels as though there is some kind of insecurity at play here. Is it really 'everyone else' - or could it be you too?
**'Your manipulative ways' - or my truth vs. your truth?** It's interesting to me that you feel free to 'interpret' what I say, yet when I try to tell you how I feel, it's suddenly 'manipulation'. ('You could twist reality into whatever shape you needed'). How and why is my truth any less valid than your truth? Just because my viewpoint difers from yours doesn't mean I'm being manipulative. And it was certainly never my intent to do so.
**Anger and mistrust - not really due to me?** You spent a lot of time in your emails talking about my 'anger'. Firstly, you seem to be seeing something that no one else in my life sees (more on that in a minute), and I can't help but wonder if some of the anger you express is actually yours. You mentioned many times about how stifled you were in your marriage. You also mentioned once that you were raped when you were young (I figured if you wanted to talk about it further, you would). These things would cause most people to become very angry, and I can't help but womder whether this is part of all the talk about anger. Maybe - just maybe - you have some anger to work through.
**Exes would not agree with your assessment.** One of the struggles I had when reading your emails is that you seem to be describing someone that none of my exes (or current friends) would recognize. If I get feedback from you that I haven't received from anyone else in my life, I really have to wonder about its validity. Certainly I had a pretty miserable childhood, but I've also spent a lifetime working through and past it. I can assure you that my past does not own me. And the angry young man that I was in my 20's no longer exists. Can I be cranky? Sure. But crankiness and anger are 2 very different things. As an example, when we got lost in Montreal, I freely admit to snapping at you. This was after I'd asked you to follow our route on the map, which you had said you were doing. Yet when we got lost (on a major highway into the city), you didn't even know where we were on the map. In a moment of mild panic, I snapped at you. But it was nothing like the explosion you refer to. Perhaps I'm just used to dating stronger, more confident women who would just brush that sort of thing off. In my mind's eye, I have shared your emails with exes, and I can only imagine that they would probably chuckle at your portrayal/interpretation of my 'anger'. Cranky - sometimes. Angry - no.
Okay, I've rambed more than long enough for today. And yes, I realize that I've only done half of what I'd set out to do - I've only shared my obseervations about where I think you went wrong. I'll spend some time percolating on where *I* went wrong, and get that email off in a few days.
One more small thing: as contradictory as it sounds, I still find myself wishing that we could have worked through this together. When we connected, it was magnificent. And as major as some of our differences seem, I don't think it was anything that 2 caring compassionate people couldn't have worked through.
Hope you're enjoying this spectacular weekend.