I don't know where to start. I feel shell shocked most of the time. I'm six months out of a five year relationship and have been in therapy each week, ever since. That's where I heard him, my ex, being referred to as a narcissist, or malignant narcissist, for the first time. She would never diagnose having never met him, but from my accounts, she says it is "textbook". I struggle terribly. Over the past 5 years, he left and came back about a dozen times - sometimes after 2 weeks, sometimes after 5 months. He constantly talked about his ambivalence, internal conflict, uncertainty, just not feeling enough...then would turn around and say that I am the one, and I'm the one he wants to be with, but there was always a but. But we need to get to a better place, but we need to do this less or that more, everything always so abstract. I never knew what was going on, but I always had this feeling like I needed to convince him, I needed to do more but didn't even know what that more was that was going to make him happy. I didn't know where all this conflict was coming from. Today, I get physically ill when I here the word ambivalence. He'd say we lack synchronicty (what does that even mean) but could go days without saying a word. He didn't need conversation, or to be close. It was as if when he needed or wanted me, I was there, otherwise I was just "something" in the room. What threw me off, and continues to, is how much the outside world loves him. He's an incredibly successful attorney (will argue you into the ground any day of the week for sport, and will make the most intelligent person doubt their own existence with his words) and very wealthy as a result. The outgoing, gregarious person at any party, the crowd pleaser, the charmer...my God..the charmer. But close the door and be the only one with him, complete withdrawal and disconnection. I don't know if anyone is relating to this. I still doubt whether he is a narcissist or whether I was the problem. He had a way of making it seem like he was sorry for things, or sharing responsibility, but he really wasn't. It was always on me. I have my issues I suppose just like anyone else, but those issues were magnified and used as the reason why we didn't work. He'd say, if only I believed that he wanted to be with me, we'd be together, we would have worked. But I didn't believe because he was always leaving, not because of my childhood! It was never about his actions, and he would tell me this, it was about my reaction. No matter what he did wrong, he said I never had the right to get angry and be mad. And if I was, it had to be for a certain amount of time that he seemed appropriate, after which I needed to get over it, or he would leave. He said I could be angry, but then I would have to leave him. As if what he did negated my feelings for him. I found out years in that he would hit on other women, follow up with them, ask if he could take them out. I found emails, only years into it and only because I was planning a surprise birthday for him and needed addresses. I had never looked before. Never in a million years did I think he was doing that. When I saw that, I was devastated. Completely wrecked and I confronted him. He would look at me and say, "I met a woman, thought she was attractive, and figured if things didn't work out between us, I'd look her up." I couldn't believe it. And I didn't even believe that statement, as hurtful as it was. He had a way of convincing me of anything and I wsa stupid and gullible enough to believe it. You could be holding an apple, and he'd convince you you weren't. He was that good. He'd stick up for a stranger on the street before me. He was fair and never had a bad thing to say about anyone, except me. He'd find ways to belittle what I did, make it insignificant, unimportant - anyone can do what I do. But all his friends think he's wonderful. A great guy. Towards the end, Labor Day last year,we were in a boating accident. Just the two of us at night. I was unconscious and woke to him giving me mouth to mouth, but then standing over me saying, "wake up, wake up, I could go to jail for this"...I was in shock and kept asking for 911, but because he had been drinking, he wouldn't call. Instead, he moored the boat, drove me home - intoxicated - and tried to put me to bed until I got very ill. He knew that once he got home, the police couldn't prove where he was drinking. He told me I only had a concussion, and he didn't think I needed to go to the hospital. The paramedics asked him what happened and why we didn't call 911. I'll never forget this, but he stood over me and told them that I had a hard childhood and thought that maybe I was just exaggerating the pain or injury. I just laid there and cried. Afteral, what did that have to do with anything? I was injured. Wasn't that enough? Why would anyone ever betray a person like that? A week later he was making out with another woman at a wedding while I was home in bed with a concussion. I found this out because he emailed her telling her to wait a few weeks until things "were settled", meaning until I moved out (we only lived together 6 months). Once again, I confronted him and he said that I was mad at him and told him that I never wanted to see him again, so he thought that we were done. Now, I did say all those things, but I did because I was so hurt and upset by what he did. Couldn't he see that? Again, I wanted him to understand and see how hurt I was from his actions. Between Labor Day and Christmas, I went crazy. I was a person I would never even recognize. Paranoid, jealous, crying all the time, just going crazy...feeling terrible about myself and wondering what I did to make him feel this way about me. You have to understand that every time he came back, it was this grande, over the top, I love you, we'll be married in two weeks, you're the one....this is it.... It all made me feel fantastic. I wanted to believe him. But then when I did, everything would change and the dynamic turned back to this struggle for me to convince him I was good enough. I think I'm getting close to the point where I believe nothing would have been good enough. In the end, I found a letter that the girl before me of 2 1/2 years wrote describing her struggles with him and I felt like I wrote it. She had gone through so much of the same, but for a shorter period of time. The anger, the impatience, the needs constantly in flux and impossible to please, the ambivalence, the insensitivity... The last three things he said to me were:
1) you are a person that needs more (meaning that I was so needy) and that he falls in "the low 10 percentile of men that make women feel safe and secure. Who says stuff like that? It was crazy making. I didn't need more, I needed my fair share! For years I got crumbs, how dare he say that!
2) my comings and goings over the years were not that many, the mistakes i made were not that bad - a more confident woman would understand that. a more confident woman would have realized that what mattered was the fact that i was here with her.
I nearly went crazy when he said that. Mistakes? I know no one on this forum knows me, but I could forgive anyone for almost anything. I couldn't tolerate the cheating and the lies, but I even tried when it came to that!
3) if only you believed in me, things would be good - we'd be together.
that was it. he got up and started preparing things for his christmas vacation, playing music...and i sat there, having dropped 15 lbs in 7 days holding on by a thread. the level of disconnectedness in him was....I don't know, I don't even have words to describe.
There I sat. 35 years old, having given up my rent controlled apartment in NYC just 6 months earlier, gave away all my things...completely broken. he had just collected his multi million dollar bonus and was talking on the phone telling everyone. life was grand for him. he offered to help, playing the ever so generous guy - kind of in the way that one would say, sure you can have some candy, but the candy jar is too high to reach and they're not going to help you get it? the friends telling him he didn everything he could...my head just spun. Five years.
This is just a small snapshot of everything, and it's six months later. I still feel awful. I feel guilty, I ask myself a million times what I could have done differently, I think about how easy it is for him to move on (he's 41) and do it all over again without missing a beat, and in my worst moments, I believe the things he said to me and just want to curl up and die. Because if what he said was true, then I really screwed up. It all started in the very beginning. He'd walk ahead of me on the street, or get up and leave a table while I was still eating. I would say hey, don't do that. It would be met with this anger, this aggressive response - and he would say that those aren't the important things in a relationship, that I'm being oversensitive. It always bothered me. Anyway, I'm so sorry I rattled on like this. I guess I'm just looking for a life raft. People say get over it, it was a break up - happens every day. Believe me, if I could get over it, I would. I don't want to feel this way. I read, I go to therapy, I journal...I talk to anyone who will listen. I want to see things clearly but I feel like just a shell. As if I no longer can see things clearly. I don't trust my own judgement.
Whoever read this, thank you. Any helpful words you feel like writing I would appreciate beyond your imagination.