I'm not sure if my story will get trimmed or not, so here's my 1st attempt at posting.
Hi to all of you, and thanks in advance for reading. My ex-bf was what I think I've seen referred to as a ‘fragile narcissist’. He was often hard on himself, did apologize sometimes and only occasionally had an air of superiority. He was very high functioning…well-respected volunteer in his community and all of his friends treasured him; he’s in his early forties. He seemed to be a cute, nerdy, socially awkward teddy bear.
It was a 6-month, long-distance relationship. He discarded me 10 weeks ago; he broke up with me over the phone in 35 minutes, and he shape-shifted through several personalities in that brief call that left me confused, hurt and traumatized.
It seems that the long-distance nature of the relationship made it easier for him to hide some of his NPD traits…though the 6 months of phone calls, e-mails & 2 visits had red flags all over them. Now I see how I brushed aside all those red flags.
I wrote my story in a MS Word doc...it filled up 7 pages. I know that's too long to post here. Here are some pieces of the story to explain what he was like:
- 1st red flag > he bought the ticket to visit me 11 days after we met online. It felt fast, but I didn't understand; I was just flattered.
- In the first 3 months, he seemed emotionally aware. I was honest about my own insecurities & things I was working on to change (like my worrying & my fear of making people angry...stuff from childhood), and he reminded me when I was being hard on myself or making stuff up in my head...he was really supportive back then. But by 3.5 months, he got distant & just told me to 'look to my higher power'.
- He spoke scathingly about his ex-wife. He said she was a narcissist and mentally unstable. I remember asking him how he had originally become attracted to someone who seemed so cruel; he gave me a vague response. Sometimes I heard him speaking to his child in an authoritarian tone which seemed a bit harsh…but I ignored it.
- He was demanding with wait staff and sales people, to the point of making me feel uncomfortable.
- When we were intimate, he didn't seem to connect with me emotionally & I felt like he was somewhat preoccupied with my body. I remember crying once, telling him that I'm not comfortable with feeling possessed. He looked at me and said that if we're going to have a relationship, then he wants me to possess him and he wants to possess me. It was weird and scary.
- 8 weeks into the relationship, he began his campaign for me to move to his area & live with him. I told him I needed time to get to know him better & to visit him, and that if I did eventually decide to move there, I would get my own place, not move in with him. So then he sent me rental prices.
- One time he shared that he had trouble forgiving himself for things he did 15 or 20 years ago, and they'd wake him up at night, and he wouldn't tell me what those things were. I couldn't understand why he couldn't forgive himself and told him he couldn't have done anything that horrible. Now I understand what he was talking about.
- When he was sad and lonely and missed me, he would send me e-mails saying he wished I was with him in his bed. He once sent an e-mail saying he wished that I’d drop everything here in my hometown and be with him, in his bed. The ‘I’m loney, I miss you’ e-mails always seemed to mention me being in his bed.
- During the summer I was very depressed for 2 weeks, because of a medical procedure-gone-wrong & mounting medical bills. I sent him three different depressing e-mails (plus several phone calls), saying I felt like a failure on several levels; in one e-mail, I admitted that I felt like I wasn’t being a good partner to him and that he deserved someone with lfewer problems. I was really feeling low. His responses to these e-mails were odd. He didn’t even reply to one of them. To another one, he sent a light-hearted response with humor, encouraging me to work harder. And to the 3rd e-mail, he sent a short one-line e-mail about how sleeping would help me feel better. I didn’t feel supported. Then a few days later we spoke via skype video and he was angry with me; I was very confused. He said that the subtext of my e-mails was that I was pushing him away and I don’t want him. He said he wouldn’t take it personally if I left him, and that I should just tell him if I’m not interested. I worked hard to reassure him. The conversation left me shaken and I cried on my way to work the next 2 days.
- Once in a while he'd get angry with me and I didn't understand why; the next morning, I'd have an e-mail from him, apologizing for his outburst or tone. He'd dissect it psychologically, explaining that something I said set off a trigger of one of his old issues, and that he should better manage his triggers, and he was sorry. He seemed insightful about his own emotional challenges and because he apologized, I kept letting it go. At other times he was totally different (nice, no outbursts, no anger), so I was getting confused.
- The night I bought tickets to visit him, he ended up getting angry with me for reasons I couldn’t understand and he didn’t even mention the tickets. The next morning he sent an e-mail and apologized, saying he had lost his temper because he felt sad & lonely, and his triggers were set off by some things I had said. He also said that while he was glad that I bought the tickets, he admitted that he had been ‘starting to wonder’. I didn’t understand – wonder about what? I had previously assured him that I’d be visiting and we’d picked the week. I had just procrastinated buying the ticket because I had a hectic 3 weeks & was getting over the stress of medical procedures.
- When I visited him, there was a moment when I said to him, in a flirtatious tone, that I would change all his spices (because I cook a much wider range of food than he does, and he buys cheap spices that he keeps for years). He looked hurt. The next day I told him that I wouldn’t change all his spices – I would just add some new ones. He said angrily that changing all of them and adding a few new ones were very different things. I was frightened by his reaction.
- When I visited him, there was a moment when he was doing some home repair work. He made a mistake with a tile. He got angry and threw it at the floor and smashed it, right in front of me. I was shocked and frightened.
- Once when we were talking I responded to something he said with, 'Are you sure?’ (an old habit of mine). He got angry and said the habit really annoyed him. I told him that I wished he had told me sooner. He said he was telling me now because 'it annoyed him now'. I was shaken. I was quiet for a while and he asked me why. I told him that I don’t handle people being angry with me well, and my reaction is to be quiet and process it to see how I feel. He said that he was expressing his anger in a healthy way, and that I should learn to do the same.
- After I got home from visiting him, he never once spoke about my visit. Never. But he talked lots about escalating problems with his ex-wife and his daughter. Five days after I returned home from the visit, I asked him if his feelings for me had changed. He said that he wasn’t as smitten with me as he was when he visited me 3 months earlier, but that he wasn’t sure why…he said it may be because the honeymoon period was over or because I hadn’t yet committed to moving to his area yet. I was baffled and hurt. He said that he still wanted to be with me. I was completely heartbroken and confused, which began 3 weeks of crying. All the while, he kept sending e-mails like everything was okay.
- A week or so after the ‘I’m not as smitten with you’ conversation, he sent me an e-mail to tell me that he ran into his ex-gf from a year before, and that it got him really depressed for several days. I told him that I was concerned about how he felt about us - why was he in such a funk for several days after running into his ex? I asked him how he felt about me and what was going on. That led to him breaking up with me about a week later.