The Evil beneath the Mask
The Evil beneath the Mask
I'm writing this story in order to process a lot of the pain, confusion and cognitive dissonance that I have been experiencing due to a relationship with the most insidious person I've ever met in my life and also as a warning to anyone who may suspect that they are involved with a Narcissist/Sociopath. Let me tell you that if you have even the slightest sense that something "isn't right" then please listen to that voice and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction from that person. It might suck or you don't want to do it or you think it's just a passing quirk or typical human idiosyncrasy. It most likely isn't. And especially if you are an Empath then you need to really tune into yourself and ask yourself some searching questions about how to deal with any and all red flags that you experience.
So here goes. As a precursor, I now know all the ways in which I contributed to this toxic relationship and I have to forgive myself and let a lot of things go and engage in a great deal of self care. As I said, it's a process.
In late July of this past year, I met this woman in a bar and we hit it off. We were pretty drunk but she was cute and fun and seemed to have a real zest for life. I got her number and the next day we made plans to meet a couple days later. What followed was what we came to call "the greatest date ever". We laughed and drank tequila and ate oysters and then sat down on a bench near the beach. (I paid for everything including her valet because she didn’t have any cash - an early warning sign perhaps but I was used to paying for the first date - it's what men do right?) We laughed a lot and I really felt a connection to this woman. It really was the most fun I had had on a date in a long time. She had two jobs in fashion. One was working in a vintage boutique store and one was doing online fashion consulting. As I recall, I shared some personal stuff regarding my father and a few other things about myself but otherwise I don’t have any sense that we talked of anything about her life other than very basic things. But, again, so what? It was a first date and the connection seemed so easy and strong that I didn’t even think about it. She gave off the impression that she was really someone who had a lot going for her. That she was ambitious and bright. That she had her own apartment etc. (Hold that thought, I’ll get back to the living situation later on). At this point, I should mention that there is an 18 year age difference between us and I had not been in a relationship of any consequence for 17 years. Needless to say, I was vulnerable. We ended up making out on this bench and I felt like I was back in high school. I left her that night feeling light and full of life. It was so much fun. Throughout the rest of the week we texted a ton and spoke on the phone for hours.
We went out again the following week and again had a blast. Met at a great trendy restaurant, drank good wine and laughed and the connection seemed to be growing stronger. I paid the bill and we ended up in a dive bar where we drank some more and for the first time, she introduced cocaine into the situation. She only had a little and we did a bump on the curb. She came home with me but we didn’t have sex. In the next couple weeks, we spent more time together, going to a friend’s birthday party, another friend’s housewarming, a fight night at a local bar, going to a farmer’s market and generally doing all the things that go with the early stage of a relationship. I felt myself really falling for her even though there were some early warning signs. Other than the drug use and me paying for everything, I also started to notice she could be socially aggressive, hyper almost and that she didn’t seem to have all that much interest in getting to know my friends. Looking back, I realize that most everyone’s body language was one where I noticed they couldn’t quite figure out what to make of her. At this point though, we were having a lot of sex and it was great! Of course it was. Through that, our connection was deepening. Little did I realize that what was happening, was my addiction and attachment to her was progressing toward toxic and unhealthy levels.
Labor Day weekend was really hot and she was house sitting for a friend. We stayed in virtually the entire time with the AC blasting, just eating, having sex and watching movies or TV. Again, I thought it was awesome but the addiction was only growing and was becoming a runaway train and I didn’t have the awareness or willingness to stop it or even slow it down. I’d been alone for so long and here was this vivacious, sexy woman paying me attention and wanting to be with me! Wow.
But by the time Labor Day weekend had come and gone, I had knowledge of some disturbing aspects of her life. At the time, I didn’t see them as deal breakers. As an Empath, I wanted to be there for her, to know that she had support, that I loved her and cared about her struggles. So at this point, she had lost both her jobs. She quit her job in the vintage store because of some conflict with management that I never could quite ascertain. She’d also been laid off from the online consulting job because the company was scaling back to an in house operation. (Whether I was getting the whole truth about all that is anyone’s guess). I’d also come to find out that she didn’t have an apartment of her own. She was living in an upper room at her Aunt and Uncle’s. She had broken up with a boyfriend of a year and half in early July (red flag anyone??!!). I never quite got the whole story and probably was afraid to ask but apparently they had lived in Chicago together but had broken up and she’d come back to LA. However, she had a bunch of his stuff in her room at her Aunt and Uncle’s. Weird right? She also drove a BMW that I highly doubt she had bought herself. Maybe she was making the payments. Who knows? Anyway, I had also come to find out that her mother had been homeless for two years and she’d had virtually no contact with her. She would find her mother living in a van a week after telling me this and that began a whole odyssey of getting her mother from pysch ward to psych ward and in and out of hospitals. I also now knew that her brother committed suicide at 17 when she was 16. And that her father, who she “hated” had left the family when she was 2 or 3. So a ton of drama in her life. Yikes. But I thought I could handle it. I loved her and saw someone in pain and wanted to be there for her.
The following weekend I went on a guy’s trip out of town. We facetimed the whole time and it was great. When I got back is when the first trickle of “Crazy making” started to happen. We were on face time and she only showed half her face. Something about a bruise or rash on one side of her face. I still don’t know what the hell it was all about. At the end of the conversation, I suggested that we have dinner a couple days later. Before I knew what was happening she abruptly said goodbye and hung up on me. My heart was in my throat. What did I say? Did I do something wrong? I tried calling back. No answer. I texted. No answer. Finally she texted back that “formal send offs are annoying”. What???? So I let it go as just something odd. At this point I started sharing with a couple close friends about these things I was learning and experiencing with her. They were mildly alarmed but mostly they said “just give it time”, “she’ll come around” etc. etc. Damn, I wish now they’d told me to end it and run. She called me the next day and we had a long anguished conversation about how I felt about her, that I hadn’t “done this in a long time” and that I really wanted to be with her, I was “just rusty”. Anyway we went to dinner that night (me paying again) and all was again right with the world. We spent the next few nights together at my place and she’d had me pull my mattress out to the living room as if we were “camping”. We had a fun week with lots of partying, sex, eating good food and generally having a good time. However, by this point, I was starting to get the “silent treatment” here and there. She would just literally shut down and I didn’t know what I might have done. It was weird and awkward and confusing. I’d never experienced anything like that before. Cut to a week later and she texted me asking if she could again stay at my place. I said yes and when I got home she was parked across from my apartment halfway thru a bottle of bourbon with a sob story about her uncle having an affair and she couldn’t stay in that house. (Later on she changed this story a couple of times). I was very sympathetic. She came inside and when she said that she might stay with a friend for a couple days until she sorted it out, I said that was great idea. That I was there for her through all of this and wanted to support her. Boy was that the wrong response! She immediately shut down and essentially pouted for nearly an hour and I couldn’t get out of her what was wrong. Finally, I ascertained that I should have told her she could stay with me. Ooooof. So I acquiesced and she moved in. Big mistake. The red flags were coming at me fast and furious and close friends were starting to make their reservations known. But, screw it. My addiction to her told me everything would be okay. So not true. It only got worse. From that point forward I was on a roller coaster and the ride didn’t stop for three months. After she moved in, the sex was nearly constant but we also fought over stupid things like Instagram – she was a voracious user of Snapchat and Instagram to the point that it was annoying. I was also experiencing more silent treatment, odd text messages and unsettling, anxiety inducing phone calls while I was at work or with friends. It was getting toxic but I still wasn’t fully aware of just how toxic. I wanted it to work so badly. Cutting a long story short, the worst night of my life happened when I took her to a concert. At the concert where we drank and did drugs, she again was socially aggressive and I swear I could tell she was flirting with the guy behind us. The whole time I just felt her distance even though of course we did an Insta story and took a ton of pictures. Regardless all the uneasiness was adding up. When we got home, I tried to talk to her about her shutting down, that I wanted to just be with her and hang out. Anyway, one thing led to another and I felt she wasn’t listening to me and then she turned over in bed, announcing that she’d “leave the first thing in the morning”. At this point I lost it and told her leave now. It was 3 am but I didn’t care. Get out!!! I couldn’t take it anymore.
Well you’d think that would be the end of it. Well it wasn’t. All this toxicity and unhealthy behavior would continue for another two months. It was awful. I felt like I was losing my mind. I started lying to friends and family about any contact I had with her. I was living a double life and it was exhausting. My emotional life was in tatters. My finances were drained. My job performance suffered. My sense of self was very seriously diminished. I was blindsided and was depleted of any reserves of self respect. She would throw other men in my face. Constantly talk of her exes. Tell me that she could “have 4 boyfriends by the end of the week” and so much more emotional and verbal abuse that it would take many more pages to catalog it all. She told me to “fix it”. That it was “my show”, that I didn’t care about her feelings, that I was selfish and on and on. More than anything, the verbal abuse I endured will be the longest lasting to get over. And the crazy part is I still wanted to be with her!! Ugh.
Looking back she never was interested in my life. Never asked any real questions about my growing up and family, my education, my experiences traveling, my artwork, my books, my photos on the wall. She lived in my apartment for a month and never asked me about anything!!!! I now see that I was used. This is what evil people like her do. They play at being fun and open and inviting and then before you know it, once they feel they “got you”, they turn into monsters. There is so much more to this story but you get the idea. I can now tell people that I once had a relationship (was it even that?) with a full blown toxic Narcissist/Sociopath. So I got that going for me…;)
The good news is that I know I’m healing now. Through therapy, joining AA and getting sober and through the love and support of family and friends, I’m getting my life back. I look forward to the day to never thinking about her except as a dark sinister cloud that was a blip on my life.
Remember if you sense any red flags run!!!! The mask will drop eventually and you’ll be sorry you didn’t distance yourself from evil when you had the chance!