How do you interpret this

This has been so confusing for me to interpret.....but now that I have all of you experienced ladies on the board - maybe you can shed some light.

My N's bday is one week before mine. Of course, for his Bday, I did all kinds of special things for him - decorating his office, and bought him a gift. He refused to let me take him out to lunch because he said that we can't mix personal and business while we are working together - and he would consider that personal as he knows I would want to take him out somewhere very nice and he was afraid our conversation would move into the "conflict" zone about personal.

My bday comes one week later. Of course, he forgets. When I am late to work by 20 minutes, he sends me a nasty text saying that why am I late becuase we needed to meet. I show up, he is still nasty. Obviously not remembering my bday. Later (because I received flowers), he figures it out, and went nuts about it "OMG - its your bday!!!! Can I Please take you out for lunch - will you go with me?" Of course I agreed. And he tells the whole office very excited that it is my bday. As we walk by everyone in the hall he makes them tell me happy bday. We go to lunch and he tells everyone there. Tells the waitress and to make sure she does something special for me. We have an amazing conversation at lunch about how we would both like to go back to a cool school and take history and philosophy classes. We connected SOOO Much at that lunch. AGain, I cry all the way home that day because I felt like we were so close and I need to be with him.

The next day, I say "I really still want to take you out for your bday - I'd feel terrible not taking you out for your 50th". He got mad and said "no - I told you no before". Confused I say "why - you took me out - I'd like to take you out". He yelled at me "NO! I can't mix personal" I say "I can't believe you are saying this. What is the difference from me taking you out. You took me out and it was very nice!" His comment "because me taking you out is in the past, this is in teh future" I say "I especially think that if we have known eachother 22 years, and it is your 50th, and we are business partners now - don't you think it would be wierd if I didn't take you out!"

Anyway - it turned into a HUGE argument. (and believe me - I don't argue with ANYONE. I could count on my hand the number of arguments in my life) Finally he "allowed" me to take him out (after three weeks) and we had a fabulous time. (or, I thought we did. I guess I never how if his words and body language are true anymore)

What would cause someone to act like this????? it made no sense to me at the time and I still don't get it.

narcnarcwhosthere's picture

it's true...Narcs have all kinds of boundaries...if went to my own mailbox i was infringing on HIS territory...he also considers this miserable city his..he has told me what streets i can drive down..when i can do it... every boundary i tried to set to him was a challenge, something to be defeated..tromped over.. in my personal case setting boundaries was dangerous...he was so enraged by me setting boundaries that he would physically attack me and my pets....
Barbara's picture

oh yeah - exNH has all sorts of bizarre boundaries but I am not ALLOWED to have even one... he HATES that I enforce them and so do my kids... HATES it tooooo bad, huh? ~~~~~~~~~ The world is a dangerous place, not only because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. - Albert Einstein Visit My Info. Website for Abuse Victims
janetc's picture

Why would he act like this? I agree with all the links Barbara sent, great info...but wanted to add a thought on a comment you made. You said you "never get into fights, or seldom" This was also true of me, and after reading "Women Who Love Psychopaths" I realized this is one of the traits N's look for, they can control you much easier. It also has to do with boundaries, usually if you never get into an argument, you don't have very good boundaries. Just food for thought, I don't know in your case, but for sure in my case, I had almost non-existent boundaries! I am working on that right now so I NEVER go back.

Janet

loveofmylife's picture

Can you explain more on the boundaries. Now that is very interesting because his biggest beef with me is that he says I don't respect his boundaries. I keep hinting to the personal interest. He acts like he loves it at the time - smiling and looking so happy. But then he'll later blast me and say I am not respecting his boundaries. Hmmmm....he also said I didn't respect his boundaries at work - that I tried to get things done cross departmental. Which has never gotten me in trouble in my past 25 years of working. But with him it was a bit issue. Which would kind of lead me to believe that he has very strict boundaries.....but that also doesn't make sense because someone would very strict boundaries would not be sending love letters to marrried women or have sex with multiple women.... So....still trying to figure this out. Love this board. Although I've talked to friends about this - they've never encountered anything like it. It is nice to talk to people who have seen this.
janetc's picture

I just tore up my bedroom and can't find the book! I have seen Barbara post on this before, but there is a book by the title of "Boundaries" that is Christian based, but the principles are great whether or not you are Christian. My friend did a class through her church and she had the DVD as well, and she lent it to me. I have the DVD and the topics on the back are: "Do you have trouble saying no? Can you set limits and still be a loving person? Are you in control of your life? What are legitimate boundaries? Do people take advantage of you? How do you answer someone who wants your time, love, energy, and money?" The book goes into depth on this and explains how to cultivate healthy boundaries and say no and not feel guilty. It sounds like your ex has heard about boundaries or maybe even read some of this book, and instead of truly grasping and understanding it, he is USING IT to try to further CONTROL YOU! N's are great at that. When they DO get dragged into counseling, they use what they learn to use AGAINST you, they do not/cannot change!

Janet

loveofmylife's picture

yes, I think boundaries are convenient to him. He can give you all of the body language and all of the saying-it-but-not-saying-it and claim he has never violated my boundaries ("are you still sleeping with your husband, let me bribe you for a job reference and take you out for 3 1/2 hours of drinking and dining at a romantic restaurant, every time I came to town we always went to the most romantic and expensive dinner in town - not something a "friend" would do, hugging long sensual hugs and giving big sighs) But in his mind he has never stepped over boundaries. Only I did - like when I told him he looked "hot" the other night. And he thinks he is the right one. Like he is the virtuous one - and I am the one not following the rules
Barbara's picture

who gives a **** what he thinks!?!?!? get your boundaries and MAINTAIN LIKE YOU'RE SPECIAL OPS! BOOK ON BOUNDARIES: http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com/2006/08/boundary-violations-approach-to.html more reading: http://www.luke173ministries.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=39548&PID=466793 http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com/2006/03/emotional-boundaries-in-relationships.html http://www.lisaescott.com/2009/12/14/boundaries-you-them-pathological ~~~~~~~~~ The world is a dangerous place, not only because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. - Albert Einstein Visit My Info. Website for Abuse Victims
neveragain5's picture

Hi loveofmylife, From what I have read, the narcissist has very strict boundaries surrounding himself, however does not consider that other people do. Apparently, they have their territories that they like to dominate, usually the home or work. I noticed on several occasions that mine would get very irritated if I passed over into his work territory, even hen we were on good terms, (which was obviously a problem because it was also my relative's house). He also would get uppity when he was at my house and tried to insist that things were done his way. Again, that didn't go over very well with me either. Are you still with him?
ForeverLearning's picture

Okay, here goes... He took you out on your birthday so he wouldn't look like a horse's ass after yelling at you that morning, and to keep you happy in general. It's hard to work with a pouty, pissed off woman who didn't get taken out for lunch on her birthday by the man she is crazy about. A simple 1 hour lunch solves all that drama. Did you notice he didn't buy you a card or gift? All he did was drive the car to the restaurant (because he was hungry too, so he benefits too on that one - and talk the b.s. schmoozy - poohzy into your ears, and around the office made sure it was known that he took you out, to make sure everyone saw what a great guy he was, to take you out (and telling everyone to wish you happy birthday. His gift of gab to make himself look good, pushing around his power amongst the office peons). And telling the waitress to do something special for you (more easy mouthwork, requires no effort but his lips). His mouth is his main tool of manipulation. His lazy ass couldn't even drive out to a store and think about what you would like for a gift. Nor could his brain be bothered to remember your birthday (after all these years and all you've done for him in getting him employment, he should have your birthday written on his calendar somewhere). Let me guess, the company credit card paid for the lunch or he will expense report it and be reimbursed? They are stingy cheap bastards. He wouldn't let you take him out because he didn't really want to go out with you in the first place, and he didn't want to 'owe' you anything. And, if it's YOU taking HIM out, he doesn't see himself as being in 'control' in that situation (and he must be in 'control' at all times). After 3 weeks he finally gave in and let you take him out to lunch to shut you up so you would drop the issue. Also he didn't want you to take him out, because it makes you look like the 'good guy', taking him out - refer back to the stingy factor on that one. They don't even want to allow others to look like the 'good guy' - that role is only reserved for them. He caved only because the pay-off to shut you up outweighed his stingy-ness on this particular item. It's all about making sure working with you goes smoothly, keeping you buttered up so you are easy for him to manipulate. But he also likes to always feel he is in control of the situation, that you are the zombie in love, the love-hormone-controlled puppet in a school girl crush-trance, and he is the puppetmaster. Lastly - why did he seem so easy to connect with (as always) during the lunch, talking about history and philosophy courses you guys both wish you had taken back in college, yada yada yada - the thing is, these people can talk about whatever they feel like talking about, whenever they want, if they want to do so. It is an ability they have, to schmooze, in a very genuine way. They are Olympian gold medalists at schmoozing and the gift of gabbing. It just doesn't mean alot, other than they truly have a gift of both gab, and of acting very sincere and likeable, in any given situation, to achieve their desired goals with their victims. His goals were just to help you have a good time during the lunch, for you to enjoy your birthday lunch. Once he sees you connecting, he runs with it. Because that is what he wants from you, to keep everything 'smooooooth' and lovey-dovey. Plus it's fun for him, buttering you up. It's just kinda fun. Users like to feel in control while watching people gush and 'connect' with them. To bad it's not sincere, because it is lots of fun at the time. That is what sucks so bad about it for us normals who fall for their bullsh*t and think it is legit and they truly love us and feel the same about us, as we do about them. IT IS LOVE FRAUD. Sorry to sound sooooo cynical. But it's true, in this situation. Remember, don't try to understand it - like Barbara says, there is no sense to it, these creatures don't possess feelings or integrity (although they LOVE to claim to). Their brains are broken. Just my 2 cents, my views come from vast experience with all this, I have been through it too, that's how I know.
wallaby's picture

Tada! You did it! You said everything I thought and more. I hereby give you an honorary Masters degree in Narc Studies from the School of VERY HARD Knocks!
ForeverLearning's picture

Now that I have this honorary Masters degree to put on my resume, where do I go to work using this degree and what's the starting salary? Oh wait never mind I know, strictly useful for volunteer positions and charity organizations for mending broken hearts and shattered psyches.... and paid in a wealth of gratitude and sincere thanks from the recipients of my work! And that's cool, since the U.S. dollar is deflating faster than a 1980's Mexican Peso anyways, I'd rather be paid in gratitude! Ok so I'm no comedy writer - but thank for the giggles Wallaby!
itreallyisabouthim's picture

I agree - ForeverLearning nailed it. I personally think you can NOT be too cynical in your interpretation of a narc's motives. In fact lack of cynicism is what got me involved with one in the first place.
running's picture

You are SOOOO right on about this. I bought my x a few Valentines day gifts and he got mad at me. Really really mad because I didn't respect his dislike for Valentines day. At that point I had had it with him and just gave him sh## right back. I didn't even spend a lot of money, I bought a few things he really liked, his favorite old movie, his favorite scent, his favorite wine, and I wrote him a love letter. ICK ICK ICK. I think he hated the fact that I was starting to get under his skin. He didn't talk to me for a week. Forever learning....you really hit the nail on the head. I love this site!
loveofmylife's picture

I think you hit the nail on the head. That makes so much sense. It all fits together. I do love this board. Feel like I can finally start understanding all of the complete crazyness. And I guess the reason why he didn't really want to go out....he had D&D'd me about three months prior to that. He used to ask me to lunch every day for the first six months until I challenged his authority once. And it was pure DD from there
ForeverLearning's picture

I actually kinda hate replying to your questions, because I know my answers hurt. I don't mean to sound so mean and cynical. I am just examing him and his actions without any rose colored glasses, because I am not in love with the man like you are, and I know without a shadow of a doubt he is a player, because of the emails of his that you saw. I just don't think players settle down if they are 50 and have always been players. They just keep on playing headgames and playing the field and playing with people's hearts. They might settle down if they learn they have a terminal illness or something, and need 1 caring, reliable person, to drive them to chemo or whatever. They are forced to settle down in that situation, if they are dying. I am pretty sure his wife who left him divorced him because she caught him cheating, plain and simple. She must have divorced him but forgiven him, (since you said they are still friends....he has the nice, likeable guy song and dance down so well, no one can really hate him for long)...... just my 2 cents. And before you ever leave your husband for him, be sure to talk to the ex-wife, like you said you wanted to do. My money is on his having cheated on her, and having been caught.
loveofmylife's picture

Now that I have seen him in action. I more think she left him for DD. When I was talking to him about how I felt about him before I was divorced, he said "you cann't think about anyone outside of your marriage/family when you decide this. I didn't even THINK of anyone even though she had abandoned me. I had to do what was right for the kids, me, and then make sure she was taken care of. You can't think of anyone else. I didn't date for 18 months after the divorce to make sure I had the kids reestablished and had time to find myself again" It sounded very convincing. But now, unfortunately I have to question everything.
ForeverLearning's picture

This sh*t he says to you about getting divorced - do it for yourself, no one else, - sounds all fine and dandy. But the problem I have is that if he really wanted you, why won't he also say that much to you. Why won't he say "yes, once you are divorced, and you have gotten divorced for your own reasons, well then yes, you and I can pursue a committed relationship together. I will break it off with my fiance and dump the other women, to be with you. He doesnt say that because he doesnt want that. But even worse yet is - if he said it, how in the world would you believe it? How could you trust he would truly dump all these wonderful women he corresponds with ( and more, probably). Hard to trust him on that one, I wouldn't. I think he just says "divorce for no reasons other than your own reasons, not anything to do with me" because: 1) it sounds good 2) it removes any responsibility from him for breaking up your marriage. 3) then when you are divorced and say "ok, now it's you and me honey, dump the other women" he say "what are you talking about? I never promised you anything like that, I never said get divorced for me". Of course he wants to add you to his harem of (mostly) single women he toys with. He is probably whispering this sh*t in the married one's ear too (you're my soulmate, but if you leave your husband, do so for only your own reasons). Husbands get in the way of all the fun, for goodness sakes!
loveofmylife's picture

yep. He plays so many mind games with me....because in the other breath he tells me: - i am attracted to you to the Nth degree - we have that rare and special bond of trust and comfort (no longer) - you are beautiful, intelligent, modest, funny, witty, fun to be with - you are the finest person I've come across on this planet - all of the body language - all of the flirting - you are so good and easy to talk to; there is no one else I can talk to like that. - all of the ultra romantic dinners - all of the flirting before the dinners (just one month before DD started!!!!!!!) - texting me "I was just bbqing at my son's bball game...hope you don't mind the smokey muster that I'll have!" "is it ok if I wear jeans tonight?" "I'm only 20 minutes away" "can't wait to see you" "only 5 minutes away now" - And 5 minutes into dinner "what is your domestic situation" "are you still sleeping with your husband" - and the list goes on and on and on. Dont' these sound like things a guy would say to a girl he wants a romantic relationship with????? But he claims I read too much into it. However, most of this has died with DD in the past few months. Oh, and by the way, he says he has never crossed my boundaries. I am the only evil one that crosses boundaries because I decide that I want to continue these conversations and he does not anymore because I've been DD. So basically, it is killing me that our stressful situation at work with me working for him (and not doing it exactly how he wanted) has destroyed what I thought was a beautiful relationship. And I really think he did too. But of course me reading his email put the nail in the coffin at which point he said - "I want no personal relationship with you" "You might want to consider the implications of that" hint, hint. I was waiting for you before - but you can forget that now!
ForeverLearning's picture

Mon, 03/29/2010 - 22:27 — loveofmylife wrote: "So basically, it is killing me that our stressful situation at work with me working for him (and not doing it exactly how he wanted) has destroyed what I thought was a beautiful relationship. And I really think he did too. But of course me reading his email put the nail in the coffin at which point he said - "I want no personal relationship with you" "You might want to consider the implications of that" hint, hint. I was waiting for you before - but you can forget that now!" *************************************************** The simple answer to all of this is that it was LOVE FRAUD. A normal man wouldn't dump you because you worked together and it got a little stressful. He might say "hey, I can see this working together thing isn't doing so well for us, lets think about one of us working elsewhere so we don't end up hating each other, I don't want to lose you" or seek some other compromise to make things more amicable and workable. All because he truly loves you, and doesn't want to lose you, you are special. If you are just one of a harem, you are replaceable. His job security comes first in that situation. You are not special. A normal man wouldn't discard you because you wouldn't be his little footsoldier and do everything he wanted, how he wanted it. That sounds like a dictator to me, a little Napoleon. A normal man doesn't operate as a dictator and punish you when you don't cooperate. That is immature 6 year old manipulative behavior. Narcissists are about 6 years old emotionally. They are stunted. And there's no fixing it, according to the links Barbara has posted. You said it's killing you - that is why people end up on this website. They become involved with a personality disordered person and it's killing them, emotionally, physically, or both.
Healingnow's picture

The emotional rape sydrome is really good by Michael Fox phD
Barbara's picture

HE'S A SICK PATHOLOGICAL PREDATOR!!! what's to GET!?!?!?!? stop it!! you are torturing yourself... http://www.lisaescott.com/2010/02/16/he-said-communication-narcissists-not-possible http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2007/07/danger-of-ascribing-normal-human.html http://www.lisaescott.com/2010/01/13/there-no-such-thing-safe-level-contact run screaming and get this monster out of your life! ~~~~~~~~~ The world is a dangerous place, not only because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. - Albert Einstein Visit My Info. Website for Abuse Victims
cynthia's picture

I like this answer Barbara, sometimes loveofmylife this is all we can conclude I have learned disecting the WHY's doesnt matter when we are dealing with a pathological. Here is something I want you to try and watch the results. Since you work with this man have you read the book Snakes in Suits? Its good it might give you a different angle on the business side of these men, so anyway on to what I suggest you try. Do not respond, or react to ANY compliments this man gives you. He seems to compliment you alot on your business skills but he also mixes it in with other things, such as what a great person you are, and how much he admires your success in your career, etc... This is Bullshit and he is keeping you totally confused which of course is their game. You are up against something nearly impossible working with a sociopath or whatever name you want to give him that you were once intimately involved with, and now he just wants to keep it all business. He is teasing you, playing with you, trust me he KNOWS how he is torturing you and he LOVES IT. We are told to go NO CONTACT with these creatures, yet you have to work with this man and still communicate with him. If I had to work with my XN he would really mess with my mind. You need to remove yourself emotionally from him and view him as Barbara said as a PREDATOR because that is what he is. Keep it all business, be professional and treat him as just another business associate. Having lunch with him is a BIG NO NO you are putting yourself in a position alone with him so he can play more mental games with you. Try reading that book Snakes in White Suits it may help you to see what you are up against in the corporate world working with one of these creatures.
loveofmylife's picture

I have been tortured by this for 22 years. And it has been the worst the last 4 - 5. I do need a little mechanism that kicks me in the head whenever I spend 10 seconds trying to figure out what was going on all these years and why am I so confused!
Nothanx's picture

I am so sorry that you got tangled up with this jerk. I know for myself I put up with awful behavior from my narc when deep down I knew the truth all along. It was so totally in my face, and I still ignored it and took him back time and time again. Just like I finally had to face the fact that he did not love me, Your guy does not love you and he never did. The more you are available the weaker and less attractive you seem to him. You don't have to be a bitch to him (I know that being bitchy in a work environment would not be good) but you can be unavailable. Why did you leave your birthday lunch open. If you would have made plans you could have nicely said "oh thanks so much for the offer but I already have plans". I would say that is the first place to start...Stop going out to lunch with him. All he does is get you all fuzzy. Maybe join a nearby gym, and then the next time, and the time after that, you can say "darn I would love to go to lunch with you, but I really want to keep myself on my lunch workout schedule". Two birds- one stone...(1)you don't go to lunch with him (2)he wonders why you all of the sudden want to work out and would prefer to do this as opposed to going to lunch with him. (3)bonus: you work of stress. Just throwin stuff out for you to think about.
ForeverLearning's picture

That was good advice for anyone - not always being so available, and actually having a life. Reminds me, I need to work out today!
quietude's picture

"What would cause someone to act like this?????" Permanent brain damage!!!
NancyM's picture

You can be sure that everything he accuses you of doing "HE" is actually doing. This is one of the easiest ways I have found to understand what goes on in a Narcs head. Instead of feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlight with your mind silently screaming WTF have a look at it from this point of view.

Nevergoback

Healingnow's picture

Hi, This is just so sad. I think wouldn't it be great to plan a lovely birthday meal with your husband. The poor man must be tortured. Probably feels like Princess Di did with Charles. I know they brainwash but I didn't realise just how strong it was, When I read everything that you put it is so obvious that you are wasting your precious energy with this android. You can't see it and then make excuses or try to rationalize what he is thinking and why he is doing stuff. Did you say you were an acon cos that would make sense. The man in a mask is winding me right up, and whats more infuriating is that he is still getting his kicks from you. All the more painful for you to heal from when you decide to cos you are gathering up more stuff. Believe me 22 years is enough to deal with. I'm being practical here. I'm obviously not caught up with this person but I have my own experience of this. Thanks you are helping me to see what a low life waste of a life experience and brain space they are for me.
ForeverLearning's picture

I do feel bad for her husband too. It would be nice if he were free and could meet someone kind who really loved him exactly as he is. I wish that for anyone, I don't like to see anyone hurt and want everyone who is normal to find happiness in a mate who will love them for who they are. Chasing love is very frustrating and makes one feel unloveable. It can also drive you to lose your sanity and make you physically sick. Especially if you are married to someone and alwasy trying to make them love you, and they don't. I did that for 14 years and got cancer from it the 8th year into it.