Narcissistic Personality Disorder: People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment.
This past weekend I went to visit with a friend of mine who had not met my former husband. Since we were in Socal near their place of residence, I had them meet my daughter and I at the hotel.
On the way out of the valley and into downtown LA I needed to go by my friend’s house to allow my daughter, myself and travel companion to say goodbye and thank them for the hospitality. We took the other parent (OP) with us.
When we arrived at the house, my friend was gracious and welcomed the OP into her home. Of course OP turned on the signature charm with the line, “Very nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.” I couldn’t remember if it was true or not, but this was OP’s standard line when meeting new people.
My friend and her husband lead us into the backyard where we sat down to chat for a while to allow the girls time to play before taking off. Sitting at the table next to my former spouse is always awkward. It’s not because of hate radiating from my being, but because I am not sure what to do with myself.
The standard issue questions were asked as the conversation went on. My friend asked OP about their family. Delved into an issue OP has with their brother. But then, it was time for the OP show. The part where tears start to fall from their eyes as the pledge their eternal love for me. Which always makes me very uncomfortable because I don’t know that OP knows what love is. The follow up is an admission that they feel bad about how they talked to me. Which, is a lie. The same language and venom comes out from time to time. On those days, I shut them out for a few weeks in order to get my point across. I know that I no longer have to tolerate the abuse that lead to my first bout of depression while I was pregnant.
I was very vocal this time about how I felt hearing the words love related to me from OP’s mouth with a long gagging sound. It’s immature, but it also allowed them to know I did not buy what they were selling. As OP uttered the apologetic words about the way we talked to each other, I let everyone know I was not sorry for the words I had said. I had spoken the truth. I had become enraged by OP’s selfish nature. I may have called names and used foul language, but I do not believe that speaking quietly and with love could change the outcome of our marriage. I am aware that to my friends I may have appeared harsh. I admitted to it sounding foul, but what I was saying didn’t come from a place of anger, but a place of recovery.
Narcissist are quite charming. So charming, that other people believe their elegant words. They believe that there is sincerity in every word they utter. They have no idea how brilliant narcissist is at manipulation. Narcissist strive to put forward a socially exciting personality. They can not control the way people perceive their awesomeness if they aren’t socially acceptable. The problem with the narcissistic personality is that when they are not in the lime light and being praised, they become despondent and often act out.
I have met very few narcissists in my life, two, in fact. One was my husband and the other was my former best friend. The entanglement with these personalities can make breaking the bond difficult. The narcissist does not recognize your suffering from their needs. Thier time is consumed by thoughts of the next thing to boost their ego which makes them far from sympathetic. The narcissist will often “call out” their spouse in front of people, whether or not the reason is valid. With all of that said, I will admit, had their not been the big lie that was a deal breaker, I probably would not have been able to leave the situation. Because the narcissist is charming and fun to be around.
Mostly I didn’t want to give up because I did not want to fail at marriage. I wanted a life long commitment like OP’s parents had. My belief that children from an unbroken home were better at commitment and had better marriages was challenged. Just because you have role models doesn’t mean you will follow in their footsteps.
I saved myself to provide a new type of role model for my daughter. A happy role model who was unencumbered by people’s perception of her. A role model who would only show her daughter relationships that enrich both of their lives. A mother who could dedicate her attention to what was really important. This woman would not have existed had she not broken the bond of marriage with her husband.