In front of others, he’d let the kids do whatever they wanted. They could climb the walls, and he would just sit there with a smile on his face. Once we were alone, he’d rage at them, screaming about how they embarrassed him and made threats to thwart future bad behavior. Some people were wise enough to sense something wasn’t quite right, but they couldn’t know how terrible it actually was when we were alone. I once thought he was unable to control himself, but this behavior made it clear. He knew what he was doing all along. He controlled it when it suited him and hid it to preserve his public image which was always more important than his children. Even now, he presents himself as “an excellent father” of three, but we know it’s only for show.
I love this quote because it points out that good is often a mask people wear. Masks are designed to project an image other than the one it covers. Realness is naked and raw. We are unable to hide our real selves indefinitely because we are all naked underneath. I want to see the scars and let mine show because real is better than pretend good.
Discovering that you were a complete stranger to me after thirteen years of marriage was earth-shattering. You painted a picture and spun a story specifically tailored to seduce me into believing you were everything I wanted. I was utterly naive for not realizing people like you existed. My sin was believing you and overlooking every sign that would lead me to see the truth until it was much too late. I do not love you and I never did because you are nothing but pure fiction.
There is no progress in blaming others, but I refuse to feel bad for the narcissist. It is possible, even likely that he suffered trauma in his childhood but that does not make his actions acceptable. Maybe, when he was still a young child, I could feel significant empathy towards him. The narcissist I know is a grown man who stood almost a foot taller than me and outweighed me by over one hundred pounds. If that is not intimidating, I shudder to think of the perception my children had when they were young. Regardless of his size advantage, he held nothing back while raging and thundering at us. I may understand part of why you were damaged, but I will not feel sorry for you.
Draining boiled pasta water into the sink is a trigger for me – every time. Chopping onions, doing laundry, mopping the floor, planting a garden and driving – these are just some of the mundane everyday activities that start a movie playing in my head. I hear every word, see each expression, smell the scents, and experience all the fear as if it were happening again right now. Even after all these years the memories still give me pause, and I must consciously stop the movie playing and add a narrative that explains these events are in the past. Remembering past events is not my choice but my reaction to them is, and I choose to see the ridiculousness of the people who hurt me. It makes them seem small and less threatening which helps me keep moving forward.
How naive I was to believe the person I married was sincere when he professed his love for me and his desire to have children and live happily ever after. I understand even those with the best intentions are unable to have lasting love and successful marriage. The most painful truth I discovered was that everything was a lie and that I was manipulated from the very beginning for the sole purpose of fulfilling his demented ideas. He never loved me, is unable to love his children and we were merely another stop on his never-ending journey to make everyone else believe he is a wonderful person. He has this insatiable drive because he knows how dark and rotten he is causing him to spend unlimited amounts of energy building his false self. Truth, as painful as it was, released me from the agony of life with him.
The beginning of my healing journey started with removing myself from an abusive situation and cutting off contact with the person creating it. The one time I sought help while still in a controlling, abusive relationship I faced fierce retaliation leading me to fear ever seeking help again. Towards the end of that relationship couples therapy was recommended by the family physician, but as some of you may know, a narcissist does not seek therapy except to prove themselves right and attempt to prove the instability of their partner. Fortunately, our therapist was very intuitive and experienced with narcissistic behaviors which threw my ex into a furious rage and a near assault on the aging therapist. This experience crystallized my resolve to escape and pursue a new life.