Did it go well for you? It didn't for me. It ended with a PFA. Ironically both times it ended that way, the scenario was a bit different and the timelines are off by a couple years but.... the end result, the same.
So, I have a theory. I've been told I'm an empath but, I don't see myself that way. I'm too quick to shut people out to be much of an empathic person. I care but, not overly so that I get involved with every 'save the world' cause or what have you. I'm more of a 'nurture' than an empath. I'm a mom. I've been a mom since before I had kids. I took care of my little brother when I was 12 when my mom was working and going to school and doing what moms do. No, she wasn't a single mom but the 90's were different. We were latch key kids to an extent. They're was always someone shortly behind us but, it was up to me to make sure we got on and off the bus and we're good till they got there. So, that's who I am. I'm in my 40's now and I've been taking care of someone other than myself for the majority of my life. I'm not sure what life will be like when my kids are grown and gone. I picture it as really lonely, and boring but, who knows. That is a story for another day.
Did you know that narcissists target their victims? Did you know that they learn about you and study you before they ever make a move? Today's 'online' world makes it way too easy for them. I was a complicated target for mine I didn't have Facebook or myspace or any of those things for them to search and dig and read about me beforehand. I do now. I didn't then. For the longest time I despised an online presence. I'm still not really fond of it but, I take it more in stride now.
See narcissists want to make sure of a few things before they make their move. First, you have to be as good as they see themselves. If your not going to make them look good their is no point so you'll not be chosen. However, if you look ok, and your reasonably successful, and established you're a shoe in. Second, you have to be financially stable or even well off. This is going to be important for the financial abuse aspect. They can't take from you if you don't have it to give. Third, you have to have a weak spot. You have to have something they can use to guilt you with. Something that they can use against you when they're losing. You can be strong, independent, and stubborn and all of those things that make you a stable person but you've got to have that one weak spot. We all have it. They find it easily and early on, and they lock on to it.
Narcissists typically move fairly quickly in relationships. For me my now ex had broken up with his then girlfriend and started talking to me 2 months later within 3 months he was moving in with me 'part time' and that's when everything went downhill fast. He wasn't just staying there he was "staying there" and getting him out would not be easy. People ask me now 'why him', it's easy. He fit the bill. Tall, dark, handsome, and charismatic. He would tell you otherwise today but, that's because today he's playing the victim (another thing narcissists do and often do very well).
We met online. Yes, online. Yes, I know I hated an online presence. I did too. I went through 4 dating apps before I found one that didn't completely weird me out. I finally landed on one and here we are. I should've known better. I did know better. He was nice and he was exciting, and he seemed excited to talk to me. At that time I needed that. We talked for about 3 weeks over the app chat and phone. Then we finally met up. Red flags all over the place and I ignored them all.
We were supposed to meet for lunch during the week. Lunch is safe, public, I'm working so I'm on a time frame, gotta get back to the office, all that right, yeah no. He missed his flight. (RED FLAG) He was out of town, and over slept and missed his flight by the time he got in he was too 'tired' to meet me for lunch (RED FLAG). That weekend was my kid weekend and I never ever ever went out on kid weekends. Except. I made an exception (RED FLAG I hadn't even met this guy yet and he was already stomping on my boundaries, and I was letting him). Boundaries?? What are boundaries??
We go to dinner that weekend. A cheap Chinese place that a friend of mine had taken me too. I wanted decent food but, if we ended up going dutch, I didn't want to have to pay for something I couldn't afford. I also didn't want to seem like one of those women who expected a $100 dinner all the time. I'm odd like that. Afterwards... I broke another boundary. During all this I was driving back and forth to him. 50 miles from my home. (RED FLAG).
He had charmed me. Within the first 5 minutes of meeting me he had kissed me to get it out of the way. He said if I was a bad kisser it would never work and we needed to get the mystery out of the way. I should have plugged him one but I didn't. I found it charming. It took me by surprise. No one ever gets a surprise over me. He did. Every single time. Birthdays, anniversaries, he always got a surprise on me even when I worked really hard to bust it.
3 months later we had our first fight. He was out of town. He was pulling that same stuff as when we had first met. "I missed my flight". I was learning it was a pattern with him. I had a couple drinks and started smoking again. (RED FLAG I had been quit for 10 years at that point). I was turning into someone I didn't want to be and I couldn't even see it.
Not long after that he was going 'out of the country' not just anywhere but one of the most dangerous countries at the time. Always a war. Always unsafe for citizens and travelers alike. I was concerned. He wasn't. I was wrong for expressing my concerns (so he said) and he didn't care that I had them (RED FLAG). My feelings were completely discounted as totally irrelevant and the words "No woman will ever tell me no again" came out (RED FLAG) later after trying to work things out, and trying to come to a compromise I took him to the airport. We'd agreed on 7 days. 1 week. Only when I asked about picking him up I couldn't get an answer (RED FLAG). I finally got one. It went along the lines of "I'm going, there is nothing you can do about it. I'll be back when I get back and I don't care if your here when I get back or not." I shouldn't have been. Being there when he got back proved to be the worst mistake of the last 7 years.
Without going through all the details. (It gets worse from here.) That was year 1. We weren't even a hole year in. We were barely months in. Boundaries were being overstepped. I'm a mom. I worked 8-5 at the time. I had to be up at 530. He would call me at 3am. He had no concept of time. He was awake, he wanted to talk, he called. That simple. The problem though. ME!!! It was my responsibility to not answer my phone at 3am. I was like a stupid teenager though. I was a giddy little girl. No one had been that excited to talk to me in a really long time and no one had made that type of effort with me. I was desperate for the affection and attention. That's the problem right there. I WAS WEAK! I'm not saying anyone in a similar situation is but what I am saying is we all have a weakness and a narcissist will hone in and exploit it.
My career was important to me at the time so it wasn't long till he was
'popping in' at the office (another boundary crossed). Don't come to my work. (RED FLAG) Do you see the pattern here? I put lines in the sand, he crossed them. I let him. I put another line in the sand, he crossed it, I let him. I taught him that it was ok to break through the boundaries and completely ignore them. He threw up red flag after red flag. I wrote out a list of pro's and con's and the con side was 3 times as long as the pro. I wrote out what I was looking for in a man before I met him and he was the exact opposite. Red Flags were all around me. I ignored them all.
When he left me at that airport and said 'I don't care if you're here when i get back' that was the beginning. I was there when he got back. He knew I would be. I opened the door for him to twist, manipulate, and abuse me and he did. That day was my fault. Oh yeah. I shouldn't have told him he couldn't go, only I didn't say that. What I said was I didn't want him to go. I agreed to 7 days reluctantly. He took that as "i said no". I never said no. I asked him not to go. I asked him not to go several times. I cried over it. I was worried sick. I didn't have faith then like I do now either.
I had been married before. I had caught a chronic pathological liar in the act. I had seen the cheating and the signs and I had made my plan and escaped a marriage that was suffocating me and yet here I was. Just a few years later. After I fought so hard to find my independence I was totally and completely stupid again. Yes, I said stupid.
Everything was my fault and I said 'ok' like a dumbass. I still do. Guilt. That's my weakspot. There were other things he used to control me. Things like telling me I was a bad mother. Oh yeah, kids are a go to for narcissists. He was so jealous of them. Even today he will tell you one of the reasons he never came home was because my oldest son had "his" seat beside me on the sofa. Seriously, yes, God's honest truth. He won't tell you why. He won't tell you that my son was seriously depressed and dealing with a lot of demons at that time and really needed moms support. Nope, just that he wanted to sit there and I wouldn't make my son move.
Years of being told I'm a bad mom. Years of being told I made him act that way. Years of being told that if I hadn't reacted too what he was doing he would've told me the truth. Hello, if you have to lie to your significant other about what you're doing because you're afraid of their reaction you shouldn't be doing it. Years of having no boundaries. Years of having no money because he spent every dime I made and didn't make any of his own. Years of babysitting for him. Raising his son as my own only to have him taken from me because he isn't mine.
The effects of narcissistic abuse I'm told are quite similar to PTSD. I'm working on healing but, there will be triggers. If there is to be a partner in my life ever again, there will likely be conversations or even smells that will trigger a response because of the conditioning I've received. Narcissistic abuse is a brainwashing at its finest.
You have to deal with it though. Because of the severity of it. Because of the damage it does. You have to deal with it. You have to be willing to dig deep to see what it was that caused you to ignore the flag, to take down the boundary and then you have to fix that.
Mom's are not weak. We are some of the strongest people alive. We do everything for our families. We put ourselves last and that my friend is exactly why we are targets. It's why we're easily manipulated. It's our caring nature and our nurturing side that will want to fix things, and help them, and will fall for the things that we should run from.
My advice to anyone reading this in any situation that's not healthy. DO NOT IGNORE THE RED FLAGS! They're there for a reason. Do not let them cross your boundaries. Stay true to yourself. Stay true to what you want in a partner, don't settle. Don't fall for the fake apologies that actually blame you. "I'm sorry I couldn't be the man you needed." or my favorite "I'm sorry you feel that way." I'm sure you are because it's not what you wanted me to say or do.
Remember these types of people are out for what they can get from you. Be it money, time, energy, whatever. They'll make friends with your friends. They'll try to get in your circle. Then they'll try to turn them against you too. Be careful. Be watchful. Be mindful. They're are going to be angry out bursts too. I have holes in walls to prove it. How dare you do whatever it is that provokes them to anger. Stop believing it. Don't worry I'm not even with him anymore and I have to still say this outloud to myself every day.
Keep the faith. Pray. Get right with God. You are not meant to be abused. You were not put here to tolerate abuse. That situation is not God's will.
Keep going mama (or daddy) you got this. The right person is out there. Don't put your walls up too high, or too tight. Keep an open mind and an open heart but be mindful and look for things as they really are. If it's not what you can tolerate in the long term then don't tolerate it in the short term.
Move on. Move forward. Don't look back.