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I’ve brought this post forward from 2009 for a time to make the info a bit more accessible…..

This afternoon, a friend brought me the mail from my box.
There were a couple of memos, lots of junk mail, magazines, catalogs,
….the usual things.
At the bottom of the stack was an envelope addressed to the N.

Now if my life were a movie, this would be the moment in the film where the orchestra music would swell with a tense portion of the score…..the strings, the woodwinds, the trumpets, the English horns….the harps….Hey!  This is my horror movie….I want a full orchestra.

But it’s not a movie.  It’s just my boring life, (my life that had an N in it for a while.)  I can visualize a guy with an axe running across the screen from stage left….cue the screams.

Three years ago, seeing that envelope would have made me feel like all the air had been sucked out of my universe.  I wouldn’t have been able to function for the rest of the day, thinking about the loss of my frieNd(ship.)

Three years ago, my obsessive thought…the only thing I would have be able to do….the compulsive desire…would have been to return the envelope to his mailbox.
Or.
Worse yet.  Deliver it to him in person. Big mistake.  Huge.
And I would have felt a constant aching, gaping void.
I know…very dramatic…however true.

Today my response was…
“Huh…Would you look at that?  Somebody screwed up in the mail room.”
I felt nothing.   I sat at my desk.  In my office.
For once it was peacefully quiet…and thought nothing about this piece of correspondence.
A smile spread across my face as I realized that I could honestly say, “Whatever.”

What do you do about missing the “Pretend Guy?”

When I check my blog, sometimes I will look at the Search Engine Terms that people use to find me.  My friend taught me this trick.  When the “Writing Muse” is evasive, I read through the terms and sometimes I get “inspiration”.

There is a phrase that continues to come up in terms that really tugs at my heart.  It brings back painful memories – like a wave of grief washing over me.  I feel raw writing about that period of time, after The N…but if  people are using this term as a search, then I need to share what I’ve learned.
But first I need a glass of wine….talk amongst yourselves for a moment….

This terminology was the perfect description for a man who pretended to be my friend. When the friendship was over after the “last” D & D…during the next four months that I beat myself up…blaming myself for the loss of a friendship that never really was….
I was “Missing Pretend Guy”
(If your N was a female, feel free to change it to Girl…or “Bi**h” if you are still at that point in recovery…I understand.)

When I discovered there was something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and that ‘my friend’ the N, had 18 of the 20 characteristics….(actually he probably had all 20.)  I still foolishly thought that the N could be fixed.
I’ll wait for you to stop laughing.

It took more time and more instances of D & D for me to realized that his personality disorder was woven into the very fabric of his ‘being’.  This ugly ‘quilt’ that was his personality could not be changed.  You couldn’t go to the store and buy a new duvet and tuck the ugly quilt in it…something new to make it pretty…  This disordered individual could not be thrown into the washer with Mountain Fresh Tide and an extra cupful of Downy….there was no way to wash away his abnormal way of interacting with people…
Okay, enough of the bed linens analogy.  Hope it helps you understand.

After months of reading…actually it took closer to a year, for me to be able to wrap my mind around the fact that ‘my friend’ was not what he presented himself to be.  He wasn’t Pretend Guy.  Pretend Guy didn’t exist…he never had.  Coming to terms with that made me feel like I was in some weird Twilight Zone movie marathon, and that Rod Sterling was going to walk out from behind the drapes.  Even knowing all that. it still didn’t stop me from missing Pretend Guy.

Everything that my ‘friend’ the N had portrayed himself to be was false.  Pretend Guy was like an imaginary friend…(but not like the one in Sundays at Tiffany’s.)  The person that I thought was my friend, didn’t exist….but the alien who created the illusion did.  The alien was Real – Actual Guy; he was real ugly & really nasty.

When the N dropped his mask after D & D’s, too numerous to count,  it was truly rare for me to see Pretend Guy.
If I was unfortunate enough to witness a performance of Pretend Guy, his ‘warmth and caring’ was always directed to some other person.  When I would witness this charade, every fiber in my being wanted to scream out…I wanted to shake the receiver of his kindness.  “Don’t you see?  He is not the professional, charming, kind, human being you think he is!  He’s not even human!”  Watching these scenes made me nauseated.

While I was recovering from the loss, not a day went by that I didn’t miss Pretend Guy.  Some days were worse than others.  I would stay busy, but inevitably, a quiet moment of the day would come.  Sometimes the memory would sneak up on me.  Perhaps it was the time of day that was sometimes spent in the company of the N.   Whatever the reason, the pain would come to me fresh and raw.
I learned to accept it; you could almost say that I embraced it.  At least feeling the pain let me know I was still breathing. I was still alive.  Unlike the N, I was human and capable of feeling loss.

I would often talk about him to my close friends like he was dead because well, he was.
I gave myself permission to grieve Pretend Guy.
Give yourself permission too.
I would tell some of the funny stories he had told me…who knows if they were lies or the truth.  I would use some of his phrases when talking to those who knew of his ‘demise’.  For all intensive purposes, it was like having a memorial service for Pretend Guy.
(Just the other day a friend of mine mentioned THE funniest thing I think I ever heard the N say in response to a fellow colleague.  I wish that I could tell you…but like they say, you really had to be there.  Anyway, I laughed so hard I cried, and then we  intermittently giggled from time to time the rest of the day. )

I wish I could present you with an easy step by step guide for getting over the phase of “Missing Pretend Guy”.  I don’t have a book to sell you.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an easy fix.
Time really did help.
I won’t say that “Time heals all wounds” because frankly that is the biggest load of BS ever written.  Whoever coined that phrase should be slapped; they never met this Narcissist.

NC = (No Contact) was and still is the BEST thing, EVER.
No Contact is simply that.  No Contact!   No phone calls, no text messages, no emails, no notes, no letters, no post-it notes, no memos, no waves, no polite greetings…Nothing.
Pretend Guy can’t answer the phone, email, write or wave.
Real guy could do those things if he was human or cared, but he’s not and he doesn’t.
And no, you can’t have a friend /relative /acquaintance get a message to him.  Don’t play that game.  The N is far better at playing games than you are.  And, you must ask yourself….Do you really want to play his sick games any longer?
Do you want to be the game piece in his never-ending board game of Devalue and Discard?
No, I didn’t think that you did, it is just that we have been on the park merry-go-round for so long, we don’t know how to make the ride stop.

I know for people with children by a Narcissistic partner, NC is difficult, but still necessary, and hopefully communication can be carried out for the most part through your attorney or solicitor.
For those of us where the N was a friend, NC is amazing!  It feels so good to turn the tables and give his behavior back to him.  The victims/targets of the N feel so helpless at times; to be able to direct the “ignoring” behavior back at him (to use a phrase of his) “is simply grand.”

After I had grieved for a time, his name, the stories and his stupid clichés were banned from my office.  We declared it a “N – Free Zone.”  The office has been sanitized for my protection.

I hope that hearing about my experiences has at least given you the comfort in knowing that there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”  Here I am, 3 years later – I survived.  Sure, there are flaws, marks that were not there before; but I’d like to think that they have added character and depth.  (With a little spackle, I can fill them right in.)
Can I look back on those two years we were “friends” and laugh?
No.  I’ll let you know if, and when, that ever happens.

Are you wondering about that envelope that found its way to my mail box?
Don’t worry – I didn’t open it and I didn’t deliver it to him.  I dropped it in the outgoing mail bag.
Just like Karma… IT will find him, eventually.

 Postscript:
The phrase Pretend Guy was one that I found early during my research of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I went back through reams of paper….most of them being yellow highlighted.  The good news is,  I found the article and here is the link.  The author’s name is Alexandra Nouri.  The article I found was called “Missing the Narcissist.” 

http://thepsychopath.freeforums.org/so-you-re-in-love-with-a-narcissist-by-alexandra-nouri-t993.html

If the link does not work, you can also Google – “Missing The Narcissist.”  You can find Alex’s writings there too.  Sadly, Alex’s web site is not to be found.  But fortunately someone at:
http://thepsychopath.freeforums.org  cared enough to save Alex’s posts. 

Alex:
I hope you are well and safe.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world.  I am speaking for ALL of us when I say that we are grateful.
Peace.

….Am so weary of these comments from ‘the spell caster witnesses’ who want to boast the the talents of Prince BooHaHa and the like. The whole point of my blog is about putting distance between the victim and the wacko narcissist, not for looking for mumbo jumbo ways to get them back.
Spell casters need not comment.

ES

Choice

Perhaps there are a few individuals who need to see this…..

choice

Crunchy Numbers:

The number crunchers at WordPress sent me my year end report a few weeks ago – Here are the impressive numbers.

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. My blog was viewed about 96,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2013, there were 10 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 198 posts. There were 12 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 12 MB. That’s about a picture per month.

My busiest day of the year was August 13th with 434 views. The most popular post that day was
FAQ: How long before the Narcissist misses me?

A reader “took me to task” this week. They felt was not being supportive enough of new readers who were breaking No Contact. This is my response. After I read what had just flowed from my fingers, I figured, hey, why not, make it a post.

I am sorry if you see my (or others) comments to readers as being a ‘smartass.’

Nothing about a relationship with a Narcissist is cute. Having been in a “frieNdship” with an N is not a clique that I Ever want to join again, believe me.

When I went into “remission” from the N, years ago, I read everything I could get my hands on from a site at MSN. It was a web site with a multitude of resources and even had (live) chat with people that were in similar situations and those who had recovered fully, especially by using a technique called “No Contact.”

No where, was I ever encouraged to seek out the N again after “Devalue and Discard”, I was strongly discouraged against contacting him, but I didn’t listen, and HOW sorry I was for not listening to those much wiser than I. The worse thing I ever did was try to ‘fix’ the ‘breakup’ with the N. It only made things worse, horribly worse.

If you were hoping that you would receive advice about how to recify, fix, heal, resume, mend, your broken relationship with the N, you will not find that here. The thing that we do not realize until many years down the path to recovery, is that the relationship / friendship with the N….was already broken from Day One. We were simply blind to that fact.

Yes, it is horribly tragic and it is a pity that any human being is subjected to this inhuman treatment from the N.

I hope that you are able to get many days of No Contact in a row. Honestly, you will find that the more days of No Contact you have the more the desire to have anything to do with the N will fade. Really, I’m not lying.

Contact me again, and let me know how you are doing. To quote AA: “One Day at a time.”

All the very best to you.
ES

Once in a great while, I get a comment on one of my blog posts that is so well written and pertinent to readers needs, that I ask permission of the writer and I make it an actual blog post all on its own. Let’s face it, a comment is not always going to be seen when it’s “Comment #142″ on a particular post. In this case, I tried to contact the writer, but they used an invalid email address. Perhaps they will contact me again after seeing their comment as an actual post. Hope so.

I have a question which nobody ever seems to be able to answer effectively, but which is very important!

Before asking the question, a little info …

1) WHAT HAPPENED: I survived a most traumatic relationship with a narcissist.

2) WHY?: I was too naive, young and immature to understand who I was trying to relate to, plus I am an empath. (not Pollyanna though) I was wrongly taught that being patient and forgiving is natural and rational, because ‘nobody’s perfect.’

3) PTSD: I was deeply affected by him and, as a result, a year after the discard, I was still so messed up that, for the first (and only) time in my life, I even experienced one episode of dissociation, when subjected to further abuse in the working environment. I guess I just could not take any more of that, I just paralyzed there and then, unnaturally calm though, feeling nothing except my body!
I also kept dreaming about him.

4) CONSEQUENCES: I reacted by becoming the exact opposite of what I was: From TOTALLY naive to TOTALLY suspicious and terrified of people, always wondering about their words, “WHAT and WHY are they saying THIS to me? What do they expect my reaction will be?”

I even started obsessing about my own EYES and about keeping in check with an absolute blank non revealing stare HOW others are watching ME through their eyes, to instantly notice IF they are
getting my emotions and if they are making subtle sadistic smirks or smiles as a result of possibly detecting ANY kind of weak emotion, like fear, on my part; also new to me. I now can get terrible rages if I even get the feeling somebody is treating me like my exN did.

So it’s like I feel a part of him is inside me, I don’t know how else to describe it!
But still, the apparently contradictory thing is that I am enormously more empathic than I used to be, like my empathy got enhanced somehow, not lessened.

For example: I sense other people’s pain immensely to the point that I feel pain too if I see others sad. Trust me, I experienced some remarkable situations where it was like I FELT all the pain the other person was feeling, instantly, to the point that I would start crying and sobbing and feeling desperate all of a sudden just looking through their eyes! Now I feel absolutely very protective and even more totally respectful and loving towards people who suffer, more than any other time before in my life.

POSITIVE ASPECTS ABOUT the N-experience:
1) I now sincerely understand that being alone CAN be a blessing indeed, and that ANYTHING is better than being with a Narcissist, given that you RECOGNISE that you are dealing with one.

2) I now understand that my personal (human AND therefore NORMAL) fears, which all normal people have (loneliness, emptiness, finity, fear itself, sadness, not being worthy …), CAN be artfully used by others against me, and by means of myself (in other words: Ns let others be ruled by their own fears, … and when N-supply (this is what I was for him, an object) ultimately finds out, we have the additional self-blame and shame for letting Ns do this to us by our own selves!)

3) I now understand that there are people with NO EMPATHY … believe it or not! Understand it/accept it or not.

4) I am now humble, and will NEVER ever again say “it could not happen to me!” Instead I don’t judge, I shut up and think “Unless you lived through that, you cannot understand what it feels like!”

QUESTION:
Since I want to stay away as far as possible from Narcissists … here is the question:

“When I first meet somebody, how do I know: … … if I am talking to a Narcissist …. (not again please!”)

But, what I really mean is, how would I know… for sure (no doubts, and excluding other
pathologies, if there are other pathologies which are similar or easily mistaken for N)… from the start (possibly just after a few weeks or months from meeting somebody.)

COROLLARY TO THE QUESTION:
IF you answered that only a very good psychiatrist can know, and that there is no way for me to know …would you be implying that I am condemned to either:

1) Isolate myself from ANYBODY else…

2) Or subject myself to possible Ns and ultimately find out / find out only when it is too late for me to avoid feeling abused again?

THE QUESTION IS IMPORTANT because:

1) The urge to TRUST somebody can be strong, and makes us biased when objectivity is required, … We all look for love and care, it’s human nature!

2) The ability of Ns to conceal how UNCARING, MEAN, and FALSE they are is truly excellent … and one always wonders and wonders and wonders…”Is he? isn’t he? Is he? isn’t he? … to the point of self-torture!

3) Giving a list of narcissistic traits is not useful, we who were once traumatized know only too well the traits … especially when very visible at last!

PLEASE help with some useful answer!

P.S. I understand that you are not a doctor Elisse, but maybe some doctor reading the post could try to answer; or maybe there’s someone who might know one who could ask him/her for an opinion ….

Dear Karen:
As I said above, I tried to answer your comment by email, but your email address was not valid. I am working on getting an answer for your from a professional, but while we wait for their answer, here are some thoughts from me…not a dr. and I don’t even play one on TV. (It’s a very old commercial.)

There are many wildly waving “Red Flags” that could be a clue for you (and anyone else) when you meet someone new. I am going to post these as they come to mind, so check back.

While I am driving my youngest here and there, I have ‘fabulous’ thoughts/ideas that come to mind and I can’t always stop and write them down. I also don’t mean to sound sarcastic or humorous, but my answers might come out that way. Sorry.

1. If a grown man/woman (women can be N’s too) wants to jump into a new relationship like a lovesick high school freshman, texts you constantly, shows up unexpectedly, makes you feel like you are being smothered…they could be an N or they have some other seriously, unhealthy relationship issues.

2. After being with this new person, do you feel exhausted? Ask your self this honestly and not based on the excitement of going out with a new guy/girl. I was exhausted after spending ANY amount time with the N. Very much the same way you might be feeling after being with a needy but intelligent toddler for several hours. I also felt like I had “emotional whiplash” after listening to his “double talk” for any amount of time. He’d say one thing and then say the exact opposite 5 minutes later – and then deny having said the first comment. (Gaslighting.)

3. Do you feel icky when you are with this person? Do you feel like you are being smothered? Do you feel like you are dealing with an emo teenager in an adult’s body?

4. Have you met the new person by being introduced by a friend? Ask this person what they REALLY think of the new guy/girl. Ask them why (if they are not already dating, would they date the person.) What does your family think? Listen to what they think.

5. Have you ever watched ‘The Bachelor?’ (The best season of it was the year that it was Ryan & Trista and that had a very happy ending with a wedding and so far two babies.) In the show, the guy takes a couple of girls home to met his parents. I recall seeing where the family members really let the bachelor know what they think of the prospective brides.

6. Listen to your gut. Some people don’t believe in ‘intuition’ but I do.

7. I can’t help but direct you to a post from Dr. Joseph Carver, a psychologist from Ohio. He allowed something that he wrote called “Warning Signs You’re Dating a Loser” to be freely used on the Internet. In fact, I think I have posted it during the past several years on my blog.

Check out what he wrote. You can read it as though he is giving you pre-relationship advice. It is quite long. I would advise printing it out and grabbing my favorite tool…that yellow highlighter.

http://www.drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/IdentifyingLosers.html

N Slayer

I’ve just learned that I have been nominated for the Narcissist Slayer Award 2013!
You can learn more about it by clicking the attached link.

http://letmereach.com/2013/12/13/the-narcissist-slayer-blog-award-nominations/

The rules for this award are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.
2. Put the award’s logo on your blog.
3. Write a blog post and share the blog(s) you have chosen there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required.
4. Inform your nominees on their site.
5. Share one positive thing that you took away from your relationship with a Narcissist.

Dear Kim: Thank you for nominating my blog for this award. As they say on the Oscars, it is an honor just to be recognized. I’ve placed the award logo on my page, although I assure you I don’t look that hot in “narcissist slaying yoga pants……
As for (the) one positive thing that I took away from the (fresh hell) frie-N-dship with the N would be this….
It is truly an exalted and mind-blowing epiphany…..

“When going in to a fast food establishment….if you are able to serve yourself your own beverage…
taste it first before leaving to make sure there is has proper distribution of soda to syrup…..”

That’s it, that’s all I got for my grief and abuse. Amazing isn’t it?
Not kidding….I can’t make this stuff up!

More Resources

I have some new book resources for those readers who like to be able to read and highlight to their hearts content.

“Co-Parenting with a ToXic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You” By Amy J. L. Baker PhD.

“Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents”

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