I finally realised it for myself now xD.
All along I knew she had an inflated and fragile ego.
I initially didn't recognise there being a 'love bombing' phase, as it was only just beginning to fade out when things went wrong for us anyway.
I also completely forgot as things progressed with us that in the very beginning of the relationship I had a subtle feeling of unease. She just seemed slightly less than genuine. Which is something I'm usually great at picking up on but might not have helped that we were long distance.
Instead of feeling like she was having sincere feelings of care and compassion to me. It felt much more like she saw me as a valuable object that she had attained, and that she may have just been mimicking what she thought compassion should look like. In retrospect, being her first boyfriend, she may have learned how to love, or what love looked like, from me over the course of the relationship. Could be part of why she seemed more genuine as time went on. Or it could just be her feelings did get deeper in a way.
I don't have a specific problem as such. But I would like to open up a place for anyone with more experience in this to help me get through my breakup, as it's been pretty tough.
Specifically, are narcissists like psychopaths in that they can't really 'love' in the same sense that we do?
(I say 'us' and 'them', is that correct? Or do these disorders exist on a sliding scale?)
If they are like psychopaths and their love isn't like ours. How do you get your head around that? How do you understand that you were basically in a one-sided relationship?
Also, some of these things e.g. love bombing seem fairly on par with normal relationships and behaviour (honeymoon phase). What are the differences between a normal relationship and a pathological one?
I appreciate any help or input.
It’s great you have realised this for yourself I think that’s what needed to happen (but sorry I didn’t reply to your last post I had meant to!).
It still might take sometime to sink in and you might wobble back fourth thinking is she? Isn’t she? Remembering things the nice things and then not so nice things. It’s easy to make excuses or think that they are normal.
It doesn’t feel right to judge someone like this, I know. It comes down to acceptance (eventually) that this is what they are like and they are never going to change or very rarely do. And there is a grieving process to go through.
There is a range of narcism, I’d say my dad is def a full blown narc, he ticks every single box. ex bf def had traits. I was waiting to see if he’d come out of ‘ the late teens/ early 20s’ narc phase, that I had been told about.
Yep the love bombing phase, that they use to lure you in and I guess give off the impression that they are nice, kind people. Or if they want something they will be extra sweet and nice and when they don’t get what they want they can turn nasty. (Narc rage). Even though you have broken up with ex gf just be aware she might try to contact you or even send you a gift. It’s best to cut all contact but that might seem hard at the moment.
I think it is quite hard and confusing to know what a normal relationship is once you’ve come out of one. Any future relationship I’d take very slowly so you can pick on any traits. But there are lots of really good articles in the internet.
Narcs can affect your self esteem and confidence tools if you’re feeling low or depressed or anxious that’s probably why.
once you know all the traits and red flags you’ll start to see recognise narcism in people.
I've got time to point you in the right surfing direction, however, while Lily (presumably) takes you from there (you're in good hands with her, despite she's still making discoveries and connections herself. 'Narcs are the gift that keep on giving").
"Also, some of these things e.g. love bombing seem fairly on par with normal relationships and behaviour (honeymoon phase). What are the differences between a normal relationship and a pathological one?"
Simples! As the normal, healthy couple come out of the Honeymoon phase, their relationship feelings deepen and the relationship moves up and on a level. Not so with your Narcs. They're a one-trick Pony... being in a fairly long-term relationship onwards, is like bloody Groundhog Day:
Chase, Catch, Honeymoon, Fight, (no resolving thus no never repeating), Chase, Catch, Re-Honeymoon, Fight....
They basically have whatever Attachment Disorder. Anyway, try Kim Saaed (incl on YouTube) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG-T8sbyswk - for your common-or-garden Narc personality disordered "lovely" upwards,
followed by MacKenzie @ Psychopathfree - https://www.psychopathfree.com/articles/30-red-flags-of-manipulative-people.212/ - for your Malignant Narc, Sociopath and full-blown Psychopathic personality disordered (it seems he lumps them together because their behaviour being so uncannily similar within the romantic arena warrants no distinction... he's got a point). But in the 'Cluster B' group of disorders, there's also Avoidant, Borderline and Histrionic.
This is why it's so complicated, with many distinguishing marks highly subtle and missable if you don't know what you're looking for. I'm sure you'll be a nigh-on expert by the time you're finished though. Find out as much as you can. Because knowledge is power - and in this case, also the Express Service ignition key to a speedier than average Recovery. Not to mention an important anchor and mood re-stabilizer. (Your recovery path will start with "SOB!" through to "Who the hell do you think you are, treating me like that! More to the point - who do you think *I* am!?!", through to "UGH!" and "PFF!"....and in a x steps forward, x back, xx forward (etc.) fashion..., ending in 'Ew, no thank-you, goodbye [ducks down side alley]'.
It's an incredible journey, can be very tough at times (not so much for you, given you've come here), but you wait until you're through it - your mental muscles will be *rippling* and where (fairly) normal people are concerned, you'll be able to deal (with dignified efficienty) with anyone and anything! Given the incredible enhancement and heightening of consciousness, incredibly enough, it's more than worth it. But you don't tend to see that until you're on the final few laps. But you will.
Good luck, troop!...back to Lily and, as I say, I'll deputise/input if I can.
My Jackson fell off.
Thanks very much for the support and advice. I appreciate it.
I haven't felt much like continuing research on the subject lately but it's good to have some places to start for when I feel up to it. Thanks.
-"Narcs can affect your self esteem and confidence tools if you’re feeling low or depressed or anxious that’s probably why."
Absolutely.. I'm currently not the man I was when we started dating. I have had to start taking anxiety medication and antidepressants. I'm unable to focus on things I used to enjoy. My entire outlook on life has changed. I feel hopeless about the future and I have an almost constant sinking feeling in my stomach and chest. All of this is due to our relationship.
-"Simples! As the normal, healthy couple come out of the Honeymoon phase, their relationship feelings deepen and the relationship moves up and on a level. Not so with your Narcs. They're a one-trick Pony... being in a fairly long-term relationship onwards, is like bloody Groundhog Day:"
You just described the last few months of my relationship. Seems like an endless cycle of fighting and making up.
Speaking of which, I have wobbled fairly majorly recently and taken her back.
This was after a particularly brutal fight during which, out of pain and frustration, I said the most horrible things I have ever said about anyone. Despite the fact that they were more or less true I still felt disgusted with myself afterwards, even if it was a little cathartic at the time. I was certain we would never speak again but she came back. And slightly touched by her understanding me, humbling herself, and her enduring feelings I accepted her back.
Yeah, you are probably thinking. "Wrong move". And you are probably frustrated with me for believing that it could be a real deep and mature love, when I have felt the need to come here and post my dissatisfaction with it.
But I stupidly believed that because she understood me ,could still see the good in me and still loved me after the things I said that it must be real.
Fast forward a few weeks and she is visiting a group of friends she only just met (including a guy I strongly suspect she had a crush on while we were broken up) for the second time in a month.
I should remind you we are in a long distance relationship and the last time she visited me was last year.. You might understand why I was a bit disappointed and hurt by this whole situation.
I felt some infidelity vibes. And physical or emotional cheating is the one thing I won't tolerate in a relationship.
Regardless of whether my instincts were correct I still believe that this was a crappy thing for her to do.
So, after our brief attempt at trying again I had to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Dump someone that I would dearly like to have spent the rest of my life with.
I'm in my mid twenties and I've had plenty of past relationship experience. Had a few breakups, as both dumper, dumpee and even the fabled mutual breakup. I've been crazy in love, deeply in love, deeply in lust, infatuated, obsessed at different times with different people. So I shouldn't be in this situation. I have the wisdom, life experience and self respect necessary to have avoided it. But the way I feel for this person overrides it all.
Despite everything she's done to me for some reason this is still the woman I have decided I want to be with forever. Dumping her was incredibly difficult and painful for me to do.
I am at a loss.
And I can once again relate to the username I chose for this site all those months ago.
After reading the list of 30 traits of manipulative people that SOULMATE posted (she perfectly fit 26 of them) I am even wondering if she may have been a psychopath.
My instincts about her intention to cheat were also correct as shortly after we broke up she was in a 'relationship' with the guy that I suspected.
The biggest thing that related to from the list was that these kinds of people can have drastic affects on your behaviour, ways of thinking and well-being if you spend enough time with them. Personally I am taking medication now for anxiety and depression which came about entirely due to her behaviour.
In the beginning of our relationship and especially before it I was a fairly positive, trusting, easy going person. But reading the list I could 100% relate to those points that talked about becoming suspicious, distrustful, depressed, needy. And also to wondering whether it was really her fault or mine.
Good to have some reassurance that I wasn't going crazy and she really was the sole cause of these feelings. Especially as the exposure to her wore on, as positive aspects of our relationship started to disappear and negative ones became more frequent. After a while it wears you down and I am left now unable to even think of why I wanted this relationship at all.
Thanks again for the support
After hearing words from my friends for so long like "toxic" and "abusive" and not getting it. It's finally sinking in that I am a changed man.
A few times now i noticed that if I feel I have been hurt or slighted, no matter how minimally. My reaction can be hugely disproportionate, overcharged and unnecessary. I can be callous, harsh and aggressive. This is the reaction I have gradually been conditioned to have over time as in dealing with my ex it has gradually become the only one that will be noticed, and the only one with any chance at all of enforcing a boundary. Although even then it sometimes wouldn't work.
I feel sick and ashamed. A few times lately I have heard reactions from my friends like "wo, calm down" or "jeez ok it was only a joke".
Tonight was the worst. I'm really mad at myself, but more so at my ex... My mum commented to me that I had been standoffish lately (I have) and I responded "So stand off!". Of course this is unacceptable for a grown adult to say to their mum who is trying to help, but like I said, it was knee-jerk reaction. My mum responded "ok, sorry" because she is a healthy, incredibly kind and caring person... then I saw tears appear in her eyes,she went to run to her room but I just stood in the way and hugged her while she cried and cried... I felt I am despicable. I was disgusted with myself. But more than that I finally Identified in that moment why I was acting like this and I saw it's my ex that I'm mad at... It's one thing for her to hurt me, and yes I am accountable for my own actions and I could have checked myself. But still, I feel she is now indirectly responsible for hurting my mum... I was pissed... I was so angry I could!!!!... I'm scared of what I could do.
So I took revenge.
The second thing tonight I'm less than proud of.
I contacted the guy she is now with. I instinctively knew that with a few words I could instantly destroy their fledgling honeymoon relationship. But so far had restrained mysrlf. But my god did I feel compelled to do just that now.
It was fascinating to talk to him on one level. We were talking about the same woman, but at the same time we weren't... I recognized the woman he was talking about sure... It was the image that she had initially tried to project to me. Having semi-decent instincts and zero tolerance for lies I shut her down every single time she tried to lie to me and eventually she gave up, changed tact and tried being honest with me. So I had been introduced to this character of hers. But I knew it wasn't her. The woman I knew was totally different to the one he knew.
All it took was literally two provable truths that I knew she would have lied to him about and their relationship crumbled. He dumped her too.
She blew up at me, bargaining and manipupulating (attempting to), seemingly in denial that the damage had already been done and it was already over. This woman I had at times admired while under her spell was appearing so ugly to me now that I understood her methods and motives (thanks in no small part to the responses I have received on this forum). I will never forget her last ditch attempt at manipulation.
Appealing to my empathy and the type of love i had often expressed to her she says to me "if you truly loved me and cared about me you would only want happiness for me, not darkness".
So in her mind I am supposed to love her, even though she has cheated, not apologized, or given the decency of a heads up. AND be happy that at least her new relationship is fulfilling whatever strange and obscure needs she has?
I realised something profound in that exact moment. I was about to get hooked in again and argue with her and try to repair her flawed logic. But a calmness just washed over me and I replied "exactly. I don't love you". And I knew right then that it was finally true.
Of course this wasn't the reaction she wanted, least of all expected and she flew into a rage and torrent of abuse.
I just blocked her.
It's finally over.
As I said earlier this kind of abuse comes on so gradually that you barely notice it. Like a frog in slowly boiling water, by the time you do notice it's far to late to get out unscathed.
I can not overstate just how important the responses I have received on this forum have been in making me realise that I was in an abusive relationship with a pathological woman. Even if my early replies might have frustrated you as I was still willing to forgive and try to see the good in my ex.
I thank you all deeply as I have been deeply damaged now, but at least I have escaped further damage and further wasted time.
I guess in a way you guys have also helped another random guy that almost got into a relationship with her. So this problem solved is a two for one.
Lately my reactions to others have been identical to the ones I have learned and been conditioned to use in response to my ex. As they were the only reactions that were even semi-effective at enforcing boundaries.
Sorry for the very, very late reply, I’ve not been ignoring you!
With not really wanting to read/research I can understand because it’ feels really uncomfortable as it’s the start to a accepting that you were in a toxic relationship for a couple of years and you’ve got to get your head round it. But the reading is the important bit. I find this kinda stuff really interesting, but I think reading confirms it all in your head (once you get your head around it all). That it’s not you, you’re not going crazy or imagining things and you’ve not done anything wrong. The fact that you were able to identify 26 traits with your ex confirms it even more and will make you want to stay away because you can so easily remind our self.
Also it helps you look out for future narcs, whether that’s in friendship or a relationship coz you will be able to spot the traits quickly.
Yeah narcs do cheat. Always listen to your instincts I often found them to be right! my dad has and I’m not sure how many times or for how long. Ex bf enjoyed implying that he was getting very close to a girl whilst at uni. Narcs seem to think this kind of behaviour is ok and they don’t apologise. Who know how long your ex had been seeing this other guy for but it’s unhealthy that she jumped straight into another relationship after yours ended.
with your mum, it’s quite normal to take things out on people who are closest to us when you’re angry or hurting. you showed her you were sorry for snapping.
I’m pleased you remained calm when she blew up at you. She flew into a narc rage coz like you said you didn’t give her the reaction she wanted and get drawn in again. That’s a positive step forward that can take other victims a long time to do.
Just watch out she doesn’t try to contact you in another way like post and block her on other things too.
It does get a lot easier .
"Sorry for the very, very late reply, I’ve not been ignoring you!"
No worries. As I said I really appreciate any replies and advice, but at the very least this is still a good place to vent.
"Who know how long your ex had been seeing this other guy for but it’s unhealthy that she jumped straight into another relationship after yours ended."
Yep. That's part of the reason I felt compelled to contact the guy. My ex would never give a straight answer to this. It would only be a hodgepodge of mitigating, minimizing, justifying, blame-shifting, blame-dodging, half truths and straight up lies. All with an ulterior motive of course. And the weirdest thing of all, if I confronted her with the truth, she would simply pretend she didn't hear it or pretend she heard me say something else.
Well, after talking to him I found that the actual timeline of events lined up more or less exactly with what I suspected. Just more encouragement to never ignore my instincts as you said.
"With not really wanting to read/research I can understand because it’ feels really uncomfortable"
For me the strangest thing is accepting that there are quite a few people in the world that are experiencing life and emotions totally differently to the rest of us.
It's like with colours. We could both look at a hat and agree that it's blue. But for all we know, if you stepped inside my mind the hat could look to me like the colour you would call red. But I've just learned to refer to it as blue. None of us really truly know how each other are experiencing the world.
It's the same with emotions. I naturally assume that everyone else feels all the same emotions I do, in much the same way. But for people like my ex, some emotions, like remorse are totally absent. Then others, like love are hugely distorted and minimized.
I would argue that the thing these people refer to as love is not actually love by my definition. Imagine we are both blind, I'm given a piece of cake to eat, you're given some icing... we both agree that this thing were eating is great. It tastes quite similar, it must be the same thing. But they are totally unaware, as are we in the beginning, that they are totally missing out on so much of the substance and depth that creates the solid base of what we call love.
I'm sorry, I just realised I've gone a bit star trek now lol.
My point is you go through life hearing that deep down everyone is the same. But there are quite large proportions of the population that are significantly different. And finding yourself getting close and attached to one of them is confusing, surreal and incredibly difficult.
Until you find other people that have experienced it too, can relate and can help make sense of it for you.