A few weeks ago, I wrote about realising my relationship was a lie. Since the relationship ended, in November, I’ve found a very good friend in his daughter’s Mum (I doubt he’d ever read this but he always said I’d like her-guess what, Ian, you were right!) and through our many conversations, and the ongoing counselling I’m having, I’ve realised he is a Narcissist. Not only that, but I now can recognise the signs at a thousand paces, so I can happily step away from anyone behaving in the same way. I’ll be able to protect myself better in the future, and that’s incredibly valuable, so I wanted to talk about a few of the things he did that were incredibly obviously red flags, looking back. I just wish I’d noticed at the time. Now that I’m in the right frame of mind to deal with it, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learnt about dealing with a Narcissist, and the red flags I wish I’d noticed.
It’s all about you, it’s all about you, baby…
Narcissists like to make everything about them. I went through a very stressful time-my own health issues, buying a house and just being generally shattered, and so I was quite emotional at times. His response to this? He told me the only thing he didn’t like about me, the reason he wasn’t 100% committed to our relationship, was because he couldn’t deal when I got upset, and I needed to stop as it was too hard for him. (Nothing to do with the other girl he was sleeping with all along, of course, no it was totally MY fault that he wasn’t committed to our relationship, obviously)
I got phone calls from him on a regular basis, always on weekends I wasn’t going to see him (we lived 200 miles apart and I worked every other weekend) saying he wasn’t going to survive the day, he would take his own life. These meant I left work (thank god with permission from a manager, so I wasn’t at risk of losing my job but he didn’t know that) to go to him. He’d call me multiple times on the drive, asking how long I would be, because he needed me. Just what you need during a 4 hour drive when you’re already worried sick.
One of the best ones I can talk about is the day I bought my house, that I’d been saving up for for so long-a massive achievement-he ended the relationship. He emailed me at work to do it. I was destroyed, I ended up leaving work because I was in no fit state to speak to customers. Then the next day he called me to say actually, he did want to be with me. Succeeded in ruining the happiness I should have had the day I bought the house though, didn’t he.
Love bombing is a real thing
I always thought this was a bit of a myth, but then I look back. In the beginning, he would regularly tell me I’d saved him. That his Mum (who passed away a few years ago) would love me, because I was the only one who’d ever helped him. That he loves me soooo much. This phase didn’t last long at all (I now know because he was likely doing this to the new supply, the new ‘girlfriend’ who he’s undoubtedly cheating on with goodness knows how many people like he did me) He also, brilliantly, sat my parents down when he first met them, to tell them as a father of daughters it’s important to him that they knew he would ‘always respect and protect me’. Turns out treating me like dirt and telling lies about me after he’s ended the relationship don’t figure in that promise.
If you’ve been to Tenerife, he’s been to Elevenerife
To use his own phrase back on him, anything you could do he’s done better. He applied to be in the fire service, and would you believe he beat the record for most of the stages of the fitness test? And he’s run so many marathons, and his times are so fast, etc etc. Apart from he once went to run around the block as I walked the dog, told me he’d done so many laps whilst I was walking. Impressive, I said, knowing he’d only ran past me half as many times as he insisted he had.
Complete and utter lies
He told me lies, from the serious (time in Afghanistan when he was never there, complete with detailed descriptions of the horrors he’d seen-I’m incredibly sorry to anyone reading this who has been through the horrors he lied about, I think you’re amazing) to the bizarre (him and his sister were Street Dancing champions when they were younger, but they never danced in any way, it turns out) I honestly can’t tell you if he ever said a true sentence to me in our entire relationship.
The blame game
Nothing is ever his fault. Our relationship didn’t work because my parents didn’t like him, apparently. Though they never told him this and I never told him either, and they were nothing but kind to him, even having him come on holiday with us and sending a gift for his daughter once. It’s my fault I never helped him with his drug addiction. The drug addiction he told me he didn’t have the time I asked him if he had a problem. The fact he isn’t able to see his daughter. Nothing to do with him not being fit and her Mum needing to keep her safe, everything to do with me, who barely knows her, lives 200 miles away and has no say over decisions her Mum makes. Although if he wants to give me credit for keeping her safe, that’s a compliment I guess.
The smear campaign
Since we split up, he’s told lies about me, threatened to tell my parents lies about me, and accused me of lying about things that happened during our relationship. This is typical of a Narcissist, they want to make themselves look better by making you look bad. A few months after he ended the relationship, when I was going through my emails so I could give the police the dates of all the times I’d chased him for money he had stolen from me and my tablet he’d acknowledged was only ever leant to him but he is still refusing to give back, I found proof of all the things he told people I’d lied about. I’m not about to hurt people involved by sharing this proof, but I could. That’s a good feeling.
Gaslighting is all about changing the narrative, making you think things happened or you said or did things when you know you didn’t. Telling me I always knew he was on drugs is a prime example. Turns out the conversation we had where I asked him directly and he said he wasn’t, was all by email. The conversations about money I’d leant him are all in Facebook messenger. He may have made me believe I’d forgotten things, or remembered them wrong, but I now know what he was doing.
As you can see from this post, there’s so much that’s been going on, I’ve kept a fair bit to myself out of respect for his daughters who may read this one day, and for my own family who don’t need to know every single time he hurt me. Believe me though, I could write an entire series on it if I wanted.
If you have been, or are, dealing with a narcissist, and you want to talk-please, feel free to get in touch with me. I’m not an expert, I’m not a counselor (side note, highly recommend getting yourself counselling if you’ve been trying to handle this shit alone) but I can be a friend.