Loving and Living With a Narcissist

I am reading the book, The Object of My Affection by Rokelle Lerner. A friend suggested that I read it since she felt that my experiences with both my wives indicated that they were narcissists. I’ve just started reading the book but already, in the first chapter, I have found two quotes that perfectly describe my relationships.

“It’s baffling when the person you fell in love with, who used to treat you so lovingly and thoughtfully, suddenly acts like you are an annoyance-or worse, the enemy. It’s painful to watch this person in public, treating people with respect and generosity and doing nice things such as acknowledging their birthdays-while consistently ignoring you. Your friends may think he’s quite a catch; people may adore him. And you may begin to feel as if there’s something desperately wrong with you.”

“When you’re in relationship with a narcissist, you relinquish your identity and your soul to them. Their seduction is similar to a razor-sharp stiletto being waved in your face: it’s so mesmerizing, you won’t know you’re bleeding to death until it’s too late. But it’s not your blood that a narcissist wants-it’s your emotional energy and your individuality. A true narcissist has no qualms about taking your money, your love, your admiration, your body, or your soul to satisfy their unquenchable hunger. And just as vampires cringe when they’re in the presence of crosses or holy water, narcissists recoil at ordinary adult experiences such as boredom, uncertainty, accountability, and, most of all, having to give as well as receive.”

These were my wives, my marriages, and my feelings, there on the page, as if I had written them as a description of my life. I have been trying to make sense of how I could have ended up with two women who I gave everything to, and who then took, and took, and took, but never gave back, unless it served to somehow benefit them.

These women convinced me that they loved me, cherished me, wanted me, but in the end, only cared about what they could get from the me. Once they realized they had taken all I had to offer, they moved on, leaving me alone and sure that it was all my fault.

Even though I now understand why they did what they did, because they were narcissists, I am left with irrational fears of being rejected, of never being good enough, of being left alone again. I live with these fears every day. I am almost constantly on edge, just one step away from another panic attack. I am always looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even though I trust the people in my life that I love, I live in constant fear that they will just leave, or worse, become disinterested and reject me. Even as I write this, the terror of being ignored; rejected, is palpable. I am on medication for depression and anxiety. I practice deep breathing and meditation to help calm myself. Nevertheless, the pure fear lurks just beyond my reach, waiting to envelop and destroy me. Or so it seems, anyway.

Supposedly, this book is supposed to help those who have suffered at the hands of narcissists. Let’s hope so.


6 Responses to “Loving and Living With a Narcissist”

  1. 1 fribnit April 12, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    And I thought my first fiance was just a bitch…… Interesting sir, very interesting

  2. 2 Brick Window April 13, 2011 at 12:46 am

    ugh, this post is tough. I am so sorry, Jay. I wish I could help. It’s never too late to heal. Take comfort in the fact you are.

  3. 4 prosey April 13, 2011 at 1:47 am

    *sending more hugs* I didn’t get the opportunity to tell you the other evening…yes, there exists a tendency to hold potential future lovers in a harsh spotlight because of past experiences…and things that they are not responsible for. Of course that is not fair to them, but even while it may well be irrational, it is *completely* understandable. It’s taken me YEARS to work through where I am today…and fortunately to be with someone who understands this (even if we have our rocky points) and is (mostly) patient with the process. Trust, once broken, is hard to rebuild…even with a person who wasn’t the one who broke that trust.

    Coming up, for me, having so many people who were essential to developing healthy, trusting relationships left me in a almost predictable position of ending up with what is described in the quotations you share as *narcissists* (and it is most certainly an accurate term)…even though I referred to both of my exes as emotional vampires. We’re talking about a lifetime of broken trusts on a variety of different levels by the people who I should have been able to trust the very most. *nod* The other evening, I could not have articulated these thoughts at all (I rarely put them to words verbally anyway…lol) – but reading this, and knowing where my head is at right the moment, it’s a bit easier writing the words out in a way that, I hope, make sense.

    With time, with steady healthy relationships, trust can be rebuilt. Take it from someone who never believed it was possible to trust *anyone* except herself. I used to say, “I can tell anyone anything, but no-one everything.” I lived by that from my earliest memories until about the end of 2006 – when the man I am now with put me to the test…and I pushed him to the point where friends were asking if I was trying to push him *away*…and I had to admit that was precisely what I was trying to do – to prove that he was just like everyone I’d ever known. I was wrong. There are people who are worthy of trust…in a complete way…and I think there are more out there than most of us believe – we’re just all kinda scattered hither & yon. Makes me smile even more while contemplating the benefits of the Internet and online networking. 🙂

    *more hugs*

    • 5 Jay Walker April 13, 2011 at 3:05 am

      I am trying to hard not to put the prejudices from my past experiences onto the ones I love in the present. I realize that these fears are MY fears; they are not caused by anyone I love now. I completely trust the people I love now, because they have shown me that they can be trusted. They have not asked anything of me, tried to influence me, or change me in any way. I am so overwhelmed by the unconditional love and acceptance that I get from you and Ellie and my kids. It is something I’ve never experienced before except with my parents. I find myself in a constant state of awe and amazement that I am loved just because I am me.

      Still, the fear remains, but it is my fear, caused by people who no longer have influence over me. I refuse to let that fear affect the wonderful relationships I have now. The fear is something that will take me a very long time to come to terms with and get past, I know this. But the love I get from you, Ellie and one or two other close friends is so powerful and moving that I find myself in tears almost daily, just from the beauty of it.

      • 6 prosey April 13, 2011 at 11:37 am

        And the fear will remain for a while. *nod* Coming to terms with hurts that span years do not go away overnight (something I’ve had to remind Rene more than once :)). It’s all in good time. And there are times, even now (as you know) that it rears its head here, too.

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