Hello again everyone and welcome this post….What Did I Do Wrong?
You have almost certainly asked yourself this question……WHAT DID I DO WRONG…or WHAT WENT WRONG …or HOW DID IT GET TO THIS?
The truth is you did nothing wrong and you cant be expected to know how you got to where you are because like most of you have been in a total state of confusion ! Barely coping with the mind bending Jekyll and Hyde personality changes of the narcissist in your life .
For myself I know that I was complicit in so far as I didn’t heed the alarm bells when they rang out loud and clear and I also know that there are other reasons too that I ended up where I did. I needed to be realistic and look for what I had done to attract this sort of manipulative person (albeit unconsciously).
After a bit of soul searching and self analysis I realised that I have never liked myself very much and that I gained approval by doing or being someone that I wasn’t in order to be loved .
In other words it was my “exterior being” that I needed others to approve of ie. things such as my achievements in life such my career , all because I couldn’t love my inner self . I needed to learn to love my inner self, then it didn’t (or shouldn’t) matter what others thought of me . Easier said than done! I was very much a people pleaser , one who said yes when she meant no but couldn’t say it for fear of letting others down. I was the one who never felt she was good enough at school , in sport or in life generally .
How we may have who the narcissist is a whole other subject AND how to learn from that will be covered in more depth later on but for now just have a look inside and see if you can see any traits of your own that may have led you down this path . There will be some, and that’s a good thing because you can recognise them and deal with them so that this doesn’t happen again! There is an UPSIDE! Just on this note I did find some very helpful information in the e-books compiled by Dr Jeanne King Ph.D. , herself a survivor of domestic violence and now devoted to helping others understand the dynamics of abuse and why so many of us fall back into the same trap second time around! “What did I do wrong” will no longer be part of your vocabulary once you get into these books! I found Dr Kings e-books on Domestic Violence Abuse to be very beneficial as they cover a range of aspects from types of abuse to recovery and resources.
Below is a bit about my story ….I can now clearly see where I “went wrong”.
In the beginning ……the lovely Dr Jekyll
I had been divorced for a couple of years before I met my narcissist . I had had an illness which had caused high levels of anxiety , I was studying and I had young children at home with little help from my former husband . I was extremely vulnerable to say the least .
I remember the first time we met….. I thought he was charming , intelligent, caring , a real gentleman in fact.
I ultimately became unable to maintain my job so my narcissist convinced me to move to where he was living at the time . All this happened very quickly , I was literally swept off my feet to start a new and wonderful life .
He appeared to be so capable and my family (and me too at the time ) thought he was my knight in shining armour. My saviour!
He had nice friends BUT when we were with them he had to be the centre of attention, taking the mickey out of others but not liking it so much when he was the butt of their jokes .
He bought me flowers weekly…
He cooked! He also drank a bit but I thought it was OK because he worked “so hard”!
My narcissist had found the perfect target ! Someone who was a bit down and out , lacking in self esteem and someone who would be would be easy to control ! In his words “I want to look after you for the rest of your life”!
Soon enough he asked me if I wanted to go into a business with him ” because he’d always wanted to have a little business with his partner …just the two of us “…….so I did…..BIG mistake!
Even though I was conflicted as to whether to give it to him , he was sooooo persuasive. I thought from what I knew at that point that he had a fairly good (if hard nosed ) reputation in business and I could see that he had done well so far. I could see no real reason not to go ahead .
(I now know that he had ridden rough shod over many people previously and in fact had a somewhat “snake oil ” salesman reputation.)
……….those alarm bells were ringing…… I didnt listen!
Gradually I began to feel a certain level of unease at times with his impatience and rudeness in restaurants and in queues.
I found I didnt like his devil may care attitude to speed on the roads, red lights and doing u-turns in dangerous situations .
He was often critical of others , even those he classed as friends, he would find fault with in conversations with me behind closed doors .
If I opposed what he said he would say that I should agree with him instead of sticking up for the other person.
All this time he was throwing in just enough Dr Jekyll (nice guy) to counteract the Mr Hyde (bad guy) and so on it went , me believing that he was really a good person and that he was just a real go-getter who sometimes got carried away with his own self importance.
In the middle years …..Dr JEKYLL with more of Mr HYDE
By now I could tell my narcissist was a massive control freak , couldnt handle criticism and took everything , even constructive criticism as a huge personal insult.
He blamed others for things, the staff at work , me , his “friends”…...nothing was ever directly his fault.
If I wanted to know anything about the finances I was locked out and I was often told I should have more trust in him and be more grateful to him for “looking after me “. I continued to think it was me that had the problem even though my gut was telling me it wasnt .
He would use the “silent treatment ” and ” blocking ” rather than making any attempt to address issues .
..those alarm bells were ringing again……I was starting to listen but didn’t act out of ignorance of NPD and fear .
At some point it was decided for various reasons that I would work from home as we were building a new website for work and it was too noisy and too hard to concentrate at work .
We had been constantly bickering at work and he used to tell me to “back off” and ” get out ” so it seemed like a good solution …me working at home on the website so I wasn’t in his face ….but no of course he then started criticizing me for “not pulling my weight ” probably because he couldn’t see what I was doing and was suspicious that I was out having coffee rather than working . I can say categorically that I was TOO SCARED to be out and about even if I wanted to be , in case I was caught !
All this time I was pretending to be happy and would “cover up ” for my narcissist so that my family wouldn’t suspect what was going on . We attended fewer and fewer family gatherings together , I just made the excuse that he/the business was too busy for both of us to get away. They accepted that quite easily , they knew by this time that he was a workaholic…. but a nice one,so they thought !
The final years….down the slide with narcissistic Mr Hyde…..
We moved to a new location and into a new business . For a while , in the hustle and bustle of setting up things were OK but it was short lived .
He took control , whatever I did was not right , I couldn’t suggest anything without it being seen as criticism
I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and so once again I was vulnerable and quite frankly too sick to care ! It took 12 months for me to regain the weight I had lost and for treatment to start having an effect . I have no doubt that this disease was the result of stress in the previous years .
In that time my son moved to the area on the basis that he would work WITH us and potentially take over the business so that we could retire down the track and still get an income from the business .
My narcissist had other ideas ! He saw my son as a threat. He rode my son into the ground , gave him the most menial of tasks to do and humiliated and defamed him to the rest of my family (who still had no idea of the situation) My son has now developed the most serious anxiety and is barely functioning. My narcissist treated my son appallingly because he was jealous and felt threatened by our mother- son relationship …which was , just for the record , quite healthy and normal just like thousands of others all over the world.
Those alarm bells were ringing AND I WAS HEARING THEM but I was FROZEN in fear , not knowing what to do .
I started to tell my family but they had been brainwashed by the narcissist and my son was blamed by my family for coming between me and my narcissist .
Its so gut wrenching knowing that your own family doesn’t believe you. They weren’t to know of course …how could they when it had taken me the best part of a decade to put a name to what I was dealing with ??
I knew I was being lied to, I knew my family was being lied to as well but I was powerless to compete with his charm, arrogance and his ability to turn everything around in order to blame everyone else. He was verbally abusive , he was caught out on a dating site which he denied until their was irrefutable evidence that it was him. He then turned it around into ME being on the dating site !! The last straw was finding out that he had borrowed money from my kids and my brother without telling me . He told them not to tell me because I would worry !
Despite ALL this I tried to carry on and make the best of what I thought was the bed I had made for myself . I thought that if I had a nice life with good friends outside of the business, which I did, then I would just have to cope because after all this narcissist HAD ALL MY MONEY . However my “nice life ” was all fake .I had to pretend every day that everything was fine ans as we all know you can only do that for so long.
But , despite all that I felt I still couldn’t leave as I had no money , no security , nowhere to live , no car , no job !
Unbelievable really ! I’m an intelligent woman with a degree and post grad study under my belt plus lots and lots of life experience and yet here I was being abused by my narcissist. Bizarre , that I could be reduced to a dithering, powerless woman .
I know many of you will be facing or have faced the same dilemma so Im here to tell you that I decided to leave despite knowing I would get nothing (its a very long story!) . I wanted my life back !
So I set about empowering myself by going to banks , accountants and lawyers in order to find out exactly where I stood. This in itself made me feel about 10 feet high! I had already taken back some control and from there on it was a case of “you cant stop me now” .………………..and Im still going in the quest to take my life back!
What did I do wrong? Simply put, nothing at all .
This is very much a thumbnail sketch and suffice to say that I am still very much in recovery which is precisely why I’m doing this blog. My experience is recent , still raw and my recovery is ongoing .
But one thing I do know is that once you have endured a narcissistic relationship ANYTHING is possible!
Until next time , take care and take action…to the moon and beyond!