My abusive relationships with narcissistic men
This is the 14th in a series of “My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis.” You’ll also read about me and my abusive relationships with narcissists, and how I always ended up dating them over a period of many years.
You can read parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII and XIII for the backstory. It might make more sense.
I started writing about my journey six months ago and I only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey was longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between. I’ve had time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.
A year later.. Narcissists attract Empaths
Mark, an abusive narcissist I had been dating, had recently moved into a new rented flat and he hadn’t bothered to do much to it. The bathroom, kitchen and bedroom were liveable spaces but the living room was devoid of curtains and furniture. The room was just stuffed full of black bin liners of all his things.
One Friday I’d gone shopping for an outfit for a work party that night, and when I called him, Mark was acting like a petulant child. He thought I should have been helping him sort out his flat instead of preening myself for tonight. Never mind I’d moved a few months back and he hadn’t helped me. He said he would have, if I paid him the £250 he’d lose by taking a day off work. Tutting and eyes rolling, he was so full of his own bloody importance.
Mark came to the party but he made it clear wasn’t enjoying it, or the attention I was getting — from colleagues for Christ sake. He left and said for me to go back to his after the party as he lived round the corner from the venue.
The party was great despite my friends suggesting that Mark had ignored them and seemed very possessive. I hadn’t noticed it previously or, perhaps I’d ignored it. But now I felt embarrassed, and I really didn’t want to go back to Mark’s flat when the party ended. However, it was gone 2am and to avoid another argument, I thought it best just to walk to Mark’s flat.
Way before the ALS ice bucket challenge was popular
Yay! He was asleep when I let myself in so I just snuck into bed, on my side, by the wall. But he woke, he sat bolt upright, and he yelled “You’re taking the p*ss. It’s 2.30am. Where the hell have you been?”
I stayed still and whispered “Ssshh, sorry. Go back to sleep,” hoping that would be it.
“Don’t f*cking ‘ssshh’ me. F*ck off and leave.”
“Mark. Please. Let’s just sleep and I’ll drive home in the morning?” I argued. He shot out of bed suddenly, still cursing, and I just curled myself into the far corner of the bed so as not to disturb him further. I heard him running the tap to get a drink and I heard his bare feet thud into back into the bedroom. I felt the heaviness as he got on the bed then, WTF?
He was standing above me on the bed, pouring a bucket of cold water all over me, and I froze.
It seemed like only seconds later when Mark tipped a second bucket of water over me. I started giggling hysterically and thought How ridiculous is this? But I’m soaked now, so I might as well just lie here. He left the bedroom and returned with a third and maybe a fourth (I was in shock) bucket of cold water, and threw it over me. “Now, f*cking leave. Get out. Now,” Mark screamed. I couldn’t call for a taxi because he didn’t have a great signal in this flat, and he damn well knew this.
Don’t let my son see me like this – why was I dating a narcissist!
There was no way I was going anywhere, when I was wet from head to toe, so I raced to his living room and blocked the door so he couldn’t get in. I dragged bags of clothing and sheets together and threw myself on top of them, shivering with cold.
Fortunately, my hair and clothes were semi-dry when I woke so I walked out to find a cab to get home before my son woke and saw me. Why the hell did I put up with this crap? Why was I dating a narcissist? What’s wrong with me? My son would be furious if he knew what Mark was doing to me, but he’d also be disappointed in me. He didn’t know and I wasn’t going to tell him.
I told Callum the following week in the pub and I laughed at the ridiculousness of Mark’s behaviour. Callum wasn’t impressed and he wasn’t laughing. He wasn’t joking either when he said that if it was his boyfriend he’d have put rotten fish in the hem of his curtains and itching powder in all his pants.
Callum and I were still laughing when Mark sent a text saying “Missed you at cricket on Sunday. Want to meet up later?” Callum took my phone from me and I watched as his nimble fingers tapped out a speedy reply, “Two words, one finger,” and we laughed some more.
Coping with the narcissist I had been dating
You might wonder why I had been dating a narcissist, and nope, it’s not easy. It wasn’t easy. I was well aware that Mark’s behaviour was inappropriate and cruel but I still loved him and missed him? However, on hindsight, I realised how many times I’d desperately attempted to appease him — trying to avoid the arguments that would surely follow. I was so stressed, and exhausted, always trying to keep him happy.
I thought back to early on in our relationship, when we had fun and passion and we laughed a lot. But I don’t remember his complimenting me or taking me out anywhere other than the local bar. And looking back, while he never bought me gifts, he often asked if I’d got him anything while I was out shopping. He’d strop like a spoiled little boy who didn’t get what he wanted at Christmas when I didn’t buy him anything.
Of course it hadn’t happened overnight, it was like he was slowly drip-feeding me, making unpleasant comments about how selfish I was, or how little I cared about him. I later learned that trying to please someone like Mark was futile because, for narcissists, nothing is ever enough.
So, what is a narcissist
According to Helpguide.org. the signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include
- Grandiose sense of self-importance. …
- Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others
- Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur. …
- Needs constant praise and admiration. …
- Sense of entitlement. …
- Exploits others without guilt or shame
Narcissistic personalities effectively mask a deep and unconscious self-loathing. To counter feelings of shame, narcissists will project their own issues on to everybody else. They blame others, insist it’s everybody else’s fault, portray themselves as victims and rarely apologise or take responsibility for themselves or their actions (Mail & Guardian, 2019).
Be careful because being subjected to narcissistic abuse can, over time, seriously affect your mental health.
We’ll look at How to leave a narcissist in my next post. But in the meantime, if you are in or think you’re in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you might want to read Know the signs of emotional abuse here and Let’s talk about domestic violence here.
If you are, or someone you know is in a relationship with a narcissist, then seek support from people you can trust — friends, family, peer support groups and, if necessary, a professional.
Over to you
I’d love to know your thoughts on Mark, his narcissism and me putting up with it and dating him. Does it make me look weak? In what ways would narcissism affect your mental well-being? As always, I look forward to your comments and any questions.
Related: Just a reminder, narcissism (1). Warning: 7 signs you’ve become a verbal narcissist (2).
25 thoughts on “Was I dating yet another narcissist?”
Your mate Callum had his head screwed on.
Oh he did, shame he was gay 😉
One thing I’ve always been curious about is the term narcissistic abuse, as opposed to calling it psychological abuse or something along those lines.
I get that too. However, it’s said that someone can be abusive but not a narcissist. However, many of the narcissist’s coping mechanisms are abusive–hence the term, “narcissistic abuse.” Take from that what you will 😉 I just jumped on the bandwagon lol – I’d never heard of it when I was going through it.
What is wrong with people? Wow.
I know and I certainly knew how to pick ’em 😉
I get that… I have a long history of being treated like crap by women, although not in the same way that you were. Most of that happened in my 30s and later, though, so I probably won’t be blogging about them.
Oh, that’s horrible for you. Sometimes people can be so cruel.
Lol, probably best not to drag up the distant past Greg 😉
I have dealt with narcissists in my life although not as awful as Mark and you are definitely not weak. They have a way of getting into your mind and you begin to question your own sanity. They go out of their way to make you feel like the bad guy.
Thank you Pooja. Yep, I often questioned my own sanity but in the end, I believed his version of me. I’ve since read a lot more on narcissism and it’s effects – I really don’t think I’d be trapped like that again. And almost 11 years with my current partner is testament to that 🙂 Caz x
I’m so glad you are finally with someone who deserves you and treats you well!
Thank you x
I keep dating narcissist too.
Why do we do it, eh? Mind you, I will get to the part why and how I stopped 🙂 x
😊😊😊We must learn a couple times.
Ha! It took me more than a couple 😉 x
And I have all of those disorders. I enjoyed reading your blog.
Thank you Jeannette, love reading yours too as there’s lots of similarities x
I think I’ve known a few narcissists, and I know people who have dated them. It’s extremely frustrating to deal with narcissists because they have so little motivation to even try and change their behavior. Thank you for mentioning the deeper reasons for their mindset. I can feel more compassion for them now. That doesn’t mean, however, that they should be allowed to abuse anyone. I know it’s very hard to break away and regroup once a narcissist starts making you doubt yourself, so no, I don’t think you are weak for holding on for a time. I’m just glad you had friends who called out Mark’s behavior because that likely helped you begin the process of walking away.
It certainly helped when friends both believed what was going on and that I wasn’t going ‘mad’ as he often suggested!
I think the emotional scars can be hard to heal after living in such proximity to someone with those traits. They make you question everything, your sanity, your life … It’s hard not to react maybe harsher or more impulsive than you normally would do and so ‘they’ are ‘right’ again and another ‘excuse’ for constant abuse is being laid out.
So no, I don’t think you’re weak. You had your lessons to learn as we all do.
Oh gosh, yes. If I was to react harshly/badly, that would just prove he was right!! Exactly what he would have wanted. They always hated when I responded quietly but firmly, no screaming like a ‘mad’ person! x
How on earth did you keep it all together? I couldn’t do that and as I was the ‘mad’ one of course and still am.
Who knows, like we’ve both said before Kacha; where do we get the strength from? Caz x