By Ruth Ankers
When I met you, you were in a relationship which had been going on for nine years. How I let myself trust you after you so casually blew that off and perused me, I will never understand. Maybe, it’s because you made me feel like this was the first time you had ever felt this way, that I was some sort of revelation in your life, that you needed me.
You didn’t need me. You needed a comfortable way out of your last relationship, I was your buoyancy aid, to cushion the blow. What I didn’t realise was that eventually you would wear me down in such an epic way, that you would learn to float and I would sink back down.
A person like you prefers it when they are being idolised – so imagine the audacity one evening when I plucked up the courage to ask you, “will you ever tell your ex girlfriend you cheated on her, how can you be such good friends with her now when she doesn’t know that it happened, and that it happened more than once?”
The Narcissist is quick to respond and armed with the perfect defence: “you’ve never had a nine year relationship, so you wouldn’t understand, I went above and beyond for her”.
The way you undermined me and my experience shut me up. For a while.
Dating you (or not dating you) was like exit-ing my own world and temporarily setting up camp in yours (although, I was only allowed to pitch my tent on the outskirts and commute in when required).
You made me feel both that you needed me in your life, and that I was not and would never be quite good enough for you. It was terrifyingly confusing.
My brain was at war with itself.
I lost two stone, cue the “I didn’t tell you to do that”.
No, you didn’t in a matter of words (and this is the hardest bit to explain and how a narcissist will never get blamed).
You made me FEEL like I needed to. Through the way to spoke about women, the way you approached other women, the comments you made on the women you had photographed.
You would give and yield in perfect harmony, and I rode those waves for nearly two years. It was impossible to keep up and every time I caught my breath and let out a “wait this is wrong I need to stop doing this”, you would ask me where it had come from and tell me I was crazy.
I showered you with cards and gifts and poems desperately seeking your affection and you casually asked me: “what’s your address again, I was meant to send that thing to you”. I waited and it never came.
But of course, you would say, I’m the fool for waiting around or hoping your card would turn up.
Throughout the time we were a relationship, a friendship, a war. You made me feel like I was insignificant, and then you blamed me for allowing myself to feel that way.
When we eventually called it a day, it was because I finally found some strength somewhere to fight back and tell you how you were making me feel. After months of you convincing me I was just being crazy, that I was over reacting, that I needed to calm down… it came out like word vomit and I couldn’t stop.
All the bullets that I had saved up came firing out, and you did a fantastic job of looking like the victim. You did a fantastic job of making me look and feel like I had suddenly with no rhyme or reason, lost the plot, and then to add insult to injury – you seamlessly managed to convince me I had always been this way, even before I met you.
You should win an academy award for your performance because it was so perfectly executed that I believed you, and I even think you convinced yourself!
Science tells you if you wind up motor and give it enough energy it will take off. The only other option is that it internally combusts, you would have preferred that of me, wouldn’t you?
It must be about a year since the last time we spoke and I am still dealing with the bomb site you left me in. I am trying so hard. More so because you made me feel like I created this myself, and some days I don’t have the strength to believe the people around me who tell me otherwise.
I have met multiple great men who I cannot be with because at every sniff of them loving me, I assume the worst and kick them to the curb to protect myself.
It doesn’t surprise me that you have found someone else, an article I recently read put it perfectly:
“The narcissist will continue as if nothing ever happened and they are innocent. They won’t choose to remember that powerful bond they had with someone and instead choose to find it somewhere else. However a time will come when they know they can neither sufficiently connect with themselves or other people”.
People always say take a positive from a negative. Unfortunately this time around, you have left me with such a huge backlog of insecurities and trust issues (just like you have with your ex) that I am still wading through this a year later. Finding the strength from somewhere everyday to fight off your voice in my head.
“In this situation she/he must realise they too are in a bad situation, something of which the narcissist in their life always spoke of. But it their case it will be different. They will make positive efforts to address this and heal themselves slowly. The narcissist will not”
Just remember that. I’m getting there.
About the Author
Ruth Ankers is a Drama and Applied Theatre Practitioner and Teacher. She favours writing poetry and short plays. Ruth is a firm believer in equality of gender and is really exited to be writing for Gender + the City!