A few months ago I ended my relationship with my girlfriend of 4 years after she had told me that I had been exposed to an STD because she had been cheating on me. This was the 3rd failed significant relationship in my adult life. I have twice been divorced. I have been no contact with my ex girlfriend since I ended our relationship. Being who she is, she had to have the last word and make sure her version of reality was planted in my mind, so over the course of the next several days she sent me a myriad of emails and texts. I read a few of them before I deleted them and I never responded to any of them. After a few days she emailed me she was through with me and would no longer be contacting me. Thankfully she’s actually kept her word. My girlfriend’s cheating was the catalyst for my realization that I am the product of a narcissistic family and that my life long history of failed relationships is a direct result of my familial narcissism.
The below is a letter I wrote to myself shortly after this incident with my ex-girlfriend occurred:
One comment that my cheating ex-girlfriend made in one of her emails she sent to me after I ended our relationship was that I’d be the perfect catch “if only I fixed my issues”. This is the same chorus that’s been beat into my head for my entire life. It’s exactly the same chorus I had beat into me when I was growing up – “you would be the perfect son if only… if only you got better grades, if only you dated the right girl, if only you didn’t hang out with so and so”. It’s a chorus that has conditioned me to believe that love, respect and acceptance is conditional on my performance and if I don’t perform I don’t deserve love, respect and acceptance. It’s led me into relationships with people who are incapable of truly loving and respecting me, because I have no idea what it means to be truly loved, respected and accepted. It’s led me to constantly attempt to fix what I’m told is wrong with me and attempt to mold myself into someone else’s definition of who I should be in order to try and appease my partner while at the same time my partner is continually abusing me, holding every mistake I make over my head, and telling me I’m a horrible person. Unfortunately I BELIEVE THEM that it’s all my issue and I’m a horrible person, when all the evidence is to the contrary! Example: my ex-girlfriend cheats on me and exposes me to an STD and in her mind it’s my fault that this happened because of MY issues! The truth is, there’s no way I can have a successful relationship with the type of people that I attach to, no matter how hard I try, and it’s led me to being unable to have a healthy relationship my entire adult life.
I keep getting involved in relationships with women with serious issues where I’m emotionally abused and when I stand up for myself and attempt to point out the bad behavior of my partner, I’m told that I’m “narcissistic” and “it’s all about me” and I BELIEVE IT! To determine if I was truly narcissistic, I took 4 different narcissism tests and they all showed that I’m far from a narcissist and that I’m more likely the opposite, where I don’t stand up for myself when I should and don’t do a good job of establishing and maintaining boundaries. I think that this is fairly accurate, because I tend to stay in relationships that are horribly destructive to me until the very very end when i should have ended them much sooner before I was completely destroyed emotionally.
What’s truly sad is that my failures in my mother’s eyes are self-fulfilling to her. She sends me out into life having no idea what it means to be truly loved, accepted and respected. I proceed to have a series of failed relationships with people that are incapable of true love because I have no idea what true love is. The relationships end dramatically with horrible fallout because I have no idea what it means to be in a truly loving relationship and I can’t properly set boundaries. my mother says “I told you so, your nothing but a failure, if you had done things my way, this wouldn’t have happened to you”. So instead of getting the support I need at a difficult time, I’m told that it’s my fault because I don’t subscribe to the way she thinks I should live my life.
This letter began my healing journey.