I recently had a question from a reader of my blog that many who are searching for answers for why things have always seemed off may also have, so I thought it would make a useful blog post.
Hey, Stephan, I’ve got a simple question to put to you;
How did you find out? Was your mother diagnosed or were you diagnosed or did you just figure it out on your own? Most NMs refuse diagnosis so we just have to guess, don’t we. My wife left me after my mother refused bluntly to see a group counselor. How about you?
I’ve always known that there was something seriously wrong with my relationship with my mother and my family, but stayed in denial and had never done much about it. My mother and I were never close, and our relationship consisted of the obligatory mother’s day / birthday phone calls and getting together a few times a year. I had always had problems sustaining relationships in my adult life. I have had a first marriage of 10 years and a second marriage of 4 years, and an additional significant relationship of 4 years that all failed, and all had failed in rather catastrophic fashion.
My realization of who my mother truly was started when my girlfriend of 4 yrs told me she had exposed me to an STD because she had been cheating on me. I had no idea she was cheating. I was completely devastated and in total shock. I thought she and I were very much in love and had a good relationship. I didn’t immediately end the relationship when she told me, which would have absolutely been the right thing to do! We didn’t even live together and had no shared obligations other than a joint cell phone bill! I was still playing the role of doormat and attempting to rationalize her behavior even after she told me she had threatened my life with her cheating. Pathetic, I know. 3 days later I finally wised up, pulled myself up to a point where I could start to see through the fog of my emotional devastation, and dumped her, telling her I never wanted to see her again and that we would have no future contact.
I was a mess and knew I needed to fix ME. I was tired of having all my adult relationships fail. I was tired of doing all I could and being told it wasn’t enough, a theme that had persevered in all my relationships since childhood. I went to counseling and when the first counseling session ended my counselor handed me two books: “Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” and “Disarming the Narcissist”. I started reading them and it was like someone poked a pin in the balloon. Everything I’ve always known but refused to let myself admit was right there. My gut was right all along. It all made sense. The realizations were coming so quick I would literally fall asleep because I was in emotional overload. I would wake up, read for a bit, think about it, have a new realization, and fall back to sleep. This would go on for 2 or 3 days at a time. That had never happened to me before! I later learned that this type of a somatic response is not unusual when someone has a huge “AHA!” moment. The emotional devastation of finally accepting my mother for who she was turned out to be even worse than what I endured when my ex girlfriend had told me she had been cheating on me.
Once I pulled myself together a bit, I put my brain in overdrive trying to figure out the patterns that had brought me to this point in my life. I did – in a relatively short period of time. A few of the posts in my blog were essays that I wrote to myself during this time. These posts are referenced in the related posts below. I continued counseling for about 6 more weeks at which point my counselor felt that I didn’t need to come back unless I wanted to. I have yet to be back. It’s wild. Once I admitted to what I always knew, once I decided that the status quo would not work anymore, change and healing happened really fast!
I’m still in the process of healing, and always will be. I recently took a break from healing for a about 2 months and enjoyed the summer. After 2 months my gut was telling me that I needed to do some more work on ME. I had never listened to my gut before, because I was always told it was wrong. This time it was different. I listened. My gut was also telling me that perhaps I had some valuable insight to share, especially since I am male and it’s more unusual for a male to face their demons honestly than a female. I did a lot of research on other people’s blogs during my healing process and thought I would start my own blog to share my experiences and hence this blog was created. I’m by no means a mental health professional, and can only relate to how my experiences dovetail with my understanding of narcissism. I’m a design engineer, and have a highly analytic mind thanks to years of required hyper vigilance, which has helped me to quickly find the patterns with my narcissistic mother, and all my other relationships.
Here’s some examples of what I’ve learned about my relationships:
I learned that I married my first wife because she was the very first person to come along in my life that actually liked me for me. I was never good enough for anyone in my life until I met her. She and I were very different people with very different opinions and ideals. We fought and bickered nearly constantly. We never should have been together in the first place. We no longer have any contact.
My second marriage was to a woman that was seriously screwed up (I eventually learned she had every DSM trait of a borderline) and I KNEW IT and married her anyway! I was gonna show her how incredible I was. I was going to be her knight in shining armor. I could take her abuse, because someday she would see how wonderful I truly was. I could fix it for her. Yeah right! I was still trying to fix my mother issues through my adult relationships. Pathetic! It only cost me a tidy sum of $30k to extract myself from that horrible series of rationalizations! I still have contact with my second wife because we have a daughter together. It’s been quite difficult at times dealing with her, but I’ve continued to stand up for myself and do what I feel is right for my daughter.
My last relationship was to a woman who I met shortly after separating from my second wife. It started out in typical narcissistic fashion as a whirlwind romance. I soon learned that she was an angry person with very few friends and nothing was ever good enough for her. She was also very controlling and would take advantage of people. Until the cheating event, I always knew things weren’t right, but I was denying the reality of the situation and believing that she was just having a difficult time or that she would soon “come around” and really was a good person (i.e. I was assigning her positive attributes that she did not possess, a trait of the codependent). There was a huge red flag in that relationship that occurred about 2 years before the cheating event occurred that I ignored. Had I trusted my gut and ended the relationship then, I would have never ended up so completely devastated, but I also might have never hit bottom hard enough emotionally to be willing to face my demons. With my new found knowledge, I learned that she was severely narcissistic and very well could be diagnosed as NPD. I was just a tool to be used and discarded when she no longer had use for me, but I was unable to see that and thought I loved her anyway. I had been very well trained to tolerate abuse and “love it”. I have no contact with my ex girlfriend.
I hope to write quite a bit more on the narcissist female. I think there are many many men out there who live with a heavily narcissistic woman, but think that she’s the way she is because “that’s just how women are”, which is hogwash.
I strongly encourage my readers to leave their thoughts on how they discovered their narcissist in the comments of this post. I would think it would be very helpful to others who may find this post to have several different stories of how other people made it to this point. Everyone’s story is different, and having multiple stories in one place may help someone connect with one of the stories and help them to see behind the mask of their loved one / partner / parent.
Best wishes to you on your continued journey!
- My Day of Reckoning (thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com)
- Who Loves a Narcissist? (thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com)
- Stark Realizations (thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com)