Unavailability Factor 5: Being Self-Obsessed and Narcissistic

Today I will turn to the last unavailability factor I intend to deal with for now: self-obsession and narcissism. Just because I decided to put it last does not mean that this is the factor I was least affected by. With time it also came to be a heavy burden and combined with all the rest of the unavailability factors it created a situation that – slowly but steadily – became unbearable. Back when I was still part of the relationship I didn’t assess the whole situation properly and therefore never had a deep understanding of why I was feeling so miserable and pushed aside. Only in retrospect was it possible for me to work out these five unavailability factors, and only after reading several books did the idea cross my mind that the guy I was dating might have been narcissistic as hell…

The idea didn’t cross my mind while I was still dating him. I just thought that he liked to talk a lot about himself. It never bothered me, because he always had interesting things to say and I enjoyed listening to him. In all of my past relationships and in my friendships I am used to doing a lot of the talking. So somehow it felt fine to be the listener for once. Only after having gone on several dates with him, I was beginning to have some slight doubts, as I noticed that I barely spoke a word because he was monopolizing the conversation.

In the beginning, I also didn’t really have a problem with the fact that he sometimes liked to talk in a very favorable way about himself. He made comments like: “I know I am a pretty good teacher”, “I know I can sing very well”, “I know I can be pretty attractive to some girls”. It never bothered me. I always thought: What is wrong with having self-confidence and with knowing what you are good at? Maybe this is exactly what I am missing?

To sum it up: I could have lived with those little quirks, I even found them endearing and thought there was nothing really wrong with it. I’m not a person who dwells on trivialities. So what if he likes to talk a lot, so what if he likes to talk favorably about himself? It was fine by me. It really started to bother me when I realized the other effects of his narcissistic behavior: I was taken for granted, my feelings were never really considered by him, he avoided conflicts by getting defensive, and he never sought the faults in his own behavior, but preferred to blame others for everything (right up to the fact that he was miserable with his own life). Nothing seemed to be his responisibility…It was always everyone else’s fault that he didn’t get ahead, that he was miserable and unable to make plans and decisions.

Due to the four other factors that I’ve already dwelled on in my last posts I was unhappy a lot in the course of our interactions. I felt disrespected, not taken seriously, even fooled at times. I swallowed most of my pain and doubts, but sometimes I would reach a point where I just couldn’t take anymore of it, and I dared to voice my concerns (always in a very nice and friendly tone). He immediately got defensive, blaming me for everything I listed and never even trying to consider the part he played in the poor state I was in emotionally. I tried the tactic of writing my concerns down and tell him about the things that were saddening me via email. In his replies he always shifted the focus away from me and instead started to dwell on his own problems, his own feelings of depression. I would get entire litanies of wailing and complaining about his situation, about how unhappy and miserable he was, about how he longed for profound change. It got to a point where I was sick and tired of always having to listen to him whining about everything. And I have to say at this point that I am a very patient listener and always take the concerns of the people I love very seriously…So if I ever got sick and tired, it must have been really really bad…

I just never felt appreciated and never thought that my feelings and concerns really mattered to him. If he had thought about me for just a second he would have had to realize how unhappy I must have been with the entire situation. As it turns out, he was always so busy thinking about himself that he never wanted to realize that I was slowly falling apart because of the treatment I received from him. He was going on making promises he couldn’t and didn’t want to keep. He was brilliant at doing what Natalie Lue called “Future Faking” in her book “Mr. Unavailable & The Fallback Girl”. Whenever he realized that I was unhappy he would make promises for a future that was never supposed to happen. However it worked and kept me going, as I was clinging to the hope that one day he would at least act up to one of his many promises.

So to sum it up: It was always okay for me that he liked to talk a lot about himself, that he often spoke very favorably of himself. It started to bother me when his narcissism led me to feel pushed aside, neglected and not taken seriously. He was always so immersed in his own misery and dealing with his self-image that my feelings and concerns never found a listening ear or were ever taken into consideration. I never really found the courage to address the issue. I thought that my feelings were obviously not valid and not worth being discussed. This way of thinking was in tune with my low self-esteem. And by pushing me aside and not appreciating my feelings he lowered my self-esteem even more. I was convinced that I didn’t have the right to be discontent, that I was being unreasonable and that no one would ever give a damn about what I felt.

Being with a narcissistic and self-obsessed person will probably always leave you feeling worthless, empty, alone and neglected. They tend to be so busy with themselves that your needs and hopes will never be met. And the worst part: They won’t accept blame for their behavior, but will redirect it to you. In the end you will not only feel miserable for being neglected, but you will also gladly accept the blame for it due to your low self-esteem…

I’m done for now with pointing out the factors that doomed my last relationship from the very beginning. I just failed to notice any of it with a clear mind, as I was not thinking reasonably while we were still dating. I let this miserable situation drag on for far too long without finding the strength and confidence to release myself. I allowed him to drag me down and instead of assessing the situation correctly, I tended to blame myself for everything that was going wrong. I was trying to make up for everything by being even more loving, patient and kind, which only added to my Frustration, as it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

You might probably have realized that almost all of the factors I elaborated on are somehow interconnected: Because he was immature, he couldn’t take a grip of his life, which lead to him being aimless and changeable. His aimlessness contributed greatly to his depression. All of these factors prevented him from moving ahead which also explains the fact that he couldn’t figure things out with his exgirlfriend and was still very involved with her…It was a vicious circle and of course I never had the power to do anything about it…Only too late did I realize that the problem was not with me…it was with him. And I never ever want to give someone the power to drag me down and shatter my sense of self-worth to the extent that he did!

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18 thoughts on “Unavailability Factor 5: Being Self-Obsessed and Narcissistic

  1. Wow, I dated a guy with a very similar style! When I broached a grievance, he would always flip it back on me. When the darkness in my spirit became too much, I finally broke up with him. The only thing I felt at that point was relief!

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    • It’s a good thing you felt nothing but relief after you broke up with him! I would feel a sense of relief while I was at the same time also severely depressed…It was an emotional chaos and I’m glad it’s getting better

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  2. There is a youtube video by Spartan Life Coach SpartanLifeCoach called 20 Signs You are With a “Covert” Narcissist . The person you are describing sounds very similar to my ex and this video describes the covert narcissist behaviors, which are the same I experienced.

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    • I also think that the guy I dated was more of a covert narcissist than an overt one. It took me forever to figure out that he could indeed be a narcissist. He always hid his narcissism under a thick layer of faked care and integrity

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes your assesment is probably correct. Also covert narcissists are often depressed and have extreme anxiety when anyone changes their plans, does things differently than the narcissist wanted them to do, or anytime a person tells the narcissist anything they could have done differently …should do differently. ..or anything pointing out their mistakes.
        Covert narcissists will protend to be protecting you by making you become dependent on them…and then refuse to be there for you, when you are in a susituation where you feel like you need help or support.
        They are too busy taking care of themselves to bother making time for you.
        They also will let you know that they are going out of their way to make time for a third person …which includes blowing you off in order to jump when the third person says jump.
        This is all an act. They make it appear that they are prioritizing someone else, other than you.
        But in the end, they are always prioritizating themselves. They would leave you to commit suicide and not care at all.
        annie

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  3. Wow…all of this sounds so familiar! The narcissist I dated was also always depressed and talking about how miserable and unhappy he felt. I was never allowed to criticize him…He immediately got defensive or even angry. He never took responsibility for anything. He pretended to want to protect me…saying things like “I never want you to have to worry about or be afraid of anything, baby”. In the end, those were just empty words. He often blew me off, telling me he was too busy. I often did not see him in weeks. In the meantime he was going on city trips or to concerts with his exgirlfriend…There was always enough time for her…just not for me. And he would always rub it right in my face that he was spending time with her…So yes…the narcissists we dated seem to be quite alike…it is almost uncanny how much annoying habits they share. We should both be so happy that we are finally free from their mindfuckery!

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    • I wish I had known about the typical behavioral patterns of narcissists before. The covert narcissist is seldom spoken about anywhere. We should write more posts about their behavior , to warn other people. You always think of a narcissist as being obviously arrogant, but the covert narcissists are depressed and carry a lot of shame with them. They will tell you that they feel shame. This throws people off track because they do not think of narcissists as carrying shame. but the covert ones do.
      But the shame is not related to anything mean they have done to you or others. It is toxic shame from their abuse as a child.
      I almost think that the covert narcissist is the more dangerous of the types, because they seem like someone who you want to save. He used to tell me how much he needed me and that he had no life other than me.
      If I was so critical to his well being then why did he go to Oregon with people and become too busy to call me for 2 days. But when I did not call him back within an half an hour, he would act like he now had doubts about our relationship, because I was not watching my phone for his calls.

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      • I agree with everything you say. I also think that cover narcissists are very harmful because we often fail to realize their narcissistic tendencied before we are already in too deep. My narcissist also had a difficult childhood with unavailable, abusive parents. So I think you are right: part of the problem can be explained by looking at their childhood.

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  4. Yes…the same. He had abusive and neglected childhood.

    Some people with CPTSD from childhood abuse end up with ” People pleaser syndome” like me, and probably you.
    Others end up with “soul sucking syndrome ” and become narcissists.

    Thank you for the chat. It is good to have someone validate that I am not crazy.
    He made me feel like I was abusing him by not wanting him to dominate 100 percent of the conversations.

    Thank you for connecting with me. It has been exactly one month today, since he would answer any calls from me.

    It has been a long month but it also feels like it has only been one day.

    If i wanted to take a turn to talk, he would say i was being abusive.

    They like to project their behaviour onto us. It is very confusing at the time, and makes you feel crazy.

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    • Yes it really helps to see that I am not alone with what has happened to me. The narcissist I dated flew back to the U.S. last week…He didn’t even give me a call or texted me to say goodbye knowing that he will probably never see me again. I put up with his bullshit for months and he just leaves without contacting me beforehand. It really hurt, because it illustrated how little he cared about me. He told me when we started dating that he would always treat me with respect…Leaving without saying goodbye is not respectful…Thank you so much for your comments! I’m glad I get to share my experiences with you!

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      • Leaving without saying goodbye is extremely disrespectful. MIne did the same. We were talking in the phone…on my birthday March 14…I tried to point something out to him about the nature of friendship because he was saying things about his friends “having to work for him and that they should just work to help him with his company as a favor but not ask him for any money.

        I tried to tell him that friendship is when people care about you and are there for you to be supportive. But if you want to hire people to actually work for 20 hours, then that is a separate thing and it is not rude for them to need to be paid for their time, especially if it is an ongoing thing. It will keep people from being able to do other things that they could be making money at.

        I was not rude. I was just trying to explain to him that even if his friends turned down the work , they were still his friends. He got very upset and angry. He said “People have to help me ! ” I think I just sighed and then he said

        “This conversation is making me feel unsafe.” and hung up.

        He answered my call the next night and I was crying because he had hung up on me . He said ” are you ok?” and I said no.
        He said “I have to go . I will call you back.
        Then 6 hours later, at 4am , he called me and said “You do not sound good.” I said I did not feel good and I was confused and sad. He sounded kind of victorious and then he hung up the phone.

        That was it. He never answered my calls again.
        No closure. I did not even understand that he had broken up with me for days. I kept calling and expecting him to call me back. But he never did. After about 5 days , I stopped trying to call him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow…that must have been so painful. I’m sorry he treated you so disrespectfully. It was very similar with the narcissist I dated. He was making plans about spending the weekend at my place, he even told me which movies he intended to watch with me etc. Then all of a sudden (without warning) he told me he would leave Germany and fly back home. I asked him for an opportunity to say goodbye…I never got a reply. I never saw him again. It was so painful. One day he was making plans about spending the weekend at my place, the other day he leaves without saying goodbye

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  5. Thank you for reading my post, I got a lot out of reading both of your comments on your blog. I am a recovering codependent married to a man with a lot of narcistic tendency . I stay for my kids stability. I don’t know the difference between someone who is a narcissist and who has those tendencys , do either of you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are different types of narcissists. Some of them are overt and some are covert narcissists. The one I dated was a covert one: You often never realize that they are narcissists before it is too late and you are already in too deep. There are certain characteristics that define a narcissist. I write about a few of them on my blog. Not every narcissist shows all of these characteristics. However, if they show a certain amount of them you should be alarmed. I had to read a lot about narcissism before I was able to put a label on what had happened to me. It often takes time and a lot of reflection to figure it out.

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