I know that I have already dedicated two entire posts to talking about my Mr. Unavailable’s strange and changing relation to his exgirlfriend. Since I’ve written them, I have read a lot about narcissists and their penchant for triangulation, and it made me realize that my previous two posts on the issue are insufficient. Back then I wasn’t fully aware of the role I played in the love triangle and that is why I feel the need to take up the topic again.
Nothing has hurt and exhausted me more during my time with Mr. Unavailable than the drama with his – as he often called her – “hysteric, mentally imbalanced and crazy exgirlfriend.” It often felt like I was in a relationship with two people as she was always on his mind and therefore seemed to follow us around like a shadow. He continously mentioned her name, wrote text messages to her while spending time with me, adjusted his life to her schedule, was constantly worried about her feelings and always complaining about her jealousy, craziness and totalitarian behavior. Once she got hold of my cell phone number (because it appeared on their shared phone bill) she tried to call me numerous times, sent me tons of text messages and exposed me to her craziness. She was a constant source of drama, and I just couldn’t understand why he still lived with her in the same apartment. Back then I was convinced that she was a crazy, jealous and hateful person, turning the life of Mr. Unavailable into a mess. Looking at the situation in retrospect has taught me that she is probably not the monster I thought her to be, but just another victim of his narcissistic abuse. The ambiguous treatment and emotional exploitation she received from him has probably led her to behave as unreasonably, hurt and hateful as she did.
The most exhausting and ridiculous aspect about his relation to his exgirlfriend was that it seemed to change on a daily basis. Some days he complained that living with her has become unbearable, that she turned his life into a mess, that she was mentally imbalanced, and that he intended to move out as fast as possible. On other days, he would assure me of how deeply he cared about her feelings, how he respected and treasured her with all his heart, and how he thought of her as his best and most valued friend. His attitude often changed within only a few hours. Once he complained about how unbearable the situation with her was, and about the fact that she sent him tons of hateful text messages. Later the same day he posted intimate looking pictures of the two of them on Google Plus. He assured me he would never lie to her because he respected her too much, while I was at the same time aware of the many blatant lies he had told her in the past.
He rubbed her name into my face on every possible occassion. He talked about going out for dinner, a concert or some other event with her. They went on city trips, to the fitness center and even to the dentist together. He always told me about it, always casually mentioning her name as if it was the most natural thing ever to still do everything with an expartner in spite of being in a new relationship. The most frustrating part of it was that during the time we dated, we never once went out to a special event together: We didn’t go to concerts or on city trips. He did all of these things with her, and I allowed him to turn me into an option – someone to hang out with whenever his exgirlfriend didn’t have the time. I never even allowed myself to tell him about how frustrated I was, because I knew he would react in an angry, unsympathetic way.
Things really got out of hand when my phone number appeared lots of times on their shared phone bill. I got phone calls and text messages from her. The first time she tried to call me I answered the phone because I didn’t know it was her. We talked for about an hour and it was the most painful phone conversation I ever had: Hearing her version of events made me aware of the fact that he was blatantly lying to both of us, that he was playing us like puppets on a string, and that it was mostly his fault that things were so messed up. Yes, it was true, his exgirlfriend was indeed behaving unreasonably, desperately and hatefully. However, I think that her behavior is for the most part a result of his emotional abuse and vagueness.
I almost threw up, when she told me on the phone that she was convinced that he was having sex with his sister: It really opened my eyes to what a messed-up situation I found myself in. I never really believed that he was indeed having sex with his sister, but I was shocked that she dared to suggest something like this. I would immediately cut a person out of my life if that person made such hateful and shameful suggestions about me. He didn’t even seem to be bothered that much by it when I told him about it and even went on calling her his best friend. Their concept of friendship seems to be in need of some revision: In my view, friends don’t constantly lie to each other, and certainly don’t accuse each other of having sex with their siblings!
After that one phone conversation with her, I felt absolutely exhausted and emotionally drained. When I later on talked to him he tried to convince me that she had told me nothing but lies. I didn’t know what to believe anymore, I didn’t know who told the truth and who was lying. I was caught in the middle, having heard two versions of events and feeling absolutely empty. I never had to deal with such a mess, so many lies, such disgusting accusations. I suddenly found myself right in the middle of their weirdness and had become part of a conflict I never wanted to have any share in. I suddenly realized that there were thousands of unresolved issues between the two of them, and that they drew me into their fucked-up mess of a relationship. I was completely overwhelmed by my own feelings: Sometimes I felt extremely angry at her for being so hateful and dramatic. Then again I almost felt sympathy for her. Because I didn’t know the truth, I never really knew how I was supposed to feel about any of it. It is extremely exhausting and confusing to constantly be lied to and to not have a clue about what is really going on. I only knew that I had become the protagonist in a very horrible drama full of sick mind games and disgusting lies.
I have to accept the fact that I will never know the truth, I will never find out about the true nature of their relation. I only know that she was a fixed part of my relationship to the narcissist, a constant source of drama, lurking like a shadow wherever we went and whatever we did. While back then I was convinced that she was indeed the crazy, hateful and jealous person that he described her as, I now think that she is also a victim of his sick manipulation and mindfuckery and that he turned her into this hysteric, crazy mess. With his changeableness, vagueness and ambiguity he was hurting both of us, playing us like puppets on a string, and I guess he enjoyed being the center of our attention and the object of our jealousy. He could have put an end to all that drama by treating both of us with honesty and by dissolving all the ambiguities. He had too much fun watching both of us suffer on his account to do just that.
Whenever a narcissistic, unavailable man talks about his “crazy, jealous” ex, whe should treat such statements with extreme caution. Back then I was so brainwashed and confused by his sick games that I naturally believed his ex to be the hateful and spiteful person he had labelled her as. Now I know that he is probably responsible for her behavior, that he is not the victim but the perpetrator. Emotionally abusing two women at the same time, disrespecting them, lying to them and playing them like puppets on a string is just plain disgusting and it makes me angry to the point where I almost want to start screaming.
I still can’t believe I let myself be drawn into this mess and that I allowed him to disrespect and emotionally abuse me like that. The point is that many narcissists are extremely skilled at manipulating us. They serve us with lies and excuses, they flatter us and they make false promises. In the end we nearly go insane from all the ambiguity and from not knowing what exactly is going on. The love triangle I found myself in was one of the most painful, excruciating experiences I ever made. I have never before been part of such a fucked-up mess. I hope that having survived such an intense level of ambiguity and mindfuckery has turned me into a stronger person that will never allow something like this to happen again. Having to accept that you were a pawn in a game and not an appreciated and respected partner in a relationship is painful and depressing. It takes time to accept and get over the fact that the person you so ardently loved and cared about, served you with nothing but lies and manipulated you in the most shameful and disgusting way imaginable.
I apologize for the length of this post. I feel very strongly about this issue and it will still take me a long time to heal and get over it. I know that many victims of narcissistic abuse have found themselves in the middle of a love triangle at some point. It is an excrutiating experience that can drive you insane. If you ever found yourself in a similar situation, I would really love to hear from you.