Leaving the Door Ajar for the Narcissist

Another phenomenon that is connected to being in a relationship with a narcissist is that we tend to leave the door ajar for them, and invite them back in, long after the relationship has started to emotionally destroy us and suck the life out of us. On some level we desperately want the drama and insecurity to come to an end, we want to be able to breathe freely again, we no longer want to be tortured by their ambiguity and inconsisteny. However, we can’t seem to manage to disentangle ourselves from them, and instead we allow them to inflict further harm on us. No matter how many times they have already broken our hearts and shattered our trust, we are still more than willing to give them another chance. We cry, suffer and are tortured by agonizing thoughts, and still we allow them to do even more damage. In my case, my willingness to endure even more pain led me to suspect that I was on some level getting hooked on it. At any rate, I was convinced that enduring the pain and working through all the drama was still better than having to face the emptiness of being alone. Now I know that I was gravely mistaken.

The narcissist I dated disappointed me and broke my heart on an almost daily basis. I suffered tremendously due to the ambiguous and distanced treatment I got from him. I don’t know how many times I longed for the agony to end and wished for the ability to regain my ease of mind. Hundreds of times, I made the decision to put an end to it, to disentangle myself from all the madness…and still I never found the strength to follow through with it. I was broken and despaired and still jumped at every opportunity to see him again. I longed for the strength to opt out, I was trying to go No Contact on various occasions, and still I always invited him back in and accepted even more of the pain he was causing me.

The first time I was seriously doubting his dedication to me was when he sent me back home after having slept with me in a hotel room. He told me he couldn’t spent the night with me, because his exgirlfriend would just freak out and probably throw him out of her apartment. He didn’t care to mention that detail before he slept with me, and I was feeling enormously humiliated. Had I known earlier that he would sent me back home, I would never have agreed to go to that hotel room in the first place. However, he had first taken advantage of me, before he dropped the bomb. The normal and reasonable thing to do would have been to tell him to go to hell. However, after only a short time of intense anger and frustration, I was prepared to meet with him again. I’m ashamed at how little relf-respect I had at the time. I allowed him to humiliate me and cause me intense pain, and still came back for more. I was so hurt after the experience in the hotel room that I contemplated putting an end to my interactions with him. However, I left the door ajar, lacking the resolve to follow through with it.

Through my willingness to invite him back in, he learned that he could take advantage of me without having to suffer any consequences. After Christmas I didn’t get to see him for four weeks, and I barely heard from him during that entire time. He repeatedly cancelled on me, telling me that he was sick or too busy. Once I was already sitting on the train to meet him, when I got a message that he got a sudden bout of fever and had to cancel on me again. I spent two hours on a train for nothing and had to return back home without having gotten to see him. I was so extremely frustrated as a result of it, that I again longed for the emotional rollercoaster to end. I wished for the strength to let go and to disentangle myself from all the pain and disappointments. However, as had been the case before, I sill agreed to meet with him only a few days later and readily forgot about the heartbreak he had caused me earlier.

After that one date, I again had to wait four weeks to see him again. He continually told me he was too busy to see me, because he had to teach an intensive course. However, that course only took place on four days a week, six hours a day. I knew that he wasn’t too busy to see me, but never dared to confront him with that knowledge. After a certain amount of time, he didn’t even offer any more reasons for why he didn’t want to meet with me. It seemed as if I just had to be fine with not seeing him. He didn’t have the decency to at least offer an explanation – apparently it was too exhausting to do so, or I wasn’t even worth the energy to come up with an excuse. I never got an apology, some soothing words or at least an assurance that things would get better soon. I learned to live with being in a relationship attuned entirely to his schedule. I accepted that he was in charge and that I had no say in what was going on. Of course, I was almost losing my mind during those four weeks, and again, I longed for the pain to end. At that time, I tried to go No Contact in order to find the strength to opt out. For the first time, I took the task of disentangling myself seriously. I even managed to convince myself that I indeed had the strength to follow through with it this time. My frustration was so intense at that point that I really thought I could finally let go. However, I was once more gravely mistaken. When I heard from him again and he told me he wanted to see me as soon as possible, I jumped at the opportunity and my resolve evaporated immediately. I was too weak, too lacking in self-respect to save myself and let got. I found my weakness and willingness to leave the door ajar enormously frustrating, and still didn’t take appropriate action.

When I saw him again after those four weeks he came to my place and left after only a few hours, because he didn’t want his exgirlfriend to find out he was seeing me. It was humiliating. I hadn’t seen him in four weeks and he had to leave early so that his exgirlfriend wouldn’t freak out. I felt used, pushed aside and made a fool of. By then, however, I had gotten so used to the pain and disappointments that I didn’t even waste many thoughts on what had happened. I just accepted it and let him go without even giving voice to the fact that he was breaking my heart with his neglect and triangulation. Instead of showing some respect for myself and tell him to go to hell, I allowed him to come back to my place only a few days later. He kept breaking my heart over and over again, and I left the door ajar for him. He could come into my life whenever he felt like it, and leave me like a discarded piece of trash whenever he had no use for me, or his exgirlfriend was causing him trouble.

During my relationship with the narcissist, I always wanted the misery to end and longed for the strength to let go. I often clung to the illusion that I was in possession of the resolve it took to opt out. I often avoided any contact with him for days and started to feel proud of myself for being able to do so. However, as it turned out, no matter how hard I tried, I could never manage to disentangle myself. Whenever he communicated a desire to see me, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. He could basically ignore me for days without offering an explanation for his silence, and I would still jump whenever he contacted me again. I never managed to follow through with my resolve to leave and to try to regain my ease of mind. He treated me like shit, took me for granted and toyed with my feelings, and I was still too weak to let go. Looking at my willingness to leave the door ajar from today’s perspective, I feel intensely ashamed of myself. No wonder he didn’t treat me with respect, when I repeatedly invited him to trample all over me.

The narcissists can repeatedly expose us to pain and agony, and we still can’t manage to finally close that door. No matter how much they humiliate and disrespect us, we leave the door ajar and invite them back in to inflict even more damage on our already fragile emotional well-being. They always make use of the opportunities we offer them: As long as we allow them to overstep the boundaries of decent human behavior and let them get away with everything, they won’t respect us or see the need to change their behavior. They shamelessly exploit our willingness to forgive and forget until we either can muster the self-respect to close the door or are hurt and damaged to such an extent that we can’t take any more of it.

I felt so despaired, exhausted and imbalanced that it almost came as a relief when I learned that he intended to leave the country. The fact that he would move thousands of miles away from me offered me the opportunity to finally breathe freely again and accept the end of our relationship. It was exactly what I needed to be able to close the door for good. If he hadn’t left the country, I would probably still be leaving the door ajar for his manipulation, drama and inconsistency. Being with the narcissist was an eye-opening experience. In the course of processing all the pain, I learned to enjoy my own company. Besides, I realized how damaging my willingness to hold on to him was for me, and as a result I started to question my own views and motives, as well as my attitudes towards relationships. I never again want to be so in need of affection and company that I am willing to allow people to repeatedly trample all over me. Being on your own is definitely better than slowly being destroyed by pain and insecurity.

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Inflating Your Emotional Airbag for the Narcissist

During the entire time I was interacting with the narcissist he was feeding me with a seemingly endless supply of his sob stories, lies and excuses. Every single time he presented me with one of his countless tales of woe, I inflated my emotional airbag for him. I felt deeply for him, and his sorrows became my own sorrows. Even after he had already disappointed me hundreds of times, I still felt sorry for him and his supposedly tragic life. This compassion made it nearly impossible for me to be angry with him, to show resistance against his inconsiderate and uncommitted way of treating me, and his fondness for creating drama and a feeling of insecurity. I was always too busy trying to ease his pain, showing compassion and feeling miserable for the “complicated situation” he was in that I never really paid attention to the pain he inflicted upon me through his inconsistency, triangulation and ambiguity.

Narcissists are particularly talented at presenting us with sob stories. After having listened to some of them, we are convinced that their life is indeed very tragic, that they have become victims of unlucky circumstances and that they have been dealt some really harsh blows. We also start to believe in their conviction that none of the drama they find themselves in is a result of their faults or flaws. Everything bad that happens to them always seems to be beyond their responsibility. As we are usually very compassionate beings that are deeply affected by the pain of others, we genuinely feel for them. Their pain becomes our pain and we begin to suffer from having to listen to their endless supplies of sob stories. The narcissists can’t seem to lead happy and unburdened lives – and we feel deeply for the bad luck they supposedly have to deal with. As we are so busy trying to absorb their pain, we often forget to be compassionate towards ourselves. We feel so sorry for their pain, that we neglect looking after ourselves, and therefore allow them to emotionally abuse us without showing resistance. More often than not, their sob stories are exaggerated fabrications – something they present us with to create drama, to make themselves seem interesting, to makes us feel compassion towards them and to get us hooked. They know that our hearts go out to those in pain, and they coldly make use of that knowledge. Some of their tales of woe might indeed be true, and they never get tired of wallowing in their pain, pointing out over and over again how miserable their lives are – and they are drawing us down with them.

While I was interacting with the narcissist, I was constantly faced with his pain and unhappiness. It was affecting me to such an enormous extent that I was getting more and more exhausted and completely lost touch with myself. I was so busy racking my brain over his “miserable life situation” that there was no more energy left to think about my own wishes, desires and ambitions. I kept feeling sorry for him, and forgot to look after myself in the process. Whenever we spent time together, he fed me with his never-ending sob stories, and I never stopped feeling compassionate. My heart went out to him when he told me he had always been a loner, spending most of the time alone playing guitar in college. He told me he didn’t have a girlfriend until he reached the age of 23 because he was not attractive back then and because of his strict religious upbringing. He repeatedly told me how messed up his childhood was and that his parents were absolutely unavailable – which had the effect that he was the one who had to bring up his little sister. He complained about the fact that he had always been too worried about other people’s feelings, that he was tired of being the good guy because it often led him to having to do damage control on women hurt from previous relationships with assholes. Listening to his tragic tales I immediately inflated my emotional airbag. I felt deeply for him, I was sorry for his tragic fate, and I was convinced he was a blameless victim. It never would have occured to me that he was one of the assholes he tried to distance himself from.

On a daily basis I was informed how unhappy he was in Germany, how unstimulating his job was, how powerless he felt because he didn’t know any German, how he couldn’t take it any longer. His unhappiness deeply affected me and I tried to show up possibilities for him. I gave him advice on how to get ahead, on how to improve his situation. He never really took my advice seriously. He enjoyed being the miserable victim too much to try to improve his situation. However, even though he never took action to improve his “miserable living situation”, I still felt sorry for him. It never crossed my mind that it was his responsibility to bring about change, and that there were indeed plenty of opportunities to do so. I still thought of him as a blameless victim of very unlucky circumstances and my emotional airbag stayed inflated.

My willingness to show compassion took on such self-sacrificing proportions that I still felt sorry for him after I had become a victim of his manipulation and triangulation. He repeatedly pushed me aside and cancelled on me to keep his exgirlfriend satisfied. He kept telling me about her – he basically shoved her presence in my face. His changing attitude towards her was driving me insane and the fact that she always seemed to have priority over me was breaking my heart. However, even though I was deeply hurt and confused, I still felt sorry for him whenever he complained about how she was turning his life into a mess, and how living with her had become unbearable due to the fact that she was mentally imbalanced. When he finally told her about me, she threatened to throw him out of her apartment. By then I had been turned into a secret for weeks and it was about time that he put an end to all the secrecy. However, I still felt so bad about myself for supposedly putting him in such a difficult situation that I apologized a hundred times for it.

When his exgirlfriend tried to call me for the very first time, I answered the phone because I didn’t know it was her. I talked to her for about an hour and was made very much aware of the fact that the narcissist was feeding both of us with an endless supply of lies. However, instead of being angry because of all the lies and deceit, I was far more worried that I had said things to her on the phone that would get him into trouble. It sounds absolutely insane, but at that time my emotional airbag was so fully inflated that instead of standing up for myself, I was too busy worrying about him. My compassion for him was so endless, that I failed to realize that he was disrespecting me, using me, and manipulating me with his lies, drama and triangulation. I had been repeatedly humiliated and played like a puppet on a string – and still my only concern was for his well-being.

Once he sent me a long email, telling me how he much he suffered due to his exgilfriend. He pointed out that she was harrassing him with tons of hateful text messages and that he couldn’t take it much longer. Only a few days earlier he had again blown me off because of her, and now he was complaining about her hatefulness and malignity. Instead of standing up for myself and telling him that it was his own responsibilty to solve the problem and that he could have moved out of her apartment ages ago, I felt sorry for him. I even offered that he could stay at my place if he liked to. A short time later I again had to realize that he was making a fool of me. Only one day after presenting me with his complaints and after calling her “mentally imbalanced”, he posted very intimate looking pictures of the two of them on Google Plus. When I confronted him about it, he told me he was just trying to make a nice gesture. But why did he have to make nice gestures towards a person who was supposedly turning his life into a mess through her hatefulness and totalitarian wishes? I had answered his complaints with nothing but compassion, and in the end I felt like a fool. Just as it had been the case numerous times before, his sob stories about his exgirlfriend were only meant to secure him of my compassion and to play the role of the blameless victim. I inflated my emotional airbag for him and got slapped in the face for it once more. He played both of us like puppets on a string, and I refused to see it because I was too busy feeling sorry for his “unbearable living situation” and for the fact that his exgirlfriend treated him with nothing but contempt.

It took me a very long time to realize that through my absolute focus on his supposed misery and unhappiness, I was neglecting myself and allowed him to turn me into a fool. I had been let down and disappointed countless times, and I still felt more sorry for him than for me. My unconditional compassion for him led me to take every single one of his sob stories to heart and to believe that he was indeed a blameless victim of unlucky circumstances. I was deeply affected by his somber mood and constant depression and genuinely wanted to make him feel better. However, he was obviously never interested in improving his living situation or his mood. He enjoyed dishing up his tragic sob stories and being the victim too much to take positive action. I can’t find another explanation for the fact that he never even tried to get ahead in Germany, or to move out of his exgirlfriend’s apartment. For each and every single one of their problems there is often a relatively easy solution available and it drives you crazy that they don’t seem to be interested in taking the opportunity. We measure them by our own standards, and therefore we can’t really grasp the idea that they are not interested in solving their problems. They want to continue rubbing them in our faces. In the end I nearly lost my mind because of it.

During the entire time I was in a relationship with him I blindly believed that his life was indeed miserable and felt genuinely sorry for him. This absolute compassion makes it nearly impossible to see behind the facade and to realize that he is not the blameless victim, but an emotional abuser – using his sob stories and tragic tales of woe to keep you hooked. The people he claims are turning his life into a mess are more often than not victims of his emotional abuse, ambiguity and inconsistency. They are “hysteric” and “mentally imbalanced” because he made them this way through his shameful behavior. I wish I could have seen all of this while I was still being with him. It is heartbreaking to offer so much genuine compassion to someone who is just playing with your feelings and manipulating you. He never had any use for my affection and consideration and, as a result, all of the energy, dedication and affection invested in him was just wasted. I believed I could have a positive influence on his life and help him get out of his misery. I was gravely mistaken: His sob stories were just one of the tools of his narcissistic manipulation and her never was interested in finding salvation. Being a loving and compassionate person I was an easy prey for him, and had to pay dearly for my naivety and blind self-sacrifice.

Losing Control Over Your Life As a Result of Emotional Abuse

Once the narcissist has drawn you into his drama-laden world of deceit, ambiguity, triangulation and inconsistency, you begin to gradually lose control over all areas of your life. They confuse, hurt and frustrate us to such an extent that we can no longer function properly in our daily lives. The ensuing feeling of inadequacy, weakness and powerlessness adds greatly to the general frustration until we reach the point where we think we cannot take it any longer. If the worst comes to the worst, we can lose the will to live and even catch ourselves thinking that it would be a great relief if a giant bottomless pit could just swallow us up whole. It takes a very long time to recover from the pain and despair we are left with as a result of being in a relationship with a narcissistic emotional abuser. In some cases, we can no longer manage to get back on track on our own and are dependent on emotional support. As it often takes so long to recover, we tend to be too hard on ourselves – thinking that it is another sign of our weakness and dependency that we cannot manage to regain our emotional well-being faster.

During the entire time I was involved with the narcissist I felt as if I was standing on the edge of a yawning abyss that I could fall into at any moment. I’ve never before felt so drained of energy and joy, and so close to completely going insane. The fact that my well-being and emotional health was so deeply intertwined with the narcissist’s behavior made me question my entire being. How could it be possible that someone else had gained so much control over me? Why was my happiness completely dependent on him? Why was I so deeply affected by someone who clearly wasn’t nearly as attached as I was? Why did I care so genuinely and deeply about someone who was exposing me to so much pain and who disappointed me over and over again?

All the drama and insecurity made it nearly impossible for me to get on with the daily concerns of my life. Both at work and at university, I found it incredibly hard to keep my focus. My thoughts kept revolving around his ambiguity and inconsistency as I was trying to make sense of his behavior. I sometimes felt so down and frustrated due to the many disappointments that came my way that I had to invest all my will power to keep me from bursting into tears. At the time I was involved with the narcissist, I was supposed to decide on what I wanted to work on in my Master’s Thesis. However, I found it completely impossible to find the energy and brain capacity to do so and consequently completely neglected my studies. As you can probably imagine, my inability to get ahead with the things I was supposed to do led to an enormous amount of self-doubt and self-loathing. I hated myself for being so weak and for not being able to get my priorities straight.

What also greatly contributed to the feeling of losing control was the fact that my physical and emotional well-being deteriorated so drastically as a result of being with the narcissist. I felt constantly on edge, drained of energy. I suffered from insomnia, stinging pains in the chest and a loss of appetite. It seemed as if he had completely sucked all joy and resolve out of me. I spent entire days on the couch, unable to move, shaking all over, agonizing over his thoughtlessness, his indifference and distance. Whenever I had worked myself into such an emotional state I was completely apathetic about all the other areas of my life. I was no longer interested in my studies, I no longer cared about reading books…I couldn’t have cared less about everything that was going on around me. My mind was completely occupied with his drama and the pain he caused me through his unavailability.

As a result of repeatedly being pushed aside and of having to deal with so much insecurity I got severely depressed. I felt as if I was a complete failure, absolutely powerless, dependent on the affection of someone who was incapable of giving it to me. Trivial matters could bring me to start crying, and often the only thing I longed for was falling into a dreamless sleep – something that had become almost impossible due to my insomnia. In addition to feeling frustrated and depressed, anger was heaping inside of me. The inconsideration, distance and indifference with which he treated me caused me to get extremely angry at times. However, since I never dared to give a voice to it out of a deep-seated fear of losing him, I swallowed and almost choked on it.

The narcissist’s strategy of keeping us in the dark and the deep feeling of insecurity that arises from it often drives us into a state in which we are tortured by obsessive thoughts. I spent a lot of my energy and brain capacity on trying to find answers and excuses for his behavior. I refused to accept that he just wasn’t as attached and that he enjoyed torturing me with his drama and ambiguity. In my obsessive mindset, I started to blame myself for what was going on – dwelling on the same questions over and over again: Why am I so damn weak and dependent? Why do I allow him to blow me off and disrespect me? Are my anger and frustration even justified or is he right when he says I’m overreacting? Am I expecting too much? Where is all of this headed? Why do I get so attached to someone who is unable to offer stability, security and committment?

In my case, what greatly contributed to the feeling of losing control was the humiliating experience of becoming a victim to triangulation. I was constantly pushed aside because he prioritized his exgirlfriends feelings. He often cancelled on me because his exgirlfriend didn’t allow him to meet with me and threatened to throw him out of her apartment. As if this hadn’t been enough to handle, I also was harrassed by her, as she constantly tried to call me and sent me text messages in which she reminded me of how much power she still had over him. Once she even had the indecency to point out to me that she would do everything in her power to keep him from spending the night at my place. It was nerve-racking, humiliating and just plain crazy. He repeatedly assured me that there was nothing romantic or physical about their relationship and that the only reason he still lived with her was that he felt responsible for her. In the end, I didn’t know what to believe anymore. The deceit, craziness and bullshit accusations that were a fixed part of the triangle, were sucking the life out of me. I couldn’t stop obsessing about the nature of their relationship, and I couldn’t stop loathing myself for allowing him to expose me to so much humiliation. Being consistently treated like a secondary option left lasting marks on my psyche. I was never really in control of what was going on and the resulting feeling of powerlessness was paralysing me.

Now that the relationship is over and all the drama and insecurity has finally evaporated, I need to work hard on regaining my inner balance. It will probably still take some time to regain the control over my life that he has so completely taken away from me. He left me so completely shattered – a shell of my former self – that it will be hard work to fully recover. I will never get back the time I lost due to the exposure to drama. I will probably hand in my Master’s Thesis later than I planned to, because I have been unable to focus on my studies for such a long time. I try to not put too much blame on myself for failing to get ahead in all areas of my life. I consistently need to remind myself that given the amount of stress and drama I was exposed to, it is only natural to not find the energy and mental capacity to function the way I was supposed to. However, I still find it hard not to loath myself for prioritizing an unavailable man over academic achievement.

I’ve already come a long way and am glad that I’ve learned a lot during my process of recovery. I am incredibly thankful for the emotional support given to me by my family and friends. They have always been patient and understanding with me, allowed me to talk to them about my worries, and therefore helped me regain my balance. I really don’t know where I would be without them. Knowing that there are people out there who genuinely care about you and want to see you get better really lessens the impact of the fall. He was almost successful at completely breaking my spirit and making me lose the will to live. In the end, however, I was strong enough to recover. He couldn’t break me in spite of the fact that he tried his hardest to do so – and it is thanks to my family and friends that he failed.

Being Drawn Into the Narcissist’s Crazy World

After having dedicated fourteen posts to the common modes of narcissistic behavior – with an emphasis on those I had to face in my last relationship – I will now put more focus on the victim’s perspective again. I feel more capable of talking about my own feelings and experiences in my interactions with the narcissist than of trying to make sense of his behavior. My motives and emotions are the only things I can work with, evaluate and try to understand. The narcissist’s thoughts and feelings will forever remain a mystery to me. The only thing I ever could was scratch the surface and try to point out in what ways the guy I dated fit the mold of narcissistic behavior. I finally accepted that there is no use in trying to make sense of why he acted the way he did, and why he broke my heart in thousand different ways. Instead of wasting time and energy on a vain attempt of looking for answers and meaning in the wrong places, I have to focus on myself. I have already spent too much energy and sacrificed too much of my own well-being trying to make sense of the narcissist’s behavior. If there is one thing I’ve learned by now, it is that racking my brain was never worth the effort and only prolonged the inevitable.

One thing that is very hard to deal with – from a victim’s perspective – is being drawn into the narcissist’s crazy world of dishonesty, manipulation and triangulation. As they gradually reveil their true colors to us, we feel as if we are slowly losing touch with ourselves to the point where we can no longer function in our daily lives. I was so absorbed in dealing with all the craziness surrounding me that I at times almost lost control over my emotions and had a hard time completing the most basic tasks. As the narcissist worked as a free lance teacher at the same place I have a side job, I found it really hard to focus on my work and function the way I should have. Besides, whenever I tried to get ahead with my Master’s Thesis, I found that I couldn’t keep my focus. I tried to read through scientific papers, but it was often fruitless and useless, as my mind was always occupied with making sense of his craziness and unavailability. I racked my brain for days about why he didn’t call, why he still prioritized his exgirlfriend, why he blew me off once more etc. I desperately wanted to find answers to why things just didn’t work the way I wanted them to. There was no more brain capacity left to focus on anything else.

Being with a narcissist can at some point have you seriously doubt your own sanity. You are constantly surrounded by ambiguity, drama and disappointment. Showing codependent patterns of behavior, you often don’t manage to disentagle yourself from all the craziness, but instead hold on to the narcissist in a desperate attempt so make things work. However, in order to find the strength to hold on, we somehow have to make sense of their behavior. We want to justify our endurance and willingness to stay with them and therefore need to find the rationale behind their behavior. As we cannot manage to figure them out, we have to make do with every single excuse we can come up with. We accept each and every one of their lies and breadcrumps of affection to justify the fact that we are still holding on to them. Our desire to stay with them draws us deeper and deeper into their world of craziness and deceit – and we still try to make sense of all the disappointments and setbacks that keep coming our way.

Looking at the role I played in my relationship to the narcissist in retrospect, I am amazed and shocked at how much I was willing to take before finally having had enough. I allowed him to disrespect me, blow me off, lie to me and draw me into his crazy relation to his exgirlfriend, and still didn’t find the strength and self-respect to opt out. I spent thousands of agonizing thoughts on why he was being so unavailable, inconsistent and dishonest. More often than not, I blamed myself – thinking that I was too clingy, asking for too much, getting too attached too fast. On some level, I had long understood that he was not as emotionally involved as I was and that he had no stability, commitment and emotional support to offer to me. I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind where they would be a constant and hidden source of unhappiness and agony.

Being with a narcissist, you often have an unusual amount of craziness to deal with. I was after some time completely overwhelmed by it. Never before did I have to deal with such a high level of dishonesty and ambiguity. Up until meeting him, most people I ever had to deal with were reliable, honest and considerate. Consequently, I was not in the least prepared for what the narcissist drew me into and couldn’t find a healthy way to deal with it. In the course of being part of an annoying triangle with him and his hysteric, hateful exgirlfriend, I had to deal with so much bullshit and mindfuckery that I felt as if I was losing my mind. She accused him of having sex with his sister, he accused her of being mentally imbalanced. She lied to him and told him I was forwarding his emails to her (which I of course never did). He believed her and got angry at me. I was suddenly part of a crazy world, where people were accusing each other of nasty shit and feeding each other lies, only to consider themselves as best friends again only a short time later. In my complete fixation on the narcissist, I tried to endure all of it. I listened to their bullshit and deceit and tried to make sense of it – a pointless and exhausting endeavor!

I kept wondering: Why is it that they yell at each other and throw lies and accusations at each other, but he still doesn’t move out of her apartment? Why does he constantly complain about her irrationality and then goes on city trips, to concerts and even to the dentist with her? I was slowly disintegrating into a human wreck trying to find justifications for his behavior. People kept telling me to finally let go. I didn’t want to hear any of it at the time. I tried to deal with both of them, I tried to make sense of what was going on, I endured their dishonesty and mindfuckery – and in doing so, I completely lost touch with myself. I must have been completely out of my mind to allow the craziness to engulf me to such an extent.

Coming to terms with the realization of how little self-respect and strength I had shown in my relationship with the narcissist was – and continues to be – painful. I basically allowed him to trample all over me and draw me into his crazy world without much resistance. I’m relieved that I have finally come to the point where I no longer feel the need to find the non-existent rationale behind his behavior. It took me a very long time to get there. Even after he had already flown back to the U.S. I still racked my brain trying to figure out his craziness. I wasted many agonizing toughts on the question of why he had left without even uttering one word of goodbye. Now, I can finally accept it as being the final act of his indifference and emotional abuse that I allowed to go on for far too long.

It takes a very long time to disentangle yourself from all the craziness that has been surrounding you for months – and to let go of the desire to find an explanation for what he has done to you. Only if you accept that there is no real rationale behind what happened to you, can you finally find closure. I’m still not at the end of my journey towards full recovery. I still catch myself trying to make sense of his complete unavailability, I’m still often sad because of what happened, and sometimes I still miss him very much and think in a very idealized way about the good times that we shared (despite of all the craziness). But, by now, I have also learned to see that being with him would never have made me happy. While I was still in a relationship with him, I always thought that if he could just let go of the craziness, drama and ambiguity, being with him would be the greatest thing ever. Now I know that the craziness, drama and ambiguity were a fixed part of him, and that he would likely not manage to let go of these traits any time soon. Being with him surely was an eye-opening experience that made me question my approach to relationships and my willingness to endure and hold on to the point of self-sacrifice. I never want to allow others to turn me into a victim ever again. And I never again want to nearly lose my mind being engulfed in craziness and deceit!

Narcissistic Behavior 9: Loves Being Surrounded By Drama

Narcissists thrive on drama and there is always a sense of impending doom surrounding them. For them everything is an emergency, a matter of life and death, or a painful and insoluble dilemma. They can make a drama out of nearly every situation and their lives therefore resemble bad soap operas. For most of these situations there would often be an easy solution available, but they are not interested in dissolving the drama and behaving rationally. They enjoy surrounding themselves with melodrama too much to be interested in finding solutions. For those involved with narcissists, their tendency to conjure up dramatic situations is very exhausting and confusing. We usually try to avoid drama and try to find rational solutions for any problem and conflict that comes our way. We therefore find it hard to deal with someone who turns every little triviality into a matter of life and death and rejects every single one of our solutions to their problems. In the end, we are drawn into their mess, and the never-ending sense of impending doom is slowly sucking the life out of us.

The frustrating and harmful thing about their fondness for drama is that they are not only giving themselves a hard time, but that they also turn others into protagonists in their mess. Because we are constantly drawn into their craziness, we nearly go insane and feel as if we are completely losing touch with ourselves. The narcissists don’t care that they are hurting us and turning us into emotional wrecks. They are too busy looking after themselves to take notice of our emotions. And even if they realize that we are falling apart, they often lack the empathy to care about it.

The narcissist I dated was particularly talented at making mountains out of molehills. For him nearly everything was a source of frustration and he never got tired of cursing his bad luck. I’m more than willing to admit that his living situation was not exactly comfortable, and that he found himself in a time of insecurity and uncertainty when he met me. However, almost none of his problems were insoluble and it was always within his power to make his situation more comfortable and less dramatic. Instead of spending all his energy on complaining how unsatisfying his job was and how much he hated his life in Germany, he could have spend it on finding a different job. He never even made a slight effort to do so, but kept complaining nevertheless.

As I have mentioned lots of times before, his exgirlfriend was also a constant source of drama – the worst and most exhausting kind of drama imaginable. Because she was unable to let him go, she turned my relationship with him into a mess. He constantly complained about her behavior, but never did anything to change the situation. He could have moved out of her apartment, he could have set up clear boundaries, he could have stopped treating both of us ambiguously – he never did any of these things. He seemed to enjoy the drama that this triangle produced, and the attention bestowed on him by both of us, too much to dissolve all the craziness.

There was one particular instance when his penchant for drama became particularly evident: We were having lunch together, when his exgirlfriend pestered him with tons of text messages and calls. She wanted to know where we were so that she could find us and join us. Of course, none of us was interested in meeting with her. Instead of accepting it, she wrote tons of messages in which she harrassed him and threatened that she would find us anyway. I was feeling more than uncomfortable. He could have just turned his phone off or at least told her to shut up and leave us alone. He enjoyed the drama too much to do anything about it. He pretended to be frustrated and saddened as hell by her behavior. However, if that had really been the case, he would have set up some boundaries.

Another constant source of drama was his insecurity about his future. During the time we were dating, he tried to figure out whether he would stay in Germany or go back to the U.S. He changed his mind on the issue on a daily basis and kept informing me about his changing plans. One day, he would tell me he wanted to make things work in Germany. A short time later, he suddenly was determined to go back to the U.S. – only to change his mind again a few days later. I was greatly affected by his fickleness and I felt as if I was riding an endless emotional rollercoaster. Instead of making up his mind once and for all, and saving everyone a lot of drama and heartbreak, he seemed to enjoy the drama that came with all the insecurity. When he finally booked his flight back to the U.S. I was devastated, but also strangely relieved – at least the uncertainty finally had an end and I could stop wasting energy on figuring out whether he intended to stay or not.

Every little aspect of his life was full of drama: When he got sick, he made a big deal out of it and described every little symptom in great detail. After he had met or talked to his sister, he complained about how mean she was and how strained their relationship had become. If he didn’t complain about his relationship to either his exgirlfriend or his sister, he would give me accounts of his dramatic, unhappy childhood, and how it had irreversibly affected him. Everything was always difficult, unbearable, unsatisfying, depressing and hopeless. However, he never attempted to make his life more comfortable and to find solutions for his dilemmas.

He even managed to be dramatic in every single one of his emails. He often sounded very vague, ambiguous or mysterious. Sometimes he sent emails consisting of a single sentence (or even a single word!), and those single sentences were so vague and ambiguous that I often had to ask what he had meant by it. He had a tendency to use grand words and to sound like some depressed poet, tying together strings of sentences that created a sense of melodrama. More often than not, I felt extremely confused and frustrated after reading one of his text messages or emails. He used every single channel of communication as a stage for his drama, and I got very tired of it after some time.

The most frustrating aspect of being with a narcissist with a penchant for drama is that more often than not, there are easy solutions available for most of the dilemmas they are facing and keep complaining about. However, they enjoy drama so much that they not only wallow in existing problems, but also make up dramatic situations whenever possible. They are incredibly talented at making mountains out of molehills and acting as if everything was a matter of life and death. After being with them over a longer period of time, you nearly go insane: You desperately want to present them with solutions to their problems. You are convinced that finding solutions is what they want, because they keep complaining about how dramatic their life is. However, as they constantly ignore our advice and don’t do anything at all to make their lives more comfortable, we get confused. We can’t make sense of their behavior, because we don’t get the appeal that drama has for them. In the end, we are completely frustrated because our rational desire to avoid drama doesn’t resonate with them.

We often don’t get that drama is exactly what they are seeking, and consequently are racking our brains trying to find the rationale behind their behavior. It would never occur to us that they are fond of drama, as we usually try to avoid it as good as we can. We are not only confused by their behavior, but also often end up becoming part of their dramas as well. Whether we like it or not, we are deeply affected by their behavior and are turned into protagonists of their melodramas. I often felt as if I was a character in a bad soap opera while dealing with the annoying triangle made up of the narcissist, his exgirlfriend and me. He could have spared me a lot of pain and agony, had he put an end to all the drama and ambiguity. He was, however, never really interested in my emotional well-being and never cared enough to be considerate. As long as he could stage his little dramas, nothing else really mattered. I’m glad I no longer have to deal with any of it. I’m sure I couldn’t have taken it much longer, as I was on the brink of breaking down as a result of his selfish games. I have finally learned my lesson: If you are in a healthy and loving relationship, you are not deliberately exposed to drama and pain, but shielded from it.

Narcissistic Behavior 8: Constantly Mentions His Exgirlfriend

“I should have told you this earlier: I’m still living with my exgirlfriend”… I don’t know how many times I wished I would have ascribed more importance to this warning signal he gave me on one of our earlier dates. However, when he came out with this confession, I wasn’t even that shocked or surprised. In my naivety I was convinced that it was okay to still be good friends with an exgirlfriend. Little did I know that I would later on deeply regret the decision to not keep my distance from a guy who clearly was still too attached to his previous girlfriend. When I finally realized the crazy and disturbing nature of their relationship to each other, it was too late, as I was in too deep and had already become part of their drama and sick mindgames, deceit and craziness.

I have dedicated several posts to the nerve-racking, immature and dramatic triangle between the narc, his exgirlfriend and me, and I don’t intend to repeat myself over and over again. This post is therefore dedicated to one aspect of the triangle that I haven’t paid that much attention to in my earlier posts – namely the narcissist’s tendency to rub his exgirlfriend’s existence in your face. Narcissists often have a talent for making their exgirlfriend’s names a part of almost every sentence and to constantly make references to them. Even if the topic has nothing at all to do with their exgirlfriends, they somehow manage to slip their names into the conversation. You are therefore continually reminded of their existence and the fact that they still seem to occupy a large amount of space in the narcissists’ mind.

At the beginning you don’t really mind and you dismiss the fact that he constantly mentions her as a normal byproduct of their friendship. However, it often turns out to be a grave mistake to blend out all the signs. In my case, it was one of the biggest mistakes I made in the course of my relationship with Mr. Unavailable. After some time, his exgirlfriend revealed her true colors and I had to come to terms with the fact that she was crazily jealous, deceitful, hateful, hysteric and didn’t allow him to meet me (she threatened to throw him out of the apartment). Her unreasonable behavior, however, didn’t prevent him from mentioning her name in almost every sentence. She complicated my interactions with Mr. Unavailable to an enormous extent, forcing us to make our encounters a secret, and looming like a giant cloud over the times we spent together. I’m not proud to admit it, but I began to despise her for her irrationality and hatefulness (back then I didn’t know she was probably behaving unreasonably due to also being a vitim of his narcissistic manipulations). But still, the narcissist was rubbing her existence in my face, telling me about every detail of her life as if it was the most natural thing to do.

He would tell me in detail about the things they did together: having dinner at an Italian restaurant, going to a Beethoven concert, going on city trips, going to the dentist, going to the fitness center etc. He talked about it on a daily basis, and I didn’t even admit to the fact that it made me severely depressed to hear about them spending most of their time together. I didn’t want to sound like a crazy, clinging, jealous person and therefore swallowed the pain and jealousy. He mentioned her so frequently that I, at one point, just silently accepted the fact that she was a fixed component of our conversations and interactions. On some level, I knew that it was unfair and not normal to rub an exgirlfriend’s name into the face of your new partner. However, he talked about her so nonchalantly that I just assumed that it was indeed normal behavior, and that it would make me seem clingy and dependent to have a problem with it.

Things didn’t get better: He answered her calls, sent her tons of text messages and went grocery shopping for her when he was with me, and he informed me about every little detail of her life: I learned about her job, her strained relation to her family, her lonely existence, her childhood, her daily routines – I even learned about her sex dates with total strangers or the fact that she was giving Mr. Unavailable face massages. Sometimes he read her text messages out loud to me (and she sent him tons of them!). I never asked about any of it. He just told me about it, as if it was the most natural thing to present your new partner with a biography of your exgirlfriend.

I sometimes felt the urge to just shout out that I didn’t give a tiny rat’s ass about his crazy exgirlfriend’s life. But of course, I never dared to do so. I didn’t even complain when he mentioned her name in almost every email addressed to me. Once, he rambled on for several lines about how much he respected her and how he wanted her to stay in his life forever. Of course it felt like a slap in the face to read it and it reduced me to tears. However, even though I knew that it was completely inappropriate and unfair of him to tell me these things, I kept my mouth shut and just accepted it. I don’t know how I could have had so little self-esteem to allow him to treat me like this. I know I should have stood up for myself, but I was too intent on holding on to him and enduring the costs of doing so.

In the end, his exgirlfriend had become a fixed component of our interaction: She turned our dates into secret missions, she kept him from spending the night at my place, and the thoughts of her hysteric, hateful behavior were constantly keeping Mr. Unavailable distracted. However, her irrationality and deceitfulness did not keep Mr. Unavailable from constantly mentioning her name. He talked about her on a daily basis and in such an uninhibited way that I thought it apparently was just a normal thing to do. As a result, I swallowed my anger and frustration out of fear of being thought of as a jealous and dependent person. It never really occurred to me back then that it was not the decent thing to do to rub an exgirlfriend’s existence all over my face. Only when looking at it in retrospect did I finally understand that I allowed him to make a fool of me. Back then I still felt sorry for him when he told me about how strained his relationship to her was, and when he complained about how she was exhausting him with her hysteria, irrationality, hatefulness and deceit. I even offered him to stay at my place should his living situation become unbearable again.

I now know that I should have told him to shut up and that I didn’t want to hear her name ever again. I also know that his behavior was absolutely immature and impudent. Had he behaved like a grown-up, he wouldn’t have conjured up such an annoying triangle. The decent thing to do would have been to sort things out with her first, and then to enter into a new relationship. His ambiguous, deceitful way of treating us turned my relationship with him into something resembling an episode from a bad soap opera. He seemed to enjoy the drama surrounding his person too much to finally sort things out and treat us with honesty and respect. He wallowed in the attention bestowed on him by both of us and didn’t want to lose any of it. Consequently, he played us both like puppets on a string, and was feeding us with breadcrumps of affection to keep us attached. The only words I can think of to describe this kind of behavior are disgusting and pathetic.

If a guy we are dating is constantly rubbing an exgirlfriend’s name all over our faces, we should interpret this behavior as a clear red flag and try to opt out as soon as possible. The annoying, dramatic and exhausting triangles that narcissists love to conjure up will eventually suck the life out of us. We feel disrespected and fooled, but never dare to speak up out of a deep-seated fear of losing him or of sounding jealous and unreasonable. However, our doubts and frustrations are more than justified. It’s not a characteristic of a healthy relationship to continually be reminded of an exgirlfriend’s existence and to feel as if you were in a relationship with two people simultaneously. Being treated with respect and consideration encompasses being the sole center of attention, instead of only a part of a triangle. We shouldn’t be satisfied with being treated ambiguously and with being put on hold. No matter how low our self-esteem, we should make ourselves very aware of the fact that it is never okay to be toyed with and turned into a component of a shady drama. When you are in a loving, adult relationship, the exgirlfriend just shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore. Everything else is just unfair, painful and pathetic.

Narcissistic Behavior 5: Lies and Excuses

Another thing that narcissists apparently just love to do is feed you with lies and excuses. They always seem to have an excuse up their sleeves with which they try to explain their shady behavior, and they never get tired of using lies and subterfuges to keep us at a distance. I lost track of how many times I have been blown off, let down and disappointed by Mr. Unavailable, but for every single time he had an excuse or some dubious explanation to offer. The fact that things just never seemed to be his fault, prevented me from getting angry at him. To shield me from pain, I made an effort to believe in his excuses. I never wanted to admit to myself that he might be trying to keep me at bay, that he was not interested in letting me come too close.

Once the relationship is over and we are trying to process what has happened, we become more and more aware of the many instances in which the narcissists were dishonest with us. We finally begin to accept that we have allowed them to get away with far too many lies, and that we let them disrespect us for too long. We are partly to blame for it: In our unwillingness to reflect on their shady behavior and look deeper at the causes behind it, we allow them to repeatedly trample all over us. We readily accept their excuses, because we don’t want to see that they might be lying to us. Even if we suspect that they might be dishonest, it does not take us long to leave our qualms behind us and go on as if nothing happened. We have a penchant for dismissing their dishonesty and deceit far too quickly. The narcissists learn from our behavior that they can easily get away with their lies and excuses and they shamelessly exploit this insight.

For a long time I was also very reluctant to believe that the narcissist I dated might be lying to me and using excuses to keep me at a distance. I was too naive and gullible, too intent on shielding myself from pain, that I allowed myself to throroughly question his behavior. I had occasional doubts, and often felt pushed aside and neglected, but I always managed to keep those troubling thoughts from taking up too much space in my head. Looking at the relationship in retrospect, I am no longer able to determine when I was lied to and when I was told the truth, and it is shocking to face this realization. It puts a deep shadow on my entire interaction with him, and it leads me to question every single one of his words and actions.

I can’t give an inventory of the many excuses and dishonesties I was confronted with during my relationship with Mr. Unavailable. However, I will try to name a few examples: Mr. Unavailable had a tendency to cancel or postpone our dates. He was often either sick, too exhausted or overworked to meet with me. At some point of our relationship he announced he was no longer able to give me phone calls, because his exgirlfriend didn’t want him to call me (they shared some dubious phone plan and she got the shared phone bill). From that moment on, our chief channel of communication was via email. However, he often didn’t write for days and then offered the explanation that his computer battery was not working properly.

Once he cancelled on me in the very last minute and told me that to make up for it, he would spend time with me on the following weekend. However, when I tried to contact him on said weekend, he just didn’t answer my calls and ignored every single one of my messages. I heard back from him on Sunday evening and he denied my accusations that he ignored me on purpose so he didn’t have to follow through with his promise to spend time with me. He said he had been running errands all weekend and was just too busy. This excuse was so lame that not even I was willing to believe it, and from that moment on my trust in him was irreversibly damaged. The realization that he had ignored me to get out of meeting with me was shocking and painful and made me feel unwanted. From then on, whenever we had agreed on a time and place to meet, I was already suspecting that he would surely blow me off again. This was very often indeed the case. I realized that I just couldn’t trust him anymore, that I was constantly expecting to be disappointed, and this insight was saddening me.

One time he promised he would spend another weekend at my place, that we would go for long walks and watch movies together, and that he would even cook for my entire family. I was eagerly looking forward to it. As you can imagine, it never happened. He told me he had to stay at home with his exgirlfriend because she was hysteric. The are no words to describe the all-encompassing disappointment and sadness I felt.

Things got even worse, once his exgilfriend had gotten hold of my cell phone number (it appeared on their phone bill). She gave me a call and during our conversation I learned that he lied to her as well. He often denied that he was meeting me, telling her he had to go to work, to run errands etc. He told her that he had met me at a work party – another blatant lie. He told her he was no longer seeing me, when we were still regularly seeing each other. When I confronted him with the fact that he was denying our relationship towards his exgirlfriend, he offered the excuse that it was his only choice if he wanted to avoid trouble. I felt made a fool of and pushed aside, but that never was a problem for him. He always seemed to care a lot more about not hurting the feelings of his exgilfriend than about not hurting mine.

After our relationship had already ended, he presented me with the lamest excuse he ever had to offer. He flew back to the U.S. for good, without saying another word to me, without even leaving a message saying goodbye. He just took off without another word. I was hurt beyond belief. I knew our relationship had already been over, but after all the kindness, patience and endurance I had shown towards him, all the bullshit I had put up with for far too long, I expected at least a word of goodbye – especially given the fact that I would never see him again. It would have been the decent and respectful thing to do. His silence was the final proof of his utter indifference and selfishness. I knew he avoided saying goodbye, because he was too cowardly to face me again. When I voiced my disappointment about his ungraceful departure, he offered the lame excuse that he just wanted to save everyone a lot of trouble and drama. I knew that he only wanted to save himself the trouble of saying goodbye. It was the suitable end for a relationship that was right from the beginning marked with deceit and excuses.

So to sum it up, whenever you have the nagging and ever-present feeling that your partner is not being honest with you and is using excuses and subterfuges to keep you at a distance, you should seriously consider opting out. Trust is the basis of every healthy relationship, and once you can no longer trust your partner, your relationship is doomed. Had I paid closer attention to all the signs for his dishonesty, I would have tried to save myself earlier. In my desire to make things work, I was too earger to ignore the unpleasant aspects of our interactions and allowed him to trample all over me. Even when I already knew that he was not completely honest with me, and that I was unable to trust him, I pushed those thoughts away from me. I always wanted to give things another chance, I kept hoping that things would surely change. I would have saved myself so much pain and energy if I had let go of those naive hopes earlier. Constantly having the feeling that you are not treated fairly, that you are fed with lies and excuses to be held at a distance, is extremely painful. It makes you feel worthless and undeserving of affection. Instead of staying with someone who makes you forget your worth as a person, you should save your affection for someone who knows how to value it and will always treat you with honesty and respect. It’s the basis for every functioning relationship and we should never settle for less!

Narcissists and Their “Crazy, Hysteric and Jealous” Exgirlfriends

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.

Effects of Being with Mr. Unavailable 3: Losing Touch With Yourself

In my last post, I have already dwelled on the fact that people with codependent behavioral patterns often have low self-esteem and tend to continually doubt themselves and their decisions. Our lack of self-love and self-acceptance leads us to search for love, recognition and appreciation in romantic relationships (or even other kinds of interactions). As we are unable to be satisfied with ourselves, we need others to make us feel loved and cared about. Being on our own makes us feel worthless, undeserving of love and alone.

Connected to all of these issues is the fact that people with low self-esteem tend to not devote enough time to their own needs, thoughts and wishes. As we are generally not satisfied with ourselves, we don’t want to occupy ourselves with our own personalities. Consequently, we are continually on the look for distraction, and painful and dramatic relationships offer us exactly the distraction we so desperately crave. As we don’t want to be let alone with our own thoughts, lunging into dramatic relationships keeps us busy and enables us to keep on denying us the attention we need. We spend all of our time and energy into dealing with Mr. Unavailables, and our thoughts are occupied with thinking about the relationship, and the wishes, needs and behavior of the emotionally unavailable person we are dating. In the course of racking our brains over all of the pain and drama, we completely lose touch with ourselves.

This is exactly what happened to me in my relationship with Mr. Unavailable. I have a really hard time not being in any relationship, as I tend to suffer from low self-esteem and to question almost every little aspect of my life. Not being in a relationship makes me feel unloved, unwanted, alone and sometimes even depressed. I’m addicted to the feeling of being loved that a romantic relationship ideally provides, as I have difficulties loving and accepting myself. This addiction often made me lunge into relationships with shady men, because being in a relationship – no matter how painful – was always considered to be better than being alone by me. My relationship with Mr. Unavailable provided me with so much pain, drama and emotional exhaustion that there was no more time left to think about my own wishes, hopes, and desires. I was getting the full-time distraction I was looking for.

Given the fact that my Mr. Unavailable had many narcissistic tendencies, I was during the course of our interactions almost completely kept from engaging with my own self. Our conversations tended to revolve around him, his problems, his unhappy childhood, his achievements, his setbacks etc. I never really had to bring my own thoughts, experiences and opinions into the conversation. Sometimes he would pretend to be interested in what I had to say and even ask me a question or two. But I soon realized that his interest was not strong enough to surpass his narcissistic tendencies. Consequently, he was dominant both in our interactions and conversations. In the beginning, it was a welcome distraction. After some time I felt like I was completely losing touch with myself. Having to realize that you are never really a part of the conversation makes you feel like you have nothing interesting to say, that you are unworthy of being listened and given attention to.

Another factor that made me lose touch with myself was that in the course of our relationship I felt like a dog running after his owner. Every single aspect of our relationship went according to his terms: He decided when to meet, where to meet, what to do. He was the one who almost never made time for me because he was – as he repeteadly pointed out – so busy. I was almost always the one having to do all the travelling. We lived quite some distance away from each other, and it took me more than an hour by train to meet with him. Sometimes we would only meet for such a short amount of time that I spent more time on the train than actually being with him. It was depressing, exhausting and made me seriously doubt my own behavior. Why was I doing all of this? Was it really worth it? Chasing after him like a dog, always waiting for a call, always waiting for him to tell me when we would finally see each other again, kept me absolutely distracted from myself. I was so busy evaluating his behavior, running after him and dealing with all the disappointments and drama, that I lost touch with myself. I kept chasing him, because it prevented me from spending time on my own, thinking about myself.

Another major contribution to all of it came from the fact that I was consistently treated like a secondary option, while his exgirlfriend got his undivided attention and always had priority. Some days he would complain about her being mentally unbalanced, on other days he pointed out to me that he respected her with all his heart and wanted her to forever stay in his life. Whenever she got hysteric and insulting or put him under pressure, he would yield and stay at home with her. I was continually pushed aside. I wasn’t allowed to give him a call, he wasn’t allowed to spend the night at my place etc: All of it would make her freak out. She went so far as to harrass me by giving me calls and sending me tons of text messages. He never interfered, and always talked about being considerate towards her feelings. My feelings never seemed to matter at all. In spite of all of it, I continued meeting with him. I gladly let myself be drawn into all this drama and ridiculousness because it kept me from being alone and devoting thoughts to myself. Of course I doubted my own behavior: Why was I allowing him to treat me like this? Why do I want to be part of so much drama? Am I really so worthless as to be treated like an option? Don’t I deserve to be treated with respect, care and consideration? I was completely losing touch with myself and my self-esteem was dealt a severe blow.

As usual I could go on and on, pointing out further examples for how being with Mr. Unavailable made me lose touch with myself. I think you got the picture: I let myself be treated with disrespect and disregard because I craved the distraction that came with being part of a dramatic relationship. I kept chasing him and debasing myself, because it prevented me from being alone and devoting time to thinking about myself and considering my needs. My low self-esteem and self-respect were the reason for why I didn’t opt out and save myself. The treatment I received from Mr. Unavailable only further lowered my self-esteem: it was a vicious circle.

In retrospect, I’m shocked because I allowed him to be so disrespectful and inconsiderate. Had I been more confident and strong, I would never have allowed this kind of behavior. Maybe this episode of my life presented me with the wake-up call I so obviously needed. I need to treat myself better and spend more time dealing with my own ambitions and wishes, in order to become a part of a healthy relationship.

Effects of Being with Mr. Unavailable 2: Self-Doubt and Self-Blame

This is definitely going to be one of the most important posts I will write, given the fact that I’ve been dealing with self-doubts and low self-esteem for most of my life. It is the reason for why I often end up with shady guys who not really have my best interests at heart. I search for recognition and appreciation in relationships, because I cannot give these things to myself. I’m addicted to being loved by others, because I have difficulties loving myself. However, the shady guys that codependent people with low self-esteem get into relationships with only make matters worse: They will eventually disappoint us, leave us heartbroken and therefore make us question our own part in the relationship. More often than not, this will only lower our self-esteem further and have us wonder if we are not worthy of being loved and treated with respect.

The most ironic part of my last relationship with Mr. Unavailable was that he told me right at the beginning that he had the feeling I had rather low self-esteem and tend to sell myself short when it comes to relationships. He also told me to be more confident, that I had all the reasons for believing more in myself, and that I should apply a more “careful screening process” when it came to guys. I felt like I had won the lottery: Had I finally found a guy who would be attentive to my feelings and treat me with appreciation? How was I supposed to know that he would turn into exactly that kind of guy he had warned me against? Was he unconsciously (or very consciously) warning me against himself? Looking at it in retrospect I can’t help spotting the irony…

In the end, Mr. Unavailable did absolutely nothing to help me improve my self-esteem. To the contrary, he shattered it to pieces and left me feeling like an empty shell, doubting everything about me (and especially my part in the relationship). Almost everything he did had me doubt myself, my behavior, even my own sanity.

The strongest source for my self-doubts came from the fact that he would often not call, leave a message or contact me in any other way for several days in a row. There were times when I wouldn’t get to see him for several weeks in a row. For me this was just heartbreaking and agitating. I would have loved to spend as much time with him as possible and it was affecting me that he didn’t seem to be able to make time for me. Agonizing thoughts were constantly revolving in my head: “Why doesn’t he call or leave a message? If he really cared about me, he would have contacted me. Is he interested in me at all? He must be really detached to not call at all…Or am I maybe asking for too much? Am I turning into an obsessive person?” My friends and family would repeatedly assure me that he is not treating me fairly by not calling me and not seeing me in weeks. I didn’t want to hear any of it. I preferred to put all the blame on myself and suppressed the suspicion that he might not be that interested after all.

Another source of self-doubt came from his continually voiced desire to leave the country and fly back to the U.S. I constantly blamed myself for not being able to stay more emotionally detached. Why did I invest all my heart, energy and time into someone who might be leaving soon? Why do I blame him for being more detached than I am? After all, isn’t this the reasonable way to handle all of it? But why does he even bother seeing me then? Why does he insist on continuing to go out with me? Why did he want to meet my parents, if he wants to leave? I couldn’t make any sense of his behavior and chose to blame myself for everything instead.

The fact that he still lived with his exgirlfriend and often pushed me aside because of her also didn’t add much to my self-esteem. I’ve already dedicated two entire posts to his hysteric, insulting exgirlfriend who did not allow him to see me. I therefore don’t need to go into further detail at this point. Allowing him to turn me into an option while his exgirlfriend still had priority had me seriously doubt my worth as a person. Why do I allow him to treat me like that? Am I only good enough to be a secondary option? Am I not deserving of the same care, appreciation and attention that she gets? Are the two of them secretly mocking me? Am I just the person he goes to to load off the emotional baggage from his last relationship? My mind seemed to be obsessively occupied with him and his exgirlfriend, painting the most painful scenarios. I felt absolutely worthless, disrespected and unappreciated because my feelings just never mattered as much as those of his exgirlfriend. It can leave you feeling so small…like a real loser.

I don’t think I have to go on pointing out more instances that caused me to seriously doubt myself. Suffice it to say that being with a Mr. Unavailable can be absolutely shattering to your sense of self worth. Through their emotional unavailability they have you doubt just about everything about yourself. Instead of accepting that they are to blame for not being able and willing to give us what we want, codependent people blame themselves and see themselves as not worthy of being respected, cared about and loved. We question our behavior throughout the entire relationship and keep wondering where everything went wrong. Instead of realizing that Mr. Unavailables won’t even give us the bare minimum of what we want, we see ourselves as too needy, too dependent and try to be satisfied with the little breadcrumps they are feeding us with.

Even if we manage to see through their shady and disrespectful behavior and realize that they are unwilling and unable to fulfill our emotional needs, we still find ways to blame ourselves: Why can’t I find the strength to free myself from this painful relationship? Why do I keep allowing him to disrespect me? Why do I still feel so much for a man who obviously doesn’t really respect and appreciate me? We are just really good at addressing reproaches to ourselves.

I’ve finally managed to see through the patterns that kept my self-esteem on a very low level. It doesn’t mean that I turned into a confident and self-assured person over night. I’m still struggling with self-doubt and find it hard to accept my flaws and the mistakes I make. I tend to be too hard on myself. But at least I’ve finally managed to realize all of it and I guess it’s the first step towards improvement…So if there is anything positive I can draw from all that pain, drama and suffering, it is that it really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to change my mindset. Only if we are good to ourselves can we have healthy relationships with people who also genuinely want to be good to us.