One of the many things I’ve learned about narcissists is that nothing about them is consistent, predictable, save and ordinary. Their manners, the stories they tell, their behavior towards us are always characterized by mysteriousness and unpredictability – and it is exactly this shadowy aura that often attracts us to them. Being with them is never boring, as they are always capable of suprising and exciting us – and of involving us in an emotional rollercoaster ride. The excitement makes it very hard for us to let go and to acknowledge just how harmful their inconsistency is for our well-being. We are extremely drawn to their eccentricities and their anomalous behavior because it provides a welcome diversion. Consequently, after the end of our relationship to the narcissist we often feel empty and desolate – and we come to regret the fact that we have to return to our seemingly eventless, monotonous and lonely existence.
What adds greatly to the mysterious aura surrounding the narcissists is that there is no way of knowing what exactly is going on in their minds, They are absolutely inconsistent in their words and actions. On some days they shower us with affection, are extremely loving and passionate and make us feel elated. Then again they ignore us for days, serve us with lies and excuses and expose us to pain, drama, insecurity and triangulation. There is no way to figure out the rationale behind their fickleness and their changing attitude and conduct towards us. However, we often find ourselves drawn to the excitement that is an effect of their impenetrability – at least this was the case for me. On the one hand, I suffered greatly from the state of not knowing. On the other hand, I got hooked on the excitement that came from being with him. Nothing about him was predictable, save and easy – and paradoxically I learned to live with it, even treasure it.
Another aspect that contributes to their special aura is that they always have uncommon and exciting stories to tell. Most of them are probably greatly exaggerated or even entirely fabricated – but we are not aware of it while we are caught in our blind pursuit of them. We love listening to them talking about their dramatic earlier relationships, their messed-up childhoods, their strained relationships to their parents and siblings, the “exciting adventures” they have made in the course of their lives. My narcissist had a seemingly endless supply of dramatic and exciting stories to tell – and I was naive enough to appreciate his tales and to think of him as mysterious and special because of them. His stories led me to be all the more attracted to him and – cheesy as it may sound – I threw caution to the wind and ignored all the red flags that were staring me straight in the face. There was also a hint of mysteriousness in the messages he sent me. Sometimes he wrote long sermons – often written in a very elaborate register. Then again, he would sent me messages consisting of only a few ambiguous words. I would then rack my brain trying to figure out the intent of his message – and while doing so I often found myself in a strange state of agony and excitement. Nothing about him was unambiguous and unobscured. And while his shadiness was causing me pain, it also excited me at the same time.
One thing is very true for most narcissists: They are definitely not like your average guy. Almost everything they say or do is unusual, dramatic and inconsistent. The narcissist I dated presented me with an abundance of eccentricities. Some of them were endearing, others were causing me heartbreak and pain. He often started singing out of nowhere – which I loved. Once, after his exgirlfriend had again harassed him (and me), he told me to punch him in the stomach so he would get distraction from the emotional pain (Of course I didn’t comply). He often dragged me into deserted street corners to passionately kiss me. At times he showered me with beautiful and unusual compliments. He loved to make very philosophical comments. He wrote the most exciting, ambiguous and beautiful messages and had me reflect on them for hours. I could talk to him about my favorite books and movies, about my passions. We sometimes had long and animated conversations during which it seemed as if our minds and hearts were perfectly in tune. I couldn’t help but fall in love with every single one of these aspects – and now I curse myself for having been so dewy-eyed as to allow his eccentricities to make me turn a blind eye to all the red flags, broken promises and the exposure to unnecessary drama and pain.
To make a long story short, I was fascinated by him and found his unpredicability and mysteriousness alluring. Being with him was never boring, and I could always expect another grand story, another dramatic revelation, another unusual gesture. He had an aura of distinctiveness around him and I was extremely drawn to it. Unfortunately, this attraction and my longing for excitement made me deactivate my rationality and accept a lot of shady behavior. As I was so drawn to his mysteriousness and his unusual conduct, I repeatedly let him hurt me, break his promises and treat me with disrespect and neglect. I endured his long stretches of silence and detachment by looking forward to receiving new samples of his eccentricity. I was often close to leaving him because I could no longer endure the pain. However, something always kept me going. I couldn’t bear letting go of all the excitement that he somehow added to my life. Holding on to the excitement, however, meant having to go on enduring a lot of pain and disappointment. They were the consistent byproduct of the excitement that came with being with him. And I was willing to take up with all of it for far too long.
I’m really not proud of myself for falling for the narcissist’s special aura and the excitement he provided. I’ve come to interpret my penchant for his ambiguity and drama as a sign of weakness. However, there is no use in denying the fact that I was extremely attracted to him and that this attraction made it very hard to let go. Everything about him was dramatic, unusual and exciting, every aspect of his life and behavior was laden with mysteriousness and ambiguity. And I made it my task to figure him out. I was intrigued by it and lost my ability to think rationally in the process. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I also know that there are many others out there (especially love addicts and codependents) who made similar experiences. The narcissist’s tendency to act in a mysterious and inscrutable way has the power to get us hooked – at least it had that power in my case. Ever since I’ve cursed myself for having been so naive and weak to let his shadiness cloud my rationality.
Now that everything went down the drain – and my well-being with it – I am forced to reassess my penchant for ambiguity, mysteriousness and eccentricity. All those traits usually go hand in hand with shady and disrespectful behavior. I came to regret the fact that I was drawn to his shadiness and the excitement and drama provided by him. It is a pattern that I can also discern in my previous relationships. Right from my first boyfriend to the narcissist – with only one exception – the men I’ve been with all showed signs of eccentricity, shadiness and haughtiness. Being with the narcissist has finally opened my eyes to the fact that what I apparently crave is excitement and unpredictability – and that normalcy, stability and security do not have the same appeal to me. It is painful to admit it and it makes me doubt myself – but at least, I’ve finally been able to realize this flaw in me and I can now start to work on it. My heart has been severely broken due to my tendency to fall for toxic people and the excitement they provide. It has made me reassess my attitudes towards relationships and the faulty expectations I bring into them. I’ve finally been forced to admit to these flaws. Having experienced the pain and despair that can stem from them was an eye-opening experience. I no longer value shadiness and ambiguity, I no longer want to be blinded by excitement, I no longer want to put up with neglect and distance.
The narcissists may be able to sweep us off our feet with their passionate, unusual manners. However, what usually follows in the wake is pain and heartbreak. Often, when they reveal their true colors, it is already too late, as we are in too deep and unable to let go. I think I’ve learned my lesson: I never again want to be so starved for excitement that I’m willing to accept neglect and detachment in my pursuit of it.