His sister contacted me a couple of days ago. No one has heard from him in over a month, she tells me. It didn’t make sense. I just threw a grenade on the remnants of our relationship two weeks ago. I’d refused his demands about that really important letter and he disappeared from my life.
And apparently everyone else’s life.
I told her I had no idea and the last I heard he’d found a new victim chick in Akron. I wondered how she got my contact information, but I didn’t ask. The situation was already awkward, She asked for this chick’s name. I don’t know. This is almost all third-hand. We don’t speak anymore. I explained that my brother-in-law1 saw him two weeks ago when he picked up his tools from the job site. I began to worry about him. To panic. His sister had gotten the police involved and was contacting (probably) hundreds of people looking for him. He really is missing. I wanted to find out if he was ok. I was polite to her and offered my help. She thanked me and that was that. My people all had the same thing to say about it: Not your problem.
They’re right. He has some serious issues2 and he very well could be holed up somewhere with a new supply. He may be ghosting – trying to run from all the ways he’s fucked up his life recently. He may be in a flop house with a needle in his arm. Any of that can possibly be true. He is a very sick man and it would very much be in character for him to just disappear like this. He’s mad at his baby’s mom so he’s punishing her. I have little doubt that’s she’s panicking more than I. She has been in his orbit too long. She is still very happy to be his main supply. And disappearing to cause her pain would be something he absolutely would do. I am lucky that I got away from him so soon and there are no children to tie us together. I’m a lot luckier than she is.
I’ve been reading about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The actual disorder not people who have just never learned humility. There are two kinds of malignant narcissists – overt and covert. When people hear about NPD they assume overt. That’s not the case here. With the help of my therapist, I learned that MyDude is (most probably) a covert narcissist. As I read about it I was re-traumatized. I was shocked. He fit the bill to a tee – grooming, devaluation, triangulating, the traumatic discard, the hoovering. But he wasn’t all bold and brash. He is quiet and always inside of his own head. And he preyed on my need to matter to someone. He saw me vulnerable and, sadly, I put myself right in his path. He played me like a finely tuned instrument. I was an object he sucked dry – and discarded when he could get nothing else from me. There is no difference between me and every other woman in his harem. We were simply supply for his disorder. That was devastating to learn. He was nothing more a drug to me, too. In the end I was simply addicted to the swirl of chemicals in my head. That “connection” that he played and perverted. My counselor explained that I was behaving like a cocaine addict. That was painful to hear, but true.
Everything that I thought was a “sign” of some sort was actually intentionally engineered by him to trigger my desire to matter to someone. I couldn’t stand to see him suffer. But why? It was most certainly pathological. And he made sure it was. He made sure to muddle my fucking brain and warp it to his benefit. And it worked until my cognitive dissonance3 was so painful I could no longer ignore it. I often refer to my logical and emotional selves (as if I sit outside of them) fighting. That made me crazy. I fought against myself and a monster was created. I wanted to hurt him as much as he hurt me. I said and did miserable things to achieve that goal. I saw it, but the compulsion to hurt him overwhelmed me. He was in my head and it drove me around the bend. I still have not recovered. I’m addicted to the chemical mix that he causes in my brain – that’s why I was so sensitive to his touch. Why I needed just to be physically close to him. I know that now. At the time I had no idea that was even possible. How the fuck is that even possible?!
Covert Narcissists dangle their vulnerability in front of you as bait, just waiting for your good nurturing mothering/fathering instincts to kick in and rescue the poor little lost child they are presenting to you.
As soon as you reach out a helping hand, their jaws snap shut on you.
We fall for the projected idealised image of the person the covert narcissist wishes they could be but knows in their hearts they are not. This is the person they NEED to convince others they are in order to foster narcissistic supply.
Clients would tell me the person was “not my usual type” or “I didnt even find them attractive at first”.
Yes, because they are NOT your type. But they are smart enough to know what you are looking for at the level of your core values and mold themselves to appear to represent that whilst provoking as much sympathy in you for them as they can.
But beneath the mask of a shy, vulnerable and “good person” something far more sinister lurks.
And this what makes covert narcissism so damaging and dangerous: the nature of the disorder is such that you are brainwashed into thinking you are dealing with a human being with a morality, perhaps even a “pillar of the community”.
This is frequently a part of the covert narcissists fantasy: the misunderstood but kind, caring genius/ guru that the foolish world cruelly victimises.
If the target is tricked into believing the FALSE narrative that this person is a vulnerable victim they are left suspecting that the manipulations, insults, transgressions and abuses they experienced CAN’T be real …right?
Forced into a split reality, one in which the person is as vulnerable and victimised as they wish you to believe and the other in which you see shadowy, fleeting signs of something else entirely :
– a social chameleon who would wear a completely different identity depending on who they were talking to
– a sneaky, underhanded way of operating in the world that ONLY those closest to them ever get a glimpse of
– a person whose actions RARELY match their words!
This leads to crushing feelings of frustrating isolation as you feel like you are the only one on the planet who can see this gaping disparity in the person and it’s impossible to explain to anyone not experiencing the abuse directly. [source]
My ego was hit hard as my cognitive dissonance choked me. I did not understand this while it was happening. I did not see him for what he really is. I did not see. I truly thought we had a connection. I honestly thought he loved me (because he said so, right?). I thought he was just afraid of his feelings and that he also loved her. I kept asking “Why is this happening between him and me? How is he doing this to me?” I know now. Part of me is still holding onto the delusion, but I’m better prepared to fight against that thinking. I know what happened now. I was addicted to those fucking chemicals. I still am a little bit. I’m ashamed of how he worked me. But I need to tell this particular story. My stormy relationship with him really killed any sort of confidence I had when I met him. He stole that from me4.
When his sister contacted me I panicked. I was immediately worried that he was dead. Then, after I explained to her that I didn’t know anything, I got control of myself. I am angry at him for doing this to his sister. And I have no doubt this isn’t the first time. I’m angry that I care and want to help. I’m angry that his nonsensical behavior bothers me at all. He’s not worth it. He’s not my problem. He is broken. Forever. I feel bad for his sister and every other person in his life that loves him.
I’ve lost quite a bit of my spirituality during this entire mess. Everything I’ve held onto since my son died has basically rotted away during this process. Some folks (who share my beliefs) have suggested that this was a lesson for me. Never trust anyone? Never let anyone get close? What the fuck kind of lesson was this? Give me a break. He is broken, empty and basically a demon. That’s no fucking lesson. So, that belief has been expelled. The only reason we came together was sheer dumb luck. Bad for both us. I really can’t blame or credit anything spiritual. It just happened. He just happened.
Fixing myself after this (because I do see how fucked up I am) has been a challenge. Just taking time to heal has been a challenge. The people in my life don’t understand. So many people jump from relationship to relationship or they have been in the same relationship for decades. They can’t see what I’m doing is ultimately a good thing and will make me better. I’m annoying and too introspective. Whatever. But do I want to risk another relationship like that one? I don’t think I want to take that risk. Seeing what I am capable of has really shocked me. I need that to never happen again. I need to learn to kill those compulsions. I need to learn skills to keep part of me (the devil part) from ever coming out again. I will never be free from that horrible part of me, but I can learn to control it. This isn’t about him and me anymore. This is now about my learning, understanding, and healing.
I hope they find him safe and alive. I do. But I’m not going to help them. This is not my problem.
- Who got him this great job that, by the way. [↩]
- I know I do too. [↩]
- and my own pathological illness. [↩]
- This relationship wasn’t normal. The breakup wasn’t normal. I am trying to heal instead of jumping into another relationship that may hurt me. I am analyzing myself so that this never happens to me again. [↩]