I’ve had terrible moments when I think that maybe the ex was right and I am the narcissist. I look back on our relationship and the times he told me I was controlling and I wonder if he doesn’t have a point. I was certainly not the perfect wife. I go over and over the words we spoke and the things that happened in minute detail. I think about how things are now – how he handles things and how I handle things. That’s when I breathe a sigh of relief.
Our ideas of responsibility are worlds apart. And by worlds apart I mean that I have a sense of responsibility toward my children and he doesn’t.
When you are lied about, told you are controlling, and publically called a narcissist (oh yes he did – he went there) you begin to wonder if you have deceived yourself about who you are and your motivations. Most people who have been in relationships with narcissists have been inundated with corrupt data about themselves. How we think, how we feel, how we perceive things, and even how we look is all carefully deleted and replaced with negative beliefs. We have little left of who we are and what we are about.
The Deception of Our Perception
Since we’ve been made to believe we are not what we appear to be (even to ourselves) we have trouble accepting anything good about ourselves at all. So, when the ex or one of those people on his team (because they do create teams of people to tell them how victimized they are) accuses us of being unreasonable, narcissistic, or toxic we tend to accept it without question.
It must be true if someone else says it.
I don’t know how it is for you but when someone tells me what a screw up I am, how toxic I am, or how narcissistic I am I immediately get a lump in my throat and begin a new cycle of self-loathing followed by intensive introspection. I finally come out of it realizing that the accusations were completely unwarranted. This usually happens just in time for someone to make a nasty comment and the process to start all over again.
The reason you and I do that is because we are not only not narcissists but we are very concerned about how we treat others and want to make sure we aren’t stepping over the line.
The Lies We Believe
Narcissists ultimately want you to believe that you are lesser beings to their godlike selves. The may not admit it even to themselves but if you look at the actions over the years you’ll see a clear pattern of them giving themselves preferential treatment.
- Who had the most/nicest/newest clothing?
- Who bought themselves what they wanted and who went without?
- Who had the nicer car?
I am sure you could think of plenty more. My ex was always given the biggest portion of the meal, the choices piece of meat, the second helping if there was only enough for one. He never said he was more important but he told me and the kids that in many ways until we believed it. It was accepted as truth. In fact we were reading a story once where the father sacrificed so his children would have enough and my kids laughed. Yeah, like that would happen!
I was told he didn’t find me attractive. Think about that. If someone finds you unattractive then the implication is that they are more attractive than you. I’ve always been self-conscious about how I look and, as a recovering anorexic I am totally paranoid about my weight. When he told me that He was not attracted to me I had given birth to eight children and was hypothyroid. I was devastated.
Looking back I almost want to laugh. He was on a ton of medications, not terribly attractive himself, and the only reason I can come up with that I was attracted to him was that I had committed to the relationship and I wasn’t going to toss out my honor and ethics for something as shallow as the aging process.
He Shares Selectively
I am pretty sure that my ex has told everyone and their Great Aunt Bertha that the night I threw him out I totally lost it and smacked him with my laptop while he was sleeping. More than once. I then proceeded to throw everything I could reach at him as he scrambled to get away from me and my rather good aim. All of that is true. I did it. I lost it totally and was only vaguely aware of what I was doing. I honestly think I might have killed him if I’d have had a weapon nearby. I understand crimes of passion these days.
What he hasn’t shared, I am sure, is that the reason I lost it while he was peacefully snoring next to me is I spent five hours or so reading the badly written sexts between him and his high school girlfriend. Oh, they weren’t from high school. This was a married 50 year old man and married 47 (or so) year old woman rekindling their relationship from 32 years before. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, private emails, private messages, message boards – you name it. Five hours’ worth of stuff at a time that I honestly thought things were getting better.
So, when he shares that I beat the crap out of him I sound like a violent, crazy woman. If he’d share the whole story then people would understand why.
Maintain Your View of the Big Picture
When people take his side, say things about your craziness, and imply that you may be a narcissist keep in mind that they do not know the whole story. My ex posted on social media that he was hoping to have his child support reduced and he got tons of sympathy and comments like my prayers are with you.
I was just shaking my head when I realized that these people only knew what he had told them. They didn’t know I was working 60 and 70 hour weeks to keep the kids taken care of. They didn’t know he was taking unpaid time off work to go on jaunts with his girlfriend to Mexico and various other places. There were a lot of things they didn’t know that might have made a difference in their opinion if they had known.
You know what the truth is. Stick with it. Repeat it. Believe it. Eventually everyone else will know too.
Talking to others who have been where you are can help you see clearly. Join First Wives World today and talk to people who get it.