In writing and selecting the title for this blog post I stopped to read it out loud. To me these words are so powerful. It represented such an important part of my life and years. Looking back over these years the signs should have been seen. I secretly longed for a deeper connection and partnership. A connection he was never capable of giving anyone before me and certainly not then to me. It would quickly be fabricated at times to smooth things over whenever I noticed him outwardly contradicting his previously stated priorities to me, and to us. I suppose I was so hungry for the deeper connection I was easily satiated with moments of false, fabricated deep connection. That’s something I’ve had to learn to forgive myself for, overlooking so much of his deep seated daily dysfunction.
His alcoholism was secondary to his Personality Disorder. Alcoholism is often hereditary and almost always secondary to much deeper, hidden issues and plaguing inner pain.
Most people believe that Narcissism is self-love. The reality of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a deep inner shame and hatred for oneself. A never-ending dissatisfaction with themselves and continuous self-degrading that is turned and projected onto those around them. That self-hatred will inevitably over time, translate into a deep hatred for anyone who loves them. They much prefer to surround themselves with people who could take them or leave them, who don’t care deeply enough for them to hold them accountable for their destructive behavior and choices. This is especially true when they can no longer find the fueling of their false self-esteem from the same Narcissistic supply. In time, that supply source becomes depleted by their systematic, covert verbal devaluing often cleverly disguised and stated as being done out of love. In my case, the things he verbally appreciated and loved the most about me, my honest, kind, joyful demeanor became the things he learned to envy, resent and hate. These were qualities I offered and others could see in me, (I’m told) that he didn’t have. He was outwardly proud of my chosen profession for many years. In hindsight, it offered him validation that he couldn’t possibly be an alcoholic with a personality disorder if his significant other were in the field. Surely that must be true, for she would see it if it weren’t.
There was so much I didn’t see, so much that I missed and overlooked. He was able to get those qualities he wanted for himself through me, but over time he became resentful and envious that they weren’t genuinely found within himself, only through me.
A Narcissist can’t allow themselves to genuinely love, want or need anyone. Their personal connections are fabrications of normalcy. A Narcissist knows no real self-love and are therefore unable to purely, genuinely, deeply love another. Everything is just lightly lying, resting on the surface. Projection of their self-hatred onto others around them is a part of this disorder. Daily regular projection. I suppose because of years of a created persona it was easy for me to overlook his personality disorder. I convinced myself they were just bad moods. He regularly blamed work for his mood swings and verbally reassured me of his love. I was hungry for a sober, deeper connection and his sobered full attention, the attention I was certain I had before his resentment developed into a crescendo right before the sudden end. I was wrong. It never existed. It was a fabrication. I had unknowingly allowed that to be enough.
He strategically chose me because of my profession as a counselor to help redeem and validate him in the eyes of others from his failed marriages. Naturally, one would think I didn’t want to see it. Perhaps there is much truth to that. I overlooked and dismissed his constant conversation about it and his obsession with people with money and athleticism, perfectionism, sport specific prowess, job titles and financial accomplishments of others and all the people who in his eyes had these features. He compared himself, me and everyone else to these perceived ideas of perfection. His own self-created unit of measure by which all and everyone in our life was judged and graded.
Any woman with traditional feminine values was always degraded unless those values were able to be mixed in with masculine (more valuable) values, ones of athleticism, and financial success. My stay-at-home wife and mom friends were always at the brunt of his criticisms for being financial users, gold-diggers, being burdens or leaches, they were unworthy dependents of their superior working/producing victimized husbands. In his opinion, a woman without traditional masculine values was of no value. Feminine values were worthless, pathetic and inferior. If they weren’t financial producers they were users. All women should work and contribute financially to the family he would say regardless of raising a young family.
And there we have the pathology of a lifelong personality disorder. The painful verbal abuse he had witnessed as a child, unable to defend and protect the very first woman and last woman he had loved. The unimaginable shame he still carried. The heartbreak I would feel for him, for his never ending pain I didn’t understand until now. The pain he would share after drinking himself into oblivion and later regret and stonewall me for his candor. As an empath, it was such a helpless feeling. He would frequently tell me how he wished his parents could have known me, how much they’d have loved me, and I them. I now understand the origin of the verbal and emotional abuse I witnessed and covertly experienced first hand.
As as we all know, what we permit, we promote. What we ignore, we empower. All and every “relationship” with a Narcissist comes with an inevitable expiration date.
So how does a personality disorder develop? There are many theories and many causes. It’s a fascinating pathology. It’s even more fascinating when you go back and slowly dissect the childhood occurrences that had been revealed throughout the years, and the overall feeling and childhood experience with his parents. If a son feels he failed his mother in protecting her from either physical or cruel emotional abuse, perhaps even both, there can be a self-hatred that develops and eventually, they become their father, doing much of the same to their own partner. It’s so tragic really, as if a child could do much to protect an adult. The human psyche is a complex one. Mix that in with masculine pride and we find a recipe for a lifelong disorder and painful, insatiable dissatisfaction within themselves, their marriages, their careers, and within others in their life. They will have developed a deep, metastasizing, destructive self-loathing, and debilitating hatred for themselves. And that hatred will then be projected onto whoever is closest to them. Their long established lifestyle standards will have to be lowered to remain “on top” in their mind. This too will steadily decline with the progression and advancement of the disorder and addiction.
I didn’t see his personality disorder. I was unknowingly fighting a battle, a battle and a lifelong war no one could win. After years of mistaking his shallow living and loving on the surface, I suppose I learned to only see the value of things on that surface. I suppose it was an unconscious survival tactic. Many people in our circle included. I valued people who do not value people. I became attached to people who do not attach to people. I compromised my values and learned to live a life and receive a love where there was no depth, no true partnership, or deeper meaning within my relationship. He was incapable of having a meaningful, real, loving relationship with anyone. How can anyone honestly love another when they despise themselves so deeply? How can anyone give the love and approval to another that they cannot feel or express for themselves? If they cannot love themselves, they cannot purely love anyone else. It’s all a facade. Until it isn’t.
A narcissist’s idea of love is how others make them feel about themselves. It’s never a sustainable state. It is always temporary. The self-hatred eventually resurfaces, punching through the euphoria of their new segwayed solution once they realize the new Narcissistic supply is no longer ideal enough to save them from themselves. There is no such person to make someone love themselves. That is when the euphoria disappears. This is especially true when a person close to them unknowingly dismantles the narcissist’s false persona. There’s no stability in that kind of love. There can never be real love because it, because they are not real. They never were and never will be.
I encourage you, do not be afraid to look closely, to dig deeply into anything your “spidey sense” is telling you.
Life comes and goes quickly and time is often a thief. Be brave, be honest, be courageous, be strong, and all the rest will simply fall into place.