Updated: Jul 26, 2021
*warning* Mention of several areas of abuse, including physical, gaslighting and substance abuse*
It seems too good to be true because it is. Narcissism is a personality disorder; Narcissists are wired completely different in the human brain than the rest of the population, but especially of those who are Empaths (and Highly Sensitive People). *Note* The development of the Narcissist Brain in the photo above. Narcissists thrive off of admiration, self obsession, traumatic relationships and are incapable of empathy towards others. They will do whatever it takes to reach their end goal.
Empaths are naturally attracted to those who we think we can help or need some kind of saving, and narcissists are quite aware of this. They will do absolutely nothing for you, except take all your energy and drain you until you have nothing left.
My journey with a narcissist started at a young age. I met my ex husband when I was just 11 years old. There was an age gap, but he grew to be close friends with my older sister and in turn, we remained close throughout the years. It wasn't until my early twenties after my grandmother had passed away that I showed a romantic interest in my ex husband and we hit it off right away. He believed in all that I did, we became the power couple who was always up for both small and big adventures and he was a super smooth talker. Being a super smooth talker is one the top qualities of narcissists. They know how to fuel your fire, so that it shines so brightly, but without notice, they will snuff your fire on you even quicker.
My then husband at the time convinced me to move to the States from Canada after being together for a while. We got engaged and everything seemed to be going seemingly well. I felt like I was under some sort of illusion because the things that should have been in plain sight weren't. My ex husband couldn't keep a job, he became an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a physical, mental and emotional abuser overnight. I felt as though I was so far down this rabbit hole, that leaving and divorce wasn't an option. At first he would make all the promises come true and at one point he had me convinced he was doing so well we could and did have a child together. Unfortunately the vodka bottles started showing up in the toilet tank, under the couch, in the gardening tools. Pictures started getting ripped off the wall to be thrown at the floor, bicycles ended up thrown into a partly frozen lake and my Grandma Mother's Ashes got cleared off my dresser in one swipe with the flick of his wrist. When we traveled to big cities he would leave me downtown all alone to go purchase drugs off of so called friends, he would bring people strung out on drugs to our wedding day and lie about them not being invited.
The physical abuse started one day when we were out back arguing over him trying to drive my car drunk. He stole my car keys and his mother was maybe 200 feet away from us pretending to not hear us on the lake while she appeared to be busy attending to her garden. When we fought he use to tell me to go back home or that we needed a that divorce, but coming from a broken home of alcoholism I was too stubborn and would give anything to make it work. My older sister had a terrible marriage the first time around as well and no offense to her, I would do anything to convince others I did not do the same. Even if it lead me down the path it did, thankfully now I know better. However, back then when we were outside in his backyard he was sitting on the porch swing, while I was standing a mere two feet away from him, trying to convince him to give me back my own car keys. He kept verbally refusing not to. At this point I physically stepped in closer to remove the car keys from his grip, successful in my retreat. That's when I accidentally dropped them on the ground in which he took his foot and stomped on my hand that was reaching for the car keys. I let out a whale, his mother turned to look and I screamed back at him to let him know how wrong he was. His mother continued doing her gardening and he continued to yell back.
As time continued things seemed to improve here and there, I thought this must be what marriage is like; the ups and downs. During our time living in Illinois at his mom's place we were watching a show called Bob's burgers. If you know me personally, I'm not one for cartoons, but I am one for trying to share my time with my partner and that sometimes means watching or doing something I'm not a big fan of. Now as we are watching this show, the episode talks about a 2 butted-goat. We belly laughed until we were sitting on the couch bent over holding our stomachs looking at each other. The show ended and we talked about it for a little while after. And the weeks passed and turned into a few months we let it go. When I brought up the show again to make fun of the episode my ex did everything he could think of to make me believe that this episode didn't exist. And when I say he did everything, let me tell you this ex of mine has an above average I.Q with intense marine training and a deceased father who worked for the secret forces all around the world. I still don't know what he did, but when I went to go search this episode on my phone it did not exist. There was absolutely no trace of this episode existing. That was my first exposure in my relationship to what is referred to as gaslighting.
Several months have passed and at this mark in our relationship things were looking up. We were getting a new vehicle and I was pregnant with my little guy. The drinking appeared to have stopped and he was holding down a job for the first time in a while. Then he lost his job, so we did what we thought was best and that is when he suggested that we pack our bags and leave for the west coast, which is almost the other side of the country. The terrain was beautiful, the mountains unforgettable and the hikes were to die for. Oregon, here we come! My ex got a job right away, everyone local welcomed us "home" and we were happy apartment shopping. The illusion disappeared again. And reality hit hard. My baby of less than 7 months was sleeping on a single bed with me and when that wasn't acceptable, we were sleeping on the floor while my ex got the bed because he had to work. I was extremely sleep deprived and had post partum depression. He played off that like a professional musician rubbing a bow across a violin. The second round of gaslighting had happened. My ex husband tried his hardest to persuade me without a shadow of a doubt that I did the unspeakable to my child. I'm sorry, but I won't go into full detail, but let me tell you it is a mother's greatest fear. I think at this point it was the start of my awakening. I had enough of the random homeless people being offered a place to stay at our apartment, having to sell my used underwear to make ends meet and the pure fear of something happening to my baby if I left him alone with this monster.