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I am the daughter of a mother with narcissistic personality disorder. When I was 15 years old, my mother told me I am not the kind of girl men fall in love with. I am, she said, the kind of girl who helps men get over the girl they fell in love with and who broke their heart, so that they can move on and fall in love with another girl. Internally believing every word, I spent the next 20 years trying to be the best “distraction” possible, carefully avoiding intimacy and denying myself the right to be loved. I jump back and forth between a dismissing/avoidant and fearful/preocuppied approach to relationships. I blog about my relationship experiences and feelings, which derive from my childhood experiences, as an effort to connect with and help others like me and to help myself through expression of things that are difficult to admit in my everyday emotional life.

I used to buy an extra ticket to everything, for an eventual partner who never existed. When I was married, my husband would join me for some things, but his attitude toward anything I enjoyed was so negative that I stopped wanting him to go with me. So I stopped doing things I enjoy at all.

When I started seeing Nandi, I would buy an extra seat to anything I wanted to do, on the offhand chance he would actually join me. He never would. He even resented the last minute things he agreed to do with me like, trying a new restaurant or just joining me on errands. Actually joining me at a planned event was out of the question. His excuse was needing to be home with his kids and not being able to plan ahead because of them. But it never stopped him going to bars late at night and texting me about the flirtatious waitresses there. And if I asked him to meet me at a bar? He couldn’t, of course – the kids. But I would join him at things he had planned, out of town trips for martial arts events, that sort of thing. They were never about me or us – they were about something he wanted to do and I was just along for the ride. 

Later, when Mac came along, he would do things with me sometimes. I paid for trips out of town, concerts, all kinds of things, and he loved every plan. He didn’t make it to most of them because he would initiate a fight or just disappear the day of, and go missing for days or weeks, then claim illness or a drug bender. So I wouldn’t go either. Or if he did go, he would have a drug-induced psychotic episode and create huge drama that caused us to have to leave. So much wasted money buying seats and trips for us that never got used. The last one, he staged a huge fight the day before a concert I had bought us tickets for. I was too upset to go, so the tickets were wasted, as usual. Late night the day of the concert, I saw him post about having gone and how great it was. I don’t even believe he had gone – it was definitely intended for me to see it and honestly how would he have gotten tickets? He had no job, no money, and they were sold out long before. The story that a friend took him could have been true, but I knew it wasn’t. He had long before admitted that he often posted pretending to have been at events just so it would look like he had a life. 

After that, I would just try to plan things with friends. Sometimes it worked, but most of the larger ticket items just ended up never happening because no one could commit to go or not. 

I didn’t want to keep wasting my time and money on tickets for two that never got used, so I just stopped planning to do things. 

For the brief time I was seeing Caelus, I would suggest things – always something I could arrange, of course. Someone gave me tickets to this event, we should go. There’s a restaurant I can take him for his birthday. He would say “that might be fun sometime,” but it was never the right time. He never took me anywhere and never did anything with me outside his house. When we started coming out of this pandemic, I still considered making space for him in things I wanted to plan, just in case he came around. I resisted, of course. I no longer am willing to make space for someone who doesn’t exist or someone who doesn’t want to be in the space I create for them. 

From now on I plan things for no one but myself, and I do things for myself and with myself alone. Sure, I’ll offer friends to join me if it makes sense, but I make my plans without waiting for their decision if it’s not forthcoming.

I am entering a loving and supportive relationship with myself, and I will give myself every single ounce of the love and care that I used to offer up to others. 

Woman and hurting heart

Starting a new relationship. I’m certain I’m not ready – so many of Mac’s words and actions still surface, making me question if I am even worthy of connection, and already my anxious attachment style is causing constant uncertainty. But it happened and there is no going back.

He came on strong but not intense at first. Just being very open about how he felt. There was no love bombing, just attentiveness, protectiveness – and gifts. Sweet thoughtful gifts like remembering what I like and making sure I always have it. When we’re together, he’s sweet, attentive, and thoughtful. He texts me every day. He always responds quickly if I text him. He’s always available when I call. But he has boundaries about how often we need to see each other. He has things to do and a life of his own and he makes time for me in the midst of these things rather than immersing me in them or immersing himself in my life. He is very affectionate when we’re together, but his texts don’t contain many words of validation or affection or even sexting content. I’m equally relieved and wondering what’s wrong. It’s only been a month – this is the normal pace of a relationship, I tell myself. Yet, it’s hard to shake the pattern of feeling that if he doesn’t demand my constant attention and shower me with endless words of affirmation, it means he’s really not that into me. Little seemingly harmless things he says or does (or doesn’t do) send me into anxious hysterics inside. We’re both getting used to sleeping with someone again (yes, I’m sleeping with this guy in the same bed staying over at his place every weekend – I’m such a hypocrite). He made a comment about me pushing him off the bed and I took it to heart as a rejection. I didn’t express it, because I know it’s irrational and I have learned to be good at letting myself process and not immediately react. After all, he had previously mentioned missing me being in bed with him, and this comment was half humor, not meant to be cruel. And the fact is, I’m having a hard time learning to sleep with him too. It’s normal to have some difficulties getting used to each other’s sleep habits. I, of all people, should know this and not take it personally when he jokes about it, or even if he feels a little crabby after not getting a full night’s sleep. I wouldn’t even let my last boyfriend sleep with me AT ALL for god’s sake. And I’m so full of anxiety about being too clingy or attentive, or not being affectionate or attentive enough. If I text him with sweet words, he doesn’t respond with sweet words, though he does always respond gratefully and almost like he’s uncomfortable and doesn’t know how to communicate this way. So then I start wondering, am I getting myself into another avoidant situation like Nandi? I stop communicating affection. And then I start getting scared that my not communicating affection will make him think I’m not into him – and so I send a hint of it. And the cycle repeats. My god why can’t I just chill the fuck out and let this unfold naturally? It’s barely been a month for god’s sake!


I saw you in that coffee shop

You didn’t notice me

Just like it always was

Those years before.

I saw you in that coffee shop

And I felt nothing

I did not even want your attention

After all those years of beating myself against your iron clad heart

Trying to get you to see me

To feel anything

I do not want your attention anymore.

I felt sad for you, staring down at your computer screen as always, missing life as it walks right in and out of the room.

There was a coffee shop chain Mac introduced me to and I was craving their food one day but didn’t want to go to any of the ones he might attend, knowing he sometimes has his friends pick him up there. The last thing in the world I want right now is to run into Mac somewhere. So I found one somewhere he would be very unlikely to go, and headed there. Walking in, I immediately saw Nandi head down in his laptop in front of me. It wasn’t his neighborhood either, so no idea what he was doing there. I thought about walking out but then thought, “Why should I?” I walked right past him, up to the counter, ordered my food. I sat as far away from him as possible, but the place is small so no way I could escape his range of vision entirely. I drank my coffee. I ate my food. He did not look up from his laptop once. I came, I ate, I left, with him never noticing me at all. Felt like old times. Except I felt no sadness, no desperation or despair. I actually just felt bad for him, still stuck in the same pattern after all this time. It gave me hope – that someday I may feel the same nothing in the face of running into Mac.

iStock-837440074.jpgSometimes I find myself reaching inward, trying to touch that need for you.  It’s only curiosity, an interest in knowing whether it could be rekindled even if I wanted it to. I don’t want it. But I wonder – could it ever claim me again? If I were to see you tomorrow, what would I feel? Sometimes I feel I hate you. Sometimes it’s only pity I feel. Underneath it all, I do feel a love, but it’s like the love of a sister to her brother.  And only that this time. There is no passion. No desire. When I think of us together, the intensity we once felt, I cannot touch it. I remember it like I’m watching a film with different people, just actors, not us. It doesn’t touch me. Sometimes I think it’s my own psyche protecting me from the memory.

Someone who is recently sober said they realize they will never again feel the highs they got from being on drugs, that nothing in the natural world will ever come up to that intensity, but that it’s worth the loss of that high to never again have to feel the incredibly unbearable lows that always came after. I feel the same when I think of you, of our relationship. I will never feel that rush again. Because it was unnatural – like addiction to a drug, not love.  But I am happy to let it go, never to be felt again, for the simple peace of your permanent absence from my life.

Young woman holding sign WorthlessI was wondering why I suddenly feel down again, haunted by thoughts of Mac, when I had been doing so well. Then I remembered – I saw my NPD mom yesterday and she asked about Mac. I hadn’t told her we broke up because she is never interested in anything affecting anyone but herself, but yesterday she asked about him, because he had promised to do something for her and she wanted him to pay up. So I explained that we broke up and I hadn’t seen him in about a month. She asked why, so I explained he is an addict and was unable to stay off methamphetamines and alcohol, and that these things cause him to be abusive to me. Her response? “So you’re not worth quitting drugs for, basically.” I thought nothing of it – that’s how used to it I am. I just nonchalantly attempted to explain addiction to her, how it’s a disease and quitting isn’t about someone being “worth it,” but rather about so many other deeper issues.

It was as if her words had no effect on me at all, I have managed to so completely shut myself off from her behavior. I’ve built a wall with the purpose of protecting myself against her treatment, but the fact is her words just lodge deep inside me and stay far away from my reach. I don’t actually prevent their effect, I merely prevent myself from touching the feeling that lies within.

Today I’ve been thinking about how Mac cheated on me, lied to me repeatedly about that and using and who knows what else. Thinking about how he said no one will ever commit to me, I’m not worth committing to. It’s no mistake these things are cropping up today after being told by my mother that Mac didn’t quit drugs because I am simply not worth quitting for. Thanks for the support, mom.


Mother Never Let Me GoMy therapist recommended I write down the qualities of every man I’ve been involved with and look for any patterns. I found the following common thread – each one had a particular all-pervasive selfishness and interest only in their own needs being fulfilled. None had any interest whatsoever in fulfilling any of my needs. Sure, some said they wanted to take care of me or support me emotionally, and some would even get angry when they didn’t feel I was being vulnerable enough to them. But each one who made these claims or demands of vulnerability would become enraged when my actual needs didn’t match their expectation. They wanted to provide something specific that they wanted to give, not what I actually needed. And when I wasn’t able to match my need to what they wanted to provide, they hated me for it. This mirrors perfectly my relationship with my mother growing up. They say you may choose unhealthy relationships that mirror the relationship you had with an abusive parent in an effort to “fix” that problem by proxy. Seems to be true of me. So how does one stop?

91O9gt+QgsL._RI_.jpgI watched this movie yesterday and was struck by the similarities with Mac’s behavior. When Nic tells his father “please, no rehab, just let me come home. I can manage this on my own”, it literally made me break down. Mac used to say this to me ALL the time – “Please don’t lock me up, don’t send me to rehab” in an accusatory tone, which I thought was strange because I never threatened to force him to rehab, nor could I if I had wanted to. The most I ever did was ask him if he thought that might be necessary to actually quitting, given he has a 20+ year history, but never gave it as an ultimatum or threat. He is a man in his 40s, he must make his own decisions. He also used to constantly claim to “have this under control.” And the angry outbursts were so familiar – though Mac’s were 10 times worse than anything seen in that movie. And I also didn’t see the delusions and paranoia fully depicted. If there’s one bad thing I could say about the movie it’s that it didn’t depict what meth addiction does to those around the addict well enough. The paranoia, delusions, angry outbursts, narcissistic/bpd-like behavior. Overall, it was odd to see such clear reflection of what I had been going through, albeit watered down. I hadn’t been involved so deeply with an addict before, so when these things happened to me, I kept trying to find the reasons within myself and fix them, not realizing it was the addiction all along.

The black widowI’ve come to the conclusion that love relationships are not for me. After Nandi, it took me two years to get to the point where I was strong again and doing the things I actually enjoy. I had developed friendships, was learning new things, taking classes, going to clubs, spending time with people and recalling the things that make ME happy. And then Mac came along. I threw my entire being into healing him, saving him. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at the time, of course – I thought I was diving headlong into a mutual love. I lost all interest in outside activities and people, or at least I lost the ability to juggle that interest along with Mac’s constant needs and anxiety producing behaviors. And now I try to push myself to do the things I had only just begun to enjoy again, out of some stubborn determination not to lose myself again for so long, even though I really already have.

It’s strange that every night I cannot sleep without the fantasy of a man’s arms around me, and yet I actually don’t like sleeping with any man in my bed. How bizarre is that? I dream a fantasy I don’t even actually want. I yearn for companionship, for someone to do things with and feel a connection with as well as a sexual bond – and yet when I have someone, I often wish they would just let me be alone with interests and friends sometimes. I was annoyed that my husband was ALWAYS there, being omnipresent and full of disdain for anything I actually enjoyed. I was annoyed that Nandi never was – and yet he still somehow managed to emotionally drain me and negatively judge the things I enjoyed. His very absence was a draining omnipresence in itself. And Mac – I couldn’t even tell him about things I wanted or planned to do or he would sabotage them.

Because of my mixed desire to be fully committed to someone but not be caged by them, I for years reflected on my feelings and behaviors and questioned if I was NPD or BPD myself – had I inherited this from my mother? But years of therapy and self-reflection have made it clear I’m not disordered in those ways. No, I am an empath and the quintessential “caretaker.” I am always the controlled one in relationships, stuffing down my own needs and emotions to take in those of my partner so I can release those emotions back to them cleansed and healed. Thanks, mom, for training me to feel everything instead of nothing. Because honestly I would rather suffer than cause suffering.

At this point I feel maybe I’ve been so completely emptied that I have nothing more to offer and further connection on a romantic level can only destroy me and do nothing positive for my partner. I feel I’ve left every past partner at least a little bit stronger. I’ve truly fulfilled my mother’s prophecy. This isn’t looking back at my own actions with rose colored glasses – this is what each man has himself told me. My husband said he could not have fulfilled his career goals without my financial and emotional support. Byron said I gave him the confidence to finally leave the incestuous relationship he had been manipulated into by his sister as a teenager. Nandi said I made him strong enough to reconnect with his first and true love in his country of origin. And Mac – Mac said I saved his life when he had given up on living altogether and now he describes himself as “living on the top of the mountain and thanking god every day” for his new life. A life he kicked me out of by his actions after I gave him emotional and financial support to escape the trap he had been in before. I would love someone to come along to heal me. Or rather, to co-heal with me. But at this point, I think such a thing is an unrealistic pipe dream. Every situation has simply drained me dry and given me nothing in return. I no longer believe in love. I no longer believe in soul mates. I just believe I’ve served my function in terms of love and it’s time for me to retire.

We discussed where to go for his one month clean celebration. I gave him several options. He chose the one where we could do an activity we both enjoyed – sifting through mine ore for precious stones. An acquaintance of mine who I had worked with over 25 years ago worked there. This was a man in his 70s – almost twice my age – with whom I have nothing more than a social media friendship, consisting solely of my asking him questions about rocks, and whom I had never had anything but a work relationship previously. We don’t even have each other’s phone numbers. You can probably see where this is going.

I rented an AirBNB, got us tickets to the dig, paid for all our food for the weekend, gas, drove, etc. He had no job, no money, no car, so of course everything was on me. Besides, we were celebrating his victory of one whole month off drugs and alcohol. Yeah, right. Not that money is everything, but it doesn’t help the resultant feeling that I paid over $1000 for this weekend.

He was acting strange from the beginning. He later admitted that he was on meth when we started out but hadn’t brought any with him so was coming down far away from his dealer by the second day – when we went to the location to sift.

On the three hour drive to our destination, he began to tell me, flippantly, how his abusive ex used to bring her husband to this exact hole in the wall town with fewer than 100 occupants to meet with some married friend with whom she was having an affair. He told me all about how she would have sex with this guy in their hotel while her husband and his wife were in the next room. I thought it an odd coincidence since this town is literally in the middle of nowhere. And why wouldn’t he have mentioned it before we were on the road? But why would he make this up? 

I realize, in retrospect, he was likely setting the scene for getting triggered by the choice of celebratory locations so as to distract from the truth that he was actually still doing drugs. In retrospect, I realize that a lot of his acting out happened when he had done something to feel guilty about and he was likely creating a scenario of projection so he wouldn’t have to feel guilty.

The first night he was distant, strange. I chalked it up to still recovering from addiction. The next day we went to the dig. My acquaintance greeted us politely and explained the rules. Macuiltochtli seemed distracted, wasn’t paying much attention. My acquaintance asked him to help carry a bag of charcoal to his truck – a guy in his 70s asking the only male under 45 to help him lift something – not super suspicious imo. Macuiltochtli did it with a smile and gave no sign of being upset about it at all. My acquaintance disappeared to sit in his car since we were the only ones in attendance that day and I guess he figured he could trust us since he knew me. But Macuiltochtli began to break the rules and so my acquaintance politely reminded him the right way to do it. Macuiltochtli showed no sign of being upset by the correction.

When we went to leave, I asked if he wanted to say goodbye to my acquaintance. He scoffed and was irritated, saying why would he say goodbye to someone so rude to him. I was confused because I had seen no rudeness, so I asked what he meant and he referenced how my acquaintance had forced him to do manual labor and had corrected him on the rules. I thought it was a little over sensitive to react the way Macuiltochtli was, but offered no argument. I shrugged it off and just said ok go ahead and wait in the car while I pay up.

The whole drive back to town he was ranting about the rudeness of this guy and blaming me for not doing anything about it. I apologized if the behavior of my acquaintance had offended him, said I hadn’t noticed that he had been rude. He ranted about how could I not notice. I said it had just seemed to me like he was reiterating the rules, not being rude. That just made him more angry – that I didn’t feel the behavior had been wrong. I was distracted, so involved in the task at hand that I just must have missed it, I offered. So then he started berating me for first saying I did notice but thought it wasn’t rude, and then changing my story to I didn’t notice. I did hear the exchange, I said, but didn’t notice it was rude probably because I was involved in what I was doing. He then accused me of not paying enough attention to him and letting my “friends” mistreat him. I stopped responding and just let him rant at me the whole drive back.

Back at the AirBNB, he kept at it, now blaming me for bringing him here and putting him in a situation to be so abused. So I apologized again. I said I had no idea my acquaintance was going to make him feel uncomfortable and had he mentioned he felt abused when it happened, I would have taken him and left. But he made no sign of it. He said I should have noticed it myself without him having to tell me. This went on and on in circles so finally I excused myself to take a shower.

When I came out, he was raging. He accused me of getting in the shower alone (i.e., not inviting him) so I could masturbate to the thought of my 70-something acquaintance. He accused me of sneaking this guy into our AirBNB at night to have sex with him. He accused me of bringing sexy clothing on the trip to wear for this guy at night – he had found them in my suitcase. He ranted until I finally locked myself in the bathroom under the guise of having a bath. He continued to rant at me via text message.

He stayed up all night, making noise and continuing to send me angry texts. Finally at around 5 a.m. I had had enough and knew I didn’t want to continue to stay in this “romantic getaway.” I told him I was driving us back. He was livid. Pulled his t-shirt over his head and kept ranting at me for the entire 3 hour drive back home. He kept sending me ranting text messages after I dropped him off. Below are some examples – I call them “hate bombing.”

He was once again using my phone service and I knew the name and number of his dealer, so when I got home I did something I am staunchly against under normal circumstances, but given I had just spent over $1000 on a reward for staying clean for someone who had all the signs of being on drugs, I felt the circumstances were not normal – I checked his phone records. Sure enough, I saw calls to his dealer every few days going back the entire month. The whole “I haven’t touched drugs in a month” thing had been bullshit.

To top it off, I saw lots of calls and texts to a number I didn’t recognize, including several during the trip itself. I looked up who the number belonged to and found it was his first girlfriend, who he had just a couple weeks before told me a story about how he had had sex with her at the tail end of his abusive relationship and how great it was that he had “left cum all over her bed for her husband to come home and find.” Now I see he has been secretly contacting this person who he had given me this lovely mental image of his involvement with. I recalled then that on the drive back he had ranted about how “there are women asking to see me and so far I have declined because if I hang out with them one thing will lead to another, it always doe, and we will definitely fuck.” I realized THIS is who he was talking about.

I confronted him about it. He claimed the number belonged to a specific male friend. I knew that friend’s number and told him so also told him I know that number belonged to her.  I canceled the phone and told him I would no longer be paying for his calls and texts to his drug dealer, and other women he’s obviously doing something he shouldn’t with, since if he wasn’t, why persistently lie about it? That’s right, he was using a phone service and phone I was paying for to get drugs I was rewarding him for not taking and to contact women to cheat on me with. Real gentleman. And I got to endure the following hate bombing as well. This is just a mild example of the kind of vitriol he spewed at me for 24 hours straight, first in person and then via text and FB messenger, and continued to on and off for several days later. Note that I wasn’t responding to any of this, so every time he seems to be asking to stop arguing, he’s only arguing with himself. It should also be noted that I never cheated on Macuiltochtli, never even looked at, flirted with, thought about, or remotely considered another man while I was with him. So these “indiscretions” he refers to don’t exist. I don’t even know what he was talking about, though it was probably some delusion he made up like my non-existent dalliance with an elderly acquaintance or the guy I supposedly shipped in from San Francisco.

Moral of the story: Meth is bad. If you ever had the chance to try it, decline. It will destroy your life and everyone around you.





























































































warplane launching hearts instead of bombsAnyone whose ever read anything about being in a relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has no doubt heard of love bombing. If you’ve never been the recipient of it, below is what it looks like. He certainly has a way with words. And when you read through this and think to yourself, “How could anyone be stupid enough to think all this was for real?”, believe me when you’re in the midst of it, your reason is out the window. There are chemicals in the brain involved. It is, literally, like being on a drug. You become addicted to the person, to the roller coaster ride. Even when you logically know every step of the way that you’re diving deeper into a nightmare, you do it anyway. As a sidenote, I’m not suggesting Macuiltochtli has NPD. I used to think he was BPD, and we even discussed this possibility – he mentioned it himself. But I’m not a professional, so I hesitate to suggest any diagnosis. Additionally, he is deep in a 26+ year addiction to meth and alcohol, and I don’t think any diagnosis is possible as long as he’s actively using. Addiction basically mimics a personality disorder, so who knows who this boy really is underneath all that. The moments I have seen him without the drugs and alcohol, he honestly has been a dream. Not the over the top love bombing dream you see below, but a normal, albeit highly troubled, sensitive caring individual. But who knows if it was real. Who knows if any of it was real…

Love Bombing…