Why Do I Attract Narcissists?

I created this blog in 2010 to heal after ending a relationship with a narcissist. I am not the only person to do so; many excellent bloggers are writing about the same topic. Perhaps the most painful aspect of dating or marrying a narcissist is experiencing firsthand  the idealization, devaluation and discard phases of the relationship.  One minute, the narcissist has you on a pedestal and the next minute, he or she tells you that your hair is too frizzy.

Although I focused on my relationship with my first husband in this blog, whom I left when I was 22 and then reunited with at the age of 40, this was not my first relationship with a narcissist. . So I have spent the past few years asking why I attract narcissistic type partners. At first it seemed to be a cruel twist of fate or karma.

Many of my readers ask the same question, “Why do I attract narcissists? What’s wrong with me?”

I am not a psychiatrist and I have no professional training in the field. I can only speak from life experience. From my experience and from the experiences of others, it is clear that if we are raised in a dysfunctional family situation, where our emotional needs as children are not met, then we are more likely to attract similar conditions in adulthood.

One of my parents had a narcissistic personality and was physically and emotionally abusive. I have not written about this before in this blog, but clearly this primary childhood relationship predisposed me towards seeking out relationships with narcissists in adulthood. Furthermore, it is my understanding that narcissistic types will seek out, perhaps unconsciously, individuals who are accustomed to poor treatment by others. If we are raised in dysfunction, then we will accept dysfunction.

The only way out of this pattern is self-awareness. Once we identify that we have been living our lives in a cycle of unhealthy relationships, then we can learn to identify the red flags or warning signs which can keep us safe from negative entanglements with the wrong people. I am not an expert, but I recommend therapy for working through all negative relationship patterns. We must learn to value ourselves and to not allow others to treat us badly. When we value ourselves then we will avoid dysfunctional relationships with others because we will not tolerate their behavior.



Regaining Lost Ground

Phoenix 2.0

Phoenix 2.0 (Photo credit: Jon_Tucker)

It has been a long time since I have written about my experience of recovery after a relationship with a narcissist.

My last entry of May 19, 2013 is, ‘What I Lost‘. After I wrote this post, which details hitting the bottom of my loss, something interesting began to happen to me. I transcended the experience and all the chaff fell away from me. In retrospect, it felt as if the proverbial scales fell from my eyes. Once reaching the bottom, and taking inventory of the emotional toll, I was able to rebuild.

This man, who had dominated many years of my adult life, has ceased to matter. I saw that his love for me had been a fraud from the beginning, and so the loss of it no longer mattered.

Instead of feeling that I’d lost my true love, I recognize that I lost precious time and energy. The relationship also cost me a great deal of money.

The silver lining in the ending of this relationship was that I live one hundred miles away from this man. I have been able to keep my promise to myself in this regard. I urge all my readers struggling after the breakup of a relationship with a narcissist, sociopath, etc., to practice the fine art of “No-Contact”.  It is the best and fastest way to heal from a relationship a person who lacks empathy.



Bad Karma or Disease of the Heart?

karma koma

karma koma (Photo credit: PixLjUicE23)

It has been over two years since his mask fell off and I found out that he was deceiving me about everything. I first met this man when I was 18 and we had a long and complicated relationship which included marriage when we were young and a child who is now grown up.

Two years ago, I was completely devastated as I believed that this man was my soul mate and I could not believe his betrayal.

The first twelve months after the relationship ended was extremely difficult and took a lot out of me on different levels. However, I was able to recover with the help of counseling, friends, focusing on work and taking up new interests.

I now recognize my feelings of love for this man as a disease which afflicted me for twenty-five years. Perhaps my ‘falling’ for this man and believing his lies is a symptom of an inner weakness inside me. Perhaps my weakness for this man was the equivalent to an emotional vitamin deficiency. Or, it could be something deeper.

Just as my broken heart was beginning to heal, I did something that I’d never done before; I visited a palm reader. She told me that I was ‘moving out of many years of bad karma with men.’  This experience caused me to examine the situation in a new light. Perhaps the whole relationship could be explained by something that happened in a past life.

I know that not everyone believes in such things. I don’t expect my readers to. But this explanation was helpful to me; it caused me to put the hurt away into a drawer labeled, ‘Bad Karma’, and shut the drawer closed. And then, I walked away.

I have been lucky in many regards in terms of my relationship with this man, who is certainly ASPD (Anti Social Personality Disorder.) First, I took my child away from him at a very young age and saved her from his influence during childhood. Due to this very difficult decision which rendered me poor for many years ( I never filed for child support to keep him away from us), we also never had to contend with him in court. Second, I was never entangled with him financially. Finally, he does not live near me, so once I broke it off with him after our second relationship (in our forties), I could cut off contact completely. I have not returned to the town where he lives and where I spent so much time as a child. I never have to worry about running into him at the supermarket.

However, I do not believe that I am completely cured of this vitamin deficiency of the heart which caused me to love him and to believe that what he was offering me was actually love instead of poison. If he were to appear in my life again and try to woo me with apologies, gifts and constant attention, I do not know that I would be immune. Intellectually I think that I would be able to tell him to take a hike.  But emotionally, yes, if he showed up, there would be a strong pull at my heart. And perhaps this is all just bad karma or delusion. But I must be aware that I probably have this disease for life and protect myself against succumbing to it again. My plan is to never see him again. My plan is to dance on his grave.

What if Your Soul Mate has ASPD (Anti Social Personality Disorder)?

True Love Couple

True Love Couple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d be surprised how many people arrive at my blog after doing a search for ‘What if My Soul Mate has ASPD?’

Well, if your soul mate has ASPD, then I’m very sorry for you. If you are going to stay in the relationship, then, most likely, you are in for a lifetime of misery.

I can speak as an authority on this topic. If there was one thing my ex and I claimed to be, it was soul mates. The soul mate theme was ours, even during a two decade separation.

The trouble is that he went out and found another soul mate, one whom he could hide his dealing and drug use from, as he could no longer hide it from me.

A wonderful thing happened to me in the reeling aftermath from discovering his betrayal. I happened upon an incredibly skilled therapist. I stumbled into her office less than forty-eight  hours of my heart being blown up by the  grenade of his deceit, and exclaimed, “But he’s my soul mate!” asI poured out our life story to her.

She responded in the best way possible. “Well, he might be your soul mate, but he’s really screwed up.”

So, if your soul mate has ASPD, then you need to make some hard choices. He (or she) is not going to change.  Chances are he is involved with illegal activities and is an alcoholic and/or drug addict. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet. There is no fairy spell to break the curse of your beloved’s brain being fucked up and him not being able to EVER take responsibilities for his actions or for the pain he has caused and will cause you.

If you think that your lover has ASPD, then you need to see a professional and talk about what’s going on in your life. There is not a good prognosis for having a relationship with a person with ASPD or any other Cluster B type personality disorder.

Believe me, I wish there were.

I don’t believe so much in soul mates anymore.

If the hell I went through was ‘true love‘, then surely, you can keep it.



The Paralysis of Betrayal

Moche Culture Representation of Facial Paralys...

Image via Wikipedia

Last October, I discovered that my boyfriend had been cheating on me with another woman. Our story is complicated. We were married young, had a daughter and then were separated for eighteen years. So, after we were reunited, I thought that we both were committed for the rest of our lives, having gone through so much pain during the years we were apart.

The details are unimportant. If you are interested, then you can read through the rest of this blog for the juicy details. Start way back in October and you can read me flailing about trying to not fall down the deep hole of betrayal.

Betrayal has made me feel like shit. Betrayal has made me feel discarded. Betrayal, his betrayal, has made me feel like yesterday’s lunch. The experience of betrayal has made me distrustful of the universe. It has made me feel unwanted and useless. I have felt deceived, tricked and made a fool of. He cuckolded me. I have spent the past seven months cataloguing the emotions I have experienced through circling through the extended grief cycle of shock, denial, bargaining, anger and acceptance.

It was the worst long winter of my life. That was my thought, when it first happened, was trepidation about this shock, this trauma right before the onset of a northern New England winter. No, it can’t be. But it was. And it was, and it was, and it was.

I feel now like I’ve been in a train wreck and I’m trying to get up. I’m trying to stand. My legs are wobbly. I am weak. It is the loss of youth, of health, of strength. I am not the same person. This shock, this trauma, this betrayal has paralyzed me. Not just emotionally but physically. It is as if I have stopped and now I have to get up and start moving again. It was the asthma which came from the trauma which stopped me. I pretty much collapsed. I’m not sure how I got through the winter, or how I went to work every day. How did I buy the food? Feed the kids? Pay the bills? In between it all, I just went to bed and curled up in the fetal position and coughed and coughed and coughed.

I was paralyzed but I am trying to get up. I am so mad about what he’s done to me. Why couldn’t he have stayed away, after eighteen years? Why didn’t he just leave me alone?

But I know the answer now, which I did not know last fall. It is simply this; he is still selfish and irresponsible. These have become his main character traits.

So pray for me, please, as I try to arise and walk again.



Three Good Reads about Betrayal

In the past few weeks, I’ve read three helpful books on the subject of healing from betrayal.

I just finished reading, When Your Lover is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal by Susan Forward, PhD with Donna Frazier.

High school health teachers should add Ms. Forward’s book to their curriculum so that young women can be warned in advance about the charismatic side of liars and how to avoid them. This book helped me move through thinking that my betrayal was unique  to seeing the universality of betrayal. My boyfriend is  a life long liar. In the first few months of our reunion, I believed that he had changed, but as it turned out, he was still a liar. Had I read this book in advance I may have been able to bail out of the relationship by realizing that the lying was never going to stop. If I had left the relationship earlier, I would have been spared the heartbreak of his betrayal. Liars lie. They keep on lying.

I liked this book so much that I sent a copy to my daughter at college to give to a friend who was trying to escape from a relationship with a liar who was cheating on her. I also recommended it to a friend my age (44) who had just finished a nasty divorce from a liar. She  thanked me for the recommendation and said that she recognized many patterns from her own experience while reading the stories of the women in the book.

Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity , by Shirley P. Glass, PhD, illuminates the phenomenon of friendships at work budding into extra marital affairs. Obviously, this is nothing new, but Ms. Glass believes that due to increased time spent in the workplace and the availability of secret communications systems such as texting and email, this trend is growing. This book focuses on how women and couples can repair marriages and other committed relationships after an affair between ‘just friends.’

Ms. Glass also clearly delineates how these friendships, unlike one night stands, focus on emotional intimacy and grow as the two people involved view their special friendship as a type of fantasy relationship, free from the troubles of their committed relationship.  Intimacy between the friends develops slowly over months or even years, so that it seems innocent and natural for them to finally embark upon a sexual relationship. This type of relationship is all about selfishness; the person sneaking around developing an intimate relationship with a friend is trying to avoid dealing with the real life problems in the committed relationship.

If I had read this book beforehand, I never would have trusted my boyfriend’s ‘friendship ‘with this other woman. I would have recognized certain warning signs early on. There was a point when they began spending more time together, and in retrospect it is clear that  she was pursuing him, and  that he probably turned to her to discuss problems he was having with me.  It was the perfect set up as they worked together, and so he created a parallel relationship with her with very little effort. Since I’d never experienced infidelity before, and trusted him completely, I was thinking, “Oh that’s nice, he has a good friend at work.” As he’d asked her out a year  before he and I had reunited and she had turned him down coldly, I had thought that this woman  was ‘safe.’ She just wanted to be friends with him. It never occurred to me that her feelings would change. I was doubly at risk because he and I lived a couple hours apart, so it was very easy for this ‘just friends’ relationship to bloom into sexual intimacy with him running very little risk of me finding out.

Finally, How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To, by Janis Abrahms Spring, PhD, is a breath of fresh air. I have always been a proponent of forgiveness and have forgiven many things in my life. But I knew fairly quickly after discovering my boyfriend’s betrayal, that given my long history with him,I could never forgive his recent lying and web of deceit which he’d been spinning around me for eighteen months, with me never suspecting!

Ms. Abrahms Spring offers acceptance as an alternative to forgiveness. This concept has worked very well for me and helped me move forward with my healing process. I will write more about this excellent read in another post soon.



Stand by the Stairway You’ll See Something Certain to Tell You…

Hand grenade

Image by Profound Whatever via Flickr

I have spent all day telling myself that it doesn’t matter that today is the six month anniversary of the day I found out that my sweetheart had been sleeping with another woman for a year and a half.

I gave up telling myself this an hour ago. OK, it does matter. It matters. It was six months ago today, back on October 26, 2010, that my life stopped, that reality reached into my chest and wrenched out my twisted, bleeding heart in its fist and chucked it over the side of the interstate.

What matters more is that I bet he doesn’t know, or if he does know, doesn’t care.

I wish, I wish, I wish I were a fish. Oh, how I wish I’d never heard from him again. 18 years! Why didn’t he stay good and gone? Or, if he wanted to see his daughter, how about just that, seeing his daughter?  Why get into a relationship with me? Why renew the old intimacy, the old vows?

Why why why? No one forced him to start talking to me. No one forced him to send that card, “I’m sorry, can we talk?” in response to my response to him tracking us down. No one forced him to bring a basket of flowers to my hotel room the first time we saw each other in eighteen years, watching the waves crash from the window overlooking the beach, trying to make sense of what had happened to our life.

I should never have believed him, when he told me that he’d quit getting high years before, or that he only drank on the weekends. He was lying to me because he wanted to be with me and I believed him and if he’d only told me the truth well maybe we could have had a foundation to lay our souls upon but he started us out again with lies! I want to go back in time, knowing what i know now, and say, “You’re lying. Tell me the truth, and because i love you, then we can go from there.”

Every day, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I can’t forgive him, but I love him and so I try and try and try. “What if he wanted to quit all that?” I say to myself,” What if he had every intention of making a new start in his life when he told you all that but he didn’t know how to follow through?”

I want to believe that this woman tricked him, that she lured him. That he was devoted to me but she wouldn’t stay away from him. Didn’t my friend who helped me read all the emails six months ago point out how this woman had been emailing him daily for six months before it appeared they’d started sleeping together? And that he hadn’t responded to her? Had she been reeling him in? What if it wasn’t his fault, really, as he had so little experience in relationships?

That Sunday morning he offered me his hand. His hand for the first time, in nearly two decades, on the walkway along Long Beach. It was cold, we had spent the weekend talking and he offered me his hand. His hand, which I had seen growing for eighteen years in our daughter’s hands; she had his fingers. It was sunny out and his hand asked the same question that his face did, “May I? Could we? Start again?” and I took it, believing that God had led us both to this point of redemption, of understanding, of forgiveness, and that nothing could ever separate us again.

If I ever had to go through what I went through last October again I would not survive. I have barely survived this. All the crap about that which does not kill you makes you stronger is simply untrue.  I did not need this, I did not need for him to come back into my life and betray me this way. This was the completely opposite of what I needed, battered and tattered in this life at age forty, when he surfaced saying, “I had my head up my ass and failed you.”

My own true love, my lost young darling boy, my dearest husband, risen back to me from the dead. Come back to me and now taken away. And I hurt, and I hurt, and I hurt, and I hurt. Do you even know how much I hurt? Do you even look back, over your shoulder, to see what you have done to me, as i lay crumpled by the tracks after being hit by your train wreck? What is the truth, tell me, is it that i drove you away, or is it that you can’t have a woman who won’t accept or at least pretend not to know that you’re an addict? Whose fault? Mine or yours?  I raised the baby. I worked, and I worked and we ate lentil soup. I raised the baby alone so that you could get stoned all day long for twenty years. And I’m so controlling, because i wanted you to stop? Oh curse the day you asked me out. I was eighteen. How could I know you’d destroy my life, not once but twice? You looked so innocent  in the lunchroom in your food service uniform, as you shyly asked me out, so shy you could barely get the words out. And I was confused, could not say no to you for fear I’d hurt your feelings. Oh, to go back in time and tell you NO! No, I won’t go out with you. No! We’ll have a baby and you’ll be too busy getting stoned with your friends and selling dope with your friends to make sure I have a decent place to live. I would give everything I have in my life to back there and tell you NO!

Maybe that would give me a chance at finding a decent guy, one  who wanted to marry a nice girl like me and have some babies. Not someone like you who was so busy kissing your stupid macho asshole friend assess so you could be Mr. Big shot selling dope. Do you have any idea what I did to my chances of finding a nice guy and having a decent life by getting pregnant with your child at the age of 20? Do you ever think about this? No, it’s always about YOUR feelings. How do you think  we ate, your daughter and I, without your support? Well we did, through my labor, and without inconveniencing you, as you so did not want to be inconvenienced. How could I ever have forgiven you, for putting your scumbag friends in front of your daughter and helpless young wife? But I did, and you failed me again.

In the past six months I have decided that you are either lucky in love or you are not in this life. I am not. I never have been, and I never will be.

When I was born, your soul was crossed upon mine in such a way as to make me miserable, in one way or another, for my entire life.  It is not enough that I had to raise our child alone without your help, while you had your head up your ass. No, I had to forgive you for all that, let you into my heart, into my soul, in the most intimate way only for you to shatter me completely.

How can you rediscover the one person who made you whole, forgive them, only to have them betray you in a completely new way half your life later? Is this love? Is this madness? Is this karma?

I can’t let go of my feeling that I had for those two and a half years, the fulfillment of our prophecy,

“They are one person,

They are two alone

They are three together

They are for each other…”

It’s been six months and I still don’t believe that you could have done this to me, or that this could be my life. The rest of my life, without you. I did everything right. I raised the baby. I forgave you when you came forward seeking forgiveness. I deserve you and our ocean and our cannons and my island and our happily ever after. I deserve that. Do I wait for my next life? Dear, you have left me hanging, and I will never again know when to trust myself or what is real or what is false.

I wish that I had never laid eyes on you. God, do you hear me? Take this cup away from me for I will not drink it/. I never wished this pain. Take back the years, take back the time and let this abominable thing not have happened to me.

I give up on love. There is no love for me in this life. There is only family, friendship and work.  I will make my peace with that, and be grateful for what I have.