The end of the fairytale.
Our three months old baby was resting in the sling on my partner’s chest.
We were standing outside the complex where our friends live, the ones he sent me to speak to because he could not bring himself to do it himself. He equipped me with specific instructions of what to say to them and how. And I was actually quite pleased that I was able to do what he asked this time around.
Only, when I came back to report how things went, he thought I wasn’t following his exact script.
He called me a cunt.
The following day, after he left for work, I packed up a couple of suitcases for me and my girl, and we were gone. Suddenly, she was my girl. Not ours. And there’s no way in the world she’ll be growing up in a family where her dad calls her mum a cunt. No fucking way.
The fairytale begins.
The night I met him, and even though we hardly got to interact, I dreamt about him. In the dream, he said we are going to get married and have two children together. It was a dream. A fairytale. Then I woke up.
I instantly believed that we were meant for each other.
It took me a few more days to hope he’ll feel the same.
After one week, we decided to start a committed relationship with each other.
A month later, we moved in together.
He suggested we wait with sex, and I loved the idea. We slept side by side in the same bed for more than a month before we decided it’s time to make love for the first time. He knew about slow sex and we enjoyed some delicious mindful sex sessions. It was a match made in heaven.
By this time, I was so naively convinced that the universe has sent him to me, that we are destined to be together, that nothing would shake this belief and I stayed for three more years. Even through a miserable relationship. Even though I was suffering and gradually losing my joy. I stayed because I thought this is what I need to learn: how to be happy even though him. Because being happy is up to me, right? He is not responsible for my happiness. He is not to blame for my misery. I get to choose.
In hindsight, it was a nightmare.
Two months down the track, the nightmare began. I forced myself to focus on the positive things. I found them, but I was still suffering. Convincing myself I will learn how to master my happiness. He was the one for me, after all. And, since this blog is mostly about sex and sexuality, I just might add we hardly had sex after the honeymoon period was over. I’m pretty sure that relationship could be described as a sexless one. The fact that I ended up being pregnant is almost ironic.
The nightmare lasted nearly three years. The thought of leaving hardly ever crossed my mind. I was adamant that I just need to sort this one thing and everything will be alright. I just need to recall how to access my serenity even though him.
It took me 4 more years after we already separated, and the insight of his next ex, to put a label of a narcissist on him. Now I am still learning what that entails.
Reflecting on how he was constantly trying to control me. How he was actually thriving whenever I was miserable. Realizing how his depression was partly due to the mismatch between his delusions of grandiosity and the shocking reality of not being able to achieve any of his goals. And the complete lack of empathy in any capacity whatsoever.
Understanding that the only way to maintain my peace is to fully abandon any sort of expectation from him – for his role as a parent, specifically – and to provide for my daughter by myself.
And the worst thing is.
I don’t think he is a typical narcissist.
I have read and heard enough about NPD lately to understand that.
Where most narcissists think they are the best thing that happened to humanity, seeing humility as a mockable concept, this narcissist wants to improve. He truly does.
He’s into spiritual teachings and self-growth. He genuinely wants to be able to serve humanity.
But he’s close enough to being a narcissist, which means he doesn’t stand a chance.
He is unable to penetrate his own shield and see the source of his pain.
He is doomed to forever chase his own tail, shouting “EUREKA!” every time he finds a new supplement, a new spiritual practice, a new integrative doctor. He honestly believes he can change if only he finds the right questions to ask and the right regime to strictly follow until the rest of his days.
Which makes it all the more sad for the people around him. His long-term friends who he is driving away from him. We all love him still. We all know he is innocent in his own way. But we can not bring ourselves to be around him, knowing that despite his best efforts, he will inevitably hurt us again. We love him, but we won’t hang around him.
The narcissist’s daughter.
He’s not the typical narcissist. I’m not the typical codependent as well.
I was very hesitant before deciding to use this label to describe him. And the truth of the matter, he might not be ticking all the boxes to pass as a clinical case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
But once I applied the label, and learned how to deal with him, life did become easier on some level.
Now I was able to find resources to help me navigate the territory of co-parenting with him. It also has a label. It’s called Parallel Parenting. I won’t go into any details, but if you are a parent and you suspect your ex is a narcissist, I recommend that you watch this most helpful YouTube video here.
I have my worries in regards to my daughter.
How will she respond after each time he disappoints her? And how will she cope with his demands to be someone he wants her to be? Will she rebel? Or will she cooperate? Perhaps she will develop some narcissistic traits herself? And what if she blames me for not wanting to play “happy family” with him? Will she become a perpetrator, or maybe a victim?…
The only thing I can do is my best. Be the very best mom that I can at any given moment. And I’ll let her develop into whoever she needs to develop.
One thing for sure.
The closest thing to a fairytale that I’m reading to her is The Paper Bag Princess.