Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the character of my X

This is about one of my ex-boyfriends- not my child's father, but an ex-boyfriend who seems to have been a significant figure in my adult life. He still is. This post is my effort to get to the bottom of it.

My assignment is to write about my experience of his character, good and bad. When I met X, I noticed that he seemed larger than life. He had to stand out, being confidant and cocky. Yet I sensed something "shady" about him. My best friend at the time (WHY WHY WHY didn't I listen to her??!!!!) said, "Beware. X is BAD NEWS. He'll use you up, wad you into a ball, and throw you away."

But he was good-looking, undeniably good-looking. I am a sucker for cute guys. Character be damned. I want the cute guy.

X was a gifted speaker, natural-born story teller. He loved to "hold court." I was a good listener, thus, we were a perfect match. Every once in a while the notion would sneak into my mind that it was all about X, never about me.

Actually, it WAS about me some of the time. Periodically he would launch a brutal attack on my character, accusing me of being weak, needy, clingy, incompetent, unworthy, gamy, dishonest, you name it.

And meanwhile, we had certain money-related issues going on. He announced a few months into the relationship that he was moving in with me. (I had never invited him.) After he did indeed move in, he failed to offer to pay any expenses, preferring free room and board instead. I lacked the courage to speak up and ask him to pay his share of the expenses. Once he asked for a "loan" of $500- he'd pay me right back. This was several years ago and I still haven't been paid back. But that was nothing......

My mother, unfortunately, was dying of cancer. He told me I was wrong to want to travel halfway across the country to be with her, and she died asking for me, wondering where I was. When she died, he valiantly offered to fly to upstate NY with me to attend her funeral. What a thoughtful gesture. When we returned from the funeral, he presented me with a bill of several hundred dollars to cover his expenses incurred due to my mother's funeral. I paid it.

Shortly thereafter, he moved to Montana. We broke up then, but once he got there he called and asked me to visit. The short-notice airline ticket to Montana cost $1,200. My friend D drove me to the airport for my trip to Montana. While he drove, D yelled at me about how stupid I was being, about how X was using me and abusing me. I had never before seen D so mad. But I went anyway, and it got worse.

X decided during my visit that it was nice to have me and my money around, so he offered to let me stay with him for a year in Montana if I would give him $7,000. I immediately said yes, and took a year off work, without pay, using up my life's savings to support us in Montana (AFTER I had already handed over the 7,000).

To sum up his character as I experienced it, I'd say he was very controlling and self-centered. He used me and never admitted it or addressed it, even though he was quick to take my personal inventory. I was not only a money source to him- I was also like a slave in many ways, placed on earth to serve him. He came off like a guru, a leader, a ruler, a superior. On the positive side, he really is a gifted speaker and story-teller, almost to the point of being charismatic. He really seemed to value honesty and at times displayed brutal honesty. (However, his ability to see his own faults or how he hurt people was limited.) He is smarter than most people and strives very hard to live a spiritual life. His sense of adventure led him to the wilderness of Montana, where he now seems to live the life he wanted, although surprise, surprise, he finds himself running from one disastrous relationship to the next. It seems that there is some sort of mental impediment which prevents him from seeing his wrongs, because he really does appear to be trying sincerely to live a life of integrity, and he thinks he is. If I showed him this post, he would be dumbfounded. I know this from the few times I did feebly try to let him know about the things that bothered me. He seems utterly unable to see his own shortcomings, and bulldozes me if I dare stand up to him. He is a talented, intelligent, adventurous spiritual seeker who talks a lot and took advantage of me in many ways. Although insightful, he can't see his own issues. He enjoys power and control and tends to be self-centered.

But he was good-looking, undeniably good-looking.


Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

Just a reminder. Here you go:

The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:

A. A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:

1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, ie unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, ie takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

...There is more of this going around than you think.

...And then there is this:

Inverted Narcissist

Also called "covert narcissist", this is a co-dependent who depends exclusively on narcissists (narcissist-co-dependent). If you are living with a narcissist, have a relationship with one, if you are married to one, if you are working with a narcissist, etc. – it does NOT mean that you are an inverted narcissist.

To "qualify" as an inverted narcissist, you must CRAVE to be in a relationship with a narcissist, regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him/her. You must ACTIVELY seek relationships with narcissists and ONLY with narcissists, no matter what your (bitter and traumatic) past experience has been. You must feel EMPTY and UNHAPPY in relationships with ANY OTHER kind of person. Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of a Dependent Personality Disorder, can you be safely labelled an "inverted narcissist".

I don't know, it's worth checking into...you need to figure out why you let someone treat you that way. If I'm not mistaken, the child's father was like this to an extent, also. You allow yourself to be with these "bullies", and you have to find out why. After what you wrote about your dad, you shouldn't have to look too far.

Just by you writing about it, you know everything about the relationship was wrong...but you still almost "defend" the man at the end of your post by stating how "smart, spiritual" he is, etc. He's none of those things... he just THINKS he is, and found a sweet, kind coconut like you to believe his lies, too!!

I'm sorry, but there are no positive sides to this man. He's a sociopath, and you'd best leave him in your past where he belongs. Honestly, Betty. This man is delusional and dangerous to your well-being.

Whether you believe it or not, you deserve so much better. Repeat after me: I, BETTY, DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER!!!

Start realizing that your niceness is a gift, and not something that makes you a doormat. Someone is out there who will appreciate it...you just have to appreciate you for yourself first, then he'll come into your life! Oh Betty, I promise, it's true! Stay away from these monsters--YOU DESERVE BETTER!!


Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
Just keep WAAAAY away from this person. My GOD - guys like him need to come with a warning the way cigarettes do.

For your own health, forget balancing his "good" with his "faults"; don't analyze. Cobras look good, and are smooth to touch, but they kill. Don't try to be his friend, don't try to reform him, don't keep track of him.

Run, girl, RUN!


Priyamvada_K said...

WOW - looks like dust-bunny posted the same time I did. She definitely has a point.

See, I had no idea about this disorder, but when I read your story, I was appalled.

simply me said...

I will keep it simple.....He is a SHIT. And trust me I can seriously diagnose him.
Next he is NOT spiritual, it is just a ruse to get trusting followers who will support him.
Next People will treat the way you allow them to.

If he is a past anything.....Dig a big ole hole and bury him in it and never ever look back.

Betty said...

Dear Dust-bunny Lisa,

I do remember that you told me about this disorder regarding my child's father. And sure enough, the ex-boyfriend described in this post fits the bill even more! As I was reading your comment, I was starting to put together that I seem to equate this narcissistic personality with father figures. To me, I guess, a father figure would be grandiose. And a bully. And I'd say I'm most likely looking for a father, since I never had a proper one.

It's clear to me why I allow myself to be treated this way. I'm used to it because of my father. But that doesn't mean I'm doomed to a lifetime of this nonsense. It means I can recognise the old pattern and decide to make new choices now.

X is going to be visiting here from Montana during Thanksgiving week. Your comment came just in time, before he shows up at my door to stay in my house for the week. (I never invited him- he just told me he was staying with me!) I'm now going to tell him he can't stay in my house, and he'll be on his own that week.

Many hugs and much thanks,

Betty said...

Dear Priya,

I'm glad you seem to feel as strongly about this guy as Dust-bunny does! I'm starting to realize that it should be obvious to me, too! I, too, should be appalled.

I'm running!


Betty said...

Dear Simply me,

I admit you're right- he couldn't have treated me that way without my permission. It's time for me to decide how I want to be treated and start accepting nothing less than that. It's about time.


simply me said...

Dear Betty - I too was married to a Narcissist - confusing abuse and control for love. I too did not grow up with a father and spent my entire twenties looking for one.
Why do you think I became a social worker...trying to find my own answers.
I've learned if you accept crumbs, crumbs you shall get.
You absolutely deserve better.

Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
Its hard to be different when you've been nice/kind/welcoming/gullible in the past with the same person. If this is an ex-bf it is harder.

If it helps, tell him that you'll be out of town this Thanksgiving. Say that you're visiting a friend/sister/cousin (heck, I'll be that sister from the Indian side of your family - we must be related remotely, right :). If you think he'll come by, then just stay with a friend or something.

Don't even meet him - people like him can brainwash others very well.


Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

Give yourself the chance to feel--and truly be--empowered. Just say NO. Do NOT let him stay with you under any circumstances! But prepare yourself to hear just how horrible you are for not letting him do so. He will most likely do anything to make you feel guilty and I imagine he'll hit below the belt very strongly. Stand up to him. Picture yourself as your child...would you let "X" treat your child the way he treats you? Absolutely not.

Betty, look at this for the turning point in your life that it is. Remember, nothing worthwhile in life comes for free...there is always some sort of pain involved. So as hard as it is for you to say no, you must do it. It's a matter of saving your soul!

Betty said...

Dear Priya,

Thank you. Your warning about the brainwashing is important, and I'm a big sucker. It's best for me to avoid contact.

Hugs from your sister,

Betty said...

Dear Dust-bunny Lisa,

You, Priya and Simply Me are giving me a lot of strength that I obviously lacked in the past. This really will be a turning point. Yes, it's scary. But I'm prepared this time, and expecting him to put me down for this, bigtime. That's OK- it's a small price to pay for a new way of life, isn't it?


Dust-bunny said...

I've been on the receiving end of that kind of sociopathing rage...it's not easy to hear horrible things about yourself, but that's when you realize that YOU are the only one who can come and rescue YOU, and that's when you realize that you are worthwhile. Deep down you have to know you that this man is a head case and you deserve so much better, no matter how wonderful he tries to convince you he is. I bet you there's a wake of people in his trail that would strongly disagree with him. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing who they are so you can commisurate with them. But they do exist.

Betty said...

Dera Dust-bunny,

"Deep down you have to know that this man is a head case.." This is the part I'm focusing on today. I have to get clear on who he really is, not who he tells me he is. Fortunately, I kept journals when I was with him, and I don't have to read very far to recall the torture. This is about me starting to trust mySELF.



Loving Annie said...

Oh Betty, honey, this man was and is a monster. Good looking on the outside and very ugly on the inside.

The measure of a person is how they treat you - not what they say about themseleves.

He was and is indeed blind and destructive.

I'm sorry that you went through that, hoped, got hurt, were treated so poorly.

I hope that you know that you are better off without him, and that what he said to you isn't really who you are --

He was a user who only felt good about himself putting someone else down - which basically means he had a lot of inadequacies and felt threatened by your strengths and abilities that he did not have.

Dust Bunny. Priymvada and Simply Me said it very well, and pinned it right.

My heart aches for you. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not let him stay with you during Thanksgiving.

He doesn't deserve one minute of your time... You shouldn't take his calls, answer his e-mails, nothing.

And if he shows up, slam the door in his face, and tell him to find someone else to mooch off.

Spiritual, my heinie. Someone genuinely spiritual doesn't do what this man does. Bah, humbug, what a fraud and phony.

You lose NOTHING but not having this creep in your or boy's life.
Boy should never have to see his Mom made unhappy again by this scam artist.

Huge hugs,
Loving Annie

Shankari said...

Heres hoping you do stay with some family (Indian sister sounds great!) over Thanksgiving. Please maintain some physical distance between him and yourself. It would not at all do for you to be around, cuz don't we know how this pattern gets repeated: :(

Alas, I know it too.

BTW, we'll be at Atlanta during Thanksgiving. Georgia, anyone? :)

shankari said...

I WAS curious. I was sure there was more I had read about this person- so I did what I do best- ferret. And came up with this:


Darling B, you need not be the knight or Lady in shining armour anymore- all you do need is a little Invisibility Cloak!

Take care and remember you ARE important.

Betty said...

Dear Shankari,

Thank you for your research- I knew I had posted about a narcissistic boyfriend before, but my muddled memory told me that it was about my child's father (who does share many of these same characteristics)! Alas, you're right- it was my Montana Knight in Shining Armor, and I had totally forgotten the main point of that post- that I had been HIS Lady in Shining Armor! Hah!

I think I do have someone's house to go to at Thanksgiving. It's wise to plan this out in advance rather than risk a relapse!!!!!

Many hugs,

Anonymous said...