So I’ve bandied about the narcissistic label and in the past I have entertained (mainly in jest, however if the shoe fits) the possibility that my ex is a sociopath in some regards, as he fits some of the listed characteristics…if you want to know what they are, see here…
The first trait was his inability to maintain enduring relationships. I can remember always trying to encourage him to “reach out” to people he admired through work or previous social circles (like old college buddies) and I knew he was “friends” with, but he rarely did – or if he did, it was either extremely superficial or extremely ‘deep’ as though he didn’t really know how to have a casual friendship. He’s not even close with any of his family members. Oh, he makes his obligatory phone calls to his mother, but there is superficiality to every conversation and there is no authentic connection. He doesn’t even speak to his father anymore. He actually expressed to me when he left that I should be happy because now I wouldn’t have to deal with his crazy family’. (I still communicate occasionally with his mother and his sister’s husband (whom he doesn’t even speak to at all)…they’re part of the kids’ lives, and I accept them for who they are)
Another major trait is his tendency toward blaming others for his own shortcomings. Namely me, as I was the main relationship with which he had connection. He still does this, though I try to limit our interactions as much as possible to eliminate this occurrence…or at least reduce it. Perfect example is recently…my daughter forgot her gear for a sporting event on a weekend that he had the kids. I was scheduled to attend the event as a spectator, but he was responsible for getting her there for the warm-ups etc. He expressed that she didn’t have her gear, and requested that I bring it with me when I came for the event. When I told him I wasn’t expecting to arrive until the start of the event at 8 am, almost 2 hours after they were scheduled to be there, I asked why he couldn’t come and pick the gear up the night before. His response was “I’m not driving 2 hours”. Ok. My response “So I have to leave 1.5 hours earlier so you don’t have to be inconvenienced?” (btw, I didn’t CHOOSE for you to live that far away from YOUR children…with your mistress…but I digress) He then went to blame mode… “You should have made sure our children had their items handled and packed before I picked them up.” Ok. First of all, OUR daughter is 12 (almost 13) and uber responsible. I don’t normally have to remind her of things. But this slipped her mind, as well as mine, as she doesn’t TYPICALLY have to cart her gear to his place on the weekends. Not to mention, he picked them up (from my work as we hadn’t been home since that morning before school) and was in town for at least an hour for our other daughter’s event when he could have ASKED the 12 year old if she had everything she needed for her event, since it WAS happening on his watch after all. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not trying to lay blame back here. I’d accept partial blame, along with my daughter AND him! And I would have been open to negotiating a compromise where we each came half way to make the exchange. In a perfect world we ALL would have remembered and done our parts…but alas, world ≠ perfect.
But then he’s good. He’s GOOD at making me feel as though things ARE my fault. If I had JUST _______________ then he would have shown that he loved me. If I had JUST _________________ then he would have paid more attention to his family. If I had just __________________ then he would have more time to give. I guess I just didn’t know the right things to put in the blanks to make those things happen. So I go to the blame game myself. I blame myself and think I must have been this awful person he makes me out to be. Because I DID complain about him not being “present” (of course he was tired). I DID complain that all the responsibilities for the kids, the house, the cars, the finances, the social life, etc. fell on my shoulders (only because I was too controlling). I DID complain about us not having an emotional connection, so sex was impersonal (apparently I was the ice queen). I DID complain that he wasn’t someone I could rely on or count on for anything (didn’t I know how important his job was to him). I DID complain finally that I didn’t think I loved him anymore as we had grown so far apart (I didn’t know how to communicate).
The rational parts of me can explain it all in understandable and reasonable expectations I had of a marriage and a partnership. But am I just fooling myself? Am I trying to cover up my own flaws to only show his? Unfortunately, I still often look back and think, “wow, maybe I really was too demanding” and “never satisfied”. Maybe there’s something wrong with ME!!
He may be narcissistic, but then, I guess, what am I???