The Narcissists We All Love

Reading  about all these allegations about Bill Cosby has gotten me thinking about how we can choose to ignore  another one’s “shortcomings” if the rest of the person is appealing to us.

Who did not like Dr. Huxtable? On TV he portrayed such a great dad and husband. Sometimes we confuse the public persona as the real person. It is so easy to believe what we want to see. I understand that these stories are only allegations of rape, but for me there are too many.

And these stories about the drug that these women were given hits too close to home. The same thing happened to me back in the 1970’s. I know most of the doubters say why did it take so long for them to come forward? And why did they not tell anyone or do anything?

I can only tell you of my own personal experience.

First of all it started out pretty innocent. A friend and I were invited to visit the quarters of Captain of the ship that we were traveling on. We were offered a cocktail and that is the last thing I remembered. When I woke up in the early hours of the morning, I was laying on the couch. I just got up and went back to my cabin and I went to sleep with my clothes on too tired to change. My friend that I had gone to the Captains quarters with was already there asleep in her bed. I was still too out of it to think anything had happened. I somehow was not thinking about anything but lying down.

When I woke up, my friend had asked me what had happened the night before.  I told her I did not remember anything but I woke up on the couch in the Captains quarters. She told me that while sitting there talking to the Captain that she was feeling strange and just got up and left. A steward found her wandering the deck and escorted her back to our cabin.

When I got up to go to the bathroom that morning, I noticed that the crotch of my baggy silk pants that I was wearing was completely torn. It was like it had been ripped open on the seams. That was the only indication that I knew something had happened. It still haunts me today.

We disembarked the ship that afternoon. And outside of my friend knowing about what may have happened, I have never really talked about it. I only admitted it to one other person. The reason I told that person was because he was doubting a story that his girlfriend had told him about a similar experience of being drugged.

It really does happen and so many of us just try to move on. It is almost like we justify ignoring it because we barely remember or like me don’t remember it all.

Some may say, why did we go to his quarters?  Everyone did, he entertained a lot of the passengers in his quarters. He was not some slimy character. He looked like someone’s dad.

Narcissists hide amongst us all and I believe that it is so hard to tell. I believe we can be some of their biggest fans, unbeknownst to us.

I feel that so many of our politicians get away with so much, especially, if he is one of your guys. It is so easy to overlook one’s shortcomings when the narcissist is on your side fighting your fight.

Think about our sport heroes and everyone else in the entertainment industry.

One of the persons that shocked me the most was Steve Jobs. Who is more loved and revered than him? My favorite is his 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” You got to love it.

I was so shocked when I read some of the excerpts from the expose from Chrisann Brennan, the mother of his first child. It took him decades before he would even acknowledge his daughter. While making millions and maybe billions, he kept his daughter and her mom on welfare, not even keeping up with support. Even after a paternity test proved he was the father, he dismissed it and said that 28% of the population could be the father (this was in the olden days before accurate DNA tests).

Yes he was a visionary and contributed a lot. But do we overlook this trait? Do we let it slide? His daughter eventually did.

It is amazing how a whole lot of money, power, good looks, charisma etc. can help us overlook those pesky little misdeeds. The excuses that they make somehow are much more acceptable than the ones the others make that have none of those characteristics.

We humans are so multidimensional. We all carry some good and some bad. But some of us can hide our darkness so well or obscure it in plain sight.

The best Narcissists are those that can generate a group of admirers.  As an observer, those are the ones we are easiest fooled by, especially if that persona is reinforced by the media or even a large group. Those people can even help the Narcissist to evoke our sympathy and support.  They even have the power to convince us that it is the victims who are at fault with their diabolical intentions.

The constant reinforcement of the media or the group helps us to keep seeing what we want to see. It helps us to maintain that narrative that we love and desire to perpetuate about them.  We like to protect those Narcissists that we all love.

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Silence is Not Always Golden.

I have sources that I am not willing to divulge now regarding some of the things that my X is doing. The reason that I cannot just “move on” regarding his life is because I am always looking for information to dispute the many lies that my X is attempting regarding our divorce.

One of the things that I have been hearing from one of my sources about is that my X has been disparaging the new girlfriend behind her back for a while now. They only moved in together the beginning of this year, at least, that is when they made it official.

Not soon after that, his complaints had already started.

I actually do feel kind of sorry for her, because I also know from other sources that she is completely oblivious to it. I feel that he makes sure of that by still playing the romantic game to her.

She moved to Hawaii in the beginning of October.  She is apparently under the impression that she is setting up the nest for the someday pending divorce.  I had gotten word through my attorney that my X wanted to settle quickly in September but neither my attorney nor I have heard anything since.

I have also heard that he is celebrating that the girlfriend is gone and his expression is “good riddance”.

But who knows how that will pan out. I know my X likes to keep all of his options open.

I was a very difficult and demanding girlfriend in the start. I did this on purpose. My intent was to show my worst. I even refused to move to Hawaii with him. Everybody thought I was crazy to miss out on such an exotic opportunity.  Lucky for me that I was not interested back then. I cannot even imagine how much more isolated I would have felt being on an island!  Somehow not conceding to his wishes seemed to keep our relationship running better than when I let all my defenses down and started to be nice and considerate.

So some people’s first impression of me was that I was the “undeserving girlfriend”

Our courtship lasted for a few years. It was first a long distance relationship and eventually we moved in together. Back then he was still on his very best behavior.

He always acted as though he was so proud of me and who I was. He would brag to anyone who would listen to him about me. I cannot tell you how many times his proud words about me came back to me.

Everyone who met him said that he could not stop talking about me. They all loved him and they thought I was so lucky to find someone who appreciated me so much.

Things did not start to change until after we were married and it was gradual. We had a few decent years in the beginning. Who knows how decent they actually were? After all, emotional abuse was a more familiar feeling to me than it was to most people. It was how I grew up. The basic red flags for a normal person would be considered normal behavior to me.

There were still lots of gifts, lots of time together going out, trips, flowers, romantic letters and gestures of love and passion. So it all looked good on the outside. Everyone was amazed at what a thoughtful and loving husband I had.

I was definitely swept up in the romance and trying to maintain that “special bond”.  At least that was what everyone was telling me that I had.  Now I understand that I have an abnormally high tolerance to chaotic relationships and I had very little sense of my own self.

Everybody thought he was such a great guy. What would I know? I was the person that could not even get along with my own mother.  So many years I endured the acceptance that I was the difficult person. That is what I was taught growing up.

My X was the talkative charismatic type and I was the quiet reserved type. I was never a believer of airing my dirty laundry to other people. I felt that it was something that I needed to deal with my husband.

My silence worked against me, because I thought I was keeping our matters private. I did not think it was right to disparage my husband to others. I realize now that my X thought otherwise and aired his version of our “dirty laundry” to anyone that listened. He was the victim that was being taken horrible advantage of. I was the nasty, undeserving, “never happy” wife.

I remembered that I had always felt that friends and acquaintances looked at me with suspicion. There was always a feeling gnawing in my gut that something was askew, but that feeling was always over-ridden by my feelings that I was “less than”.

I believed that I was unable to get along with anyone.  The only time that I remember when I was happy was when I lived on my own.

My self- image and propensity to keep to myself was the perfect storm for my X to play the victim to our mutual friends and family. I see now that my X probably garnered lots of sympathy from mutual friends and family that I was a difficult wife. So many people were more drawn to him.

I had always felt a distance to most of our mutual friends. But feeling distant to people was not an unfamiliar feeling to me. I still thought it was just me, I was different. Now I think I realize why many of those treated me with suspicion.

God only knows when his stories started. I look back now and I feel that this may have been going on for most of our relationship. I have come to this conclusion now, especially since I hear how he is treating the new girlfriend.

He always loved looking like the hero/ martyr.

Maybe this explains the indifference that I felt from many of our mutual friends. Some of them were outwardly cruel to me. There were times that some of their treatment of me brought me to tears. I was bullied.

I was also bullied as a child. I remember attempting to go to my mother for comfort. In her anger she had told me it was my fault.  She told me that I deserved it because of the kind of person I was and what I looked like. My mother was embarrassed of me and the negative attention that I garnered.

I had no one to turn to.

So during my entire childhood, I endured all the tauntings and bullying  on my own, in silence. I was too ashamed to tell anyone.  Eventually the bullying stopped and I started to make friends as I grew older. Looking back, I seem to remember that time that the bullying subsided, correlated with my rebellion against my mother.  Coincidence? IDK

So when the adult bullying came, I just thought that I deserved it. When I confided in my X about how hurt I was about specific incidences that occurred, he defended his friends instead of me. It was a familiar response to things that only hurt me. I just kept the pain to myself.

I am even crying now at this pain. At least now I am getting it out.

I am no longer silent.

In The Beginning…

When I first met my Someday to be X husband, he was vacationing from out of state with his mother and father. Back then; we were both in our late 30’s. I was so impressed with a man in this age bracket to be on a vacation with his parents instead of trolling with a bunch of yahoo guy friends.

I was guilty of consummating this relationship too early. He was leaving on a jet plane and I just chose to seize the moment. In the after glow of our consummation, he broke the news that he was separated from his wife!  I got angry and told him to leave. He begged forgiveness and said that it was only a matter of time before the divorce was final. I calmed down a bit and was angry with myself for being so impulsive. He left that day and I figured that was that. Sometime later, I got a call from him.  He wanted to know if he could write to me. Remember this was back in the days before email and texting.

So we started writing long letters to each other. That is how I thought I was getting to know him. He would sometimes call, but with the time change his working hours and my working hours, it did not happen except on my days off and sometimes then we would talk.

I thought these letters were bringing us closer. In the letters, he admitted to his failures in the marriage and that of course impressed me more. He was smart enough to NOT use the “she never understood me” line. At that time, I had no concept what leaving a marriage meant. I spent my time with single friends and rarely knew anyone in a functioning marriage. I initially never took a romantic tone in those letters, I just kept it friendly. But as the months progressed and we got to know each other more, he somehow knew exactly what I wanted to hear.

He lived in Hawaii and I was planning to move back to Southern California.  I had left there 2 years prior because I walked out of another disastrous relationship. My father had also just died. I decided to get out of town for a while and geographically relocate closer to my mother.

We decided that after my move back to So Cal, I would plan to visit him. So off to Hawaii I went.

I still remember one of the first of many red flags that I chose to ignore (I know the first red flag was that he was married!). It happened on my first visit. He told me we could not go somewhere because he was likely to run into some of his Soon To Be X wife’s friends. I promptly asked why that would be a problem? I thought all of this had been settled in the pending divorce. He tried to convince me that he did not want to go so I told him that I would continue on my vacation on another island without him. He profusely apologized and we went to that spot that night and after that. he took me anywhere I wanted to go on the island.

Back then he was so attentive, I demanded a lot and he indulged my every whim. After the vacation, I returned to So Cal to resume my life there. The letters and phone calls continued and the trips back and forth started.

He ultimately wanted me to move to Hawaii. I refused.  He asked if he could move to the mainland to be with me. I told him not to bother until his divorce was final. He eventually did move in with me in So Cal with his divorce papers in hand.

It wasn’t until now that I am going through all of this that I have contemplated on what his wife at the time was going through. Living on an island is like living in a small town. Everybody knows everything. So, can you imagine what she went through when her still husband at the time was parading his new girlfriend around? I cringe at my clueless insensitive behavior. No it was not intentional, I was so consumed by my own self-gratification that I chose not to pay attention to anything else. Now I wonder how separated were they? Was he maintaining a relationship with her in case things did not pan out with me? Was he even separated or was he still living as married when I first met him? Was I the one who inspired him to leave his marriage? These questions will never be answered. She died somewhere around the time we separated. I found that out when my Someday To Be X husband mentioned it in one of our “marriage counseling” sessions. I do not know the facts of her demise.

Some may say what is happening now to me is just Karma. That may be so. I believe that everything that he is doing to me now, he did to his second wife when he left her. Yes, that’s right I am #3. His excuse for ending the marriage to #1 was that he was just too young. (Yes, I know more red flags!). The big difference with me, #3 and her, #4, is that she knew he was completely married when she chose to be with him. Her best friend and I knew each other through our business.

Somehow, the knowledge that I am being punished for my earlier sins makes it easier to accept my struggles now. I get it. I now understand the meaning of marriage and separation. Sometimes in our loneliness, we are so starved for companionship we entitle ourselves to seize what we think we need. Yes, maybe I did her a favor, just as #4 is doing me a favor now. It was wrong then and it is still wrong now. One of those life experiences that I have lived and learned well.

Boiling A Frog

I remember reading once that if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in a pot of cool water and very gradually, turn up the heat the frog will not notice and will just stay there and boil to death.

The theory is that a frog will just continually try to acclimatize to the heat. Because it is only a gradual temperature increase, it will not perceive the danger and just allow itself to be cooked death.

I am not here to say that this is factual but I cannot think of a greater metaphor to what happened to me.

When I first met him, he was the sweetest and most sincere (or so he seemed) man you could ever imagine. All my friends loved him. I of course was on my guard. I never trusted men.

I spent my entire 20’s in short-term relationships.  Sometimes, I think that is what my allure was to men. I enjoyed life and saw no reason to pursue anything serious. From my own personal experiences, I never saw marriage and family in a positive light. I felt women never flourished in marriage. I chose to pursue other things in life, like travel, and that I did. However, after a while that got boring too. So somewhere, after I turned 30, I finally got serious. My first serious relationship was a disaster, but after a year of that dysfunction, I had enough sense to pack up and leave.

So when I met him, I was on my guard and boy did I test him. I was demanding and aloof and still he pursued me. The details of our meeting are too complex to go into now. I just want to state, I was not pursuing him. Eventually my barriers were broken down and we got engaged and then married. We lived together in those blissful days of a new relationship.

He always talked about me in such an admiring way. He put me on a pedestal and even my friends joked that he treated me like a goddess. Never in my life, had I been treated so well. He was too good to be true (!).

As our marriage progressed, and I got pregnant, things slowly changed and his attentiveness started to disappear. I kept thinking that I could fix this and I took responsibility for my faults. As the years passed and our son grew, the attentiveness eventually morphed into neglect and emotional abuse.

For whatever reason, I thought it was important to keep the family together. So everyday I just struggled to maintain harmony in our family. That simple feat consumed me so much for so many years that I evolved into a broken spirit. I was boiling to my death. I did not have enough sense or will to jump out of that boiling pot of water.

I never realized how much I missed his tone of admiration for me. That realization came to me when I finally heard him talking that way again. It dug up memories that I had buried so long ago. Only this time he was not using my name, he was using hers.

I knew then in my heart what was going on. But you have to understand that in spite of what I knew in my heart, I was deceived and played to an unconscionable degree by him. It was not until irrefutable proof was literally put before me, I got perfect clarity.

That clarity awoke my spirit and gave me the sense to jump out of that boiling pot of water, stand up, and fight.  I got an attorney.

Since then, it has been a long and arduous struggle. At least I did not die in that pot of water and I am alive now to fight another day.