There are plenty of individuals who fall for someone who they thought was different until they get to know them, it’s almost a right of passage in the world of dating but falling for a narcissist can leave you gathering pieces for long after you believe you have them all back in your hands. It’s almost like picking up grains of sand from concrete, it takes a very long time and lots of continuous work.
My story however, starts long before I met the boy who would change my world. Growing up I was very sheltered. I was raised in church, homeschooled, and limited to anything secular. When I finally got the ok to start dating at the age of 18, I simply had no idea what to expect and got taken advantage of (I am grateful that I had two wonderful parents who loved me and wanted to protect me from the all the evil in the world).
I had just turned 20 when I met my “Knight in shining armor”. He was everything I had dreamed a man should be but as we grew up and discovered a lot of life’s harsh ways together, we grew apart and 8 years later we decided that we were better friends than lovers.
After being in a relationship and “living like a married couple” for so long, let’s just say I rebounded rather hard. At 28 I was behaving like a 22-year-old, going out to clubs and bars 2-3 times a week, meeting all sorts of new people. I was working two jobs, and going to school full-time for a performing arts degree. I was finally experiencing what I thought I was missing all those “taken but alone” years.
I met *Sam after a year of being single, we were both attending a birthday party of someone who I had become close friends with. Sam caught my eye immediately as I was being stared at walking into the club. I quickly noticed he was dancing with another girl so I brushed the attraction off as I began chatting at the bar with my friends when the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song came on (one of the show’s I was allowed to watch growing up) I began singing along to it and had already enjoyed a few drinks to care that my friends were teasing away. Sam came up and joined in on the song right before he disappeared as soon as the song was over leaving quite the impression on me.
It was only a couple of months later when I was at a club with the same friend and ran into Sam who had “just broke up with his girlfriend”. Sam stood near watching with a grin that was inviting a conversation that quickly led to over the top compliments and I was smitten. His charm was intoxicating and for that night he was the most gorgeous man I had ever laid eyes on. After leaving the club I invited everyone back over to my place for a few more drinks where the infatuation with this new found charmer continued to grow.
The following day (after exchanging numbers) he text, he kept texting and calling, he told me on a hourly basis that he “couldn’t believe I was single” that my “ex was an idiot to have let me slip away”. Sam said everything, EVERY girl DREAMS of hearing. He asked me out a week later and I of course didn’t hesitate to say yes.
I remember asking him why he was single and in a joking manner “what he was hiding”. I had felt in ways I forgot I could feel. I felt appreciated, cared for, special, he made me feel like I was one of a kind. He was in construction, a “hard worker” and always talking a about a “promotion that was coming up” he would say things like “but I don’t deserve it” prompting me to respond with “yes you do, you work so hard” I found myself giving him constant validation without realizing I was being prompted to do so. I thought I had found the perfect guy and felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Just a couple of months in (no, I didn’t wait the 90 days) I was ready to take our new relationship to the next level and gave him what I felt was the biggest part of myself. Even during intimate acts, he was saying all the right things that often left me feeling like I was in a romantic movie. I was falling for this man and I didn’t care. I finally had my Romeo and I just knew everything was going to work out in the most perfect of ways.
Just a week later we were going out to celebrate Halloween, we had the matching costumes and all. That evening he leaned over and whispered the phrase “I love you” he continued to mouth it to me throughout the rest of the evening before finally asking “did you hear me?” I knew I wasn’t ready to say it but said it anyway after admitting I was ignoring him. He laughed it off and told me constantly after “how lucky” he was. About two weeks after that night, it all went down hill. He decided he “didn’t mean it” when he said “I love you”, he was “drunk and regretted saying it” it hurt but I chose to understand. I would bring the topic up from time to time and would get accused of nagging. I decided to say it again one night because let’s face it, if a girl is saying “I love you” for a couple of weeks and then told not to it’s hard! His response was: “Why?” WHY? really? well, I. Don’t. Know. Things continued to spiral from that point on.
He lost his job and needed a place to stay and being the girl who tries to fix things I jumped to a yes. I thought “this is it, we are actually taking the next step” I couldn’t see then that I was being used. He was flirting with other women, spending hours watching porn and instead of looking for another job played video games hours on end, alone and with his then 4 year-old-son. Games like “Call of Duty” and other violent filled games I felt were inappropriate for a toddler but I was told I was being too strict. I didn’t have kids so I left the parenting to him. I dismissed what I thought was new behavior as depression from losing his job.
Then other truths started beaming through. I learned he was illegally residing in U.S. shortly before I discovered he was smoking marijuana. He would tell me things like he didn’t need to be in a relationship and that he was losing himself after long speeches of how much I meant to him. At one point he posted on Facebook “I luv my gf” and told me to go look at his page, he then deleted it and said “don’t know why I posted that” I continued on because I wanted so badly to help him out of this hole I believed he fell in, I wanted to be there for him but only ended up pushing him away each time.
It didn’t take long for the real abuse to start. No he never laid his hands on me but verbally and physiologically the damage was debilitating. One evening a few friends came over for drinks and the conversation about stereo types came up. Sam, being Latino mentioned several stereo types about his race and that of the company who was over, being someone who doesn’t like stereo types I chimed in and gave my opinion; “stereo types are such small fractions of very few individuals truths”. This comment led to an in-depth criticism from Sam about my ex who is African-American, after embarrassing me in front of our guests and making statements that “I didn’t want to be white” I was later told when we were alone how “disgusting I was” right before he walked out of the apartment to disappear for the rest of the evening. During the argument I continued to try to explain myself and when I text him to express my hurt about being called disgusting I received a reply pointing out that I had misspelled disgust and then he turned off his phone.
I spent the night in tears, wondering what I had said wrong and questioned if I was in fact the disgusting one for choosing to NOT see color. I felt worthless, alone and shattered. Sam knocked on the door the following morning with apologies and flowers promising to make it right. I had to go to work and agreed we were both wrong.
It was just a week later I found countless sexual and flirtatious texts and Facebook conversations with other women. I know there are moments when we women tend to read into things but there was no mistaking the messages found not to mention the seemingly endless scrolls of pages in online history of nothing but porn. When I confronted him, he had an excuse for them all and before disappearing into the night yet again, he promised to do better. At this point I no longer trusted him and went as far to create a fake Facebook page to see if he would take the bait and he did but only used that to say any other females flirting with him was me which led to our first break-up. I had finally had enough, I was done.
I was only done for two weeks though because he came begging for another chance, everything but hands and knees, promising change and talking marriage and family. Little did he know and I only suspected that I had already conceived. The following weeks I fell for it all over again and the cycle repeated.
As my belly grew so did the pain my heart was experiencing. I was told my nose was getting fat, that my thighs were the size of my waist (I have always been self conscious of them and he knew that), that my legs looked like sausages. I was told countless times that I didn’t know how to laugh and repeatedly got called by the name of his sons mother, the list goes on. I took it, all of it because I believed it! After the last time being called another woman’s name at seven and a half months pregnant I spent the night up crying and praying, I was raised in church and yes, in my time of desperation I hit the ground on my knees. I walked upstairs and began to ask God to make him love me, now I knew better, I KNOW that’s not how it works but I thought maybe just this one time… I made a promise that if GOD worked this out I would honor HIM in this relationship or the next, that I would wait on HIM.
I had no idea then, that I was praying for what was about to happen. A week later at 9 weeks before my due date I drove to Sam’s place because he was avoiding me like he did so many other times before. We walked outside and while sitting on the ground I was told “I don’t love you enough to make this work” those words still ring through my head today, not because I miss him but because of the cycles he now repeats with our child. After several hours of asking him why and what I did, I realized I wasn’t going to change his mind.
I remember driving the 30 miles back home, barely able to see the road, wondering yet again what in the world I did wrong… I kept expecting a call to make sure I made it home okay, if not for me at least for our daughter, nothing…
With the morning light came some clarity and a day later I called him and left a message wanting to talk about the plans for our child and how we were going to turn this into a friendship for her sake, nothing… a week later I found out through a mutual friend he was back at all the old habits. All the stress of the relationship ending, working three jobs, and wondering what I was going to do sent me into early labor that had to be stopped and they did successfully. I tried to call and tell him what had happened and nothing… At this point I had to end all stress and made the decision to cut off everyone associated with him and promised to let them know when our baby girl arrived. I felt guilty for cutting off those who had not been apart of his decision but for my health and the health of my unborn child, it had to be done. Sam’s sister saw things differently and to sum up the lengthy hurtful message I received my first week home from delivering my daughter, she saw me as “just as bad as he was if not worse…”.
I kept my promise and Sam came to meet his daughter along with his mom and all was well for a while until the narcissistic phases started once again. After three weeks he began to say things like “you know I’m illegal and I can’t drive” (it never stopped him from jumping behind the wheel before) and “it hurts me I can’t see her by myself”. He started to realize I wasn’t going to fall for his routine again and did what he does best and vanished for awhile.
I finally decided to move back to the city I grew up in around people who could help me get back on my feet and that’s what I did. Sam appeared and disappeared on and off and the cycle continues.
I can’t help but to feel sorry for him at times because he is the one missing out on all the beauty that is my daughter. To live such a way is to not live at all, to have been hurt so badly yourself that you have to hurt everyone who crosses your path is heartbreaking.
I am still healing from the abuse and have not been on a date since my relationship with my daughters father in fear of meeting someone else who is just as toxic but God has given me strength to continue through it all. I can’t imagine life without my little angel. Only God knew just how much of a blessing she is to me and everyone in her life and I hope and pray I can be the Mom she deserves and needs.
I may still have to deal with my narcissist from time to time and I will continue to cross those bridges as I come to them but I shared this to maybe give someone a little hope. The words that someone says to you does NOT define you. You are beautiful/handsome, you are important, you ARE worth so much more than an abuser makes you feel. You are God’s child and if you let HIM, HE will work it out for your good. Hold that gorgeous face high and keep marching on.
*Name changed from actual person.