I’m pretty sure that I have been in some form of survival mode for most of the past 8 years in my relationship with the Narcissist. It’s interesting how your brain compartmentalizes things that you can’t process or deal with all at once. The further I distance myself from the Narcissist and the longer I go with no contact, the more these distant memories pop into my head.
The more that I remember, the harder it is to understand why I put up with any of this to begin with.
My most favorite relative (my uncle) had been very sick for the past year. He battled lung cancer, only to wind up with Leukemia, and the outcome wasn’t good. I had moved to the other side of the world right before his health went south, and I tried to keep up with emailing him or making phone calls during the holidays. The Christmas before he passed we sent him a gift box full of all types of local goodies. When he was sick, I used to justify that I was okay with not being around during what was inevitably the end of his life. I can remember justifying with my Narcissist that “it was better this way” and that “I could remember him healthy, versus seeing him sick towards the end.” From where I sit today, I would give anything to go back and take a trip to the states to visit him… to get in some time with someone who consistently brought so much magic to my life. Its one of the many big regrets I have… just one of the many times that I put the Narcissist before everything else.
My parents had warned us that things were looking pretty grim and that family members were making the trip to visit my uncle. They were expecting that he only had days to live. I can’t even remember the last phone call that we had with him – its one of the many things that is lost in my mind somewhere today. I know that we spoke with him within the last 10 days or so. So when my cell phone started ringing after we climbed into bed one night, and I looked and saw that it was my Dad… I knew I was getting the phone call to let me know that my uncle had passed… but the Narcissist wouldn’t let me answer the phone. His rationale was “you already know why they are calling, so you should just go to bed tonight and deal with it all tomorrow… there’s no need to get all worked up about it now.”
I didn’t answer the phone. I remember the Narcissist drifted off to sleep within minutes, and I laid in bed silently sobbing. He did not provide any bit of compassion, any bit of comfort, he slept soundly while I stayed awake crying alone for most of the night. In the morning we had to wake up early and stick to our early morning workout routine like nothing had happened. Only after we had worked out, he had gotten ready for work, and I had successfully gotten him out the door was I able to call my family and grieve.
Thankfully my father offered to cover our flights home to attend the funeral, otherwise there was no way in hell that we would have gone home for it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that going home and being thrust into a situation where everything was about someone else and not about the Narcissist was going to unleash the beast in all types of crazy ways.
The craziness started before we even left. The Narcissist was freaking out about having nothing to wear to a funeral. (We lived on a tropical island so shorts and flipflops kind of made up our entire wardrobe.) I was able to convince him to finally purchase a dress uniform and get all of his ribbons, etc. so that he could wear it to the funeral and also have it for other events. Little did I know that the process of finding every exact ribbon, and having everything be just right on the uniform was going to be an OCD adventure. When we finally got back to the states, the laser beam focus honed into what I would be wearing, and resulted in several late night jet-legged shopping trips to find dresses that he deemed sexy enough to wear to a funeral. (yes you read that correctly.)
The first Narcissistic outburst (that I can remember) took place graveside. We were at the burial which was conducted by a protestant priest. I was raised Catholic, but stopped practicing, and since the Narcissist hated absolutely everything about me from before he entered the picture… he insisted that we were Christian. During the graveside ceremony, the priest did the sign of the cross, and I followed suit. The cold front that the Narcissist immediately gave off was freezing. He stopped making any physical contact with me, wouldn’t look at me, and didn’t speak a word to me for the rest of the ceremony. When we finally got in the car, that feeling of dread in my stomach was unbearable and I finally asked… “did I do something wrong?? why are you upset??” He launched into a rant about how he couldn’t trust me, because the moment I got into my old environment I picked up old habits. He implied that he didn’t even know me, and was questioning our entire marriage.
The next dose of crazy came during the family dinner after the funeral. A small group of us went to a local restaurant for dinner and the Narcissist was still clearly pissed at me over doing the sign of the cross so he was icy and distant. I got rebellious and ordered a glass of wine.. since two other family members were having a glass of Pinot Grigio, I followed suit to keep it easier on the waiter. Narcissist was pissed at me that I didn’t order his favorite wine… Riesling. Then things got real bizarre, when the Narcissist swears he heard me call my father “Daddy” during the dinner conversation. This is pretty comical now, because I don’t think I have called my father daddy since I was 10 years old, but the Narcissist heard it so it must be true!!! He used this to pick a huge fight with me and accused me of having an unhealthy need for my father’s approval and affection.
The final dose of crazy-town. At some point towards the end of our trip there… after I had somehow apologized my butt off and spoiled the Narcissist with my love and affection until he had so graciously forgiven me for all of the terrible horrible sins I committed during our funeral trip… the Narcissist felt the need to punish me even more. We had been watching a movie on my parents couch long after everyone had gone to bed, and I had dozed off to sleep. I woke up at some point, alone on the couch and had no idea where the Narcissist was. The house was quiet and I waited for a few minutes to see if he had gone to the bathroom or to get water… nothing. I tip-toed upstairs to the guest bedroom and quietly opened the door. What I found was my Narcissist, watching porn on the laptop and masturbating. Thanks for leaving me to sleep alone on the couch while you take care of yourself Narcissist! He managed to defend his actions by telling me that I was so sad and wasn’t in the mood to take care of him… and he has needs dammit! Sorry that I wasn’t turned on during the wake or the funeral of one of my most favorite people!
I still don’t remember how all of this crazy got worked out… but somehow like with everything else in our life, I walked away feeling like the bad person, he forgave me, and we went on with our crazy ass life like nothing ever happened….