It never ceases to amaze me when the Universe sends me messages or reminds me of things exactly when I need them. It happened this weekend when I was missing the Narcissist and I flipped open my copy of The Alchemist and realized that the forward is the story of Narcissus. The realization that the lake was crying because it missed seeing its own beauty reflected in Narcissus’ eyes was enough to snap me back to reality.
Well it happened again last night when I cracked open a new book: “Psychopath Free (Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People) by Jackson MacKenzie.”
Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie – Page 12:
“I’d like to extend a special warning to those of you who are new to recovery. After psychopathic abuse, you’re going to be extremely raw and vulnerable. As you start to put the pieces together you’ll feel devastated, miserable, and angry. It’s overwhelming.
You’re probably used to repressing your emotions and dealing with things on your own. But this time, everything is out int he open. You’re dependent like a newborn child, seeking out someone- anyone – to understand what you’re going through. In general, it’s important to be open with your emotions. But at your most insecure moments, you may unknowingly open the floodgates for more abuse.
It’s no mystery that survivors seem to attract more pathological people like magnets. As you frantically share your story, you latch on to the quickest and most sympathetic ear – anyone who claims to understand you. The problem is, these people do not always have your best interests at heart.Those willing to listen o your psychopathic story for hours on end are, unfortunately, not likely to be people who are truly invested in your recovery. They are most likely “vultures.”
Vultures often seem exceptionally kind and warm at first. They want to fix you and absorb your problems. They are fascinated by your struggles. But sooner or later, you will find yourself lost in another nightmare. They begin drowning you in unsolicited advice. They need constant praise and attention. You are never allowed to disagree with them. They feed off drama and insatiable need to be appreciated by others.”
My Vulture Story:
I literally said to my therapist yesterday “Do I have a crazy magnet stuck to my ass – how am I only attracting this shit?!?” To her credit, my therapist told me that sometimes when you come out of an abusive relationship other people are attracted to those qualities in you that have been shaped and molded by your first abuser. She also gave me a ton of credit for recognizing all the ways that the Vulture was making me feel creepy and for taking a stand and changing the situation… it just didn’t resonate with me as hard until I read that page of my book last night.
Before I even realized that my marriage was falling apart (Fall of 2015) the Vulture started working at my Company. He was an executive for Human Resources and was trying to get to know the various departments and people around the Company. The first few meetings with the Vulture, I found him to be like a breathe of fresh air for the Company. He had a totally different way of looking at things, called people out on their baloney and was actually implementing change at a rapid speed. I really latched onto his energy and started working with him on more and more projects because he was able to get me exposure, get my projects approved, and support me from the leadership level. In the beginning I used to tell him all the time “you and my husband would get along SO WELL” or chime in all the time with “you remind me so much of my husband” or “oh my gosh my husband says the same thing!” I would equally go home to my husband and tell him that he needed to meet the Vulture because he would love him. (I guess I should have recognized this as a warning sign… duh!)
After a restructuring at work the Vulture became my boss. He was a great boss actually, and became my mentor in all things at work. My career was really taking off with his support and I was feeling accomplished and recognized at work. I think I was really pouring all of my energy into work because it felt like the only place in my life where I was actually succeeding. After several months of getting to know the Vulture better I learned that he was going through a divorce, he opened up about some of the things he was dealing with with his ex and the lines of boss and friend started to blur a bit. As I hit rock-bottom with my marriage I began to just open the flood gates and verbally unload everything that I was dealing with in my marriage. Through that process I learned that the Vulture had his undergrad degree in Psychology. He seemed to offer a great deal of support, advice, suggestions, and just be there to listen to all the crazy stuff I was dealing with. Towards the end of the marriage before I had moved out he was sending me texts with inspirational quotes on my business phone, buying me books that were inspirational and encouraging, and generally acting like a cheerleader to help me through the separation process.
Interestingly enough the Narcissist actually saw some of these texts on my work phone and in one of our post-separation fights accused me of having an emotional affair with the Vulture. He also scolded me and said “How dare you ever compare me to your boss! He is a BAD person with BAD intentions and I am NOTHING like him!” Oh how the pot calls the kettle black. For the record, I definitely should not have opened up so much about my personal life with my boss – but I absolutely never under any circumstance had any sort of attraction to this man. He was 10+ years older than me, a few inches shorter than me, and so many of the ways that he acted, his ideals, and his immature actions really irritated me. Also kind of funny now that I reflect back – the Vulture also gave me a hard time after he learned that the Narcissist was a narcissist and said “I can’t believe you would ever compare me to him, I am so offended that you think we are similar in any way!”
Once I announced that I was moving out, the Vulture started blurring lines even more. I think I was so distracted with all of the emotional mess that I was going through with The Narcissist that I didn’t even realize (or have the energy to deal with) the fact that The Vulture was crossing too many lines. He bought me a laptop and positioned it that I needed to be able to take care of all of my personal stuff not on the work computer. He gave me a fancy coffee machine as a house-warming gift. The first few gifts I made a big deal about – I told him I couldn’t accept them, that it was too much… blah blah blah. He got personally offended that I would think that his gifts were anything other than a friend trying to be supportive, he assured me that he makes enough money that these are like ‘not a big deal to him’ and I felt guilted into accepting them as to not offend the Vulture.
Then I started coming into the office and The Vulture who has the master key to all offices, would leave things for me on my desk so they would be there when I got into the office. It would be anything from books, to candy, to misc. stuff. It creeped me out that he was in my office alone but I just kind of ignored it. He also started texting me (on my work phone because I never gave him my personal #) and emailing me at my personal email address every single night. It started out innocently enough with the inspirational quotes and then it shifted to poetry he had written and photos of his flower garden, and towards the end it was all types of messages and quotes about “missing out on the best thing that ever happened to you because it was right beside you and you never noticed.” Which for the record, over the course 6 months, I NEVER even once replied to a single text or email that he sent me (that wasn’t a work email.)
It also started to really bother me because he had a standing meeting on our calendars for the end of everyday which regularly ran over, and made it impossible for me to leave work on-time or early. He would then drive behind me the entire way out of our office park… even if I sat in my car texting or putting on music for 5 minutes. He would wait and pull out behind me. And the final straw that made all of the red flags make sense to me… I submitted a few vacation days to handle my divorce court date, etc… and minutes after he approved them in the system, he took off the same exact days… creep-tastic for sure.
So, even though I knew that I only viewed the Vulture as a friend, a boss, a mentor and someone who I had opened up to about my personal life. I now believed that he could have other ideas about what was going on. So, before I headed out for 5 days of out of office time, I sent him a lengthy email to his personal account spelling it all out for him. I was very polite, I thanked him for his support and mentorship, told him that I really valued him as a friend… and very VERY clearly explained that I was only ever looking to be his friend, and that some of his actions lately made me think that we were not on the same page with that.
The Vulture responded almost immediately with an email saying “I have never been so embarrassed in my life… and don’t worry – you will never hear from me again.” He then cancelled all of our standing meetings off of the work calendar, and emailed the entire team saying that he was too busy to take those vacation days and would be in the office. I came back into the office after my 5 days away and he was acting like a complete and immature jerk. I seriously feel like I am dealing with a 15 year old boy. He ignores me completely, replies to my emails with 1 word, and acts like I am not even in our team meetings. He has also started showing everyone on our team pictures of his ‘model girlfriend’ who he has been ‘dating for the past 7 months’ and is supposedly on ‘the cover of some bridal magazine.’ I was dumb enough to think that we could just continue to act normal to one another, but I didn’t realize that I was dealing with an insecure, ego-bruised, teenage boy.
So, as I sat in my therapy appointment, I complained to my therapist that I felt so stupid. I feel that this somehow feels like it tarnishes all of my work accomplishments. I felt like I was actually succeeding at work and now all of this makes me feel like I have just failed everywhere. I feel so dumb that I genuinely thought that the Vulture was my friend, my boss, my mentor and cared about my well-being. I feel stupid that I thought that he could be genuine and not have any creepy ulterior motives to his actions and his kindness. But it is pretty damn clear now that the Vulture had other hopes and plans for our relationship and the moment he realized that those feelings were without a doubt unrequited… he started acting like a jerk. It brought up a lot of triggers for me, triggers of feeling worthless… triggers of feeling like everyone wants to use me for something and not recognize all of the awesome that is me. I really couldn’t even fathom that someone who is an Executive at a Company, someone who is in charge of Human Resources, someone older and wiser would actually attempt to initiate a relationship with his subordinate. I thought I could trust this person, and now I just feel like an idiot.
I cried a bunch, we used EMDR to sort it all out, and at the end of the appointment my therapist reminded me that I was strong… one of the strongest women she had ever met. She reminded me that I recognized the red flags…. I recognized them and I stood my ground and I stood up for myself and I changed what was happening. I stopped the creepiness from continuing, I took control of my life.
So I am not entirely sure why the Universe wanted to throw this experience my way… but I do know that I was smarter than what was going on. I felt like things were wrong and not the way that I wanted them to be, and I changed them.
So now… I think I will start looking for a new job. ❤