I started reading Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie sometime last week and although I am only about 50 pages into the book, my mind has been blown on every page. This book is so insanely accurate to my experiences it is just crazy. I feel like this should be required reading before someone enters dating age… I mean if I had realized these signs before I met the Narcissist I don’t think I would be in this place today.
What struck me in last night’s reading was a little call-out box called “No Support” on page 31.
“Psychopaths provide shallow praise and flattery only in order to gain trust. When you actually need emotional support, they will typically offer an empty response- or they will completely ignore you. With time, this conditions you not to bother them with your feelings, even when you need a partner the most, especially during times of tragedy or illness. You will begin to notice that you are never allowed to express anything but positive praise for them. And even then, they will become bored soon enough and move on to the next target. Unable to empathize with pain and suffering, psychopaths cannot provide compassion during difficult times. This is why their “support” will always feel hollow and mechanical at best.”
Throughout my 8 years with the Narcissist I can remember frequently feeling like every time the Narcissist experienced anything – it was “the worst thing to ever happen” the “most painful injury” the “worst colder ever.” He was ALWAYS under more stress than me, he was always more sick than me, he was always needing more attention than me. It used to basically give me an anxiety attack when he got sick because it was exhausting to shower him with love and attention on a good day, let alone when he was sick and miserable and tired.
I could NEVER get him to sympathize with me when I was having a hard time, when things were tough for me, or god forbid, when I didn’t feel good. I can remember some of my toughest times over those 8 years (medical procedures, funeral, being sick, the stress of a full-time job a full-time MBA program and a crappy boss) where the Narcissist would make it seem like he was there and supportive, but the gist of the message was always “toughen up and get over it.” He was famous for trying to convince me that the best way to get over the flu was to “sweat it out” through an intense workout, and anytime I showed any normal emotions of sadness, stress, depression, anxiety I would get slammed for “not being in control of my emotions.”
A prime example of this behavior is that I had to endure a job for almost 3 years with a boss who belittled me and treated me like crap, a 55 mile commute (1-way) while I was also doing full-time night courses to finish my MBA and I just kept chugging along because we needed the income and benefits. The Narcissist worked a ‘from-home’ job for 8 months while taking courses towards his Bachelors (1/2 were online classes and I did the bulk of the course-work for him) and he quit his job because he couldn’t handle the emotional abuse that his boss was putting him through. You know, because she wanted him to be working from 9-5 not from 12-4 when it was convenient for him.
It becomes so difficult in these abusive and isolated situations because you literally have no one else to turn to for support. I was cut off from all of my family and friends, I was able to maintain a few work acquaintances but it didn’t make sense to just unload all of my troubles on these people and ask for support. I can even remember showing the Narcissist an article about how it has been statistically proven that women need other women friendships in their lives. The article discussed how the simple process of talking about a problem between women decreased cortisol levels in the brain and helped women feel better even if no solution to the problem was found. He read the article and then told me that I have a tendency to want to play “the victim” as a way to get sympathy and love from others, and that it was really unhealthy and I should work on that.
Towards the end as I started to come out of the fog of the abuse and his mirages, I vividly remember fighting with him and saying “everything is such a big deal when it happens to you and I have to be there to support you and care about you through it all, but every time I have had to endure something hard and difficult – I’ve done it alone.” The conversation always ended with the confusion tornado and I would come out the other side being blamed for not caring about his needs and being insensitive to what he was going through… and I would apologize for all of it… for not doing enough for him when he needed me, and for not being strong enough to deal with my own shit.
What a mind-f*ck Narcissist.