Loving a Crazy Person can Make you do Crazy Things…

Part of the abuse cycle with a Narcissist (and other personality disorders as well) is the crazy-making or gaslighting. Through this tactic, the Narcissist distorts your reality so much that you end up jumping through hoops to give them what they want and achieve their approval. As time goes on, you know that something isn’t right yet you can’t explain it logically or even really grasp exactly what the problem is because none of it is logical… so you start to react with crazy outbursts as a way to express the frustration that you are feeling. The craziest part is that after you do this the Narcissist uses your outbursts as examples of how you are the unstable and the crazy one. You look back on the entire experience and question yourself and your own rationale because you did do something crazy… maybe it is really all your fault… and you are back to square one.

Loving a Narcissist is one giant mind f*ck and I have done some crazy ass things in the name of loving the Narcissist that were completely out of character for me. At a family cookout yesterday we started talking about one of my cousin’s weddings which I actually attended with the Narcissist. I got really really drunk and we all laughed about the fact that the “Cousins table” lit a napkin on fire during the father daughter dance… but I think back on that event and remember so much more.

November 2011
Getting the Narcissist to willingly agree to attend a family event was becoming more and more of a struggle. There was always a reason, there was always some form of ‘rationale’ as to why it was better not to, and sometimes it was just so damn difficult on me that I avoided it all together. However, for whatever reason, he had agreed to attend my cousin’s wedding with me. We had known about it for months in advance and as the weekend finally approached I can remember him expressing frustration over the entire thing. Having to buy new clothes to wear to the event was a huge inconvenience… having to stay at the hotel overnight was obnoxious, having to attend a wedding over Thanksgiving weekend was ‘rude.’

I remember the real conflicts bubbling up while dress shopping for me. You see I didn’t ever get to shop on my own. The Narcissist accompanied me to purchase everything from bras to work clothes to workout clothes and everything in between. I made the mistake once of venturing to the mall and picking up a few things without him. He hated them all, guilted me hardcore for not appreciating him (“most women don’t have husbands who love them enough to want to shop with them, or who care about fashion at all… and you just take me for granted!”) and eventually I returned all of the items and apologized profusely. Over time this resulted in me feeling like I didn’t really have my own sense of style or the ability to express myself through clothes because everything I owned was essentially picked out and approved by The Narcissist. He would sit in the dressing rooms with me, he would instruct the sales clerks to get me other sizes or colors, he would run the show.

The Narcissist also had a habit of putting things off the last minute which drove me into a state of anxiety all the time. I am a planner; I like to do things in advance, I like to be early, I like to plan ahead. Its never been compulsive, it’s been healthy and normal and has contributed to my success over the years. The Narcissist used this against me though, and would say that I had a real problem with my Anxiety and that I needed to be able to “go with the flow” and “not be so controlling all the time.” How ironic.

So, that is how, I found myself during Thanksgiving week trying to find a dress to wear to my cousin’s wedding. It was actually the night before Thanksgiving, and we had 1 hour until the mall closed. We had to leave the morning after Thanksgiving to go to the wedding so I literally had 1 hour to find a dress and shoes. The Narcissist of course, had ordered his tux/suit months ago and had already had it tailored to perfection. I didn’t need to approve all of the Narcissist’s shopping because he obviously had a better sense of fashion and style than silly old me.

After visiting a few stores and having no luck, I started panicking. I literally didn’t have a backup plan – nothing in my closet was suited for a wedding on a mountain in November and we now had 30 minutes until the mall closed. I had just come back from 3 years on an island… If I didn’t find something I was literally going to have to wear a pant-suit or a sundress to the wedding. As I started to get stressed out, the Narcissist couldn’t deal with my emotions and started to get angry at me. At one point I was standing in the middle of the mall surrounded by Christmas decorations crying and borderline hyperventilating and The Narcissist told me I was acting like a selfish child and walked away from me. I of course chased after him pleading for his forgiveness and begging him to help me find a dress to wear. Somehow by the end of the night we ended up finding a dress and shoes which were way more expensive than what I wanted us to spend, but they were the only option. (You know, after the Narcissist convinced me not to buy several others that I liked because “they weren’t flattering on my body shape”… because I had gained some weight since our days on the island.)

We attended Thanksgiving with my parents, which we hijacked so that we could cook an all Paleo, all gluten free, all dairy free, all sugar free Thanksgiving dinner, which we were late for because we spent the morning flipping tractor tires across the front lawn. We woke up the next morning and went for a 5 mile run, and then had to pack for the road trip. By the time we got to the wedding venue and checked into the hotel it was late afternoon and we had only eaten a protein shake after our run. The Narcissist justified that we had such a large Thanksgiving dinner, we still had plenty of fuel to burn through today. We got dressed and ready and went to the wedding.

I actually felt pretty glamorous in my dress and shoes, I did my hair and makeup and felt awesome. I tried to take photos with the Narcissist but he didn’t like most of them for one reason or another. By the time we were seated we decided to order a bottle of champagne for the table and I started drinking. The whole table was drinking with the exception of the Narcissist – he doesn’t really like to drink and I have never seen him drunk, ever. He will slowly sip on a few drinks throughout the night but always remains in a state of awareness and control. Since I couldn’t even eat the bread on the table it seemed like forever before I finally got some food into my system, and we were a few bottles of champagne deep by that time. Someone at the table mistakenly put their cloth napkin down on top of a votive candle and our table went up in flames. We were all laughing and having a blast.

Eventually after an hour or so of dancing, the room got too hot for me – there were several fireplaces going and a few hundred people crammed into the space, and all of a sudden I needed some fresh air. The Narcissist took me outside and sat on the chair lift at the bottom of the hill, breathing in the cold air and laughing about the napkin fire incident. I can remember telling him how drunk I felt and that I hoped I didn’t get sick and he was busy trying to shove his hands up my dress. For whatever reason, this really got to me at that point in time. I can remember saying to him that I didn’t feel like he loved me, and he was making me feel like he just wanted to use me for sex. We got into an argument which I am sure my drunken state made impossible to navigate… and at some point I told him I was going to the bathroom and I walked away. After I went to the bathroom I decided that I had enough, and went and found a seat on the shuttle bus that was there to drive people back to the hotel.

I was asleep on the shuttle bus and he was apparently frantically looking for me throughout the reception. He eventually found me and convinced me to get off the shuttle and drive back to the hotel with him in the car. On the walk to his car, we started arguing again and I took of one of new expensive shoes and threw one of them at his head. I threw the other one at the side of his stupid car. Eventually he got me into the car and spent the next 20 minutes searching the parking lot with his phone light trying to find my shoes. When we got back to the hotel he dropped me off at the front door and went to park. I thought I was going to find our hotel room and got hopelessly lost. I wound up sitting in the ice machine and vending room on our floor where he later found me asleep. He got me to our room, put me in the shower and brought me ginger ale, water, and snacks from the vending machine and then went to visit the after party so that “people wouldn’t be worried about us.”

The next morning I awoke to one of the worst hangovers I have ever experienced. When I finally was able to stop puking we went and got in the car for the 2 hour drive back home. He wouldn’t stop for coffee or bagels or anything that would have actually helped me (because Duh, I wasn’t allowed to eat those things… even if I was ridiculously hung over)… so I spent the 2 hours sipping my bottle of water and being lectured about what a horrible terrible no-good wife I was.

Some of his key messages were that: I might be an alcoholic, I have serious anger issues that I need to work on, I don’t love or appreciate or respect him for the amazing husband that he is, I don’t have any respect for nice things… i.e. my shoes, His car was going to need to be waxed immediately to get the scratch off the door from said shoes, he had to cover for me in front of my entire family, he had never been so embarrassed before, and he no longer trusted me to drink at all, ever. By the time I got home I was actually feeling pretty guilty, pretty reckless, pretty freaking crazy.

At the time, I let him convince me that I was bad, I was wrong, I should apologize to him, and I should make it up to him. I let him make me feel guilty from there on in, whenever I even wanted a glass of wine. I let him use this as a reason to why I shouldn’t drink, and as fuel for his campaign about how he was suffering in an angry marriage with an angry woman.

I look back now and I see that I was at my breaking point for the last several years of my marriage. I was clinging to the edge of a cliff for dear life. When my brain couldn’t process the things that were wrong, and the abuse that I was dealing with… my emotions started to go crazy. The littlest things would set off an avalanche of pain and suffering and unhealed wounds that were caused by the Narcissist… and every time I gave into those emotions, it would only give the Narcissist more evidence, more proof, more tangible events that showed that I was really the one with the problem… I was the one abusing him.

It was a no-win scenario… either I could vent the emotions that were bubbling up inside of me and be convinced that I was the angry and unstable one… or I could bottle them all up and continue to suffer and feel crazy and risk one day really freaking exploding.

15 thoughts on “Loving a Crazy Person can Make you do Crazy Things…

  1. So spot on! My husband looks like an angel to everybody who knows (?) him, so the method you describe above worked like a charm on me: him distorting my reality, my emotional outburst in response to something I knew was there but couldn’t put my finger on, the crazymaking… And, like you, I totally didn’t see it for what it was at the time. Sigh.

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  2. “On the walk to his car, we started arguing again and I took of one of new expensive shoes and threw one of them at his head. I threw the other one at the side of his stupid car.”

    “The littlest things would set off an avalanche of pain and suffering and unhealed wounds that were caused by the Narcissist… and every time I gave into those emotions, it would only give the Narcissist more evidence, more proof, more tangible events that showed that I was really the one with the problem… I was the one abusing him.”

    Since D Day, 3 months ago, this is all I have heard. I am “emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive”. “I am a bully and intimidating”. Today when I was apologizing YET AGAIN for an embarrassing situation last week where I hid his car keys because I was so angry at his blank stare at me when I was sobbing over all of the intrusive thoughts I continue to suffer due to his sexual exploits. He acted indifferent and said he needed to leave for a Dr Appt. I hid them for about 5 minutes, talked myself down from a total melt-down and apologized for acting so “crazy”. In today’s conversation he compared this incident to RAPE. “WHY would you EVER do anything to restrict my movements when you KNOW about my childhood?! Do you know what that made me feel like?” I again said yes, I know it was wrong and crazy and controlling. “NO, IT WAS ABUSIVE, PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE, YOU ARE AN ABUSER! SAY IT! SAY YOU ARE AN ABUSER!” he yells.

    If I didn’t learn it before, there is no doubt in my mind that it is a mistake to admit any fault with the PD. Every apology I have given for anything, especially since D Day (when I discovered HIS cheating, mind you NOT him discovering MY cheating, of which there is none) has been used against me, rejected, used to fuel the argument that I have done bad things too so we can’t JUST focus on his cheating.

    Note, since D Day, I have spent more time apologizing for past mistakes (things that happened years ago) than he has for his infidelity spanning 20 years and spending the majority of our retirement.

    mind.f*ck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ReadyforRenee, so sorry to hear that you are going through something similar. It can be IMPOSSIBLE to even have a rational conversation with someone with NPD or other personality disorders, let alone get them to admit fault for anything. It is hard to never get acknowledged for the pain and suffering that you have been through, or for the good that you have done… and it is even harder to never here “I am sorry” for all of the terrible things that they do.

      Through my relationship with the Narcissist I did more crazy things than I can remember. I acted irrational, I acted crazy… I literally acted like a drug addict whose sole survival depended on getting the love I craved from my Narcissist.

      It is just one of the many ways that they play their game of control and manipulation… it is just one of the ways which they convince you that you are the crazy one.

      I hope that you are healing from the trauma you’ve been through and are on a path to much better things. ❤

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  3. I am divorcing an unfaithful possible bpd, and the title of your post here is correct, and I’m deeply sympathetic. I’ve done many things I regret because I took my wife’s behavior personally. But ultimately I’m the one who did those things, and I’m the one who stayed in the relationship, and I’m responsible for both.

    I’m sorry about your husband. He sounds like a mean, controlling, judgmental jerk. But you have to own your actions. You threw a shoe at him. That’s abusive. You did that. You got so drunk you were puking the next morning, and while you were drunk you freaked out at him (you yada-yada’d that part in the retelling) and then disappeared in a highly drunken state. Any partner would be worried and most mad at that. He didn’t force the champagne into you. You did that. And whether you have more general issues, you certainly were drunk and angry. I don’t think you get to healing by just blaming him without noting what you yourself did and could do again if you aren’t vigilant about the situations you put yourself and mindful of your own behavior.

    @Readyforrenee: same take home message. I’m not saying you should have admitted this to your obviously scumbag husband, or that you should apologize over and over, but you have to admit to yourself–taking someone’s keys is abusive. And I’ve done the same as you. I’ve been reactive. I’ve apologized for every past sin while my wife shows no remorse for her bad behavior over the years much less the heartbreak caused by cheating. But I didn’t just find myself there. I put myself there. And I won’t truly be out unless I admit that and deal with it.

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    1. OwningUp, thanks for reading and thanks for your comments. I apologize if this post came across as me blaming The Narcissist for my behavior as that was absolutely not my intention. My intention with this post was to show how out of character my own behavior had gotten as a result from being in that relationship. The pent up anger, the feeling like I was never allowed to express myself, the desire to drink that much as a method of escape, the absolute absurdity of it all. The point was to show the ugliness of where I had gotten to in that relationship. I made those decisions, I did those things, and I feel like a complete fool looking back on them. The reality is that version of me was the result of years of abuse and mistreatment… and not the “normal” person I am.

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  4. Im sorry even here you get scolded. Yep drunk and out of control is dumb. Being scolded to the point of sobrieety out if guilt…. That’s not what a partner does. Everyone makes mistakes. “Normal partners” support you as you learn from the consequences. Narcs use them to enforce their own consequences. That’s quite different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just me, yes, very different. I am certainly not proud of many of the ways I behaved during my relationship with The Narcissist. But there is something to be said for living your life in a constant state of panick, and always being in “fight or flight” mode. When you drink and I imagine its the same if people use drugs – the flood gates sort of open up. You have to be so in control all the time to appease the Narcissist that you just kind of break. It was messy and it’s something I would never do again, but The Narcissist held it over my head for years to come.

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