Narc Files: Hickeys

I saw a news story the other day about a boy who died after his girlfriend gave him a hickey. Apparently his girlfriend’s love bite caused a blood cot which traveled to his brain and he had a stroke and died. The story is horrifying and very sad, but the hickey topic jogged some memories for me.

The Narcissist always gave me hickeys. We had a pretty intense and crazy sex life so you would imagine that a hickey would pop up every now and then, but hickeys actually became something that we discussed on more than one occasion and even fought about on a few occasions.

You see the Narcissist loved to give me hickeys, or more so, The Narcissist loved walking around with me when I had a giant love-bite advertisement on my neck. While some abusive husbands hide their wives away and get jealous and angry with the thought of another man even glancing at them… The Narcissist wanted me to be his sexualized arm candy on all occasions.

The Narcissist loved his own image of being a “Sexual Demi God”, he loved to brag about our sex life, he loved to have me dressed very revealing so that other men wanted me, he loved to show me off at the gym in front of all his military guys, he loved feeling powerful through sex. So what better way to show the world that you have sexually dominated your wife than leave a giant hickey on her neck???

The hickeys weren’t really a big deal early on in our marriage (and that is when they were probably the most frequent)… I wasn’t working a corporate job, we lived on an island, we were still young… but I started having issues with the hickeys when we lived with my parents, I worked in an office setting and we were ~30 years old.

I started asking the Narcissist not to give me hickeys during sex and (surprise, surprise) he got mad at me. Well, in his words, he “was hurt that I was ashamed of our love.” You see me not wanting to have to wear a scarf to work meant to The Narcissist that I was ashamed to let the world know that we had sex. The Narcissist would then launch into an emotional campaign where he claimed I wasn’t embracing my sexuality and that sex shouldn’t be something that I am ashamed of. He would try to guilt me into being more sexual… try to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t see things the same way that he did.

When I explained to him that it made me look unprofessional, immature, and a tad slutty to walk around the office with giant hickeys he thought I was crazy. “No one would think a married woman is slutty for having sex with her husband.” When I told him that it creeped me out to have my male co-workers look at me, see a hickey, and then think about me having sex… he told me that I was crazy. There was even a time where he got mad at me for putting cover up on a hickey before work. I had to wipe it off and then take the cover up with me in my purse and apply it before I went into the office.

There are so many of these things that seemed so little and insignificant at the time because I was dealing with much bigger and much crazier things… but when I look back and reflect all of those “little things” really consumed my life. I was being controlled and used in so many ways that were painfully obvious and so many other ways that seemed like ‘love’ or like ‘caring’ or like being ‘protective’ when really it was all just a part of The Narcissist’s game.

So, I am thankful that none of The Narcissist’s hickeys ever actually killed me… but when I look back at it all it sure feels like he was trying to.

8 thoughts on “Narc Files: Hickeys

  1. I find it odd that he equates hickeys with sex. I mean, sure there’s a correlation but it’s not a given that if you’ve got a hickey you had sex; I tend to associate them more with teenagers making out. He was one strange bird, wasn’t he?

    I will say though that during our “reconciliation” after his EA the STBX loved giving me hickeys and stated outright that he loved the idea of “branding” me with them. It was very exciting for him.

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    1. SpaghettiSam, the correlation to sex part is my best guess knowing him the way that I do. It could have been something else entirely… I mean he also definitely has some Peter Pan Syndrome going on so perhaps he wanted to feel like a teenager again? Either way it was just another element of a F*cked up life I was living every day!

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  2. Wow! This brought back some memories.

    As for the hickey issue, my ex used to leave them too. I work in a law office and I also did not think it was professional or appropriate for a woman in her 30’s have a hickey. I agree that part of it is about sexualizing us and marking territory like you have mentioned above, but some of it is also about control. Something along the lines of: “Oh, you told me not to do this? It bothers you? Well I’ll show you who’s boss. You can’t stop me.” I think you’ll find most interactions with a narc come down to that basic premise. With mine I started to avoid telling him things I did not like because that was the absolute guarantee that he would go out of his way to make sure that he did them. I believe it was so I would learn that I had no control and no voice in the relationship. My preferences were of no concern and had no value and I better not dare to have any; that is a lesson that they must work to instill in us over and over again (and mine certainly did). It is one step on the path to keeping us quiet and compliant. One of many tiny examples of this: when my ex would leave his dishes in the sink when it was just as easy to put them in the dishwasher. He knew my preference for keeping the kitchen clean. The dish/dishes in question would be spotless, but he would tell me he was soaking it/them. Basically it was a power play and a punishment for me for having an opinion. It was so I would learn: “You’re not the boss of me.” Marriage to a narc is like a death by a million paper cuts. Most of the incidents on their own seem rather insignificant and almost too silly to even mention or complain about. It would make us sound nuts (so we keep it to ourselves). Yet cumulatively these millions of little things are smothering the life force out of us. Most of the incidents are so minor that they defy description but the underlying reality is so much more profound that it is hard for many people to grasp. I think the hickey issue is another one of the million paper cuts.

    I want to thank you for writing this blog. Your power of description and explanation is so vivid; I think you are doing an amazing job of painting a clear picture of life with a narcissist. It is such a nebulous thing to explain and most people won’t understand unless they live it. Yet here you have explained it in ways that I always wished I could, complete with the underlying sabotages and the behind the scene dynamics. Sometimes I find it painful to read your blog (which I actually mean as a high compliment) because it is so accurate it makes me remember things I had forgotten.

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    1. Laura, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your eerily similar experiences with your narc! This blog was born out of my struggle to explain why I was divorcing The Narcissist to the people around me. Many of my close family members had guessed at the things that were wrong but as I started talking about Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse most people had no idea what I was talking about. It has been a therapeutic process and a nice reminder of all the reasons why that could have never been a healthy situation for me to be in. Thank you so much for reading. ❤

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  3. My experience was somewhat similar yet opposite. My husband wanted me to cover up like if he could he’d put me in a box and take me around cuz he was not happy with a man (even if it was a colleage or uni friend) to smile or even say hi at me. He’d automatically become all insecure, posessive and start asking me questions. He was ALWAYS paranoid that someone was going to snatch me away from him even when I was with him 24/7 at one point even left my job.

    When I used to work he’d always be suspicious and call me up at work and start a fight for no reason saying all men are sleazy and I better be careful. And he’d question me about who was there in the same room / area as me in office. I’d have to give names.

    Its difficult to explain these kinds of situations to friends and family because this is not as easy as explaining physical abuse or cheating.

    I’m so glad you have been able to get away from this man and move on and make a better life.

    I’m still in the process.

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    1. thisbittermarriage, that is equally as horrible and frustrating. I can only imagine the stress and exhaustion that comes from constantly reassuring your significant other that you are not being snatched up by every person with man-parts. Good luck with your journey, I hope that you have the strength to get out and fine some happiness!

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