Life with The Narcissist had me on a constant quest for perfection. I was living in a state of always feeling like I wasn’t enough in some way, shape or form. I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, sexy enough, fit enough, loving enough, affectionate enough, smart enough… you name it, I felt it. No matter what I did and how much I achieved The Narcissist continually gave me subliminal and very outright feedback that left me feeling like the fattest, ugliest, stupidest woman on the planet. He also continually moved the goal to something more and more unattainable… when I lost 30 lbs and was the skinniest I ever was… he moved onto something else for me to ‘strive’ towards.
The Narcissist first threw out the idea of plastic surgery when I had lost a ton of weight due to his constant fitness regime and OCD eating style. I was marathon training which included weekly runs of 6, 8, and 12+ miles…and on top of my running I was doing a Crossfit workout daily. We would also vary the routine with endurance training in the olympic swimming pool…. so the workouts were intense to say the least. I was eating pretty strict Paleo diet, and my body fat was at the lowest point I have ever seen it. With all of the weight loss my breasts shrunk down to the smallest I can remember them since hitting puberty. My ‘normal’ before meeting The Narcissist was a C-cup and at that point in time I was wearing an A-cup. (Interestingly – when I gained weight again the first thing to get bigger was my boobs!)
The Narcissist started hinting that he thought it would be great for me to get a boob job. He would point out models or other women we knew, and talk about how great it would be for me to never have to wear a bra and always have perky large boobs no matter what my training did to my body. At the time I was able to push off the idea by saying that it was really important to me to be able to breast feed our future children and that I didn’t want to do anything to risk that… and then I ended up placating him by saying I would consider the boob job post babies.
After that, The Narcissist became obsessed with looking young and starting pressing me to get Botox. He said that I had heavy lines on my forehead and the Botox would help. I went along with the idea of the Botox mostly to please him. I settled on this one instead of arguing because it was not a permanent alteration of my natural features (Botox wears off within 3-4 months.) I still vividly remember sitting in the doctors office with him… (yes he came along to make sure that the doctor understood exactly what HE wanted to achieve with my Botox.) The doctor was explaining all of the details of what the Botox would do and where she would inject it and The Narcissist interrupted her to ask if she could also “Fix the line above her upper lip when she smiles.”
Unbeknownst to me, when I smile with a big smile, I get a crease above my upper lip. The Narcissist then asked me to smile so he could show the doctor exactly what he was talking about. I can remember sitting there feeling absolutely horrified that The Narcissist would do something like that to me in front of another person. He was literally pointing at my face like I was some inanimate object, asking the doctor how to fix me. I felt so completely insecure thinking… well he never mentioned this to me before… what else does he want to “fix” on my face.
The doctor must have picked up on how crushed I felt in that moment because she told him that she thought it was cute and gave me personality and wouldn’t recommend trying to alter it. When he pressed her further she told him that using Botox there could run the risk of me not being able to move my top lip at all… that seemed to satisfy him enough for the moment. (I am glad she stepped in, but if she was picking up on red flags I wish she had said or done something more.)
In the end, I did a few rounds of Botox, and a couple of laser face treatments but was able to escape going under the knife or doing anything permanent to my appearance (thank God.) I was in such a desperate place to please The Narcissist for so long, I think that if he had really pushed the topic I could have done it and seriously regretted it. Honestly, I did not enjoy the process of getting Botox either. It was expensive as heck ($500/treatment), for the next 24-48 hours I would have a killer headache, and then my forehead felt frozen for 3 months.
I have nothing against plastic surgery for people that want it… I just don’t feel like it is something for me personally. I want to look natural when I age, I don’t ever want to look plastic and fake, and I like the little unique things that make me look different. I am also a big proponent of natural and organic and holistic treatments for beauty and skin. All of the products I use are all natural, I do not believe in using chemicals… and I can’t imagine putting toxins into my body for such a vain purpose… its just not for me.
Interestingly enough, prior to getting out of the military, The Narcissist actually got a nose job. He had a legitimate reason in that he had had his nose broken several times in combat and he had a deviated septum and polyps blocking his airways. Since he was a big runner and avid fitness buff, having only 20% airflow really caused him problems. I was supportive of him getting the surgery, but quickly realized that he had other plans with what his “new nose” would look like. He ended up asking the doctor to fix his breathing issues, shave down the bump on the bridge of his nose, and remove some of the cartilage at the end of his nose so it appeared smaller. He ended up with a nose that looked vastly different than the one he was born with. I absolutely believe that The Narcissist will likely get more plastic surgery over time. He hinted on a few occasions that he wanted a more defined jaw bone and chin, and wanted to have the skin tightened under his chin/neck area.
I believe that a significant amount of torture that The Narcissist put me through was related to his own insecurities and feelings about himself. I think he projected a lot of that onto me by trying to make me perfect… because I truly believe that somewhere along the way he grew up feeling like he had to perfect in order to be loved. In so many ways, I feel that I bore the burden of his pain, his emotions, his feelings, the ways that he was raised… and this is just one example of it.
I am so glad that I made it out of that situation without getting any plastic surgery to please The Narcissist. I still struggle daily with the self-esteem issues that The Narcissist has left me with. I work very hard to not be so critical of myself when I see me in photos, I try not to pick myself apart when I look in the mirror… I try very hard to be nice to myself after being trained for so long to look at myself under a critical lens. So the other day when I was playing around with Snapchat and taking a few selfies, and I noticed that line on my upper lip… I just smiled…. and then immediately thought – I need to blog about this one! It’s a constant journey, and I imagine that there will be little things I am still working on years after leaving The Narcissist, but it is in the moments like this where I am reminded just how much happier I am to be standing here on the other side. ❤