I love old pearls of wisdom, delicious tidbits of advice that goes in one ear and out the other. One of my favorites is “Look before you leap,” and don’t forget the classic “Trust your gut.” I am bringing these bits of knowledge up because I keep kicking myself that I did not take fair warning from them. I did not trust my gut and I did not look before I leaped. I had my eyes closed.
In the beginning, when I met my husband, he was wonderful. Perfect, too perfect. We liked the same travel spots, music, history, TV shows. We even shared some of the same mannerisms, even doing fake British accents. I called him my “male twin.” This relationship seemed to be a match destined to be. However, I was unaware of the calculating cruelty that was lurking under the surface of his seemingly calm waters. You see, narcissists hook you in quickly, they use charm and sweep you off you feet. Then after they have you under their spell, they change just as rapidly because they cannot keep their mask secure. This is the phase commonly referred to as “love bombing.” Our romance moved at lightning-fast pace. We met, got engaged after three months and married four months later.
Looking back, that was a crazy thing to do, and after all, “hindsight is 20/20.” (Just thought I would throw another “pearl” in there for you.) I chalked up the cyclonic engagement and marriage to convenience and necessity. When I met him, he was already en route to begin a new job in a different state and would be gone in a few months. I told him that I would not be a live-in girlfriend. Thus, I rationalized that since we were so well suited, we would be an exception to all those doomed married couples who rushed to the alter before really knowing each other. However, I should have seen the obvious issues bubbling to the surface before walking down the isle. But I was immersed in the syrupy haze of the fairy tale.
He had expectations and conditions prior to marriage. He made me give up certain friends that he did not see as acceptable. Then, he insisted that I delete every male acquaintance off of my facebook account. If not, then he would call off the engagement. He said that it was neither respectful nor appropriate of me to have any male friends, just as he did not have any female friends. He did not even have a social media account and he hated the idea of me having one at all. So I had to fight just to keep my account because he felt it was intrusive on “our” privacy. I rationalized that since his ex-wife allegedly cheated on him, that was the root of his vulnerability and hypersensitivity. I truly believed that he would mellow out in time and really trust me. However, that proved to be terribly wrong. I should have questioned more seriously as to why he did not even want me to add his parents or his brothers to my facebook. He claimed “that his family members would meddle with our marriage and try to cause trouble because they were still in communication with his ex wife and their 4 year old daughter.” He would tell me stories of how his parents wanted him to work it out with the ex for his daughter’s sake and that he resented them putting their noses in his business. Shameful. After much research, I now realize that this kind of paranoia, hypersensitivity and jealousy are a few of the telltale signs of NPD, as well as blaming others for your problems. He NEVER took responsibility for his actions. But that is the topic for a future blog.
That should have been enough to tip me off that he was bad news, but I blindly believed his excuses. I thought I should give him the benefit of the doubt. But then it got worse when he began pressuring me to go off birth control right after the wedding. He insisted that the point of marriage was to begin having a family. I agreed. But I also stated that I was not ready, and since it was MY body, it should be my decision. I told him that I wanted to spend some time with him, just as a couple. I thought it would be wise to have time to get accustomed to the big change of living together and getting to know our way around a new city and state. I suggested that we could try to start a family after a few months, but he would not hear of it. He argued that “why are we getting married then if you don’t want to start a family right away?” He guilt tripped me severely and trapped me into sacrificing some of my values and beliefs. Next, he insisted that I sleep naked. Which I thought was very odd but figured that would wear off after the honeymoon phase. It didn’t. He would whine about me wearing pj’s daily, until I eventually gave in. He would twist my wish of wearing pj’s into me not wanting to be close to him. At the time, I figured it was a compromise to make my husband happy. However, it is not a compromise when it means that you must trade your values, beliefs or comfort level in exchange for another’s desires and wants.
You see, I looked but I did not see. There were signs everywhere that there was more trouble than meets the eye in this early stage. Therefore, I leaped into a marriage without really seeing the red flags. If I would have just opened my eyes and trusted my gut, I would have saved myself a ton of heartache. Listen to old adages, they have withstood the test of time for a reason. It may save your life one day. Now what are some of the signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Stay tuned.