It’s beyond my control…I realize that now.
You cannot control someone else’s behavior, you can only control your own.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist makes you feel that if you behave differently, it will stall or stop their maltreatment of you. You feel that your actions can help to control their cruel behavior. This is a false sense of control. You are stuck inside a cage. The narcissist is the one holding all of the cards, they are the puppet masters. You are merely a pawn in their game. Even if you do everything exactly the way they want, they will still find something wrong, something is your fault, or you could have done something better.
Nothing will ever be good enough for a narcissist. Therefore, you walk on eggshells because you never really know what will set them off. However, along the way, you have learned some of their triggers. Because when a narcissist feels offended, slighted, or not in control, they will struggle to regain that control by using a multitude of tactics like belittling, challenging, denying, raging, gaslighting, lecturing, pouting, threatening or giving the silent treatment.
As a result of this schooling, you are determined to avoid making these “mistakes” in the future and subconsciously go to great lengths to avoid stepping on these land mines again. This is how narcissists use abuse as a way to gain control over you. They may do it obviously or they may do it subtly, for example by saying “You look so much prettier with your hair down.” A seemingly innocuous statement, however, it lets you know that they want you to wear your hair a certain way. If you don’t conform to their expectations, then they keep mentioning it and eventually may even say that you don’t care if they find you attractive because you refuse to wear your hair the way that they like it. You are basically a dog to them. A dog that they don’t particularly like. They want you to be subservient to them. The narcissist is omnipotent, a god (in his own eyes). They expect ADMIRATION, RESPECT and COMPLIANCE at all times.
No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get it right. You are desperate to please, you find yourself constantly going to the narcissist for their opinion or help because you become afraid to make even the simplest decisions for yourself. This inability stems from the constant struggle you have with the narcissist not approving of your past decisions or opinions. So, to avoid any future issues, you just go to the source, so you “don’t have to hear it” if they disapprove of your choice, because they are going to be the final say on the matter anyway. For example, he would question my clothing choices for going to see his family or out to a restaurant. He wanted me to wear a dress every time. Even if it was a casual restaurant. He hated when I wore jeans, even though I always looked fashionable with high heels and a fancy top. He also hated anything that looked “like a hippie.” Well, that killed me because I am bohemian at heart and love that style. He tried to make me into something I am not. Narcissists strip away the strongest parts of you that they used to admire because it threatens their control over you.
It was exhausting to be involved in a narcissistic abusive relationship. Talking to a friend about my decision to divorce him, I compared my relationship to that of a horse with a broken leg. I believe that as difficult as it was, and how I hated to, there was no other option but to kill it and walk away. My hand was forced, it was beyond my control. For if I had stayed, I would have surely died inside. It was me or him. As much as I loved him, (the illusion of what he was and our future) I love myself more.