Wicked Games - Me & My Narcissist
I forgot a lot of things in my life I never thought I would forget. But I know for sure the one thing I will never forget in my whole life is his smile. This bright smile, paired with those sparkling blue eyes.
When I met him I was devastated. I was standing in front of my shattered life. I felt lost and empty. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I met him a few weeks after I buried my father. My world was burning, but he saved me.
He took care of me. He showed me a world I didn't know. We went to crazy parties. We spent our days in bed, watching silly cartoons, eating pizza and pancakes. It was just us two being closer than anything else. The world behind our curtains was just passing by like blurry shadows. He invited me to fancy restaurants and cocktail bars in high buildings, where we watched the city nights all night long. Sometimes we did spontaneous road trips with nothing packed but our toothbrushes and a few sandwiches. He had a convertible car. I remember we used to drive for hours and I would just rest my head on his shoulder, watching the clouds passing by. He always surprised me with the destination. But it was mostly the seaside. Maybe because he knew how much I love the ocean.
In the first couple of weeks I didn’t even know if I wanted him. I liked him, but he wasn’t my type really. Still, I wanted to give it a go. He cheered me up. He distracted me from my pain. He wasn’t rich, but he still spoiled me, made our lives one big adventure. He gave me hope. And hope is a word so close to home. I guess he became my home. I would have never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like him one day. And so at first I didn’t noticed what was actually going on…
I always laughed and brushed it away, when his friends of many years said sceptically that I am the first girl that stays more than three months. They liked me. They said I was special to him, because I’m laid back and he can do whatever he wants. And that was true. I left him all his freedom. Whenever he said I should go for a few days because he needed space, I left. And whenever he said I should come back, I immediately jumped in my car. Sometime he went out with girls or I walked in on him and female friends, completely wasted from days of partying. I didn’t think of anything bad though. I knew the girls. I knew they were just friends. And whenever I was with him, he made me feel so loved and special that I could have never thought about him cheating.
Whenever I tried to make plans with him and my friends though, or plans related to things that I was interest in, he cancelled. I never said anything, I just followed him. He was right. My plans were boring. His were better. Why cooking at home, when you can go to a fancy cocktail bar? When I said something after all, he gave me a hug and kiss, saying he was so sorry and that he wants me to be happy. I forgave and forgot.
After a while the ‘jokes’ started. He began calling me a depressed Emo. He said I was always unhappy. He made jokes about me being unemployed. At first I didn’t care. We had our own kind of humour. But it got worse and to the point where he started hurting me. Whenever I tried to express my feelings though, he laughed and said it was just a joke. Whenever I got a job, as waitress or in a shop, he also made fun of it. I quit my jobs after a while, one after the other. However, he guilt tripped me because of my career plans, saying I couldn’t drive with him on spontaneous holidays anymore. And then the unemployed jokes started over…
I started cleaning his flat, because I had no job and he went to work. When he came home, he sent me away to my flat because he needed time alone. When I came back after a few days, he left me a mess to clean up. I knew by that time that something was wrong. I noticed how poorly he talked about his friends and family and that he was never truly there for them.
I talked about it with my friends and family. They all we saying the same thing; that he’s a nice dude, he just doesn’t treat me right. But I wanted to believe so bad that he did. I loved him so much. He said he loves me, too. I felt happy when I was with him. He was exactly what I wanted. My whole world evolved around him and so the struggles we had didn’t feel that serious. I excused all of his mistakes. He had a rough childhood. And anyway, I believed that someone who was able to give me so much love; someone I was so sure of that he’s my soulmate, just couldn’t be evil.
We decided to move in together. I wanted a cozy, affordable flat in the city. He wanted a big, fancy loft. We found one in an old industrial building. It was far from the city, in an area where we couldn’t just go out for a beer, or meet friends for a movie. We had to drive all the time. He started feeling imprisoned, even he though went to work. He changed.
He wasn’t nice any longer. He didn’t want to go on adventures with me anymore. Instead, he went alone. He started fighting about every little thing. I gave up my flat to move in with him, but he still sent me away from ‘his’ flat whenever he needed space. We barely slept together. He used me to reduce his anger. He made me feel small, so he could feel better. I became frustrated. But whenever I complained; whenever I wanted to leave, he changed all of a sudden. He danced with me through the living room, got me small gifts, planned romantic evenings. He played songs for me on the guitar. He started saying sorry again. And I forgave him every single time. I admired him for what he gave me and that he seemed to fight for his girl. I loved him so much. I didn’t want to loose my soulmate and what we had. He always talked about getting married, having a family, growing old together… Sometimes we just daydreamed about us being grandparents one day.
And I always thought that he was right about everything; about his jokes, about that I am nothing without him. Right with being annoyed by me, because whenever he would come home after a long day of work I would sit there, loaded with excitement and full of energy because I missed him all day long. No wonder that he didn’t want to do anything except watching TV or playing video games. He worked so hard. I cooked for him, did his laundry, gave him all my attention. I wanted to be perfect for him. But me always being around was clearly too much for him. He said I would imprison him. But I did nothing else than just live in the same flat. I even drove to my mom’s place whenever he wanted time for himself.
It was the end of April. He had barely been saying a word to me that week. Every night he went out to eat with friends after work. When he came home that night, I asked him to sit down. My whole body was shaking. I asked if he still loved me.
He didn’t have to think for a second. He answered with a flat ‘no’.
I couldn’t breathe. I started sobbing. While my whole world and everything we had built was breaking into a million tiny pieces, he just stood up and went straight to his computer. Within a second he was just gone. The only person that truly mattered to me. The person that I gave up so much for. Never would I have imagined losing somebody I felt that close with.
I moved out, but that was not the end. A few weeks later I received an endless amount of long text messages. He was so sorry - again. He said he went to see a therapist who made him realise that he was wrong about everything and that I was special. That I always stayed right by his side, no matter what he did and that he couldn’t even imagine, how I must have felt going through all of this.
We started dating again, but it never went back to how it was. And then it happened. He cheated on me. He apologised. He left me standing alone in the cold rain in the middle of the night after a fight. He invited me to go with him on vacation. He cheated on me again. He texted other girls while I was sitting right next to him. He gave me a ring. I was stuck.
When I look back now, I know that I dated a narcissist. With him my life felt like rollercoaster ride with immense highs and immense lows and almost nothing in between. But a narcissist doesn’t get into a relationship for love or to bond with someone they care about. A narcissist needs more attention than anyone else. His entire sense of self-esteem and self-worth is dependent on the admiration of others. They are feeling an ever present void that can only be filled by having another person to blame for their sorrow; someone who gives them all of their attention, affection and love.
A relationship with a narcissist always follows three phases.
First they are excessively caring and loving, showering their targets with attention and compliments, pretending to be a person that doesn’t actually exist.
Second. They become moody and blame you for any of their negative feelings. Then they start disappearing for no reason. I just couldn’t understand why he did this to me. Instead of running away, I was begging for his attention. But the more I wanted to understand what was happening, the more he pulled away. From being his one and only; his partner in crime, I suddenly became his emotional punching bag.
The third phase is him leaving for good. Some are strong enough to leave the narcissist before all the emotional abuse happens.
I wasn’t. I was left as an emotional train wreck.
Once you break free, you must close the door. If you don’t you’re headed back to a watered down version of phase one – over and over and over again...
Photographer: Jesse Herzog @jesseherzog
Models: Lucas and Cynda