It seemed to be the ideal relationship: he came from a beautiful country, Bermuda, and I always wanted to live in the sun.
I met him online and he was charming, came all those miles to visit me then love bombed me, took me out for meals, told my mum he was going to marry me, charmed my family, gave me a dream of a life in paradise.
Fast track three years and here I am, discarded for a newer model but now trying to be hoovered back into his harem, the posse of exes I had to deal with–possibly to triangulate me with the latest.
I’ve read so much about this disorder that I could possibly write a book on it.
But here’s the thing. After a stint at counseling, we drew a conclusion that my dad was indeed a narcissist and I was kind of comfortable in that maelstrom of a relationship as I had lived it throughout my childhood. The walking on eggshells, the controlling aspect, the devaluation and discard, and finally, with my dad, the discrediting all who would listen or believe.
I will give one example of the relationship with the narcissist. It was my 50th birthday and he decided to take me to Venice for a couple of days, as he wanted to then go to Germany to visit his sister. We arrived, found our hotel, then decided to walk to a restaurant for lunch.
Towards the end of the lunch, I got my phone out to Google what was going on in Venice that night. All of a sudden he said something along the lines of ‘on the phone to your boyfriend.’ I denied it and carried on then he got up and left, leaving me in the restaurant.
I had trouble finding the hotel on my own. Eventually, I arrived back and he was in the bath. We had a row then fell asleep. No plan was made for the evening so we eventually left for a wander around Venice in a foul mood with each other.
I said let’s at least get a peach Bellini in Harry’s bar, as it was my birthday. He took one look in and said it was too busy so I went in on my own and had a miserable 21 Euro drink whilst he waited outside.
The evening deteriorated from there. In a cheap tourist restaurant, we sat in silence. On the return to the room, he began to run me down when that had no effect he started to run my daughter down then told me to sleep on the floor. By this point, I had lost it and threw the nearest thing at him–a teapot. He threw me out of the room, in tears.
That was my 50th birthday evening: memorable for the wrong reasons.
Why is it that after I had left him I still wished I had given it one more go or been a bit more understanding?
It’s because he laid a well-greased carrot at my lap and played me for a fool, promising the world, delivering nothing.
Or is it that I somehow felt comfortable in this abusive cycle of idealise, devalue, discard, hoover type of relationship, as it was a blast from the past, a familiar pattern?
It’s only in hindsight that you can join the dots of your childhood to your adult brain and see patterns and relationships in a new light.
I am an ex-English teacher and journalist, now a business owner. I am educated to the Master’s level and well-traveled.