As always, sharing and reading other people’s stories might help you heal, it might make you feel less alone, it might make you feel better in some way. It makes me feel a special kind of camaraderie with my fellow survivors. Whatever it does for you is valid.
This week’s Survivor’s Story comes from TJ, 30-something, London UK.
• Tell us your story. How did you meet? How did you fall in love? What happened between you and your narcissist ex?
We met online as so many do in this day and age. He seemed smart, fun and like the serious kind of guy that was boyfriend material. He was different from the rest and I loved feeling spoiled and like I had found something ‘real’ for once.
• What was he like in the beginning and when did his behaviour change?
He was amazing at the beginning. He bought me flowers, held the door for me, pulled out my chair – it made me think chivalry isn’t dead! He took me to expensive restaurants, exclusive clubs and on posh dates. Not that I need those sorts of things, I love a walk in the park and a picnic, but I thought it must stand for something. That this man cares enough about me to spend money, that he was stable and that is all I wanted when I’d been with so many losers in the past.
• When did you realise that you needed to end the relationship?
Things started to change when I realised he wasn’t spending money and treating me to the finer things in life because he thought I was special. He was doing it because he was narcissistic. He loved himself and had to prove that he was a provider, that I needed saving. He changed when one day when he was bragging about a house he was buying I said I wanted to buy a flat. His attitude turned and he became competitive towards me and put me down.
• How did the relationship affect your physical and mental health?
For a while I felt that I couldn’t tell men that I’m a strong fierce woman who has a good job and who has ambition. I would often go on dates and work hard to not mention I bought my own flat in London and that I manage a team of 25 (mainly) men. But then I decided that this is the sort of attitude that continues to let these narcissistic men thrive. This is the sort of attitude that allows women to feel that they shouldn’t have their own goals and they need a man to make it in this world. I don’t need a man but I’m pleased to say that I have finally one and he loves me for every part of me, he’s my biggest fan and I love him.
• How did you get out of the relationship?
One day when I was 5 minutes late to dinner because I was working late he accused me of being a high flyer and having such an amazing job in a nasty sarcastic way. He then started sending me the weirdest things about his finances including his mortgage papers and his pay stub. As if I needed to know his financial situation. He was just so desperate to be better than everyone else he couldn’t stand the thought of someone outshining him. That’s when I said bye boy!
• Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Here is some advice:
Don’t let men hold you back.
Don’t let men make you feel you need to be subpar to them.
Don’t rely on a man, do it yourself.
• What would you like other women to take away from your story?
Not all men are narcissistic. Make sure you have the tools to call them out when you see it and you will find the right one!
Thanks for sharing your story. Once we know how to spot the signs, we can protect ourselves more easily.
If you would like to tell your story and be featured on my blog, feel free to get in touch.