I’ve mentioned it in other posts but, ever since D-Day I see things a little differently: Everything is either Before it all happened or After. Maybe that mindset will eventually change as more time passes but this is how my brain operates right now.
This time last year, Narc and I had been in therapy since January. I often felt worse after those sessions than better. I had checked out, emotionally, and was just going through the motions. I was constantly fighting tears and always on the verge of a breakdown.
Unaware of my marital state, my best friend Billie asked me to go to Disney World with her and her 5 year-old for Spring Break. A single mom, she’d asked me every year since I can remember but I’d always turned her down. I truly didn’t have the money… also, I thought it would be pretty crappy to enjoy a luxurious vacation like that without my husband. I just didn’t feel right about it, so I always declined. When she asked me last year, though, I accepted! I had severed all financial ties with Narc. I refused to support him in any financial capacity and I just needed a break for myself. I told him I was going to go and he seemed okay with it and even excited for me.
A week before the trip, Narc sent me a text while I was at work. It was a picture of a mutual friend of ours and his daughter. I “liked” the picture and he seemed to be bothered by it…
I was SO angry with him. We got in to a bit of a texting war.
Instead of continuing I called him right there at work. “Okay, let’s talk it out…”
“If this is really bothering you, you need to tell me why.”
“It doesn’t matter Laura. I’m the one that messed up, so I have no right to get upset when you do the exact same thing.”
“I didn’t do the ‘exact same thing’! I didn’t engage in a full on emotional affair with this man… I liked a picture of him and his daughter. I don’t like any pictures of him by himself. I don’t even follow his posts… We don’t message each other in passing. I only respond to the messages he sends me when he commissions me for a sewing project. There’s nothing inappropriate going on here.” The entire time he was making condescending verbal noises on the phone to reflect that 1.) he didn’t believe me and 2.) I was the biggest hypocrite on planet earth because, in his mind, I truly was doing the exact same thing that he did. (Google Blame-shifting and Projection).
We went round and round and I decided to delete the mutual friend in question. I also, get this, apologized to Narc. If it truly upset him than I would stop being acquaintances with this guy at all. This seemed to pacify him. After we hung up, though, he sent more “evidence” of my inappropriateness…
I didn’t bother calling him back. I had a meeting after work that night and didn’t get home until 8:30 or so. I was hoping it’d be cancelled because of the snow but, of course, it wasn’t. Without even giving an explanation, I handed my phone to Narc and showed him all the messenger exchanges between me and this guy. “See,” I said. “Nothing to be concerned about.” He handed me back my phone and in his arrogant, flippant way that I was all too familiar with said, “Well… messages can be deleted.”
I went from zero to 60. I yelled at him like I’d never yelled before. He was too drunk to remember my outburst on D-Day, but my reaction rivaled my anger from that night. I went right to the bedroom and began packing a suit case. “There is nothing going on between me and him and you F—ing know it!” I slammed clothes into my bag. “You’re projecting your guilt on to me and making me look like the bad guy! You’re the cheater! Not me.” By now I was crying out of sheer rage and frustration.
His face softened, “Okay… well… if you say there’s nothing going on than I’ll believe you, Laura.”
“There’s nothing going on!” I screamed. “There was nothing ever going on with me and any one else ever! I never wanted anyone else. I was always faithful to you! You’re the one that wasn’t happy with this arrangement. You’re the one that stepped out. And you’re trying to shift the blame on to me! I don’t think so!” I continued to pack.
“… please don’t leave.”
I almost fell for his act… “I’m going to mom and dad’s house. I should just move back in with them permanently! Even though this is MY HOUSE!” I screamed. “I pay for this house! I pay for everything! This is all mine, but that’s okay. You enjoy it while I leave!”
I think it’s safe to say my breakdown materialized that night… I stayed at my parents’ house right up until Billie and I were scheduled to fly out to Florida. Narc texted me a few times and I always responded but I ignored him the rest of the time… Finally, on Thursday night I asked if he wanted to meet for dinner so we could have a civilized discussion. We met at Olive Garden and I apologized to him. Again. Story of my life. I was sorry for yelling at him… but I was not sorry for why I yelled at him.
His response: “I forgave you before you even left.”
…Let that sink in for a second. Yeah. That didn’t sit well with me then… and it doesn’t sit well with me now, as I look back on it. I really wish I had acquired my knowledge on Narcissism earlier. This was textbook NPD behavior. All I knew at that time, though, is that he was still a jerk. But in spite of that instinctive feeling… I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind that maybe I had done something wrong…
I went back to mom and dad’s and stayed there until I flew out with Billie the following Monday. Narc drove us to the airport and we faked our way through marital pretense.
Billie, her girl, and I made it to Disney World and had a blast! Not even once on the trip did I log on to Narc’s FB account or his messenger App from my phone. This was a break from everything! I wasn’t going to worry about any of that… and I didn’t! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had so much fun on a trip!
5 days later, I returned home to a redecorated house and some other surprises from Narc. I softened and things were more peaceful than they had been… Life was still a roller coaster of ups and downs, though.
I wouldn’t know it for another 3 months but, while I was gone, Narc took advantage of my absence and was up to all the same tricks.