My point-of-view from being in a eight year relationship with my narcissist ex-boyfriend.
The first thing I thought about when moving on from my breakup was, “Will I find someone else?” There were so many things I was unsure of with moving forward. The second question that I pondered was, “Will I be able to truly love as hard as I did the second time around?” I was extremely vulnerable in my first relationship. I opened up to him even though I was always terrified to do so with other people who were main staples in my life. I let down my walls and let him into my world. Unaware that I gave him the power to destroy me completely. Looking back on the relationship there were a ton of red flags, but I ignore them all willingly. I was in an awkward place in my life. I was nineteen almost twenty years old and I had never experienced falling in love before. Meanwhile everyone else around me seemed lightyears ahead in the dating scene. I read a lot of books and watched many rom-coms but somewhere along the way I grew impatient waiting on my prince to come. He never came. Throughout middle and high school there were a lot of false alarms, but no one was ballsy enough to ask me out. I came to believe that the problem was me. No one was interested in me. I proved better to be a friend than a girlfriend with almost all the guys that came around me. It sucked. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind being a friend at all but I wanted someone to look at me with nothing but admiration and love. Someone I could look at and know that there’s someone in the world who loves me and wants only to be with me. After dating my ex-boyfriend for close to eight years, life gave me a hard reality slap. I remember feeling for the longest time like I was on the outside watching myself in that relationship. Unable to do nothing but watch things play out and feel helpless in those rough moments. I mentally woke up right before the relationship ended. I remember feeling on the verge of having a panic attack many times toward the end. When I got out, relief was the only thing I felt for months. Just pure relief and clarity. For so long while I stood in the pitfalls of the relationship the feelings would bubble towards the surface wanting an outlet to escape. Finally as I was in my car driving away from our apartment together, I felt relieved that I one hundred percent had my life back.
That wasn’t the truth though. Even though physically I was finally away from him, mentally I was already ruined. Post traumatic stress disorder is a real thing. It’s one of the most confusing and depressing things I’ve ever experienced. In the final months of living with my ex-boyfriend I felt drained and hopeless. I was depressed, working thirty hours a week and in the midst of it I was mentally drowning. I would have start to have panic attacks throughout the day. I hit bottom mentally and I knew that. I felt it. Throughout these flooding emotions the one constant question seems to surface the most. "Doesn’t he see me drowning?" I remember one-night, while we were still a couple, lying in bed looking over at him laying up browsing on his computer, I asked him why he never took care of me as I’d taken care of him? He looked so agitated by my question. I was agitated by my question. I wondered to myself about why I even had to ask him. I know that I’ve communicated throughout the relationship what I needed from him to be secure in our relationship. I needed for him to compromise with me. To give more and not just take from me constantly. I wanted him to give me attention and not just demand it for himself. I felt lost. What was worse was that he made me feel unworthy of these things. Around the end of our five out of eight years of being together I realized that I wasn’t as hopeful about our future together anymore. The promises he made, the abuse I suffered from him, the happiness was fading away. I started to be numb to everything.
I reached the lowest I could fall. I cried over the situation so much that I knew I had to tell someone. But honestly, I didn’t feel like I had a real support system. The reason I left home in the first place was because I was fed up with my family situation for multiple reasons almost as stressful as my relationship drama. My childhood best friend was the first and only person who came to mind, because she never gave me a reason to believe my secrets with her weren’t safe. I remember telling my best friend how he was hurting me. I told her everything and that was the first time I felt that feeling of pure relief. It felt good after feeling trapped for so long. He never told me I couldn’t leave or anything like that. In fact, most of the time he pushed me towards the door like he wanted me to make the decision to leave him. I felt like I couldn’t walk away. As crazy as that sounds that is a real thing. I felt loyal to him. LOYAL! I was emotionally abused. The girl who grew up with five brothers and a military veteran as a father. I was the girl who couldn’t walk away. I felt loyal to this person despite all the pain he put me through. I felt that walking away was no longer an option after the first couple of years. I told myself we were young, naïve and still learning and that things will start to turn around as we grow older together. I believed those thoughts for five-six years until I saw that things weren’t getting better with time but that they were getting worse. I remembered thinking to myself that staying in the relationship might kill me from having a heart attack or a panic attack from all the stress building up on me. One day I went to a bookstore to do research on my ex-boyfriend behavior and I discovered he had all the traits of a narcissist. The word had come up a few times in our relationship from my ex using the word against me to put me down and make me think that I was one. I never really knew what it meant until I read about it. I was scared and unsure. Scared because it wasn’t a positive thing, it was sort of evil and I would have to come to terms that the first person that I shared so many of my firsts with was a bad person. I was unsure about my feelings and about myself. I was the one who pick him, who chose him. What did this mean about myself? I was conflicted because at this point in time I knew I had to walk away. But I stayed.