Narcissism Pisses Me Off

dropping-keysToday we skied like we could be Olympic contenders – in our dreams.  We laughed, inhaled fresh mountain air, and got that really good tired.  Then we came home and made fajitas, sat by the fire and watched amazing athletes compete on T.V.

It was a stellar day.

Why am I so agitated?

In the last few days, I’ve gotten emails from a woman who is agonizing over the chaos in her daughter’s life.  Her daughter divorced a narcissistic man five years ago, and this man is still making her daughter’s life a living hell.

I’ve gotten an email from another woman who found the courage to leave her narcissistic husband, but she doubts her decision on a daily basis, because this man continually tells her that she’s making a monumental mistake.

I’ve gotten emails from yet another woman who finds it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.  She has been beaten down by the drudgery of a life lived with a man who can only love  himself.

I’m agitated because I can’t do anything to help these women.

(Somewhere in this blog, I have got to make the point that there are narcissistic women out there, but right now, I’m just speaking for the women I’ve heard from, who have had relationships with narcissistic men.)

Why don’t I just ride off into the sunset and enjoy my contentedness?  Why don’t I just focus my energies on raising my kids, and establishing those necessary, healthy boundaries between my kids and their dad?

I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to resign myself to a crappy relationship.  I know what it’s like to tell myself that this is the best it can be — that this is happy.  I know what it’s like to think that this might be what I deserve.  I know the struggle to get out of bed.  I’ve faked happiness in the presence of family and friends.  I’ve put on the pleasant face, because no one would believe me if I told them that this seemingly perfect man was anything but.

I know that no one can tell you when it is time to make a change.  No one can fix it for you.  No one knows exactly what is going on in your home, your heart and your mind.

What I can do.

I can tell you what it is like on the other side.  I can tell you that there are so many more good days.  I can tell you what peace feels like.

Peace feels like a hot cup of tea and a warm cat on your lap.  Peace is the joy of sitting for a spell without worrying that someone will come flying through the door ready to attack you because you didn’t meet his expectations.

Peace smells like the lingering scent of spaghetti sauce after dinner with happy, contented children.

Peace is the knowledge that I am a good, kind, caring person — just the way I am.  Peace is found in realizing that I am good enough.

I can’t keep my mouth shut and not try to help because I know what it is like on this other side.  It is not scarier here than where I was.  It is so much better.

Simply put, this side feels better.  This is a tangible thing – felt to my very core.

In my marriage, there was this ever-present burning in my gut.  Whenever I’d feel the burning, I’d picture that corrosive gunk on the spark plugs under the hood of my car.  I’d have sworn that I had that same corrosive gunk inside me, slowly eating away at me.  As the gunk consumed me, I would lose my energy, my spark and – at some point – myself.

I’m agitated and pissed off because I know that it doesn’t have to be this way for these women that I’m hearing from.  How do we find an attorney that understands the caginess of a narcissist in a court of law?  How do we educate ourselves about the conniving ways that narcissists can manipulate us, and get us to change our minds about what is so necessary to our very survival?  How can we help each other through the scary process of leaving a narcissist?

I’ve been trying to drop some keys.  I know that if a bunch of us dropped some keys, many out there who might be helped immensely.

We want to hear your comments.

Please consider dropping some keys that might help those souls out there, searching desperately in the middle of the night, for answers and understanding.

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  1. Jesse, for anyone who pauses to notice, your life is a huge key for so many, even those of us who are not in a relationship with a narcissist. You have such insights. Beyond that, you’re willing to share them. And your gift with words makes the key you’re offering easier to touch and grasp. Guillebeau is right: we all ultimately have to unlock our own cages. The key is the thing. In another blog I’ve been following, the author speaks of problem solving as “addressing the gap.” In that blog, the gap could be viewed as Guillebeau’s cage; the method of addressing it would be the key. I love the cage-key metaphor. Here’s to key dropping everywhere!

  2. Thank you for your beautiful words. I could hardly wait to get home to read your blog. Even though you cannot fix anything for me — you are really helping me to fix it for me. It being my sadness, confusion and uncertainty . I am getting stronger day by day. And you are most definitely a real part of my healing. Thank you from all of us. We do appreciate your sharing. I’m sure it must be hard for you sometimes. I cannot think of adequate words to thank you.

  3. Hey Jesse,

    Thanks for the props and for sharing your experience so heartfelt and personal. That’s a key right there!

    all best,


    P.S. I have the world’s most IMpatient cat – she is quite the narcissist herself; I should send her over here to learn.

  4. This is such a wonderful resource, Jesse. You write with such eloquence and honesty. Yes, there are women narcissists out there–but why traverse that niche when you have so much fuel for the narcissistic fire right here.

    I think people relate to your situation because they would love to leave….people change when ready. Sadly, the majority of the narcissists change when “externally motivated.”


    Breathing and smiling for the ones that get away:).

  5. Linda,

    Thanks for commenting.

    You are right. I have my plate full with writing about the male narcissist.

    That’s what we hope to do here – shed light on the possibility of a good future without a narcissist.

  6. Thank you both for supporting a narcissistic-free future. I was looking for more material recently and found a site that was adamantly against leaving the narcissist (and divorce) and offered a fool-proof plan to work it out. It stated that they achieved success working together through their issues. My shock reaction was that he either is not truely narcissistic or she is extremely co-dependent.

    I found immediate calm and a much more manageable life instantly without a narcissist. Even through his attempts to reconcile, it was so obvious that his change in behavior was not sustainable or natural. Responses to my discussions were often in scripted sentence form. Awkward. Rigid.

    Of course, if anyone can achieve a positive, healthy marriage for both partners, I applaud it. In my experience, it was not possible. I do realize that there are different degrees of this disorder and that my ex is of the more severe. But I must attest that my life is better now. I am healthier and see a brighter future ahead of me. This is a great outlet for me (so much food for thought!) and I hope that all I have posted here helps another, even if they choose to stay.

  7. Zaira,

    Thank you for this comment.

    Your comments and experiences add so much.

    One day, I hope to deliver a hug in person. ;)

  8. This post gives me hope. Thanks Jesse and others for your wisdom!

  9. Lynn,

    You’ll be here one day, Lynn, on this side.

    It is really good here.

    I promise.

  10. Thanks Jesse : )!

    I believe you, and I am so looking forward to getting there!

    All the best to you and yours . . .

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