The INFJ and the Narcissist – Part 4

the infj and the narcissist 4The narcissist held on to his money the way he held on to his image.  When it came time to plan for a wedding, she knew that being frugal was equally as important as his need to look good.  He had made it clear that this would be a small, affordable affair.  This was his second, “after all,” even though it was her first.

He did not make it clear that the planning would be left entirely up to her.

 

Her INFJ qualities drove her desire for a more personal ceremony – she hated being the center of attention.  This suited his desire to be the focus.  Because he didn’t have many close friends and only rarely spoke to his family, the majority of the attendees were on her side, which conveniently provided him with an opportunity to look good in front of people who didn’t know him well.

 

Is it an INFJ tendency to put a positive spin on something in hopes that it forces that thing in a positive direction?  Maybe if she believed in this wedding and this marriage enough, it would be what she hoped for.   (She would later learn that her INFJ idealism would keep her in this relationship much longer than was healthy.)

 

When she told him how much she was saving by making her own dress, invitations, flower arrangements, and the cake, she hoped he’d be glad enough to help her with their special homemade wedding.  Instead he said, “Oh, honey, that’s stuff for women.  I’ve got plans to go hiking this weekend.  It’s the busy season at work.  You can do this.”  Her head told her that all men hate this wedding prep stuff, but her heart ached as she made her lists.

How could she know if his lack of interest in planning was really his lack of interest in her?

 

She stifled nagging doubts while hand-stamping the invitations.

She ignored the voice that said, “You’re making a mistake,” while embroidering and sewing her wedding dress.

She refused to listen to her gut while baking and decorating the chocolate-ricotta filled three-layer cake.

She cranked the music louder so as not to hear herself while arranging flowers and herbs into her bouquet and his bouttoniere.

She cried while selecting the playlist.

She downed Pepcid while sorting through the RSVPs.

She nodded her head when he suggested that they camp on their honeymoon.

 

And as the calendar brought them closer to that sunny afternoon in June, she started to feel something that was less like disappointment or fear, but more like embarrassment.

Why was she embarrassed?  Was she nervous about standing up in front of friends and family?  That is certainly an INFJ thing, but it was more than that.

Was she embarrassed about putting on a homemade, backyard, pot luck wedding?  (The pot luck part did embarrass her, but because of his budget constraints, if she hadn’t suggested pot luck in lieu of wedding gifts, the ceremony would have been an awkward affair with no champagne toasts or food to make folks feel like they hadn’t wasted a perfectly beautiful summer Saturday.)

Was it cold feet?  Maybe, but how could she know?

 

She felt embarrassed. In a moment of pure – perhaps selfish – honesty, she realized she was embarrassed to be standing in front of people she cared about, marrying a guy who cared more about how he looked than about the woman he was marrying.

 

The weather on the day of the ceremony was perfect.  If only it would rain, then she’d have a clear sign as to what to do.

She stared at herself in the mirror as the hairdresser styled her hair in a way that she hoped would make her look better than she felt.  As she looked at her reflection she heard a voice – part pleading, part screaming – “This is the only time you are doing this!  Is this what you really want?”  She paid the stylist and drove home with a sick stomach.

When she pulled in the drive, he was mowing the lawn – the lawn had to look good on this day.  The guests would start arriving soon.  She poured herself a glass of courage, dabbed concealer under her eyes and ignored the screaming in her head.

 

To be continued…

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14 comments

  1. Hi Jesse,

    You were expecting your ex would treat you as you treated him. Unless we have experienced the bait and switch, we rightly assume things will turn out at least fairly well if two people work at a relationship. That is an impossible IF though when dealing with NPD.

    If you did your best–which I think you did and do always–you can hang your hat on that and keep going dear. You are amazing! That is my two cents for today. ; )

    Warm wishes on a chilly day . . .

  2. Hi Lynn,

    Your two cents (and more) are welcome here any day!

    You are so right – we go in expecting the kind of treatment we so willingly give. It takes a while to realize that they – Ns – won’t reciprocate.

    It also took me awhile to get to the point where I believed I’d done my best and that there would be no change, and it was time to leave. Bless that day! ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

  3. THIS!!! “Was it cold feet? Maybe, but how could she know?”
    I was sitting in the chair waiting to walk into the garden room and onto the stage exactly how I had planned. Something was twisting my gut. Was it the statement he made earlier during pictures about if this didn’t work, we could always get divorced? Was it the nagging feeling that I was missing something? Was it cold feet? Since I couldn’t explain it, I blamed myself. It was cold feet.

    BUT THIS!!! “She felt embarrassed. In a moment of pure – perhaps selfish – honesty, she realized she was embarrassed to be standing in front of people she cared about, marrying a guy who cared more about how he looked than about the woman he was marrying.”
    The ceremony was beautiful. My son gave his vows to be a part of our family and his blessing for it. So many people were so happy that he would have a dad and my ex is a special guy for accepting him as a son. Then we went to kiss and after our lips touched, he backed away. The embarrassment overcame me…more like the realization that this wasn’t about marrying me overcame me. I covered with a funny gesture and moved on.

  4. Z,

    Even if we could go back and stop ourselves, we wouldn’t because of the children those marriages brought into the world.

    And there is that tidal wave that seems impossible to stop.

    And can you not remember TONS of those awkward embarrassing moments? The ones I always chalked up to my having too many expectations.

    But, Oh! The things I’d like to have told myself…

    For one, “Why did you make such a boring wedding dress? So you wouldn’t steal his limelight? Gawd, woman! You deserved so much more!”

    Or…. “Why did you agree to the lesser wedding ring? Have some confidence for Christ’s sake. Like he would have chosen NOT to marry you if you’d asked for the modest ring that you really wanted?”

    Or… “What’s with all the f-ing concessions and the accommodating and the settling? Get a backbone!”

    But I digress….

  5. But look at all we have learned in the process…
    Don’t settle.
    Listen to your gut. (and stop taking Pepcid!)
    Kids are the best teachers.
    Being alone isn’t lonely.
    The life YOU create is goooood.
    You are worth it. I am worth it.
    Say no…and fuck once in a while…
    Heck, we wouldn’t know each other if it wasn’t for them (Don’t tell them that!) and I am very glad that we do. ;)

  6. So I was reading over the comments and had one of those light bulb moments when I saw how at least 2 people were embarrassed by a Narcissist’s behavior. The MIL has embarrassed me, but she’s also embarrassed other family members as well. Maybe this should be a huge clue in when we’re meeting new people. There’s been lots of discussion by Thrivers on here about being terrified of inadvertently inviting another N into our lives…maybe we can add embarrassing behavior (or intuitively being embarrassed by their behavior) to all those characteristics to be on the lookout for…what do you think?

  7. Z.

    YAY! for us – for meeting and for the others we’ve met and the insights we’ve gained and the virtual glasses of wine we’ve downed.

    I like your perspective.

    Happy Thanksgiving, friend!

    p.s. I may have misread your second to the last line, but that’s probably my lens. (It’s been awhile…) ;)

  8. Jenn,

    Holy crap! I’ve been chewing on your quote since I read it…

    As I thought back over different interactions with Ns, I see that common thread – embarrassment for what they say, how they act, how they preen, how they are totally unaware of their space in a conversation.

    That’s SO brilliant! Thank you for that amazing take on narcissism. I’m going to be on the look out.

    Oh, the insights of bright minds!

    Happy Thanksgiving, friend.

  9. Oh God! I just read it again….I meant SAY fuck once in a while. I knew I should have put the “you” after that. The other isn’t discouraged though. bahahaha!

  10. Z,

    Whew! Thanks for clarifying!

  11. You are always free to EDIT my comments. lol!

  12. Z,

    They never need editing. ;)

  13. I cried when I was reading this. It feels so familiar. I know this so well. I hope you are at a better place now.

    Will you write part 5 as well?

  14. Flying Birdy,

    I’m in a WAY better place. Thank you for asking and reading.

    And yes, there are many more parts to come.

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