The INFJ and the Narcissist – Part 8

baby spoonShe hadn’t heard the ticking of a biological clock.  She didn’t have one.

She rarely babysat as a kid.  She never craved holding a newborn.  She didn’t know what to do around kids.  When she married at 33, she was pretty certain she wouldn’t be starting a family.  That was fine with her.*  He had adult children from a previous marriage, so he wasn’t pushing to start a second family.  She has no recollection of discussing babies with him.  Perhaps they both assumed that wasn’t on the table.

__________

 

As she looks back, she wonders if – in lieu of a ticking biological clock – what she heard were faint echos coming from a deep cavern.  “Helloooo up there.  Is this all there is?  Is this the amount of love you might ever expect to receive?”  And quieter still, the softest whisper that said, “Can you expect to survive on so little human contact or connection?”

__________

 

Around the age of 35, her marriage became more of a charade.  The echos became annoying rants.

Is it, then, biological to decide that having a baby would save them?  Is that what a biological clock does?  The clock’s alarm says, “There’s more to life than collecting pay checks, cooking dinner, avoiding each other on the weekends, and buying Christmas presents.  Have a baby!  Have a baby!”

Some keep hitting the snooze button.

 

 

She uncharacteristically suggested they have a baby.  She made a plan to have a baby.  She doesn’t recall that he required any arm-twisting.  Perhaps he figured – given their ages – that they didn’t have a chance in hell.

The Universe works the way it does for a reason.  She got pregnant immediately.

__________

 

Pregnancy puts women in the spotlight, whether they want to be there or not.  This doesn’t sit well with a narcissist.  It’s not particularly easy to annex a swollen belly, hormone fluctuations or mood swings.  Even the most accomplished narcissist would find it difficult to grandstand while purchasing onsies, and a bassinet.

But she was an optimistic INFJ.  Blame it on the hormones coursing through her veins, but she felt a sense of connectedness, especially when he agreed to go to her first appointment.

Maybe this new life would be the bridge.  Perhaps a baby would bring them together like nothing else could.

That would be the only appointment the narcissist went to.

 

*I’m exceedingly grateful – every day – that I didn’t let my doubts about my maternal instincts prevent me from experiencing the profound joy of having and raising Will and Jenny.

 

 

 

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9 comments

  1. I was about 10 weeks when I started spotting. He was in Thailand for work. I was scared and had to take my 10 year old to the ER. When he called later, he said, “well, if it wasn’t meant to be, it won’t. What do you want ME to do?” I knew then that was the only pregnancy this marriage would endure.

  2. Z,

    It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such an eloquent example of a complete and total lack of empathy.

  3. Sadly, there is more where that came from. :/

  4. Z,

    I’ve been away for several days. Spending a lot of time thinking. Big surprise there, I know. Pondering the difference between someone who lacks empathy and someone who is “just” inconsiderate. It seems that folks can get away with being inconsiderate by blaming it on their busy schedules. What does that teach our kids? Lacking empathy is more hurtful, sure, but being inconsiderate is becoming the norm. Could being habitually inconsiderate lead to eventually lacking empathy? “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m too busy to care about (fill in the blank).”

    Any thoughts?

  5. That’s an interesting question.
    Here are my two cents:
    For several years, I had an extremely narcissistic boss. A lot more extreme than my father was, actually the worst case of narcissism I have ever seen. That boss was absolutely unable to relate to other people. He loved to talk about himself, including his private life, and since I am a good listener, there was not much I didn’t know about him after serving as his “sounding board” (his words) for two years or so. And I am absolutely sure that this man would do anything to stay busy in order to avoid any kind of situation that would require a deeper kind of communication. Company outings were structured in a way that made real talk impossible. He always created a feeling of crisis around himself, and whenever someone asked for a raise or a promotion, he would put them off by saying that right now, the situation was difficult, but when the big problems would be solved in half a year or so, everything would get better and he would then really listen to them. Needless to say, that golden age when the big problems were solved never came. He used the same strategy with his various girlfriends. They would follow him around on company events like lapdogs, but he made damn sure that there were enough back-to-back meetings that he would never be forced to really acknowledge their presence.
    So long story short: While being busy all the time may eventually lead to a lack of empathy, I believe that many people keep themselves busy because deep down they know that they have nothing to give in other areas of life.
    My boss got fired a few years ago, by the way. And I am still here, thriving. :-)

  6. Jul,

    I read your comment several times. I kept envisioning different folks I’ve known who stayed busy to avoid having to give the “real” stuff. The noise of a busy/hectic life is the camouflage they hide behind. Sad that they are really hiding from themselves. Is it just me, or does it appear that more and more are wanting to hide rather than deal with real issues?

    Thanks for chiming in. Nice to know you are still thriving where you are. ;)

  7. This! “I believe that many people keep themselves busy because deep down they know that they have nothing to give in other areas of life.”

    It has to be that shallow outwardly interaction with Ns. They may have a lot to say about what you should do differently, how you are doing it wrong, and how you should improve, but there are no examples or sharing of their imperfections or bonding on that level at all.

    I have been guilty (and felt guilty!) of being “too busy” to deal with small talk or take time to be close to a neighbor or someone outside of my inner circle. Part of that was being emotionally unavailable. I had too much to deal with when I lived with the N to possibly take on anyone else’s needs, but that is not my norm. It was survival mode. I was hiding so I could deal with my issues. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with them.

    I think the most important thing to do is to show your children that even when you are truly busy, you can stop and help someone when they really need it. It doesn’t have to be all the time. It may be nothing more than lending an ear. The hard part is knowing how to balance your needs with the needs of others.

    Everything is a shade of grey, isn’t it?

  8. Z,

    I think grey may be my favorite color. ;)

    And I agree with you about what to show our kids. They need to learn how to manage a fulfilling life – with all kinds of happy, productive busy, but especially one that makes maintaining connections a priority.

    That being said, here’s to a weekend that is just the right amount of busy.

  9. Cheers!

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