The INFJ and the Narcissist – Part 9

tiny clogsThere are many books offering guidance for new moms.  Someone needs to write the book about how to coexist with a narcissist who takes no interest in the joy of a new life.

While she buried her head in the books propped up on her swollen belly, she avoided the voices that told her she was alone in this new venture.

___________

Some women crave pickles and some crave mint chocolate chip ice cream.  She had cravings, too, but they had nothing to do with food.  She had a deep craving for the sound of his voice asking her how she felt or if she was afraid.  She craved his touch.  She wanted – needed – to be held and comforted.

He rarely looked at her.  She noticed that as her waist expanded, he looked at her less and less.  Out of desperation, she pointed at her stomach and said, “I’m sorry I look like this.”  He said, “Well, what did you expect?  That’s what pregnancy does to a body.”

She hid under shapeless dresses and XL shirts.  Standing next to her in the kitchen, he looked at her and said, “There’s barely room in this kitchen for the two of us.”

 

She made lists of baby names – without him.

She planned the nursery – without him.

She kept the details of her doctor visits to herself.

 

She made excuses for him.  “He’s from a different generation,” she told herself, “a generation of fathers who didn’t go to doctor visits, or talk about Braxton Hicks contractions, or fold onsies.”  She didn’t discuss whether to buy Dreft or if they should consider cloth diapers.  All those decisions were left up to her.  “That’s the woman’s domain,” he said.  “I’m too busy at work.”

She should have seen the pattern – that he was just as disinterested in planning for this baby’s arrival, as he was in planning their wedding.  She should have seen that if it wasn’t going to be about him, he would have nothing to do with it.

 

He stopped asking her to go hiking or float rivers.  He couldn’t be expected to slow up his pace to allow her to keep up.  “Besides, no one wants to see a pregnant woman in a bathing suit.”

 

Yet when she ventured out, in all her pregnant glory, she’d run into someone who would literally gush at her about the wonder of this new life.  “It’s all your husband talks about,” they’d say.  “He talks of baby names and hiking with a little buddy.”  “He’s excited about this second chance at being a father.”  She’d hear these comments and wonder why he didn’t say these things to her.  Why wasn’t he this tender at home?  Maybe he was frightened?  Maybe he was the one who needed comforting?

Maybe this change was hard for him?  How could she make him comfortable?

And so she put her needs aside.  She tended to the details of getting ready to bring a baby home.  She stopped wishing for tenderness from him.  She no longer craved the sound of his voice asking her how she was, or if she might be frightened.

 ___________

At 11 p.m. when she felt the first sharp cramps, she woke him and said, “I think it’s time.”  He said, “There’s nothing I can do for you, I’d better get my rest.”  She made sure not to make too much noise, so as not to disturb him.  She watched television into the night, but she kept the sound off.  At 5 a.m. he woke, came downstairs and asked, “How much time do we have?”  She said, “I don’t know, but I’m getting a little scared.”  He said, “Give me time to shower and check on some things at work.  I should be ready by about 8.”

 

To be continued …

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10 comments

  1. You filed this under Lack of Empathy. How about filing it under Being a D–k! (And that doesn’t rhyme with the F word (o: )

  2. Pat,

    A friend read this post and suggested that my next book should be titled, “I Married a Dick”.

    It seems that title surely would have been used by now. ;)

  3. Jesse,

    Yes to all of the above. It is the craziest thing that so many stories about Ns as spouses are almost interchangeable.

    It is heartbreaking and maddening to bring new life into the world with someone who barely notices and certainly does not seem to care about the toll or process let alone the incredible gift of that life!

    Ugh . . .

  4. Lynn,

    And it’s not until you step away from that N that you realize just how they aren’t like the rest of the world. But when you live it every day, you become desensitized. Your version of normal becomes tainted. You lose touch with what is human and right and healthy.

    But you know all that…

  5. Jesse,

    So true . . . It is also unreal how long it took me to stop hoping he would change. I tried every approach I could think of and nothing worked.

    I told friends who knew I was struggling that it was like living an unsolvable puzzle and yet I kept trying to solve it.

  6. Oh yes, I know all that! It wasn’t until I started talking about it…out loud…to others…that I fully realized the magnitude of my situation. The second guessing still happens and taints my normal, but good thing my gut steps in and intercepts my brain!

  7. “Maybe this change was hard for him? How could she make him comfortable?”

    Fell right into his trap. I know, because I’ve been in that trap myself. Sadly, I am at a point now that while I care deeply about others and whether they are well or suffering…I can’t take the chance of falling back into that trap, so I keep my distance.

  8. Sandy,

    My life’s mission is to make sure that my kids (and the other kids of narcissists) see the damn traps and learn to navigate them.

  9. Lol. I just directed a friend to your site to read a different entry- about gift giving. I was in the process of telling her that when it came time to deliver my fourth child (I was used to doing things all on my own), I actually had to split my midwife and my (now ex) husband up from chatting, meanwhile I was managing 4-10 cm all on my own. I even had to turn the radio on because no one was listening to me. This entry above could have come from my very own mouth. Its exactly my experience with a narcissistic husband, particularly when it came to pregnancy, childbirth and everything after. He was particularly jealous of the attention I received as a pregnant mother.

  10. Amy,

    Thanks for being here.

    More proof that they all act from the same script. I suppose that he was also jealous when the kids were the center of attention?

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