“The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Saturday, February 6, 2010
How women allow emotionally unavailable men(narcissist) to destroy them
I can just imagine that you probably started reading this issue with your tongue sharpened to objurgate me for making such a statement. But let me share a personal experience with you before I delved into the central focus of my article.
There was a time when I was in a verbally abusive relationship with a narcissistic man who found great pleasure in ranting obscenities and profane invectives at me effusively. He would launch a tirade at me completely unprovoked. His bout of anger made me very apprehensive about calling his phone or even talking to him because of his labile rampages and tantrums. It was as if he had problems and he was using me as a valve to vent his frustrations. A psychologist friend of mine was very amused when he learned that we were only seeing each other for a week and he was behaving or rather our relationship sounded like we were together for years. It did not stop there. The more I got close to him and demonstrated my feelings for him. The more obnoxious he became.
I remembered his first attack. It was our second time conversing on the phone. I found his petulant response to my opinion of his professed single status as unbelievable and he had excoriated and shut me down for insinuating that I was a liar. Everything about the man was incredible. He was almost too good to be true and I fell in love with him, with most men I could decipher what their intentions were towards me but my ex narcissist was unreadable.
The signs were very clear I just kept overlooking and falling for his kind words, saccharine tone and the romantic text messages he sent. I saw his obnoxious behavior as a desperate attempt by him to act humble. I posit the first subtle obnoxious statement he made was just an overreaction to my questions or he had a bad day. I did not think that it was the real side of the man, slowly but surely emerging. I imagined his possessive attitude and portrayed insecurities as profession of his softer side. It felt good that a man of his caliber could be jealous of a woman he barely knew. I presupposed his jealous responses to my outings and dates with friends were proof that he was smitten, oh how naïve and paltry my masculine assessment skills were.
I thought he had feelings for me. I believe that he was truly lovesick when he was hasting to consummate our relationship even though I wanted to wait based on the fact that I thought our relationship was moving too fast and I wanted to get to know him more. But I gave in under the misconception that he wanted intimacy to reassure his place in my life and to cement his right to ask me questions about my life, whereabouts and companions. I found the idea intriguing, amused and sometimes frightening. A small voice in my head kept telling me there was something wrong with this handsome, successful man with a bad temper.
His paroxysms got worst and I could not placate him. I tried talking to him in a less confrontational attitude and attempted a docile approach to his advances. It was not sufficient. It was as if he had a wanton desire to insult and depreciate me. He excoriated me gushingly and it seemed the more abusive he was, the more I endeavored to emend my behavior to be the best possible spouse.
I validated his opinions to the point where I began to believe that I was annoying him. I began to embrace his confounded yet fragmented notions of my self worth. I began to think he was unhappy with my appearance or was it my financial status or level of education. I decided to cease from using technical jargons and erudite terms in his presence. I perceived that he saw my intelligence as a threat to his ego as I was considerably more trenchant than he was. I kept modifying my behavior and expressions but it was futile.
My narcissist ended the relationship and I was devastated because I had invested immensely in the relationship. I cried for months and I flung myself into a chasm of depression. I was slowly becoming a Limerant. I spent hours recollecting our moments together and analyzing every detail of our private moments to see if there were areas that could have been improved. I felt as if I had did him wrong in spite of the verbal abuse and insults that I was subjected to by this handsome, successful yet grandiose man.
It was six months later when i got my epiphany when the narcissist began to seek out my companionship again. I quickly realized that I liked him for what he represented and not for who he was. I realized that I was in love with a shell and how good it felt parading him in front of my friends and siblings as my partner. I realized that I liked the idea of the man and not the man himself. I saw in him the characters that I needed to develop and I assume that he saw in me what he is not and will never be. He was arrogant whilst I was unassuming. His self confidence was luminous and he had a commanding air about him that made me want to cower in his presence and do his every bidding. He was my match, the only man that intimidated me. I conceded that if he was perceivably poor and unattractive I would have dumped him at the first sign of trouble.
My point basically is that I am not a self righteous female who is here to accuse you of digging your own grave. I am not here to retraumatised you or lambaste you for remaining in an abusive relationship when all signs say that you should leave. I did not stay with him because he was not hurting; it is not that I did not care about myself. You will discover that ironically women stay in hurting relationships because they do care about themselves. They sometimes become an extension of their partner especially if he is a narcissist with the attendant wealth, power and clout. They do not leave because their image and social experience would be damaged. They do not leave because we live in a society that merits people based on aesthetics and financial standing. People who are considered wealthy and attractive are subjected to far more lenient social judgment and highly enhanced social experiences.