names have been omitted in this post
I hopped into the den where my mom was sitting on the oversized taupe couch watching Shark Tank. I loved that show, it was one of our regulars we watched. The room was dim with just lamps lit and the flatscreen flashed across from her on the wall. She turned toward me and noticed I was hopping on one foot wincing in pain.
"What the heck? What's wrong with you?"
She asked incredulously.
I made a grimace "My foot is what's wrong. My toes, my feet... they keep cramping. They won't stop. One minute I'm fine, the next I feel like my toes are contorting like little gymnasts. This is ridiculous!"
She sighed "Well... when are you going to go do something about it? I told you what the problem is." She chastised me. I continued hopping on my left foot hoping some relief would ensue.
"I'm sick of this... " I told her. "It's everyday now. I feel like my name should be Hippity Hop… Hip Hop, please make it stop!" I remarked with sarcasm. She laughed and nearly lost her hot chocolate she was sipping.
"I had the same problem when I was eating gluten." She told me "I'm telling you there is a link. Since I went gluten free I don't have foot cramps anymore. I used to be up all night in tears because of them. The gluten is keeping you from absorbing the vitamins and minerals you need. That's why you're getting the foot cramps. That's why no matter how much Vitamin D you take your levels don't go up. You need to go to the doctor and get re-tested for celiac."
"My doctor retired." I replied.
Another sigh and look of exasperation
"You are so stubborn. You need to make it a priority THIS year to find a new doctor and GO!!!" She stressed to me.
"Alright... I'll do it."
I said resignedly and winced as I
continued my hopping dance around the den.
Unlike going to the doctor to see about whatever ails us and seeking a "fix" either through diet, medication or exercise… using that philosophy to fix a narcissist or sociopath just doesn't work. Unfortunately no matter what we try to do there is no magic pill, therapy or twelve step program to cure narcissism. Stubbornness on their part isn't the issue. The truth of the matter is... they aren't changing and we will see zero change unless we are the ones who implement it.
When I was dating my ex (at nineteen and then again at 22) he was so good at listening to all my past. Likewise he was good at playing on my sympathy card. Narcs have our deepest sympathies initially. His father had passed the summer before we met. As he pleaded to my sympathies of how horrifying and challenging it all had been... I saw an angry hurt young man who was so easy to talk to and was opening up to me. With my own childhood I could immediately relate to the anger part. That played a part in bonding us. And I saw a young man who was in awe of me. My biggest fear ever was being cheated on in a marriage. I told myself: He won't ever cheat on you. You can be sure of that. He has you on a pedestal and loves you too much.
It was clear he did... I mean, he said and did so many of the right things, right? At first. After Jeremy walked away in complete frustration at my lack of opening up and voicing my feelings for him I found myself rationalizing, believing the most absurd things about my one day husband and in that also one day ex like: Well, he's the "safe" choice. He's not in the least a wildcard. He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke, he has a good work ethic, he is crazy about me. I may lack chemistry on my end with him but the care, love and solid friendship should carry us through and really… I mean, who needs chemistry too? Isn't that overrated?
What a fool I was.
At nineteen what do we really know?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
You can make an enchilada with partial ingredients but guess what? It won't be as good as the one with everything in it. For success you must have it all.
Having a life application bible on a bedstand does not make a Godly man. Having pre-martial sex does not make a Godly man. Having an abortion does not make a Godly choice. It's a choice for sure. Not a good one. I wasn't seeking God so I wasn't seeking a Godly future husband. I had signs flashing before me. I just wasn't noticing or realizing the truth and enormity of them. He was so good... so good at making it like he needed you. He needed me in his life he said. Your sympathy and empathetic instincts kick in and you want to nurture him, (or her) make him feel loved, healed and adored. Because he (or she) has voiced so many times that you make his life better, you are so out of his league, he is the lucky one, he is the one who is blessed, he is the one who never deserved you. You are so far up there high in the sky like an angel whose been promoted you are blinded by the stars in his eyes for you. But wait... because eventually one day you will endure shock and bruises. One day you will be falling to a very dark and dismal place because he (or she) will yank the pedestal out from under you. And when you fall suddenly the tables will turn.
THE PREY AND THE TARGET…
They prey on your need to be loved. Especially if you never had that from your mother or father. (We really need to love ourselves before we seek a relationship with someone else) They prey on your need to empathetize. They prey on your need to fix. They prey on your need to help. They prey on your sympathies and need to listen. They prey on your need to put all that pent up love you have into someone. They prey on your cheer leading skills. They prey on your need to build others up. They prey on your need to follow rules; knowing you won't cheat on them, you will always listen to them and you won't pull anything shady, outrageous or illegal. They prey on your need to heal them.
They prey. That's what they do.
They are hunters and you are the target.
One day you find yourself viewed by them as old hat, passe, out of date, washed up, worn out... you get the idea. That's now you in their eyes. They suddenly strut around like a proud rooster; their ego fluffed like cocky feathers flying in the wind. You wonder what the heck is happening and why the sudden attitude change. It's like your planet has shifted. Suddenly you can do no right… you, the man or woman who at one time could do no wrong. Suddenly everything you do or don't do is wrong, annoying, boring, etc. With a narcissist, like eggs, eventually you've gone bad, you're past your use by date and now the punishment phase begins. Maybe the silent treatment. Cheating, Adultery. The gas-lighting, the stone-walling.... whatever they decide to pull from their arsenal of weapons they do and you stand there blinking in bewilderment at why they are treating you this way.
There is no fix.
There is no remedy.
There is no medication.
There is no therapy.
None of those things will work with someone toxic.
You aren't here to be someone's savior
however lovingly well intentioned and tried.
If it was only so easy to just send them to a doctor for a test, a shot in the rear and a cure. But it's not that easy. For many it means the daunting realization of having to leave or facing the painful reality of being left. But the good news is you CAN move on. Don't let them make you doubt yourself. You can change. You don't need someone at the cost of losing you. You are capable. Don't let them stop you. You are someone who has such a good heart, such a wonderful soul and that's why you were chosen by them. They saw all that pure empathy shining from your heart like a prism of color and beauty and they knew they had struck gold. Keep on... keep being golden… even if it's on your own.