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Listening to Your Gut – A Cautionary Tale July 30, 2012

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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My dear friend in Suffolk texted, “Very interesting article in The Mail on Sunday about a famous novelist and her very strange relationship with a very odd man…it definitely read like he was a Narcissist. I felt like I should write to her and try to explain what she was dealing with.” She added, “She does not mention personality disorders. Quite a famous writer over here.”

So, I read Why did I convince myself that he loved me? by novelist Lesley Lokko and published yesterday in The Mail. Yikes! It’s like watching a horror movie and wanting to yell at the protagonist to, “Get out of the house NOW!” If you’ve had a Close Encounter with a Narcissist you know exactly where the bogeyman is hiding – in plain sight.

It’s a very interesting read indeed in the “He Swept Me Off My Feet” genre. It also shows what happens when you avoid that feeling in your gut that something is not quite right. If you’ve got time on your hands, count the Red Flags.

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1. kiwigal007 - July 30, 2012

Another excellent story! Thank you Jan! Liked what one of the commenter’s put at the bottom “Is this it?” waiting for the next bit… This sounds so much like C in many ways that it is uncanny. C could never bring himself to truly say “I love you” and would rather write “Luv you” on his texts. Like James he was better at communicating through the internet or through texting and for the better part of seven years I have numerous ‘chats with C’ on my Gmail. I do not think that we have necessarily time on our hands but when we meet these predators they actually make you stop and take notice of them more than say the average guy or girl. They actually have you hooked on them that you start to think about more and therefore you start to fall in love with them far quicker than what you would normally do in any other relationship you have been through.

I have learnt now that should I meet another man down the track that if he starts to gloat about him too much or he starts to woo me really quickly without really getting to know me then I will tread on this with caution. It is very easy to be swept away with wonderful romantic thoughts and fantasties, really its really great but the big BUT is that we also need to see the person for who they really are and if we can put up with all their good and their bad sides, then maybe just maybe they could be the ones for us. Its a matter of finding that special someone that will make you feel good about yourself forever and not just for the interim or in my case on and off like a tap (faucet) and when it is convenient to them and not us.

I also really appreciate the old age saying “If something is too good to be true, it probably is” more so thesedays! :-D

So true. I believe that every time we have a “gut feeling” it’s our brain’s primitive response to feeling alarmed/violated in some way. Our more evolved and modern brain (there’s scientific jargon for all of this) seems to butt in and try to rationalize certain behaviors. We look for excuses for the bad behavior in trying to normalize it. But that’s just changing our point of view, not the behavior itself. We deserve better. Jan

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2. kiwigal007 - July 30, 2012

Exactly Jan! I would find excuses for C’s behaviour on a regular basis and sometimes would do it without even realising it. It is not until I stopped and read a letter after I had sent to you and Les once that I realised I was actually trying to make C sound like the innocent party. After reading that other article I sent you a link to recently, I have now become alot stronger for it knowing that it is NOT MY FAULT and it has taken this long to actually come to grips with that as I was still ‘punishing’ myself for believing that it was. I think that is perhaps my way of coping and that I started to believe C when he said “It is all about you”. In actual fact, what I have learnt is what they say to us is the opposite of that. It is all about THEM not US.

Shell,
You deserve better. If you stay with a N long enough, your thinking becomes distorted. You become more pliable and willing to believe that you are in some way at fault, when nothing could be further from the truth. Jan

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kiwigal007 - July 31, 2012

6 and a bit years on and off and seven years in total of knowing him. I was like putty in his hands which is why I know you used the word ‘pliable’, they can mould you to whatever they like. To be a Narc though, you must have to also be a very good person to be able to do this. If I were like this myself, I would not be able to live with myself. No wonder alot of them experience shame and disbelief especially after they had put you up on a pedestal expecting you to be the most amazing person for them. Once reality kicks in, they devalue us pretty darn quickly! C was very cunning and it probably gave him great pleasure whenever he saw me sad. Of course again he would I was talking out of my ar** but you are right Jan, after awhile we start to believe it is us, we start to lose that special spark that we had in the beginning that may have lured them in, we become almost infected by them and cannot shake it off and it becomes inbred into our system. YUCK! cough cough! splutter splutter! :-S

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3. Trapped - July 30, 2012

Very poignant article. Every sentence describing this man is one I’ve experienced, right down to the line of “I prefer to communicate through text.” Why is that? Is it because they are so lame they don’t know how to word their next sentence, so text affords them the time to think, or is it a control issue? They can decide if and when they want to respond? The other thing that struck me was how he controlled the times they saw each other, that it was on his terms, not hers, as though his time was the most important. Ditto for me. Even though I work full time, go to school full time, have two kids, and have a bunch of volunteer stuff I do, this bozo, who works 20 hours a week, at most, was more “busy” than me and called the shots. Never again.

Trapped (you should add :No Longer: to the front of that),
This is not the type of N my “friend” was, at least to me. But so many people who have commented have been through a similar experience. One minute they were idealized then they blinked and were discarded.Texting are usually short and full of emoticons. It’s one way to “communicate” without really having a two-way conversation. Just a thought. Jan

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kiwigal007 - July 30, 2012

So true Trapped! C would often say he was busy and often could not make time for me during the week due to his study commitments (had he not learnt the art of time management?) and I was working full time myself back then. I am now busier than ever yet I managed to actually see him at any time as I MADE the time and that is where the difference lay. I agree it is a form of control, they want to be able to be in control of how often or how little they want to see you. If they came to see you, they kind of expect that you will drop everything in order for them to catch up with you otherwise you are going to ‘miss the boat’ so to speak.
The hard thing that I got was working in with him and not us. If I had an appointment for something or rather I would find myself checking to see if it was OK for C at that time. OK yes at one point perhaps we did live out of each others pockets but most of the time I found myself checking with him if that appointment time was OK around his schedule. He never thought to do the same with me and when I had him on about something once, he thought I was being a bit ”too precious” so again things fell back on to me again… Yes Trapped…. Never again!

We MAKE time for what and those we love most. Jan

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4. CZBZ - July 31, 2012

“He was happy to have met a woman who came with her own cash as his ex-wife had apparently taken him for every penny.” ~excerpt from story

Gosh, I hope people will start seeing lame excuses like this as a Red Flag. Divorce is financially devastating for women. Where are those rich women living the life of luxury? I haven’t met one, yet.

Whenever a divorced man tells me that—I see red.

Hugs,
CZ

I believe the key word is “apparently.” In retrospect, I wonder how much of what the N told me was even remotely based in reality. Whatever makes for a good story or will get you where you needs to go becomes The Truth. Jan

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5. Tracy - July 31, 2012

It’s amazing, isn’t it? Once you’ve gone through this & come out the other side- just how easy it is to now SEE it?

I think that part of the issue is definitely how we react to these people (our own, sometimes codependent background or lack of healthy boundaries). Our fantasy is based on these dysfunctions & we see what we need. I believe that is why we ignore our “gut”.

Once I worked on those issues, in me (the only one I could change), I was able to see her for who she was & leave.

I’d say Ms. Lokko was “luck-o” that he left as he did.

Luck-o indeed! She mentioned that she’d just lost a lot of weight and felt like she deserved a Prince Charming. Unfortunately, she was ripe for the pickin’. Jan

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6. shoutabyss - July 31, 2012

Sounds like a scary book. I’ll look for it. And then I’ll tell you every single thought that went through my mind while reading it. :)

Shout,
Please…don’t. :) Jan

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7. Lesley - July 31, 2012

Dead right Tracy,

Although I think Narcs are notoriously hard to spot… in the aftermath you’ve got to do some work on why you chose to ‘ignore your gut’.
We cannot restore these people to ‘normal’ or what we would like them to be..
In trying to heal the unfixable we can become stuck.
The testament to Narc recovery is a happy life,well lived.
Les

Living well is the best revenge. It’s also what we need to do to make ourselves whole and happy. Jan

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

Hi Jan/Les,
Nice to meet you in this blog also))
I totally get the ‘control’ of communications of a Narc. Their time is infinitely more precious than yours. And whilst you may make time, compromise or sacrifice for the Narc, it is a one way transaction!
I think the author is very brave in confronting her own vulnerabilities and berating herself for not trusting her instincts.
I think I’ve said something similar in the part 3 blog. ‘Why was I vulnerable to the Narc?’ We all have to face this uncomfortable truth!
Jan, you really struck a chord on revenge on a Narc. Let me share this with you about my Narc. What really bothers her, is how past partners somehow find happiness and love and stability in their subsequent relationships. It drove her insane with Envy and I dare say it was the worst Narcissistic wound there was. And it was easy to see why, the uncomfortable ‘truth’ about her own flaws were exposed by the ability of ‘others’ to form real relationships. People now whole and happy, sharing mutual trust and respect in real relationships. Phil

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8. MillyRad - August 1, 2012

While the dude in the article seems to be more of a somatic narcissist than a cerebral one, I still can’t help but make some assumptions that this must be what my ex friend’s girlfriend must be experiencing. She rearranged her entire life to be with him. She used to live in a major metropolitan area and had friends and family nearby, but arranged with her employer to telework so she could move to the small city where I live. While the girlfriend does seem to be a bit “off,” in my opinion, she doesn’t deserve to be treated badly.

A good thing about having been involved with a person like my ex friend is that I have learned quite a bit about myself. I’ve learned that I have some emotional triggers that may cause me to speak or act on pure feeling instead of working to accurately assess a situation. I’ve also learned that I seem to have trouble seeing the fine line between finding the best in people and ignoring my gut feeling. I’m still having trouble with the last one. :/

Milly,
I think what’s most important is to “listen” to our gut and acknowledge what is making us uncomfortable/uneasy. Only then can you proceed “with caution.” It’s only human to look for the best in people, but that “best” has to also be evident in their actions. I have a great postcard on my fridge of a woman reading a HISTORY book. It says, “I’m not cynical. I’ve just been taking notes.” :) Jan

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phil835 - August 1, 2012

Milly,

Never ignore your ‘gut’ feeling, it’s there for a reason. I went against my ‘gut’ feeling and gave N the benefit of the doubt, the rest is history and not a happy one! Phil

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9. Catherine Sherman - August 5, 2012

I read the only three comments on the story (as of Aug. 5, 2012) and all three didn’t seem to think this was a compelling story, because the author seemed a bit clueless even now about what she was dealing with. That’s why it’s so important to keep publicizing the “red flags” of a Narcissist. Many relationships don’t work out, but relationships with an N will never work out because the Narcissist has no intention of having a real relationship. Sadly, some of these relationships start out seeming to be the most promising because the N seems so into us! Nothing could be further from reality!

The commenters wanted to pass this off as a relationship that didn’t work out, big deal, they said. Part of the issue is that the “couple” met while the man was on vacation in her country, so it’s easy to dismiss the relationship as a vacation romance that should have been left at that. Another aspect was that he was a pilot. Of course, he’d have a woman in every “port”. How dare the woman leave her port and visit him in his. No big deal, some might think, while not seeing the pattern of behavior as typical of a Narcissist, not a pilot. (Although pilots have the perfect lifestyle if they are Ns. A woman I know is the daughter of a pilot who had one family in California and another in the Philippines, which was his route. Neither family knew about the other for years.)

It’s obvious, the readers who commented weren’t getting the big picture — that the man was a Narcissist, and this was a cautionary tale. As I wrote above, I’m not sure the author, Dr. Lokko gets that the man is a Narcissist and still seems baffled. I wish she would have talked more about what she and the pilot did and talked about, if he didn’t ask questions about her. What made her think he was into her? That would be helpful for us to know. He did call her Doctor, although he didn’t ask what her doctorate was in. She seemed very pleased that he called her his girlfriend so quickly. Vacationers can spend a lot of time just taking in the sights, eating, etc., without probing anything too deep. But Ns are masters at hooking you without really making any real emotional commitments. They have a script of what works, and they stick to it!

Cathy,
That’ll teach you to go off on vacation again. LOL This article reminded me of when I read the Steve Jobs biography. H E L L O ! These personality traits are characteristic of a narcissist. I would have thought an editor would have read this and the lightbulb would have gone off, but so many people just think, “What a jerk!” It’s always important to be leery of people who swoop into your life and whisper sweet nothings (literally) into your ear. Especially when later these sweet words only appear in a text (perhaps with a romantic emoticon?). Jan

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kiwigal007 - August 6, 2012

As I read Catherine’s comment I keep hearing Cliff Richard (Sir) in the back of my head singing Summer Holiday!! Catherine you raised some very valid points in your post and in many respects it sort of makes me think that Narc’s see us as a bit of a holiday romance, preferring not to get too deep and meaningful for us, just having a casual fling and not delving into anything that means c-o-m-m-i-t-m-e-n-t with us. This is (well I think so) important to remember and if a man is all nice as pie and totally into us within moments of our meeting, we need to really stop and take a good hard look at things. Think about what his ulterior motive is and why he is treating us the way he is. My N was happy as a samboy for a long time with me but the moment I started to want to get serious things started to get rather hairy and he would retract. It is hard to recognise at first, I understand that because we often want to show our best sides to our new mates. But if it continues and things are not taking on say a more serious level or things are not actually advancing further or really going anywhere, we really need to stop and think about things and like this post says.. “Listen to our gut” and then from there we can work on whether this relationship is for the best or not. It is a toughy and I can appreciate that it will take a bit of time but I think our guts will tell us when things are not right or things are not sitting as they should be as it moves along.

I hope this made sense!

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10. Catherine Sherman - August 5, 2012

I just re-read the article and noted that they did spend a lot of time traveling together. Travel can mask a lot of deficiencies in a relationship. The glow of a beautiful locale transfers to your traveling companion. You also spend time planning meals and routes. You’re on an adventure.

Dr. Lokko said the pilot talked a lot about himself, so that can take up a lot of time. She was probably happy to listen and learn about him. I’m sure he had some interesting tales. When he got to the end of his tales, and the conversation was going to be about their relationship, it was time for the pilot to parachute out.

You’re right about travel. When we’re not on our own home turf, sometimes what is strange can pass itself off as exotic. The logistics can overwhelm seeing things for what/how they are. As a veteran traveler you would know. :) Jan

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kiwigal007 - August 6, 2012

Having travelled on various trips and what not with my former Narc I agree it does actually mask alot of the narc’s behavioural patterns. The setting like Catherine suggests can put them in a wonderful mood for romance and for enjoying time together where there isnt the pressure of bills, work, family, friends etc.. back home. Taking a holiday with a Narc can be fun, it can be exciting and at the same time you feel like the luckiest woman or man alive because they are relaxed and when they are relaxed they make you feel relaxed and together you will enjoy this period that you have together leaving all those stresses of life behind back home. I learnt alot about C when we were away, he would open up more to me and he would drink more too which was actually a bit of a benefit to me as he was a nice drunk not a nasty one. C would share things with me that he perhaps wouldnt usually and I actually enjoyed those times spent with him. It sounds like the author I know and its true, but yes once the holiday is over, the mask comes back on and you are faced with this insecure weirdo who is filled with so many hangups that you wonder if this is that same person you have had a break with. But thats the thing, do we want to be associating with these sorts of people and can we put up with the changable moods day in and day out?

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11. kiwigal007 - August 6, 2012

and yeah they will talk to you till the cows come home.. of course what better way to entertain someone but to talk about yourself…of course a Narc could not wish for anything better and on holiday too!

But then you start confronting them about you and them and they kind of get all shifty in their seat, they start to squirm and want to run away, if you start to see that, then its you that needs to start running and fast!!

Have a great day everyone
Hugs
Shell xxxxxxxxx

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12. Lesley - August 6, 2012

Coincidentally,just read latest bit from Baggage Reclaim about why we need to get these ‘Blowing Hot and Cold’ individuals out of our lives….As follows;

http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/why-theres-no-point-being-with-somebody-who-blows-hot-cold/?

Just to mention Jan,noticed on homepage of Baggage Reclaim(on left and tagged in green is an offer to all established bloggers of a free? review copy of her latest book…(Shell,sent you link too)

Light Shine,
Les

Thanks so much for the link. I do enjoy this site and did just submit my contact info. “Hello. My name is Jan and I’m a blogger.” I felt like I was at a meeting of Bloggers Anonymous! Jan

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13. Catherine Sherman - August 6, 2012

I’ve been thinking more about the travel analogy, and am starting to see the N as someone who looks at everyone as a temporary traveling companion, like someone you meet on a cruise or a tour, someone regularly seated at your table. You know you’ll never see these people again, but they are fun to talk to. Sometimes we learn more about these strangers than people in our everyday lives. And people you meet while traveling probably feel the same way. The difference is that normal people will still value these “temporary” friends and possibly would continue the friendship if feasible, while the N sees everyone as disposable when the “trip” is over. In an N’s case, the trip (relationship) ends when the “N supplier” no longer is entertaining or wants too much.

Cathy,
I think you’re onto something. On an actual cruise, the time frame is such that the adventure is usually over before you have the time to become totally bored with one another. Exotic locales. All you can eat buffets. And you do know it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see the friends you’re making again. You know that this will all end ahead of time. That can be freeing in itself.
In an actual relationship, Idealization is the exotic cruise portion of the cruise. During the Devaluation, you travel aboard the Mayflower in stormy seas. For the final Discard, you find yourself on the Titanic where your “love” has jumped into the lifeboat leaving you to go down with the ship! Jan

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Lesley - August 6, 2012

Loving your examples Jan…!.I my case I found myself cruising on the’Love Boat’, then when I confronted- it was like’ Mutiny on the Bounty’ swiftly followed by me being the only passenger on ‘the
Marie Celeste’ (LOL!)
I’m glad to be on dry land for a while….thanks for that lifeline you threw me!

Lesley,
I now know all about the Marie Celeste! Thanks for my “continuing education.” Jan

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