Many adult children of narcissistic parents end up having a lot of trouble in relationships. Friends & lovers alike use & abuse them. I’ve had more dysfunctional relationships than I can count, mostly with friends since I never dated much, but perhaps there was no more dysfunctional relationship in my life than my ex boyfriend/fiance. I’ll try to keep this short, but make no promises.. lol Honestly I’m still trying to work this situation out in my mind, so I may ramble.. please bear with me.
On January 27 of last year, I saw on the local police’s Facebook page that he killed his boyfriend then himself. I can’t even begin to describe the shock I felt! I had NO clue he was gay, let alone capable of murder! It got me to thinking a lot…
I was 19 when I met him, he was 28. I saw him at that time as stable- he’d had the same job for several years, rented a beautiful old farmhouse on the water where he’d lived for quite some time- & he seemed like a good person at first. Both of these were attractive to me. When he wanted me to move in with him about two weeks after we met, I took it as a complement, & moved in. When he said we WOULD get married (no proposal, no ring- just a demand) shortly after, again I took this as a complement. He also told me we’d have a house full of kids, even though I said I never wanted kids. (I tried to talk myself into wanting them off & on my whole life, but it never worked for me). I naively figured we’d work that out somehow if I stayed with him. He even let me get my first cat, knowing how badly I’d wanted a cat, & he came up with the name Magic since I brought him home on the day before Halloween, 1990. He paid for everything, saying he wanted to take care of me. In fact, knowing I would’ve loved to move to VA near my grandparents, he even offered to buy us a house there. He also offered to buy me a new car, since my car was 12 years old at the time. Never mind the fact I loved that car- he wanted me to have a new one, & that was more important to him than what I thought. I took it as him taking care of me. I’m happy to say I still have that car, by the way.. 🙂
We hadn’t been together long when he started to change, maybe a month. He no longer was so thoughtful & gentle. He became more demanding, bossy & critical. When he got angry, he screamed at me, sometimes for hours. Having only a few months before left my mother’s home where that was the norm, although it bothered me, it didn’t bother me as much as it should have, which seemed to upset him even more, especially when I’d start to fall asleep on his ravings… after all, I’d survived the best at raging, my mother- he was merely an amateur compared to her.
On the third month anniversary of our having met, I told him I was moving out the following day. I wasn’t happy with him. He screamed at me from around 8p.m until after 2a.m. He told me I was a fool- he made good money & took good care of me, & so much more. I honestly don’t remember anything else, because I simply didn’t care. Although I’d liked this man, I never loved him. Yet even so, his screaming that night left an impression on me. From that night, November 23, 1990, until recently, I felt incredibly guilty about our relationship. I never wanted a relationship with him, yet let him & a female friend of mine push me into it. I felt like I led him on by doing that, then later dashed his hopes of marriage & a family.
Then, I read about his death last January. Then, I saw a mugshot on that same Facebook page a day or two later. Apparently my ex had been arrested 6 days prior for drunkenly waving a gun at a young woman in his neighborhood. When we were together, my ex was rather handsome. He always reminded me of Tony Goldwyn in “Ghost.” His mug shot showed someone else. At age 51, he looked closer to 71. He looked bad- old, harsh & beaten down. Ok, it’d been 24 years since I’d seen him, but even so, it looked to me like he’d been through a LOT in those 24 years, not simply aged 24 years.
I got to thinking, wondering if I had set him on a downward spiral? Was this my fault somehow? Also, were there signs of him being gay that I missed? To this day, I can’t think of any other than him being rather homophobic. (not sure that’s a clue since many straight men are). I also realized how blessed I am to have survived that man. I was cheating on him our entire relationship- what if he’d found out?! He could’ve killed that man & me! He never hit me, but he came close. In fact, Magic stopped him the night I ended our relationship by scratching him when he came near us. Truthfully, Magic never left me alone when he was home- it makes me wonder if he knew something I didn’t know. I also got angry- did this man know he was gay at the time & used me to look straight? How dare he! And, I shared my life with a murderer! I even took a murderer into my grandparents’ home! My favorite people in the world, & I unwittingly endangered their lives! Granted, he was kind & respectful to them, at least, but that didn’t help me feel better once I thought of that. So many more thoughts have run through my mind over & over about this man since last January 27.
While I realize I was very dysfunctional at age 19 & not yet a Christian, this has still been a hard pill to swallow. I started looking around at various mental health websites, trying to figure out answers. I know my ex wasn’t a narcissist, but he shared a few traits. I finally realized he has, well had, Borderline Personality Disorder. Reading about the symptoms sounded like he used the list as a checklist! Some symptoms are:
- Inappropriate & intense anger. (He once thought he caught me in a lie while a friend was visiting. He asked her to step onto the porch while he screamed at me in the living room where no doubt she could hear him)
- Excessive measures to avoid abandonment. (He was VERY jealous & accusatory. I worked with mostly men- I couldn’t avoid them!)
- Paranoid thoughts. (He didn’t trust anyone black or gay)
- Emotional instability. (Could go from happy to angry to weepy in a flash)
- Impulsive. (He would decide on a Thursday or often Friday we were going out of town for the weekend.)
- Intense & unstable personal relationships. (He’d been engaged before me, & said she was very clingy, they broke up & got back together. I wonder if he proposed to her or demanded she marry him like he had me?)
I think many adult children of narcissistic parents end up with someone like I did- highly dysfunctional & possible also with BPD. If this describes you, please know you’re not alone! This is very common! And, please don’t make the mistake I did of beating myself up for over 23 years about this relationship! When still in the midst of dysfunction, we make mistakes based on our dysfunctional thinking. It’s normal! The best we can do is learn & grown from them, & to correct them as possible. This may mean ending an intense relationship as I did, but if that is what you need to do, then do it! Protect yourself! You are worthy!!