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Am I paranoid or is he a narcissist?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Redwald 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #44028

    sadcat
    Participant

    I think to fully grasp my current emotional state as well as the situation I’m in, I’m going to give you a little background info… Almost exactly three years ago on the 6th of February I broke up with my narcissistic boyfriend. At that time I had no idea who or what I was actually dealing with but I found the strength somewhere, somehow to end things and remarkably it ended semi cordial. In the last week and a half I have been sitting in the trauma of that relationship because up until a week and a half ago I had no idea what had happened to me while I was in it. I’ve spent the last three years single, never committing but always having someone on hand that was safe. But here’s where it gets tricky…

    I have been seeing someone romantically for the last 2 months that I have never met. He started following me on one platform of social media about 2 years ago and then started following me on another platform as well a little over a year ago. He’s always definitely been interested in me but because of the amount of people that follow me and men that hit on me via social media I never gave him the time of day. For the last 2 years he’s adored me openly. We started talking romantically in December of 2017 and we’re still currently doing so. He’s a single father of 2, early-mid 30’s, successful entrepreneur and yes, he is most definitely real. Haha! We’ve always gotten along exceptionally well, that’s never been an issue, not even before we were romantically involved. About a week and a half ago (right around the time I had this massive and tumultuous realization of abuse) he and I got into our first argument because I was feeling a lot of rejection in regards to lack of phone conversation. Sooo, of course then I completely shut down because I’m so used to being denied love in a true romantic relationship. That night I was watching a video by one of my favorite makeup vloggers and her experience with Transient Psychosis and noticed related videos referencing narcissists. Naturally I started clicking, watching, clicking some more… then out of curiosity I decided to watch a video titled “6 Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse”… my world came crumbling down in those few minutes and I felt like I’d taken a shovel to the gut. Since then so many of my deep rooted fears, defensive habits and patterns make sense. My intuition tells me that the information was put in front of me for a reason. I have this strange new clarity but also this intnse paranoia and little to no self esteem left from my NC ex. I’m struggling right now with whether I’m paranoid and still responding to him the way that I would have responded to my ex NC because of how I’ve been pre programmed or if he’s normal and we’re just lacking true intimate and 1 on 1 conmunication… I openeD up to him the day after our argument and explained to him (in a way that my therapist told me was incredibly healthy– GO ME!) why I sometimes respond the way I do when he tries to get close to me and learn more. No excuses, no “deal with it”, just plain laying it out on the table, to share with him what he’d been wanting to know. His response? He didn’t know why I felt the need to tell him that and he “doesn’t do selfish”. Now, I wish i could share the actual conversation with you guys because I think it would provide a lot more insight but this is it in a nutshell.

    His full response didn’t seem to have anything to actually do with me or what I’d shared. I’m still trying to understand if perhaps he’s wounded as well or if he’s showing NC patterns… there are other things but then he has traits that just don’t line up with NC… I haven’t felt feelings for anyone the way that I feel for him since my last relationship and it’s shown me how little I’ve recovered from it (if at all). Am I responding to him the way I’m used to responding when receiving “love” in a relationship? Is he actually genuinely interested in knowing me and giving himself or did I yet again find myself wrapped up in a Narcissist’s hold?

    • This topic was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by  sadcat.
  • #44035

    Donna Andersen
    Keymaster

    sadcat – when you say “NC ex” – is that the person you broke up with, or the online romance? Here on Lovefraud, NC usually means “No Contact,” so I’m not sure who you are referring to.

    In any event, about the new person whom you are involved with, but have never met — please remember that if you are not seeing a person in real life then it is not a real relationship. It may feel like a real relationship, because so much of how we feel about someone is in our heads, but the whole point of a relationship is to spend time together. If a relationship never progresses beyond online conversations, it is a waste of time and not healthy.

    Anyway, it can be really shocking to realize that you’ve been subjected to narcissistic abuse. Please be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to get used to the idea and process the information. It can be the first step towards real emotional growth.

  • #45312

    David Mc Dermott MD
    Participant

    Sadcat,

    There are a few things that might be worth keeping in mind. Firstly, the victims of narcissists and psychopaths are programmed to reveal things about themselves because the manipulators need information to continue the control so they program their victims to do this.

    The second thing is that after a breakup it’s common for people to want and need to talk about it, to feel supported and get it out of their system.

    For these 2 reasons, it’s important to be very careful about what you reveal about yourself and to whom you tell it. If the person who is ‘giving you a shoulder to cry on’ is another psychopath or narcissist, you are literally giving them all the information about you that they need to step in and take over where the last manipulator left off.

    This is very commonly how people get caught in another abusive relationship without realizing it, because the new manipulator offers the victim exactly what the victim needs in that moment and the victim, accustomed to bad treatment, is very appreciative of someone who is treating them well. Then before the victim knows it, they are caught up in another nightmare.

    As regards spotting narcissists and psychopaths, remember there is no stereotypical psychopath or narcissist. They can be as different as chalk and cheese, from the CEO of a huge company to the parasite who has never worked a day in their life and sits on the couch watching TV all day while everyone around provides everything he or she needs. Just because a person has been caught by one does not make them an expert in spotting manipulators.

    For this reason, until you are happy that you do understand how to spot a psychopath or narcissist, it’s important not to give a potential manipulator the benefit of the doubt. This is how people actually get caught! It’s much better to have a few false positives (to think that someone is a manipulator when they actually are not) than to get caught again.

    From what you say this guy is not responding normally to your situation, (irrespective of what you think your motives may or may not be) and that should be a major warning to you. Much safer to walk away than risk being caught again…

  • #45342

    Redwald
    Participant

    sadcat, since you haven’t posted anything else, I hope you’re still around to read this. But if not, it’s worth commenting on anyway because others may be able to take advantage of what’s been said here.

    I completely agree with everything Donna and Dr. McDermott said about this. My only comment is that it’s clear to me from a careful reading of your context that you are using the term “NC” to mean “NarCissism” and not “No Contact.” No problem; all that matters is that we understand one another!

    I do understand your confusion in this situation. Unfortunately it is true that previous victims of abuse can on the one hand find themselves responding to new abusers in the same old uncritical way they’ve been “programmed” do do (usually in childhood)–or alternatively, can become hypervigilant and be “triggered” into a rejecting or hostile response by what are in fact normal overtures from a well-meaning person. So I do understand that you may be having trouble sorting out what might be “your” problem and what could be this guy’s problem that you’ve been talking with. Is the problem you’re sensing with him “real” or is it in your head? “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” as the old slogan went. And I heartily approve in principle of the way you tried to communicate and be honest with the guy about your difficulties, in an attempt to seek understanding from him.

    From this account alone, it’s hard to judge what might actually be going on between the two of you. As you said, it’s just too bad we can’t hear the actual conversations you’ve had with this guy. But here I have to fall back on what Dr. McDermott said. One source of confusion is precisely what you mentioned: that the guy seems genuinely interested in knowing you. That can be read two opposite ways. He may, like any normal person, just enjoy getting to know you because he’s attracted to you. Alternatively, he could be an abuser of some kind collecting information he can use to exploit you. Which of the two is it?

    Well, it’s slender evidence, but I was struck by the inconsistency of the strange response he gave you when you opened up to him about the way your unfortunate past may have affected you. I mean, seriously, he asks “Why are you telling me this?” And gets defensive about “I don’t do selfish.” Huh?

    Surely if he was interested in you for your own sake, he’d never have questioned “why” you were telling him what you did! He would have expressed sympathy and understanding, and tried to respond to you in a way relevant to what you’d just told him. Instead, as you said, his response, “didn’t seem to have anything to do with you what you’d just shared.” That seems massively inconsistent with the notion that his interest in you is simply a natural human one.

    And I’m inclined to say that inconsistency (of many kinds) is the hallmark of an abuser.

    Of course, there’s always the possibility that he’s “wounded” as well, as you suggested. But surely if that were the case, what you shared with him about yourself should have resonated with his own experience and prompted him to share something with you in return. That’s not what he did either.

    In short, I’d be very wary of him just as Dr. McDermott advised.

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