In Viktor Frankl’s book MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, he says, “Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”
Life married to a narcissist is a life of suffering. If I can teach valuable lessons to others and prevent them from making the same mistake, that would be meaningful. Thus, the purpose of this blog.
Not a lot is written from a male perspective about dealing with a narcissistic woman, especially from the point of view of one who has been through it. I finally realized I was dealing with a person displaying narcissistic behaviour long after I was married. I will deal with the red flags of narcissism in a later blog. In this one, I want to deal with the “pink flags”, the first danger signs of things to come. Had I heeded them I never would have ended up in this mess decades later.
Part of the reason I ended up with a narcissist is because of my own thinking. I was in my early 30s and above all, I wanted a family. I did not think it was right to date a woman more than a few years younger than me, and I also sincerely believed that getting sexually involved meant that I was committed to the other person. To walk away once you’d fooled around a bit, well, only a schmuck would do that, right?
The first pink flag is meeting a person who has everything on your checklist. Cassandra (my wife) was 30 with two lovely kids from a previous marriage. We followed the same religion, she was really beautiful, and I was drawn to her sexually like a magnet. And yes, I was conflicted with my religious beliefs in this aspect of our relationship.
Narcissists know what you’re looking for, and during this love bombing phase, they will give it to you. Later they will resent you for accepting what they gave you and say that you manipulated them. Narcissists believe others think like they do, thus the projecting.
Another pink flag was the way she talked to certain people on the phone (this was in the days before texting). When her ex-husband or her lawyer called, her tone, her voice and demeanor completely changed. Narcissists can do this at the drop of a hat, they can turn off and on their anger and resentment. I’ve never seen anyone else do it the same way. Watch for that. It’s a definite sign of danger up ahead.
Another pink flag was the behaviour of her kids. Cassandra’s oldest had the most frightening temper-tantrums. The first time I saw it, her response was, “That’s a good sign. It shows that he trusts you. He doesn’t act that way in front of everyone.”
Soon, that behaviour was geared toward me, and she blamed it on me. It was sheer hell. The day he moved out of town as a young adult was the day a monster left my home. I know that sounds terrible, but having him verbally pummel me, accompanied by Cassandra, was like being in the corner of a boxing ring with both George Foreman and Muhammed Ali.
Additionally, her financial situation was a pink flag. She had a lot of debt and was on income assistance. One day her vehicle was repossessed. She blamed her circumstances on her ex-husband. There may have been some truth to that. I was a successful and happy young professional. I must have been a juicy target.
Cassandra also told me about getting angry and throwing plates at her ex. No matter how bad an ex-partner is, blaming someone else for our behaviour is never a good thing.
Watch how the person drives. Road rage could even be considered a red flag. It shows a lack of accountability, an inability to keep life in perspective and it exposes serious anger issues.
The fact that she is going through a messy divorce could be a warning sign. Ask yourself, “Why does this person end up in bad relationships?” To be honest, the only common denominator in all of our bad relationships is ourselves.
The final pink flag is what other people say. A really good priest who had known Cassandra since she was a child (and knew her tumultuous family history) asked me to come by for a talk. He respected me enough not to tell me to leave her, but his message was, “Hasten slowly.” Another friend made a comment when he saw Cassandra boss me around in public. Remember, your friends are only concerned about your well-being and happiness. They have nothing to gain if you break up with a person. Ask your friends what they honestly think and listen to them.
Other pink flags to watch out for are worsening behaviour toward you with every increase in commitment. Does she show more anger toward you now that you’re officially a couple? Does sex become an issue after a few months, accompanied by harsh put-downs and criticism? Once you move in together, are there more insults and lectures? If so, things will only get worse once you get married, combine your finances, or (and you definitely DO NOT want to do this with a narcissist) have a child together.
I hope that helps. I’m sure everyone has their own story. These were the warning signs I noticed early in the relationship. Perhaps it would be good for other survivors to honestly dialogue about how they got hooked. The information gathered will make life better for those who follow us.