Most of us who have been with an abuser or narcissist are givers. We openly give our time, our love and spend time picking out meaningful gifts. But even ourselves, because of who we are, are a gift. Problem is, we didn’t think of ourselves as one or we did and they brain washed us into believing we had no right to that claim.
So, let’s self-reflect. Does your or did your narcissist give you time? Mine didn’t. Not without strings attached. “Come sit next to me on the couch while I do paperwork.” “I know my attention is on watching football but at least we are together.” “Yes, we can go to dinner alone but we have to leave early so I can stop by work.” It was NEVER about me. There was always a BUT. The only time I had his full attention was if he wanted something from me…including sex.
Does your narcissist meet your basic material needs? I had a roof over my head but not a week didn’t go by that he didn’t remind me that I was a stay-at-home Mom and he was the breadwinner. We were fed but things like diapers, underwear, socks etc. for the kids were like pulling teeth to get money for those needs. The entire time we were married, the man never bought me underwear or socks or bras. No clothes at all. I finally took a job within the house, watching a disabled child, so I could afford those basic necessities for the kids and I and I took on a whole new battle because he wanted to control that money, but at least my kids had their basic needs met.
Was he available emotionally? Mine wasn’t. I was not able to call him at work without issue. He never checked in on me during the day. So, while other wives were disgruntled because their husbands called them too much, I was jealous that I could not even get one call a day. I just wanted him to see how I was doing. Ask about the boys. Hear about his day so far. He refused. Even when I called with an emergency, getting him on the phone was a hassle. There was no emotional love unless he was being physical. Pawing me while making dinner or while I was busy. It was like he purposely would wait until I couldn’t give him my full attention so he could call me frigid and cold but he wasn’t doing anything to nurture us no matter how many times I tried to tell him what I needed as his wife. He was so emotionally unavailable that when my grandmother died, instead of having dinner with the family, he went out with a buddy.
For Valentine’s Day one year, instead of ignoring me which was par for the course, he wrote a quick I love you on a Zildjian Cymbal wrapper. That was my gift. My “card”. I made him chocolate pie, his favorite. A nice dinner and spent time picking out a card. He didn’t have time. He was working. By this point, I was so happy he even “tried” that I was too far gone to realize this bone he had thrown me should not have been acceptable. It’s not that I needed a gift. I just needed not to be reminded that his business was his mistress and he was too busy with her to even pick out a card. He had to scribble on a Cymbal envelope before coming home. I wasn’t worth the thought or time.
Holiday gifts were either super extravagant or non-existent and anything I bought him, no matter how much thought was put into it, like a CD of music he grew up listening to, was not good enough. A professional picture of his todder/baby sons for Father’s Day was stupid and inconsiderate. A sweatshirt with his favorite football team on front an easy gift with no thought. I could not win and the thing is, as the kids got older, he would show this disappointment in front of them. One year announcing that the gifts, his children had picked out with out help from me, should all be returned. They were a waste of time and money. My boys were heartbroken.
You are a gift. I have always known what I brought to the table. It may not be in perfect packaging and I am not without faults but I know my worth and I know I am worth more than what I had for 28 years. It was a slow descent and it has been an uphill climb but with each footstep, I get closer to light. I get stronger from climbing. Even now, when I date, I ask myself, “Does he deserve you?” And it is not that I’m above anyone because I am not. But does he deserve ALL of you? There is nothing wrong with friendship. I love unconditionally but if you are going to have all of me, you need to deserve me because I give 110% and while I try not to put expectations on anyone if you cannot listen and understand and meet my needs as a friend, you will not be able to as a lover. I’m easy going. I need simple things to bloom. Call me…that is my sun. Communicate openly and honestly…that is my water. Be emotionally available when needed…that is my fertilizer. Give me those few things and I will give you the world. I will blossom. My heart will smile and you will deserve me. Seems simple right? It’s not for many people.
Decide what you need to blossom and accept nothing less because you are a gift. It has helped me to be comfortable being alone, being myself and finding light in my life again.