Communication with a narcissist is next to impossible.
In every day life, simple things, are left unsaid that alter your life -making your life inconvenient. Perfect example is this past weekend. My ex narc goes away to NYC and asks our son, who does not drive, to watch his cat. I have no issues taking care of his cat but I have a work schedule and all of a sudden I find myself having to leave earlier, coming home at 10 p.m. at night after working, to go out after an exhausting 12 hour work day to feed a cat for a man who would and has watched me suffer and not offered a helping hand. He could give a rat’s ass about the Mother of his children but I’m making sure the damn cat is taken care of. A simple, “Hey, I’m going to ask our son to watch my cat while I’m gone. I just wanted to give you head’s up because I know you will have to drive him.” and I would’ve been happy by the respect he showed me in forwarning me.
In your love life, the lack of communication can drive a wedge into your relationship. You feel like you have to be a mind reader. They use this secretiveness to control you and keep you off balance. Whenever I would share something deeply personal in how i felt, it was later used to throw in my face as if my feelings were unimportant and something to be made fun of.
When arguging with a narcissist it is pure emotion and want and need on their part and you will beat a dead horse until you can no longer stand the sound of the narc’s voice. They will pull things out of no where that you thought you resolved years ago and add it to what is already bothering them. Nothing gets resolved. EVER. Even if they make promises to change and work on issues, it never happens. They are incapable of honest, raw communication unless it involves what they need or want. My ex still brings up things and we’ve been divorced for 5 years. What amazes me most is he brings things up but never bothers to see his part in it. You would think after all this time he would be able to self reflect and say this upset me but I did this and that is a consequence of what happened. A narc will NEVER have the emotional maturity to do so but the lack of human response still amazes me to this day.
And, they don’t remember anything you have said. I started to write things down. I truly thought for a while I was going crazy. That i had dreamed the conversation. Even when I said to him, “what did I just say?” and he repeated it back, he would swear up and down the conversation never happened.
A narcissist is a broken record. An annoying broken record that stops in the same spot and gets stuck and repeats over and over again. Like a child trying to break the will of their Mother to get what they want.
Their communication is passive-aggressive at all times. Their need to control you is
unquenchable . Their manipulation of communication is confusing. You cannot have an honest, direct conversation. They will make you repeat something 15 different ways telling you they don’t understand or it doesn’t make sense. They have this blank, confused facial expression that they use to throw you off of topic. You stand there wondering how they could not understand what you are saying. You think it is you and then you watch them do it to a waitress or someone helping them in a store and you put two and two together and realize, it’s not you. It’s what they do to gain control.
When I ended our marriage I was concerned about my ability to have a new relationship, i remember the day our marriage counselor pretty much ended our marriage. I didn’t go to counseling expecting to have the conversation that day but I knew his attorney’s involvement and his reluctance to still meet my needs (like just dating to get back to us) were not being met. I had a glimmer of hope until the very end. I had worked through my marriage and a lot of the pain but I still had hope he would show signs of changing. My Narc had left in a rage that I ended the marriage and our marriage counselor held me back for fear he would retaliate. He looked me straight in the eye and said “you are going to be fine. You are a really good communicator. Don’t bring your past into a new relationship and you will be happy with the right person. He will never know how to communicate and he won’t change.” I walked out validated. It was the first time in 28 years someone had done more than roll their eyes and say, “That’s him….” The man who ended our marriage, actually validated me for the 6 months we were in and let me go with a statement of hope and empowerment for my future.
My present boyfriend, who I believe will be the man I spend the rest of my life with, said to me something no one, not even those closest in my life have ever said, because remember I am the strong one, I don’t need help, “Let me know how I can help you through these times of trauma.” Yesterday, after a very intimate, open talk about our future the night before, I felt the need to run. I suddenly felt even closer to him and the next morning I was overwhelmed with the trauma of my marriage where the words from my heart and my desires in our relationship were often thrown back at me. When he called I was a tad quiet and he noticed. At first, I thought it was the rain and the fact that I had put in a 12 hour work day the day before, but after we got off the phone I realized that our talk was overwhelming for me and I was afraid. I had to self talk and spent part of the day crying because I was having such mixed emotions. On one hand, here was the man I had waited for my whole life. The one who had the characteristics I had been searching for and he has all of them. On the other hand, I fully expected that now we had shared in such detail, he would leave. I shared that with him. That I was working through it and it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the abuse I had endured. You see, for a few hours yesterday, I expected our relationship to end. For him to walk out of my life. I expected to have my words thrown back at me but it never came. I didn’t cause a fight and run because I was hurting and I communicated and he did the total opposite of what I had come to know with the Narc. He felt good about our talk the night before because of how much we shared about our future and when faced with me dealing with trauma said, “Let me know how I can help.” I imagine, because this is a long distance relationship right now, that once we are together, these moments of trauma will become less and less because even being far away right now, I still feel safer and more loved than I ever did with my narc. Every day this man makes an effort to show me how important I am with phone calls and texts, even if they are short because of work, they happen.
Communication is so vitally important in a healthy relationship. As we heal and move on we need to realize that not everyone has ulterior motives. Some people, the normal, healthy ones, just want to get to know you and grow closer. They do not want to use your words to wound you or make fun of you. They actually want to know and care about your dreams, your wants and needs. They are ready to be a partner. It will be extremely important to be honest when that level of communication and sharing sparks a flight or fight response and if the response you get isn’t healthy, you should probably take it as a red flag.
Healing is a journey. I imagine for the rest of our lives trauma will rear it’s ugly head. It’s how we deal with that trauma that will dictate the outcome. We need to be very self aware of what is happening and not let an innocent person pay for the dirty, manipulative deeds of another. We have to lean into the pain and feel it and process it. Recognize the fear. Recognize the vulnerability. It’s a lot but in order to be happy and move on, this is what we need to do. And I need you to know, that the right person, will understand that and support the work you are doing to better yourself and heal. But even the right person can’t support you if you don’t communicate what you are going through.
I would say after life with a Narc, trust and communication are the 2 most important things. You have to trust yourself and the new love interest and you have to be able to communicate and be honest with yourself about how you are feeling. Self reflection is just talking things through in your head and you need to be able to be honest and share with the new person in your life what is happening in your head and how you are dealing with it. You need to be able to communicate and trust that the new person is going to respect your wants and needs and dreams. It’s huge. It’s hard. You just need to make up your mind that you are going to do it. I wasn’t going to let my Narc ruin the rest of my life. I chose to put myself back on the line and when my instincts told me that I was with someone who deserved my trust and communication I dove in head first knowing I may be wrong but willing to take that chance at life again.
Since leaving the narc I have had 2 successful relationships. The first one, we eventually wanted different things but still remain great friends and I don’t think I would’ve been ready for the relationship I am in now had I not been in this first one. He made me feel beautiful and strong but did not have all the characteristics I was looking for. And funny. OMG, this man is stand up comedian funny. I could be in the darkest place and he would have me laughing in just a few minutes. We were good together and good for each other at that time. He saved my life. Literally. And I saved his.
This now 18 month long distance relationship is amazing. This is a man who shows me every day how important I am to him. He includes me in on his day, often sending pics and updates of his kids during sports or what is going on in a work meeting. He calls every day. He makes time to walk and talk every week. We exercise together and we don’t even live in the same state! He has all the characteristics I am looking for in a man. Our compatibility is off the charts! He makes me a better person just by letting me be me and accepting me and I want him to be him, something he has not been allowed to do in past relationships. Our biggest asset? Communication. We will talk about the good, the bad, the ugly. We deal with things head on. We have agreed that we are never not going to tell each other something out of fear of reprisal. When you can get to that point of sharing and honesty and trust know that you have healed but be aware trauma can rear it’s ugly head on occasion. Communicate, work through it and move on. This man deserves the best possible me and I intend to give it to him.