More threads by brooklynite

I am in a very unusual situation and desperately need advice. My relationship of four years with an amazing women ended four weeks ago. We lived together from the time we first met as roommates, and in the beginning I swept her off her feet in an EXTREME way?preparing three-course meals with music, taking her on spontaneous dates or trips, massages, watching movies together, grocery shopping, doing laundry and decorating the apartment together?all before we were even officially together! Then things changed.

I cut off the relationship suddenly 3 weeks in because I felt we were getting too close too fast and felt insecure. Looking back knowing what we both do now, it?s easy to see that that was a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder on my part and I was scared she was ?seeing the cracks? and figuring out who I really was. Nevertheless, I ?won her back? a month later and we?ve been together ever since, despite brief periods of us living apart when she graduated a year before me and when she was living with her dad during a job hunt temporarily.

In the 3 years and 11 months since we got together, I have fallen apart and proven for this woman beyond repair that I was NEVER really that amazing guy she met in the beginning. I became DEEPLY insecure physically and sexually almost out of the blue, I would be jealous and possessive, I was in DEEP depression for years and blamed HER for all of our problems, while never doing the real research and dedication and action it would take to get me out of the situation. I would lie to her about how I was actually doing or feeling, only to set her up for major disappointment when we spent time together. I lost all interest in life, no longer getting satisfaction out of my old hobbies or friends.

I never defended her to my friends or family: if anything, I only made it easier for them to think less of her, complaining about our problems from my side only, as if seeking a reason to end the relationship. I created a habit out of failing at the most important times?her college graduation, a drive across the country, one Christmas where the relationship was on the line (we DID break up again for a brief time), and our first reuniting when I came out of school. Each time I failed to retain and value everything she told me was important to her, instead putting my own interests and the interests of others in front of hers.

I have been in a work environment that destroyed who I was as a person for a year of my life (it?s better now), and I let it. I worked such long hours with such little reward that my ex had to call my parents and stage an intervention. Even that didn?t really change things until 6 months later. Regardless, I spent the majority of my time at the office away from my then girlfriend, and when I would return home, I wanted to be by myself and ?recover,? and would get enraged by her feelings that she was being neglected, which of course she was. She had constant advice for me on how to get out of depression (which she?d recovered from herself), how to get more self-respect and get what I want out of life, including a new job. I never ever listened, and denied ALL of my problems for a long time.

This is not my first problematic relationship, either: I have a history going all the way back to third grade of either A) pursuing the most "difficult" (not necessarily prettiest or most popular, usually just most unaffectionate or uninterested in me) girl I could for YEARS (2 and 3, respectively), OR chasing the easiest girl I could, and then dropping her shortly thereafter because of "flaws" I allegedly found with her. My last relationship before the girl I'm with now ended after two years, and the breakup was messy, and definitely involved me telling her outright I didn't love her anymore. Monstrous.

Today, knowing what we do about NPD, my most recent ex/roommate remarks that I act and have always acted like an abusive 5-year-old that she needs to parent. Even recently, when she had difficulty at work, with her health, even with an INJURY, not only was I not there to help, I was practically avoiding her?even more than usual. Research and reflection has made it clear that I was raised to fear, devalue, and dismiss pain in myself and others, and thus lack any trace of empathy and vulnerability, and thus love. I feel like I am in constant pain, but continue to be reminded that my pain likely cannot touch the severity of my ex?s.

Now we are broken up, but are resigning our lease together because horrible experiences with subletting and roommates in New York make it ironically the BEST option both emotionally and financially. But while both of us are catching up independently on a lot of life we?ve missed and doing new things separately, at home, I continue to say things that are purely narcissistic
(i.e., projecting, egotistical lying, backward talk, defensiveness, and a ton of blaming). If I don?t say anything, she feels like I don?t get it or are protecting myself, and I?ve read that this silent treatment is actually a form of manipulation. AND if I DO say something that?s not one of the negatives described above, it is devoid of emotion (literally no feeling AND no emotive descriptors) and I come off as an inhuman robot that can never love.

We are both doubting the capabilities of my FOURTH therapist now (narcissists are masters at manipulating and discarding therapists--I still have yet to be officially diagnosed with anything) and it?s to the point where I look at my antidepression medication like a sick joke?a band-aid for a missing brain. My ex feels incredibly disrespected by all that I am doing or not doing, and now has threatened that if I do not improve my respect for her, she will make me ?suffer,? and ensure I ?feel the consequences for years to come, and need therapy for decades.? My narcissistic mind can?t think of anything to do other than what I?ve been doing?making her the food she likes, offering massages, and cleaning every week. I know now that I?ve been abusive, manipulative, selfish, and narcissistic, and all I want is to do what?s best and healthiest for my ex and myself. I?m in a tough and unique spot and need advice so badly! Anything anyone can offer?

Daniel E.
Now we are broken up, but are resigning our lease together because horrible experiences with subletting and roommates in New York make it ironically the BEST option both emotionally and financially.

Living with an ex does not seem like a good idea, though people do tend to stay together for financial reasons. So I understand why you think it may be the best option for you financially, but you don't seem to show why you think it's good for you emotionally.

It seems like, for whatever reasons, you would rather keep the status quo than move on with your life.


Global Moderator & Practitioner
I agree with Daniel. While your housing situation may well be the best option to meet your needs, it doesn't sound like the most conducive to living a full and rewarding life. So, have to wonder what it would look like if you declined the "best option" and picked the next best ...
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