Updated: Jan 17, 2022
When I first met my ex-husband, I was twenty-five. I had a challenging childhood and I was looking for someone to start my life with. Someone that I could understand and that could understand me and we could create a beautiful family together.
That was twenty-eight years ago.
Shortly after we became a couple something happened: he told me that he had gone to another woman’s house and made out with her. I was devastated. I told myself ‘oh well, that’s over.’ A few days later he called and asked me if I would meet him to talk. I agreed, albeit reluctantly. He told me he loved me and that he was sorry for what he had done. I forgave him and told him that I wanted to have a family. He told me he did too. One night we were out together and this ‘other woman’ was there. I was so angry at her for trying to take my guy, and he saw how I blamed her for his indiscretion.
I realize now, a year after my divorce has been final, that it was from the very beginning stages of my relationship with him that I walked right into my first gaslighting game. I was being conned to see if I would pass the narcissist’s supply test. And I did, by immediately forgiving his betrayal without erecting any boundaries accompanied by consequences. To boot, I proceeded to blame the woman, not him. I had no skills for navigating this safely for myself.
It has taken me a long time to understand that this pattern was set up from the beginning of our relationship and set a precedence for the rest of our time together. I continued to forgive him and blame women.
I could feel like a fool, but I don’t. There are cruel games being played on people every day because we haven’t been taught that this is a threat to our well-being and happiness. If a covert narcissist can get the supply he needs by manipulating you, he will.
Why does he need this supply so badly? What is it that he needs?
Well, it's so simple that it seems incredible that they would go to such lengths to get it. It’s your self-worth, which they feel they have lost.
Early in their childhood, they received a message from their caregiver through abuse and/or neglect, that they aren’t worth anything, and so they carry this into adulthood.
When they meet a person that has such unshakeable self-worth that they give compassion readily to others, they are jealous and they want it for themselves.
They believe that it’s something that they can take your self-worth from you. This process happens temporarily, which is why they prey on you, usually looking for admiration and pity as their prime target. Because of their jealousy for you, they try to drag you into competition with them.
Then the games are on. They will do everything they can to set up situations so you can prove your strength. This is how they wear you down until you have nothing more to give.
I had no idea that my self-worth was such an incredibly sought-after commodity and in such high demand. I didn’t know that it was something that I needed to protect at all costs. I do now!
Once the covert narcissist is exposed they melt like the wicked witch of the west. They will create blowback that is painful, discard you, and look for their next supply. Usually, they will try to get someone from their past that they had conned before. A guy that has a narcissist youtube channel calls it their 'harem garage’. This is hysterical but accurate. As soon as I exposed my covert narcissist he was relentlessly calling and messaging exes, old coworkers, even a girlfriend he had at sixteen.
As angry as this can make you with their cruel intentions and attacks, it’s so pathetic that it’s hard to feel anything but sadness for them.
They don’t know what love feels like because their severe attachment disorder prohibited them from feeling a reliable healthy attachment called love, and they’ve lived without it their entire lives.
As partners, we want more than anything in the world to give it to them but unfortunately, it isn’t something that can be given in that way. They have to learn what authentic adult self-love is for them, and to garner its benefits long enough to prove that its worth outweighs the games/strategies they created and have been playing out for so long.
Within the beginning stages of our relationships, the patterns we start off usually stick with us throughout. Unless something causes us to seek help through therapy or coaching, it’s impossible for us to see our own patterns while we are in them.
If you feel like this may be happening for you or you resonate with what I’m discussing, please follow up with a resource that could help you.
After years of work, I’ve learned that love is only possible if both people can fully participate and engage in its presence and generation of its energy. To recognize it takes time and awareness, but I assure you there is no greater earning.