Narcissist or PTSD
March 1, 2017 at 6:54 pm #25245
I come from a long line of psychological abuse. Starting with an alcoholic/narcissist father, a mother who was not present, and grandparents who raised me but covered the abuse in fear of making my father look bad. I have implemented no contact with my father for years. Relationship with my mother is fragile and the same goes with my grandmother. I recognize the abuse and although there are the hard days mostly I have a grasp on it.
I got into a relationship with someone who had tragically and unexpectedly (as a teenager) lost his father. I didn’t know him prior to the loss of his father. Meeting him years later, we spent hours talking of feelings and hurt and past trauma in our lives. In the beginning there was love and affection. That disappeared within a year. No more talking about anything serious, no more affection. It became a relationship where I was constantly walking on egg shells. Feeling that way most of my life, I knew I was potentially dealing with yet another narcissist (and alcoholic). If I try to express feelings or emotions, I am immediately shut down into the silent treatment. It usually takes weeks, that I am in total pain and worry before I will hear from him. And receive apologies and “please don’t go’s.” Just to name one of many other psychological forms of abuse. Alcohol abuse is a very big component to this.
To make this as in a nutshell as possible. I have felt alone, I have felt what it’s like to have shortcomings and someone uses those against you and gives up on you. I know that he still has yet to appropriately deal with the loss of his father, even though it has been years. I don’t want to make anyone feel the alone and the pain that I felt. I want to be able to help and make sense of his own pain WITH him. I do realize he has to want the help. I do have trouble differentiating if he wants the “help & support” or if he uses the “pain” to keep me on a leash.
My question is, do you think I am dealing with another narcissist and there is no ability to love and this is all a narcissist game, in which case I need to run. Or am I dealing with someone with PTSD, unwilling to get the help needed, but is capable of love. There are signs of each but I know they are very different. How do I differentiate to start building a plan for myself? I don’t want to give up on someone who has the potential to heal. I don’t want to ruin the healing that I have achieved myself.
March 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm #25249
I’m so sorry to hear of your situation with this man. I understand that you feel as you wrote: “I want to be able to help and make sense of his own pain WITH him.”
I’ve experienced one alcoholic who used his pain for the first 2-3 weeks, then became abusive. He kept me on a leash, because I am a kind and compassionate person. It took me 9 years to realize that (1) I had no friends (I did before I knew him). He systematically and deliberately drove my friends away; (2) he alimented my family; (3) I had lost my enthusiasm for life.
You wrote: “I do realize he has to want the help.” What signs or evidence do you see that he wants help? If there is any, is it real? Does it come and go? Another husband (11 years that time) would somehow manage to convince me that he was changing. He’d even say, nicely, “can you see how I’ve changed?”
You wrote: I do have trouble differentiating if he wants the “help & support” or if he uses the “pain” to keep me on a leash. ”
I can’t think of anything here…If I can figure anything out to answer this, I will write again, but I’m sure someone/s else here can give you good advice on that issue, too.
PS One of the tactics abusive people use is to isolate you — drive away friends and family — involve you with his family only, if they are abusive or weird, and or convince you to move to some inaccessible (such as out into the wildernessy place, or maybe a foreign country?) or distant place. Please don’t be tricked into doing that. Things will only get worse for if you do.
March 1, 2017 at 8:14 pm #25250
(deleted and added into my first response in this thread)
March 1, 2017 at 9:07 pm #25256
It’s been upwards of six years. No physical abuse, but I won’t say I haven’t been scared of that as anger is sometimes over powering.
I have my own friends and I have our mutual friends. He has never had an issue with my friend or family time. He really doesn’t do a lot besides go to work and come home, the problem is drinking happens AT work and on the way home from work. The occasional nights out at the bar, but those are few and far between. Usually on those nights, it ends in me going to get him at all hours of the night.
As for my family, that’s a tougher one because I have sort of an alienated relationship with them by choice and before him. The family that I do have relationships with, he does as well. Not great ones, but by no means encourages me to stay away. We go places, we have fun. I really never feel the narcissist tendencies until I’m asking for what I need. I lose sleep if I know he hurts, and it’s almost like he wants to see how far he can hurt me and how much I can take.
He will flat out say “I want to be better for you.” He will try…for a while…he won’t drink, he’ll come home on time, he’ll call if he won’t be home in time, etc. But then there will be one set back…where he doesn’t call or he gets too drunk. I am understanding. I don’t harp on it, but instead of acknowledging anything. I am not his mother, I have no intentions of pointing out what he is done. But I do expect him to acknowledge that MY FEELINGS MATTER. I would be okay with a “sorry, I got too drunk” or what have you. But, I just won’t hear from him at all. For weeks. I assume so he can avoid taking any responsibility. Which is something HE CANNOT DO. Nothing is his fault…UNTIL he “wants back in.” However, still zero affection.
I have established boundaries that I will not move in with him under unstable circumstances. So moving or closing myself off to just him is far out of the question for me.
I have to be okay with asking for things I need. I am more than willing to make sacrifices. I am more than willing to forgive mistakes and overcome setbacks. BUT, if I am not so much as even allowed to ask for more communication or ask to do things that I need in the relationship without the silent treatment following it has to get better or it has to stop. I do not want to give up on him, if there is hope. I don’t want to give up on me, if there isn’t.
March 1, 2017 at 9:24 pm #25257
I’m putting your post in here, with my comments in bold
March 1, 2017 at 10:11 pm #25258
Yay — the bold worked. So here goes:
It’s been upwards of six years. No physical abuse, but I won’t say I haven’t been scared of that as anger is sometimes over powering. often verbal abuse becomes physical abuse. Breaking things, hitting the wall, then slighyly hurting you and aploogizing, and escalating up.
I have my own friends and I have our mutual friends. He has never had an issue with my friend or family time. He really doesn’t do a lot besides go to work and come home, the problem is drinking happens AT work and on the way home from work. does he drink and drive/ Of course if he does, this is extremely irresponsible and dangerous to himself and others. Do you want to live with such irresponsibility? — and danger? The occasional nights out at the bar, but those are few and far between. Usually on those nights, it ends in me going to get him at all hours of the night. this is classical “enabling” on your part. A suggestion — find a good Alanon meeting, and go! Today! Alanon is a meeting for family and friends of alcoholics. I went regularly for over 2 years, and it helped me tremendously. I made some good friends there, too. But they tell you go to 5 different meetings before deciding because each meeting is very different, in terms of which areas of their program they focus on, and just the general “feel” of the people in each one, which is normal for any group, right? Of course, the first or second one may be perfect for you! Also, the first time you go you are not allowed to donate or pay anything. After that, a minimum donation is suggested. They say “If you decide after 5 different meetings that Alanon is not for you, we will gladly refund your misery!”
March 2, 2017 at 8:53 am #25259
Thank you. All valid points.
March 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm #25261
I would just say if he has issues with the loss of his father, he should deal in therapy and not dump on you. That is narcissistic. I was involved with a guy who had issues with his mother and dumped which I now realize was narcissistic and inappropriate.
March 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm #25267
I’ve been thinking about the issue Sunnygal has pointed out. “I am not your therapist,” I’ve said to people before….
As ks has pointed out, though “he has to want to [do whatever he needs to do.]”
I managed to get one of my husbands to accompany me (come with me only, as it turned out) to a minister who we thought would help. Two unfortunate results: One, the MINUTE we walked out the door of the minister’s office after our talk with him, the husband LANDED ON ME like ton of verbal bricks. Criticizing me for things I said in the session! Truths that the husb. did not want revealed. Later, I called the minister, and he blamed ME for the difficulties in my marriage! So, ks, it’s important for the man to find a therapist who specialized in issues appropriate. The $1000 question is, how to find such a therapist. Since you man may not? or doesn’t? acknowleg what sort of problem he has, I believe it’s unlikely he’ll try to find such a therapist. Also, any therapist worth their wages will NOT allow another person to make an appointment FOR someone else.
Another example is, I went to a psychiatrist for some serious problems I was having. There was a new intern coming in to the clinic to do a group. I told the psychiatrist I wanted to be in that group. His reply: “I don’t think the intern is experienced enough to deal with the problems you are having.” So the psychiatrist would not approve me to go the group.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.