I missed a lot of warning signs.I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I have two lists. The first is from my first marriage. I don’t think my first husband was a full-blown narcissist. He just had a lot of these personality traits and my life would have been much easier if I had stayed away from him. The next list comes from my second marriage to a diagnosed undercover narcissist. It’s a bit different and much worse. First husband. These are the things I saw but ignored:
- I confused his great self-confidence with confidence.
- He was ruthless, which at first seemed exciting.
- He exaggerated and told many “big stories” that I believed in my naivety.
- Even if he was wrong, he was right.
- He has spent too much.
He had to have the best of everything – very state-conscious.
Now to the true, covert narcissist.I can almost see how I made the mistake twice. Hidden narcissists are not so easy to spot.
- He presented himself as caring and shy.
He said he didn’t want to talk about himself, but to know everything about me (early on). Later, when we were married, I was told that I couldn’t talk about previous relationships, places I had travelled, or things I had done without him. It caused him too much grief. Talk about a bait and switch!
Our early appointments were so romantic and so much fun. Later I saw that this was not true. He had no taste at all for music, movies, food or activities!
He was so stubborn that I thought my memory would fail. But something in the back of my mind knew it wasn’t true, but I ignored it.
I made him oat biscuits and he was angry that I put raisins in it. How could I do this? Didn’t I know he hated raisins? He said he had told me (I don’t remember him telling me, but there was this memory problem again).
He followed me and said I had almost hit a road sign. I was sure I didn’t, but on the other hand it was dark …
I didn’t have a bad word to say to any of them, so I was confused. I now know that this was an early attempt at triangulation.
When I said I wanted a little more time, he made me guilt-conscious and said in a sad tone, “I think you just don’t want to be my wife.”
There is more, but the overarching theme is that things did not add up.I often had an uncomfortable feeling that he seemed to feel and was able to disperse quickly. That was early. Later, I felt like that all the time, but he did nothing to allay my fears. He revelled in them. Keeping me out of balance and questioning my mental health was constant. Being under this kind of stress is extremely harmful to health.
The most important red flag is the feeling of sinking into the stomach when you realize that this person is not the one they say is them.Listen to it.