Steph recently contacted me with regards to her ex boyfriend. They broke up more than six months ago but she can’t get over it. Like the typical Mr Unavailable, there was an amazing first month and then he seemed to transform into a bit of a nightmare.
He could be verbally abusive, flying into rages, lying, suddenly only having time for partying with his friends, abusing alcohol and drugs, and even occasional physical attacks on his friends (yeah I know, this guy is a real catch!). He even claims that he owns the town and can make her life hell, which may go beyond the usual ‘narcissistic tendencies’ I associate with typical Mr Unavallable’s.
Steph blames herself for the end of their relationship and rationalises his behaviour with the belief that “nobody is perfect”.
She still loves him and believes that it ended because she was cold to him after his last rage. She describes him as “the loveliest person on this Earth most of the time” but can’t understand how he can switch from sobbing and remorseful, to cold and finishing the relationship the next.
Steph’s own father was a narcissist, prone to raging and even threatening her and she is a high achiever with a great job, lots of friends, “the perfect look” yet still insecure.
Despite a therapist describing her ex as a “psychopath with a truly shallow emotional span”, Steph got in touch with me to find out if what her therapist true and also wondered if she could have ‘saved’ the relationship by not being so harsh with him over the phone.
When readers tell me stories like this, it hurts to be reminded that as women, we are actually prepared to put up with so much and quickly blame ourselves when we are getting so little from these pathetic assclowns!
Steph is right – nobody is perfect – but does that mean that you should be with an abuser and wait for the occasional good times? Should we just say ” F*ck it, nobody is perfect so I’ll take the first guy that comes along?”
I think the very act of writing down the problems in itself should be a wake up call but if in doubt, break it down to facts:
He had displayed his true overriding character which is:
He is abusive to himself, her, and others
He is disrespectful
He abuses drugs and alcohol
He goes into rages even fighting with others
He isn’t just displaying narcissistic tendencies – talk about frickin delusions of grandeur with the whole owning the town mallarky and being threatening, plus the temporary remorse.
The whole thing is just one great big abusive cycle.
I fail to see what is so attractive about this guy – Serial killers are often quite charming and can even be kind to people when it suits, but that doesn’t mean that you can suddenly write off all of their awful qualities and focus on the few glimmers of good!
And this is where we keep falling into the trap – focusing on the initial behaviour that is displayed by these men, ignoring the real consistent behaviour, and betting on the potential of the original behaviour.
This guy is an abuser and even if he isn’t a narcissist, he is certainly displaying narcissistic tendencies which is unpleasant enough. Making excuses for this mans behaviour and trumpeting his amazing qualities is like when the woman who is being physically abused by her man says that he is so sorry about what he’s done and if only she hadn’t left a crease in his shirt/answered him back…or breathed…he wouldn’t have beat her or got mad at her!
That is BULLSH*T!
What Steph is doing is ignoring red flag behaviour and fatal flaws in the relationship because she doesn’t want to let go. She is focused on the good moments, and she essentially knows no better.
Steph has been raised by a man who is a narcissist that threatened and raged at her and even though she recognises her father’s poor behaviour, she, like many women who have issues from childhood, is more comfortable with the familiar behaviour than she would be with the unfamiliar.
In situations like this, you’re gravitating to the dysfunctionality that you know.
And why wouldn’t you? You get let down by the primary male figure in your life and if you don’t quickly resolve these issues as an adult, they become the primary basis for bad relationship patterns.
When we find ourselves with someone like our parents, it can often be about righting the wrongs of the past – I couldn’t help or fix my father but I’ll do it with this guy.
Trust me, that’s like letting yourself in for a lifetime of pain.
The problems that this guy has deal fatal blows to the relationship because they are the type of problems that irrespective of whether he has some good qualities, these issues are extremely destructive and damaging and are bigger than you or the relationship.
His love is his hugely inflated ego and the drink and drugs first. At the very least that puts her in fourth place but either way, those are the things that he is having a relationship with.
All of this has the hallmarks of an abusive relationship and the best thing that Steph could do is keep seeing the therapist and deal with the demons of the past so that she can heal, build her self-esteem, and lose her interest in parasites like this man.
There is no fairy tale ending with men like this and you can’t love a man into being Mr Wonderful.
Love is not enough.
We can’t just decide “I love him” and then place our love on them as if bestowing some magical healing power. The world doesn’t roll like that and there are millions of women out there that are living testament to this.
Deciding that you love someone is not a justification for continuing the relationship, especially when the feelings about yourself, love, and relationships originate from negative places.
Men like this behave in this manner regardless. He would be emotionally available and possibly a narcissist if she licked his feet and behaved like the perfect woman. And he’d still be this way if she behaved badly.
Ultimately, without respect, well, everything else falls down around it. If a person behaves without respect to himself or others, he cannot love or do anything that benefits himself or others in a positive way.
It’s not a phonecall or her being cold towards him why the relationship ended – it’s because he’s an emotionally unavailable, abusive, nasty, controlling, potentially narcissistic assclown with a drink and drugs problem.