The covert narcissist sets his victim up at home. They create triggers to set off their partner when in public knowing that the partner will not risk a scene. The victim clamps shut as the narcissist strokes each trigger tempting a scene.
- You’re too sensitive.
- I never said that.
- I never did that.
- You never said that.
- You just think you said it.
- You’re being dramatic.
As the narcissist is confronted about their behavior they begin to overtly manipulate or lash out when the manipulations no longer work. They will say things like.
- You expect me to believe you?
- I don’t believe your feelings.
- I don’t want to change.
I didn’t realize how much I was isolating until I came out the other side of this divorce. It’s not uncommon for these situations to happen. In order to keep up appearances sometimes it meant that you don’t go out at all. I didn’t want to go out because of the eggshells I had to maneuver over and around. Measuring each sentence that came out of my mouth became too exhausting to deal with. I eventually retreated into puzzles and podcasts. I made excuses like, “I teach and talk all day with people. The last thing I wanted to was talk to more people.” That was actually her excuse for staying home and I just grabbed that line.
I thought that the past nine months of isolating would be healing, but, instead, it created a dome of anxiety and shaky footing. I did nothing to move on. I basically set myself up to hold on until the divorce decision was made. Now that the decision is in, I must steam ahead. I don’t know if I ever would have been able to use the nine months any more wisely than I did. The realizations of dynamics, friends and family, and work have been overwhelming in some instances.
Now I am stronger. I am stronger for doing it without anti-depressants. I’m stronger for getting back on the path to me. The words still echo in my head. I’v heard them and similar from more than one set of lips. The personalities that insist that these words hurt no one are feeling some kind of hurt themselves. Void of their own emotions and unable or unwilling to recognize this, they will insist they are the victims. Now I know I no longer have to languish under their words anymore.