When I first met the narcopath, he was extremely charming, (of course.) But I felt like something was weird, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Even before I had any clue what narcissists and sociopaths were like, I knew something was off. I finally asked some acquaintances what they thought of him, and I got very bad reviews. I had a hard time believing them at first. He was so charming and wonderful to me, that I couldn’t accept the horrible things I heard–even though I did see a hint of truth in them already. I confronted the narcopath with what I’d been told, and he convinced me that those very mean people who warned me were just bullies who were out to get him.
Then he did something interesting…he likened me to him. He said that he and I were the same and people were out to get me too. He said I was just as disliked as he was, so we made a good pair.
That kind of surprised me, because I did not have a bad reputation. I mean, some people didn’t like me, but that’s normal. It wasn’t like there were dozens of people who thought I was a horrible person. There were, however, dozens of people who spoke poorly of him!
He continued to love bomb me and tell me how great I was, while sometimes mentioning that there were a lot of people who disliked him…then reminding me that we supposedly had that in common.
Narcissists have three phases–love bombing, devaluing and discarding. When he moved to the devaluing phase, it was literally overnight. As soon as we were married, he treated me with pure hatred and contempt. He went from telling me how wonderful and perfect I was, to telling me how hated and awful I was. Only now, he didn’t say we both were. It was just me. He started telling me he had a good reputation and was well-liked, but I was hated. He turned the tables on me and completely changed the story.
At one point, he told me that I had told him that the people I worked with hated me. That confused me because I was very well-liked at work, got great reviews, and was in line for a promotion. There’s no way I had told him that people at work didn’t like me! Why would he say that? Well, the truth was, HE was hated at work. He was being written up frequently for bullying and attacking his co-workers. I found out later, that he had a history of similar behavior. He got fired quickly, had been kicked out of at least two universities, had been kicked out of another school, and kicked out of many other places. He simply could not get along with anyone he worked with. But, he turned that on me and said that was my reality!
He began to tell me horrible, untrue things about myself while raging and going crazy pretty much hourly. He probably thought he was going to convince me these lies were true, but fortunately it did not work. Pretty soon, I realized he was describing himself, but saying it was me. One night, he was telling me how horrible I was, then he told me I was lucky he’d have me because he was a good influence and could repair my reputation if I stayed with him. That really threw me off. This was the same guy who started trying to relate to me by telling me how hated he was and how people were out to get him…then saying they felt the same way about me. Only now, he was saying he was well-loved and he was going to try to bring me up to his level. That made no sense! The stories had completely changed.
So one night on the phone, I played along a bit to see just how delusional he would get. I agreed that I was as awful as he said and started asking him for more details about how bad I was, and what I could do to fix it. He perked up and got really excited. The same guy who bullied and called me stupid every few minutes, was actually happy to advise me on all the things that were wrong with me, and how he was so great he was going to fix them. But all of them things he described were things he did. When I met him, I was pretty popular and well-liked in our social group, while women were warning each other to avoid him. But here he was telling me I had so many horrible qualities and telling me that he did nothing wrong.
By the end of the short marriage, he was telling me I was one of the most hated people he knew. He had married me because the opposite was true, and he wanted to latch on to the good things in my life, but he was telling me that no one liked me. I think in some subconscious way, he knows exactly how evil he is and he hates himself. He just had to acknowledge the reality of his darkness and pin it on someone else.
When a narcissist is attacking you with insults, don’t take them personally. They are only describing their own ugly truths.