Like many people, I was very hesitant to date after divorcing a narcopath. I’d already divorced two abusers. After the first covert narcissist, I thought I’d learned my lesson…then I ended up with a very smooth talking, charming sociopath. That will scare a person out of dating FOREVER!
But still, we are humans, and we are designed to seek human companionship. Sometimes over the past few years, I have thought about dating, then I got nervous and backed off. I have some very nice male friends who have wanted to date me, but I just couldn’t feel inspired. I wanted to want to date again, but I just couldn’t get into the idea.
I came to the conclusion that I wanted to just date a very nice guy with no drama, no infatuation, no games, no long-term plans. Just plain old getting along, good companionship, and comfort. I wanted to remember what it was like to date without abuse and screaming. I didn’t want to get married or anything. I just wanted to experience normal, compromising, thoughtful, mutual behavior. I thought if I “practiced” being around functional people, I might get back into understanding and appreciating how normal, good men act in a relationship.
I also got to thinking…I didn’t always date abusers. For many years, I was the girl who dated the very nice guys and didn’t have any problems. What changed? I recognize now that I lowered some of my standards as I got older. And when I lowered my standards, I started putting up with bad behavior.
A few months ago, a male friend told me he wanted to take me out and treat me well so I could see that not all men are jerks. I agreed. He wasn’t someone I’d date or anything, but I wanted the companionship and friendship. It was so nice being around someone who wasn’t raging and screaming, that I felt brave enough to get out and try dating. But, I resolved, I needed to hold on to the strong personal standards that used to protect me before I let my guard down!
Recently, I met someone who shares many of my personal and moral standards, that honestly, are very rare in people our age. I don’t know what will happen in the long run with this person, but I am confident that he is truly a good guy. There is no raging, no screaming, no aggression, no name-calling, no demanding, no bullying, no ultimatum, no anything bad. Just respect, empathy, chivalry, compromise…and everything that two healthy adults should be able to offer. It’s really, really nice. And I can recognize and appreciate it more because I’ve seen the worst that people can offer.
Even when my narcopath ex was charming me, there were red flags. He was rude and abusive with servers, cashiers, his co-workers and others. He made me pay for dates. He refused to open a door for me. I know these things might be old-fashioned, but they were early signs of selfishness and a lack of respect, and they only got worse. His words were so wonderful and perfect, but his behavior was not.
With the person I’m dating now, I see good behavior. There aren’t just words insisting he’s great. There are real actions showing that he is an honorable person. The difference is amazing! I have no clue where this will go, and I don’t even want to worry about it. But, I can say that there are good people in the world who aren’t perfect, but also aren’t abusive. It gives me hope. And I hope we can all experience it again with patience and open eyes.
3 thoughts on “After narcissistic abuse, you can really appreciate the good”
The simple difference is in one word – respect. The narc, socio, psycho has no respect for you and never will have. Without respect for you, whatever your shortcomings or good points, there is no basis for a ‘real’ relationship. We all need to respect and be respected – its a basic. Part of me thinks I understand this and it keeps me grounded, part of me also feels that the ‘others’ haven’t got it and I cannot imagine what its like for them. Really there’s is not a world I wish to be a part of. So glad I am sensitive, vulnerable and thoughtful of others (absolutely, I mean absolutely, not perfect!!) but not entirely insensitive, manipulative and even cruel.
It is a mistake to let your own standards down – if you do then you reap what you sow. But don’t be too hard on yourself – it is very difficult to identify someone close to you who wishes you no good. If your nature is to give, then an abuser will take advantage – its horrible when you finally realise that you have been used. Keep your faith in yourself, keep your standards up and frankly when these bad people affect you, learn the lessons, be on your guard in future but don’t let them change you. If they manage that, then you are permanently damaged. Hey, I like myself for all my faults and no low life is ever going to destroy me!! (I hope!!).
I constantly attract narcissist! I cannot count how many times I have started a friendship in which I realized “Oh my! This is my mother!” I felt I could not trust myself! I have learned to rely on the red flags that are inevitable. A common red flag, in which there is no excuse, is the horrible things they will begin to say about their daughters! This is not normal! And the stories they tell are horrific. Thus far, not one of these women was telling the truth. Also, any place where compassion is necessary, the narcissist will be absent. I still attract these people, but when I know what they are, I believe it. I no longer go through a long, drawn out nightmare with them. I go no further. What I find most disturbing, is the number of narcissist I encounter, everywhere. I used to think I was paranoid…nope, they are abundant, everywhere!