Love or Abuse?

c. 50

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Ending an abusive relationship can be easier than dealing with the aftermath, which may include forgetting why you had to end it.

Abuse is abuse, but psychological abuse isn’t as easy to recognize as is a bruise or a cut to the flesh.

We’ve all heard the saying love hurts.  How much is it really supposed to hurt?  It shouldn’t hurt all the while you’re in a relationship –that’s for sure.

Love is an elusive subject.  I imagine love can have many meanings and different shapes but abuse is not love.

I loved a wonderful man, I thought.  I also loved the way I believed he loved me.

The man I loved was kind, compassionate, generous, funny, smart and told me every day he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

Unfortunately, I loved an illusion, an impostor.  I loved a character that was passionately and intelligently designed, especially for me.  I loved a man who I honestly believe has severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The man I loved created a character for me, mostly through what I now realize were constant interrogations.  He would sit by my window with me in the mornings where I liked having coffee.  He asked me questions about my life twenty years earlier.  Over and over he asked the same questions.  He disguised his questioning as an interest in getting to know, “everything about me,” which he called love.

How he created the character is a long story.  It was continuously being created in every moment we spent together.

The first day we were sexually intimate he began asking me about fantasies.  Had I ever had this one or that one and if I said no, he would ask had I ever at least considered certain ones he had mentioned.   He also wanted to know about every relationship I’d ever had as if we were in our early twenties or even teenagers.  He was in his early sixties, almost twenty years my senior.

He wanted to know all about my childhood.  Basically, he wanted to know everything I liked, disliked, desired or had ever desired so that he could create my perfect mate. 

There are reasons good and intelligent people fall for abusive and pathological personalities.  We don’t fall in love with a cruel person.  It’s the opposite.  Sometimes cruel people seek kind people.  We fall for the kindness they pretend to have.  We fall for characteristics such as a great sense of humor, what looks like compassion, an acknowledgment, granted an ingenuine one, of our hard work in life and who doesn’t enjoy being charmed?

In my case, the man I loved was wonderful until the first time I expressed my personal feelings about something other than being grateful to have such a terrific man in my life.

He became a cruel, deceiving, lewd, sarcastic and possibly the most destructive, was that he became intensely revengeful.  The man felt rejected by me.  I would learn that this triggered what he called his, “childhood narcissistic injuries.”

He spent six months working harder than I could ever imagine a man trying, to gain my love, admiration and respect.   I finally fell for him, for sure, and this was the hardest part of ending the relationship.

When I finally told him that I trusted his love, I never again saw the man he had pretended to be.  It was as if the man I loved died and that’s exactly how it felt.

Instead of chocolate and roses, poetry books for lovers, and gifts he thought I would like, he began sending me emails clearly calculated in a way to leave me in the dark about what he was doing.  He moved to a new home and didn’t tell me where he lived. 

I don’t know how long he thought I would hang in there, and I can’t believe I was there in that relationship one day, but hindsight is everything.

I guess I was in shock. 

He continued being cruel to me, finally sending me emails offering me, “whatever my price,” to be one of his nude models.  I never knew he had nude models.  He described their bodies.  I was truly sickened.

I would eventually receive an email offering me money to be with him, if I could compartmentalize my feelings.  I blocked his emails after that day.

He’s rich and I’m poor.  He goes to church and I don’t.  And so… He called his financial offers a good deed in the name of charity and love.

This was not love.

There was pure malice in his offers.  He knew it would break my heart to hear him talk about his lust and sex with other women.  It was psychological abuse.  Telling me all about his new home and his wonderful new furniture, while never inviting me there was his way of hurting me.  And, it worked.

I discovered that everything he had told me all along had been lies.  His lies were complex, complicated and detailed.

The entire time he maintained that he knew what love was as if he were a master of the subject.  It was amazing.  He wrote demanding righteous long emails about what love and courtship meant.  I was so shocked that it literally silenced me, for a little while.

He maintained that he had been wronged.  My crime was that I wasn’t willing to be his devotee.

“It is your loyalty that I desire,” he wrote.  “The loyalty you have to your son and mother.”

I thought it was crazy at his age to say those things.  Plus, if he had been the man he had pretended, then he would have had my loyalty.  I concluded he hadn’t really wanted me at all, nor my loyalty because he had it and he trashed it.  The man wanted nothing more than a lifeless doll.

I was tricked, deceived, used, manipulated and conned.

Narcissists are great tricksters.  Anyone can fall prey to a severe malignant and passionate narcissist.

There were many red flags in the beginning that what he was showing was not love.

He couldn’t stop telling me how wonderful I was and how he adored everything about me.

If a man cannot talk about things besides how great you are, then something is probably not right.  Flattery is always nice, but when this is all a man ever does watch out!

When a man puts a woman on a pedal stool, constantly praising her, telling her how awesome and wonderful she is, she should beware.

Take heed when your new guy is all about constantly flattering you, gazing into your eyes– all the time, nearly drooling over whatever it is he is focusing on about you;  your intelligence, your compassion, your empathy, your unique abilities, your physical beauty, your one of a kind sexual ability to turn him on and on and on and on — this type of flattery might be a strong sign that something isn’t quite right.

I’m not talking about real love or the wonderful sensations of falling in love.  I’m not talking about the kind of love that grows out of mutual respect and sincerely getting to know another person. I’m talking about a person who is lying, pretending and putting on a show for you.  One day this will turn and you will hear just the opposite.

Narcissists play games.  Pathological destructive games that hurt and damage people.

He told me after our intimate relationship was destroyed that he had never known love.  He said he didn’t feel anything.  He said he had used me to feel emotions, mainly through having sex.  “You felt something so that’s what I liked about being with you,” he told me.

Gifts are not always an expression of love.  If you’re dealing with a narcissist who has money he will certainly use it to charm you and suck you into his world.  He may very well try to get you dependent or addicted to his money.

Gifts may also tell you a lot about him because when you’re dealing with someone who is like a young child in the sense that the world revolves around him, the gifts will always be what he likes or wants you to have so he can enjoy them with you.

Much of his behavior was a way to mimic being in love.

Narcissists are also control freaks.  The man pretended to be generous, always bringing gifts, always asking if I wanted to go shopping.  I don’t like to shop.  I declined many offers, but one time I needed some socks.  He acted like it tore him apart while I shopped for them.  Later, I needed eye glasses. 

 He was always around at the time.  I barely had time to myself because he was in his cunning manipulative stage.   So, he went with me to get the glasses.  I was surprised how he was always offering me money or things I didn’t want, but didn’t offer to help pay for something I needed. 

He bragged about all he had provided for his son and how sad it was that my son had not had the same.  No socks or glasses, but he offered to pay for me to have a face life.  He’d had several.

He was terribly threatened by my having a few normal friends and a family.  This is not love.

Loving a person means wanting the best for that person.  It means wanting them to thrive.

It may be true that love hurts, but this is different than the hurt that comes from abuse.

I had no reason to think this man was acting and lying, aside from my gut screaming out at me.  Most of us don’t think that way.  Most of us take people for who they say they are.  We can judge them by how they act around us and treat us, along with listening to how they speak of other people.

Malignant narcissists have a damaged character.  They portray a public image that has nothing to do with who they are, but this is for the public and it is not what people close to them see in private.

You may see on the outside a confident and outgoing person, seemingly quite concerned for the well-being of others, a social butterfly, a community leader, a leader in a church, a member of well-respected organizations, a giver to charity — but on the inside is an entirely different story.  There is a person without any substance and sadly, he knows it.

Any person can be a victim of narcissistic abuse.

Sometimes we do not know what is happening to us until we discover that there are actually words to describe exactly what we are experiencing.   Knowledge really is freedom.

If you are in a relationship where you feel confused, like every single thing that goes wrong is your fault and you begin to feel badly about yourself, like you just aren’t good enough, all the while you hear someone say how much he or she loves you, something is definitely wrong.

I hope those of us who have been hurt in a psychologically abusive relationship will heal.  I hope we will recognize signs of an abusive personality and walk the other way. 

I hope we will choose love and leave abuse.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Thank-you for sharing this part of your journey and your learnings. The key to a new relationship is awareness. We must keep our eyes open and not ignore the red flags. We must be true to our selves and not be consumed by the new relationship and the illusions that we tend to embrace. Very good post.



    • Thank you for the nice comment and for reading what I wrote. You are correct, we must be true to our selves, which I guess, is a huge part of my life’s journey, either being challenged to remember it or finding the courage to embrace it each day. Thanks for visiting me here and I enjoyed your post today.



  2. I think they are all disciples of Satan himself.
    They cause such incredible pain without a care.
    They must come straight from hell



    • Hi Sandra– thanks for visiting me here. You have great posts on your knitting-at-the-guillotine blog!

      I agree, they do cause pain and do not care. I sigh and shake my head.

      I applaud you for the work you put into sharing with others who need to understand the unique damage that is done to a victim of a narcissist. May we all continue to heal and as we share our pain, I hope too that we find joy and love in our lives without that awful influence, that is “evil.”

      Abuse by a Narcissist is surely a type of hell on earth!



  3. Hello,

    Knowing where this is coming from (for me) means I have been in the place where abuse was “normal”…even though 99% of the the beahviour(s) were obvioulsy abnormal…



    • Thanks. I understand what you mean. I was at that place early in life but when I saw how I was being treated by a man who pretends and lies, who was manipulating me to no end, well, this made me very sad because I knew what was happening. It is hard to suddenly stop loving someone though, whether you realize it is normal or not. Maybe easier (I guess???) to get out sooner if you realize abuse is not normal but it sure hurts just as much. I also checked out an earlier link you had given me for people with mental illness who do not fit the mold of our western medical model of disease, spec., mental illnesses. Thanks again.



  4. Hello,

    Lovely post…glad I found this blog.

    Sometimes when a man puts a woman on a pedalstool, constantly praising you, telling you how awesome and wonderful you are, is a bad sign.

    You are so right about this. The pedestal is his way of confirming that he is a decent person, and once he’s confronted with his true self, the woman falls from grace…at least that’s how I have experienced it.

    It’s never about the man thinking a woman is great, I think it’s about him wanting to reassure himself of his ability to “choose” the best woman. Pathetic.

    I am sorry for the experience(s) that you have had, and I feel sad to say I know where a lot of this is coming from.



    • Hi, Thanks for reading my post. I am most curious about your last comment that you, “know where a lot of this is coming from.” Could you tell me more? Thanks.



  5. Posted by Bert on September 28, 2009 at 11:22 PM

    Hello, yes doing much better these days…..thanks for sending well wishes this way. It certainly finally seems so good to be ‘unhooked’ from the extreme chaos, destruction, drama, toxicity, legal and physical threats. All these things have never been a part of MY life prior to that ‘trojan horse’ mess. Yes in retrospect, apparently having been over idealized and actually thinking, buying into and being LED to believe I had met a genuine ‘soulmate’ for several years was troubling on many fronts. Then simply BAM, devalued and discarded very quickly and finding out I had been duped & deceived simply was VERY close to sociopathy,

    The most difficult part of my healing and processing everything that rapidly transpired was releasing in my mind and heart the two very loving and innocent children that were yanked away. No, they were not mine. After several years of being involved with someone that had children from previous marriage and embracing them fully in the natural process of a relationship was mindnumbing. I had been very responsible in my relationhsip with them and slowly embraced them. They have a dad and I knew this. I slowly over the years embraced them as my own. I was involved in the chidlren’s day to day life by the end as if I was the ‘dad’. Every church and school activity and project, sport activities, homework, parties, teaching, cooking, babysitting and on and on, It’s been 14 months now and my heart still aches for these children. The carpet simply was yanked out and was discarded very quickly and I did not see it coming. The children cared for me tremendously I know as I them. I had sent the chidlren holiday and birthday cards through the father over the past year as I hadn’t seen them in the past year. The efforts on my part were met with legal threats upon me to prevent ANY and ALL contact of any kind and I had no choice but to honor since they are minors. Disturbing and twisted.

    The ‘ex’ simply discarded me and ushered in immediately another man that I also know, as he was a mutual friend of ours, into their lives overnight. It sent me into an unfamiliar abyss. I didn’t see it coming nor was I even anticipating such. It WAS a nightmare truthfully. I have spent the past year unraveling from this mess through various counselling and therapy. I had lost myself in it all. Strange, as I felt simply crippled and I did get stuck in some ferocious hurt and anger which are rather foreign to me anyway for a very long time. It was rather much like Post Traumatic Stress. It was as if overnight this person I’d been with for some years just ‘changed’ overnight. Jeckyl and Hyde. Looking back, she wanted a ‘committment’ and had been VERY specific and clear to me after the first year we were together that she desired and welcomed this between us as it would be healthy for the children. All had been well or it was an illusion as after the first year I embraced this on a very natural level. I was hooked at this point and the shift clearly now had been subtly taking a life of its own. Now reciprocity was diminishing. The ‘come here/go away’ was born. Sarcasm was subtly entering. Moodiness was creaping in. On and on it went clearly and after I had proposed marriage in year two the monster was in full acidic bloom now and I did not know what was happening. The toxic mouth that now had been born was twisted and disturbing. Near violent rages were coming swiftly and I actually did think she desired to kill me. I am not kidding either. All I had done was progess in the natural phase of a loving relationship and was very loving to her and the chidren. I have ZERO capability of violence and am considered passive on many levels. I am not an angry person, in fact, always have been very positive and genuine.

    To find out at the end and in the first month or so in the twisted aftermath that she had liasons with the current guy over the course of our relationship as well as, some other friends of mine left me in an extreme state of shock for about 6 months. She had ALWAYS condemned others who engaged in such behaviors. In fact, the mixed signals and her words and actions were at hug odds I found out in the end. As if, NOTHING she’d ever said or led me to believe was as it was. An illusion. Preaching sugar and practicing extreme hypocritical poison in MANY regards.

    I do think finding out so much rather rapidly in the first 6 weeks of the aftermath that this pattern with me had happened with other men several times made me so very physically sick. This severe state of shock I finally started coming out of just this past May to June. Lasted a very long time. I had subsidized financially and emotionally so much into what ‘looked like’ the ultimate good and healthy relationship. Yes, I was duped and I will never understand this really. Understanding must cease on my end and just accept it and forge ahead and forward. Yes, I did feel as roadkill being swiftly smacked by an oncoming Mack truck that came at me from a blind curb and I had little time to prepare, respond and get out of the way. This was purely predatory behavior. I never want to get ‘lost’ in such a mess again.

    I personally must learn about my ‘parts’ in all this. I know I snapped and I admit it to friends and family. It has been my goal to learn ‘who’ I am as a result of it all and improve upon myself in what resides a good and healthy person. Honestly, I did not even like myself for a long time after this. The twisted blame that had fallen on me from this woman rapidly. I break out in cold chills sometimes thinking about some things and going over and over in my head what was going on. I had no idea what a sadistic, toxic, murderous tongued, damaged, chaotic, drama filled, sex addicted narcissistc borderline even was before this mess and trojan horse was unleashed upon me. Thank God above that when the monster was born I was only around for about three months after a 3.5 year relationship. How quickly damage can be done though. Coming to terms with the fact, that it was NOT really a relationship did something within. Realizing that I did not know this person really and I had meet familly and extended. She was THIS good. She hides it very well and is a very high functioning person in the higher ranks of the medical world in our area. I have been demonized as a pyschopath in this mess. For what I have no idea really. I have had long term friends impacted by this mess and they no longer associate with me. Disturbing yes, but I have no choice but to rebuild myself and pick up the various pieces of myself on the side of the road from the roadkill I became.

    I really and truly hope that you are doing better as well. Telling another ‘my story’ too that has been through such is healing. It is not intended as an act of selfishness on my part in the least. You too have been prey to such a predator. Not in the least really does ‘misery love company’ however, healing and understanding does reside in sharing with others that have also too been through similiar nightmares and experiences.

    I do hope the new week finds you feeling better now. On MANY fronts.

    Thanks for allowing your forum to share.




    • Hi Bert– thank you for sharing here. I am very glad to have heard from you again and sounds like you are doing lots to repair the damage from that relationship and also learning about yourself along the way. I think that is the best thing we can do is to learn who we are, know who we are and stick with ourselves! Straying away can be dangerous. Always has been for me anyway. I have learned through the pain and loss, along with learning that I do not want to waste my energy or time trying to understand someone who simply does not and cannot think the way that I think. It is futile.
      Telling our story is healing. We do have to move on but for me, I also feel called to tell my stories, as I have always felt, and that through this telling, some person will be better off for having read or heard what I share.
      Just like you said, “healing and understanding does reside in sharing.” Just because someone shares a painful story or needs to talk about it doesn’t mean that he or she is looking for a partner in misery. We all need other human beings. That is what I think anyway.
      Many good wishes to you this week too!
      You are a very good writer. I’m curious–do you write as a living, for a hobby or are you just good at writing?



  6. Posted by Bert on September 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM


    Reading the related blog entries regarding your relationship with a narcissist is way beyond the scope of saddening. You don’t know me yet, still my heart goes out to you tremendously. No human, male or female, deserves the toxic interactions that result everytime from these types of personalities that come to us in disguise. A disguise that is sickening to say the least when the ‘real character of this type of ‘human’ is reserved for those that have given them their heart.

    As you indicated those of us that have such wonderful and good attributes such as being:

    Honest (to a fault)
    Reliable and steadfast
    Trustworthy (to a fault)

    On and on so it goes. The very character aspects thes people do not posess in themselves. So what do they do? They take it from the people that they get ‘close’ to that DO have these attributes.

    Everything you’ve indicated in your blog entries is SO true. I rather enjoyed your eloquence of how you put the ‘experience’, the heartbreak, sense of loss, sublte and then swift emotional and verbal abuse, and then coming to terms with THE REALITY of ‘who’ these people really are INSIDE. Yes, it is traumatic…tremendously so and not easy to get past. All based upon their perception of a ‘committment’ to these damaged goods.

    The trail of destruction these ‘people’ leave in their wake. The damage done. The VERY REAL hurt and pain of these potential toxic and yes monsters who take from those that willing give the best of themselves. Thieves pure and simple. Vampires that suck the soul dry THEN devalue and discard with no consciousness, little to no genuine empathy, then immediately REPLACE no matter how much time was shared with them. Complete predators are ‘who’ they REALLY are. NEXT.

    Coming to terms with the realites of these people can send one into the abyss. A point of no return or rather a point of a very difficult return. Hard and steadfast one has to be. In the end, a very unique and unusual grief that is very difficult to process much less, get past easily. Friends and family will NEVER understand unless they’ve been there. it may eventually make one stronger as a result yet, no less affected for some time to come. Damage HAS been done.

    People who’ve given their hearts to these damaged predators are left with aspects of a most unusual type of grief that can leave one with hurt and anger far longer than ‘normal’. Resentments can fester, build momentum and be hazardous to one’s emotional health.

    I found your blog through Lisa Scott’s website. I personally have been on my own ‘mission’ to find the SOURCE of my own pain. Real pain, hurt and anger unlike I’ve ever known. I did not KNOW personally until after the fact (when the damge had already been done) what had hit me. Beyond confused and tormented. I was with a female version that was a VERY disguised, sadistic, manipulative, verbal/emotional abuser, cruel, deceitful, dishonest NARCISSISTIC BORDERLINE. All disguised for nearly three years as this disguised control freak manipulator took hold deeply.

    Children were involved and they too were colateral damage of a nightmare that sublty and then swiftly unfolded and yes, was CLEARLY based upon a committment of the heart. A committment of marriage this woman pushed for a solid year after our first year together. Sadly, what had been a very ‘normal’ feeling relationship was VERY costly financially and emotionally. I too was duped, devalued and discarded. Yet, inbetween ‘devalue and discard’ phase this female was setting up her ‘next stop’ BEFORE she went totally into discard mode. Her ‘next stop’ was a social friend of mine. The 3.5 year relationship (‘relationship’ term used loosely) I had with her and her children was meaningless and she made this very clear at the end to me for to ‘move the f**k on’ as she had this guy set up FIRST unbeknownst to me at the time. Bam, within weeks of our nasty demise she, BAM, was in another ‘relationship’ and has been so for 1 year with now.

    Left in the wake was completely broken friendships of my own and many of them were long term friendships that I shared with this predator. Baseless and nonsense legal threats from her and public physical threats from our friend that is her ‘new’ lover and prey I am certain. I was predatory roadkill. I snapped as I had been duped. 1.5 years now of therapy and counsel to unravel the mess and its aftermath. This process for myself has been very good and completely necessary. A requirement for my own growth. I am not a ‘woman basher’ nor do I hate woman. The opposite is actually the case. My good attributes as your own were THE source of life and identity for such a predator. She feigned or faked THESE very attributes until she could no longer wear the mask of who she really was. Then ushered in was a Jeckyl and Hyde. It was poisonous and yes toxic. I had played into this toxic dance too rather perfectly. Roadkill was me and my heart.

    Yes, your words in these blogs meant something to me. On your end, whether you know it or not really, you’ve paid forward your experience as knowledge to another person who may also need to understand the ‘pain’ they feel and what is actually happening to them. It is a most difficult experience as was yours. I praise your courage to post your experience, lessons learned and to show others that YOU too can and will love again in spite of the damage created. I wish you the best in your journey that was call ‘life’. You are enduring and growing. Certainly it wasn’t necessarily and easy plight for you either.

    Not sure about yourself yet, I know I needed some personal work on myself. There was something in me that drew me to eventually fall deply in love with this person and her children. My mission and goal is to make sure that I do not hold much longer onto my anger, hurt, bitterness, and resentment which admittedly I’ve held them for way too long.

    I understand your pain all too well. It does do something to us. Leaves us with wounds that take a long time to recover from. Eventually we do and all the better for it.

    I sincerely wish you well, all the best and may the REAL blessings in your own life be revealed to you.




    • Hi Bert,
      Thanks for your most sincere comment. I’ve read it a couple of times. My heart goes out to any person who has had the experiences I have and you have also. I am under the weather so I cannot reply with great detail. Hoping it isn’t one of those bad things going around these days and just a short bug.
      It does take a long time to recover. Sometimes it seems like I thought I was recovered and then bam, gotta talk about it in therapy again!
      Thank you for reading my work and so much for taking the time to share your story with me. I hope to hear from you again.
      I wish you well also.



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