Seeing the Pattern
I have been married twice. Only the last one was a Narcissist. Thinking back over my dating years I realize that I HAVE run into three others before. In all these cases, I was younger and more confident. I had never been married and had no children. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I was not willing to put up with the "test-run" abuses of the abusers.
You know what I mean. When they take that FIRST chance on pushing past the line....to get a FEEL about how far you will let them go.
In case #1, I was about 17. His test run was to tell me that I was "too heavy" while we were walking on the beach. I was 5-4 and weighted about 125 lbs. While I did NOT say anything at the time, I also elected not to see him any longer.
In case #2, I was about 22. HIS test run was to state I had a "potty mouth" and that he would "never be able to introduce me to his parents" (I said DAMN). THIS time I fought back immediately, telling him that no one tells me how to speak. There were no further dates after this. Interestingly, this is the only one of the three that I saw later in life. I saw him several times after I married the NEx. We were involved in a similar business. These two were SO VERY alike, and so superior feeling that they HATED each other. When they would meet there was a feeling of intense hatred in the entire area. The even has similar body shapes, statures and work similar facial hair. I think perhaps I found two that were TOO close together in the Narc "Production line" LOL!
In case #3, I was maybe 24. This one ALMOST got me. I was obsessed with him. We dated for quite a while and worked at the same place. I gave in on MANY fronts and was nearly sucked in, but my PRIDE was still intact. I found out he was dating other women and I refused to be a part of a "harem". It was not EASY to let go but I still knew (at THAT point) that I was worth MORE than that. I also knew, instinctively, that he would never change. He was a TRUE, TEXTBOOK narcissist. I found fake ID's and he literally tried to convince me that he was an undercover, government agent! He was staying in my apartment and had another woman pregnant at our workplace. I told him to leave, crying as I closed the door....but I meant it. I was NOT willing to settle for what he was willing to give.
After getting married, having children and getting divorced...from a man who often cheated...I guess I had lost some of my strength and my pride. I had also experienced drug addiction and was fresh in recovery. I was depressed and felt that I would likely never find anyone else. My first husband was a cheater, but he was not a narcissist. He was not abusive in any other way except his cheating. He was a gentle, kind man, very protective of both the children and I. He JUST could not seem to resist the other women. He was, also, easily swayed in other behaviors by friends and family members. He DID lose control when he found out that we would not be "working it out" and he hit me and broke my nose. I was upset about that...but at the time, and up to this day, I TRULY think he just SNAPPED. He had never touched me before that and I never did fear him. Even after that time. I NEVER feared him like I feared the narcissist who came along...and the narcissist never laid a hand on me. There was much more to fear that did not involved physical assault. I saw my first husband as being "weak" and a "follower" and I set out to find someone who was exactly OPPOSITE of him.
Boy! Did I EVER. Sometimes I wonder if the change in my self-esteem made me more susceptible to being captured and abused by a narc. I seemed able to see through them early on in my life when I felt I had options...and lost that ability when I felt my options were limited.
I am going to carry this lesson forward and make sure to be vigilant if the occasion ever arises that calls for caution!