Here I sit on Fourth of July, almost one year after leaving my narcissistic ex boyfriend. I think back to three years ago to the exact day, where we spent the day together drinking at a bar, learning as much as we could about each other, and enjoying the presence of one another – or so I thought. I didn’t know this at the time, but I was his new supply.
The Pain of Fourth of July as a Survivor of Abuse
I had no idea what Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) was, I just thought I was a princess who met her prince charming. Little did I know that my life was about to be torn apart by the man I thought I was falling in love with. Actually, the tearing apart of my life had already begun, I just didn’t know it yet. G put me on a pedestal and was so eager to show me off to the world. This Fourth of July, back in 2015, was the best one I could remember out of my entire 29 years. I can’t explain it, but he was working so hard to impress me and sweep me off my feet. I wish I recognized this as a red flag. He wanted to be with me every single minute that day (and the weeks before and the weeks beyond), and when I said I had to leave after spending hours with him because I had other plans, he made me feel so guilty. But in a cute, loving way. We left the bar and sat in my car for another half hour or so because we just couldn’t be away from each other and he didn’t want me to go.
Once we drove our separate ways, I couldn’t wait to get to my friends house so I could text him again. I already missed him so much and it had only been a few minutes. We texted all night about how we couldn’t wait to see each other again. What a dream!
Fast forward a few weeks and the mask started to slip. He didn’t expose his true self entirely yet, that happened slowly over the next two years. But he was acting “different.” He was blaming me for things that weren’t my fault and getting angry with me over things I didn’t understand. One time we were at the gym together and I accidentally took his spot in class (in the GroupX room). He flipped out on me and moved his stuff to the back of the room as a result. I was SO confused – I didn’t realize I “stole his spot in class.” Then when we got to work after the gym (we worked together, but drove separately into the office), he told me it was a misunderstanding and he didn’t mean to get mad. What had I done wrong, I asked myself over and over. Then the silent treatment started. Sometimes it would be for hours, sometimes it would be for days.
But, since I’m here to explain why this holiday is so hard for me (and I’m sure other survivors of NPD can relate), let’s get back to why Fourth of July is so difficult. Now, it’s Fourth of July 2016, and my narcissistic boyfriend is no where to be found for the entire weekend. I still didn’t know there was a name for the abuse I was enduring and that he had NPD, I still just thought something was “different.” I couldn’t pinpoint it.
Because I couldn’t find him and he wasn’t answering my texts, I turned to his kids’ Instagram accounts (not creepy, as I had a relationship with them). I saw that their dad took them to see the fireworks, but my question still was, “Where the heck is he? Why is he flat out ignoring me?” He reappeared late on Fourth of July 2016, texting me around 10pm, apologizing that he was so busy all weekend and didn’t have time to talk. Because disappearing was normal for him, I accepted it and was just happy he was “back.” I really don’t know where he was or what he was up to. Just because he had his kids for the weekend didn’t mean other sources of supply weren’t around. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I do now.
And now let me get to Fourth of July 2017, about a month after I found evidence that he was cheating, which he of course denied. He spoke with me in the morning after I begged him to talk and was spewing lies. He hung up on me, but before he did he told me I couldn’t go over his house because his family was going over, but he’d call me later. He never called. He was MIA again. I do believe he spent the day with his new supply, as I know his kids were camping and he rarely saw his extended family. He ignored my texts, my calls, my pleas to talk. This was it, I thought. I was being discarded. He assured me that wasn’t the case, and I so badly didn’t want to admit I was being cheated on, that I believed everything and anything he said. I asked him where he was that evening and why we didn’t go to the fireworks together. He said he was at the fireworks with his family. A blatant lie. How was this my life? How was this happening? Why did he disappear every single Fourth of July and make my life hell?
A few weeks later, on July 14, I just couldn’t take it anymore. The abuse was escalating (something I didn’t think was possible) and I couldn’t think straight. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was going through the motions of life, but that was the extent at which I was living. I just didn’t recognize myself anymore and was scared. Without any warning or goodbyes I went to the courthouse and filed a restraining order against him. I didn’t think of the long-term impact, I just wanted holidays to be a happy time again, I wanted life to be fun again, I wanted my old self back.
And even though Fourth of July is still hard today in 2018, and probably will be for the next few years, I don’t have to sit by my phone waiting for him to call, I don’t have to wonder where he is, or if he’s cheating on me. I get to do what I want today and for all holidays going forward.