Q & A: Was my Ex-Boyfriend a Narcissist?

Q:I think I was with a narcissist but I am not sure. We were in a relationship for 7 months. At first he was attentive and seemed to be a kind person. After 4 months he started to demean me by saying that I was too demanding and when I expressed my needs he said they were overwhelming and I was asking for too much. He started to either get defensive and angry or ignore my attempts to engage and communicate.

I also witnessed him getting irritable and angry with taxi drivers, sales people and staff providing services, which was not normal behavior in my view. He finally started threatening to break up but at the same time telling me I was the love of his life. Once or twice he contacted me after these break ups but mostly it was me trying to resolve our issues and stay together. During the last month I got pregnant and had an abortion.For the first few days he was supportive, then we had planned to go on holiday with this best friend. I told him that I was not in the condition to travel, he got irritable and angry,so I went to try and revive our relationship.

During the first night of the trip his friend got drunk and he started abusing me verbally. My gut instinct told me to leave and go back home but since he kept complaining that I was always dramatical I told him I would forgive his friend and carry on. His behavior towards me became for disrespectful and he acted like a 16 year old boy who was on a drinking holiday. Finally one night I wasn’t feeling well and he left me in the hotel room and came back at 5am the next day without contacting me whilst he was out. I packed my bags and left. Didn’t have the guts to stand up to him so I told him my dad was ill (he was but not so much so for me to end my vacation) when I returned home my dad had a stroke. I tried after a few days to contact my boyfriend. He responded with a few brief messages blaming everything on me and ended the relationship saying I was unstable to begin with. I went through 4 months of hell doubting myself, feeling hurt and angry and sorry and wanting to take revenge. I called his work and threatened him via his colleagues because I thought the least he could do was pay for the abortion. Now I have had no contact with him for 1 month. I was drinking to dull my pain. Have started to see a therapist who has put me on anxiety and depression medication.

I have never in my life experienced such severe anxiety and depression. When I last spoke to my ex I told him I was going through a rough time but he was cold and mean and just brought me down further. His father and grandfather committed suicide. And his last girlfriend tried to commit suicide from his building after he broke up with her. I also found out that after I left the holiday he picked up a lady from a club although he told me he loved me three days before that. The past 4 months have been incredibly difficult for me and I am just starting to get myself together. I didn’t go to work for 2 months. I still feel I need t make sense of all of this: was I with a person with narcissistic disorder? Hope you can help me as I still sometimes doubt myself and whether it was something I did that brought this on. Thank you

A: Obviously, one can’t diagnose NPD without actually seeing the individual, but he certainly has a lot of the characteristic behaviors of a man with NPD. And your relationship went through a classic narcissistic cycle. Interestingly, 4 months is the most common time for abuse to begin in an NPD relationship. Your emotional responses to his ending the relationship were feeding his ego and providing Narcissistic Supply. To answer your last question: No, it was nothing you did. You are a victim. He “hooked” you, reeled you in, used you up (as far as he was concerned) and then cruelly discarded you. It is IMPORTANT that you continue seeing your therapist to work through the anxiety and depression. As hard as it may be at times-  Do NOT make contact with him again. Maintain the NO CONTACT rule and have faith that it will get easier the longer you stay away. You will not get “closure” in an NPD relationship. The best thing you can do for yourself for closure is to regain your happiness in your new life and accept that as your closure. Try to stop looking back and dwelling on what happened- you can’t change the past, accept that he did not truly love you (and won’t ever be able to truly love anyone-ever) and move forward. Move on with your life knowing that you CAN find a genuine, loving relationship with someone else who is capable of giving you the love you deserve.

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