In my quest to insure I don’t screw up my awesome relationship with DD I put significant effort into understanding all the failures of my romantic past. My research has led to some fascinating articles, such as this.
I’ve concluded that Man-baby is a classic narcissist and thus there is little I could have done. And indeed, even the name Man-baby is right in line with this thought, the generally accepted theory is that narcissism is rooted in childhood trauma which results in sever developmental problems essentially leaving an individual stuck in early childhood.
He was charming and persuasive, seemed intelligent and generous. But he also has no real empathy and is incapable of understanding boundaries or limits. His attitude was that he was too good to wait in line, that the rules don’t apply to him. He liked to drink and drive, with his son as passenger. Nevermind the risk to his child’s life or the “0.8 gets you 28” slogan.
He could not understand that I would actually have boundaries and expect them to be respected. And he really couldn’t handle it when I grew a backbone and began to stand up for my boundaries and insist that I would not have belligerent behavior in my home. In fact, he packed up and moved out, insisting we needed a separation, directly after I told him to take a temper tantrum somewhere else.
I’m now sure (that hindsight thing) that he thought I would cave in and want him back. But I stood firm and told him to stay away. So he switched tactics and set to degrading me with everything he could churn out of his imagination. He keeps texting like a mad man and insists on sending checks to my utility providers. He now also sends me weird checks for silly amounts. Money is his attempt and making himself out to be the “good guy” when what he really wants is attention, control, to make me look like I can’t handle it.
Even following our divorce being signed by the judged and filed in court records he has still followed the same track he did while we were married. He does not ask if I need help and if so what would be helpful to me, he does something to make himself feel better. He shows up at my mother’s office and expects her to drop her business to hear him rant about my supposed drug problem and theoretical lesbian affair.
A fairly typical day in our marriage was for him to drag out of bed at noon and expect my undivided attention to his ranting about my short comings followed by his suddenly deciding at 2:30 he needs to be an hour early for work and where’s his lunch? Cuss my lazy as for having only washed four loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, got the boys fed and off to school and spend a few minutes counting flashcards with my preschooler, then listened to him for 2.5 hours and not having read his mind as to when he wanted to be out the door.
He loved to tell me how smart he was, about all the things he could do that no one else could. He liked to brag about his ability to “tell” about someone. He really enjoyed “telling me” all about me. He thought he had me pegged as an easy target, as a girl who would take it, whatever it was. The big shock of his life was me saying NO.
So what can I learn from this? What lessons to I take away from it? Obviously number one is to avoid narcissists. Perhaps also to monitor my boundaries and pay better attention to times I feel like it doesn’t add up.
Luckily DD has barely enough narcissistic traits to have healthy self esteem. He cares about himself enough to take care of himself but also knows truly what it is to put his life on the line for others.
Now, if only I could find away to really be rid of Man-baby. I know what he wants more than anything is to be the center of attention, to find a handle to yank me around by, to feel like he his the axis the universe spins on. So I doggedly ignore him, put his contact on “straight to voice mail,” let his checks pile up and pretend I don’t care.