The Worse thing about being lied to is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.
I recently read these words, by an author I don’t know, and I’ve been thinking about them. I imagine in a healthy relationship this might be true. I’ve not been in a healthy relationship, so I don’t know. Do healthy couples lie to each other? If so, why? I supposed I’ll have to ask my sister about this next time we chat.
In my relationship, 24 years with a covert narcissist, I believe the opposite:
The Worse Thing About Being Lied to Was Knowing I Earned It.
I earned every single lie by being competent. In the love bombing phase the lies were necessary to hook me. I was an independent, successful woman; there was no way he could hook me being his true self, so lies were paramount. In a convoluted way, I earned those lies! It was my strengths and positive qualities that made me a target in the first place and, once chosen, only a string of well played lies could keep me on the hook.
Once hooked (i.e. married) the devaluation stage began. I was lied to repeatedly. I was told I was the cause of all of our problems, I was crazy, too sensitive, paranoid, emasculating, impossible to please, etc. Again, I earned these lies! I earned them by holding down a good career while raising children and maintaining our home. In the early years I arose at 5AM, worked out, showered, got my step-son up, fed and dressed him, got him to daycare and myself to work by 9. Most nights I was the one picking him up, feeding him dinner and getting him to bed. Most weekends I was the one taking care of him, cleaning the house, running the errands. My narc was usually gone, allegedly at work, in retrospect who knows where. Often he’d come home around 9PM, when his son was already in bed and I was exhausted, and he’d want sex. When I’d say no he’d walk away like the pouting child he was, turning to the silent treatment he was so fond of.
As I look back, I realize what a compliment it was that he lied to me as frequently as he did. He knew that if I kept my sense of self, if I continued to feel like a competent, successful woman, I’d be gone. How long would I have stayed if he hadn’t piled on the lies? I don’t know, because I was in love with his son and, shortly after we were married he convinced me to have another, so by the time our second anniversary rolled around I had two young children.
I am 100% positive that had he not beat me down to a mere shadow of a person, I would have taken the children and left. I know this because I did at one point. I was confident it was the right move, and I was aware that he would try to get me back, because I hid for a few days with my boys. I hid from everyone, which by that time was very few people, because few people remained in my life.
He got me back with his lies:
- he would make things better
- I was right, he’d been a bad husband
- he loved me
It was like a Lie Sundae. The base layer was “you’re right”, the toppings were the various ways he’d change to make things better, and the cherry on top was the ultimate lie: I Love You. I wish I could draw, because I’d love to draw a Lie Sundae!
Over the years, as I grew sicker by the day, lies weren’t as necessary. He’d beaten me down. He had me where he wanted me. I was 100% dependent on him, I was too sick to work, I had no energy, and sense of self – Zilch. He did his job well. He factored in everything, from the number of kids to have and when, from the way he ended my career, the way he put on the show to the external world, making himself appear to be father and husband of the year, while I laid at home, too tired to even question the lies any more. He’d won.
What he didn’t count on was cancer. Yes, I was saved by cancer! Surviving a chemo regiment only 40% of women make it through, surviving the months of pain after, and realizing that I might not have long to live, led me to 1 realization:
I was already living in hell; how much worse could it be?
So I made that fateful leap. I stood up for myself, knowing it would most likely end our marriage. Not only did it end our marriage, but it ended in……..you guessed it – A Lie!
It is so clear to me now how many lies he told me and, in an odd twist, I’m sort of proud of the number of lies it took to keep me “in my place”. I’m proud of how much work he had to put into destroying me to keep me under his thumb. I didn’t make it easy for him. And now, as we divorce, I’m making it so much harder. Now, I finally see him; I see through him.
With the covert narcissist, it is true, in the infamous words of Meghan Trainer
“if your lips are moving it’s a lie, lie, lie”.
He’ll now have to feed to his Lie Sundae to someone else (which he is happily doing). I wonder how many scoops of lies it will take to keep her in place.