My ex recently changed his job. He told our son that he was doing it because he wouldn’t have to work weekends, and would have every other Friday off. Lo and behold, he’s now working every Friday & every weekend.
My son told me this when I asked how he gets to work on the weekends he’s with his dad. He said “dad has to work, so he goes to the gym, comes home, showers, takes me to work, then he goes to his work”. My son then explained that his dad had taken this job so he wouldn’t have to work weekends, following this up with “I know he’s at work because I check his phone, but I can’t help thinking something’s up, cause he wasn’t supposed to work weekends”.
It is possible that there is an innocent explanation. Not likely, but possible. I feel fairly certain though, that there is no explanation – or no explanation other than he’s grooming his next victim. Why do I say this? Well, because Cheaters Cheat, and Narcissists Don’t Change.
The pattern is so, so familiar. He spent a few years love bombing his new girl, then they got married. Now that she’s hooked, he can let up. He can now rest assured that the promise she made in front of 100 of our closet neighbors was actually sincere – that she will love him till death. Since he’s put on his public show of endearment, with his teary eyes and sentimental words, his job is done. Now he can breathe. And what’s the 1st thing a narcissistic cheater does when he gets breathing room? He stops love bombing, which sets off an unfortunate series of events, requiring him to cheat.
If you are thinking “hmm, not so fast” – let me add this. Last weekend I got an email from him asking to rearrange his visitation weekends in April. I said this was fine as long as he made sure our son was with me on 5/13, mother’s day. He emailed me back addressing April changes, but ignoring May visitation. I wrote back that since he wasn’t addressing the issue I’d put forth (May) I would have to say no to his request. He responded like this: “I am too old and tired to fight over this”.
Really? He didn’t seem old or tired over the past 3 years, as he’s gone on trip after trip with his new girl, and to party after party. He wasn’t too old or tired to buy a waverunner and drag her to the ocean every weekend to drive it. He wasn’t too old to go skiing in Vale, drinking in Napa or snorkeling in Jamacaii. Yet now, he’s too old.
In his defense, I did ask him to fight for his son, and that is very low on his priority list, so…..
Here is the moral: Narcissistic Cheaters Cheat.
I suppose there are rare exceptions to the cheaters rule, but you will never find a narcissist in the exception pool. Why? Because narcissists must fill that gaping hole in their soul. That hole is temporarily filled during love bombing by the adoration returned to them. Unfortunately, the minute they stop love bombing, the adoration they were feeding off of dissipates.
At this point she is beginning to glimpse what her life with him will be like, and she is balking. She is asking him questions, disagreeing with him, expressing fear or reservations.
This is how it works. During the love bombing phase, the target of the love bombing will obviously reciprocate. Each time he throws her a nugget of love, she’ll lob back an affirmation of this love. Imagine each of these affirmations are cotton balls. During the love bombing phase, his black hole is filled up with these. warm, fluffy cotton balls. He feels fulfilled and cozy, boarding on the feeling of security experienced by normal people.
Suddenly though, the love bombing stops. He is no longer earning cotton balls. This would be fine, because he’s currently filled, except there is one other side effect of the end of love bombing – she is able to take a step back and look at their relationship in a realistic light.
While looking at their relationship she will begin to see the delusional nature of the love bombing, and she will begin to question things. For example, he has spent the past 3 years convincing her that there is no way the two of them can ever lose, or suffer financially, because they are them. They have been touched by the divine, because we all know how the Divine loves a great love story, right? There’s been no need to dial back on the vacations or splurges because their divine love will bring them riches beyond their wildest dreams. Delusion central, eh?
Now that he’s caught her, he no longer has to spout off about their divine union, so he stops. However, not only does she no longer give him cotton balls, she begins to take back the ones that have filled empty soul. “wait”, she’ll say. “How exactly are we going to pay that credit card bill we just rang up skiing in Vale?”. Oooppsss-cotton balls burn up in the trail of her accusations, and his hole starts to growl. “Fill me” his black hole cries. Soon enough, finding no more cotton balls from her, he has no choice but to find a fresh victim to love bomb, a new source of cotton balls.
It is really very sad. I know how he looks sitting at the dinner table right now. He looks like a defeated, old man. He is letting up on his grooming, he is becoming more sullen, he is backtracking on all of his promises, and he is gaslighting like mad. Days in their house are growing longer and more unpleasant, disagreements are happening more frequently and, as he grows more miserable, she is growing more confused.
Unfortunately, there is no happy ending here. She will be hurt and he will move on, dismissing her as quickly, and vehemently, as he love bombed her.
What is really sad is that he will never stop. He can’t stop. For him, stopping the game is the same as dying. Once he stops, the black hole that lives in him will grow and grow, consuming him, body, mind and spirit.
There is one tiny glimmer of good news – if you have been on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse and gotten away, you are on your way back to a fulfilling, happy life. And the girl at the dinner table, trying to cheer up her despondent man, will not be you!