I must say, blablah, that for someone without a phd you're quite accurate with your advice.
Before breaking up with him, I wrote the whole thing down for myself. What drew me to him was my addiction to the affirmation I got from him, mainly by me making jokes and him reacting positively to them. When we met, I was in a very vulnerable position. It starts with me being addicted to socializing and attention. That addiction does have its roots, probably in the way I was emotionally neglected during childhood, but I'll work on that as soon as I can get proper therapy (which appearantly you can't get when you don't have an address). I was staying at a homeless shelter, surrounded by people I had nothing in common with. Do you get the picture?
Addicted to social interaction and attention.
Surrounded by people. ALL THE TIME. And yet the interaction I had with them wasn't satisfying.
And then there he was, with his smooth talk, with his nice reactions to my jokes, with all the attention I so craved!
Not a very great combination.
It's like not having any real food available, living off of breadcrumbs all the time, which actually just keeps your stomach active so you end up only feeling more and more hungry, and then there's chocolate cake.
I think a normal, healthy person wouldn't have started the relationship to begin with. I think a healthy someone would have told him once that he needs to keep his distance, and when he wouldn't listen, go to his boss or at least take measures to keep him away. Why? Because what he did is creepy. It would creep them the fuck out and they would run for their lives.
I tried. God knows I've tried. I went to his boss and told her he was sexually harassing me the first time he started flirting. Back then I didn't like him, so that was an easy one. Then after dating him for a while I went to his boss again, in panic. I knew being with him wasn't good to me, but he already had his hooks in me so deep already I didn't know how to stop it myself. Everytime he invited me to the park I thought to myself 'Ok, I'm going to tell him that we need to stop, that I like him, but I need time and space to figure things out for myself', but everytime I ended up kissing him. So I frantically called for help. It didn't work. Once I went to my own place there was no one to keep him away and he wouldn't leave me alone. I say he had his hooks in me, of course by that I mean that I was addicted to his attention.
So yes, there used to be a part of me that wanted to stay with him. It was that part of me that kept me paralized, unable to make the decision to leave, even though I knew it was inevitable that I had to end it at some point.
But now my situation is different. I've got my own place. I got back in touch with my old friends. I got in touch with my new neighbours. I'm no longer surrounded by people whom I can only have superficial, unsatisfying contact with. Instead, I surround myself with people I can have meaningful conversations with. I can socialize when I want and I can take time for myself when I want. I'm back in control and I'm able to get my own needs met. That fact makes me able to let his attention go. His shallow, empty attention no longer outweighed his captivating, controlling, energy draining demands, and so I began to figure out a way to leave him. And when he got actually physically violent towards me is when all my empathy towards him dissappeared like POOF!
You also ask me what drew him in with me. I'm not quite sure actually. I asked him during the relationship, but he had no answer, except for that I was so incredibly sweet. But my theory is this:
I read that anti-socials fall for strong, flourishing women. If he is truely anti-social as I think he is, then he fell for the mask I was wearing in the homeless shelter.
I never wanted to look like I was homeless, I saw it as a challenge to still be fashionable even though I was homeless. During my time at the shelter I volunteered at a secondhand shop, which made it possible for me to buy the prettiest things for a very low price. I always looked my best and I had a very unique style, so I drew in quite some attention in general. And of course, by doing so, I got his attention too.
He was someone who always had the last word. Whenever someone would insult him (usually in a playful way), he'd always have a clever answer to it at hand. Not with me. When I'd insult him, or get back to a joke of his, he never had an answer. And even if he did, I would have an answer back on that one. I always won. I always had the last word. It could be possible that he let me have the last word on purpose of course, if he's an anti-social it could be one of his manipulation tactics. But I doubt it, he's not that clever. And if I did win every playful argument, then that's definetely a trait he fell for. It made me more of a challenge to win over.
Those jokes, playful insults, were also part of a mask by the way, towards others as well as towards myself. It was my way of asserting myself, my way of enjoying the fact that I no longer had to keep my mouth shut out of fear for the consequences. It was my way of showing, towards others as well as towards myself, that I was not one who could be messed with. It was my way of keeping myself safe, and making me feel safe.
But by nature I was also a stand-out. I had a style which was very unique. It only took me a week to figure out that volunteering at a secondhand shop was better than hanging on the streets all day, and had things taken care of quite well for myself. I never watched TV, I read books. I made drawings, I was very creative. I was social, I made friends, I made myself loved. When the weather was nice, I'd take friends for a walk so we could socialize in peace, not having to be afraid that other people could hear us, and not having to make such a big effort to hear each other in general (the TV was always really loud
). I was charming. I was pretty. I was funny. I was smart. I was opinionated. I was loud. I was assertive.
Man I feel like I'm bragging! Like, will the real narcissist please stand up?
Anyway, typing all this down about myself, I realize that I do have something special that anyone could fall for. I've got a lot that can be admired. But in the case of anti-socials and narcissists, I'm exactly the type they fall for.
The fact that I'm strong and flourishing makes me a delightful challenge. The fact that I'm an empath and still have a tendency to put others above myself makes it possible for them to bend, break and mold me into an object that can be controlled and made use of, and my daddy issues are perfect leverage.
Something else pops up just now. The main difference between the people from the shelter that seem healthy to me, and myself, is that I engaged with the homeless world. I interacted with people. I did chores around the shelter. In the weekends I'd be the bar lady. I laughed with the guests. I laughed with the managers. I invested. The other ones who seemed healthy to me didn't. They had a job, they came there to eat and sleep and that's all they did there. They were clearly protecting themselves from any bad influences or risky people. By nature. And while those people probably saw that there was real risk and danger lurking around, I was just starving for social interaction and attention so much so, that I didn't filter who I wanted to interact with. Any interaction would do.
So I guess the conclusion is that I need to work on my self-sacrificing habits and my unmet emotional needs.