Leaving Kevin was extremely difficult. Not because I loved him – because I didn’t. I don’t think I ever loved him. He never give me the opportunity to. He took off his mask too quickly. But because he would always play the poor victim card, I would feel sorry for him and end up coming back.
I can’t think of a specific event that propelled me to leave this relationship. I always knew that there was something “off” about him but I could never put my finger on it. He was always the victim and I always tried to sympathise with him. But deep down inside, I was finding it very difficult to sympathise. Something was not quite right but I just could not explain it. I kept telling him that we all have issues in our lives and we can’t keep brooding over them and that life still goes on. But the reaction I got was like he did not want his life to get better. He did not want to listen to me. He actually wanted his life to be miserable and difficult, to garner sympathy.
Whenever he raged at me, I remember screaming to myself in my head to get out and that this was so obviously abusive behaviour, yet it was so confusing because he was a completely different person when he was not raging. He had his nice moments and I also made myself see the “victim” in him so I was always finding excuses for him such as he was just going through a hard time. But it still did not make sense to me. When normal people have problems in their lives, they don’t rage at their loved ones. They confide in them and seek advice and comfort. Loved ones are supposed to make each other happy. But with him, no matter how hard I tried to make him happy, in the end, I’d always be the one coming out feeling miserable and drained. And I remember telling myself so many times that this was not normal.
So I don’t think any specific event propelled me to leave this relationship. Deep down inside I knew all along that something was not right, but I did not know exactly what it was.
Even though I left Kevin, in a way, it did feel like a discard. Throughout the year and a half with him, I attempted to leave him at least 20 times. Each time he would go crazy, crying, calling and emailing me non-stop saying how I could be so cruel, threatening suicide and making me feel guilty. He always said the same line,
“And you know what the worst part is? I still love you.”
This was absolutely disgusting and it made me feel sick to the stomach. He had to make it so dramatic. He did not even know what love was. Is shouting at me, patronising me, talking over me, gaslighting and manipulating me, is that love? Sometimes he would use stories to hoover me back. For example, he would say that he had urgent news about some drama happening at the school. He loved talking about drama at the school and often it was either made up or highly exaggerate. Another time, after I had already moved to Singapore, he tried to hoover me back by saying that there was urgent news about my boxes. My boxes did have problems and they were sent back to Belgium because of missing shipping labels. However, Kevin used that to say that he had urgent news about my boxes to get me to talk to him over Skype when in fact there was nothing new about my boxes. Then he started having a conversation with me about something completely different, as if everything was fine.
I reckon he threatened suicide not only so that I would not leave him, but it was another way for him to garner sympathy and attention and to make me feel guilty. One time, out of the blue, he said to me,
“If anything ever happens to me, I want you to take Decibelle.”
I did not know why he would say such a thing out of the blue. I asked him why he had said that and what was happening. With a smirk on his face, he just said, “Nothing” and that he just wanted me to have Decibelle if anything happened to him, but he never explained. Now I understand that he wanted me to feel guilty for him and give him sympathy and attention. However, I did not offer him any sympathy. I pitied him. He was a pathetic, sick, little boy.
Now when I think back, I don’t even understand how I found it so difficult to leave – I did not even love him! It’s crazy! The final time I left him, when I was already in Singapore, we were having another argument on Skype as usual because of the same old story – he would be surfing the internet, chatting to other people and playing with his deck of magic cards but not listening to me. Every time I reminded him nicely about the agreement we had previously made about quality Skype time, he would blow up at me saying that I was always trying to start an argument. The more I stood up for myself, the more frequent and intense his projections became. During that final Skype argument, I really had had enough so I hung up on him (as I had done so many times in the past). I was determined that the relationship was over. But I was also expecting the same old drama to repeat of him going crazy, crying and emailing me non-stop. But not this time. This time he went silent. I then started to miss him, which I now understand to be traumatic bonding (Chapter 94). It did feel like a discard. I was so tempted to go back to him. It was only about two or three weeks after I left him that I discovered covert narcissistic abuse. That was when I stopped missing him. I experienced everything: rage, anxiety, sickness, disgust, more rage… but I never missed him again.
A few weeks later, he did make a couple of weak attempts to hoover me back. He knew that I was going to go to visit some friends in Australia. After I arrived at my friends’, I discovered that I had a missed call on Skype, a WhatsApp message with just “Hi”, and an email message saying that he did not see me on WhatsApp and that he wanted me to give him news. I replied to his WhatsApp message though I shouldn’t have as replying was just giving him exactly what he wanted – attention and a reaction. I had not blocked him because he owed me money and I still wanted it back. He tried to chit chat with me but by this time I knew exactly what he was. I went straight to the point and asked him if he had sent me my bedsheets to which he responded not yet because he had been “busy”.
A few days later, he sent me another text message saying, “I want to play mölkky with you”. I told him to go find someone else as I was not going to fall for his tricks again. Narcissism is one complete package – no matter how much they rage or how much they sweet talk you, everything is linked back to manipulation to be used for the narcissist’s benefit. Yet, when I said I was not going to fall for his tricks again, he said,
“I miss the Nikki I fell in love with. That’s it. No trick.”
That in itself was manipulation. He was again turning the situation around to make it sound like I was the one with the problem. He does not even know how to fall in love. He has never fallen in love in his life. He is physically incapable of love. He further on went to say that the school was going to shut down in December just to get a reaction out of me. All I said was “Ok”. I think he was hoping to get more of a reaction out of me. I don’t know whether he wanted to make things better with me so that he could use me some more or whether he needed attention. Or perhaps he was testing to see whether I was going to fall for anymore of his lies and manipulations. The more I resisted his sweet talking, the more he projected that all he was doing was being nice and that I was the bully. The more I described to him exactly what he was, the more aggressive he became and the more he projected his behaviours back on to me.
When I left Kevin, I was really upset with myself. I am a strong woman; how could I have allowed someone to treat me like this and put up with it? I feel that the only answer I can give is that I was living and working in the same place as him and I was afraid of him. But I should not have let that be a determining factor. I had left him so many times but he still kept coming back to me and I still kept giving in. I felt so weak. But now, I am no longer upset with myself for this. Narcissists are incredibly dumb and incapable when it comes to managing their own lives, yet when it comes to manipulation and gaslighting, they are absolute master minds. If they weren’t, they would not be thriving so well. They get to the best and even the strongest of us. I fell for this because I have compassion, and I would rather have compassion than not. But from this experience, I have become a stronger woman. I have learnt that not everyone in this world thinks and feels in the same way that I do. I have learnt that such sick, malicious and insidious people exist. And I have learnt to reset my boundaries, trust myself and to not allow anyone to push or manipulate my boundaries.