After I left Kevin, I was completely mentally destroyed. I was disoriented from the gaslighting and I was questioning everything. I was questioning myself, my perception of reality, and my perception of social norms. I was questioning whether there was something wrong with me. I was experiencing severe anxiety.
Two things really helped me move forward and come to the realisation that he was the problem and not me. The first was my discovery of covert Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I had being doing so much research on abusive relationships and trying to find out why he behaved the way he did. It was only by chance that I came across Richard Grannon’s YouTube video on the 20 signs of a covert narcissist². The description shockingly described Kevin exactly and since then, I have learned so much about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, both the covert and the overt styles. The second thing that really helped me move forward and understand that what had happened was not my fault was the communication I had with Genevieve, an ex-girlfriend of Kevin (Chapter 91). I decided to contact her to ask her whether Kevin was like this with her also or whether it was just me. She was so amazingly kind and supportive and assured me that nothing was my fault. Our stories were identical. It was crazy! But also very validating.
In addition to the events that happened after I left Kevin (Chapter 83) came a string of hateful text messages from both sides. I was furious at everything. Everything single thing from this relationship. I tried to get across to him how I was feeling. However, that just left me even angrier. If only I had known then everything I now know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I would have known exactly what to do. Trying to have a two-way conversation with a narcissist is impossible. I came out even more furious, even more exhausted and even more anxious. He never accepted responsibility for anything and then projected everything he was doing onto me. Everything I said was twisted and used against me. The only solution is to go no contact, which I should have done a long time ago. Working out a solution with a narcissist is a waste of time and energy. It is impossible. Because I was getting all worked up, I ended up sounding like the crazy one. This was the first time I had ever lost control with my text messages. He would say things to provoke me and he enjoyed that. He was getting off from provoking a reaction in me. When I asked him numerous times to send me my bedsheets (Chapter 69), he would say that he did but he never did. However, his response would be, “Ok, captain”, implying that I was a controlling dictator. This made me furious as HE was the controlling dictator throughout the whole relationship but he projected the monster that he was onto me. I messaged him countless times to try to get my money back but he would avoid the subject. Sometimes he would say that all I spoke about was money and that I always had to have everything in black and white. However, I was in every right to after all my losses because of him. He even had the face to say something like that to me. Narcissists have no shame. They just live in their sorry, little world. So long as the outside world don’t discover their true selves, then they are fine. He was thriving off getting me all worked up. I was messaging him trying to get him to acknowledge the damage he had done, and to get my money and bedsheets back. But instead, all I got was patronisation and provocation. It was extremely ugly from both sides. He never answered my questions and avoided my requests by saying that the conversation was over. It was always on his terms. He even told me to go destroy somebody else’s life. Every single thing I said to him was always projected back on to me. It was impossible to argue with him and only drove me insane. He ordered to me, “Now silence”, which was extremely condescending and extremely misogynistic. Nobody has the right to silence anybody. I told him that. I told him that he had no right to silence me. His response was, “Oh yeah, I‘ll show you”, and then he blocked me. He had a different face with text messages because he could hide behind his screen. And that was why he loved talking to me and others from behind a screen. Right from the love bombing stage. He was a coward.
Kevin actually not once ever denied abuse. I had told him a few times that what he was doing was abuse but he never denied it. And after I had left him, I told him that this was an abusive relationship. His response was, “What relationship?” He denied the relationship but not the abuse, which I agree with. This definitely was not a relationship. All my relationships, no matter what kind, are built on love and care. All my past boyfriends have a special place in my heart as they all once meant something important to me at some point. But not Kevin. Kevin meant nothing to me. He offered nothing. He felt nothing. He was a nothing. With Kevin, I was used and abused and he got off on that. When I compared him to Claude, my employer in Spain whom I believe to be the overt style narcissist, Kevin did not deny that either. I believe Kevin knew in the interview process that he was talking to one of his kind.
By this time, I was beginning to understand exactly who he was. I still hadn’t discovered Narcissistic Personality Disorder just yet but I was reading a book by Lundy Bancroft called, “Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men”³ and it helped me identify so much about everything he was doing, everything I was feeling and why. During the couple of weak attempts in which Kevin tried to hoover me back after I left him for the final time, I sent him excerpts of the book that described aspects of him that I had tried so hard to explain to him about. He was getting angry and I believe that it was because he couldn’t be confronted with the truth. He called it “cheap psychology” and said that everything written in the book could be applied to me as well. It’s funny how he hadn’t even read the book and could come to such a conclusion. I believe he was aware of exactly what he was doing and that he was starting to panic about my discovery. When I sent him the excerpts from the book, all he could do was twist it around and project it back on to me, saying that it could be applied to me too. When I sent him the excerpt on projection and I described that that was exactly what he was doing, he continued to project but I kept resisting. Then he said that he couldn’t argue with me because all I would say was that he was twisting things. He was taking his projection even further to the extent that it was a joke – only that it wasn’t funny. He realised that I had discovered exactly what he was. He was getting weaker and weaker, and that was when I saw his true self. He threw his mask completely off. I could see right through him. I saw the devil.
Thinking back, Kevin not coming to Spain was probably a blessing in disguise. If he had come, I may still be stuck in that abusive relationship. And considering how much worse he became as the relationship progressed, I don’t even want to imagine what he would have been like now if I were still with him. He was the worst person I had ever come to know in my life.
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 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 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. I strive to be the woman I was before I met him, but stronger and better!
² RICHARD GRANNON SPARTANLIFECOACH (2015). 20 Signs You Are With A “Covert” Narcissist. [Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WVLZXLyO-M [Accessed 29 Jan. 2019].
³ Bancroft, L. (2003). Why does he do that? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. New York: Berkley Books.