:: Because Aunt Alex gets mail.
Dear Aunt Alex,
This is unbearable. I’ve failed at trying to make this relationship work, and I know he’s a narcissist, but I see something in him, something boyish and lovable. And he keeps coming back. Surely that means something? It’s great that women have Aunt Alex’s Army if they want it, but I don’t need army life, I just need a hug from him.
I know you want a hug from him, but would it help to get a big one from Aunt Alex? And some army cadets?
There are a lot of feelings going on in your letter, but the answer to it all is nestled right in there.
“I know he’s a narcissist…”
STOP! That, right there.
There isn’t a ‘but’ in the world that negates that part about his being a narcissist.
“Right, OK, but –”
Not one single thing. He’s a narcissist. That little fact changes everything. You didn’t fail at making anything work; he did. You don’t see boyishness in him, you see immaturity. You don’t see lovability in him, you see manipulation. And he keeps coming back because he wants to get things from you and use you. And, surely, what he does doesn’t mean anything.
Now, this hurts. Your heart is broken. And you definitely, positively need a hug. But looking for a hug from a narcissist, a warm, meaningful hug that isn’t coming with strings attached, is an exercise in futility and emotional disaster. A disaster which you, Kristin, are living right now. But look for that hug from people who genuinely care about you, and you’ll get the hug, the respect, the care, and the dignity and emotional reciprocity you deserve.
The photo of the double rainbow was taken near Army Headquarters, a narcissist-free zone. We get them here pretty frequently. Coincidence? I think not.