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Chad:
Welcome to Narcissist Apocalypse, a podcast that gives a voice to narcissistic abuse survivors. I am Brandon Chadwick. But my friends call me Chad and thanks for tuning into this episode. So what is a narcissist? You may ask. Generally speaking, a narcissist is a person who has an excessive sense of how important they are. They demand and expect to be admired and praised by others and are limited in their capacity to appreciate others perspectives. And guess what? Not all narcissists are made equal. Yes, that is true. And narcissism is a character trait that exists on a spectrum. A small amount of narcissism is healthy, and a person with an unhealthy level of narcissism may be called a narcissist at extreme levels. It may be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder. However, for the purposes of this podcast, a narcissist is a person who exhibits a narcissistic traits and or a consistent pattern of maladaptive narcissistic behaviors, regardless of whether they meet the diagnostic criterion. In the latest version of the DSM manual or have a formal diagnosis so a person may be referred to as a narcissist. On this podcast, even if it is more likely that they have another cluster B personality disorder such as borderline histrionic or anti-social personality disorder.

Chad:
So as long as they exhibit narcissistic traits and behaviors. And now with all of that out of the way, because it took me a long time recorded. You have no idea how many times I tried to record it. Let me tell you that there is a survivor named Annie on this episode. And when you think you’ve heard it all before. Any emails me and proves me and we’ll prove you all wrong. So get ready for that. It’s a really interesting episode and that will be coming up in a couple of minutes. But before that happens, I just want to thank everyone in the Narcissist apocolypse community for listening to the show and sharing your thoughts by email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. So a big shout out to the narcissist apocolypse community. And if you haven’t left us a review on whatever podcast service you use, Spotify, Apple, Google, Stitcher, Cashbox, etc, etc.. Leave us a five star review because it helps out the podcast a lot if you want to write out a review as well. That would be great. It helps for rankings. And as far as being on the podcast, we still have a little bit of a moratorium. We think we might have come up with an answer to that problem. However, if you want to be part of an episode as quick as possible, we have something called the Narcissist Apocalypse Letters to our Narcissist episode.

Chad:
So to be part of that episode. Go to our Web site, narcissist apocalypse dot com. And on the right hand side of the page, you’ll see this floating button. It’s hard to miss. It says send voicemail. You press that button. You read your letter to a narcissist. It records you can they records up to about five minutes. So if you need more time, press it again after you’re done. Press, press. Put as many times as you need to press, record your letter and we’re accumulating these letters for a volume 2 of that episode. So send in those voicemails. And if you want myself or Melissa, remember Melissa, my old friend Melissa, who’s been on the episodes a couple of times, we will read your letter and said if you’d like us to just send it to narcissist apocolypse at G-mail dot com. And what else is going on? Our Web site is close to being done. It’s possible it could be done by the next episode. I’m hoping that will happen. And besides that, socially, I did not go visit Melissa as I intended to in Hamilton last week. I could not fall asleep. And when I finally did, I woke up and then I thought about waking up or sorry, I thought about falling asleep and I couldn’t fall asleep.

Chad:
I put too much pressure on myself. And thankfully, Melissa understood because she’s just a really good friend and I have apologized to her many a time and I’m going to apologize to her once again. I’m sorry that I didn’t come to Hamilton and I’ll make it up to you somehow. One day we’ll be recording our shows again. And one last thing. I got a note from a community member this week named Rebecca. So a big shout out to Rebecca. We have been trading e-mails back and forth for a while. And also, I want to say hi to her sister from across the Hudson River. She knows who she is, but Rebecca has sent me this e-mail and asked if I was allowed to share it on the show. And she said yes. So here it goes. Here we go for one whole year, I’ve been holding on so tightly to my kids, trying to prevent any further trauma and have and I’ve been spinning my wheels with my efforts unheeded. And these are the things that I have learned. One, any kid in any situation doesn’t want to listen to their parents anyway, too. They will probably never see their dad for the narcissist that he is. He does not abuse them the way he abuses me.

Chad:
3 The narcissist just throws money at the kids to solve my purse to solve any problems. Never taking ownership of the damage he has caused. And number four, the more I tried to convince my kids to see the wolf, they could only see the sheep. Therefore, I was spinning out of control to protect them when they didn’t even see the threat, the less they understood, the more spinning I did, which only proved to my kids that I am the crazy one. As a narcissist has stated several times, but not anymore. I was holding on so tight that they were pulling away for me. I have decided to pull back for them. I was always be there for them. But I need to focus on my bright future. Hashtag superstar. NAQ survivor. Exclamation point. Exclamation point. So, Rebecca, thank you for this email. Thank you for always sharing your story with me in a big high five in a big virtual hug for your breakthrough. And I’m sure everyone in the narcissist apocolypse community is sharing those high fives and virtual hugs with me towards you. Just keep it going. We’re all proud of you. You should be proud of yourself. And now I’m going to get out of my own way. Here is my interview with Annie and I will check back with you when it’s all over.

Chad:
Thank you to everyone that has shown up for today’s episode. And with me, I have Annie, thank you for showing up and being part of the show today. Annie.

Annie:
Thank you.

Chad:
Well, I know your story. We had a pre call. There’s some things I’ll ask a little bit of questions about. But now I am rambling and I’m just going to get out of my own way and the floor is all yours.

Annie:
Thank you. So I guess I will just start at the beginning.

Annie:
My ex and I met on a dating app. It was one of those sweep apps. We matched. He messaged me right away and we ended up sort of messaging back and forth. That first night I liked him. You seemed OK. He was very chatty and kept the conversation going, which I liked. We had some stuff in common. So at that point I was in a master’s program for disability studies and I told him that he mentioned that he was ah, he is deaf and that he communicates with sign language. So I thought that was interesting. I had never dated anybody deaf before. I don’t know, sign language. And I let him know that. But I have some exposure to deaf culture and and design. I have co-workers who are deaf and I was sort of active in some disability communities, not the deaf community. So it definitely wasn’t a deal breaker or anything like that. So, yeah, he seemed okay. There were a couple things in that first message that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But overall, you know, we had an OK conversation and he gave me his phone number. And so from that day on, we started texting every day. It was actually a month before we met in person. We matched at the beginning of December. So there was around Christmas time and we both had plans with family and Christmas plans and that sort of thing. So we were just sort of texting back and forth.

Annie:
And in that first week, our first couple weeks, he disclosed a lot. So he immediately was telling me, like really personal, like sometimes traumatic stories about his childhood. He was talking about his addiction history. He told me about intimate details about his sexual history. I mean, we were having like these really long like one or two hour conversations every night. He told me about his relationship history, that he had been married and that he and his wife had split up and that he tried to get back together with her for a number of years, but she didn’t want to get back together with him and that they don’t get along at all now. And that since he split up with his wife, he’s really made a point of being friends with all of his exes. And he is all of his friends, as far as I know, or ex girlfriends. And of all of the exes that I know about of his, he is friends with all of them. And that’s something that’s a little bit different with him. Like a lot of times when I listen to stories on the show. I hear stories of people who like they’re the person that they’re with is like slandering their exes are saying that their exes are crazy. But with a guy that I was seeing, it was actually the complete opposite. He spoke in like really glowing terms about all of his ex. They’re all amazing women.

Annie:
He was so proud to know them. He was happy that they were still friends. Yeah. So I I liked that, of course, because I thought that showed maturity. You know, he wasn’t slandering them or saying anything bad about them. He told me that his last relationship had ended about six months before we met and that the reason it had ended is because he was just totally in love with her and she had never wanted to make it exclusive. And then he had basically been single for six months and then he met me. So initially I actually felt really happy that he was opening up to me. And even though the conversations were very one sided, like I almost felt guilty, I was like, oh, I’m not really sharing anything about myself. Like, I’m not holding up my end of the conversation. But I found when I sort of tried to find an opening in the conversation to talk about me, there never really was one. He was kind of descending like these huge hang walls of text. And I barely had a chance to like sort of text back to confirm that I was paying attention. And then, you know, he’d just tell a story about himself and like the conversation would be over. But in spite of that, like overall, my first impressions of him was that he was like just really funny and quirky. He seemed like a super positive guy. Like he was never mad or frustrated or grumpy, like stressed or seemed to like roll off his back.

Annie:
And I liked that he was so chatty because I’m a pretty reserved person and I don’t really like talking about myself. So, you know, I appreciated that conversations were really easy with him. He was popular in his communities, too. So he has like thousands of followers on social media. So I kind of felt flattered, like a well, like this guy who’s so popular and gets all this attention has like chosen me to spend his time with. So, yeah. So that was like the first couple weeks just texting back and forth. And it was probably about two or three weeks after we started talking that I eventually told him where I work. And I texted him and he texted back. Oh, shit. And then he followed that up with my brother. Jeff works there. Jeff is not his real name. So Jeff is actually someone that I had worked with for about seven years. He had essentially the same job in the same department. Jeff had started working in the department a few years after I started, and I never really knew him well. Jeff is deaf also. So just because of the language barrier set up, no sign language. It was difficult to have like start a conversation with him. But, you know, I would say we had like a professional friendly relationship, like he would smile or wave when we passed in the hallway. And, you know, we had meetings together and we would sort of chat in the meetings when the sign language interpreter is were there and, you know, we’d eat lunch at the same time in the lunchroom.

Annie:
So my impression of him was just, you know, he was just a private, shy guy who just kind of like to keep to himself. So, yeah, so my ex tells me that’s and I was like, oh, my God. Like, yeah, of course I know, Jeff. Like, we’ve worked together forever. And like, his office was just a few doors down from mine and my ex like immediately checks back and he’s like, my brother has a rule that I’m not allowed to date anybody that he works with. And I was like, ah, that sucks. Like, OK. Do you not want to continue on with this or, you know, like that seemed like a pretty specific rule. And he was like my ex with supervision, like, no, no, no, no. I really want to see where this goes with you. Like, it’s not a big deal. Like, you know, we sort of dropped it, but then over the next few days, you know, he’d sort of bring it up like, you know, I’m really worried about what Jeff’s reaction is going to be when he finds out that we’re seeing each other, like keeping in mind that my ex and I had actually not even met yet. And so, you know, yeah, he was texting me like, oh, he had had a conversation with his best friend, who was one of his ex-girlfriends.

Annie:
And you’re talking to her about how stressed out he was about what Jeff’s reaction was going to be. And, you know, he brought up like, you know, all relationships and and, you know, what is it gonna be like for you if you have to work with the brother of an ex-boyfriend? Like, aren’t you worried about it being a toxic work relationship? And like, what if Jeff tries to, like, retaliate on you? And I just thought, like, what is this like? What conversation are we having? We haven’t even met yet. And now we’re talking about what my work situation is gonna be like when we break up. Like, I just thought it was odd and kind of an overreaction. But, you know, he had my ex asked me, like, do you think, like, I should tell Jeff now that we’re seeing each other? And I’m like, well, we haven’t even met. So why don’t we meet first? Like, see how that goes and then come up with a plan about what we’re gonna tell your brother. So he seemed okay with that. So we’re setting up a date and time that we were going to meet. We live about an hour apart, so we planned to meet in the middle. And we were going to go for lunch at a restaurant. So we had sort of narrowed down, I think like three places.

Annie:
And he gave me the choice of three places where where we would meet and asked me to choose when. And so I just like randomly picked one and immediately you shot it down and like, no, I don’t want to go there. You know, I had a first date there once and it was really bad. I showed up and, you know, the girl was high. And he starts telling me this really long, weird story about this date. And I was like, okay, well, I mean, he gave that as one of the options. Pick a different one. I don’t it doesn’t really matter to me. And, you know, at the time I was just like, oh, my God, this guy is so funny. In hindsight, I see that as sort of the beginning of how he navigated our relationship and sort of giving me the illusion of control, but never actually letting me make any decisions. But we we set a set a place for the first date. You know, it’s leading up to the date and on the day of the date. Like, I was pretty nervous. We had been talking for a month every day. And so I felt like there was a lot riding on it. Like I was genuinely starting to like him and I. He would like me, so I show up. We’re having lunch, she brought a pen and paper with him, and so that’s how we communicated on that first date.

Annie:
Because, of course, I didn’t know any sign language at that point. And, you know, it was just mostly like a normal first date, kind of like small talk. I do remember at one point we were talking about tattoo’s and I showed him a tattoo idea that I had and I was pretty excited about it. It was like, that’s really cool, like woman tree hybrid type of thing. And I’ve been working on it for a while. And so I was like, oh, like, look at theirs. And I showed him a picture on my phone and he just looked at it and he wrote down or it’s like it’s a tree. And like, very like deadpan and kind of like just gave me like a so-what shrug and then sat there and stared at me. And I just like that reaction was just so unexpected. Like, typically you would expect someone to say like, oh, that’s really neat or that’s cool. But just the way he immediately shot it down and was just so dismissive of it. That’s really the first time that I remember feeling like shame and stupid about something that I liked. But other than that, like lunch was fine. We finished eating. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk. So we went to a park nearby and we went for a walk and he held my hand and I just thought that was so sweet.

Annie:
It was like high school, like nobody. It held my hand and so along. And so we walked for a bit and we were kind of typing notes back and forth on our phones. And eventually we stop and we sit on a park bench. And the bench was sort of in front of a playground and it was a really beautiful winter day. So there were lots of kids and families that are playing in the playground behind us and we’re sitting on the bench and it’s really sweet. And, you know, we’re getting notes back and forth. And then he leans in to kiss me and he starts kissing me. But these are not Lagu Kennedies first day. Like getting to know you kisses so like aggressively making out like tongue in the back of my throat. Like it almost hurt. He was kissing me so hard. And so I felt uncomfortable right away, like first of all, because it was just so aggressive and also because there were kids playing right behind us. So I stopped him and I kind of gestured to the kids, like do for clique. I’m not making out with you in front of children. And he types a note to me on his phone and he’s like, I don’t care. I can’t hear them.

Annie:
And I was like. I’m like, yeah, I get it.

Annie:
Like, I understand you can’t hear, but, you know, they’re there.

Annie:
Like, you can see them, right. Like, it just was so weird, that response. And so he asks me, he’s like, do you want to stop? But it wasn’t like in like supportive way. It was like very accusatory, like, not friendly. And so I was kind of like, you know, I I wasn’t comfortable with it. But also, like, this was our first date and I didn’t want to screw things up on our first date. And so I was kind of like, no, that’s okay. But, you know, then you start like making out with me again and I’m cannily pushing him away a little bit. And, you know, so he kissed me for a little bit longer and then he kind of like stopped start, stood up, smiled, waved goodbye, walked to his car and drove away. And I was just like, all right. Like, I’m sitting on the park bench after like, my face had just been assaulted with this guy’s tongue. And then he just got up and bike and drove away. And I was just like, what the hell just happened? Like, I’m driving home. And I was like, yeah, that was like the weirdest first date I’ve ever been on.

Annie:
And I get home. And already he’s texted me. He was like, oh, my. Like, he was totally gaga over me. He couldn’t believe how great our date was. He’s like told me that he remembered the way the sunlight hit my hair and that it looked magical. He was like, I you know, I have to set up a second date with you right away. Like, I don’t want to wait. And I was just like a lake. So I’m starting to doubt my own perception. Like, okay, maybe the date wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Like it wasn’t that it was bad.

Chad:
But I have one question. Yeah. Probably over a million questions.

Chad:
Did you think he was socially awkward? And that’s what was, you know. Did you find that maybe. Oh, he’s socially awkward. I can deal with that.

Annie:
Yeah, I think a little bit.

Annie:
And I also talked to him for almost Four months before.

Annie:
I felt like I knew him. And also like so he when I met him, like physically, he is similar to his brother. And so I don’t know if maybe that like there was some familiarity there because of that. Like, I don’t. Yeah. I honestly don’t know. Like, I kind of just remember thinking like I’ve been dating for a while.

Annie:
I’ve been on a lot of first dates. Like it’s definitely not the worst one I’ve been on. I guess like in comparison, I was like, you know, it was weird. He was a bit too aggressive. But, you know, like like you said, we’ve been talking for a month. Overall, I like him. Like, I guess I was sort of like, I’ll give him a pass on that. Maybe that makes sense. But yeah. So we set up a second date and we were I think I was for like a week later and are texting. Definitely. You started turning more sexual after the first date. So we were talking about where we liked and what we didn’t like, what was okay, what was not okay. He told me he thought there was like a pretty decent chance we might sleep together on our second date. And I was like, yeah, I agree. We had made plans to meet at his place. And like, normally I would never, like, ever consider being sexual with someone on a second date or like even meeting a guy at his place on the second date. But again, like there is that level of intimacy there almost. We’ve been talking and it wasn’t just every day. It was like all day, every day. So he would text me in the morning, we’d check in throughout the day, and then we’d have these super long conversations at night where he was telling me all these really personal things. And so even though we had only been on one date, it seemed like we had known each other for much longer.

Annie:
And also because he was the brother of someone I’d worked with for seven years. So there was like some familiarity from their familiarity there, too. And almost like I didn’t like the illusion of safety. Right. Like nothing bad is going to happen because he knows I know his brother Lake and his brother seemed like a decent guy. So I think like in that respect, I kind of like moved a little bit faster with him than I normally would have. But anyways. Yeah. So it’s our second date. I get to his house, walk through the door, take off my coat and like, he starts kissing me. And we made out for like two hours. It was like just intensely physical. Eventually we come up for air and he put on a movie and we started chatting via pen and paper. He had the pen and paper out again and we were just talking about like travelling where we band, where we wanted to go. And, you know, she was getting late and I left and the next day I didn’t hear from him and that was unusual. Like I say, we were texting all day. And so like in the late afternoon, I texted him just to be like, he just cares, like how you thought the date went last night. And he told me he was busy texting back later that night. So it wasn’t till like 8:30 or 9:00 that night that he actually heard from him.

Annie:
And when he texted back, he said, and, you know, the date was fine, but it seemed like more of a hook. I just don’t see any long term potential if you didn’t ask what I thought. And he mentioned like there’s always awkwardness and communication when I’m seeing somebody new. And he kind of alluded to the fact that, like, maybe my communication wasn’t as strong as he wanted or like I wasn’t doing something and he didn’t, like, elaborate. So I was like, confused. I was like, oh. Like, we were just communicating with pen and paper. Like, what did he expect that I would have learned some signs already? Like he didn’t mention anything about that. And again, this is like my first experience dating someone that’s deaf as well. So, you know, I don’t I don’t know if there was an expectation or what that was. So he’s telling me all this and I was just kind of like, okay. Like, I felt crushed cause I mean, the night had definitely been mutual. He was very dominant. Like, it wasn’t me putting the moves on him. But then he kind of shifted it back to me like, you know, you know, I was just a hookup. So I asked him, like, OK, well, do you want to try again? Like, do you want to set a date? And I don’t even know how it came up, but he somehow decided that that we would see each other again.

Annie:
But what he was going to do is he was going to set up a ten day trial. And after the ten dates, he would decide if I would be his girlfriend. And Lord knows what I was thinking. I have a lot of questions about what I was thinking, but I agreed. And so we started seeing each other like once or twice a week. And it was a trial like he would tell me after every date. How many dates we had left. I found out later that he was actually keeping a log of all of our dates. So after each date, he would record like what we did, what we if we watched a movie, what movie we watched, like if we went somewhere as well as like sexual positions or like sex acts, like it was all in there. And it was after seven dates that we were texting one night. And he told me that I was his girlfriend. And I was kind of like sarcastically, sarcastically, as you can be over. Text was like, you still have three days to decide that because I was not impressed with this whole ten day trial thing. And. And he said, no, I’ve decided it’s done. And so that was it. Like I was his girlfriend and I wanted to be his girlfriend at that point. I was like completely infatuated with him. The love bombing was like in full effect. Like he was texting me constantly. And like, you know, he would tell it like he wasn’t just happy.

Annie:
Right? He was texting about like he was blissed out. He was telling me like I was the best parts of all of his exes put together that he had waited such a long time for me that I was a fantasy. I would wake up sometimes to find that he had texted me in the middle of the night to tell me he was thinking about me and how happy he was. He told me he had like no doubts about us. Like very soon after he told me that I was his girlfriend. He started talking about the future. Like he was like, you know, for our first anniversary. You know, I want to go back to that restaurant that we went to on our first date. Like this is seven dates. And I think, you know, like a month or two, like two after we had Mantoloking, he’s already planning our first anniversary. Our relationship was hyper sexual, like from beginning to end. That never changed. Every time we got together, we would have actually two or three times at least. He was very touchy even outside of that. So we were always holding hands or he was rubbing my arm. We were sitting together, you know, like he’d have my legs in his lap, rubbing my legs like that. In the beginning, it just really seemed like he could not get enough of me in every way. And I mean, he was up on a pedestal, too.

Annie:
I just thought, like, he was the most fantastic person that I had ever met. He was like the funniest and smartest and most interesting and coolest. And I mean, I was just totally like head over heels for him. And right around the time that he decided that I was his girlfriend, he told me that he had told Jeff about us. And he’s like. Jeff said, you’re like a super friendly, nice girl. And. And so I felt like relieved. I was like, oh, good, like, that’s over. You know, we were worried what his reaction might be. And so it seems like it was a good reaction. So, you know, I expected like, you know, I might get like an email from Jeff at work being like, ha ha. Like, I heard that you’re dating my brother, you know, or like some sort of, like, awkward conversation. And we’d have a laugh about it. And at that point, I had also started to learn sign language. So I was like, you know. You know, I’m in a committed relationship with this person now. I really like him. Things are looking good. We’re talking about the future. Like he American sign language is the language that he uses to communicate. So, you know, I want to learn that because I don’t want to be writing notes back and forth or typing notes on our phones every time we get together. And so, you know, I’d watch videos on YouTube or, you know, there’s websites that you can go to to learn sign language.

Annie:
We were using an app called Glide Message Each Other. It’s basically like a messaging app. But you use some videos instead of texts. And so like. Yeah. And, you know, the beginning things seemed like awesome. And we were both really into each other. But then like, he started planting like little seeds of doubt. And just like the way that he manipulated me was always kind of the same. So like, for example, when they were texting and, you know, instead of our usual like super long conversation, he’s taking forever to get back to my tax and kind of give me like one or two word answers. So I ask him, like, is everything okay? And he’s like, yeah, I’m just busy. And then the next day was back to normal. So I was like, okay. Like, you know, people get busy. I didn’t really think anything of it. And that was like a week later. And you text me and he’s like, you know, I just want to apologize for the other night when. When I was busy, you know, I made you worry and I feel really bad about that. And I was like, oh, don’t worry about it. Like you were a busy news. Yeah. You know, the reason that I was busy is because an ex-girlfriend of mine had emailed me. So this was the the woman the guy know with right before me. The one that he had been in love with. But who wouldn’t commit to him?

Chad:
This is this is the question I had for you. And I’m sorry for interrupting. Cause I’ve been wanting to say some things for a while.

Chad:
Did you ever meet any of these exes, number one and two? Do you think these exes are people that went on dates with him and he presented his 10 date trial and they said no to it immediately and that’s when their relationship ended, because, you know, after seven dates, you were already his girlfriend. So maybe in his mind, you know, he was on maybe date three with them when he threw that out there in his mind, he could have called them his girlfriend. But really just someone who went on a date with and then he became friends with them after. Is that a possibility? Were thinking about because that whole ten day thing always like it was the second they heard it, it still blows, but still blows my mind. He was I mean, it was his own bachelor episode. They got his own little TV show. So do you think that’s kind of thing? And you or someone who just you know, you had this four month of conversation with them. You were love bombed. You gave him the benefit of the doubt and you went along with it. Is that something that in your mind think that that was something that happened?

Annie:
So, I mean, that is a good question. And the honest answer is, I don’t know. I never met any of his friends or family except for his brother. And that’s because I worked with them. All I know about his ex-girlfriends is what he told me.

Annie:
I know that there were pictures of them on Facebook. So I I saw some of them. He told me each of his relationships seemed to last around two years. So he told me that all of his ex-girlfriends that he is still friends with were all like to your relationships that he had like most of them had kids. So he had like met their kids and that they’d all sort of like you, that he had made sure that they ended on good terms. So that is what he told me.

Annie:
I don’t know if he has exes out there that hate his guts and he just didn’t tell me about them. I have no idea what his relationships relationship with his ex, how their exes, he presents it as like he was totally in love with them. Everything was great due to whatever circumstance. Usually like they didn’t want him. For some reason they broke up, but they were friends afterwards. So I don’t. Yeah, I do. I think it’s probably likely that they that it was more than just the 10 dates that they went out for a substantial amount of time. But I honestly have no clue because the only information I have about his past is from him and I’m sure that that is presented in a light that is favorable to him.

Chad:
Alright. So I’m sorry for interrupting. Continue

Annie:
Yeah. Oh, yeah. So he. So he’s. Where was I? Right. So he’s texting me saying like he’s really sorry that he made me worry. But he was busy because an ex-girlfriend of his I sent him an email and she wanted to be friends again. And I think he had to talk to her because she wanted to sleep with him. And he had to tell her that he couldn’t because he was with me. And so, like, obviously, I’m feeling insecure like this. You know, person that I’m with brushed me off to talk to a woman who admittedly he was in my ways but couldn’t be with because she didn’t want to be. And now he’s brushing me off to talk to her about the fact that they like they’re discussing whether they can sleep together or not. So I’m like, you know, I’m feeling insecure. And then he says that he has a question for me. And then there’s a long pause, which he always did. He never asked questions like anything about me. So I knew, like, if he did, it was going to be something important. I always like how these long pauses. So, like, of course, I’m anxious, like, oh, my God, what’s he going to ask me? And then he asks in my previous relationships, like, was I usually the one that broke up with my partners or did they usually break up with me? And, you know, like.

Annie:
And then, you know, I answer and he’s like, yeah, I just assumed, like, because you’re so awesome. Like, you’re always the one that broke up with them. But it’s just like. Is like such a typical conversation for us. He’s sort of like comes in like the good guy, like, you know, I’m really sorry I made you worry. And then like plants, like a bunch of insecurities, you know, let’s talk about breaking up a bit and then like, end the conversation. Blake. Oh, my God. Like, you’re the best. Like, I’m so happy to be with you. Like those types of conversations just happened all the time. So, you know, he started like, you know, at the beginning it wasn’t as frequent, but he was starting to get like sort of hot and cold. So some days he would still be like over the top, over the moon.

Annie:
And then the next day. You seem like almost annoyed by me, like he annoyed by that. I was texting him all the time and he’d be like short answering or ignoring me. And our conversations were changing, too. So at the beginning, you know, he’s giving me like kind of personal details. But the conversation sort of shifted and started becoming like very superficial. So we were still texting all day. But like now all we were talking about is like what he was eating, what game he was playing, like what he was watching on TV. And he never asked me about me, like even to ask how I was doing ever. It was just like he would give me an update on him and then that was it. If I did talk about me like text about me, he’d just say, like, cool, or he changed the subject or in the conversation or text back like, oh, you can tell me about that another day. Like the conversation was just shut down. I tried to talk about myself. If I brought up anything that I liked, it was sort of the same as on our first date. Like when I’m talking about the tattoo. Like you just didn’t care. Like, not impressed. Not interested. Didn’t want to talk about it. He never gave me any genuine compliments. So if I’d ask him, like, what do you like about me? He’d say, like, oh, he liked how I made him feel. He liked how much I liked to please him or like he liked how I made him feel attractive, but never anything about me as a person. It was all about like how I made him feel.

Annie:
And it started to bug me like when we first met, I saw. He’s like he’s so positive. Like he’s never stressed out. Everything just like rolls off his back. But now, like, I was starting to realize, I’m like, that’s not really positivity. Like, he just lacked emotion. Like, I never saw him sad.

Annie:
I never saw him stressed or worried or angry or happy or excited or anything. He just sort of existed in this emotionless state. It’s really hard to describe.

Annie:
Yeah, just completely like.

Annie:
I guess almost like a robot, like just nothing. Even if you brought up something that he should have been bothered by, he was just like, it’s like just shrugged everything off. Like nothing bugged him ever.

Annie:
He existed in an emotionless state.

Annie:
Yeah. Always, though. Always. And yeah, everything was always on his schedule and according to his plans. So like what these decide to get, what days we saw each other. Like how much time we spent together, what we did when we were together. If I suggested like seeing each other an extra day or on a different day was like, no, that’s not going to happen. He was always too busy or too tired or it just didn’t feel like it like it was all him and what he wanted. And he never called me by my name ever. It was always like babe or baby or Kutty or home near the end of our relationship. He actually gave me the nickname Ruby. And the reason that he gave me that nickname is it’s short for a Rubik’s Cube and I’m sort of skipping ahead, but we ended up breaking up three times and getting back together. But so he said that I was like his Rubik’s Cube because he liked scrambling me up and then putting me back together and then scrambling me up again. And he said, it’s fun because every time the scrambles are different. Wow. And I just I thought that is the most self-aware thing. I think I’ve. I think that’s the only self-aware thing I ever heard him say. But also, like, he just had no shame about it. Like, he basically admitted to me that he was fucking with me and and then he made a nickname out of it. And that’s what he called me. So, yeah. I don’t know. Like. Anyways, moving on.

Chad:
That is crazy. That is you know, I’ve heard a lot on this show. That’s actually, that’s really interesting.

Annie:
Yeah. Yeah I and when when he said that I was like does that mean what I think it means? I don’t know how else to interpret that. So I choose to believe that he was aware of what he was like. I know a lot of times when people are in these relationships, like one of the questions is like, do you think they know what they’re doing? And based on that, I think he did. I think he was fully aware. And I. He obviously didn’t care because I mean, that’s just rubbing it in my face, right? Yes.

Annie:
But yeah. So he like he never tried to impress me. You know, like he never cleaned up his apartment before he came over. He never dressed up when we got together. It was just kind of like, this is me, like, take it or leave it. He constantly complained about how far away I lived, how far we were from each other, but how far away I lived. And he would say things like, you know, he was so lucky that that I was his girlfriend that we were going out because I would drive to see him. And he was like told me like, you sure wouldn’t do that for me. So, like, you know, he was so lucky that, like, I was willing to do that for him.

Chad:
I’m gonna interrupt you into for one second. Yes. Because I’m still stuck on a Rubik’s Cube thing because we didn’t discuss this before. Right. When he says this. At this point in your own mind, how confused are you?

Annie:
So. He gave me that nickname close to the end. It was after we got back together for the third time. And at that point, I knew, like who he was and like, I think it was more like just confirmation, like, yeah, I know this guy is screwing with me and I know he doesn’t care. And now he’s like basically admitting it to me.

Chad:
It’s like an evil, sadistic person in a comic book movie. And he’s the villain and at the end he tells you his plan or whatever is going on in a way.

Annie:
Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I honestly I have a lot of questions about now with some distance and perspective. I have a lot of questions for myself about what I accepted and why. That is definitely one thing where I was like, why was that okay? Like, why when he actually admitted it to you? Did you not just leave? But I think at that point, I mean, I was so deep in it.

Chad:
Oh, yeah. You were super deep in it? Yes. You were love bombed. To another degree, the whole thing at the beginning with the constant contact. You had no chance.

Annie:
Yeah. Oh, yeah. The oxytocin was flowing, man. I was like, yeah, I was in it. Yeah. So he wrote our relationship was very critical of my sign language skill. So he would make really disparaging comments about hearing people and he would tell me a lot like how hearing people signing sucks. He would show me comments and his online deaf groups were like other deaf people were talking about how much they hate hearing people. I mean, you can’t just look at me and smile and wait for my reaction. And I was like, you know, like, why would you show me that? I know that that sentiment exists within the deaf community, not from everybody. But, you know, it’s just like a hurtful thing for him to to show me when I was trying to sign with him, like he always just looked like really annoyed. Sometimes he would look away or he’d just sort of like nod dismissively and then walk away like he was just super not encouraging. He never, like, offered to work on it together. He never even really, like, acknowledged if I was improving or learning, if I was struggling like we were having a conversation, they couldn’t think of how to express myself. He just sat there and watched me. And it was just like, honestly, it was just humiliating because I’m an intelligent person and I was putting real effort into like it’s an entirely new language. Sign language isn’t just signed. English has got its own syntax, its own structure and its own vocabulary. And so like I’m trying to learn this language to improve the communication in a relationship that’s really important to me. And he just was really critical about it. Like I never felt supported or like he wanted to help or work on it together.

Annie:
At one point he gave me a quote. So he told me like he expected he told me he expected me to send a certain number of glides every day and that they had to contain at least two new signs that I hadn’t used before. So now, like, it was almost like an assignment and he would get upset with me if I didn’t meet the quota. And, you know, by this point, like, I was talking to my friends about him and stuff and a friend of mine mentioned that she knew someone, a guy who had started dating a deaf girl and learned sign language. And she was talking about like how romantic it was. And so kind of had that in the back of my head, like, yeah, like what I’m doing is really romantic. Like I’m learning a whole new language for, like this person that I’m falling in love with. But it didn’t feel romantic, like it felt really uncomfortable and awkward. And I always felt like shame and responsibility for not being better. Like it seemed like the expectation was that I would be better than I was, even though he knew when we first started dating, I didn’t know how to sign. But I started using like language and culture barriers, like an umbrella for everything that was all the things that were wrong in our relationship. So I would be like, well, of course things feel off like we can’t have a proper conversation in person. And, you know, text messaging is not ideal.

Annie:
There’s lots of like nuance lost. So it’s like, of course, this doesn’t feel like a normal relationship because, you know, we’re struggling with this communication piece like he never want to be to meet his friends and family. And I was like, well, of course, he doesn’t like I can’t sign like that would be, you know, a a challenging situation for me to go spend time with him and all of his friends of. I can’t understand what they’re saying and I can’t express myself. You know, whenever I would, like, laugh or like, try and tell him something funny, like he never found anything funny that I did. And I was like, well, you know, maybe it’s like a cultural thing. You know, def humor is different than hearing humor. And so, you know, I just need to be more sensitive and like, understand that, you know, he’s not going to. Everything funny that I find funny and I totally took on like all the responsibility to improve our communication. So if we were having a conversation and it was challenging, it was like, well, that’s because I didn’t learn enough or like, I’m not trying hard enough. And I really like I felt super anxious when we were together. Like, I really almost feel like dread leading up to our dates. And I was like, well, of course, like, of course, I feel anxious, like it’s stressful having to communicate and, you know, with like my limited language skills. But by the end of their relationship, like my signing skills were quite a bit stronger. Like, I could definitely understand what he was saying and my expressive skills were getting better.

Annie:
Like we could have an entire conversation and sign language by the end. And I actually ended up right before we broke up. I signed up for an ESL class at Gallaudet University, which is the Deaf University in Washington, D.C.. And that was really eye opening because all of my instructors and teachers were deaf and I was really shocked. I was like, why are they being so nice to me? Like, deaf people hate hearing people. Like, why are they why are they helping me out when I’m when there’s a word that I don’t know? And they were giving me all this feedback. They’re like, why are you taking an ESL class like you’re signing? Excellent. I got 100 percent on my midterm and my instructor actually email me. She’s like, your skills are beyond excellent lake. And so I was like, ha! Like, maybe it’s not that I don’t have the skill all to communicate with this man. Like maybe that he’s like shutting down and shutting down our conversations. And I kind of almost wonder, like, so we were going, oh, he’d always tell me, like, you’re gonna be my last hearing girlfriend. I’m done with hearing girlfriends. Like, my next girlfriend’s gonna be deaf. And I kind of wonder if he purposely chose hearing like a hearing girlfriend because he it created like that power imbalance. Like I couldn’t communicate with him. And maybe that’s why he wasn’t super encouraging of me learning because he didn’t want me to like, he didn’t want that level playing field. I don’t know. That’s just speculation.

Chad:
Did his brother ever have an issue with your signing?

Annie:
I’ve never communicated to his brother.

Chad:
So what happened with his brother?

Annie:
So. Yeah. So I’m just. Yeah. I’m just about to get to that. I don’t like it. So the only other thing that I wanted to mention about our relationship, especially in the beginning, was that my ex hit me a lot like probably almost every time we were together.

Annie:
The first time he did it was on our second date. And then it was probably almost every time that we that we got together after that. Mostly he would slap me in the face and it was hard. It hurt. He would hit me so hard that like my ears would be ringing. And there were times that he left bruises. Sometimes he would like choke me by sort of like holding his arm across my throat and. It’s confusing to talk about because he never did it out of anger. He was never mad, ever. And it was never like out of retaliation for something I did. It just like sort of happened. He never apologized for it. He never like he never asked ahead of time if it was OK. A lot of times it would be like during sex or while we were kissing, but not always. He spat on me during sex sometimes. Yeah. And I.

Annie:
It’s confusing to talk about because I never brought it up either. Like he never discussed it. He never said, is this OK? He never apologized afterwards. He never mentioned it. I never mentioned it. That log that I was talking about earlier where he was keeping track of all of our dates. He would write it in there like he would say, like slapped in the face. So it wasn’t something that he was like hiding. And yeah, I don’t I don’t know. Yeah. That’s something that I need to think about, I think is why. I let that happen without saying anything. But yeah, anyways, his brother.

Annie:
So, yeah. So initially, you know, he had told me his brother said that, you know, as a super nice person and I was feeling really positive about things. He told my ex told me so. Like he was gonna try and respect each of our boundaries by not talking too much about us to each other. And I was like, awesome like that. That seems like a good idea. I totally understand that. But then he was starting to cause problems. So my ex was reporting back to me that Jeff was upset because, you know, my ex wasn’t sharing details about his relationship with him and they had always been super close. And now a sudden they weren’t talking. You know, these conversations about his brother were happening. I’m going to say like once or twice a week. So this wasn’t like every so often. This was like a constant, like almost constant topic of conversation. My ex was telling me like he was so stressed about not being able to be open with his brother, sort of implying like I was driving a wedge between them. He told me that Jeff wasn’t happy we were dating. Jeff was upset because my ex was on spending as much time with him because now he was spending so much time with me. Eventually got to the point where you were telling me that Jeff hated me and I was just like he he like he doesn’t even know me. So at this point, Jeff and I have not had a conversation.

Annie:
Not in person, not by email. Nothing. He has not acknowledged that I’m dating his brother. I have not spoken to him or communicated with him that I’m dating his brother. And at work, things were starting to get weird. So like, just stopped acknowledging me. So like, if I passed him in the hallway, like if their attorneys had or avoid making eye contact, he would sit down right next to me in the lunchroom like not even acknowledge me. There were times like if I was walking into the office behind him and I know he saw me, he’d like walk through the door and let it just close in my face. He was very blatantly like making a point of ignoring me, basically. Jeff was also reporting back to my ex what I was saying and doing at work. So like I had mentioned something in a team meeting and then I get a text from my ex that Nate asking me questions about it. Jeff would email or Jeff would tell my ex that, you know, I tried to wave at Megan today and she’s ignoring me like I’m trying to be so friendly and she’s not. And so then my ex would be texting me like, what’s going on at work? You know, my is telling me that, you know, he’s trying to be friendly to you and and you’re ignoring him. And so I’m like, whoa, like, this is just like escalating rate. I’m like, OK, I haven’t even had a conversation with Jeff at all.

Annie:
And so I’m you know, I’m trying to sort of like do some damage control and fix this. And so I tell my ex, like, look, I’ve got no problem with you talking to your brother about this relationship. Like, tell him anything you want, tell about our relationship, talk about our sex life, like whatever you would have talked to him about before. I’m fine with it. I appreciate this is a different situation. But, you know, like it’s important to me that you and your brother like that our relationship not affect the relationship you have with your brother. And he was like, my ex is just like, no, no, no, I don’t feel comfortable doing that, you know? You know, I just want it to be like you and me. You know, I don’t want involve anybody else. I don’t want to involve my brother. I don’t want involve my family. You know, it is really like, first of all, isolating us, but also just, you know, putting like this guilt on me for, you know, this dynamic with his brother that was changing. But while my ex is telling me that he is, you know, doing all of this to respect everybody’s boundaries, he would tell me really personal and intimate things about his brother and then tell me all. But Jeff doesn’t want you to know that. So, you know, he told me something about like his relationship or something and then showed me a text where Jeff was saying, like, don’t tell me.

Annie:
So I just felt like awful because I’m like, oh, my God, I’m unwittingly violating Jeff’s boundaries now. And I’m keeping secrets that I didn’t even want in the first place. And so I’m just, you know, and things are all weird and uncomfortable at work. And so I would you know, I’d talk to my ex. I’d be like, look, I want to fix this. Like, I’m going to talk to your brother. Like, let’s just sort this. This is just a misunderstanding because this is like months and months and months have gone by at this point. And like, things were not getting any better. And I’m like, why don’t you know? I’ll just talk to him. Like he seems like a like a reasonable guy. My exes like. Absolutely not. I do not want you guys talking to each other. Like he would be like just like he does not want me and his brother communicating.

Annie:
Yeah, so but then at the same time, sort of like like he was sort of like, yeah, you know, I’ll arrange a time for all three of us to meet. So like you guys can meet properly. And, you know, I talked to James and I told them, like, this is really starting to affect our relationship. But I mean, it would work like it was just so uncomfortable and so stressful. You know, I was like trying to catch Jeff’s eye when we passed in the hallway or try to, like, wave at him in the lunchroom and he just like, shut it down. And, you know, and then I’d get like a text that night saying like, you know, that I was the one ignoring him. And so I just started trying to avoid him. I stopped having lunch with my friends in the lunchroom. I would just like, wait till everybody else was done, get my lunch and eat alone in my office and really just avoiding leaving my office at all because I didn’t want to bump into him like I just didn’t want this conflict to continue and I didn’t know how to fix it. But, you know, I sort of felt like I was causing it because it’s like everybody was sort of blaming me for it and I didn’t. But then when I tried, when I suggested fixing it, it was like, well, no, we can’t do that.

Annie:
So, you know, I started talking to my friends, like, look like I’m in this relationship and something’s off. Like something’s weird here. Like this guy I’m seeing is like really hot and cold. And, you know, I’m getting like a weird vibe from him and like, Jeff’s acting really weird. And my friends were just like, no, no, like or Jeff would never let you go out with his brother if there is anything like off about him. And like sort of made me feel like I was imagining, like just such a nice guy, like sort of like, oh, I’m sure you’re just imagining things like. And I think because he was like so quiet, I think everybody just sort of like assumed that he’s like a super nice guy. But I’m like, but none of us know him like. So I started feeling frustrated because every Rae turned people were telling me, like, it’s in my head or like it’s something I’m doing. And I sort of felt like, am I just like seeking drama? Like, am I? I don’t know. Like, is this just me, like perceiving things to be like different than they are? And then so I’m, you know, spending lunch hours in my office, eating by myself. And then my friends are like, oh, you like Jeff came in and had lunch with us today. And, you know, we were signing with each other.

Annie:
And, you know, he seemed like super happy and chatty with us and all he was asking about you. And I’m like, so. He’s having lunch with my friends, asking about like, if he has questions about me, why doesn’t he ask me? Like. And so I was just like I felt like I was going crazy. I was just like, I don’t know what’s going on. Clearly, I’m not managing the situation well. So I’m like, I’m gonna send him an email. So I didn’t tell my ex and I. So I’m emailing Jeff and I’m like, look, I am sincerely sorry if I’ve ever appeared unfriendly. You know, like this is a really difficult situation. I was trying to respect everybody’s boundaries, but I don’t think I’ve been doing a very good job of it. And it was never my intention to make you uncomfortable at work. And he e-mailed me back and his response was, I wish you the best in your personal and professional life. And I was like, okay. Like, that was me extending the olive branch. I I can’t do any more than that. So, I mean, eventually I just sort of gave up. But I mean, Jeff was definitely like the third person in that relationship. Like there was this duality where, you know, I was going to work trying to figure out what I had done to Jeff to make him dislike me so much.

Annie:
And, you know, work on that, because, I mean, it’s first of all, was the brother of someone who I was in a relationship with and who I cared about. And also, it’s like that’s my job, that I was spending eight hours a day there. I didn’t want to be hiding in my office all the time and feeling anxious and uncomfortable. So, you know, I have this situation going on at work or I’m trying to figure out Jaff, trying to figure out, you know, how to fix that situation. And then I go home and then I have my ex who’s also doing like, you know, the heightened and cold and, you know, becoming more and more distant. And, you know, he was starting to cancel dates and telling me that he felt really stressed when we had plans to get together. You know, in the love bombing had basically stopped at that point. And yeah, eventually, you know, he just stopped answering my texts altogether. And I remember one night I just texted him. I was like, is it over? And he responded, I guess so. And then he was like, you know, I totally understand if you’re mad at me, you know, sometime down the road, you want to say, hi, you you should. And then. You know, I was just like in shock basically that this relationship was over.

Annie:
And then it was like five minutes after that he texted me saying like, well, you know, I feel really relieved now that now that we’ve broken up. And I was just like, who is this person? Like, he was just so caught. Like, what a cruel thing to say. And this is after, you know, like all the effort that he put into telling me, like, you know, what we have is real and, you know, like planning the future and everything else, just like, you know, that he’s relieved, like. So anyways, I mean, that first breakup was horrible. Ended up taking a medical leave from work and seeing a counselor on antidepressants. I mean, I was like in like physical withdrawal, like throwing up and just shaky. My emotions were like just out of control. And what a week after we broke up, I was like, just in shock and denial. And I texted him just to ask how he was doing. And he texted back this girl I was just talking to. Ended things because she was upset. But I still had pictures of my exes on Facebook. Weird. And I was like, why would you tell me that? And he replied, Because it just happened. And so I asked him, I’m like, are you sad? Do you miss me? And he replied, no and no. And I was like like he was just like, gone.

Chad:
Did you ever get hoovered back or no?

Annie:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. So it was about a month later and he texted me and was like, you know, I don’t know. I don’t always have to be the one to initiate tax. And then, you know, I I miss you and I hope I hear from you. So we ended up getting back together the next time we went out for about three months. I mean, it’s the same thing. Dynamic at work didn’t change. Seem like height and everything was the same. You broke up with me again. He was about four months, I think. That time we were still in contact after that breakup. After that breakup. He told me that we could keep sleeping together until he found someone else, but that, you know, it probably wouldn’t take long, just like giving me a heads up. And I was like, yeah, no, that’s not going to happen. So, I mean, I guess I set one boundary, but. So, yeah, I was about four months and then we started talking again. Got back together again. So this is like the third time we’re back together. That was right around my birthday. So I turned 40 earlier this year and he and I had plans for my birthday that evening and he stopped responding to my texts for like two days before my birthday. So I spent my 40th birthday scrambling, trying to find friends or trying to make plans. I didn’t spend the night by myself for his birthday. He threw himself three separate birthday parties. I was not invited to any of them. Shortly after that, I found out he was cheating on me, and I’m pretty sure that he probably was for the duration of all of our relationships.

Annie:
That’s just the only time I actually caught him. I would be surprised if that was the only time. Yeah. So I mean, it’s bland, you know, dynamic was the same hot and cold, superficial conversations. Just there’s just like no depth or substance at all to our relationship. We never talked about like anything of substance. The situation at work was just not getting any better. So we ended up actually taking a job in another department. So after 10 years in the same position, I left. So I still work in this same organization as his brother, but we don’t work in the same department anymore. So I still see him, but just not as frequently as I did before. And he still ignores me. And I mean, that’s not going to change. Yeah. So I mean, but by the end of our relationship, really, like I was just constantly anxious. It stopped like even mattering if it was a good day and he was nice or it was a bad day and he was called like, I never felt good when he was nice because it never lasted for more than a day. He basically just started ignoring me when he came to visit. He’d sit on my back porch mid post in a social media groups. Like every once in a while come in and show me how many lakes he got. But I mean otherwise, like just couldn’t even be bothered with me. All we all we talked about was him and what what he was doing. I had like long since even stopped trying to talk about myself.

Annie:
And I just. Yeah, I was. I just felt like a zombie, like I was just going through the motions. I had no energy at that point. I had dropped out of school because I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the energy to do anything but make ruminate on the relationship. And a couple of months before it ended, I started having panic attacks when we would spend the night together. And I honestly, I couldn’t even put together why I was like, you know, this is so weird. Like, I’m so excited to see him. And like, coincidentally, every time he comes over, like I’m having a panic attack when I’m laying next to him in bed, like, you know, the fog and the denial was just so deep. At that point, and I think it was like the last night that we spent together. And I was like panicking. Like my hands were shaking and I was crying. And so he turns on the lights and he’s like, what’s going on? And I’m like, I don’t know. Like, you know, there’s tears streaming down my face. I could hardly even sign. My hands were shaking so bad. And he responded by pulling me underneath them and starting to have sex with me. And so I laid there and had a panic attack while he fucked me. And that’s when I was like, yeah, this man, like, he doesn’t even see me as a human being. Like, yeah, I think that was like the moment when I really realized, like, this is like beyond just he’s not just like a selfish jerk or a self-absorbed. There’s something’s going on here. And that’s like deeper. Yeah.

Chad:
Can interrupt for one second? I’ve been hanging on every word. I’ve been trying not to interrupt. I’m sure a lot of people will resonate with your story in some ways, but it’s also very unusual as far as the circumstances and in other ways. You know, there’s trauma for you. In the sexual situations and with the physical abuse and it’s nothing to feel shame about. I know you might. It sounds like you do. And it’s nothing that you should be ashamed about. He was a master manipulator. You have dealt with someone who has taken their disability and used it against you.

Chad:
It’s a sadistic way in which he uses or used his disability to hurt you and it breaks my heart that you had to go through that. You’re an empathetic person and this guy knew it and he used it against you. And this person knew that. And they really targeted you and hurt you. And I really hope that you don’t feel guilt and shame. I know it’s easier to say than to actually heal that stuff, but it really was no way your fault for anything that happened. And if you think that you take some sort of responsibility for that, don’t, because you were manipulated pretty hardcore into that. And it’s something that I hope, hopefully if you haven’t dealt with it, that you do deal with because, you know, listening to your story and everything about him, I was getting so angry at him.

Annie:
Yeah. Well I think. I mean honestly. Thank you for saying that. Yeah. I mean, obviously, as I’m telling this story, there are definitely parts where, you know, I question myself and I do I yeah, I do blame myself because I’m like, you know, I never told him that that wasn’t OK.

Chad:
And don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t question yourself. And I’m telling you right now. You know, what he did was terrible. And yeah, it was him. It has nothing to do with you. He got your guard down. It was very thoughtful and planned out. And he knew what he was doing. This wasn’t someone who didn’t know what they were doing. And that’s not right. It was, you know, border. It’s borderline criminal.

Annie:
I appreciate you saying that. Yeah, that’s because I do. Like I still even like today, like preparing to come on the podcast. I’m like, yeah, I don’t even know. Like, is this a story? Like, because I I still feel like I contributed to it and In regards to the disability, like a you know, I am mindful that I, as an able bodied person, I don’t like to dictate to people with disabilities, like how they manage their disability or how they navigate their lives as a person with a disability. And so, you know, I think I gave him a pass on a lot of behavior because I’m like, I’m not a deaf person. I don’t know. I don’t know how, you know, what his experiences in navigating relationships with people who are hearing. And I don’t. And not having experience, I guess, with other deaf people. Like, I don’t know, baby. All deaf people do hate all hearing people. Like, I just I don’t know. I I I’m not knowledgeable about deaf culture. I’m still not my main exposure is what is he exposed me to. And so I was always very careful to not. Think of like he’s using his disability to like to hurt me or like he’s doing this all wrong because I’m like, I don’t get to tell him how he navigates the world as a deaf man.

Chad:
The only thing you are guilty of is being a good person and being a caring person. And if that’s what you are guilty of, then you know, that’s that. You’re a wonderful person. I can hear it in your voice. And that is your strength. And for this person, it was a weakness he went after. You know, everyone’s a strength usually is their weakness. If you’re too nice, sometimes that’s what these people do. And so I just really want you to see that none of this has anything to do with you being at fault in any way whatsoever.

Annie:
Thank you. Yeah. I mean, I listened to a lot of the other episodes of your show, obviously, like before coming on here. And I appreciate that my story is probably pretty mild in comparison. Like I feel very lucky that he and I were never more involved than we were. It’s like we never lived together. We weren’t married, we never had kids. But with him, like, I really, truly feel like it was like death by a thousand cuts. It was just like, you know, all the time that he shut down the conversation. When I tried to talk about myself or, you know, all the time, he would give me like that contemptuous, disdainful look when I was happy or, you know, like the way he would always let me know that he wasn’t sure about me or I wasn’t as good as his exes or that I wasn’t good enough for him.

Annie:
And so I think that’s part of the reason why I wanted to like to come on the podcast and tell the story, because it’s like you said at the beginning of the podcast, like narcissism is a spectrum. And my ex is like, he was not a grandiose person. He’s like an average guy with an average job, like average apartment. He’s not an angry person. Like I said, like to this day, I’ve never seen him angry. We never had a fight. There were no big dramatic events. Like I never had to call the police on him. I never had to get a restraining order, you know, like he never hit me so hard that, like, I ended up in the hospital. So I think that that like for me, made it harder to recognize what was going on. It made me sort of doubt my own perception because he really was just sort of masquerading as like an ah shucks, nice guy. And like, maybe sometimes he doesn’t have a filter and he says things that like are inadvertently hurtful. But it’s like just the day to day, sort of like covert, you know, manipulative conversations were just like so insidious and so cumulative. So like after a year and like so this whole thing was a year and a half. So in a year and a half, I met him. We broke up three times. We got back together twice. I took a one month medical leave from work. I quit my job and got a new job. All of that happened in a year and a half and.

Annie:
And yeah, I just. By the time our relationship ended, I just felt worthless, stupid, like unattractive, uninteresting and just crazy. The third time you broke up with me, you know, it was the same thing.

Annie:
You know, he was a nice guy. He blamed me for everything. You know, it was my fault that we were breaking up because he just couldn’t make me happy. You know, I didn’t trust Cam. He just felt like he was never enough. You know, he never knew what I was thinking. And he asked me, like, how many times does he have to try and like to reassure me that, you know, that he wants to be with me? And I’m like, how many times like he has never once apologized or admitted fault for anything he said or did the first time after we got back together, the first time he came, the first time he was at my house, he started kissing me and I stopped him. I told him, like, you hurt me. And he just kind of like rolled his eyes and, like, signed. Like, I know like you were just so annoyed that I would even bring it up, like he never acknowledged, like the hurt that he caused. And, you know, that’s sort of I wonder if he’s sort of working on that same narrative that he had with some of his exes. You know, like he really loved them and like, they just didn’t want to be with him. And that’s kind of almost what it seemed like when he broke up with me. Like, you know, we really great. But like, how many times do I have to tell you like that I love you and want to be with you. So, you know, it’s like it’s all my fault, right? Because, you know, he’s so hurt that he put so much effort into the relationship and I just don’t recognize it. So anyways, that’s how it ended.

Chad:
So where are you now in your healing process?

Annie:
So that was two months ago. You know, I was just trying to even figure out who I was. Like, I just felt like I was in pieces. Like, I’m like, I don’t even know where to begin starting to put myself back together. Like, I just I was like a lost like I would go to the grocery store and I’m like, what do I buy if I’m not buying what he wants? Like, I don’t even know what to watch on TV because, like, what do I choose if it’s not based on, you know, what would win his approval? So, I mean, that was really like the first month was just like learning how to function in day to day again. This is the end of month two. So we broke up on Independence Day. So that was a little bit over two months ago. And so things are better now. Like my emotions are stabilized. I am going to be taking part in a 12 week support group for women who are in abusive relationships or who have been in abusive relationships. So I think that will be helpful just to hear like other people’s experiences and just I don’t know, maybe it will make me feel less crazy. I mean, right now I just I feel crazy. I feel like some days I feel like the whole thing was my fault and I’m blowing it way out of proportion. Other days I’m like, no, he’s like a complete sociopath. And, you know, some days I have like a ton of compassion for him. Other days I’m just so mad at him, like I’m shaking. Yeah. So I don’t I. I am still working on perspective.

Chad:
Well, it’s only been two months and it’s going to take longer than two months. You’re going to go through this period where you’re still confused about everything that happened. You’re starting to feel shame and guilt. You’re going to be angry for a while. But in my experience, you know, that’s going to happen and it’s going to be a process for you. A lot of stuff happened and a lot of traumatic stuff happened. So I hope that you are able to get trauma help, and if you want to talk with me off the podcast here and there, I’d love to if you want to. We can discuss that. We can just sit and talk and you can just talk through things. And we can do something like that if you want.

Annie:
Yeah, that’ll be awesome.

Chad:
And so you’re gonna do the support group. How about seeing a therapist? Can you afford to see a therapist?

Annie:
Yeah. Yeah, I am. So I have an appointment this weekend actually to meet a therapist she specializes in like trauma and PTSD. I don’t yeah. I don’t even know. Like I’m not diagnosing myself for like giving myself any labels. But I do know that I spend a lot of my day feeling very confused. And, you know, I’m very reactionary to things like I’m I get startled really easily. I get you know, it’s really difficult for me to deal with people some days. And so I’m definitely gonna do it like the one on one counselling as well.

Chad:
Yeah, a lot a lot’s happened. You know, as a year and a half. But a lot of different manipulations happened with you from all different directions. So there’s a lot for you to unpack and and understand. And your world was literally turned upside down with complete confusion. The people at work didn’t offer you validation that this was crazy, making you think you were even crazier. I’m not going to give them blame them because I’m sure they just saw one aspect of things. But you got the run around in all different directions. The fact that you’re sitting here and talking to me right now, in my mind, is amazing.

Annie:
That’s so nice of you to say.

Chad:
So I just thank you for coming on the show and being part of this. And I hope that we can chat after it. And do you have any parting words before we sign off here?

Annie:
Yeah. So I guess like when I was going through all of this, like you just said, like, I felt like I was crazy. People weren’t really validating what I was experiencing. And I really had a ton of self-doubt about what was going on, because these people aren’t just mean people. They you know, it’s very intermittent. And there’s lots of times where you have totally normal days or there being really kind to you and it can be very confusing. And so when I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about, what I really wanted to focus on were like the red flags and, you know, the things that I noticed that I sort of brushed away or made excuses about and how I really, you know, my inner voice was screaming at me the entire time. Like, get away. This is wrong. This is not okay. You know, I mentioned, like, how anxious and how much dread I would feel spending time with him. And like, I’ve spent time with people like we’ve all been around, people who are kind of jerks or people who are selfish. But this was different. Like when I in hindsight, when I was with him, like my blood ran cold, he was missing something like there was a humanity that was missing to him.

Annie:
And I knew that. And so I hope that if there’s anybody listening to this who’s in a dynamic with a person and they’re, you know, they feel like something’s off, it’s like just check in with yourself, like check in early, check in often. If you know, this relationship for the dynamic is consuming you, if it’s all you’re thinking about, if you’re spending every day crying, if you know this person is all you can think about or talk about. If this is the only topic of conversation you have with your friends, like just trust your gut. And I promise you, as scary as it is to leave, like I’m still a mess, I’m not in a great place right now. But it is a million times better than where I was when I was with him. And so I hope that I don’t know. I just. If there’s anybody listening. Like I believe you. What you were experiencing, your perception is real. Like what you perceive is happening is happening. And that’s it.

Chad:
Well, thank you for being on the show. Annie, thank you. And for everyone else out there, have a good night.

Chad:
And that was my conversation with any. And I told you that you had not heard it all before. And for those of you out there that felt like that sounded extreme or different from your story. I just want to remind you that it still is the essence of that story. It’s still the same at the core. So if you’re feeling guilt or shame about what happened to you, please do your best and take it easy on yourself, because just like Annie, you did nothing wrong when it comes to narcissistic abuse. So again, I just want to take any for being on the show for bring being brave enough to tell her story and a big shadow to any. And hopefully I hear back from you soon and we keep in touch. Besides that, before I leave here today, I just want to remind everyone, we created a Facebook group which is different from our Facebook page. It’s a more interactive so everyone can be involved. And our Facebook group is Facebook.com/groups/narcissistapocalypse . And another reminder, if you want to interact with us on read it at Reddit.com, you can go to our subreddit, which is Narcissist apocolypse, the capital N and narcissist in a capital A on apocalypse.

Chad:
Also, If you want to record a letter to your narcissists for our letter to your narcissist episode, go to our Web site, narcissist apocalypse dot com on the right side of the page. There will be a button that’s floating around that to send voicemail. Click on that button. Record your letter to a narcissist. If it takes you more than one try, as it’s only five minutes long per voicemail recording, record a second part or third part, as many as you need. Send it away and we’ll stitched together for volume two of that episode. If you don’t want to read your letter and you want myself or Melissa to read your letters, send us an email to narcissist apocolypse at gmail.com and we will read your letter. We just need as many letters as we can get to create that episode. And now that’s it. The show is over. So until next episode for everyone out there in the Narcissist Apocalypse community, I just wish you a good week and take care of yourselves.

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