Why do I feel like I failed? She is the Narcissist!

A nagging feeling that I just can’t seem to lose after a 5 year relationship with a narcissistic woman is that I failed in the relationship. I hate that I have this feeling because it is one of the things that keeps me from moving on. I was married for 26 years and that ended in a divorce after my ex wife’s affair and I dismiss it by saying that there were just some fatal flaws that came to light.  Why can’t I say the same thing about this relationship? I think it boils down to three things. 

The first is that with my N I was trying to complete some unfinished business. I didn’t know anything about that at first but after reading articles and books since then I am convinced that our subconscious mind plays a key role in how we pick prospective relationship partners. In my case my parents owned a small restaurant and worked long hours. I had a couple of things going on. From an early age I remember wishing that my Mother didn’t have to work so hard. The other thing I remember was how hard my Mother was on my Father and how she would criticize him harshly and he just put up with it. I realized that in my relationship with my N that it very much started as a rescue mission. Like all rescuers I guess I expected undying love but instead my shortcomings were pointed out to me. So, rather than be like my Father I was assertive resulting in heated arguments.  Well over time I became less and less assertive and was becoming my Father. Also because my N was never completely happy I failed in completing my unfinished business. 

The second reason is that I really wanted the relationship to work. I read somewhere that the definition of an addictive relationship is that you keep thinking if you could change one thing about a person the relationship would be great. In my case I just wanted her to appreciate what I did do and not focus on what I couldn’t do. There really were good things about the relationship but it just didn’t work. 

The third reason was that this relationship exposed all my weaknesses as it relates to relationships. One of my issues is that I have limited nuturing ability. I enjoyed being with her but it took energy. I needed some space and time alone to recover. Whenever I tried to get that space she became very angry and said I was pulling away from the relationship. My attempts to try to discuss some of the concepts in the Mars/Venus books also made her angry. Of course I now know why. Narcissists don’t care about books or compromises. They just know what they need and want and that is all that matters. 

A second weakness is that I just bristle when someone tries to control me. Some of it is okay but at a certain point I resist especially when there is no good reason and a compromise is readily available. She would actually get so upset she would shake if I suggested taking a walk in a half hour after the news instead of right then. Of course if she had something to do with friends I could do what I wanted. I loved  those times but unfortunately she didn’t have many friends. 

The other weakness, but I can’t consider it as such, is how important my children are to me and how I want to maintain a sense of family after the divorce. I readily admit that there are parts of that which I do consider selfish on my part. I cover a lot of that in earlier posts.  I tried to find ways to make up for it but none of them worked. I eventually understood how her mind worked when she told me that she didn’t really care if I visited my Mother because she could tell that I really didn’t enjoy it.  When I protested once that I didn’t spend much time with my children she candidly said it was not about the time but that it was about the feeling. I finally got it. I didn’t understand it but I got it. 

So there it is. I am at peace with things now.  I got a text from her once after our final breakup asking if I still loved her. My response was simply yes but I knew that I would never be able to make her happy. Predictably that made her angry. It all makes sense. I just wish I could get rid of that nagging feeling. 

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