When a narcissist hurts you, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. I tell myself a million times I won’t let myself get here again. It isn’t my fault that the way I was raised left a big, wet, sucking wound in my chest. It isn’t even the fault of the people who raised me. My wounds are smaller than theirs by comparison. But no less bottomless. No less unfillable.
There’s only a very particular kind of person who can administer first aid to my wound. If she’s a woman, she will be so concerned about my well being. “Are you okay? Can I do anything? I’m always here for you,” all in service of reminding me I’m weak and needy. If he’s a man? Get the fuck out of here. Where do I even start?
I recently read Charles M. Blow’s memoir, A Fire Shut up in my Bones. He explains very eloquently how the anatomy of his desire lies in being chosen. Being special. Having the eyes of someone who has the eyes of everyone settle upon him out of everyone else. Damn, how he’s playing my song.
When I first met Odie, he was 29, 6’4″, and single. He was awash in female and male admiration. I remember distinctly telling a gay friend, “I’m not sleeping with Odie, but I wish I were,” and him replying, “Oh, honey, me too.”
He chose me. It set me on fire. I can still look at him across the couch, over the glow of the computer screen, over the heads of our children, and get hot thinking it, “He chose me.” But Odie isn’t a narcissist. He shakes his head at me in Keanu-esque bewilderment. “You chose ME.”
The narcissist can sniff out a wound like mine. Listen, empathize, joke, befriend, and abandon. And I find her (or him) every single time. And I fall for it and fall for it and fall for it. And then I look down, like a chump, at the giant sucking wound in my chest and ask, like an asshole, “Where did that come from?”