Looking back on my life the past 30 something years, I have recently discovered that I was trained to be a useful, compliant appliance for most of my adulthood.
My first relationship with a narcissist I was about 20 years old and being a young single mother, I was a perfect target for a low level somatic narc. The relationship started out with the usual love bombing. I was lavished with gifts and expensive outings and the usual tactics. Once he had me ensnared, the training and devaluation began. For fifteen years I was controlled by food, sex, money and self-worth.
It started out with my ‘non skill’ of cooking and cleaning. I didn’t keep a house properly. Never mind that I was going to college full time and taking care of his 2 children as well as my young toddler. That was not important for a good woman; or rather a good appliance. I had to keep a clean house and prepare meals a particular way and of course it was never good enough. He went off and did his guy things and I stayed at home taking care of home and children. Like a good appliance.
If I ever spoke up to defend myself, I was immediately knocked back into place with verbal and sometimes physical tactics. As the years went on, the physical tactics became more frequent. I worked a full time job and kept a spotless house, raised 4 children and cooked just like his mother.
As I grew older, I became more non-compliant. Somewhere deep in my being, I had a sense of survival. I would sneak and hide things that I knew I would get ‘in trouble’ for. Like cheeseburgers and cigarettes. I would even ‘steal’ money from the checking account to buy groceries to feed his family. Things I knew would get caught and have to ‘pay for my bad behavior.’ I also learned by staying drunk, it didn’t hurt as bad.
My second encounter with a Narcissist was about 10 years later. He was a completely different breed of narc; a mid-level cerebral type. He wasn’t very attractive had a doughy physique but seemed charming and intelligent. At this time in my life I still didn’t know about the concept of Narcissism and Empathism. I had no idea of the fatal attraction these types have for each other and the dangerous dance these two endure historically over and over again.
The relationship started in the predictable narcissistic handbook way, play by play. The first year of love-bombing. Then slowly the devaluing stage kicks in. Since I had already endured the physical and mental beating from my first narc, this one knew how to devalue with other tactics. As I was again working on another degree, he would make sure I was needed elsewhere so I couldn’t make it to class and he would leave cookie crumbs of his infidelity, to keep my mind spinning and twist it around that I was being jealous or controlling. His control tactic was money and convinced me I was unemployable and that I was a crazy drunk.
For six years I was convinced I was a dumb useless person and he was the only one who would put up with someone like me, that he was my only saving grace. I was, in my mind, a non-useful appliance.
But, there still was that sense of survival deep within my gut that reared her beautiful head. While he was gone on business trips, I would drink and text him things that I knew would push his buttons. He would go into a predictable rage just like clockwork. My fun little drunk game I learned to love to play. After one night of drinking, I decided to run away. I gathered up all the animals and drove to a seedy motel. Not one down the street, but downtown in the scary neighborhood. Of course after a few hours he found me with the tracking system in the car and my phone.
You see, being with a narc, no matter what type, will always be watching you. Your every move, and all of your habits. Any time your behavior is slightly different, the red button on their warning system flashes ever so brightly.
At this point, my survival intuition decided to come up full throttle. She showed me where to look for information about the phenomenon of empaths and narcs. It was like a ton of bricks just whacked me in the head! With the help of my children not giving up on me, my new found friends via support groups and info sites, I learned as much as I possibly could on the dangerous waltz of light and darkness.
After I untangled myself from the grasp of my narc’s tendrils, without his suspicions, which is very tricky by the way. (I had to keep feeding him fake empathy juice while detaching myself.) I stashed some money aside and when he least expected it, I took the dogs for a walk and never went back. The most successful part of this was going completely no contact. I even went to the extreme of setting my phone to factory settings and throwing it in the trash and deleting all social media accounts. I basically vanished for a while.
Even with all the knowledge I have learned, there are still parts of me that still want to behave like the perfect appliance. I am in a healthy relationship now, and have dealt with the dark shadow of self and am slowly learning that I am not an appliance but a human being. A loving, intelligent, highly empathic human being.
I am not a toaster, I am not a microwave. And I am certainly not a human robot that was programmed to be compliant and her only purpose is to please her Narc. One of the narc’s signature themes is to have a pet name for their appliance, as it de-humanizes their victims. Mine was Cherry from the movie Cherry 2000.