In 2000, I met a charismatic man named Seth who offered me the world on a silver platter. There were times in which I questioned whether our courtship was too good to be true. His parents had been married for 25 years, he was on his way up in a very promising career and I felt like I was living a fairytale. Seth told me all of the things that I wanted to hear and showered me with poems, flowers, shopping sprees, and vacations. My friends and family stood by in awe as this modern day Prince Charming wooed me and everyone around me. While there were red flags, the good outweighed the bad in the first few years and I swept my concerns under the rug and left them there.
Six years into our marriage, I sat on a therapist’s couch and confided in the woman sitting across from me. I told her about Seth’s lies and the manipulations which included financial schemes, stealing his parent’s retirement savings and racking up 1.6 million dollars in debt – much of this was done behind my back. I described Seth’s lack of remorse and his inability to show empathy. I explained that I had never felt so alone and unloved in my life. In a six-year period of time, I had been reduced to a shell of my former self. When I looked in the mirror, I was ashamed of the fake life that we were living. To those around us we were the golden couple, but behind closed doors my life was a living hell.
My therapist walked across the room and handed me a book from her bookshelf. The words seemed to jump off of the page, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” To my naïve mind, it was thrilling to have a name for the hell that I was living. With a name, there was hope, or so I thought. My therapist went on to explain that NPD is not curable and that, in fact, most mental health professionals will not treat those with this personality disorder. Her next words stung, “You either learn to live with this or you leave. There is no cure.”
Related Link: Finding Your True Destiny After Losing Love
I spent the next year and a half trying to block out my therapist’s words. However, our marriage finally ended in 2009. In short order, I discovered that the only thing worse than being married to a narcissist is divorcing a narcissist. I quickly went from a 4,000 square foot luxury home to a local women’s shelter. From there, I spent two years fearing for my life, sleeping with a hammer under my pillow and holding a can of mace in my hands as I made scrambled eggs for breakfast. I jumped at every noise. My modern day Prince Charming was actually a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Part of my healing has come from educating others on the red flags that I chose to ignore in the beginning of our relationship. I have listed them out for you below:
10 Red Flags