Alex loved skiing. I hated skiing, mostly because I was completely awful at it, but I loved Alex. So I agreed to a god awful honeymoon weekend of skiing in the world’s best ski resort in Utah. He tried for a few hours to stay by my side and patiently teach me, but I could tell he was itching to race down the black diamonds for his frist runs of the season. I let him know I was fine and he rushed off to enjoy a few hours by himself.
I braved the bunny hill over and over, struggling to work muscles I didn’t know I had and pulling myself up off the ground dozens of times.
When we caught up again, I was already tired and my rarely used muscles ached from steadying myself all morning. He wanted to take me off the bunny hill and onto some easy runs. He promised I’d do great. We chatted and cuddled all the way up the lift until I realized how high we were and I started to panic. Surely the easy runs weren’t this high up the mountain. Even now, as I write about this memory, my heart is beating faster thinking about the panic on the lift that day.
Alex reassured me that I would be totally fine. It was going to be easy! Just trust him! He’d be right there by me.
I barely made it off the lift without falling on my face and as soon as we turned to face the actual FACE of the snowy mountain I froze. A black diamond?!
“Are you *@#$ing crazy! I don’t know how to ski! I can’t go down that! I need back on the lift to take me down! Please Alex!” I sobbed and screamed, completely terrified.
Alex calmy turned and looked at me, “Well there is only one way down so you have to go this way.”
I sucked up my tears and gingerely took little baby steps sideways down the very steep, powdery hill. I was in complete shock and felt so betrayed that Alex would throw me into this situation without telling me- knowing how scared of heights I am. I couldn’t shake the image of rolling down the entire mountain unable to stop and sliding off a cliff. I was absolutely petrified and tried so hard to keep the tears at bay.
Alex kept telling me to stop messing around and point my skiis down the mountain. I couldn’t. He finally lost all patience and told me to “Figure it out!” and skiid away out of sight completely.
Alone, scared, and completely helpless I just stood there and cried. We hadn’t seen anyone up this high since we got off the lift. But in a few minutes, a ski patrol – blessed angel of the mountain of hell – came to my rescue and helped me remove my skiis and walked down the run with me all the way until the bottom where he helped me put on my skiis and find my worthless husband. I could tell the patrol guy was embarrassed for me that my husband left me up there. He tried to reassure me that skiing would be easier and left in haste after I found Alex.
I was so embarrassed and upset. I couldn’t stop crying.
That whole weekend was such a terrible wake up call and, what I see now, foreshadowing of my marriage. Alex was always leaving me alone to climb up or down that mountain alone. He cared not for my feelings at all, or those that helped me overcome situations, but only thought about his own path as he raced forward with his own objectives.
That’s the interesting thing about narcissists. They really don’t care about the feelings of others. The world is there to serve them. In Alex’s childhood, in some deep place, he had been taught that the world revolved around him. He was to complete certain objectives, by any means possible, and achieve the exact life he had planned for himself. No where in his growing years did he learn that manipulation was wrong – he was only taught that winning that medal/ degree/ job/ was the MOST important thing. No matter the cost.
I had a saying I developed while I was married to Alex. “Nothing is worth someone’s feelings”. I would tell him that often to remind him that him “winning” wasn’t worth my feelings or someone elses. Of course, the master manipulator that he was, would use my own proverb against me to shame me into apologizing.
In Alex’s mind, he was the sun and the planets, stars, moon and galaxy were lucky to have him to revolve around. He loved thinking of himself as the master of the emotional climate of our relationship.
Recently, he said this in an email to me which I think was very telling of his thinking,
“Go ahead and ask my parents, they will tell you how incredible I am. Isn’t that what everyone else says about me also?”
Spoken by an almost 30 year old man.