Many years ago I poured my heart and soul into someone who did not deserve any part of me, as many people do when they end up falling for a toxic/narcissistic romantic partner.
These days I tell my story to help other victims of narcissistic abuse realize that they are not alone, and hopefully guide them in their healing journey.
Recently I was talking to a client of mine that is going through a situation of loving a narcissist who is also an addict. Their situation reminds me of my own, years ago with the Narcissist.
I have never really gone into the moments that surfaced due to my ex’s addiction as I primarily focus on the abuse. Yet the two actually go hand-in-hand, as the abuse and devaluation became worse as he drowned himself in more and more drugs and alcohol.
Eventually, I became aware that there was truly nothing that I could do to save him or our relationship, due in part to him telling me that he would never change.
Eric and I met it was while working together in a high-stress sales environment. The days were spent working very hard and our bosses would throw happy hours and parties that were absolutely crazy.
Because alcohol was usually at work (every Friday at noon our boss would literally stroll by and throw us beers) I saw Eric drinking regularly and thought nothing of it because it was normal in that scene.
Even when he drank with friends or when we were out I didn’t notice it being in excess, at least for the first couple of months.
Eric and I didn’t live together and when we were apart I always felt sick to my stomach for no apparent reason. Part of this is likely because he was cheating on me with his other sources of supply. But, it was also because of the drug and alcohol binges I began to find out he was going on whenever we weren’t together.
Narcissistic personality disorder and drug addiction as a pair are very common.
A narcissist is ultimately who they are due to a broken sense of self and insecure inner child. Even though they put on a facade, they have extremely low moments in which they will often seek out uppers/distractions.
As time went on, Eric began to stop hiding his behavior, no longer feeling the need to put on a mask for me.
Huge empty bottles of wine would be scattered throughout his apartment during the week. At one point I found a strangely shaped spoon which I later realized was used for drug consumption (I was very naive at this point in my life) and watched as his entire personality began to change.
I would come over and he would be completely lethargic, not even moving from the bed. He also went through stages of not eating because he was only drinking and doing drugs.
One night we went out for a date and were seated at a restaurant. A few seconds after we had been seated Eric stood up and stumbled across the restaurant to find the bathroom. I realized that he must have been drinking before I picked him up from his apartment and it hit him once we got to the restaurant.
He came back and I informed him that we were leaving and taking the food to go.
On the drive home I was fuming and Eric was laughing, his mood becoming more manic by the second. I pulled up to a stoplight, and Eric rolled his window down as a couple walked by the car on the sidewalk next to us.
As the light turned green Eric grabbed the food for the restaurant and threw it at the couple, laughing as he did so.
I was absolutely mortified and scared at the same time, and I realized that I no longer recognized the person sitting next to me.
Eric promised to change many times.
I remember arriving at his apartment where I found him passed out on the ground. When I woke him, he immediately began swearing that he was done drinking. He swore over and over again that he knew he had a problem and would seek help.
A few days would pass, or perhaps even a full week without him drinking or doing drugs (that I knew of) and then he would be two bottles deep, ranting about a new conspiracy theory or how he was going to do great things with his life.
Then came the night when we were with a group of his friends. I remember having a sinking feeling in my stomach the entire night as he drank and did numerous mind-altering substances.
Everyone was dancing and I watched him, swaying back and forth with his eyes closed.
Suddenly, he opened his eyes and stared straight into mine. The next words that he spoke were the ones that absolutely shattered my heart.
“This is who I chose to be. I will never never change for anyone, including you.”
Yet although I was heartbroken at the moment, something within me recognized that I would learn to love those words… because they were the ones that set me free.
Using drugs is no excuse for abuse. Using alcohol is no excuse for abuse. There is no excuse for abuse.
Eric tried to use alcohol as an excuse. The first time he put his hands on me he claimed he couldn’t remember it the next morning due to alcohol. That became a pattern and I realized that the alcohol was fueling his anger and excuses.
I gathered the strength to walk away from Eric shortly after the night he told me that he would never change, but I always reflect on how many times I was in danger. There were the nights that he drove drunk or the moments when he went into a violent episode.
I know that I am lucky to be alive and that not everyone can walk away without worse repercussions.
In part, I managed to walk away from Eric because I accepted that I would not be able to save him from himself, and his addiction.
Instead of staying in a dangerous situation and trying to fix Eric with my love, I decided to leave and never look back.