Narcissists Repeat Destructive Relationship Patterns

I find it interesting that we all (personality disordered and “normal” people) have trends or patterns in our lives that repeat themselves.  I do believe that we are given certain lessons in life to be learned, and until we learn them – they will be played out over and over again.  In my own life, I found that there was a definite pattern of coming across people with NPD traits, or at least having to deal with bullying, controlling, manipulative people.

given that Narcissism is a DIS – order, the patterns that are almost always present are most likely to be destructive.  Often times, they are self-defeating patterns.  A common example may be the need to be rich, fabulous, famous and oh… did I say wealthy?  So then… if that’s the case, why do narcissists often times not pay their bills reliable and so often wind up completely broke and in trouble for their debt in some way or another?  Exactly… because it’s the self defeating action that they take to keep themselves from truly and solidly meeting their goals (maybe they do become rich here and there, but it’s often not longstanding).

To that end, I thought it would be interesting to outline my ex’s primary pattern in his life, so others may see if there’s similarities.

My ex’s need to become wealthy means that he doesn’t “work for the man”, and that he ideally owns his own business, and that most of all – it must be “scalable” – i.e. it can be grown to a large business.   This means that while he started out working in NYC for large financial institutions, he eventually left to open a wine store in a much more rural area.  (as I later found out, he was fired from multiple jobs there for ‘altercations’ with other employees).  He always described his wine store as “large” and compared it to a chain store.  He had a girlfriend whom he started the business with as a business partner.  Somewhere along the way, the relationship went south and along the same time, the business tanked.  Legal documents from this ex girlfriend/business partner were bone-chilling for me to read. I read them just after he left the house, having not paid attention to them for years, but before facing a legal battle with him.  I had no idea what all had happened – and when I read what she wrote about him, I saw that I could have written the same words about my experience with him.

It took them years and years to undo the business partnership and settle it out.  In the meantime,  my ex was in debt in multiple six figures from the small business loans, legal fees, etc.  Looking back, I think that the only reason he moved on was that at the time, I began dating him.  I didn’t know much about the situation at the time, but simply kept encouraging him to wrap it up and move forward.  Eventually (2-3 years into our relationship), he did.  So – this was the first instance of starting a business, failing, and a contentious legal battle.  Note, he actually pursued and received an order of protection against HER.  From what I read – she said he hit her and her son on multiple occasions.

The second “business” venture occurred a few years later.  He was dismissed from another job for failing to “build relationships” with co-workers.  There was some particular instance that really pushed the poor reviews to the breaking point, but to this day I am not clear what it is.  I believe that he left a message for his manager using a lot of foul language.  He was lucky at this point to receive a very liberal severance/non-compete package which gave him a salary for two years.  During this time, he worked on starting his own business again.  He failed to job search – just to try to ‘build a fund”.

True to narcissistic form, he refused to do this at home, and rented an office downtown where he dressed up in a suit everyday and showed up.  I tried to explain that even Ben & Jerry’s operated out of their garage for years, my ex refused to believe that it was acceptable for him to do so.  In the meantime, despite having a salary, he refused to pay his portion of the bills.

Eventually, this business failed as well, and he had to accept another corporate job (amazing that he kept finding them, isn’t it?).  In this case, he did have a couple people as business partners, and they did have complaints of his lack of communication and inability to cooperate.  It was, however, smartly set up with limited liability to anyone, so it disassembled easily.

The third venture is what he is doing today.  It is also financial yet retail in nature, and frankly, given the economy, it makes no sense to have opened a store selling this particular product, but he did.  What he did learn in all of these is not to take on a business partner.  So, lesson learned, he is the sole proprietor even though his website acts as though it’s a huge company.  At this point, he has almost drained any financial resource he had (including retirement), and is filing to decrease (aka “seek relief”) from the child support payments.  One important note is that he did have a job as he started this, and again was fired due to performance.  Again, he failed to really look for another new job.

Again – I find it interesting how the patterns repeat.  I am also somewhat interested in watching how it all pays out for him both from the business perspective as well as the not-so-pretty financial side.

So, to turn the focus back from the narcissist… what patterns are in your life?  What lessons do you have to learn, and what did you learn from your ex?



5 Responses to “Narcissists Repeat Destructive Relationship Patterns”

  1. MsFit says:

    Everything is everyone else’s fault. This is what I see as a pattern with my husband. I am beginning to see the same scenario play out with our relationship, the same destructive issues that killed the previous marriages.
    It is heartbreaking and numbing.
    I do not want to admit defeat, but then again, I don’t want to subject myself to the constant negativity and venom that I’ve seen on a daily basis for almost a yeat.
    There is a substance dependency, and the only time I get tenderness and sweetness is when he is using.
    Any comments would be appreciated.

  2. Stacey says:

    My ex was in charge of all the bill paying. Always. He decided what got paid, what didn’t, when, etc…it was frustrating to have all the credit cards paid in advance, the mortgage, etc, so there was no money left for groceries. Seriously, with two boys to feed, and my overweight exhusband leaving me to get groceries for two weeks with less than 200 dollars…There is only so much magic I can work! Then, after making dinner every night of the week with what we could afford to buy for food – he’d eat then suddenly decide that dinner wasn’t that great, he’s still hungry, he’d like to ORDER A PIZZA! Yes, this happened, over and over and over.

    My job is as a finance assistant. I pay bills and budget for a living. I get paid to do it. I’ve been doing it for more than 10 years. Do you think I was competent to pay the household bills and run a household budget? According to him, absolutely not.

    • It’s a common trait in abusive relationships – power and control through finances. It also seems like it would make sense to marry and join finances – as that’s what’s supposed to happen, and that it should be fine that one person is ‘managing it’. I remember the first day I went to a therapist who headed the DV efforts at a women’s center. She was so awesome, and affirming that all the stuff I thought was b.s. was truly b.s. – including being told repeatedly that I was an idiot. In the center, they have copies of the power and control wheel. I was only at the beginning stages of understanding and coming to terms with the fact that I, as an educated person, had walked myself into an abusive relationship. I stood there and stared at the wheel. It was very enlightening to see it on paper and to compare all the insiduous ways that he took control, ways in which I dismissed it previously and then finally looked at it truthfully. I can clearly imagine how rightfully frustrated you would be at the ridiculous logic he applied in his financial management, and in putting you down for what you do profesionally.

  3. Grace says:

    My goodness. I could have written this post!

    Let’s see…my ex is also a business owner and refuses to ‘work for the man’. He is a salesman who has to be ‘on’, so insists on dressing in expensive clothing. We lived in a very nice neighborhood, in a very expensive home, drove nice cars, vacationed regularly and to destinations like Fiji and Italy. But one day I answered a knock at the door and was served papers…he was so behind on the mortgage that the bank was foreclosing. That was the first time I ever knew that we were in financial trouble, and even with confronted he told me it was a mistake on the bank’s side and to let him handle it.

    Turned out he had drained not only our retirement accounts, savings accounts, cashed out life insurance policies and had credit cards I didn’t know about, but he had also emptied our childrens’ college funds. THAT was when I told him I was leaving.

    When I started looking back through financial records I found out just how much he was spending on himself, and it still makes me sick.

    He’s also advised me that he’ll be filing to decrease child support, and has said (in front of our court ordered parenting coordinator) that I should be ‘grateful’ for child support.

    Oh-I think I wrote how he was behind in support because it “isn’t a priority” for him…he finally, FINALLY paid it. But sent an email letting me know how he thinks I should spend it, isn’t that helpful and thoughtful? 😉


    • “Working for the man”… amen! I laughed out loud to read that. Think maybe it should be on a “top ten non-formal diagnosis traits of narcissists”. In seriousness – I’m so sorry about hearing about the finances. I can relate on that front now. My ex has spent (almost) all his money right now but somehow has found the funds to keep up with our daughter’s horseback riding lessons ($60/week) and to pay his attorney to file papers to reduce child support. Oh good. Joy… I was hoping he would do that. LOL too on your response to him telling how to use the funds he provided… like he has credientials in money management 🙂 Ha!

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