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?