A year or so after discarding me, I ran into Ben one night out on the town. He was arm and arm with a new boyfriend, greeting me excitedly, introducing me to his new beau like old we were schoolmates. I was surprised that he seemed to forget our ugly parting, acting like we’d always been on the best of terms. I played along and the night went well, we had a lot of fun. I ended up hanging out with them for most of it in a DC club, and we ended up meeting a few times over the upcoming months, as well. I was glad Ben didn’t hold a grudge against me for suggesting he was a narcissist, I was glad he’d forgotten all about our explosive ending, or so it seemed.
It wasn’t long before Ben and I were tight friends. Ben and I always referred to his return into my life as “round 2,” which represents the first time someone entered my life and indefinitely inserted themselves into it, as well as into my heart, my mind, and my dreams (and nightmares). Those days became the highlight of my life, at least before digging deeper and discovering a giant web of lies, deceit, and destruction. If I thought Ben had a pre-planned demise for me when we first met, my mind was clearly too innocent to fathom what he had pre-planned for my demise this time around.
Narcissists pretend to love and care for you, all the while they are planning your utter destruction. They want you to fail, while pretending to want you to succeed
This is the story of the Empath that should have trusted the textbook and Pinterest instead of trusting the narcissist.
Pinterest was right, the Empath was wrong, and he’ll pay dearly for ignoring its narc-filled memes of truth until his last dying breath.
Ben was incredible when round two commenced, I felt lucky to have him in my life. He was adamant about being a man of high morals and doing what was right, and he was all about taking care of the select few in his inner circle, which now included me.
Ben was someone who spoke very little, but when he did, he spoke volumes. I trusted what he said, accepting his strong words of conviction at face value.
How can you tell when the narcissist is lying?
Whenever the narcissist’s mouth is moving.
Back at the start of round two, Ben was such a doll, going above and beyond in doing everything imaginable to show how much he cared for and wanted to spend time with me. Ben’s leaning towards the higher end of the narcissistic spectrum wasn’t a concern in the slightest, he’d shown without a doubt he was a great guy deep-down, like the rest of us, he had his own unique issues to face, but he clearly had chosen to face his inner demons head-on and transform into a considerate, thoughtful young man.
Based on his initial reaction to the word narcissist, I left round one assuming Ben must be a narcissist. After all, who else becomes enraged by the word narcissist? Who even knows what the word narcissist truly means? Only a narcissist (or someone who’s had a narcissist in their life), because to non-narcissists this word carries little weight, with most thinking it refers someone who’s vain, self-absorbed or super attractive. They fail to realize that a true narcissist — someone on the higher end of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder spectrum — essentially means a charismatic, charming, attention-seeking and earning psychopath who’s only goal is to gain control over something before destroying it.
I knew very little about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) back then, whereas now I could lecture on the subject in my sleep. I thought that narcissists were predisposed to ego-centrism and uncompromising in their ways, but being predisposed to something doesn’t mean that one can’t choose to live and behave differently, right? I was certain Ben had a choice in giving into his instincts or not, and he’d come to his senses in realizing that giving into those traits brought benefit to no one, including himself. I was certain Ben had chosen to change, which was evident by his words and actions. Ben was making a conscience effort to fight his innate egotism, and given how incredibly warm he treated me, I didn’t judge him for his nuances that often struck me as narcissistic. I found it admirable that Ben was actively working to better himself as a person, and as my new, closest friend.
Despite our initial romance ending with Ben going haywire over the other n-word, by returning to establish our bff-status and spending all his free time with me, I was led to believe NPD wasn’t such a touchy subject after all. Ben even admitted that he had narcisistic traits, but that being a full-blown narcissist was against his life philosophy.
As a result, I assumed if NPD wasn’t all that sensitive a topic after all to Ben, because if so, the last thing he’d do was return into my life, pulling out all the bells and whistles to win me over, right? As time progressed and we grew closer, with Ben eventually talking about marriage between us, I assumed NPD could be addressed in the context of our relationship.
I was wrong to make that assumption. I was dead wrong.
I’d fail to realize how dead wrong I was until months down the road and, by that time, there was no going back. This would turn out worse than round one’s explosive ending, exponentially worse, with an ending that’s poised to continue indefinitely until it kills me.
Before jumping the gun, let’s go back to the beautiful days at the starts of round two.
Round two started off like a dream come true, those were truly the days, back when Ben would apologize at the drop of a hat, always being so conscientious of my feelings.
In time the most I’d get in the form of an apology is what you see below:
What started out delightfully like below…
… ultimately turned into something, well, many things, like these:
And what makes narcissists so dangerous is that if you discover that they are a narcissist or even expose them as one they go in for the kill. They are not above lying to judges or police officers to ruin your life. Their perfect appearance must be preserved at all costs. They will get you fired from your job. They will cry rape. They will do whatever they can to stop the truth from coming out. The goal is to have you eliminated. And most times they succeed.
If there’s one take-home lesson in my story, it’s that you never forget the quote above. Consider it the word of God, consider it the most important piece of advice you never forget. No matter what, avoid uttering the other n-word at all costs, trust me when I say I did effectively dig my own grave by suggesting Ben was a narcissist, likely never being removed from purgatory as a result. Unmasking a narcissist puts your life in danger. If you have any loose ends that can be used against you, rest assured that the narcissist will magnify them x 1,000,000 with a slew of other lies before doing so. Regardless, you’ll be beyond fucked, you may even find yourself in the invisible Auschwitz like I did. What the narcissist fears most – exposure of his “true self” – is essentially what he does to those that know his secret, only he exposes them with a “false self” to the world through the infamous narcissistic smear campaign using abuse by proxy.
In time I learned that the narcissist will never admit his misdeeds or faults, and he’ll fight vehemently to destroy anyone who knows his true colors. Ben’s gift at masking his emotions hid the fact that the topic of NPD irked him like nails on a chalk board. Oblivious to its impact on him, narcissism became a topic of great interest to me, as Ben had peculiar and intriguing ways of saying and doing things, on viewing the world, and on how he treated (and mistreated) others. I wanted to understand Ben so that I could best meet his needs and accommodate him since he came to mean the universe to me.
Little did I know that the narcissist detests others figuring him out or acknowledging he’s different. My attempts to meet Ben’s needs as best I could was the opposite of how to best meet his needs, which is to never acknowledge anything about him being different. And doing so landed me in a world of trouble that I don’t know how to escape from.
There I go yet again, jumping the gun for the second time, I need to digress. Let’s return back to Ben’s first episode of hoovering, long before what I know today, long ago when I was convinced that Ben had positive feelings for me as well as a conscience, long ago when life was full of promise and forward thinking instead of being imprisoned in what I now call the invisible Auschwitz.
Round two commenced like I’d arrived to heaven, it was exactly what I needed after spending the previous year all alone and depressed. Ben treated me better than anyone had treated me in my entire life, and I was so grateful for his kindness. Finally, I had a true friend, someone who went so out of his way to show me how much he valued me, serving as a much-needed change to my otherwise bleak and lonely existence. Ben’s return to my life seemed to be a godsend.
When a narcissist appears in your life, it means you have something they want, and they will stop at nothing to get it. And after they have it, your total and ultimate annihilation is what they have in mind.
I couldn’t get over how incredibly warm and attentive Ben had become over the last year. I came to view him as one of the most amazing men on the planet.
I accepted Ben’s words at face value, I wasn’t one to lie about things and I assumed others were just like me. Ultimately, I found out that to Ben and other narcissists, the truth is what they want it to be, not what it actually is, if that makes any sense. That’s to say that Ben didn’t view himself as lying when he did, he viewed his words of dishonesty as being what he wanted the truth to be and therefore wasn’t lying or something negative. I guess in his mind – where he’s omnipotent and controls the universe – his magical thinking wasn’t something deceitful or immoral, it was what he wanted to exist and thus in his ginormous noggin which constituted the world, the truth existed as such, at least to him.
We came to call these “my truths,” and I thought it was Ben’s predisposed way of seeing the world. I didn’t think it was dangerous or odious, no way in hell, not given how kind Ben was towards me, treating me like royalty.
At the starts of round two, I was blown away by how much Ben seemed to have matured since I last saw him. He never stopped offering to do kind gestures for me. Not once did I witness any condescending remarks or controlling behavior like I had during round one. Ben pulled out all the magic tricks from his hat, sweeping me off my feet and taking me all the way up to heaven for the first time in my life; and heaven was one hell of an amazing feeling after what I’d been through.
Ben lavished me with more attention, affection, and kindness than anyone in my entire lifetime. This was something I never though I’d experience, and I treasured every moment of it like it was my last. I’d drop anything and everything in a heart-beat for Ben, for me at least, the two us translated to non-stop fun, exciting conversation, and, in time, something even more amazing and intense.
Life seemed too good to be true, as this time around Ben was a total gentleman, he seemed so compassionate, doting, genuine and sincere. He was so considerate when it came to others, plus he wasn’t putting me down like he used to enjoy doing. I was convinced he’d recognized his behavior was unbecoming and decided to make a change for the better, which was evident in how amazingly cordial he behaved.
At the starts of round two, there was no sexual tension either. Ben was so much more personable and polite than I remembered him being. He and his boyfriend seemed perfect together and I figured his boyfriend must have had a major impact on Ben growing into the thoughtful young man who sought me out to be his side-kick. He sure seemed smitten over his new beau and seemed certain they’d one day have a giant wedding in front of the world.
It wasn’t too long before Ben was talking smack about his beau, however. One of my favorite stories from Ben, one that I heard a dozen times, was how his boyfriend cheated on him on the birth of his nephew meanwhile I don’t think Ben knows his nephew’s name.
Like I said, I knew very little about NPD back then, and I failed to realize where Ben had intended for our friendship to lead, as well.
It wasn’t long before Ben started coming over a few times a month to hang out, just the two of us. He’d check to see how I was doing, as well as check out my massive underwear collection I had acquired.
After the nightmare with my ex, a friend gave me a pair of Andrew Christian underwear, and for the first time in months I felt… pretty again. So $2,000 later I’d managed to acquire the a drawer or drawers that many referred to as “Gay Disney.”
Ben would visit, wanting to try on jock straps or underwear and even buy a few pairs for him and his beau. It was always a fun time, and Ben would never stop doing countless favors for me. He was so generous and thoughtful and I treasured the brightness he’d brought back into my life.
Ben was always full of fun, laughs and cheer, he was always laid back, and it was soothing to be around him as his demeanor was so peaceful.
Round 2 was so different than round 1: Ben quickly seemed like he was family, it seemed like an act of divine intervention. Reuniting with him happened right when I needed a friend the most, a friend who I could relate to and depend on, a friend also with HIV, a friend I could truly find common ground with. Ben could tell I was still struggling with accepting my status and he could sense I was depressed. He made it clear that he’d come back to help me get my game back. Ben was there for one reason only he said: he wanted to see me become the person I used to be, and he wanted to be a part of my soon-to-be resurrected success. Ben said that helping me reach my potential would not only benefit me, it would be of benefit to him in the future, as well.
The feelings of true friendship and love this created for me was something I’d never experienced before. Thank God Ben forgot about how we’d ended round 1, too. When I brought up how he’d discarded me, he didn’t recall this at all, instead saying:
I never discarded you. I just knew with all you had on your plate, that I couldn’t be the support that you needed, that’s all.
Strange… he completely forgot about how mean and nasty he’d been to me, as well. But it didn’t matter because now Ben was the complete and total opposite, and he was quickly becoming my best friend. He said he could see himself in me in round one; he said he could relate to my pain given his first relationship was one of abuse, as well. I found a kindred spirit in be with, and it felt incredible.
Clearly I didn’t know what gaslighting was back then. I assumed Ben felt guilty for how he’d mistreated me and was embarrassed, choosing to tuck the past away somewhere in his mind, instead choosing to live in denial. To me all that mattered was that Ben had chosen to act and live his life differently, now treating others with respect. I was convinced he recognized the err of his ways and decided to change himself for the better. Never once did I consider it could all be an act, and that deep-down, that Ben didn’t give two shits about how he treated others, all that mattered was that nobody knew he treated others this way.
Ben also claimed he’d returned because he didn’t want to give up another opportunity to date me, which seemed slightly “off” given he still had a boyfriend. He said he always envisioned having me back in his life exactly how things turned out. He said he always knew we’d be together like this, although I had no idea he’d actually been planning his return since the ending of round one, and with the help of federal law enforcement. Who would ever consider that?
I never envisioned that Ben having returned with an evil, ulterior motive, like seeking revenge for suggesting he was a narcissist. That thought never crossed my mind, not with how adoring and doting he was, not with how pressed he was to spend every spare moment he had at my side.
I thought Ben was benevolent, considerate, courteous, generous and dependable. I believed him when he said he was striving to be the ideal man he always wanted to be. Here he returned with the desire to help me get my life on track after doing little except wallowing in my depression since I’d seen him last and I appreciated it so much. Days, sometimes weeks in advance, Ben was asking to spend all his free time with me of all people; I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be at the center of Ben’s cool club. He wanted to see me every chance he had, making me feel loved, appreciated and desired for the first time in forever.
It would be another 2 years before I realized that narcissists grow up learning to mimic human emotions they lack, perfecting the art of maintaining the perfect external appearance while hiding their true emotions beneath this facade. The narcissist’s true emotions aren’t positive, they primarily include jealousy, contempt, anger, paranoia and being fueled by the need to get revenge. But you’d never now it based on the beautiful “mask” the narcissist projects to the world.
I was shocked at Ben’s interest in me but I wasn’t complaining. If I’d have known back then what I know now, I would have never complained about a thing while quietly running for the hills as fast as possible. Instead, I basked in his Ben’s kind words and constant feigned concern for my well-being.
Someone that gets me…
My ass to “someone that gets me.” What he meant was “someone that I want to get locked, fired, humiliated, and added to the terrorist watch-list.” But at the time, it seemed sincere and sweet and I bought Ben’s fake kindness like an empathetic fool. Ben’s true colors didn’t “prove themselves” until much later on, and when they did at first, they didn’t bother me too much. In fact, I found them intriguing, not grasping that they were Ben holding back tremendously and his full true colors were as dark as the depths of hell.
Round one was quite different, Ben was quick to show me his “false self” after a few months whereas it would be a good 10 months before it reared its head. I was so clueless about what I was getting into, instead I was beyond impressed with Ben becoming such a gentleman. Ben went the extra mile to shower me with praise, to show me all sorts of special attention, and that was all that mattered to me. Ben always seemed to have my best interests in mind. A year down the road I’d begin to see the truth: Ben not only had my worst interests in mind, he had interests so depraved and sick I had no way of anticipating the horror that lay ahead for me.
Ignorance is bliss, that is, until you realize that ignorance is just plain ignorance and now you’re royally fucked.
Within a month or so, Ben expressed the desire to come over and spend one day day each weekend with me as he dropped off and picked up his boyfriend from work. Despite them now having problems, he said what mattered most to him was being a man of his word and staying true to his promise in proving his boyfriend with transportation to and from work. Spending one day a weekend with me enabled him to enjoy the day, not waste gas, all the while helping me get my life back in order as I’d allowed myself to lose track of who I was deep-down in the setting of this frightening HIV diagnosis.
I agreed to Ben’s suggestion about hanging out one day each weekend but kept on oversleeping, it was the weekend after all, and he always arrived super early. After 1 or 2 successes and numerous failures due to me remaining knocked out upon Ben’s arrival, I felt guilty for being too tired on weekends to keep my part of the deal. Ben was making such a statement in his attempts to spend one-on-one time with me, and I wasn’t meeting him half-way. I felt guilty, I felt like I was letting Ben down big-time, and I couldn’t afford to do that. I needed Ben huge time at the starts of round 2, I was in desperate need of a friend with HIV for support and comradery.
I’d locked myself away from the world in maladaptively coping with this diagnosis and I found myself hidden so far away from the world that I didn’t know how to get out. I also needed my sleep on weekends as I worked long hours as a nurse, so that was standing in the way of Ben’s early morning arrivals. Since Ben had proven himself repeatedly to be someone I could depend on, someone I could trust, if I needed someone to help me out with anything, Ben would volunteer, no questions asked. As he was so adamant about spending a weekend day with me despite me not waking up, I thought of an easy solution: giving him a spare key to my place, that way I’d never feel guilty about wasting Ben’s time and he could always get in, given I left the dead-bolt unlocked the night before. I trusted him like family, he was so good to me, and his desire to be my new “life coach” was beyond touching. Ben was my guardian angel, always looking out for me, and never missing an opportunity to be by my side, especially now that he had a way to get in on his own.
Of note: I had two keys to my door, and I never gave Ben a copy of the deadbolt key, but I never felt the need to keep them both locked anyway, as least not yet…
Ben could sense from the start of round 2 that I needed a true friend in my life, he could tell that I’d been stagnant for some time: he recognized that my self-esteem was in the toilet, maybe a slight bit higher than it was before he left me in “round one,” but not by much. He admitted he could see through me, he could sense my pain, and he’d later admit he could sense how I’d never found love and so he showed me a side of him, an act, that would lead me to feel I’d found it. Ben had this innate ability to read people so quickly and accurately; when I asked him what his trick was, he was humble in his response:
It’s just intuition, that’s it, nothing more.
He reminded me of my Grandpa with my Grandma; she could be tough at times, and he always seemed to take so much pleasure in being the one who could reach her. Likewise, Ben had this incredible ability to reach me like no one else, and he was all about bringing out the good in me. Ben claimed I had so much going for me, but lamented that I was letting it all pass me by due to depression and shame regarding HIV.
The chameleon-like narcissist shows multiple faces to the public, each one more duplicitous than the last. They blend in easily to any social groups they are a part of. But there is one catch: there is usually a target they like to zoom in on, usually because they possess the perceived qualities of empathy, compassion, integrity and coveted resources. Narcissists are pathologically envious of anyone who dares to outshine them or steal the spotlight: whoever presents a threat must be extinguished. Their light must be dimmed, in only the covert fashion the narcissist knows how to employ. Unfortunately for that target, he or she will become privy to the true self behind the narcissist’s mask. This is a terrifying, yet revealing experience that both alienates and enlightens the victim. This form of covert abuse can take place in romantic relationships, familial relationships, the workplace, even within law enforcement. It can take place in any context where a narcissistic person is able to manipulate someone else.
Ben managed to be everything I’d ever needed in a friend and ultimately a lover, minus the fact that the entire time he secretly wanted me dead and was setting me up for slow-cooked murder via government-sponsored stalking. Back then, I didn’t know such torture existed in our civil society, even once I read about it, I was convinced something so awful couldn’t exist. Ben showed me the light: true evil abounds in mankind, always has and always will, so I ultimately learned: trust no one but yourself.
Ben set out to reorganize my life, my condo, and even my underwear drawer, saying he was determined to help me find myself again. That was the plan at least, as long as I didn’t make him repeat himself and avoided doing the same myself; that was his number one pet peeve: repeating things previously said. His other pet peeves included the name “Josh,” the word “rape,” or as I’d later find out, all the nicknames I created for him. Ben was a master as hiding his true feelings, remaining stoic and put-together even when highly upset, so I never knew my terms of endearment drove him mad.
Remember how I’d been offered that job transfer that completely fell through, losing all record of me somehow? Out of the blue, an email arrived, addressing this transfer as if all had gone according to plan, with me being slated to begin in several weeks. I was so stoked, and so was Ben. I’d be able to work from home, too, and Ben, being more tech-savvy than me, insisted on doing me a humongous favor: he wanted to fix up my home computer network. That way I could easily and peacefully work from home. Ben was so humble, he said he was no expert and only knew a little bit, but he claimed to know enough to rearrange things in a more efficient manner and add a docking station so I could quickly plug in my work laptop to this new home set-up seamlessly.
One day I came home from work to discover he’d let himself in on his day off to build me a new computer desk, setting up my work lap-top, a docking station, several extra monitors, my internet phone, a way for my cell phone to miraculously join into everything, and he did all of this without even mentioning his plans in advance (or getting my consent). I was shocked, I was surprised, I felt blessed to have him in my life, and he’d truly become my best friend. He was setting me up for success, and without me even requesting it; at least that’s how it appeared. Ben even hung a BFF (best-friend’s forever) necklace on my wall, and I’d jokingly refer to him as my PPIC (poz partner in crime).
I failed to see that Ben was setting me up for indefinite failure that would enable him and others to gain complete control of my home network, completely invade my privacy, and facilitate having me gang-stalked on various gay apps and chat sites. He wasn’t humble either, he was lying; I’d find out he was so well-experienced with computers that he’d previously had his own blogs involving shared source code and programming.
Finally I had a friend that truly appreciated me, who was here to help me out because he saw my potential; Ben could somehow sense how I’d let it go to waste amidst depression and wanted to be part of my resurrection. It was a great feeling, and he was genius in saying all the right words, in conveying the deepest sentiments of love and friendship, and I couldn’t believe how I’d once thought he was a bad guy. Not at all: Ben was the best thing I’d found in Washington, DC. I remember once telling my mom:
Of all the guys I’ve met in DC, there’s only one who’s actually real: and it’s Ben, I feel so lucky to have him in my life.
I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assessment, but at the time, it was my second and even better honeymoon phase with Ben.
It was funny: at the start of each week, as if Ben wasn’t popular and had plenty of options to fill his upcoming days, he’d always be texting me, asking me to commit to plans for the upcoming weekend. It was cute, it was nice to feel so desired, and he went so above and beyond to ensure I didn’t make plans with anyone but him. And I did my best to make sure nobody came in the way of us two hanging out, no one got priority over my dear Benjamin.
He began texting me every single day, asking how I was doing, and always made it a point to tell me how much my friendship meant to him. He began texting me whenever he was free, always asking to stop by even it if just meant for a few minutes. He made the most beautiful promises I’d ever heard: he swore our friendship would last a lifetime, he professed his devotion to seeing me get out of depression and back to my old self again, and it wasn’t just a bunch of words: Ben’s actions proved how I mattered to him. I wasn’t used to this sort of attention, but I certainly appreciated it.
I believed every word he said, I didn’t doubt anything – and why would I have ever doubted his honesty? I wasn’t one to lie, and I thought (with the exception of my ex) others were just like me for the most part. I blindly trusted Ben like I trusted everyone else, and it ultimately blinded me for seeing my death was waiting for me around the corner.
Ben had a way with words, they were so touching, they made me feel so amazing inside, I felt beyond special to have found a friend like Ben; looking back… I’d never had a friend that intense and caring before. I would come to know Ben better than probably anyone else in the world ever had. I would come to discover his strengths and his weaknesses. I’d come to find out that there were things about his nature that would take place like clockwork, just as Pinterest claimed. But Ben’s seemingly amiable words left me believing otherwise.
Narcissists are masters of language who use words to deceive, coerce, seduce, and mislead. They have the forked tongue of a viper and have no misgivings when it comes to spouting poisonous, vitriolic abuse at their victims. Verbal trickery is their preferred method of manipulation and they have a talent for saying the right thing at the right time to confuse, belittle and degrade the other person. They devalue their victims, purposefully seeking to make them feel worthless so that they may subjugate them to their will. The unrelenting mind games of the narcissist are incredibly damaging to those on the receiving end; they can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other psychological effects. Victims are left traumatized by the bombardment, with emotional pain that seems to have no end. They become mentally crippled by the onslaught, not understanding what is happening or how to escape from it. That’s why it is so important to educate yourself regarding the sadistic language of narcissists; only then will you be able to recognize it when you encounter it.
For some strange reason both he and my first boyfriend always used the words:
Knowingly or unknowingly…
He also liked to use the words:
Intentionally and unintentionally…
I’m not sure why, I guess it’s some narc-thing that translates likely to intentionally and knowingly, being a way of lying about the fact that all they do is intended to cause harm, but this is their way of throwing you off. They actually offer courses on “narc-speak” that teaches you what narcs actually mean with their common phrases. All their remarks about not wanting to hurt you actually mean… they enjoy hurting you. Damn narcs make no sense at all!
While they say that hurting you actually makes the narcissist feel better, by telling Ben he was hurting me resulted in him feeling hurt, completely disregarding my pain and lashing out at me for hurting him by saying he was hurting me. What, what, what? Sorry I left your head spinning with that one.
WTF? Telling you that you’re hurting me ends up hurting you so much that I can’t say you’re hurting me? So essentially you’re saying you deserve the right to hurt me and I can’t tell you to stop because that hurts you? Huh?!?
It’s true though, telling a narcissist that they’re hurting you actually hurts them, I guess because they’re so hypersensitive to criticism.
The below attempts to explain this bizarre narcissistic “hurt” conundrum:
Telling a non-narcissist they’re hurting you results in them stopping the behavior that’s causing you pain. Because the narcissist doesn’t recognize you as your own being, they don’t recognize you feel pain since they can’t feel it themselves, therefore your pain doesn’t exist to them, what exists is the pain you created by telling them they’ve done something wrong (i.e. hurting you).
While Ben was perfect with me during the starts of round 2, I won’t deny wondering if he didn’t snap at his boyfriend occasionally, just like he used to do with me behind closed doors. I often joked and called him Regina George from “Mean Girls,” that’s how he came off especially in written form.
What the fuck are you saying, Ben?
He had this way of making statements that were complimentary, yet seemed a bit back-handed; he also said things that left me wondering if what he said was a positive or a negative, whether he was being serious or facetious, and I’d repeatedly ask myself things like:
Did he leave off and apostrophe and a ‘t’, so what he means to say is the opposite of what I think?
Like the above: I didn’t know what the hell to make of that, Ben later said it was him saying sorry. All I knew was that his way of speaking was uniquely Ben. Here’s a good example, what does this mean to you? Something good? Something bad?
Often his speech would border on the edge of I-don’t-know-what-the-fuck-you’re-evening-saying, take the below for example. I was often left scratching my head, wondering what he was trying to say, let alone trying to figure out if it was something I should be worried about or rather something good. Who the fuck texts that, and what the hell does it even mean?!?!?!?
Back in round 1 Ben could be a challenging personality to always get along with. God forbid you tried and make him do something he didn’t want to do, or you said that one wrong word, or failed to read his mind (because he often said very little, or used “vague queues” to express himself, only to get angry when you didn’t understand these ambiguous ways of expression), because he was sometimes quick to fly off the handle at least with those who were close to him. One thing Ben really hated to do was repeat himself; he acted like it was a cardinal sin to ask him to say something more than once, despite being a quiet guy who often said very little, and said things from a distance where you legitimately couldn’t hear what he was saying a lot of the time.
We all have our pet peeves and nuances, we all have our quirks, I know I do, but Ben’s were quite unique I must admit. With others, however, they’d never guess there was a dark side to him. Hell, he’d even tell me about it, I’d experience it first-hand, and he was so good as his own game that he’d quickly gaslight me into forgetting everything. Cognitive dissonance would take over and I’d live in the land of blissful ignorance repeatedly, time and again while the real horror story was being set up to go live and then keep going on indefinitely.
And so far during round 2, though, his darkness seemed to have disappeared completely; perhaps, I thought, it was just part of his youth and he’d grown out of it. I didn’t even think about it after our first few times hanging out. Darkness aside, Ben was still a bit of a Prima Donna in his own mind, however. But unlike when I first met him, he did a great job at hiding it, it wasn’t nearly as overt and obvious, but did pop out its head from time to time. I know Ben still thought everyone wanted to sleep with him, and he was probably half right about that, after all Ben was a cutie, although not nearly as hot as he thought he was. But his vanity had diminished significantly, whatever had showed Ben the light, it really seemed to have worked. He was hell-bent in being my friend, in fact, I’ve never had someone put so much effort into a friendship in my entire life.
The words that came out of his mouth, or through his fingers when texting, were always so magical, they were always so warm and positive, leaving me feeling appreciated and loved.
The words he used were selected for a reason, they were chosen intentionally to persuade me into believing he was someone I could trust and confide in, someone I could rely on, and someone that would always have my back.
His words were chosen to knowingly and intentionally deceive me so that Ben could easily access to my life so he could more easily destroy it.
When we first met, Ben made a point make it known he thought I was no good in bed, and while other guys were impressed with my assets, he’d repeatedly said that I was nothing special. So it was clear from round 1 that Ben wasn’t attracted to me, we had no sexual connection, and I knew better than to let myself catch feelings for him again; if there was one thing I was certain of about Ben, it was that once he made up his mind about anything, particularly men, there was no changing it. I’d been placed in the un-dateable category long ago, and I’d remain there forever. But I didn’t mind, because Ben made for a great friend (which was much better than being his boyfriend), plus there was always a bit of drama accompanying him and the guy he was dating. Being his platonic friend, I got to bypass the unnecessary chaos. And for some reason, he was now my biggest fan.
So I gave him the benefit of the doubt and quickly trusted him more than anyone I knew in DC. But they say that trust should always be earned, and not given; while Ben might have done and said lots of nice things for me, I never once considered he wasn’t doing these deeds for me but rather for himself instead. Little did I realize, I made a big mistake in giving him the benefit of the doubt so quickly…
One day he confided in me that his relationship was about to end: he and his boyfriend had an open relationship and had promised to be honest with each other if they had outside relations. But he said his boyfriend was constantly cheating on him left and right, denying it, “lying to my face,” and that the two of them hadn’t had sex in close to 4 months. Ben said he was starting to hate him, and there were other issues between the boyfriend and Ben’s family. Ben made it clear that the relationship was toxic and coming to an end.
Ben is hands-down the most hypersexual and sexually-liberal guy I’d ever met. Before long, he was making repeated sexual advances towards me, but I always declined. Back then I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, I wasn’t comfortable being naked with someone else, I wasn’t comfortable having sex with anyone at all. Plus the thought of sex with Ben brought back those eerie memories of him using “sex as a weapon” from round one, which was also something very distinct I’d experienced with my first “boyfriend,” as well. Ben was persistent and kept on pushing and pushing for me to have sex with him. Ultimately I agreed to sex with Ben, but only under one condition: if he promised not to discard me like he’d done at the end of round one. Ben completely forgot about having discarded me:
I never discarded you, I just knew it wasn’t the right time for us to date. I knew you had so much on your plate and you weren’t ready for a boyfriend, and I didn’t want to be that guy that led you on when I couldn’t take all that on. But I didn’t want to give up another chance to date you, that’s one reason I’m here today!
I believed Ben felt so ashamed about his mistreatment, that his way of coping with his guilt was to live in denial. In reality, he was gaslighting me, only I had no clue what gaslighitng was back then.
Ben ended up agreeing to my one requirement in order to engage in a sexual relationship with him: he promised he wouldn’t discard me. I thought I could hold Ben to his words, I thought he could be held accountable like everyone else. My incorrect assumption led to a great deal of unnecessary turmoil when I finally realized I could never hold Ben accountable for anything, I couldn’t hold Ben to his promises, and the only thing that held true was taking Ben’s words, flipping them around 180 degrees, and accepting that as the truth no matter what.
I went on to experience my sexual awakening with Ben. What started out as awkward and clumsy on my part soon changed, with Ben singing my sexual praises. My sex life went from 0 to 40 hours a week in no time flat. And this new found thing – sex with Ben – became my favorite thing on the planet. I equated sex with love, I equated sex with holding someone in the highest regards. I failed to realize that with Ben, sex was transactional by nature, sex was a performance aimed at winning an acting Award, and sex was always to be used as a weapon.
Foolishly, I believed every word Ben fed me, I thought that despite reading that narcissists weren’t capable of love, and even though it honestly felt like I was being hypnotized when Ben said he loved me, because the feeling within me was so strong and authentic I assumed it was the same within him.
I was dead wrong to assume Ben felt anything in a similar way that I did, I was dead stupid for believing a single word he said to me. Believing Ben would end up to be the death of me to my dismay.
So if you haven’t caught on yet, this is the story of the guy that gave a second, third, fourth, hell, even a tenth chance before he finally saw enough to make him believe. Even then, Ben was so goddamn good at gaslighting it took a great deal of time apart and repeated criminal acts including him having me robbed repeatedly, hacking into my phone and home computer, being gang-stalked and ultimately fired from my job due to the fuck-face before I fully believed. Never underestimate the strength of the trauma bond when addicted to the narcissist.
And so I came to love Ben, or so I believed, I was actually addicted to him via Stockholm syndrome. I trusted him with my life, I felt safe with him, and I was certain I’d found a best friend for life in Benjamin. I felt so lucky, like the Gods above were finally smiling down upon me for real this time, not like with my first boyfriend when I’d clearly made a mistake and must have hallucinated in looking upward. Turns out I was hallucinating this time, as well.
Narcissists will go to whatever lengths they have to in order to get what they want and so often what they want is revenge. They believe they have been wronged and they react with rage when the world does not give them what they want. They take pleasure in hurting people, especially those who care about them. The goal of the narcissist is literally to destroy, especially someone they think cares about them. Abuse is integral in the “relationship” with a narcissist. It is all they know and the only way they can feel better. The narcissist cares not at all for their partner as a person; the partner only matters inasmuch as what they can do for the narcissist. It is very hard for normal, caring people to understand this and because of that, they often hang on to the relationship thinking they can reach the narcissist. They cannot. A narcissist cannot be reached with love and you cannot appeal to his good graces. He is capable of neither. The narcissist is like a shark, or a machine that is designed to do only one thing. He cannot be swayed, appealed to, reasoned with, deviated or stopped. Hurting you literally makes him feel better. That’s the way it is. You can never make him feel good enough that he will stop. Never. You cannot change him, fix him or “love” him out of it. The only thing you can do is get out of the way.
Unfortunately it would be two years before I stopped hallucinating and finally saw the light for what it truly is: pure darkness. By that time it would be too late, as darkness would have extinguished all the light in my life without any chance of turning it back on.
I was blind to seeing how fake that little turd was, it’s only been with time that I learned to see right through his words. Too bad I failed to notice when it mattered, when it could have saved my life… hind site’s always 20/20, although it does me no good now.
If only I’d believed Ben’s true colors the first time, they say when someone reveals who they are the first time, believe them!
First and third songs written / performed by me, and created for Ben. All the music I’ve posted on this blog by me were written for Ben. I wrote him music to fight for my spot among the competition. He seemed impressed and said he liked it – I’m not certain if he actually listened to most of the music or rather felt special that music was written in his honor…