Narcissists also target your career success, physical health, and financial stability. They want to see how much they can destroy you. 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.
Right after calling Ben out on being the other “n-word,” remember how I’d applied to, was (verbally) offered and accepted that job transfer within the Federal Government to a new agency? I’d been with my current agency for 12 years and I’d done quite well there as a HIV RN Nurse Specialist. Not to sound hot-headed, but I was loved by my patients big time, I got along with every single one of them; not to mention I was also well revered by my colleagues and was quick to receive numerous promotions.
But my patients were my biggest fans, hands down; they couldn’t seem to get enough of me, and that’s what I loved most about working there. When they’d return annually for follow-up visits, no matter where I’d moved to job-wise on the massive medical campus, many former patients managed to find me time and again, just to say hello and give me a hug. The below was a letter left randomly by a guy I only cared for once for a few hours — I was surprised he’d taken the time to write it. I removed his name and kept it as a memento, as a reminder of why I went to work each day.
Work-wise, I experienced great success with my federal government career, which began in August 2004. My last boss, who was quite the ball-buster, described me as being “meticulous,” even saying she wished she could “clone” me. I received promotion after promotion, quickly reaching the GS-13 level on the pay-scale, and doing exceptionally well for myself at a fairly young age. But after 12 years at the same place, with my daily commute quadrupling in duration with time and overpopulation, I wanted a change in scenery, and I wanted to experience a new chapter in my life.
Right after angering Ben with the “n-word” was when another agency offered me a job transfer. Somehow it lost all record of me in its system, which was odd given I’d submitted everything online, where a digital footprint remains. Yet they said they couldn’t find any information on me at all regarding this new job offer. Disappointed, I carried on with my life, never thinking about it again until much later down the road.
One year later Ben returned, and shortly after we’d become tight, out of the blue I received a random email addressing me and that job transfer like nothing had been lost over the course of the last year. While it struck me as strange, I didn’t ask any questions, quickly jumping on the opportunity to work at a place many nurses referred to as the “land of milk and honey.” This new agency was much more liberal and employee-centered, patient care wasn’t involved, and you could even work from home several days a week! Working from home: that sounded like heaven minus the work part; this gave my life a whole new meaning, this gave me the opportunity to finally live instead of wasting hours upon hours everyday driving to and from work.
Things couldn’t have been better from my vantage point; but like everything in the word of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, my vantage point was blurred and what seemed like heaven on earth career-wise would end up being smoke and mirrors, with the smoke coming straight from the depths of hell.
Ben insisted on installing a docking station in my bedroom computer station so that I could easily plug in my work lap-top and work from home. I came home one day to discover he’d entered without telling me, and had surprised me by installing the docking station, several other items I’m still not sure what they were, and putting together a new computer desk I’d purchased. I felt nothing but appreciation for his (seemingly) selfless gesture. He even hung a “BFF” (Best Friends Forever) necklace on my wall in honor of our special union.
I felt at peace with everything in life finally; I felt like life couldn’t be any better than what it had become. Ben would frequently refer to himself as my personal IT-assistant, which I found to be endearing. His desire to go the extra mile to help me out was so amazing and seemed so selfless, especially for someone who leaned a bit heavy on the narcissistic spectrum.
Narcissists don’t do anything that doesn’t benefit them and they don’t do favors. They didn’t buy you dinner out of the kindness of their heart… They are probably going to ask you for a world of favors afterwards. Narcissists don’t do anything without a purpose to benefit them. Giving a narcissist what they want is the last thing you want to do.
If only knew then what I know today about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I’d have known Ben wasn’t one to do favors for anyone but himself. I’d have been suspicious that whatever he installed in my home computer network wasn’t done to help me succeed on the job, it was done to ensure I failed miserably down the road.
Probably a year later, I’d come to realize my computer was being remotely accessed by others, my admin rights had been taken away, and everything associated with my home network was being monitored. Ben would go on to blame my computer woes on “those people” as he did with every other problem I was experiencing.
Hind sight is always useless, especially when dealing with a narcissist; it does you no good. Plus there’s no way your mind can sink to such vile levels to imagine what the narcissist is truly plotting away to completely destroy you, all the while having sex with you non-stop and talking about marriage. But this was back when I was still super naive and trusting, back when I believed all people were inherently good deep-down, back when I thought the world had gotten it wrong about narcissists and that they could co-exist in peace with non-narcissists as long as you respected their differences. I was a total dumb fuck I now realize. This was also back when I believed we all had inalienable rights and liberties, that our constitution was the law of the land, and that people, for the most part, abided by the law. The thought of this being part of a massive smear campaign never crossed my mind, nor did any of these events involving Ben, my job, my livelihood and my future seem connected in any way.
If only I’d have been able to see what the future held back then, I’d have read those beautiful words above and vomited several dozen times.
Needless to say, as with the rest of my story, things at the new job didn’t go smoothly like they had at my other job, instead things ended in the absolute worst possible scenario imaginable, or better said, unimaginable, as nobody could have even dreamed up something so malicious, illegal and mean-spirited was even possible.
From the get go, I was hit with one incident of bad luck after the next. My first week driving in, someone ran a red light and crashed into my car, totaling it! I’d literally paid it off days before as well as putting new tires and breaks on, all that money and 5 years of car payments all to experience the job of not having a monthly car payment — BAM — quickly sucked down the drain. I ended up having to call absent from work early on as a result, and it clearly wasn’t my fault, it was just awful luck and nothing more than that. Or so I thought, I honestly don’t know what is natural and what is fake with all that’s transpired.
The Stasi used Zersetzung essentially as a means of psychological oppression and persecution… in an effort to undermine self-confidence and self-esteem. Operations were designed to intimidate and destabilize them by subjecting them to repeated disappointment, and to socially alienate them by interfering with and disrupting their relationships with others as in social undermining. The aim was to induce personal crises in victims, leaving them too unnerved and psychologically distressed to have the time and energy for anti-government activism. The Stasi intentionally concealed their role as mastermind of the operations.
A few days later I took out the remaining $1,000 from my bank account that I owed after having a new HVAC installed in my condo. Somehow my wallet up and vanished – along with the $1,000 inside. I had no clue where it went, or how it disappeared: it either fell out of my poorly designed Banana Republic jacket pocket or else my “friend” (who I now think was an informant) stole it. Along with all that cash went my license, too. My mom was the keeper of my SSN card along with all my important documents because, well, she’s slightly controlling and will always view me as being 7 years old. I needed the SSN card in order to get a license, I couldn’t legally drive without the license, and the DMV was only open during normal business hours. I had no choice but to take off from work in order for my mom to drive down with my identification and take me to the DMV so I could again drive legally to work. My boss seemed to be understanding.
Over the next few days during orientation, I sat at the desk of a colleague who was out of the office while working with my preceptor. Suddenly I found myself feeling the sickest I’ve felt in my life. My mom, the former school teacher, made me feel all the more guilty by adding in her two cents about missing work:
You were just out, you cannot be out again! You need to get back in there no matter how crappy you feel.
Unfortunately I felt dead, and missing work again wasn’t my choice at that point. I couldn’t even drive to the doctor the next day, instead taking Uber laying down in the back seat shaking. Thinking it might be strep, my doctor was generous and gave me a Z-pack, which ultimately did the job in a few days. My culture didn’t grow out strep, though, it grew out another random, awful bacterial infection that’s a leading killer in Africa or something: Haemophilus influenzae. I couldn’t do anything but curl up in a ball and pretend I was non-existent for several days, shaking in my bed. It turned out the absent co-worker, along with her children, had the same, exact thing.
My supervisor questioned my use of leave, saying he wasn’t buying it, that nobody had this much bad luck. He suggested I was someone to abuse leave. I had documentation for everything that I provided to my supervisor, but I got the sense early on he didn’t like me for whatever reason. It was during our discussion about me being a potential leave abuser where he looked me in the eyes and said:
I think you’re sketchy.
Well, I thought he was overweight and an inconsiderate asshole, but I knew how to hold my tongue. I was polite and did all I could to show him I wasn’t sketchy, I was honest with him, I was conscientious and I was quick to reach out and ask for assistance whenever I felt I needed help in any aspect of the job.
My orientation began in April, apparently a slow period; I was working with drug applications. The platform we used to do all our work was about to launch a new version, and my preceptors frequently told me:
There’s no sense in showing you how to do that now since the platform is about to change.
What they failed to recognize was that the process behind this wasn’t changing – just the interface and how to execute the task. I failed to learn a lot of processes and the reason behind why we did certain things, and knowing the these things were essential to the job. The day after I got off orientation, the new platform was launched, and not only was I working on my own but I had no clue how to do anything with this new IT platform. I felt completely overwhelmed and lost. Plus I didn’t know how to use the “dashboard” feature, which is how one tracks their overall caseload, and is crucial to managing one’s portfolio. I approached my supervisor in person about my concerns, which I think were valid, plus he’s my supervisor so I’d have thought he wanted me to succeed. He didn’t seem to care:
Everyone’s in the same boat with the new platform.
Only they all knew the procedure behind everything – whereas I did not. I wasn’t in the same boat as everyone; I was several boats behind and my boat was sinking, so I reached out to him by email:
He never acknowledged my email at all.
Soon I noticed that assignments didn’t seem appropriate. We are typically given a few (maybe 3 or so) new applications at once. Since I was the new guy and others’ portfolios were already full, I was given lots of applications in bad shape, applications that had been left behind by others who’d transferred to other divisions, leaving me with their problem children applications to try and figure out. I assumed it was par for the territory given I was the newbie. But then I was assigned over 15 applications in a span of ~ 3 days; then the same happened several days later yet again. That meant 30 new projects, all competing for the same deadlines, due dates, meeting dates, etc… that’s not logistically possible.
I approached my supervisor to ask if he thought this was manageable, and he brushed off my concerns. Several days later, another colleague who also made assignment realized what I’d been given and approached me to take several back; he said that many applications with the same start and end dates wasn’t manageable. Whereas my supervisor hadn’t thought twice about this, someone else that wasn’t even in charge of me found it to be so impossible he stepped in to correct matters. My supervisor kept giving me more of thee problem-children applications, though, and I felt like I was doggy-paddling to stay afloat. The work itself was not difficult, but finding a way to manage all these applications all with the same requirements and the same time-points proved to be a challenge. I found myself falling behind, but I was doing the best I could.
One day I became ill with what was believed to be an inguinal hernia. I was going to need to be out for surgery and told my supervisor the day I found this out. That’s when he mentioned to me:
I’m concerned your gonna miss some deadlines. At least from what I’ve noticed in looking at your dashboard.
This was the first I’d heard of this; why hadn’t he mentioned this to me before when he first noticed it? Why did he wait until I was about to be out for hernia surgery to share this rather important information with me? Plus he knew I didn’t understand the dashboard, I’d even reached out asking for help, which he ignored.
I still didn’t have a solid understanding of how to interpret the dashboard, so initially when I looked over my portfolio, nothing major jumped out at me as a deadline on the verge of being missed. I found a more senior colleague and asked them to help me review the dashboard, they gave me a brief lesson as we looked over my applications, and suddenly it became apparent: I had many deadlines that were all about to be missed. This was a disaster, and meanwhile I was in so much pain and could hardly walk, let alone think about how to address all these issues that had fallen through the cracks. While my supervisor had given me a head’s up, I was disappointed that he didn’t take 5 minutes to show me a few examples and use it as a learning opportunity. That’s what I would have done if I was in his position, thinking to myself:
Does he want to see me fail?
It made no sense why he didn’t help me out, these weren’t easy issues to determine either; in two instances, reviews hadn’t been done because the individuals who assigned themselves as the review then suddenly left the agency, and nobody made me aware. Shockingly, in the end, I didn’t miss a single deadline; I got everything completed on-time, and I felt so relieved. I thought my supervisor would be proud of me for pulling this off, too. But when I told him this, he was at a loss for word; he honestly appeared disappointed that I hadn’t missed these deadlines. Things at this new job weren’t at all what I expected and my supervisor seemed to have something personal against me no matter what. As my bad luck continued, leaving him speechless at times, he eventually would joke about it, which at least made me feel like he believed me. I’d ended up buying a new car after my old one was totaled, and just my luck, one day someone in the parking lot backed up into it, doing serious body damage. My car was the ONLY car in the lot at that hour of the day. I seemed to have the worst odds in every way imaginable, and it became apparent to my supervisor, and to others, that this wasn’t all my doing at least.
Ben didn’t seem to help my work situation at all come to think of it. He’d always send me some cryptic text, or threaten to discard, me right around 9AM sharp when I’d arrive to work. His texts would throw me off for the rest of the day. I should have left my phone in the car each day, I should have forced myself to forget about Ben while working, but I didn’t, and somehow he managed to make his way in just to distract me from completing my work or from being able to focus my attention on what truly mattered: my career. I remember begging him at one point to stop sending me the early AM texts as they seemed intended to ruin my ability to perform at work. But it was something I sensed, not something I could “prove,” and he’d always deny it, telling me I was too sensitive or reading into things.
Narcissistic abuse victims lose everything because they think they can continue their toxic relationships, yet keep it all together at work. In reality, many get fired, laid off, demoted, put on probation, and lose their licenses. Significant licenses, such as those required to perform as a medical doctor or licensed therapist. Trying to maintain a toxic relationship while maintaining a career is counterproductive, if not impossible. First, there are the increased sick days due to the sheer overload on the body that comes with narcissistic abuse. Not only the physical symptoms, but also the psychological decline when depression and despair set in.
But I was still clueless about what NPD entailed over all. I knew Ben was different, I knew he would create chaos out of peace, and I knew he seemed to throw me off whenever I felt stable again. I always tried pointing it out to him but no matter how obvious it was, he’d simply deny it and tell me I was too sensitive or over-reacting. Then I’d start doubting myself, becoming convinced I was imagining things, and then Ben would surprise me by doing something magical and my doubt would be erased. Plus all that sex, sex and more sex, all the promises about our future together, all those kind gestures like getting me all set up IT-wise for work: that showed me that despite Ben’s differences, he was a diamond in the rough, his outward words and actions didn’t always show it, but deep-down, Ben had a heart, and even if he was a narcissist that supposedly isn’t capable of love, I was convinced Ben loved me in his own way.
I was a fucking idiot to believe the narcissist over Pinterest, and I’ll be paying for that until my last dying breath.
Covert narcissistic abuse is impossible to explain to those who haven’t experienced it. And even once you’ve experience it doesn’t start to register with you mentally until it’s too late.