Have you ever noticed how the narcissist steadfastly refuses to inconvenience themselves while at the same time expecting you to go out of your way for them? Whether it’s getting together on a day and time that works better for them and their schedule, or even just expecting you to make any number of sacrifices and concessions for them, it’s always about the narcissist and what benefits them regardless of how it negatively impacts or inconveniences you.
I can remember, every single time my narcissist visited me, she expected me to turn the heat up. I always keep the house a very, very comfortable 69-71° F year-round. But it was, “…never warm enough,” for her. Invariably, I had to turn the heat up to 76° or higher. I’m not a sweater and never really have been. Even as a cyclist, I rarely actually perspire profusely. But with my heat set to 76°, fresh out of the shower and tucked under the covers with her, I was dying a very slow and sweaty death. She was, of course, happy as a clam – the heat cranked up, cuddled up next to me (I’m 6′ 5″ and about 205 lbs, so I do put off quite a bit of heat), and the duvet we picked out for my bed? Yeah, I was roasting.
One might think, “Well, when you went to her place, I’m sure she turned the air up for you.” Well, that would be an expected courtesy, now wouldn’t it? However, care to venture a guess? Yep! When I’d tell her I was roasting at her place and very kindly asked her to turn the air up, she would actually say, and I quote, “I’m not turning the air up just so you can be comfortable and I can be miserable.” (She said this on several occasions throughout our time together.) She considered 78° F, or warmer, to be a very reasonable temp in her apartment. That was one of the many reasons I grew to hate going to her place.
For the last two years of the 4-½ years we were together, she was going to UTC to get her bachelor’s in nursing. Many times, she needed my help with things such as Care Plans – and believe me, they were brutal. Whoever the “genius” was that put together the Word documents the students were expected to work with, was completely clueless when it came to effectively using Microsoft Office. Even though I used to be a software instructor for various Office titles, I struggled with some of the butchered formatting she had to work with. How these nursing students were expected to actually use these documents is beyond me. I remember several times, she called me in a panic. “My Care Plan is due tomorrow morning and there’s no way I can finish it in time!” Even though I had to work the next day, and honestly needed my rest, I would tell her to bring all of her things and meet me at my place – of course, I’d help her. (My place is also about 25 minutes closer to her college.) After all, isn’t that what love is? Giving instead of taking? So she’d meet me at 6:00 PM, we’d get started working on the Care Plan and, every time, we pulled an all-nighter. That next morning, we’d just shower, get dressed, she’d go to college and I’d go to work, both of us completely exhausted. I did this for her more times than I care to recall or admit to. But when she called me as she was leaving Costco and I asked her to run back inside and get a little this or that for me? “Oh, sweetheart, I’m already in the car. Can’t you come out here later in the week?” Seriously?!
So you see? It’s always about the narcissist expecting you to put them first, perpetually making them a priority while they continue to take advantage of your kindness. At the time, I just kept thinking to myself that to love someone means to always be willing to sacrifice for them without complaint. The only problem is, I was so busy sacrificing my life, health, and sanity away for her, I never truly noticed that she was greedily relishing each and every sacrifice, my blind commitment and devotion to her and us, without her ever being willing to selflessly return even a small portion of that same kindness. And that, my dear friends, is a narcissist in a nutshell.