It was the last Sunday of November 2019 when the call came through. Veronika, whom you might remember from A Smorgasbord of Crumbs, The Prophecy is Fulfilled, and What Happens When a Narcissist Falls for a Narcissist, exclaimed, “Julia and Artie got married!” You see, Julia was my narcissist of 4-½ years and Artie was Veronika’s ex-fiance of 4-½ years. Veronika was quite upset so it probably didn’t help matters that my knee-jerk reaction was to laugh.
“Why did you laugh?” she asked, exasperated. “Because over 70% of all third marriages end in divorce,” I replied, “and given that Julia and Artie only actually dated for about four months, yeah, it’s just a matter of time.” Veronika and I discussed the situation at length and, during the course of our conversation, Veronika asked me, “What is your personality type?” She was, of course, referring to the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types/classifications. The last time I took a Myers-Briggs was 20+ years ago as part of a job interview. I’ll admit, I found my curiosity piqued so I took the test. I must confess, I was surprised at how accurately the results pegged my personality. Apparently, I am an INFJ-T, a Turbulent Advocate, or, in laymen’s terms, I possess an unquenchable desire to help and heal. But my test results (yes, those are my actual results) evoked a reaction I hadn’t expected. Anger. But not anger with my narcissist. Anger with myself.
As I read through the results, under the section Romantic Relationships, one part really hit me, and hit me hard, “…if their partner tries to resort to manipulation or lying, Advocates will see right through it. If there’s anything they have a poor tolerance for in a relationship, it is a lack of authenticity.” I felt a sudden and uncontrollable surge of anger, disdain, and fury well up from within me as I read those words, thinking to myself, “How could you?!” I found myself so angry with myself at having let me down in not sensing Julia’s manipulative duplicity. My failure to detect or sense her lying to and manipulating me one time, I could understand. Perhaps even twice. But repeatedly, and over the course of 4-½ years? I just found myself in angst over not having better protected myself. But then I had to remind myself that narcissists are absolute masters of manipulation.
Narcissists have developed fine skills in lying, cheating, manipulating, subverting good and wholesome wants and desires, to a razor-sharp edge. As angry as I was over my perceived failure to detect, deflect, and defend myself, I was in no way at fault for failing to realize that Julia is, in fact, a narcissist.
Does this sound like you? Have you beaten yourself up at length and repeatedly because you didn’t see the signs? Or perhaps you did see the signs but you chose to ignore them. Guess what. We all did. On some level, we all saw the signs waving as ostentatiously bold, red flags proudly flying from high atop our self-entitled narcissist’s elevated plain of pretentiousness and yet we still chose to ignore them. Does that make us culpable? Yup! We made a conscious choice to ignore an endless parade of red flags that should have told us pursuing anything with this person is an absolutely horrible idea. Does that mean we were at fault? Nope! While it’s true we did elect to ignore a multitude of signs that should have been wake-up calls, we did so believing that our narcissist simply couldn’t be the reprehensibly abysmal person they consistently showed us they are. In other words, we chose to see the good in someone that wasn’t truly there.
I have to admit, after reading that section from my personality test results, it took quite a bit of introspection to once again arrive at the realization that I fell victim to her deception. What about you? Are you still healing from your time with your narcissist? Are you still grieving? Or do you feel healed? Perhaps even ready to move on? I know I certainly did until the moment I read those two sentences. Regardless of where you find yourself on your journey, please do not forget this fact, healing is a cyclic sojourn, not a linear path. In other words, as you are healing, you will find that you experience many of the same emotions repeatedly – anger, elation, depression, joy, self-blame, happiness, even a sense of deliverance and freedom soon followed by the feeling that you’ll never be free – healing is not a journey that begins at one point, with a straight line of progression, and ends at another. There will be days you will feel healed and whole again, and then, BAM! You find yourself back on that path of healing, vexed once more, asking, “How did I wind up back here?! I left this place weeks/months ago!” I forgot that. I allowed myself to slip and I embraced culpability for a transgression of which I was in no way the rightful heir. Don’t beat yourself up for being a good person. Don’t berate yourself for loving an unloveable person. And, above all, don’t thrust the dagger of disdain into the heart of a good and just person, you, because an unforgivably iniquitous and unjust person inspired you to love boundlessly. We loved someone unequivocally, with a love that is unconditional and unimaginable. Take solace in the fact that, odds are, they’re never going to find or experience a love as pure as ours again. As empaths, ours is an unquenchable desire to help and to heal. That is our lot in life. It’s our gift. It’s our curse to see the darkness in a person’s soul and still embrace and love them, no matter how truly undeserving they are of that gift.
So what is your Myers-Briggs personality type? The test is free and only takes about 10 minutes. If you take the test, and are so inclined, feel free to post your results. I’d be genuinely interested.