Did you ever notice, while with our narcissist, how their moral compass always seemed to point N? At the time, we believed that needle was pointing due north, the true direction to which all the other facets of the relationship based their bearings to always find their way back home. And thanks to the repugnant power of gaslighting and trauma bonding, my narcissist always felt like home to me. I suspect your relationship with your narcissist ran eerily similar directional parallels, as well. But did you notice how, if your narcissist’s moral compass varied even in the slightest, and those bloody double-standards to which your narcissist held everyone else but themselves accountable turned their gaze upon him/her, your narcissist always had an excuse, a “reason” why those double-standards shouldn’t apply to them? But now that you look back, have you realized that your narcissist’s compass wasn’t actually pointing north, it was, instead, pointing to N for Narcissist?
You see, that’s the thing about narcissists – their moral compass is always pointing toward whatever most benefits them, which is generally themselves, regardless of the impact their choices have on you or anyone else. While they may talk a good game of empathy and of feeling for others, in the end, that’s really all it is – talk – hollow, apathetic, empty words. And if you should happen to peer around or through that thin veil of surreptitious deception your narcissist has ever so deftly cast over your eyes, there is always a “reason” to justify the why those same rules you and everyone else are held to, don’t apply to your narcissist. Sex was always an issue betwixt my narcissist, Julia, and me. She felt physical intimacy (sex) outside of marriage was an abominable sin, forgetting the fact that she had quite eagerly engaged in a several months-long sexual relationship with Mr. B, the person whom she was dating (and who would 6-months later become her second husband) while she was still legally married to her first husband, Fred, and now here she was engaged in a several months-long sexual relationship with me while she was still legally married to Mr. B, and yet, she steadfastly professed to me on multiple occasions, “I’ve never been unfaithful to either of my husbands.” Do you see the narcissist’s double-standards resurfacing once again?
Julia had a veritable cornucopia of double-standards that applied to everyone but herself. From diet and exercise, to worship and prayer, and most especially sex and relationships – she knew what she believed and she fully expected any and everyone else to emphatically embrace her beliefs as the gospel truth…that is until she was on the receiving end of that same moral scrutiny. I can remember a number of times that Julia cast a shadowed pall on my willingness to do any “work” on Sabbath (she’s Seventh Day Adventist) while it wasn’t a rarity to find her “working” on Sabbath. Whether it was doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning the apartment – it was acceptable for her to work on Sabbath, “…because [insert flaccid justification here]. As for me, I honestly didn’t consider washing the car work anymore so than I considered cycling a very relaxing 30-50 miles in one of our local parks, going on a nice walk or a leisurely hike, or even cooking a meal, any true form of work. These are a mere handful of the things I relish doing to relax, to clear my mind, to shirk the burdensome stress that goes along with the daily IT grind. In fact, my mentality has always been, if it is something which brings you joy and pleasure, it’s not a labor but a love.
Of the myriad of times Julia flaunted her double-standards in my face, there’s one that stands out. I found myself on the receiving end of yet another of the seemingly endless multitude of “breaks” in my relationship with Julia, again. I forget what ridiculous issue had resulted in her childishly storming off, punishing me with the silent treatment (a.k.a. discard phase), again, and yet, here I was wondering if this was the dreaded final discard…again! About a month into this particular discard, I’d finally had enough of feeling absolutely miserable night after night, lamenting Julia’s absence and the relationship’s demise so, late one night, I texted Julia telling her that I accepted she was finished with me and us and I sincerely wished her the best. Early the next morning she texted me back saying she missed me and wanted to see me. Foolishly, I agreed. We met, we talked, and during the course of our conversation, she told me she had met and begun dating someone new, Bryan. And just to sweeten that simmering pot of insecurities, she threw in the fact that they’d had sex. When I asked her how she could have climbed into bed with someone else less than two weeks after we’d broken up, her reply was, “It had been so long since I had sex,” as though that somehow made it acceptable. Again, that double-standard – she would preach abstinence for our relationship and us; however, when given the opportunity, she was eagerly burning calories between the sheets with someone she’s known less than two weeks. But what if the situation were reversed? What if you were the one who had gotten over your narcissist by getting under someone else? Do you think your narcissist would have been as understanding of your actions as they expected you to be of theirs? Yeah, me neither.
I’ll be very surprised if this scenario doesn’t remind you of your narcissist since a constantly wavering moral compass is what the narcissist uses to guide them on their travels and to judge your actions. Speaking of unequally yoked, did you ever question your narcissist on why there is/was such a disparate difference between the standards they held everyone else to versus those that they embraced for themselves? If so, I’m willing to wager that you caught some serious hell as a result. How long did they berate, belittle, and or reprimand you for daring to question them and their (flawed) morality? An hour? A day? Longer? And did they punish you by taking their love away (leaving) just to show you what happens when you question their autocratic edicts and infallible commandments? Or did they remain a dominating and domineering fixture in your life, only now they stepped it up a notch or two and repeatedly reminded you of all your shortcomings and how flawed you are on a daily basis?
You see, that’s the thing about being in a relationship with a narcissist – the rules and morals to which you are held accountable are always in flux. It’s akin to walking through a minefield, blindfolded, trying your hardest not to step on one. No matter how careful you are, you just can’t do it! And the moment you make that one misstep, the millisecond you hear that click, you instantly know it’s too late and everything blows up in your face. Is this the life you wanted for yourself? At the time, it probably seemed like it. It certainly did to me. After all, narcissists are exceptional manipulators and, through the magic of gaslighting and trauma bonding, the narcissist can very easily warp your sense of reality, right-and-wrong, of self, and even the relationship, by convincing you to equate abuse with love. While no relationship is without its ups and downs, squabbles and even outright World War III arguments at times, in the end, there is one truth that should always ring with absolute clarity within you and in the dead of night – love should never hurt. And anyone who leaves you going to bed with tear-stained pillows and empty arms is not someone worth the priceless gift of your love or your heart.