My close friend emailed me several months ago, that I must meet her new boyfriend, because, “it’s serious!” I was away for work, then. By the time we three met, they’d been lovers for four months.
Of Spanish background, her boyfriend was initially a little awkward with me.
I’m fluent in a few languages, so put him at ease by joking with him in Spanish, then translating for my friend so she could laugh with us.
She is attractive, smart, interesting, and has a good job. But she’s always said, “Yes, but you’re taller and slimmer.”
I called her later that day to say how happy I was for her.
She responded with fury, insisting that I’d flirted and tried to steal her guy. I protested that she knows I have a boyfriend whom I love. I said that, at 31 and 32, these could be our most important relationships, so no way would I risk mine and steal hers!
She stopped talking to me for three months. I still tried to reach her. Then, I heard from another friend that they’d broken up.
How do I re-connect with someone who wrongly believes that I tried to steal her boyfriend? Did my joking with him in Spanish look like a move on him? Why wouldn’t she trust me?
Despite her better qualities, she’s very insecure… that’s why she always sees you as taller and slimmer. Your ability to connect so easily with her guy triggered her self-doubts and jealousy.
Your long friendship wasn’t enough to chase away her fears of not being able to hold onto this man.
That’s sad because their having broken up within six months of meeting, means it wasn’t a lasting love but rather a quick, early flame. Until she trusts her own self-image, she’ll blame others like you, or some other cause, rather than feel secure in her ability to attract and keep the right man for her.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the growing awareness of how Narcissists affect all kinds of relationships, including in the workplace:
“I worked for one for 28 months. I learned that Narcissists do exist. They’re self-serving, have no feelings for others and are always concerned about having power over them.
“They’re highly intelligent and manipulative, and will recite your own words back to you in disagreement. They’ll demean and attack you for things you’ve never done.
“Their first impression is of huge confidence and success. This is how they take you in.
“I worked closely with this man, yet never got a full picture of him because narcissists are secretive.
“They use phrases like "What I want you to do for me" to lock you into doing what they want. Or they’ll berate you.
“This man, my boss, hurt many people, so I feel it’s important to learn that a narcissist will stress and burn you out because they’re always pushing your limits.
“They’re thought to be one per cent of the population but cause 15% of psychiatric practice cases.”
Ellie - I published this man’s account because of the repeated submissions I get from people who believe they’re dealing (and suffering) in a relationship with a narcissist.
However, the letter-writer generalizes from his experience to cover all narcissistic personalities, which I believe is too broad an assumption.
Yet anyone who feels controlled and pushed to the limit by another, whether narcissist or not, should do everything possible to end contact.
FEEDBACK Regarding the ex-girlfriend who, while trying to stay “friends,” showed jealousy about his going out even with friends, and asked for one last night of “intimacy" with him (March 12):
Reader – “This ex-girlfriend has no desire to be “friends” with the letter-writer. She wants to be lovers.
“Being friends is not really an option for these two, and the writer needs to see that leaving her completely is the kindest thing he can do in the long run.
“If he gives in to one last physical fling, he stands an excellent chance of becoming a daddy if it is physically possible.”
Ellie - Avoiding a pregnancy is not the only reason that this man mustn’t give in to her request for sex.
As I wrote, her request is “close to dangerous for her emotional balance at this time.”
He needs to be clear that they need a complete break, no contact, so she can move on.
Tip of the day:
If a close friend shows signs of insecurity plus jealousy of you, avoid triggering her/his anxieties.