– “Doctor…Whatever I do or say to my boyfriend is always wrong—I’m exhausted.”
Isabel X. is a gorgeous young graduate student that has had a longstanding conundrum. She fell in love with a dashing fellow student two years ago and they started living together six months ago. Initially she felt that her dream had come true: a handsome, intelligent and romantic guy. However, she found out that the pretty packaging was concealing a particular personality trait: narcissism.
It is easy for a woman to fall in love with a narcissistic man: they are so much fun as a company. They are very sociable, eager to meet new people, have wonderful conversations, show courtesy. However, there is a telltale sign that trouble lies ahead: they talk too much about themselves. Living with him under the same roof, Isabel found out that her partner was not listening to her. Worse, every time she opened her mouth to share something big or small, he interrupted her. Her emotional frustration was gnawing slowly but readily her self-esteem, which negatively affected her studies.
Her strong romantic bondage and high level of expectations for her partner, prodded Isabel to take his sickening attitude in stride, which was obviously worsened by her big fear of abandonment. Her girlfriends and her mother, who occasionally dropped by in her campus dorm apartment, got it right from the start; they all encouraged her to drop that relationship and clean her slate quickly. She continued to give, give, give…In return she was getting nothing except toxic feelings of guilt.
“Is it my fault?” “Should I talk differently?” “Am I asking for too much?” “Do I deserve him?”
Jeffrey E, Young said that the only way to break off negative life patterns is to re-evaluate your relationships and start to appreciate those persons, who, in spite of appearing boring, listen to us. Oftentimes a companion that sits down or snuggles in the sofa next to you is very precious. The always fun-always attractive-always romantic hero of so-called “chicks’ movies” is a total fake. Wait a minute. With my daughter, we did enjoy watching the film “Leap Year” where the central character found out that the rough Irish guy she met on vacation was better than her NY boyfriend. Amy Adams fortunately found out that Matthew Goode was a better match for her. He listened.
Isabel did ask me what to do. My answer: “move out immediately and cut all contact with him.” When she left my office, I didn’t think that she was going to follow my tough advice. She did. She later told me that the same evening she said to him; “we need to talk.” Like Nora had done before in “House of dolls”. Her boyfriend became very aggressive and refused to even listen to her. But she stood firm. In the morning she gathered her belongings and moved out with a girlfriend living in the same dorm. She re-connected with her network of friends and went back home for a long week-end. Despite his frantic attempts to contact her, she was shielded by her circle of friends and family.
After a month, she finally accepted that she had engaged in an extremely damaging relationship. She vowed never to repeat the same mistake. She found a boyfriend who was willing to listen. Exhilarated with her blessed happiness, she learned how to cook. Compared to the sorry version of herself I had witnessed, she was simply radiant.
And she brought me delicious cookies. What do you want me to say? If most men only got a glimpse of the strategic advantage bestowed unto others by just listening more.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.