Well, it’s really over.
I mean, it’s really been over for a year, but it’s really, really over. On Friday, November 15th, I received a blank text message from Alan. Literally, just an empty bubble. I was out driving so it took a minute for me to process what had happened, to realize that this was a message from the man I love who had ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it with glee. (Clearly there is something very wrong with me.)
I believe I am a, mostly, sane and rational person, so if I had somehow managed to send an accidental blank text to someone I had had zero interaction with for 7 months, I would have followed that text message up with something along the lines of, “That was an accident. Sorry to disturb you.” So I waited. I waited to see if he would send some sort of explanation. No explanation came. For five days.
Look, I will freely admit that I have not handled every part of this experience in the healthiest of ways. I’ve spent the last year of my life stuck in a terrible place, holding on to a sliver of hope that somehow he would be the exception to the norm. Somehow, he would be one of the few that actually achieves self-realization, faces who they have become, and seeks help to heal. Because of this delusion, I have kept an eye on his on-line activities, not to monitor him, but to have an idea of what’s going on in his life and where he might be in this process. I knew that he had not used his Grindr profile in about three to four months. I knew the he had logged off of Scruff the day after Labor Day and with the exception of three times that I could tell, 1) to delete his profile picture, 2) to block me from his account, and 3) to unblock me a few days later, he had not been actively using Scruff either.
Suddenly, he was back on both apps. He had updated his profile picture on Grindr, and added one to Scruff, both the same picture, (one that was taken when he and I first started dating, which he had sent to me via text when he was off on a nature adventure with his friends. Could be a coincidence, but as this drama unfolds, it becomes harder and harder to believe anything he does is by accident). He was back on the apps, pretty constantly, as he was when he first dumped me – as he does when he is “single”.
This information, coupled with his “accidental” blank text, gave me a pretty clear picture of what’s happening, but I wanted to give him a chance, the benefit of the doubt, as it were (though that is a loaded statement and not something I give him any longer). So after five days and no further contact from him, I sent a simple message:
“Was there something that you wanted to say?”
Two hours and five minutes later her replied, “My phone screen’s acting up lately.. sorry.”
“mmmm. okay.” I replied, knowing that his answer was completely implausible. I can think of no feasible way that he accidentally sent me a blank text message after seven months of silence due to his phone screen acting up, unless he has had zero text communication with anyone since the last time we interacted.
“How are things?” he asked me, as if there was no tumultuousness in our history and my disbelief was not clear in my response.
The last time we interacted, he was cold, aloof, and indifferent to me. Theoretically willing to try to be “friends”, but not anything more. I knew then that I couldn’t do the friendship thing and, painfully, I let the communication drop. This time, I knew he wanted something, but I didn’t expect him to be nice. Regardless, I was not going to let my guard down. I was not going to feed him, and give him any information to use against me.
“Better question is how are things with you?” With every message I sent I expected hostility, for the façade to drop and for things to go awry.
“Same old same old, I guess. I’m moving (again). Lol”
“I figured you would,” I replied. “I would ask to where, but I’m sure you won’t tell me.” Last year when he moved, while we were theoretically still in each other’s lives, he wouldn’t tell me where he was moving to. He would invite me over “when he was ready.”
“To Fremont,” he answered to my surprise. Fremont is a big town with a lot of apartments, but its still more than I expected.
While still dating, we had a conversation once about where we would live if we were to move in together at some point. He works for the fruit phone and his office is in Sunnyvale, California, my life is in Oakland. Obviously, we would need to find some place in the middle, except he was unwilling to do so because his commute across highway 237 would suck (to be fair, he is right). But now suddenly, after we are no longer together, he is moving farther north and east and farther away from work. (Also, he works and worked from home most of the time so the location wasn’t especially relevant since he doesn’t actually make the commute very often.)
“Intersting,” I replied. “So much for your commute you were so protective of.”
“It’s a good deal,” was all he said. His current roommate was moving out and his lease is about to expire. “I think it’s time for me not have room mates.”
I reminded him that I had told him when we were first getting serious that he should have the experience of living alone at some point before settling down “with someone” (meaning me, of course). He said, “Haha you did. Still single so..🤷🏽♂️” An innocent enough comment on it’s own, but loaded with subtext under the circumstances.
He asked about me again, but I evaded the question, saying simply, “As you said, same ole same ole.” He said he wouldn’t pry any longer, and that he hoped I was well.
I asked, as I needed to know from the beginning, “Don’t guess anything has changed since our last conversation. Still not interested in going to therapy? Still solving all your problems with the gym?”
He confirmed that he is not going to therapy but stated that he’s been more open with his friends which he suggested has been helpful.
“For what it’s worth,” I said, “I try to keep texting to a minimum these days. I’ve learned that it leads to misunderstandings and problems. I’m open to real conversations via telephone or face to face, but minimal texting…” he acknowledged this and I went on to say, “Also, when I say ‘real’ conversations, I mean conversations about real things, not small talk and not bs’ing.”
“Noted,” he replied.
I had all I needed to know. Of course, I can never know for certain, but from all that I have experienced with him, all the research I have done since he dumped me and everything that has happened since, I was able to draw a pretty clear picture of the situation.
SIDEBAR: There is a website called quora best described as Yahoo Answers, on steroids, upon which I stumbled by accident in the early days, and now I get regular “digests” from them in my email. It is disheartening, to be honest, how many people have questions and answers about dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and what that implies about how rampant this evil actually is, but I am also grateful for the site and the people on it, from whom I have learned so much about this situation. On Quora, and I’m sure in many other arenas, the victims of narcissists, and NPD abuse are referred to as “supply”, because that’s how the Narcissist sees us, not as human beings, but as a “supply” of the adoration and admiration they believe they so richly deserve.
Typically, a narcissist cannot be without supply. They are usually looking for the next supply, even while they are in the devaluation phase of the narcissistic cycle with their current supply. One post in the forum referred to narcissistic supply as being like air. You can hold your breath for a few seconds and its no big deal, but pretty soon things start to look pretty grim without air. For a narcissist, being without supply is the same.
I already know, by his own admission, that Alan “cheated” on me once while we were together. I put quotes around cheated because since we had never discussed and agreed on exclusivity, he didn’t actually cheat, but since he did it behind my back and waited four months to tell me when it would have the most hurtful impact, we’re going to go with “cheated”. He admitted to doing it once. I wouldn’t doubt it was much more than that.
I digress. Here’s what I believe happened and lead to his “accidental” blank text.
Alan met a new supply on Grindr sometime around late July or early August. Alan stopped using Grindr so that New Supply would believe that Alan was all in. Clearly, Alan thought that New Supply didn’t use Scruff so that was safe. For two months, Alan would still get on Scruff pretty regularly, but not as often as he had done before. Due to the afore mentioned unhealthy behavior on my part, I saw in my favorites, that Alan was within seven miles of my house all of Labor Day weekend (I live 31 miles from his apartment in Milpitas). On Labor Day, Alan returned to his apartment and logged off of Scruff. Other than three instances mentioned above, he had not been on it again. One guess is that he got caught by New Supply so he stopped using Scruff as well. Again, I’ll never really know.
Regardless, the week before last, New Supply wised up. Clearly he is smarter than I. New Supply kicked Alan to the curb and Alan was caught unprepared and without a new New Supply lined up. Alan logged back in to both apps, updated profiles and pictures and started actively hunting for the next supply, only, as we have seen, a narcissist cannot be without a supply for long so Alan thought, “Hmmm… maybe I can lure Kevin back in to fill the void. It won’t last, but he loves me and I was able to dupe him before, I’m sure I can drag him back in for a bit.” And lo, the “accidental” blank text message was born.
He didn’t count on me having wised up, too.
I made up my mind. I knew what I had to do, but I didn’t want to tip my hand prematurely. On Wednesday, I sent Alan a text message.
“Is there any way we could get together tomorrow for a cup of coffee or a walk or something? I feel like there’s more to our conversation from yesterday and as I said, I prefer in person these days. My schedule is wide open.”
He responded with, “tomorrow would be a bit busy for me in the evening.. tonight, I have dinner plans with some friends, but I’ll be done by 8:30.. that wold be nice though”. (A narcissist always has to control the situation.)
“I have to work tonight,” I said. “Right now actually. And it’s Dreamforce. I made a bunch of money in a short period of time last night. It would be dumb for me not to drive after work.” (I am an Uber and Lyft driver as well as a Massage Therapist)
“Nice! Ok, we can play it by ear tomorrow then.”
First of all, “play it by ear” with Alan, is always a no, it’s just a no that is designed to string you along and keep you waiting on him for hours before he lets you down. I didn’t hold my breath, and on Thursday when I had heard nothing from him, I went on out and drove some more. Around 7:00 I looked at his profile on Scruff and he was 112 miles away. (So… he knew he was going out of town on Thursday, but he wanted to play Thursday night by ear?)
I reached out and he confirmed that he was out of town, “But we can still talk if you want,” he told me.
“I’d rather meet in person,” I said. “I’d like to schedule a get together for when you get back. I’m out driving right now.” I did not expect a response.
Scruff told me, on Saturday, that Alan was on his way back. Yesterday morning, he was 16 miles away, so I reached out again. “I’m available after 6 tonight or anytime tomorrow.”
His response: “Let’s play it by ear tonight. I’m spending time with the fam today and have other things on my plate.”
“‘Play it by ear’,” I said, “is always ‘no’. When can you get together, or do you really not want to?”
Over an hour later he answered with “Reaching back to you is a wrong move on my part. take care and wish you the best.” and then he blocked my phone number so I couldn’t reply to him. But he couldn’t so easily block me on scruff.
“God you’re such a childish coward, shooting of your rude message and then blocking me so you don’t have to deal with the aftermath. But at least you’re predictable.
“You’re absolutely correct. Reaching out was a mistake on your part.
“I really wanted to get tougher so you could hear my voice, see my face and not be able to project your own anger and hostility onto my words, as I know you will now do. I wanted you to know that I am not angry. I am sad and I pity you, but I am not angry. I also wanted to give you a chance to say your peace like a grownup and maybe we could walk away from each other with little shared dignity and respect. I guess you’re not really capable of that.
“I can’t stay on this roller coaster with you. I know you don’t believe it, but if you are not a narcissist, you absolutely have many narcissistic tendencies and serious emotional issues that need to be addressed. I believe you are a full blown narcissist and you have proven it over and over. This exact situation helps prove it again. Do yourself a favor and research it, in depth!
“Therefore, as much as I still do love you, I do not ever want to hear from you again, unless you are in therapy and taking it seriously. That is what I wanted to talk to you about in person.
“I’m not going to block you and if fate makes us cross each other’s paths again, so be it, but your message last week was nothing but a fishing expedition and I saw through it from the start. You can’t keep doing that to me.
“The next time you contact me, if you ever do, the first thing you have to say had better be, ‘I have been in therapy…’
“I’m sorry it has to come to this. I really hoped for more for you and I really hoped we could find a way to be in each other’s lives, but you have proven yourself to be a good person who does horrible things. I love the good person, but I can’t watch and I can’t be a victim of the horrible anymore.
“I hope some day you find the peace you need and find a way to be mentally and emotionally healthy. If that ever happens I’ll be happy to hear from you. Until then, do not contact me again.”
Of course, I expected a response. I expected cold, callous, unfeeling disdain. I got disdain, but…
“Is that all you have to say? Have you not said enough? I actually thought that we actually can meet and have an adult conversation.” (That’s why you refused to commit and then blew me off?) “But apparently, you already have a projected image of my ‘full blown narcissistic’ tendencies. That’s your opinion and everybody’s entitled to that. I’m sorry if my behavior has caused you so much pain.” (Not actually an apology.) “If this is your way of projecting yourself, and to actually find closure, so be it.
“As far as I’m concerned, my relationships with my friends and family were never toxic, nor did I even try to play with theirs nor any body else’s.” (Of course as far as you’re concerned. A narcissist would never see it any other way. Also, the grammatical incorrectness and missing words are verbatim. I used to attribute this to English being his second language, albeit one he speaks fluently, but again, I question whether it’s deliberate vagueness.). “That was never my intention and I believe you have already said your peace over and over again – may it have been unsolicited or not. If you never found peace sending me an unlabeled mail, stalking me on LinkedIn, and now assuming immediately that I am trying to avoid hearing what you have to say in person, then you will never be at peace. Ever.” (I sent him a letter after the last time he blocked me before I could respond to him and I deliberately left the return address off to increase the odds that he would actually bother to read it – he did. I have no idea what stalking him on LinkedIn is supposed to mean. How could I not assume you are trying to avoid hearing what I have to say in person when you blocked my phone number?) “I feel bad for you. I actually thought you were sane. Your life choices reflect a lot about how you think. I see it over and over again. You were a mistake. Everyone around me who has met you were right. (Four people with very limited interaction and no knowledge of who I am or what I’m about. Two were his roommates who were almost never home when I came over, and two were people who he told me at the time, said they “approved”, but whatever.) “The fact that you cannot even hold a decent relationship with your own family is true testimony to your projections.” (My family is abusive and hurtful. Self preservation is not the same as “cannot hold a relationship”, but he never bothered to familiarize himself with these facts.) “I cannot be a part of that, nor comply to your unsolicited assumptions and/projects of who I am. Keep telling yourself I need professional mental help. If that helps you sleep at night and move on.” (It does, because it’s clearly true.)
This is an example of a narcissist who has been rejected and how they become unhinged in response. His only objective here is to hurt me as deeply as he can muster as a final assault. Despite how it may sound to some, he did not hurt me. The commentary above is to put into perspective for those who do not actually know either of us just how insane his rant really is.
Nevertheless, there was one error on my part. I genuinely wanted to keep the dialogue focussed on behaviors and not on people. So I sent one final message.
“I will offer you one apology in that I should not have said you are a childish coward. I should have said it was a childish and cowardly act.
“I won’t bother to respond to your message as there’s no point. I think we can both just count our blessing that this is over and move on.”
Four hours later, he responded with, “Please do”
It was all I could do not to send one last message. “Last word!”