You never forget someone you love telling you they hope you die.
N would always lie about feeling sick. It was usually a stomach ache. This was completely pre-emptive, to get out of something he didn’t want to do, or to draw attention away from his bad behaviour. It was always to elicit sympathy and divert attention. He would claim he had been concussed at army training or rugby, that he felt dizzy or unwell, that he felt “strange” or had food poisoning. He would always say “I will give you proof, do you want proof I have a sore stomach and I have been on the toilet for hours?” I noticed that N would often tell the same lies, have the same go to excuses such as a stomach ache. If someone seems ill more than is normal, yet is miraculously fine the next day or within hours, it is a red flag. Notice the timing of when they seem “ill”.
The most shocking lies N told were about his dad having cancer and dying. Since I met N, he told a sob story about his dad being sick with cancer. He never really detailed what type, but if he needed to get out of something, he would reference his dad’s illness. It was a get out of jail free card and he used it that way. “My dad has taken a turn for the worse so I have had to go out and see him” he told the army to get out of training. “My dad is calling me with an update, I have to go home now.” Always to get out of something, like an argument – we were arguing about going away in the summer, and he snapped back that he had spent all his money flying out to see his sick dad so he didn’t have money to go on holiday. It was disgusting how he used this pity play to deceive and make me feel bad. He told another woman his dad had cancer, and no doubt has employed this with numerous people. I don’t know if he told others his dad died – he used that excuse to buy himself time. It was not a spur of the moment lie – he faked his dad’s illness since day 1 and referenced it constantly. All a lie.
After these lies were discovered and I had given him another chance, he lied about his dad having a heart murmur. This was after my grandad had a heart murmur and I was upset about it, as he lived overseas and I couldn’t travel back easily. When you notice details of their lies, you will see they aren’t actually that smart – they use familiar details, names, places. The devil is in the detail. You know the saying that writers should write what they know? Narcissists lie about what they know. They will recycle these details more when they are put on the spot because it is harder to be creative on the spot.
Achievements and heroic acts
This is a telling and typical lie of N. N would lie about work achievements – that he had been nominated for industry awards, that he was put forward for leadership courses, that he was the youngest army officer the British army had ever had. You could look up the nominees of the awards in question and see he was not nominated. He lied about being recruited for a terrorism unit specifically in the army because of his intelligence. He lied about heroism – saving a woman’s life. He lied about being in MI6. He lied about praise he would receive from the higher ups at work. How he was a future leader in the company. He lied about being part of a rugby academy but because of injury, he had to give it up – apparently his leg was broken in a training. I would bet all my money he was never part of the academy. He lied about even playing rugby – when I asked if I could come watch a game, he said he wanted it to be his thing and no-one else’s partners watched and that I was being weird for asking. It was too much of an overreaction to a normal question be true. If they are unnecessarily defensive about a reasonable request, that is a red flag.
Proximity to near-death events
A lie N told multiple times was that he had nearly been involved in, or was near the scene of, a car accident. The first time, I had been speaking to him that morning and he didn’t reply for a few hours. He resurfaced with claims he had been very close to a car accident. I looked it up, and it had happened hours earlier than he claimed, before he was on the phone with me. He tried to continue the lie, then he gave up when faced with the facts and said “I don’t know why I lied about that.” If they lie about something so dramatic, verify it. The second time, he had been treating me badly (disappearing, not answering texts or calls, cancelling last minute) and he called me in an almost euphoric state proclaiming “I am at the scene of an accident, a guy on a bike just got hit by a truck, I can’t talk. I am right by a police officer, do you want to talk to them as proof?” Just ridiculous lies. Always to divert attention. They enjoy feeling like they are part of dramatic events and are somehow heroically involved or needed.
Last minute work events or trips
This kind of lie plays into their ego, they are just so important at work that they are needed to do so many client dinners, client events, calls, trips. I knew from the nature of his job that some of it was true, but every week there was a client dinner, multiple conference calls and events. The kicker? They were always last minute. It just didn’t add up that every week this would happen. It is the kind of excuses they know makes you look stupid for questioning and that you can’t easily verify for yourself. What is really going on is he probably got a better offer from a different source of supply but he was keeping his options open.
A Dr Phil worthy childhood and family issues
According to N, his mum was in an abusive marriage where a knife was pulled on her. When she met his dad, he cheated on her, including with his nanny, which he walked in on. His nanny was abusive towards him. His sister was nuts and ran away from home. His family was manipulative, his sister was a puppet master with her friends. He was brought up by his aunt as his mum was busy working. His mum was cold and called him fat. His mother didn’t think her children were worth speaking to until they were adults. His dad wasn’t around. He was bullied at school. Always, poor me. Of course, I can’t verify if any of these claims were true. I do suspect he had a difficult childhood given the nature of a personality disorder developing in childhood, but the likelihood of all of these things being true? I doubt that. It was to get sympathy, to bring out the instinct to care for him and empathise, so that you cut him more slack when he messed up – because he had been through so much, right? When N used to disappear and give me the silent treatment for days, he would turn it around to that being his “defence mechanism” because he used to run away from conflict as a child and hide in his room. Everything was always to make you feel bad and let go of what you were upset about.
I have read about this so much in other people’s stories that it is actually like they read the same how to manual. It is a pity play, it is projection, and it is a huge red flag. N claimed his ex was controlling, didn’t let him go out, didn’t let him see his friends, made him do everything with her. She was cold-hearted – she made him go to see snakes at the zoo to get over his fear after he was bitten by one. She grabbed his phone to check it. She hated sex. This was all manipulated to condition me to not want to be like her. So I went out of my way to be the opposite – warm-hearted, trusting, encouraging him to be independent and go out. The other woman he claimed was obsessed with him after they slept together once, wouldn’t leave him alone for 3 years. Another ex pretended to be pregnant to keep him in a relationship. Again, the likelihood of all of these lies being true? Yeah right.
N lied about how successful therapy was going for him. He exclaimed – it’s like I can’t lie to you even if I wanted to! He was a changed man. A year later, he lied about going to residential therapy for two weeks. He claimed to have seen a celebrity there (of course he went to the most prestigious therapist) and that it made him get to why he lied – he lied when he was caught out and he lied to impress people. Like this was some kind of revelation and he was magically fixed. No – these are the reasons NORMAL people might lie, and when they do, they feel bad about having done it. The therapist also told him that everyone cheats, so he didn’t need to feel bad about that. It was the lying that was the problem and now it was solved. The truth? He lied about going to therapy for lying. They live in a delusional world.
Was he aware of his lying?
100%. N confided in me he had had problems with lying since he was a child. He said he had blocked many people on Facebook because of lies he had told. He even said to me once – you don’t think you are the only person I lie to? Then when our relationship ended, he said I was the only person he lied to, that I brought out the best and the worst in him (victim-blaming). Another lie.
He would also bring up the fact he lied to prove things – like he told his ex he lied about his dad dying to get rid of me. He was completely aware of what he was lying about and what the truth was. His default position was always to deny, deny, deny. Then he would promise to prove he was telling the truth. It was a delaying tactic – it is to buy time and convince you to stick around to hear them out.
Thanks for reading!
With the holiday cancelled, and being told N wanted to not talk for a while because he needed to be single and work himself out, I hit a low point. I was dazed, I had asked him to show he cared and it had ended like this. I took time off work, I lost weight, I cried, I had no motivation. My whole purpose had become making sure this person was happy and okay, and I had failed. I was alone. I thought of him every day, going through therapy, and how hard it must be. I texted to check up on him to make sure he was fine. I didn’t want him to be alone. He didn’t reply.
I poured my heart out to him by email, desperately trying to apologise for anything I had done to contribute to this – I was too sensitive, I put too much pressure on him, I checked up on him too much. I thought it was my fault. I told him all the things I loved about him. I spent hours, over days, weeks, writing this email. He didn’t reply.
I was promoted in February this year and got a work phone. As I added all my phone contacts, I saw N had Whatsapp. I checked my other phone – I was blocked. Even when you know the truth deep down, when you are faced with proof, it still shatters you. I had been blocked by my own boyfriend on Whatsapp for 6 months of our relationship and made to feel like I was crazy for questioning it. I confronted him about it. He got angry at me and told me he was fucking sick of me questioning him months ago and was sick of me now. It hurt. His words hurt every time.
As I had done previously, I felt bad and apologised. I said I wanted to be on good terms. I offered him tickets to a rugby game as a peace offering and a way to catch up as it had been a few months. When we met, he was like the guy I had fell for – sweet, charming, thoughtful, engaging. I had started going to therapy myself because I knew I wasn’t doing well, and we opened up to each other about our issues. We drank a fair bit, and ended up kissing. It felt like magic. I was so happy and thought he had changed. We decided to take things slow, and work at being friends first to see if we could be something more. We met up each week, essentially dating without anything physical, and it was going well. I was ignoring the signs. He was lying, changing stories about who he was going skiing with. Bragging about achievements and recognition at work. But in another breath, he was the victim as work was so stressful and people were being sacked. He said he had been so fake for so long, and he was so lucky to have me support him. He said all the right things. I genuinely thought we were going to build a healthy foundation for a relationship. He would tell me how attracted he was to me, how much he wanted to sleep with me. I felt special again.
Then, it happened. I saw a woman’s name pop up on his phone, and I just knew. I looked her up, found pictures of them together, and I broke down. How could I be so stupid again? How was he making me the other woman again? How could he do that to me, after everything? I confronted him, he became cold and enraged. He blocked me, told me to never speak to him again. Then he calmed down and said they had been on a date and met a week ago. Then he changed it to a couple of months. I knew there was an overlap with our relationship – I had no proof, but I knew it was why he was lying. She had met his mum, his friends. He really liked her, he said. She was a fresh start. She was 7 years older than him, in the same industry. I was too much baggage, he said. He begged me not to tell her.
I decided to tell her. I will separately write about telling the other woman, as I have had two remarkably different experiences. I told her because I had been there – in the dark, being lied to. I wanted her to see the truth so maybe she could get out sooner than I did. I know from the outside, people think it is out of spite. It isn’t – the pain and suffering of a narcissist is something you would never wish upon anyone. I wanted to do the right thing and tell the truth. I also knew he thought he had that much power of me that he could blackmail me into silence – he told me I would look crazy, that we could never speak again if I told her. I told her because deep down, it was me cutting the cord with him. He could not manipulate me anymore.
I messaged her, with screenshots of everything he said. I apologised as I had no idea about her, and explained who I was. She had no idea I existed – he hadn’t even mentioned me as an ex-girlfriend. I didn’t exist. She wanted to meet me. They had been together since November. We broke up in December. He had cheated on me with her. It hurt. It always hurts.
Before he found out – he was calling me, telling me how much he cared about me, how his feelings were confused. He said I had been the one who changed him for the better and he wanted to show me how he had changed.
After he found out – he sent me these messages:
“Well done for ruining my life. You are pathetic.”
“I fucking hate you. I fucking hate you so much.”
“Never speak to me again.”
“You fucking bitch.”
“I hope you die.”
“You have ruined my chance with her out of spite.”
“I think it was you who hacked my accounts and I am going to get to the bottom of it. You will be hearing from a lawyer if there is a case I can press.”
“You will never do this again. I am getting a harassment order from the police.”
“I cannot be clearer than to say I have not wanted you in my life. I have tried to get rid of you, and you never let me.”
Abusive messages and threats. I blocked him. I had expected nastiness, but this was another level. I was scared – what would he do?
The woman told me she changed her mind after speaking to him. She said we were both liars and blocked me. He had managed to manipulate her in a matter of hours.
I emailed him to say I never deserved the cheating and lying, he told me to “cease contact or he would go to the police.” He told me to stop harassing them both. He had rewritten history – I was the crazy ex-girlfriend who wanted to ruin his next relationship out of jealousy. He forwarded the emails to her, and she sent me on, cc-ing him in. She told me I was “obsessive, fucking weird, relentless“. She told me to get help. She said I would not get what I wanted from this and to leave N alone. She was asking me nicely, she said.
I was in shock. I gave her proof of everything – times, dates, screenshots. And she called me a liar. She was in denial after only a couple of months. She knew he cheated with her, and she still felt the need to attack me by email with him watching. It felt like a sick team against me. He had made her a flying monkey, I was threatening their perfect relationship and I had to be gotten rid of. It was all so sick and so insane.
My therapist, friends and family encouraged me to tell the police and I did – I didn’t want him to know, I just wanted a record of the messages and behaviour as I didn’t know what he was capable of – he was enraged with me, he hated me now. I didn’t know what he would do to punish me for this. I soon found out.
I received a call from a police officer that the two of them had alleged harassment. He said I had been constantly messaging, calling, turning up at his house, his work, sending anonymous malicious messages to his family, hacking his accounts, lying about us to his new partner.
I remained calm. I was in shock, but I told the officer I had gone to the police because I was scared of this happening. He was willing to lie to the police to hurt me and silence me. He wanted me to be scared. He wanted to punish me. All the lying, the cheating, the abuse, it wasn’t enough. He had to try and destroy me.
The officer heard my side, and even laughed when I told him about the MI6 lies. He said it is likely to is doing this to intimidate you. I said I have proof of everything, and if he has alleged this – where is the proof? He had none. He wasn’t returning the officer’s calls. The officer said he wasn’t going to pursue it further, and gave me domestic violence numbers to call.
Domestic violence. I never, ever thought in my lifetime I would be given a domestic violence number by a police officer to call. I didn’t think of myself as a victim of abuse. Not until I started researching pathological lying, serial cheating, silent treatment, manipulation. Emotional abuse. Even just being able to put a name on it and read other people’s stories, I felt validated. I wasn’t alone. Every story had the same key components, I kept reading, kept researching and it became so clear. This wasn’t my fault.
I want to explore a few things in the next few posts, now that my complete story is out there.
Thank you for reading!
We met at Hampstead Heath, he had my favourite coffee in his hand to meet me. He looked sad and scared. I felt bad for him. P was moving out and had told him mum everything that happened, he was taking time off work. He was incredibly apologetic, he had huge problems in his relationship and was a coward, he felt so ashamed of his behaviour. He couldn’t believe what he had done.
I wanted to believe so badly that he was a good person deep down, that I did. He said he was getting therapy, that it was the wake up call he needed. He said all the right things. I was the one he wanted, he wanted to switch me out for P. He loved me. I wanted it all to be true because I myself was broken from all of this, I wanted to be loved. I decided to take things slow and give him a chance to show he was changing for the better.
He was open about therapy, about his history with lying that spanned his whole life since childhood, how he told fantastical lies as a child. He said he had blocked a lot of people on Facebook simply because he had lied to them in the past. He had fallen out with people at university because he was arrogant and a liar. He didn’t have many friends. He was abused by his nanny. He was scarred from his parents relationship and cheating. He opened up to me and seemed so vulnerable, I felt so bad for him and I wanted to help. It was like a distraught child in front of me, I wanted to make him feel better and be a good person. The victim card had been well and truly played.
Early on into our reconciliation, while he was in the bathroom, he had messages pop up on his phone from two women. One from S – a girl he said knew since school who was in town from Berlin and wanted to catch up. One from a woman he met in Canada while on business. Both flirty. I confronted him calmly. He thanked me for not getting angry with me. I asked to see the messages and he went back into the bathroom with his phone. When he came out, he had deleted the conversations. He said he did not communicate with women appropriately, and I suggested he rethink some of these relationships because it was disrespectful to flirt like that. He agreed.
A couple of months later, he was going out with some people from work. I said have fun, stay as late as you want because I’m going to bed. He told me he showed everyone the message and said I was the best girlfriend ever. I didn’t hear from him that night, or until late the next day. I had a strange feeling about it. His story changed as to when and how he got home. I asked him to prove what he was saying, he promised he would. He said he lied because with P, he would get in trouble for staying out late. He came over with flowers, said he didn’t want to lose me.
A couple of months after that, he told me he was going away for the weekend with the army. When he got back, none of his army gear was around, and there were receipts on his bed. I checked – they were from Berlin. I felt sick. I asked him – were you in Berlin this weekend? He denied it. He said he had picked up a friend from the airport and they were his. I found a souvenir – an ashtray that said Berlin – and he said it was his friends gift for his mother. I knew he was lying, I just had no idea why. I didn’t let it go, and every time he denied it. He got angry at me for “going through his stuff”. I begged and begged for him to tell the truth. Eventually, he said he had gone with friends and didn’t tell me because P would never let him go out with friends and he thought I would be mad. He flipped the script again. I had a feeling he had gone to visit S in Berlin. It added up and I felt sick. Yet for some reason, I couldn’t move. I considered following up with the girl, but I didn’t want to know.
Another time shortly after, I needed to use his computer to message a friend on Facebook. I went to the page and it was logged into his Facebook (a fake one he made after everything came out with P, so he could talk to a friend that didn’t have a phone). There was a message to E:
“Lovely to meet you last night. You put your name in my phone but not your number (maybe on purpose) but here is my number…”
I felt sick. He had picked up a girl at a bar the night he told me his phone died. I confronted him. He got angry I had been “snooping” and said she was an intern, they talked about careers. I looked the girl up – she was 19, and worked at a bar. He continued to deny it. He said it wasn’t cheating and she had messaged him and he deleted it because he knew it was wrong. I told him I needed space.
We talked a bit over the next few weeks, and he managed to talk me round. I tried to move past all the cheating, but you never can really forget. I tried to be the best girlfriend I possibly could – I bought him surprise flights to Barcelona for his birthday because it was his favourite city, I planned the whole trip around things he would like. We watched rugby games, went shopping for skiing gear for him, watched shows he liked. I was desperate to make him happy. I thought it was me being too sensitive.
My grandma passed away and I called him in tears straight away. He said he was sorry I was upset, but he was busy talking to his flatmates parents and couldn’t see me. I was devastated, my whole family was overseas (in NZ) and I needed him. Reluctantly, and making a huge point as to how inconvenient it was for him, he came over a few hours later. I felt so alone in the relationship. Yet I also felt guilty for asking for anything.
He began to disappear for days at a time, giving me the silent treatment when I “pressured” him for something. The worst time he did this was when my grandad was sick, and he had a “work thing” on the Friday at the zoo. I said that was odd, and sounded more like a date. He smiled, and said “I knew you would think that.” When my grandad took a turn for the worse, I begged N to see me and not go to the work thing. Just this one time. I never asked for him to put me first except when I really needed it. He said he would. The next day, he said he had to go. I got upset, and he got angry – absolutely furious – at me for interfering with his work. He turned his phone off, and I didn’t hear from him until a few days later. I called, texted, went to his flat. I was worried sick. He said he needed space for a few days, and he was going through things. I went from feeling upset and angry at being abandoned in my time of need, to worrying about him and wanting him to be okay.
I found out later that there was never a work thing, he had taken someone on a date to the zoo while I was at home crying about my grandad and that I might never see him again.
To say I was a shell of a person is an understatement. I struggled to eat, to concentrate at work, to socialise. I hid myself away. I waited desperately for his calls, his texts, any attention or clue he cared. He gave me less and less, it was a painful, awful devaluation phase. He would say he had booked somewhere for dinner, then when it came time to go he turned his phone off and said it had died. He blocked me on Whatsapp and told me he had deleted it to get away from it all. When I checked on someone else’s phone and he clearly had Whatsapp, he got angry and said he must have checked it online and that he promised I wasn’t blocked. He made me think I was crazy. He got out of these arguments by saying “I can’t deal with this right now. I’m not having this conversation right now.” And that was that, I thought I had to let it go. I trusted myself less. I was so terribly unhappy and I didn’t want to face it.
One evening in November, when I asked why I had still not met his family (after two years at this point), he snapped at me. “You want the truth? They think you are manipulative.”
I stared at him in shock. Tears streamed down my face and I broke down. I had done nothing but love, support, forgive and put this person first for years. How was I manipulative? It killed me. My friends and family told me it was him that either wasn’t sticking up for me or telling them I was manipulative. I didn’t want to face that. I knew it was true. He said his family was difficult, and he was protecting me from them. I said I can’t go on like this, and I need you to show me you care.
The next three weeks, he texted me once a day. He made no real effort, did not show me he cared once. It was destroying me. He said he wanted to make it work, that he was going through a tough time and we should talk that weekend. We had planned a trip to Austria for the following week (his favourite winter country) and it was all paid for. A few days before we were meant to go, he told me he saw no future with me, that he was poisonous, and he was going to residential therapy for two weeks because he knew he wasn’t well. He paid me back for some of the trip, and got nasty when I asked him to pay his full share. He said I was being petty. I caved, and said I didn’t want to end on bad terms and we managed to be civil. I wanted to support him and his decision to go to therapy because I thought it was a brave move. I saw him once he came back from therapy, and he seemed to be calmer, happier. He said he was doing well, and wanted to have some space but we would talk in the future about us. He didn’t want to make any promises because he wasn’t well. He said he had seen a certain celebrity in therapy that he was told he looked like, and he seemed to be open and honest about his issues. I wanted to support this person still. It had become my purpose because I had lost my sense of self. I had made myself such a low priority that all that mattered was that he was okay.
I didn’t know what to believe. I was in over my head. I remember at the core, I was genuinely so worried about this person and how they were behaving. I wanted to get to the bottom of it so they could be helped. I knew that no-one mentally healthy would behave like this. I wasn’t equipped to recognise this as emotionally manipulative and abusive behaviour, because I hadn’t really had to deal with it before.
Fast forwarding a couple of months, and N had finally promised me that I would meet all the friends he talked about. He had organised a dinner. The day before, he realises he has forgotten about a training day he had in Colchester. The evening I was meant to meet them, he cancels. He promises to spend the weekend with me, and then he goes off the radar. I can’t reach him.
I receive an email from P the next day asking who I am, that she lives with N and has been with him for 3 and a half years. She said my name had popped up on his phone before and he said I was just someone at work. I go to text N, and I am blocked. My mind races. I reply with everything – my whole story, screenshots of messages. She asks to call me. We talked for over an hour, and everything becomes sickeningly clear.
He lied about having a girlfriend and living with her.
He lied about playing rugby.
He lied about being in Miami.
He logged into his girlfriend’s Facebook to block me and delete my message to her.
He logged into his dad’s Facebook to make it private so I couldn’t see if it was updated.
He had blocked me on Facebook and lied about people in Miami hacking it.
He hid his girlfriends things when I came over and pretended things were his sisters.
He lied about being in MI6 and having PTSD.
He lied about his dad having cancer.
He lied about his dad dying.
He lied about going to Italy for the funeral.
I was calm on the phone because together with P, we dismantled all the lies and saw the truth. She was absolutely lovely, telling me she wouldn’t let him say a bad word about me, that she was sorry I had to go through this. She was in shock, her life had just crumbled, and she was still thanking me for telling the truth. To this day, I have so much respect for her and how she handled everything. He told her I was a one night stand, that I was obsessed with him, that he was trying to get rid of me that was why he lied about his dad. In his head, there was a genuine justification for his actions.
Unfortunately, that was not all. P told me there was another girl: C. C had known him for 3 years, and been on/off in a casual relationship with him. She thought he lived in Miami, and he also told her his dad had cancer. They talked every day. He had begged C not to tell P the truth, and said he cared about her, was really attracted to her and wanted to catch up with her but he didn’t think he would be able to keep his hands off her. C told P the truth anyway, and N coldly told her “I stopped talking to you months ago and you know there was a reason for that. I must be honest and say I never cared about you.” Then he blocked her. 3 years, and that was how he chose to end things with C.
P told me she went through his phone and saw he changed women’s names to mens, and there was a conversation with a woman called A who he had tried to ask out and flirt with repeatedly earlier in January. This guy was 25 years old, and had already done so much damage.
I received an email from N that he had done some wicked things and was sorry. He said he would explain everything as I deserved that.
The biggest mistake I made was giving him that chance.
So there I was, refreshing this Facebook page of a man I had never met, a man I was told had been sick for nearly a year and had just died. I was in complete shock.
I confronted N. He reacted with anger. “Why were you looking up my dads funeral? That’s fucking weird. What are you trying to say? Just say it. This is all so awful for me. How do you think I feel? This is too much. I can’t handle this. I need space.”
I realised I needed to look into things. He had said from the beginning he had no social media, because it was all about image and he couldn’t be bothered with it. I actually had respected that answer, some people opt out of social media for their own reasons. I asked my friends to see if they could find a Facebook of his. His name wasn’t that common, so it came up quite quickly. They shared the page to me, when I clicked on it, it said it was unavailable. I was blocked.
My stomach dropped. His profile picture was him and a girl in ski goggles. I had seen the picture on his phone when he was scrolling through photos, he said it was his ex and he hadn’t deleted the photos yet. I thought nothing of it at the time. Yet here the photo was on Facebook. A page I was blocked from.
I confronted him about it. He got angry. He said he didn’t even have Facebook. I was stressing him out. He said he had left his Facebook logged in when he was in Miami, and they had hacked it and talked to loads of girls. Why block me? How would they know who I was? He had no answer, and just reverted to how much it was stressing him out, he had nothing to explain, he had told no lies. A few hours later, his Facebook page disappeared.
He became the victim again. And I thought – what if he is telling the truth? I couldn’t bear to not believe him about his dad dying. It was too sick. It was like my brain refused to go there. I felt guilty for hurting him. i felt guilty for stressing him with it. I said I don’t know what to believe. He said he would explain everything when he got back and was adamant he was not lying about anything. He was so convincing, I decided to hear him out.
He met me at the train station, and made a point to get his passport out of his bag as if to rearrange it. He said he was feeling ill, he had been out for dinner the night before in Italy and something didn’t agree with him. He said he had not been entirely truthful and that I deserved an explanation.
He didn’t know his dad had Facebook, but he thought his sister was behind it. She had a history of doing odd things, and he said he needed to sort it with her himself. He said he suffered from PTSD and night terrors from when he was stationed overseas, not in the army but with… MI6. He was very stressed out with everything that the night terrors had come back. He looked physically exhausted, and his eyes almost had a nervous twitch. He was a mess, and I didn’t know what to think. My instinct was to try and help him, he said he would show me his dads death certificate to prove it. My brain was frying with all of this information. Alarm bells were ringing in my ears, but I refused to hear them. I applied my logic – who would lie about that? His explanations were crazy, but surely lying about your dad dying was crazier? I was stuck. I wanted to believe him more than I wanted to face the truth.
The next few months, I was in a state of permanent stress, I was worried sick about him, and what might possess him to lie about his dad dying. Was he lying though? I didn’t want to believe it. But it was always there, nagging at me. Then one day, I saw his dad comment that he was picking up N and his girlfriend (P) from the airport. My stomach dropped again. I confronted him. He got angry, said he was in Miami, P was his ex, and would not be contactable as he was going on a boat. I was in disbelief.
That day, his dad’s Facebook suddenly became private. My head was spinning. I just wanted the truth. I was desperate. I decided to message his sister on Facebook. I asked if she was N’s sister, and she replied “why? who are you?”
My heart sank. His sister, who he claimed wanted to meet me and knew all about me, had no idea who I was. I explained who I was, that I suspected he lied about his dad dying, that I had no one else to ask the truth. Her reply? “N is currently out of the country and I am very sorry but I cannot help you.”
I felt sick. What was going on?
I found his ex-girlfriends Facebook and it was a picture of the two of them. I felt physically sick. I messaged her, and an hour later I was blocked. N was furious. He accused me of hacking his accounts, saying his trust had been breached and he was going to the police and would push for a prosecution. It was all too much for him. Who else had I messaged, he asked. He said he felt betrayed, he had nothing to explain, had not lied. He was adamant.
A few hours later he apologised for accusing me and said he would again, explain everything and give me proof of everything. He said his ex doesn’t use Facebook and he would ask her to message me the truth.
He was keeping the game going.
It was like everywhere I turned I was running into concrete walls. Why didn’t I walk away? I wish I had. But I was in so deep, I was desperate for the truth, to put the pieces together. What was real about this person?
I decided to write my experience with a narcissistic/sociopathic individual as part of my healing process and in the hope that it might help someone else. I have read about so many other peoples experiences that I thought it was right to add my own. Sometimes (as was the case with me) the smallest details of someone else’s story resonate with your own experience. It can bring about a moment where the penny drops and you almost gasp and say “wow, the guy I was with did that too.” It can help put the pieces together and validate your own experience, which I believe is so, so important to help you truly believe that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It is not YOU that is the problem.
I met N at the end of 2014 on tinder. I was 24 years old, new to London and it was an exciting time and place to be dating. All my friends were on tinder, and we thought it would at least be a laugh if nothing else. I met N in the city near his work, and at first he struck me as nerdy and a little nervous, which he overcompensated for my being overly chatty. He was very talkative, humble, and seemed very interested in me. I even felt after the first date quite overwhelmed and unsure. I decided to see what happened anyway because I had typically been attracted to quite “jock” types and N was different. He had a good job, he was buying a flat, he was very smart and engaging. He made me laugh when he spoke about the last tinder date he went on. He seemed very sweet and very intelligent. He also told me his dad had cancer and was very unwell. I felt for him and wanted to be there for him. I even wrote in my diary at the time – give the nice guy a chance. Give him a chance because he is different to what you usually go for.
How sickeningly true that was going to turn out to be.
He didn’t ask me out for a couple of weeks but we talked every day. He would text me every morning, and seemed so interested in me. I was flattered. He was on business in Colombia and Miami and sent me photos of all these amazing places he was going. He struck me as such an overachiever and that intrigued me – he spoke Spanish, he was on business trips a lot and had just come back from Miami, he was buying a flat, in the army, played rugby. He wasn’t even 25 yet. I was still a little unsure, and I even told him at one point after a few weeks I just wanted to be friends because I didn’t know if I wanted more. He was disappointed, but said he didn’t want to lose me. I remember that stuck out to me a bit because it seemed just a little intense. He hadn’t known me that long at that point, but I just tallied it up to him being very sweet. He was telling me how he felt, I thought, and I liked feeling special. I decided I wanted to be more than friends after we met up and I felt more of a spark, and he pulled out the stops on dates for a while – going up to Sushi Samba for rooftop drinks, taking me to a lovely dinner for my birthday and coming up with ideas for interesting dates. He told me how beautiful and smart I was, how I was so different to anyone he had ever met. He was so sweet, and I felt really special. It made me think I was right to give him a chance. I also felt like I wanted to support him as he seemed to be struggling with his dad’s illness and had confided in me about his struggles with it. It made me feel close to him.
I can’t recall the “turning point” exactly because it wasn’t as obvious as that. I think that itself is an important thing to note because as you probably already know from your own experience, it just happens slowly over time when you start noticing things that don’t feel right.
I started to notice we didn’t see each other that much – we texted all day every day, but he was always so busy with work, the army and rugby that it was hard to fit in time. He also had to go and see his dad in Italy a lot, and that meant we probably saw each other once or twice each week for the first 6 months or so. I was fine with that for a while, taking it slow suited me. He came to stay with me at my flat a lot because he said it was easier for me. I thought that was sweet and he was adamant he preferred it. I did stay at his flat a few times, he lived alone about an hour from me.
I started to notice he often grumbled about his family. He said that his sister worked in London but lived up North so often stayed with him when she wanted, and left her things at his flat. Once he had to leave dinner early because his sister was upset about a fight with her boyfriend and he needed to go and console her. He said his mum was very cold, and hadn’t thought her children were worth listening to until they were adults. He said he had been brought up by his aunt. His dad had cheated on his mum with his nanny. I felt bad for him, he seemed to be the peacemaker of the family and they struck me as very manipulative from the stories he told. I didn’t notice he was always the victim somehow, I just thought wow, this guy has been through so much in his life. He was opening up to me and I felt really close to him, and like I wanted to help him. He said I was his “escape” from everything. He was always the one keeping people together and seemed tasked with being the head of the household. I had my concerns with not seeing each other as much as I wanted to, but as his dad was ill, I didn’t press it as I wanted to be there for him. After all, he was going through a lot.
I also noticed I hadn’t met any of his friends or family. He always had a seemingly valid excuse – he and his sister were fighting, things were difficult with his dad being ill, he didn’t get to see his friends himself let alone introduce them to me. I pushed it a few times, but each time I was met with a more irritated response that made me feel guilty, so I stopped as I believed him when he said I was putting too much pressure on him. I didn’t want to be that kind of girlfriend and I wasn’t needy, I just thought I was asking for normal, healthy things. I had introduced him to my friends and flatmates and he wanted to meet my mum when she visited. I thought it was odd I wasn’t getting the same back. But it always came back to his dad being ill, or being too busy, and I would feel so guilty that I stopped asking for what I wanted because I didn’t want to be selfish.
When it came to spring, I started wanting to go away on a trip together in the summer. When I pressed the issue, he got angry and said I was putting pressure on him and he couldn’t afford to go because he was spending a lot going out to see his dad in Italy. I thought after 6 months, it would be nice to go away, but I felt bad and didn’t want to pressure him when he was going through such a rough time. I wanted to be supportive.
In July, after I had asked about going away somewhere again, he didn’t talk to me for a couple of days and I was becoming frustrated at the silence. Then he popped up with a text that made me feel completely awful – his dad had died and he was going to Italy.
I felt AWFUL. Here I was, pressuring my boyfriend when his dad had died. I didn’t know his dad had died, of course, but I felt so bad that I had gotten upset at the silence from him. I offered to fly over, but he said he needed to just be with family and sort the funeral but that it was kind of me to ask. He called me from Italy, spoke at length about the details saying his uncle, his dad’s partner, his mother, and all these family friends had flown out for the funeral. He was consoling his dads partner and dealing with a lot, so he would be there a few weeks. He was annoyed because his sister wasn’t flying out to help, and I thought how awful that was of her to do. He always made her seem so awful. He was struggling, but said he was doing okay and thanked me for the support. I was so heartbroken for him. I asked when the funeral was, and he never answered me directly. I decided to google it, so I didn’t have to keep asking. I knew that day would be particularly hard for him.
There were no search results. No funeral was mentioned for this person anywhere. But I did find something: his dads Facebook page. A page that was updated the very day I looked, that had interactions and comments with other people, talking about plans to come back to England, meeting up with friends in the future. I just stared. For hours I scrolled looking for proof it was definitely his dads page, and it was. It mentioned his children, Italy. I felt sick. Do I tell N? I had to. But how?
I discussed it with a friend. We went through the possibilities. Maybe it was a shared page and his partner was updating it? Maybe it was someone else using it?
Or maybe it the answer we were all thinking but didn’t want to say. Maybe his dad had never died.