Married To A Narcissist

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Narcissist personality disorder: an inflated sense of self importance. A deep need for excessive attention and admiration. A lack of empathy for others.

The first time he did it, we were at his boss’s dinner party. The event was organized by his boss for all the workers in his organization. Tunde, being the Financial Director and a right hand man of his boss, invited me to be his date. We had been dating for five months at the time.

“Be impressive” he said to me, “dress to impress”

I smiled and took that as an encouragement from my man to put in extra efforts into my appearance, not that I didn’t do that before anyway.

I dressed to his satisfaction and we got into his car. When we arrived at this hotel where the dinner was taking place, he turned off his ignition, held me back by the hand as I made to step down from the vehicle and said to me, “Babe, please don’t mistake this invitation for an invitation to contribute to anything we would be discussing”

My brows first shot up in surprise, then relaxed into a frown.

He smirked, as if to brush what he had said off, then climbed down from the car, leaving me dazed in my seat.  

He walked around to my side of the car and pulled the door open for me.

I alighted from the vehicle and hooked my arm into his waiting arm.

Tunde smiled graciously at the door man, and a couple who were stepping up besides us while ignoring the consequence of his statement on my face. I had to force my lips into a smile as we stepped into the hall.

The hall was a cozy well decorated space with bright illuminating lights. Colourful atmosphere and well set tables.

Soft country music played under the chattering of the guests. There were about 50 people, all formally dressed. Some stood in pairs, others in threes and just a few were sitting down on their phones.

I thought of joining one of the ladies I sighted, sitting by herself on a table in a corner, but Tunde pulled me towards his boss instead.

“Tunde my man!” the chubby, fat cheeked man hailed as we approached him. He wore an over flowing white Agbada with a glass of wine held firmly in his left hand. Surrounding him were a few people, obviously enjoying being in his presence.

“Good afternoon Sir” Tunde slightly bowed. The man reached out his hand and patted his back, “Welcome, welcome”

“Thank you sir” Tunde straightened back up.

The fat man’s eyes regarded me questionably and I politely smiled in return, “Who is this beautiful young woman Tunde, I don’t think I’ve seen her before..”

“Oh no you have not. This is Esther Sir, my fiancée”

“Hmmn, such a beautiful black lady”

“Thank you Sir..” We both chorused.

A young man in a bow tie with a tray of drinks paused by us to hand myself and Tunde two glasses of champagne.

I needed this drink as I already felt uncomfortable with Tunde’s earlier behavior.

“Come on” his boss invited, “Join me, at my table”

Tunde shot me a glance as if to remind me of the statement he made back in his car. We walked behind the man to his long table with me feeling uncomfortable.

The table was richly decorated with assorted meals. Not everyone was on this table, just the close and important persons to the boss I could tell. Every man had a woman to his side, wives as I observed their wedding bands, no wonder Tunde introduced me as his fiancée.

The boss, he talked a lot, noisily too. But everyone bobbed their head to whatever he said.  The only other people that spoke asides the boss were the men, the wives I noticed, watched on with a plastered smile on their lips. The only time their lips parted was when their tumblers came up for a sip.

“So my dear” the boss was referring to me, “What do you do for a living?”

I felt the entire table’s gaze turn to me, awaiting my response. But Tunde redirected that attention to himself as he began to speak for me instead.

“Esther is on her third degree right now with active plans to pursue a PhD in the Unite…”

“I am a Wedding planner Sir..” I interrupted, calling their attention back to me, and ignoring Tunde’s disapproving smile “I plan weddings, and I am studying for my third degree at the side”

“Ah! So,” he waved a finger between us, “You will be planning your own wedding soon”

I faked a smile, glancing to the side at Tunde who I could tell was equally faking one, “By the grace of God sir”

“By the grace of God,” the man waggled a finger, “I like that”

Everyone chuckled.

“Excuse me Sir” Tunde stood to his feet, straightening his tuxedo.

“Any problem?”

“No, just a quick call, I will be back”

“Okay” the man waved a hand, then drooped his head to the dish before him and scooped a fork full of salad into his mouth.

Tunde bent forward and whispered into my ear, “Meet me in the Loo” then walked away.

“Excuse me” I smiled, when he was completely out of the hall, “Restroom”

“Sure” agreed the Boss, but not before I caught the knowing glances exchanged by two wives on that table.

I rose to my feet and walked to the restroom enclosure. As soon as I opened the door, Tunde’s hand grasped mine before I could even see him.  

He pulled me in and slapped the door close. I was looking at his angry face with an equally angry expression.

“What do you think you are doing?” he lashed.

“Answering your boss’s questions?”

“Didn’t I ask you not to speak?”

“He spoke to me!”

“And I was answering that question which you didn’t let me finish”

“Because it was not your question to answer!”

He bit his lip and clenched his fists, his eyes reddened with anger. I had never seen him like that before.

“What is wrong with you?” I demanded.

He loudly breathed through his nostrils and stared at me for seconds before shooting a finger at the door. “Those people are dignitaries, dignitaries I am determined to impress, don’t ruin this moment for me. Now, you are going to go back out there, smile and let me answer whatever questions thrown your way”

“No!” I challenged, “I am going home.” With that, I charged towards the door

“Esther!” he commanded my name.

With my hand on the door knob, I glanced back at him, “and I am not your fiancée!” opened the door, and slammed it shut.

____

Tunde didn’t speak to me for days and I just kept wondering why he acted in that manner.

It was the first I had seen of that behavior, which was completely in contrast to the loving, understanding and all so romantic man that I had known in the last five Months.

On the seventh day after that incidence, he came to my apartment with flowers, and chocolates. He went on his knees and apologized to me, completely taking the blame for his behavior. He admitted that the zeal to impress his boss made him act inappropriately and for that, he was sorry.

I choose to be empathetic towards his feelings so I forgave him. But that was not all, he dipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out a tiny box.

He opened it and a 6 carat gold ring stared me in the face. My eyes popped out in shock and chills settled on my skin

“I want to make it real,” he said, “Please marry me”

My hands flew to my mouth and I nodded tearfully. I gave him my left hand and he slid the round gold unto my ring finger. He rose to his feet and we embraced each other tightly…. and happily.

In seven months, we were married – traditionally and Legally.

****

A few weeks after our wedding, that part of Tunde I saw on that dinner night resurfaced.

It started with him prioritizing himself and his interest over “our” interests as a couple. If we were to go to a restaurant, it had to be one he approved of. At the cinema, he made sure to choose the movies, and then he began to pick out my outfits for me. All these he did while giving reasons that made me feel small. He believed that he knew what was best and had a way of manipulating me to think he was doing it for my best interest.

He was controlling, unapologetic and full of himself. Everything was about him, it had to be about him.

“I have a reputation to protect” he would always say. “I can’t have people seeing you act like this, do you know how that would reflect on me?”

He cared so much about how others perceived him and paid little attention to my feelings.

We lived life on his terms. He was always right, and when he acted in a manner which hurt my feelings, he had a way of making me believe that it was my fault, that I pushed him to react in the way that he did.

When I was two Months pregnant, he hit me for the first time. It was a Sunday morning and we got into an argument over my outfit. I wanted to wear an English flare dress while he wanted me to wear a red Ankara to match his red kaftan. Already upset with the fact that the night before, he changed a documentary I was enjoying to a wrestling match of his choice, I was in no mood of twinning my outfit with his.

“Esther, why do you like to be stubborn?” he said to me as I slipped on my dress. “Can’t you just do what I want for once?”

I whirled around to face him, “For once you say? Tunde this entire marriage has been about you and I am sick and tired of your controlling nature. Today, I am wearing exactly what I want” I turned back around and continued dressing myself up when I felt his hands grab the back of my dress and begin to force it off my body.

“Tunde leave me o” I protested, holding firmly unto my dress. “Tunde leave me alone!”

He overpowered me from behind and the sound of the dress giving way met my ears. I whirled to face him

“Tunde, you tore my dress!”

He didn’t stop. He continued to tug at the dress and as I made to run, he pulled me back by the hand and sent a resounding slap across my face. Then he let me go and walked out of the room.

I cried that day, bitter at heart. When he came home and met me in that same position, he said

“Look what you made me do.” And moved to start undressing.

When he finished dressing and saw that I was still sitting in bed, he came to apologize but not without blaming me for bringing his hand upon myself,

“You made me so angry that I couldn’t help it”

Typical Tunde, always blaming everyone else but himself. And why would he when he believed that he was always right?

___

By the fifth month of my pregnancy and ninth month of our marriage, my self-esteem was already dwindling.

Before I married Tunde, I was a confidant woman, but it had become hard to stay confident when I was living with a man who constantly put me down with his words, making me feel like I couldn’t do anything right. Tunde lorded over everything. He even dictated how my kitchen should be arranged and the types of meals I should be preparing, that one section of the house that was meant to be mine, yet he took over.

While indoors, Tunde was a manipulative self-centered man, out there however, he was charming and nice to everyone even strangers. It was important to him for people to see him in a certain light, and he made sure to impress. And it was because of this that he warned me not to ever share the private affairs of our home to anyone, he could not afford for that image that people had of him to be tainted.

People at church would constantly tell me how lucky I was to be married to him. But only I knew better.

You should hear him talk about himself, always going on and on about his accomplishments and how great of an individual he is.

After the arrival of our baby, I went into post-partum depression. The stress of caring for a new born and the manipulative behavior of a self-centered husband pushed me to my limits. I tried to talk to him about how I was feeling but my emotions didn’t seem to matter to him much,

“Other women had babies and are doing fine. What if you had twins, would you have died?” was his reply to my plight.

I called my mother and broke down on the phone, I told her I couldn’t go on and she said, marriage was hard everywhere and that I should endure that he would change, but I knew I couldn’t live with Tunde anymore.

I began to plan my exit, at the same time, battling with depression.

He didn’t notice, because he was absent from my side and that of the baby’s. My mother came to help and when she was gone, I continued to face that difficult phase on my own.

Things got so bad with me that my mother had to return for a second time, and asked to take me with her for a while. As self-centered as he was, he was relieved that my mother asked, and saw it as a way of getting a break from our ‘wahala’ – my depressed state and the constant crying of our baby.

But little did he know that, as I packed my bags and left the house that day with my mother, I was never coming back.

THE END.

WRITTEN BY OGBUGOH TERUNDU JOY.

 

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