“I am Oz! The great and powerful!”
When I was married to my husband, more particularly when things got increasingly rougher, I felt like Dorothea Gale in the land of Oz. Things didn’t make sense, as if I was living in a dream, or nightmare, rather. My daughter was “Toto”. I kept her close-by for her protection. I rarely left her alone with him. He rarely ever wanted me to.
Remember in The Wizard of Oz when the wizard is exposed by Toto, who pulls the curtain back, showing the wizard at the controls of his microphone/projector? I often felt like saying “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” when he’d throw one of his fits and expose his true nature. I didn’t of course. That wouldn’t have gone over well.
Narcissists love to be admired and feared. Would we fear the wizard without the booming voice, the giant projected head and the thunder? It reminds me that the narcissist is just a little man hiding behind a curtain projecting a different (in their eyes, “better” version) of themselves to others. They want to be seen in a light of authority, of esteem, of wisdom. They want to know all, or been seen as knowing all. They are, of course, just the man behind the curtain, but they do anything they can to not let others see that, no matter who gets hurt in the process. I’m not entirely sure they even realize consciously that they are doing it. I remember my ex saying to our marriage counselor that he didn’t know how I could just apologize so easily. I’m not sure if he was admitting a fault or keeping up an “I’m trying” image.
He, of course, was the wicked witch of the story in my eyes; though, unlike the witch, whose intentions were never kept secret, his were insidious. He tried to look like a good guy while doing bad things. He justified his bad behavior. I always said he could justify anything: a $10,000 purchase for the house when we had very, very little money, for example. More relevantly, he justified his actions because I “made him have to act that way. If you hadn’t done X, I wouldn’t have had to do Y.” (ie. If you had thought of making my favorite meal for dinner, I wouldn’t have had to yell at you and degrade you.”
On getting out: As the wizard says, “You, my friend, (to the cowardly lion) are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.” This is a good thing for many of us to consider, I think. I felt guilty for leaving, especially in the way that I did. I didn’t announce it on the way out the door. I couldn’t have gotten out
with our daughter if I had and I wasn’t going to leave her with an unstable man, whose wife had just left him. I had already been held hostage in my own home and had just regained a little bit of freedom. The cards were stacked in my favor that day and I’m SO glad I got out when I did. I can’t go into details of how I got out, as I wish to remain as anonymous as possible for my family’s privacy and safety.
And “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” The narcissist, or any socio- or psychopath, can make it difficult to hold on to your self-worth and life ambitions. It’s easy to feel beaten-down. Remember that they can’t MAKE you feel this way. Always hold on to yourself. It know what it’s like to walk on eggshells with someone, to give up your plans for theirs, to sacrifice yourself for their happiness so that you can then be happy. I know what it’s like to put yourself last. But remember, YOU are Oz, the great and powerful! You control your life.