I've been contemplating how relationships develop sexually. Granted, I was married nearly all of my adult life, so my experience in this area is somewhat limited. But anytime I've been out with a fellow that I was interested in having more than one drink with - which is about half the time - the man was making a pass at me fairly soon. I always thought it had something to do with the knockers, but I'm wondering if there's something a woman does - like sending a psychokinetic signal - that lets a man know she's attracted to him so he will make a move. Or maybe some men take the time to know a woman first, and I was simply never involved with one of those.
I've been involved with three men (sort of four) since I started trying to get divorced. Every case was me repeating an unfortunate pattern with Emotionally Unavailable Men. Those three were all, in a word, Narcissists. As it happens, the fourth is a Recovering Narcissist who has spent some productive time in therapy over the last year or two, which is why I still speak to him. Actually, if you count Cretin Vodka's theatrical crush on me, we could number the narcissists at five.
It's not that I go for a physical type who is so attractive that I fail to notice a man's obvious character flaws. I seek out the damn flaws. Hell, one of the Narcissists had the biggest butt I ever saw on a man. His butt was so big we called him Double Wide. For sure I'm not attracted to their looks. I'm attracted to them because they are Selfish, Arrogant, Condescending Jack-Asses convinced they are Entitled to have Everything their Own Way because They Know Best and are Always Right.
For the record, Buzz Kill is not a narcissist, or even bossy, condescending, etc. He is secretive as a way of maintaining financial control, and at the time he had severe intimacy troubles because he was so cut off from his own feelings that he needed me to process his anger at his mother for him since it was too scary for him to admit he got mad at her - but he is not a narcissist. He is fully passive-aggressive, so it's like the Narcissists are an intensification of my previously established pattern.
Not surprisingly, I don't want to jump into another heartbreaking relationship. Consequently, last night I was examining the pattern in an attempt to avoid another repeat, googling for information, insight and hope. Since my search criteria included the word "narcissism," the first thing returned by Google had this blurb:
Voicelessness: Narcissism Narcissism is a misnomer. At their core narcissists don't love themselves -- in fact their self barely exists, and what part does exist is deemed worthless. All energy is devoted to inflating the self...
I quickly followed the link and found myself at Voicelessness and Emotional Survival. As someone who realized only about four years ago that she had a right to exist on the planet, the idea of voicelessness is compelling.
What interested me most on this website was an article titled, "Why Do Some People Choose One Bad Relationship After Another?"
People who have not been given "voice" in childhood have the lifelong task of repairing the "self." This is an endless construction project with major cost overruns (much like the "Big Dig" in Boston). Much of this repair work involves getting people to "hear" and experience them, for only then do they have value, "place," and a sense of importance. However, not just any audience will do. The observer and critic must be important and powerful, or else they will hold no sway in the world. Who are the most important and powerful people to a child? Parents. Who must a person pick as audience to help rebuild the self? People as powerful as parents. Who, typically, is more than willing to play the role of power broker in a relationship, doling out "voice" only insofar as it suits him/her? A narcissist, "voice hog," or otherwise oblivious and neglectful person.
I have always known the pattern had something to do with a corrective experience, but I hadn't looked at it in terms of an Existential issue. It's probably a good thing to explore the nuances of existentialism with an Artist from the South of France.
In my heart, I can feel that I'm not looking for someone to complete me. There is no "Missing Piece." I can also feel that the pattern is broken. Right now, I'm going to take some time off from Romance and Relationships - maybe even a whole week - to ponder my own Existence and Identity. The last time I took up the Identity Project, I read Sartre and Descarte and made a list of my attributes:
- I am a woman who wears comfortable shoes and
- I meet deadlines.