In a nutshell, the reason men think I am crazy is because I am single. There is more to it than that. As you can see from the picture I am a reasonable looking person with mobility and basic health, not super old nor super young. Two failed divorces have not stopped other friends of mine, male and female from hooking up again with the right person. So what, really, is the problem? First a little back story: I wasn't always single. In 2002 I was going through a difficult divorce from husband number one. The marriage had been difficult from the start, until the end I had no understanding why. We were both middle class from similar family background. We were both committed to the idea of marriage. We were reasonably intelligent and educated by the time we got married both over the age of 30.
It wasn't until the last marriage counselor that I got a straight answer. My first husband was a bona fide "narcissist" as diagnosed by our doctor. Ladies, this is far more than being self absorbed. This is a clinical status that makes one inherently unable to have a relationship. They are cunning people, able and willing to say what ever they have to say in order to get what they want to get. So my first husband hid his condition while we were courting, pretending to be very interested in my self and son. He acted loving. Narcissist personality disorder is a pathological condition not conducive to interpersonal relating. Here I quote the seven basic signs of a bona fide narcissist:
- Shamelessness - Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
- Magical thinking - Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
- Arrogance - A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
- Envy - A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
- Entitlement - Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Any failure to comply will be considered an attack on their superiority and the perpetrator is considered to be an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
- Exploitation - can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
- Bad Boundaries - narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist will be treated as if they are part of the narcissist and be expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between self and other.
My divorce had sparked narcissistic rage from my first husband and the man who would become my second husband "saved" me. Though I hardly knew him at the time, he was willing to protect me. Most men would prefer to stay away from women with crazy (and I mean crazy) ex-husbands. My second husband was willing to escort me to church and back, bible study, and all around cover me. I loved him. I certainly wouldn't have remarried again so quickly (within months really) except for the fact that my first husband was acting so insane. He read my personal journals from when I was in high school, highlighted and marked them, and took them around to not one but two churches I attempted to worship at. His goal? To explain to the pastors how "sinful" I was, so that they would not be interested in letting me worship. It was incredibly invasive. Although both pastors reacted with expected grace, the congregations could not get past their lurid curiosity.
Thus, when my second husband, my beloved soul mate walked out on me in 2007, I was heartbroken. The first man who asked me out was in fact the locksmith who changed the locks on our house. I was hoping that if I quit enabling him, my second husband would quit his drug use, enter rehab, and come back to me as a better man than he once was. That was not to be. He never sobered, he never returned.
Pretty much every man I've met since my husband walked out on me was nicer to me than missing ex-husband. It's not hard to be better than a covert drug addict. Before he left, Howard had crashed our truck twice, and totaled a friend's car. He had drained our savings and worked up tremendous debt. He was no longer bathing regularly. Like a lot of junkies, he would smoke cigarettes and throw the butts on the floor or the carpet without regard. My boss asked me how I could miss that he was a junkie. Well in my defense, his drugs were never "illegal." He was using prescription pain meds which chemically equaled heroin, but practically appeared different.
To my middle class interpretation I had an older husband (Howard was 14 years older than me) who after a life time of work in the construction trade, "needed" his back pain medication. I didn't see that he was acting no differently than a meth freak: the endless stories, the helpless attitude, the constant drama, the loser lifestyle. Somehow The Idea of the man I first met, glossed over like a veneer over the man he became.
So men think I am crazy to not pick up and date. Meanwhile, I spend my time reading books, writing on the internet, taking yoga classes and hiking. I am happy for others, generous and grateful, and just not ready to give my heart away.