One day, during the sharp decline phase of my marriage, I was in the kitchen with the radio on. Carly Simon’s song “Nobody Does It Better” was playing and I was singing along to it.
In walked my then husband and asked (in all seriousness, I think): “Do you think of ME when you hear that song?”
This kind of arrogance wasn’t unusual for him.
Considering we’d had an open struggle for the previous 3 years in our relationship by this point and an endlessly repetitive cycle of unresolved issues, and were in the epicentre of what I considered to be an unfathomable mess, it seemed more than a bit of a strange question to pose. But remember, the narcissist is only bothered about what you can do for him (or her).
Anyway, it was one of my finer come-back moments, in fact possibly one of the only times I can recall making a timely and witty comeback. Shame there was no one there to hear it but him.
I retorted, “No, the song that reminds me of you is that other Carly Simon song, ‘You’re so Vain’”. It was a bold move and really quite offensive, but my penchant for the stark truth and the energy of the moment meant my reply was out my mouth before I considered its lack of wisdom. He didn’t seem offended (there was rarely a reaction via facial expression) and there was no one to laugh along with me, so the whole episode fell on deaf ears, the same as most of our marital communication.
I heard the song in the car yesterday and it reminded me of the episode. Nobody does it better.
But what is the elusive it? Nobody does WHAT better, exactly?
In my ex husband’s case, was it
Nobody does narcissism better?
Nobody does arrogance better?
Nobody does fake charm better?
Nobody makes me feel quite as soulless and disconnected from the universe, as you do?
Those aren’t the lyrics.
The essence of her song is nobody does IT better – but truly, what’s it?
I think it’s that little bit of magic you can’t put your finger on. That soul connection that either happens or it doesn’t. There was a connection between me and my husband alright but not something that was refreshing, uplifting, soulful or really truly good or loving in any way.
That’s the thing about narcissism – as it comes from a place of fear and negativity and a need to get the other person to play to your fiddle at all costs, then there is nothing that can be gained for the other person in the relationship.
I was dispensed with very easily at the end of the relationship by him. He never cried, he never pleaded with me to get back with him, and though we frequently looked like we were trying to resolve something, there was never a second’s progress. It was just an endless round of unfathomable emotional torture until I’d had more than enough. Weary doesn’t cover it.
He found it easy to dispense with me because I was no good to him when I had stopped being what he needed me to be – which was “on his side”. He always referred to family relationships as though they were a sports team. If you’re not on my team, in the inner circle, then you’re out. You might as well go to hell. i.e. if you’re not doing something for me, then you’re no good to me.
That kind of philosophy is so far removed from my own sentiments and values that it was a hard thing to hear over and over and really quite threatening.
When it came down to it, I was completely unable to get my needs met through that relationship – and what’s more, he didn’t care. A narcissit cares for one thing – himself. If you stop providing the endless round of soul destroying support and stand up for yourself, then you’re instantly kicked out of the inner circle.
And do you know what? I don’t want to be in any kind of inner circle that operates with those values.