The Red Flags

I torment myself with questions about whether I could have seen it coming. To my chagrin, I have to answer “yes.”

Demi is extroverted, charismatic, and charming. When she was in the right mood, she was fun to be around, which was, in fact, most of the time. She’s attractive, intelligent, and professionally competent as well. What a package. Just don’t look too closely. She’s a high-functioning narcissist who neither believes she has any problems, will not admit to them when confronted, and will not seek any help of any kind. Any counseling she has attended (i.e., the Landmark Forum) was for the sake of appearances, not self-improvement. It’s not the kind of help Demi needs. I recall her flippant discussion of the marriage counseling she attempted with her first husband, Bob: one brief session, and she was out. Completely predictable. Bob was a sensitive guy; I got to know him somewhat as she triangulated us during the first year or two that we were together. (More on this experience in another post.) She crumpled him emotionally, and pitched him aside without a second thought or lick of remorse.

I invited Demi to marriage counseling several times in the summer and fall of 2016, but apparently the children weren’t important enough for her to make an effort. She flew into a rage the first day I took them to Tracy, a child counselor, in February 2017. She showed up at the counselor’s office, and it was by far the closest she ever came in public to revealing her true self. The waterworks gushed, but barely concealed the tantrum, the gritted teeth, and the snarled lip. Demi didn’t want the children to attend counseling at all, and resented the fact that I pressed for it and arranged it without her knowledge or consent. I thought she was going to lose it that day. She maintained, but visibly struggled to do so. I didn’t care—I’d ultimately taken the bull by the horns. The counseling session was only a couple days after I’d forcibly prevented Demi from taking the children on a drunken car ride to see a movie. At that point, I knew the storm was soon going make landfall.

Demi’s polished exterior conceals some deep psychological scars that conspired to destroy our relationship and our family. She couldn’t maintain her commitment, not even to her own children, let alone husband. “I can’t believe she’d do this to the kids” is an intrusive phrase that troubles me constantly. It casts a shadow across my life on the sunniest of days and haunts my darkest midnights. I often remind myself that none of this is about me, really, but I find little comfort in that. I often feel guilty, like I let it happen. But that’s wrong. It’s not about me, and it’s not about them, either—the children, that is. It’s only about her. Everything has always been only about her.

Making the commitment to have children changed things dramatically. For me, at least. For Demi, not so much. History has demonstrated that.

Two boys in their formative years need a father, but they also need a mother. They need a mother who can shine as a role model—to be an exemplar of what a woman can and should be. An ideal—a “proper” mother. Demi failed miserably. But she wouldn’t see a failure. Lacking conscience, empathy, and impulse control, that perspective is simply not within her scope. It’s not that she would disagree with my statement; she wouldn’t comprehend it. Her infidelity wasn’t a one-time thing. It was a lifelong pattern—she practiced serial infidelity—and that’s how I recognized there was some sort of disorder deep at work. Long periods of time may have passed between trysts, but she still had them. When there’s a need for attention and adulation so pervasive that it interferes with one’s ability to form and conduct “normal” intimate relationships, and accept and respect marital and family commitments, boundaries, and responsibilities, it’s a pathology. Having said that, I realize no one is perfect. We all can make bad choices. But what I’ve witnessed is deeper. It’s a pattern of thinking, a pattern of behavior. It’s a dysregulation of emotions, thinking, and behavior.

We all need to prioritize things in our lives. For a narcissist, the priority list is not only astonishingly short, the entries are qualified according to how much they feed the Need. A pathology like this forces children into the role of pawns. They’re like possessions to be fought over—a pair of shiny bracelets worn on Demi’s wrist—because their role is to provide narcissistic fuel, and make her appear a certain way in the eyes of others. God forbid their outward appearances falter or otherwise embarrass her. And they’d better choose the right side. My heart bleeds for them.

Demi’s latest stint of cheating began in March 2016. I detail my discovery here. It’s a powerful testament to her lack of impulse control and her malformed sense of obligation to family. Since filing for divorce, other information has come to me that suggests her infidelity was more extensive than I originally thought. I’m deeply disillusioned. She had no right to take risks with my health and well-being. But she doesn’t see it that way. It’s all about entitlement, remember? Huzzah! for Mom of the Year.

Numerous authors lament the dearth of positive male role models in boys’ lives, but relatively few treat the subject of positive female role models. A positive female role model may affect what males are willing to tolerate, and what they’re attracted to when they reach adulthood. Being a female role model requires a confidence not solely rooted in status or career, but also in being true to yourself and to the people in your life—in being authentic. Having values and staying true to them. Role models matter because children need to see successful people like themselves to believe they can succeed, too. Social learning theory posits that, as children, we mimic what we see adults do. As a father, I took this principle seriously. For example, Youngest decided for himself a few years ago that he was never going to say “bad words,” and he levied a charge of a dollar against his mother whenever she said one. He was directly modeling me. Although I can throw F-bombs with the most prolific of cussers—and I can even do it in Russian, блядь—I refrain from doing so around children. It’s part of being a role model. Role models often start out as parents or other family members, but soon become peers as children proceed toward adulthood. Children who lack positive role models at home face greater challenges because they have to guess at what “normal” should look like. It’s harder to follow a roadmap to success if you can’t see one in the first place, right? I’m haunted by questions. What kind of women are my boys going to be attracted to? What kind of family life? What role does Demi have in mind for Beavis? Based on his demonstrated character, I don’t want my children to have any relationship with a person who’d even contemplate the kinds of things he did.

The effects of subtle narcissist control are gradual. Slowly, without even realizing it, you fall into the orbit of someone else’s preferences and desires, until one day, you wake up and realize that you’ve altogether forgotten what you might have wanted. It’s more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom (Malkin 2015).

The Red Flags

Anybody can have a personality disorder. College degrees, social prestige, and professional careers don’t change that. In the case of narcissism, as Harvard psychologist Craig Malkin has pointed out, it’s really a matter of degree. Narcissism can exist in a normal range in normally functioning individuals. But narcissistic characteristics can sometimes ramp out of control under certain conditions, and that’s when things get troublesome and abusive. That process of ramping up has certain triggers and indicators.

Let’s examine the extreme end of the Narcissism Spectrum Scale more closely. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition; DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013) defines a highly narcissistic individual as someone with a particular set of traits. Among them is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in either fantasy or behavior or both); an excessive need for admiration or adulation; and a complete lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and presenting in a variety of contexts.

Because of Demi’s own negligence, I’ve seen sufficient content of the texts between her and Beavis to taste her overarching sense of grandiosity—beginning with her suggestion two months into her new relationship that she has the ability to purchase another house for them. What I know now is that Demi received a sizeable inheritance in the spring/summer of 2017 after the settlement of her grandmother’s estate in Boston. She had not mentioned that fact to me, even before I filed for divorce. I think it’s fairly clear she intended to keep it secret and use it for extramarital purposes. Perhaps she was going to buy Beavis a house. After all, she discussed that with him. I can’t believe she could even think about ditching her family responsibilities and obligations like that, without so much as a second thought, but it’s happened to other people. It happened to Lisa Arends, whose husband notified her by text that he was leaving after sixteen years, stripped their bank accounts, ran off to marry a girl in Iowa before obtaining a divorce, and planned a getaway to Uganda (Arends 2012).

Demi’s statements are downright cocky and irresponsible. Does she have a plan for the day Gerbil One and Gerbil Two, because of their developing morality, vehemently object to her decisions and behavior? What then? Hers are not the actions of a responsible parent.

Cocky also are her discussions about people at work. Successful manipulations are seen as victories. The adulation that Beavis showers on her is cloyingly disgusting. Texting while watching from afar while she’s in a group at a restaurant. Things like “you’re the boss.” “I love to watch you eat. You look sexy sitting at the head of the table. What can I do to get your attention? A phone call for you at the bar? You are one sexy vixen!” And she craves the attention—that’s the reason he’s in the picture.

Sheesh. Hey, Beavis—be sure to say “hi” to her eight-year-old, too, because he’s been reading your exchanges. There are things I’m not going to publish here, but suffice it to say, if he understood even a whiff of it, his innocence is completely gone. Thanks for that. Child abuse by negligence is still child abuse. That’s my position.

Demi has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of empathy. In its place, she served up cruelty. When her company produced a television commercial with Beavis featured among the people in the background, she made sure she showed it to me and the children several times, and each time, she pointed him out, beaming when she saw my pain. Flaunting her cheating partner. It was a unique blend of grandiosity, entitlement, and viciousness. In retrospect, her behavior was pathetic, because normal people don’t behave that way. I observed no empathy in her—none whatsoever. She was ice-cold, like a shark responding to the primordial instinct to feed itself. And the more hurt Demi dealt to me, the more the shark was fed.

To summarize, in the DSM-5, the personality characteristics comprising unhealthy narcissism are five or more of the following.

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance. Exaggerating achievements and talents, expecting adulation, admiration, and recognition as superior without commensurate achievements.
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  • Belief that he or she is special and/or unique, and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other “special” or high-status people or institutions.
  • Persistent cravings for excessive admiration or adulation.
  • A strong sense of entitlement; that is, unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
  • Tendency to be highly exploitative and manipulative in personal relationships; taking advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
  • Proneness to infidelity. Related to the need for admiration and adulation, the unhealthy narcissist usually secures a new “supply” (i.e., “relationship”) before completely discarding a current relationship because they crave the daily “fix.”
  • Lack of empathy. The unhealthy narcissist is unwilling to recognize or identify with the needs and feelings of others. “I owe you nothing.” “I can’t wait to see you on the streets.”
  • Envy of others or the belief that others are envious of him or her.
  • Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
  • At times, an unhealthy narcissist’s charm can wear thin. That’s when the sense of entitlement and penchant for manipulation peek through. In retrospect, there were times when I felt like a servant, kept solely for her own purposes and to serve her own interests. One of my friends once observed that while I was out sailing on a lake, Demi was pacing angrily in the campground, solely because of my absence. Was I no longer allowed to have my own independent interests and relationships? “What the hell was that about?” my friend asked.  “Her expectations.”

    Somehow I didn’t spot Demi’s issues in the beginning. Were there things that should have set off the alarms? Yes.

    One telltale set of mechanisms at work in unhealthy narcissists are predictable strategies for circumventing the normal human sense of vulnerability that our emotions produce. I’m talking about emotions like love, hate, fear, anger, happiness, sadness, worry, and even jealousy. In my wife’s case, these strategies came with a certain set of expectations about my behavior. Inadvertently violating the boundaries of one of her expectations produced a predictable response. In a normal relationship, for instance, if one partner fails to greet the other upon the other’s arrival home at the end of the day, the unintended faux pas can usually be repaired with a simple apology, plus some demonstration of kindness or contrition. I chose this example because it was an important expectation in our household. Before she began cheating and staying out at night, when Demi arrived home, she expected a fanfare. Her sons fulfilled this expectation, and Youngest still does as of this writing. “MOM!!” he shouts at the top of lungs, and runs to give her a hug. Eldest’s behavior has changed, as his respect for his mother has worn thin. When we were still living our “normal” family life, if I failed to greet her “properly” by dropping everything and basting her with limelight, she would typically seize upon the significance of the unintentional slight, escalate and imbue it with a substrative meaning, as if the failure meant my loyalty was faltering (and the marriage was now failing!). Once, when we held a late-night party, she believed I was showing too much attention to one of our mutual female friends. Demi flipped into some kind of jealous reaction, even though I’d never given her reason to do that. Challenge to an unhealthy narcissist’s expectations always results in a strong assertion of their sense of entitlement, and that is one of the hallmarks of the disorder. In 2016, when I challenged Demi’s cheating, she asserted her entitlement. “That’s none of your business,” she said. “I owe you nothing.” And she kept on cheating, not comprehending how it was fraying the fabric of our relationship, our family, and our children. She’s scarred them for life, and they’ll struggle because of her failure to deliver as a normal, eufunctional maternal role model.

    But what lies at the core of this gross entitlement? I believe the source lies somewhere in the nature and quality of the personal connection unhealthy narcissists have with their friends and romantic partners. Internally, there’s a knotty contradiction at work: an authentic connection between two human beings requires each to be vulnerable and share all of the feelings that unhealthy narcissism aims to repress. This includes the feelings of vulnerability generated by love, hate, fear, anger, happiness, sadness, worry, and jealousy. I’ve tacked jealousy to the list because Demi demonstrated a powerfully jealous streak on a number of occasions. Remember, any feelings of vulnerability generated by any of these emotions is—by definition—something an unhealthy narcissist is trying to avoid. In fact, their narcissism and its trademark behaviors comprise the mechanism by which they do so. In a personal slight like the one described above—failure to greet—the narcissist is incapable of demonstrating genuine contrition or remorse for their reaction because, as with any kind of vulnerability, the connection they have with their partner is not authentic.

    In practice, I counted about six “red flags.”

    Red Flag #1: An Easy, Rapid Rush to Intimacy

    Although I use the word, it’s probably not true intimacy. Perhaps I should call it “familiarity” or even “increased closeness.” In the beginning, Demi turned my head. She was attractive and took good care of herself physically. She always dressed stylishly, was witty and intelligent. She was also unusually quick to label me the “Love of Her Life,” and “the smartest man she’d ever met.” I’ll bet she’s already done the same with Beavis, as some conversation from very early in their relationship suggests. “You’re a hot commodity.” There are also some comments about his sexual prowess that I won’t discuss here. But I had heard exactly the same things—wow, thirty minutes, not ten. Demi was impressed by my level of education, that I could express myself intelligently, and that I could also do it in several foreign languages with competence. It was clear she enjoyed parading me around her professional superiors and colleagues because of my bearing, my experiences, and credentials. As she said at the time, we were a “Good Fit.” That was the tagline beneath our two names. “Good Fit.” It seemed odd to me at the time that our relationship came about so quickly—but perhaps I really had found my “soulmate.” Had I? My bad.

    We lived in different parts of the country, neither of us had children, and for the first year, we conducted our relationship through long distance phone calls and sporadic weekend visits. I moved cross-country a little more than a year after meeting her. Looking back, I think the relationship would have come together much faster had I been more accessible. She often seemed frustrated over her inability to exert control because of the distance. If I went out on a Friday or Saturday night with my platonic friend Karly, and didn’t “check in” several times by phone, Demi didn’t like it. She was threatened by my relationships with other women. If she hung up the phone on me to assert her displeasure, I asserted a minimum 24-hour rule as a cooling-off period. That made Demi even more uncomfortable. It was a loss of control. Successful assertion of control, to a narcissist, is a victory, and it makes them feel powerful.

    Once I moved to the Northwest, I enjoyed the constant attention from her, and gradually slid into a role as her constant companion and caretaker. There was a period of time when I was triangulated with other men, but I’ll detail that in another place. Over time, my own interests played less and less of a role in our relationship. Her life and her interests assumed the controlling interest. I allowed it. Today, I find it instructive that she actually discouraged me from pursuing my dream of writing, almost as if she were afraid I might become successful. I believe control, in a narcissist’s eyes, is a Zero-Sum game; my success would have signified a loss in her level of control. The contradiction was never more plain when she’d complain that I never planned anything, and that she “wanted to feel like the girl.” We’ll come back to this issue in another place. She, in fact, always planned things instead—for me, for us, for the kids, and for friends and groups of friends. It was one of her hallmark manipulative tactics. What better way to manipulate people into doing what you want by planning events and having them show up? We’ll cover this tactic in Red Flag #4 below.

    Red Flag #2: The Terror of Emotional Dependence

    Despite the rush to intimacy that had occurred between us, there were some early signs of emotional trouble, particularly when it came to Demi becoming “dependent” on me. She exhibited a strong drive to remain independent, and asserted her independence often. Emotional dependence on someone is frightening for an unhealthy narcissist, and I suspect the nature of her childhood injury had something to do with emotional dependence on a parent who’d failed her miserably. I can only guess which one. I’ll discuss my thoughts on that in a future post.

    Moving into Demi’s apartment yielded a strong sense that I’d invaded her space, even though she’d been inviting me to do so for nearly a year, and I’d visited many times. “Good Fit,” remember? Even after several years together, everything in her life was still either hers or was about her. When speaking about her marriage to Bob, she still referred to their possessions as my house, my car, my camper, my, my, my. It took her a long time to realize that it was okay for the two of us to enjoy our things, and she had to work at making that change in her vocabulary. I’m not sure it ever changed in her thinking. Over a span of years, I think I had a positive effect on her, and held her at a 7 or 8 on the Narcissism Spectrum Scale somewhat, thereby dampering her emotional phobia. Nonetheless, I find it interesting that at least one set of text messages between her and Beavis, when addressing their status as “lovers” versus “F-Buddies,” she bluntly says, “people get caught up in emotions,” as though she recognizes she’s better off without them. Because they bring her only terror.

    Red Flag #3: The Game of Emotional Hot-Potato

    For Demi, playing a game of hot-potato with emotions was a common tactic. If she were feeling an emotion she didn’t want to have, she simply projected it on me. This sometimes included being “angry all the time,” or “being such a downer.” But it wasn’t genuine. It was nothing more than a mechanism for Demi to flip me whichever emotion she didn’t want to have at that moment. When her mother passed away in 2012, she relied on me heavily to grieve with her, which I did. I felt the loss personally. Many times in the years since her mother’s death, Demi has many times replayed her grief deeply, talking about it, citing it as one of the most significant events in her life. It was as if her mother somehow victimized her by dying. I was right there with her every time. The truth is this: it pained me that those two women had wasted so many potentially good years locked in their ridiculous, petty power struggles. It was all about who “controlled” the relationship and controlled events in the family. And now that her mother is gone, and there is a vacuum, a void in what used to be a perennial power struggle.

    Conversely, I had a solid relationship with my mother for many decades, until Parkinson’s Disease took that away. My family was very different from hers—my mother and father were together until my mother’s death in 2017. Demi didn’t express grief even one tiny bit when it became clear my mother was dying. Nothing. Although Demi still dwelled on the loss of her mother, she expressed no empathy whatsoever. She simply went about her days, occasionally asking, “how’s your mom?” as a courtesy, but then waited for me to stop talking so she could resume her current train of thought. No empathy. But it was because she didn’t want to feel it; it was because she couldn’t.

    The emotional hot-potato game can assume other forms as well. Another hot-potato tactic was to constantly question my methods when undertaking any task. “Why are you doing it that way?” Constant nitpicking to assert control over a situation. Demi often described her job to me as something “I couldn’t or wouldn’t understand.” That’s crazy talk. I won’t go into my background here, but suffice it to say that I once dealt personally with US and foreign dignitaries at very high levels. I saw Demi’s put-downs as nothing more than an attempt to inflate her own sense of self. As a strategy, it didn’t work well because I’m far more educated, have traveled the world far and wide, and have had some unique life experiences to which she’ll never come close. I don’t mean to sound arrogant. It just is what it is. I recall that during our Puerto Vallarta trip in December 2016, while conversing at a bar, I turned to a nearby couple and struck up a conversation in native-speed Russian. Our relationship was on the rocks, but Demi still beamed, apparently feeding on the experience of being with someone who could do that. I never suspected those kinds of skills making her feel small, but they must have. They also made me a shiny object she wanted to possess. Undermining my self-confidence proved a challenge, but she tried, and even enjoyed some partial success. The effort ultimately failed, however. Welcome to my blog. I managed to see the process for what it was and, with the help of my attorney, swiped to the left—hard.

    Red Flag #4: Stealthy Control

    Stealthy control was Demi’s main gig. When I first read about it, I was flat-out gobsmacked—I recognized the tactic immediately. As Craig Malkin noted, “the effects of subtle narcissist control are gradual. Slowly, without even realizing it, you fall into the orbit of someone else’s preferences and desires, until one day, you wake up and realize that you’ve altogether forgotten what you might have wanted. It’s more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom” (Malkin 2015). Could there be a more clever way to manipulate people than be a great event organizer? Demi was just that. Parties, concerts, camping trips—you name it. For me, it was part of the fun. I did a lot of the background work, but I enjoyed that. The great irony was that when she wanted to poke at me, she always complained that I never planned anything. That wasn’t true, really, but I did step aside and allow her to do most of it. If I planned something, she wouldn’t necessarily be willing to participate, and there was a high risk that she’d just wave it off. “Nah, I don’t want to do that.” On the other hand, when she planned something, I always worked hard to make it a success. That was her expectation.

    Red Flag #5: Placing Targeted People on a Pedestal

    Healthy narcissism is seeing friends and other people we care about in a more positive light than they really are. However, compulsively putting friends and lovers on a pedestal is yet another mechanism the unhealthy narcissist uses to feel special. It’s based on a simple precept: “if this person is special, and this special person wants me, then I, too, must be special.”

    You see where this is going, I’m sure: sex becomes a tool, not an intimate experience shared between two souls. What a buzz-killer. This is another warning sign of unhealthy narcissism. I believe this is what Demi had done with me early in our relationship. I’m gregarious, extroverted, and educated. I was a great addition at business events and cocktail parties alike. She thought I was “amazing” far too soon in our relationship. And she’s doing exactly the same thing with her new supply, Beavis. I can read right through the texts I’ve seen. And the tool…? You guessed it: sex. The problem is that idol worship comes at a cost—the absence of a deeper, authentic connection.

    Red Flag #6: Twinning

    “Twinning” is a process of identifying with a “soulmate” (Malkin 2015). Do soulmates really exist? A soulmate is a person whose ideas, interests, and passions are identical to our own. It’s yet another mechanism the unhealthy narcissist uses to secure validation and approval for their own ego. Twinning was another of Demi’s gigs. Although she saw us as soulmates (i.e., “Good Fit”), initially, the twinning didn’t involve me. When I first met Demi, I thought she had a strange form of love/hate relationship with one of her female friends, Angelina, a popular girl from the high school cheerleading squad. Demi described herself as the “fat kid” in school, who lived in a house her mother and live-in boyfriend rented. She described being dropped off at high school in her mother’s red-and-white VW Doublecab Transporter with a green canvas canopy as embarrassing. It sounded to me like a scene out of the movie Uncle Buck, with actor John Candy. Demi had always told me their house was promptly torn down when they moved out, so it must not have been Boardwalk or Park Place. She was also not allowed to invite most school friends home, because of her parent’s marijuana and drug consumption. Demi was not part of the popular, social crowd, whereas Angelina was. Angelina was also very pretty. I recall meeting her at a restaurant the first time; there were only the three of us. Demi and I had what was essentially our first fight later that night. I had given too much of my attention to Angelina. I learned they called each other the “1/2 WT Wunder Twins.” They even had license plate frames that said “Wunder Twins.” The “WT,” I was told, represented “White Trash.” Each “twin” addressed the other as “B,” which referred to “Bitch.” They also greeted each other with “Hey, Twin.”

    Demi appeared to carry her high school years well beyond graduation. Now, the beautiful and popular cheerleader Angelina would not only be her friend—she’d be one half of the Wunder Twins! That fed Demi’s fragile ego. For twinning to work, both parties must participate, and they did, using their relationship to distinguish themselves from everyone else. What a wunderful thing. For an unhealthy narcissist, the twinning mechanism reduces vulnerability in two ways. Firstly, if both participants are seen as perfectly alike—both on the same page, one mind in two bodies—all fear disappears. Secondly, twinning avoids dependency. If two people are presumed perfectly equal in wants, desires, and ideas, neither has to worry about the other not meeting their needs. There is thus no disappointment in the relationship. Twin relationships can’t last, however, and Demi’s and Angelina’s didn’t. They split for a number of years. Each saw the other as betraying the values they presumed in common: Demi went up the corporate ladder; Angelina went into a quasi-religious new age spiritual healing field.

    Demi’s relationship with Angelina also seemed to have a dark side, although I’m no longer sure what it’s safe for me to believe. When Demi was still married to her first husband, Bob, she was hired into her first corporate marketing job. The job required a fair amount of travel during the work week. Early in our relationship, explaining the demise of her previous marriage, Demi told me that Angelina would sometimes hang out with Bob when Demi was on the road, and Demi believed Bob was cheating on her with Angelina at the time. I don’t think I believe that story today because Demi remained friends with Angelina in the aftermath. Who would do that? Meanwhile, Demi had already discarded Bob for at least one other man, Kent, with whom she’d been cheating while married to Bob. When I came on the scene, Demi had already moved out of Bob’s house, then discarded Kent for me. (Stay tuned for the future post on triangulation, because that experience fascinated me.)

    In summary, I should have seen the red flags. Having written about them, I now realize that I had recognized that “something was off,” but ignored it. I should have trusted my gut instincts. You should trust yours, too.



    Arends, Lisa. Lessons from the End of a Marriage: How I Found Happiness While Surviving Bigamy, Abandonment, and Deceit. 2012.

    Malkin, Craig, PhD. Rethinking Narcissism. Harper Collins, 2015.

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