The Narcissist and the Automobile

Shout out to Divorcing a Narcissist Blog for writing a post that has haunted me now for two weeks.

The post titled, “With A Narcissist, Your Accomplishments Aren’t Even Your Own,” left me with so many feelings, so much to identify with, that I’ve been thinking about it frequently ever since reading it.

“As with absolutely everything in my life, the things that were once ‘mine’ slowly shifted to be ‘ours’ (but really his.)”

“It’s a crazy time to look back on because I was accomplishing so much and achieving so much… yet doing it with The Narcissist left me feeling like a failure every step of the way.”

The entirety of the story she tells about training for, and running in, a marathon with her Narcissistic ex-husband resonates with me so strongly. I can’t recommend the read highly enough. She conveys all the horrible agony so beautifully.

Additionally, she touches on the feelings about all the things that happened in one’s life during the relationship. Do those things matter anymore? Are they things that one wants to remember, or should they be discarded? Although they are meaningful accomplishments, is the emotional weight of the memories that are associated with them too terrible to want to hang on to?

I’ve been there. I hear her. I feel her.

There was something in the comments, too, that absolutely blew my mind.

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The car. Reading this made me want to pull us all into a group hug. The car was the worst.

My Narcissist didn’t have a car. He insisted cars were stupid. Getting rides from me, however, he had no issue with and he made sure it happened as frequently as possible. Thus, we spent a lot of time in the car together.

As was the case in any situation, anything I did, any move I made, was up for questioning and attack.

Change lanes, take a different route, stop stepping on the gas/brake that way, you take turns too harshly, you didn’t stop for that stop sign in the right place, why are you not signaling yet, why are you slowing down at this intersection, why aren’t you slowing down at this intersection, why didn’t you allow that car to merge, you probably didn’t even notice their signal, you’re such an inconsiderate driver, why are you letting this car merge, I want to get home already, this is taking too long, you’re too nice, you’re so rude, don’t give them a thank you for letting you in you cut them off, there’s a pedestrian there do you see them, turn here it will be faster, let’s get around these other cars… the chatter was distracting and it was endless. 

I stopped being able to drive well with him in the car. I became flooded with anxiety whenever I got behind the wheel. The stream of criticism and questions and chatter and the constant distraction of him bouncing in his seat to rubberneck under the guise of “trying to help” or “just wanting to understand” made me lock up.

The area where I had once had the most confidence in myself, and where initially he had given me the most compliments, was taken from me. I became timid, insecure, uncertain and, as a result, a worse driver. It started to feel safer to let him take the reins and drive, with greater and greater frequency.

I was flawed. I couldn’t be trusted behind the wheel, he would tell me with a glimmer of triumph in his eye. I had to concede that he was right. My anxiety was making me a danger to have on the roads.

The car was the hardest place to be for a while after the breakup.

Now, he’s gone, and my driving confidence is coming back to me. I’ve had to fight hard to get my Narcissist out of my head. Driving is the one area where I have achieved some limited success.

Someone suggested I envision ditching the Narcissist in the driveway whenever I needed to. Now, whenever I feel my Narcissist beside me, criticizing and questioning and rubbernecking, I imagine him standing alone in the driveway of the home we owned together, watching my car drive away as I abandon him.

That’s where he belongs. Behind me, abandoned and alone.

I’m so curious to know about the car experiences of others. I want to know I’m not alone in having automobile related PTSD. Please, tell me. Was the car an awful place for you as well?

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