My brother proposed to his girlfriend a few weeks ago. When I first was informed, my immediate reaction was overwhelming happiness. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, I became overcome by selfish sadness and I needed to excuse myself and go have a good cry.
The sobbing fit ended and the happiness took hold again. It has remained ever since. That sobbing fit has haunted me until today, though.
This morning, I finally figured out why the news of my brother’s engagement brought such intense sadness.
It wasn’t the obvious to me reasons. It wasn’t any, “It should be me,” or wishes that I was married.
It was a reminder of the Narcissist and the proposal that never came. It was a reminder of the ridiculous hoops the Narcissist made me jump through and the horribly disappointing lack of romance or selflessness in anything he did. It was a reminder that his promise to marry me was an emotional manipulation, and nothing more. It was as empty as his soul.
My brother bought a ring for his fiancée without needing her input. He worked with a jeweler he knows she likes and had something custom made. He planned a lovely vacation and proposed on the first day of it.
It’s so simple. It’s so sweet and romantic. And it was absolutely along the lines of what I had wanted for myself.
It made me think of the 15 different jewelry stores the Narcissist dragged me to. He refused to believe I liked any of the rings I liked; he argued with me and told me I just thought I liked them, but that he could do better. He wasn’t satisfied yet, despite me having found 4-5 different rings that I really would have been quite happy with.
Nothing was good enough for him.
Finally, I was able to convince him one ring was absolutely it and the one I totally loved.
He then led me to believe he was planning an amazing proposal. To the untrained eye, it might look as though he was spending all his time in the basement playing video games, but I should just trust him, he had something in the works.
He never proposed. He left me waiting, wanting, not knowing if any given day, any conversation, any outing might be when he would finally pop the question.
It was days. Then weeks. Then months. Then half a year.
He didn’t care how hard or horrible that was for me. When asked, he’d say he hadn’t thought of the perfect proposal for me yet.
I told him repeatedly that I didn’t care. I didn’t need a perfect proposal, or ring, or wedding. I loved him, and I wanted so badly to be married to him and to start raising our family.
He didn’t love me, though, and he didn’t want to marry me. Oh, how I wish he had told me, had realized it himself, had cut me loose then.
It was only later that I realized how much he loved manipulating my emotions like this. He loved knowing I was miserable and waiting for something from him. He loved being in control of my state of being.
Ultimately, I did figure all of this out about him, but not until long after tons of pain and heartbreak occurred. In the current day, I don’t wish he had proposed or that he had married me. Yet, I do feel pain in thinking about all the huge, constantly cycling feelings of hope and repeated disappointment I had at the time.
At one point, I finally asked the Narcissist why he had never proposed. He said it was because he didn’t feel like I wanted to marry him; just that I wanted to be married. It’s entirely possible this was true.
Sitting here, right now, owning all the knowledge of him I currently have but lacked back then, I can’t think of any reason why I would have wanted to marry him or have the life with him I once dreamed of.
When my brother got engaged, and when I heard some of the details of his proposal, all the feelings I’d suppressed about the proposal that never came bubbled up to the surface and finally flowed freely.
And now, that’s it. They’re gone. I’ve processed them.
I’m happy for my brother and his new fiancée; that was never in question.
But the small part of me that felt a simultaneous tinge of sadness along with the happiness can now be laid to rest.