I was recently asked about how two narcissists ended up together. The two narcissists in question are my father and my mother…
How did they hook up? What made them decide to turn that hooking up into a marriage? If one narcissist needs the world to revolve around him/her, how on earth could having two narcissists together even work?
[To go straight to the love story, scroll down until you see – Once upon a time…]
There are many myths (especially online) about narcissists. Narcissists rather like those myths. Many of those myths may have been created and spread by narcissists themselves, because narcissists don’t tend to know that they are the ones who are narcissists but they are certain that others, well, pretty much everyone except them, are narcissists.
One of the more popular posts on my blog is – When Narcissists Claim to be Victims of Narcissists – it has had up to date 151,122 views, and 457 comments (half of which are mine). The comments on that post are now closed, but the post still gets viewed, mostly by those who’ve been accused of being a narcissist by a narcissist (that’s a regular search term in my blog’s search term stats, and an issue which comes up regularly in comments on my posts about narcissists).
In that post I said:
Narcissists accuse others of being Narcissists all the time. Narcissists also claim to be victims of Narcissists, which is not necessarily a false claim as birds of a feather often flock together.
Narcissists often partner up. They share many of the same goals, and often share a similar version of reality. If they fall in love with each other, the union can be similar to those portrayed by Hollywood. A meeting of two charismatic beings which emanates the kind of energy that seems magical, fated, and supernatural. While they are caught up in their love for each other everything is blissful. Perfect love. When things go wrong and they fall out of love, the drama is intense.
from When Narcissists Claim to be Victims of Narcissists
Narcissists often prefer the drama to the bliss because then they don’t have to share centre stage. And they get to play their favourite role in their favourite story – The Hero versus The Villain. The storyline usually draws a large audience and captivates them. It’s like one of those plays where the actors mingle with the audience and draw them into the drama. The audience participates by cheering the hero on, supporting him or her, and booing the villain, attacking him or her.
Those words weren’t plucked out of thin air, weren’t taken from research on narcissists, aren’t borrowed from someone else writing about the subject (that’s fairly obvious since I have an oddly distinctive spin on things), I didn’t make it up (although when I share anecdotes from my personal experience of growing up with narcissists and being stuck with them for hours within days within weeks within months within years… it always sounds like it’s make believe, it felt that way too).
I simply did what I usually do when writing about narcissists – I thought about my parents, their relationship, how it seemed from the outside, the facade (see featured image at top which is a detail from Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida by James Barry), how it felt on the inside, behind the facade (see image below), etc.
The other day in the intro to a repost I said (wrote) the following words:
I am a strange person. I am partly a strange person because I grew up with parents who were very strange… it was only many years later that I found a name and explanation for their kind of strangeness – Narcissist (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).From Repost: How to Play the Narcissist’s Game
Long before it occurred to me that my parents were very strange, and that their strangeness wasn’t as fun, friendly, amusing, entertaining, or as unique as they proudly claimed that it was repeatedly, ad nauseum, ad infinitum…
I was once a little girl in awe of these two great beings, this god and this goddess…
…and of course, being a child, I was curious as to how these two supernal beings met, hooked up.
My father never talked about his meeting with my mother. He rarely discussed his past unless he was being interviewed, but then he just made stuff up loosely based on a fantasy version of reality.
My mother, on the other hand, never stopped talking about my father, loved to tell anecdotes about their meeting, about their great love story, about what a Golden Couple they were (until I came along and ruined it all – that was one of her favourite reasons why things went to shit between them, probably because of the blood-poisoning incident shortly after my birth, or maybe because of the other near death experience).
I knew so much about her past, the myriad tales (often the same ones told differently each time… she used to tell me the story of Goldilocks every night for about a year, each time she told it, it was different), the dramas, the adventures, that torrid relationship with another creative genius just before she met my father which was perfect because the sex was… yeah, my mother told her little girl about her sex life, including the one with my father.
So the following love story, is all from my mother’s perspective as told to me:
Once upon a time…
In a land known as Italia, a foreign fair maiden while pursuing independence in the form of a career in Opera and Cinema, during a time when fair maidens who wanted to remain maidenly and be viewed fairly by society did not do such unseemly things… met a frog.
No, wait, that’s what she turned him into much later…
This fair maiden, Juno was her name, had recently moved from the beautiful north of Italia (to get away from a heart she had broken… her own, of course) to a more southerly part, Roma.
She had a rather demeaning job (looking after the spoiled brats of rich people) to earn her keep, and to escape the horror of her fall from… oh, if only, perhaps, for once she would have listened to her father (what a horrible man, so cold, cruel and… did he, did he kill her, brilliant beautiful bounder mama, to remarry?) and married that Lord of the Manor (but he was going blind and she really didn’t want to be stuck in a mansion looking after a sick man)…
Juno would wander the streets of the fashionable part of town, having tea and biscuits in the piazza cafes, browsing shops and galleries… one day she spotted the work of one particular artist. Then she moved on.
A friend whom she met in a piazza cafe… he too was a foreigner, a charming Americano (whom she would later learn was a bit of a secret spy, part of his super secret spy job was to recruit pretty women for diplomatic affairs, parties…)… asked her to show one of his friends around the city, he was importantly rich and eager to buy some tourist trinkets of the sort the importantly rich buy (not that tat sold to the masses). He liked art, so Juno took him to the gallery with the work of that one particular artist – and on that day the gallery owner made a handsome commission, and maybe the artist was given a bit too, to buy some new materials or at least a pack of cigarettes to dull the hunger pangs.
Sometimes later, super secret spy guy, invited Juno to attend an informal bohemian festa… and there she was introduced to a dark brooding soul, Jupiter, who glared at her the whole time she spoke (in her lyrical soprano could cut through a lead barrier voice). He was very rude, and it was very exciting, no one had ever ignored her like that!
After much pursuit, Jupiter eventually relented to Juno’s advances (but, of course, it was the other way around, a lady would never pursue a brute of a man) and invited her to be his model.
One sitting lead to another, one painting was not enough, the artist had found his muse, Jupiter had found his Juno.
But then Juno ran away, back home to her land where she never felt welcome or wanted. Jupiter also went traveling… not to the land of Angles (so sharp they cut poor Juno’s sensitive porcelain skin to shreds), instead he chased after bulls and passionate flamenco dancers.
They kept in touch through the paper of letters, written in moments of missing, yearning, longing… he once said he would come to save her from her proper boredom, but she said no.
Then, on a day, he just arrived on her doorstep. She had never been so pleased to see a face other than her own. His olive skin was sunburned black (which she could definitely never ever show to her father, or could she, should she…? That would shock him! Make him take notice of her at last!!!), his Anglish was terrible, but that smile, that perfect smile!
A while later, after Jupiter had done a quick job for the Queen Mother (well, it wasn’t for her exactly, but she did attend the event and was impressed), Juno took him to visit her father, and papa was duly shocked, so much so that he forbade his daughter from ever seeing this dark foreigner ever again. So Juno married Jupiter.
They stayed for a time in the land of Angles, then returned to Italia, where they lived the life of Riley without Riley’s permission, because they were artists in love, and this was Roma, citta aperta, this was the dolce vita and Fellini was a friend (until he blacklisted Juno from getting hired because she refused to let him touch her up).
Together they flew higher and higher, no sphere could contain them, Venus adored them, they ran in winged shoes around Mercury, heading for the Sun…
“always either on a peak of happiness or drowning in black waters of despair, they loved or they loathed, they lived in a world of superlatives”
― Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love
And just a tad over a decade later, long after they had moved to and settled upon Mount Olympus as a suitable home for Jupiter, Juno did not like it there at all… Baronettina Scarpia was born.
The end… came much later when my father died, but since my mother is still alive (although I haven’t Googled her recently, so I could be wrong about that) the story will keep going and going and going and going…