OK first of all, yes, I watch the Bachelor – please don’t judge! It started off as a joke last year, my friend and I having texting dates every Monday to mock the show, but I must admit it’s become a guilty pleasure I indulge in every week.
This season has been tough, though, because I have had this consistently nagging feeling the bachelor is a narcissist. Every week he has seemed really insincere, never listened properly, was condescending and patronizing to the women, etc. I was seeing too many familiar signs in him and it was making me uncomfortable.
Last night, one of the final 3 girls called him out it. She didn’t know to call him a narcissist, but she named all the same things I had felt with my narc: he didn’t ask about her, constantly turned every topic immediately back to himself, barely knew anything about her but professed to adore her, shushed her whenever she tried to raise an issue, didn’t seem to really care about her feelings, talked about his relationship with other girls to her, etc.
When she confronted him, he reacted with no emotion – ‘it’s ok, I can’t make you feel what you don’t feel’. He denied saying what she distinctly remembered him saying – they fought fiercely over whether or not he used the word “default”. He turned the blame on her, the fact that she was ‘fighting’ in that way was just so ugly to him, and why should it be an issue for him to talk about his other date when she knows he’s seeing other women. He joked about her annoyance of how dismissive it was that he responded to everything with ‘it’s ok’ , pointing out how she said ‘it’s ok’ in a sentence, even though the context when she said it was not the same as the context in which he said it. I keenly remember that feeling of confusion when they make a point that is literally true (ok, yes I did say ‘it’s ok’) but knowing it’s not a valid point for the current conversation.
He accepted no responsibility, he placed all the blame elsewhere. The same man who had just been saying he thought she could be his future wife was suddenly completely indifferent to her. Wow, what a familiar scene.
I was immediately taken back to the frustration and hopelessness of those crazy-making fights when I kept grasping for logic that seemed to stay just out of reach. It’s such a helpless feeling. Seeing it play out on national television was unbelievable. I started to feel that desperate feeling of wanting to escape but not knowing why, or where to go.
I checked the Twitter feed and of course there were lots of people cheering for the girl for having the strength and wisdom to walk away, others slamming him for being a jerk, but then there was that small contingent that blamed her. They thought she should just let it go, stop harping on him, stop overreacting, etc.
No wonder we survivors band together the way we do. We know the truth, we understand the pain and frustration. Validation is an essential part of healing and it sure is tough to get it ‘out there’. We have no choice but to go into self-protection mode and carefully select who we tell our stories to lest we get more invalidating messages from the people around us. Goodness knows we’ve already had enough invalidation to last us a lifetime.
Afterward, as our bachelor girl was being driven away, she wondered if her standards were too high, if she would be alone forever. Boy, can I relate to those doubts. He had me feeling that way for 4 years before I finally smartened up. My response now: I don’t care if I’m alone forever, it’s better than spending even another day with him. Thanks for the reminder, Bachelor.