Today I played piano for the first time in a long time.
Piano and I have a long history together. As a young child, piano was my nemesis. I was told I was talented, and subsequently regularly threatened, scolded and punished for not practising enough. I hated it and, first chance I got, I gave it up for drums.
As an adult, piano and I became good friends, but only in private. I was so used to not being ‘perfect’ enough that I never wanted to play in front of other people but finally, after much patience and encouragement many years ago, I played for my fiance at the time. He said, “Wow, it’s so different from how my mother plays. She’s always so worried about getting all the notes right.” He couldn’t have struck my insecurities any more perfectly, and I never played for him again. (He later explained that he meant that I played “with feeling”, which his mother didn’t, but it was too late, I was back in my shell.)
Through the four years that I knew my narcissist following that previous relationship, he always wanted me to play for him. He swore he would respond better than the previous guy, but it somehow never felt safe. In fact, after a little while, I just stopped playing piano altogether. Every time he asked me to play for him, I just responded that I hadn’t played in so long there wasn’t any point, it would sound terrible. That was my out of ever having to let him into that part of my life, until this past new year’s eve.
On new year’s eve, I got just drunk enough that I finally caved when he asked. I tried playing a few pieces, but each one sounded terrible, so full of mistakes. I was miserable. I felt like a little kid again being forced to play. I even had that horrible pit in my stomach. He didn’t do anything wrong, but nothing about it felt right. I told him I wasn’t feeling good about it and stopped.
So, all of that messy history is why it’s kind of a big deal (to me) that I played today and that I loved it. I felt relaxed, at peace, like I was reconnecting with an old friend, and I wondered why it had never felt right to me that narc was so tremendously eager to have me play for him.
And then it finally clicked.
To him, being able to claim some kind of ownership to someone he deemed talented – especially musically talented – was something he felt gave him great value. He loved bragging about it.To him, convincing me to play for him was nothing more than an acquisition. Another notch in his belt of superiority – he was better than my ex, he could get me to do something nobody else could. No wonder nothing about that experience felt good to me.
Today, I’m so glad he’s out of my life. He will never hear me play again, and he will never use any part of me or my life to feed his narcissistic supply ever again. From now on, everything is for me and me alone. I am not an acquisition.