DISCLAIMER: I speak here of my Narc, not all Narcs. Your mileage may vary. Also, I am not a therapist and do not claim to have any special knowledge other than that of the chump who got taken advantage of by a true asshole.
Our first Narc and…subject comes from Laura:
I’ve got one: television viewing. Is it possible he could’ve had an opinion/rules about the shows you watched? Perish the thought. I say this tongue in cheek because knowing my narc, and reading your posts about yours, I believe the two may have been cut from the same cloth. I’m interested to see if you had a similar experiences in regard to television.
Oh, boy! The Narc did indeed have rules about TV watching.
When we met, he would come over to my apartment and we would watch Star Trek: The Next Generation because my routine was to watch an hour or two of TV while knitting to unwind and he was still putting me on a pedestal so he went along. We even had conversations about the show (and others) that were far-ranging. It was like TV was a jumping-off point to talk about everything under the sun. It was fun and stimulating and I thought he “got” me.
By the time we moved in together a couple of years later his views had changed. He claimed to have stopped watching TV at fourteen because “there was nothing good on,” and that he never watched regularly or had owned a TV as an adult. He was fond of lecturing about how much a waste of time it was, blah, blah, blah, only idiots watch TV, etc. etc. etc. He advocated reading The New Yorker and other political mags instead.
By that time I saw his point – it is a huge time suck, but if you are selective about what you watch, there’s some Good Stuff on there, right?
The two years we lived together (the Farm Failure) there was no TV reception at the house. I must have paid for something, but I don’t remember watching, so maybe I didn’t? Anyway, when he sold the house and Harley and I moved into the little duplex I paid for satellite service and H and I watched whatever we wanted to when the Narc wasn’t there. If he was there, the TV was off and all attention had to be directed at the Narc.
Fast forward to three or so years ago. I had moved to the Coast, left a really good job and a house I loved behind to give our relationship one more chance. I sold my TV before moving. The Narc went off one day about how I was a huge downer, “a cloud hangs over your head all the time!” It’s true – I was on the verge of tears every waking moment, but not because I missed watching TV! I had a few bucks in the bank and the Narc insisted I go buy a TV. He lectured me for days about how I “needed” a TV so that I could get my “sense of humor” back. Whatever.
Of course, I gave in and purchased a small flat screen TV. Basic Cable was included with the internet service, so a few channels were available. A DVD player and we could watch movies (that’s another post.)
I started catching up with my favorite series, Gray’s Anatomy, but he made watching it hell. He would sit in the next room while I watched, my jaw clenched because I knew what was coming. He knew when it was on and insisted I watch every week so the scene could play out each time.
While the show was on, he would be silent or play music videos on YouTube loud enough to be disturbing. When the commercials came on, his heckling would start: “you call that acting? They should get some people on that show who can actually deliver their lines!” and on and on. It happened every week, and he insisted on it.
He would criticize every choice I made, even when it was something I thought he would enjoy. The end result is that I secretly paid for a Netflix account so I could watch streaming TV and movies when he wasn’t home. I never talked about what I watched (he would have a fit if he knew I watched Dexter and compared the two of them, unfavorably for the Narc 🙂 ) and denied all knowledge of current shows or movies. I just shut down, refusing to engage about any kind of media at all because it always led to another lecture and/or shouting match. It was totally pointless, a set-up to find me deficient in some way.
Now I watch whatever I want to watch, whenever I want to watch it. I do still feel that there’s not much on regular TV, but my Netflix queue would take me weeks to watch and I get suggestions from friends all the time about movies I should see for one reason or another. I’ve missed out on a lot of quality knitting time and I’m making up for it. I still don’t watch anywhere near the National Average (34 hours a week?) and probably won’t ever watch that much – there are too many fun things to do!
What about you? Did/does your Narc impose limits on your TV viewing? Perhaps they watch but don’t allow you to?