The Devil Is In The Details

We’ve all heard the saying that “the devil is in the details”, but do we ever really take that to heart? What does that exactly mean and how can we learn from that little “proverb” or saying that has been passed down throughout generations? That is the million-dollar question…let’s see how this correlates with the past few years of my life.

I think by now, we can all agree that I was starting to realize that I had been dealing with a narcissist, so going forward I will refer to him as “my narc” or “the narc”. The more I have learned about this type of personality within relationships, I am learning that more than 50% of all relationships have at least one narcissist in them. We all have a little narcissism in us, which is in the normal and healthy range, but there are more people than we think that fall right outside the normal range and stay right below the pathological range. And that is a scary thought, but it is also a sign of the times we are currently living in.

*You can find out more from the Mayo Clinic, Help Guide, and Applied Behavior Analysis Programs.

When I first met my narc, I knew something was “off”; something was different about this man but I could not put my finger on it, and it was a red flag that I ignored. He was not like other men who would pursue you with intent, at least not at the very beginning. Looking back, I feel like he was wading in the water so to speak, to see if I would be a viable candidate. Someone that he could manipulate but also someone that would be “acceptable” to his friends. I only know that’s what he wanted because he talked about having a wife like his friends had. For decades he was part of a group of guys and it seemed that he wanted to impress them or at least be equal to them in their lives. Looking back, I can see where he may have felt inadequate and compared himself to the successes in their lives and relationships (but that’s just a theory). Let’s move forward to January of 2022.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, I love everything about it and I can’t wait to get my home decorated and start celebrating. For years prior to December 2021, Christmas had become a holiday that I came to dread. The atmosphere in the home had become weird, oppressed, and it seemed like there was no family unity. It wasn’t joyful like it used to be and nothing flowed normally anymore. This oppressed feeling had become worse over the years; at the beginning, it was just on Christmas Day, but then that heavy feeling started in early December, then it started in November until it ultimately began in October. It felt so heavy at times and so overbearing; it was as if I could literally cut the air with a knife. In December 2021, I decided that was going to be my last of the bad Christmases.

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In January 2022, one of my brothers (who lives quite a distance away) showed up at my house because he was worried about me. He sat me down and told me he loved me, then he proceeded to tell me just how much I had changed over the past 12 years. He told me that he had watched me go from being the life of the party, always joking, laughing, young at heart, and smiling to a withered soul who was an empty shell of a person. He said, “I’m going to tell you exactly what our Dad would say if he were living…Get That Man Out Of Your Life, and do it NOW!” He told me that it was obvious to our entire family that the light that used to shine in me was getting dimmer with each passing day. He said it’s almost like you’re slowly dying from a thousand cuts that had been given each day intentionally to suck the life out of you. All I could do was cry and say “I know it”. But I still loved him, even though I was waking up from this so-called fog. All of this was shaking loose the survivor in me, trying to break free. Then he posed the question, “Why do you love him? He certainly doesn’t love you, he offers you nothing but turmoil, he’s no helpmate to you, he only thinks of himself, and you’re always the villain. Is he really worth your sanity?” And at that moment, I could feel that strong, independent young girl push up and push out and all survivor instincts kicked in while he talked.

That afternoon I was sitting in the living room when my narc came home and I told him then that I wanted us to take a break. I asked him to stay with his sister on his days off so I could get clarity on what I wanted in the relationship. As time went by, the heaviness in the house started to lift, and I started to catch a new vibe and a more jovial stride. I could start to see that one person really can set the mood in a home. Within a month of living in two places, he was asking to come back home full-time. When he first asked that question…my head whipped towards him and before I knew it, the words…”I don’t think so, I want more time” had come out of my mouth. He didn’t like that at all and that was when he started his “discard” of me.

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Before I go further I need to explain that a narcissist is always the victim. They will start a smear campaign against you long before you ever start having problems in the relationship. They have to show that you are hard to handle, unhappy, argumentative, and hard to live with. They do this so when they make their exit, they are the victim and you are the problem. They do not see the true reality but only the reality they have told themselves over and over to avoid any accountability for their actions.

On numerous occasions, I had told my narc that I had never seen anyone tell a story or an event like he could. I used the analogy that his storytelling of an event was like someone holding a piece of lint. The lint would be the truth, and by the time he had finished his view of the event, the lint had miraculously become a queen-size quilt. In other words, the story told only had a small speck of truth.

Another example would be if he was a few hours late getting in from work, and I would ask where have you been, his response could be something like – he was held up at work or he had errands to run, etc..and that would be the end of the conversation. He could be on the phone later that night talking to a friend and his version would be something similar to…”Oh my God, I got the 3rd degree when I got home. As soon as I walked through the door, she started in on me and was relentless”. That is how narcissists play the victim and start making you the bad guy. They truly see an altered reality that fits their narrative and they honestly believe it is the truth.

Between February and the end of March, things were at a fever pitch. There were barely any civil conversations at this point, only finger-pointing and sarcastic remarks, and the only way to get through the time together was to shut down all communication. Narcissists do not like to talk about problems; they like to sweep everything under the rug and tell you what you have done wrong, twist your words or events, and gaslight you into thinking you are the problem. Remember when I said that I had become an expert at apologizing for any and everything whether I was at fault or not? I learned to accept all responsibility for any and all problems, but that had come to a complete halt. During these two months, I knew separation was inevitable, but he was sticking it out until he had secured someone to take my place. (*keep in mind that narcs will jump straight into another relationship when one starts to dissolve, you start holding them accountable or they begin the discard of you. And more than likely, they have been grooming their “new” or “backup” supply for months.)

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It seemed I was on my knees daily for well over a year. In fact, in the summer of 2021, I was seeing how much the world was changing and my only desire was to get back on track with my faith, no matter the cost. And that is when I began praying that the Lord would remove anything from my life that was hindering me from reaching my full potential with Him. I was realizing something was hindering me; something in my life was pulling me one way while my true desire was to walk on a different path. I didn’t realize it then, but I was reaping a harvest that I had sowed. I skipped the red flags, the inner feelings that something wasn’t right with this new relationship and I had aligned myself and walked in agreement with this man because he checked all the boxes and I was smitten. That relationship was slowly changing who I was and had slowly shifted me from the path I was originally on to a path I knew I didn’t belong on.

The Fever Pitch Moment…

Although we had been talking on the phone for days and months, it was more like a bickering fest between two high school lovers. There was always something deep inside me that made me think we would end up ok and the marriage restored. The ups and downs had become so normal in our relationship that this time seemed like it was just another low…just a little more intense than normal. Internally that was how I felt most days, but on other days there was a nagging feeling this was a little deeper than I was willing to admit.

He was on a trip with a bunch of guys and I normally did not bother him when he was on these trips. This time I did call and the immediate response when he answered the call was this, ” I am on my trip, you are not going to ruin it, so unless it is a 911 situation, do not contact me again. Are we clear?”. There was at least a 30-second pause of silence. Then I said, “Oh yeah…we are clear”, then I hung up. Throughout all the years, he had been sarcastic and harsh at times, but this particular time was the harshest, and it ignited a fire in me like I had never felt. I sat in my house thinking about those words for hours. I was not upset, and I was not shocked at his tone or behavior…but I had hit the high water mark with him at that moment. That was the final “cut” I was going to take.

As I sat there, all of a sudden I was up on my feet, and before I knew it, I had started packing the rest of his belongings up. I pulled one of his vehicles under the garage and packed everything that was left in his vehicle. It was kinda like that scene from Waiting To Exhale…without fire and definitely much calmer, LOL. For two days I walked through my house making sure I had every book, fingernail clipper, hat, or tool that belonged to him. Since he had been staying with his sister part-time, there was not a lot of belongings in the home; in fact, I think he had slowly been taking things out here and there. You have to remember that he only stayed at my home the days he worked, there was little communication and that was becoming more argumentative each passing month it seemed. Plus there was a nagging feeling that there was another person involved that I had not completely found out about yet. That information was to come…sooner than later.

Once I was sure that I had removed everything, I sat down and gave him a call. To my surprise, he answered the phone, and the only words that I said were these – “I have packed what you have left here and placed it in your truck, and I do not want you to come back inside my home. We’ve been talking about this for months, and today is the day it’s going to happen. Are we clear?” Then I hung up. I never waited for a response and continued on with my day.

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What would unfold in the coming months would cause me to stand in a daze of disbelief. I would learn things that I could not fathom, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I would soon be thankful for how things had been and were shifting in my life. How I would start to see this was more spiritual than physical. It would take time, but I would soon see that I was one of many who were dealing with things similar to this. I would see that shift in myself and my children; I would see joy start to re-enter our lives, happiness and blessings that would start to come.

When I titled this post, The Devil Is In The Details, what I was saying is that he really was in the details from start to end. I overlooked the details no matter how many times it slapped me in the face. As I tell more in future posts, you will see how things were revealed to me like an open book. You will see how something nefarious had been happening from the very start, but you will also see how something that was intended to destroy ultimately became what empowered me.

*Disclaimer: I am sharing this story from my viewpoint only and I have been given permission by the other person in this relationship to share the story in hopes that it will help others.

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Proverbs 31:25
“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future…”

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  • Jennifer

    Denile is not just a river in Egypt. 🙂 I think we all live there some of the time. Don’t beat yourself up for not noticing the details. We are all just trying to get on and we never think about ourselves. I am proud of you.

  • Susan

    I’m so sorry for what you have gone through. I am also married to a narcissist and it makes life so difficult. When you said there was a heaviness in the air, that is exactly how I feel. I used to laugh and joke a lot and now can’t remember the last time I laughed. I’m 65 and to leave now would financial suicide. I’m studying for the RE exam. There is no guarantee I’ll pass with my 65 yr old brain but, I’m giving it my all! Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to the next part!! ❤️

  • Lisa M Michels

    Thank God for your brother! Thank God for never leaving you and Thank God for you believing in yourself. I love you girlfriend!

    • Beverly

      You made me cry! I love you Lisa!! You always bring a smile to my face, even today lol. And yep…my brother stepped in just in time!

  • Juli Hatlee

    I am truly sorry for all that you have been through. But, I also believe that God challenges us to grow and with the challenge, comes the grace to meet it. It just takes a while for that grace to be discovered. You did and are in a better place because of it. God bless you with continued grace,

  • Lynna

    I see so many similarities in your story and my own. I was married to a narc for 15 years and finally broke free after a lot of scary circumstances. I have been narc-free for at least 15 years now . . . and I’m telling you . . . it’s been life changing! Prayers for you as you continue your journey.

  • Karen

    Beverly your brother helped you lift yourself up and open your eyes. My sister is going through a tough time with her husband and my husband and I have tried to open her eyes but she is in denial.
    You are a strong woman and I wish you the best!
    One thing I noticed was your About Me page. You might want to do a little update on that.
    Love you.

    • Beverly

      Keep trying, it was not his first time talking to me, but it was his most passionate! And when you brought the About Me Page up, it made me giggle. You are right, and I forgot!!

  • Vicki

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. I believe is God working through you to help others caught up in a narc relationship. Sounds like your spiritual eyes have been opened. Thankful God rescued you!

  • Amy R

    And a butterfly has emerged! Continue to follow your heart and it will lead you in the right direction. So glad you found your way. 🙂

  • Yvonne

    Glad you are living life again. My husband died in 2014 and it has taken 8 years for me to process exactly what I went thru during our marriage, grieve and understand how much of a narcissist he was. I’m not glad he died, but I am glad that God allowed me to start a new life.

  • Lisa

    Beautiful Beverly!!! Thank you for sharing your story. We all have one and you are very courageous to share yours so you can help someone else. I truly feel your pain as I was married to a narc for 25 years. (BTW…You nailed a “narc’s description) I have three grown adult children with him. I don’t regret it because I would not have my children. Looking back at the 25 years, my happiest years were raising my kids. It is soooo hard….beyond hard to prove any type of mental abuse. You can take a picture of physical abuse like bruises etc…you can’t take a picture of your mental state that has been caused by the abuse. I was so young when I married my first husband. I was brought up in church that divorce was wrong so I stayed as long as I could and then couldn’t do it no more. I felt like it was damaging my children. People that knew us thought we were this beautiful happy family when they didn’t know what went on behind closed doors. As the old saying goes “You can’t see the forest for the trees”….I did see it but kept justifying things especially for the kids sake. I tried…I really tried. My journey and life’s experiences have drawn me closer to God. On a good note, God placed someone else in my life 12 years ago and we have been married 9 of those years. I thank God for the beauty out of the ashes in my story. I look forward to reading your future posts. You have my email if you need specific prayers. Love you my friend xoxo

    • Beverly

      Wow, what an amazing story you have. Thank you for sharing it because it really hit home with me. You’re such an awesome person, I do love you little lady!🤗🥰❤️

  • Laurie

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine how difficult this was to endure but kudos to you for awakening your inner strength (with some nudging from a loved one) and taking control!

  • Kay

    I left a comment when you shared the first part of your story awhile back. It seemed as if I had lived that same story. I always blamed myself that I had failed him, or I wasn’t a good wife. Nothing I could do was right. Reading your story helped me realize I wasn’t to blame. I felt I owed everyone an explanation or an apology for a failed marriage. Mental and emotional abuse is very hard to explain and prove. The “narc” acted one way at home and completely different around other people. By sharing your story, you are helping others tremendously! Thankful to the Lord every day for all of his blessings! Praying for you.

    • Beverly

      Kay, oh my goodness, where do I start! First, tears filled my eyes when I started reading your comment because that’s exactly how I was feeling. Through this past year of stepping back from working and sifting through this mess, God has shown me so much!! I used to care that he would “over tell “ a story, until one of his coworkers complained about him. After that I decided I didn’t care what anyone thought. If they looked closely they would see truth. But that was up to them. You are a blessing, and I mean a huge blessing!!🤗🥰❤️

      • Jayne Finkbohner

        Beverly thank you for being so transparent with your married life and your spiritual life in God! I’m so happy that you were able to get out of such a toxic marriage and away from such a narcissistic person with being physically harmed. God bless you in abundance!

  • Joan

    Thank you for being so open and honest about your life. I know that had to be hard to share. There are so many woman that are living in those type situations that look like the perfect marriage looking in. They feel like there is no hope for getting out of a situation. God answers prayers. Thank God you are not in that situation anymore.

  • Jen

    I started my journey to divorce – and eventually bliss – just before you did, Beverly; there were times that made me wonder if I was the narcissist, but then the more that I talked to people, or read words like yours, I realize it was the narcissist in my life that tried to twist the narrative. He was a “passive” narcissist, so he was even harder to navigate than an “aggressive” narcissist, because they are more subtle in their subterfuge. All I can say is that the end is such a relief. I do still miss my inlaws; there is no remedy for collateral damage, but at least now my home is now again my sanctuary instead of my prison or misery. For anybody who is feeling that things are just not right, and while relationships are work – yours feels like more than it’s worth – please start realizing your self-worth and make the change – no matter how scary or daunting it seems. Happiness is closer than you think.

    • Beverly

      Well said!! Mine was the same way, very covert, slick as a peeled onion. I thought I was the narc too until a therapist friend told me if I was asking…I wasn’t. They see nothing they do is wrong, they have no remorse for things they do or say, thus…it must be me/you who are the problem. And they never apologize!! It is a prison, and it will slowly destroy you if you continue to stay. Where I am now, compared to where I was last summer is nothing more than a miracle. I have tried from the beginning of this to ask, what am I learning, how can I be better than? I never looked at myself and thought what could I have done differently. When I tell how I found out who the 3rd person was, that’s a story you won’t want to miss! I will be praying for you 🤗

  • Julie

    Beverly! You have a true gift. Your way of writing is perfect and beautiful. I am so sorry to hear of what you’ve gone through but I really feel you’re going to come out on top of the world with so many blessings headed your way. Don’t change – you’re a gem 🙂 Take care of you.

      • Jayme S Woodruff

        PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do a Pod cast! Your writing is impeccable so I can only imagine what you could do with your own pod -cast. All the people you could help, men & women, (because women can be narcissistic also) & giving people the strength to stand up for themselves & show them how much better life can be when you choose yourself & the Lord over a toxic relationship that is inevitably going to destroy your spirit, & let’s not forget the little humans that are learning by example. I believe there is a reason for all the struggles & doubt & insecurities we are handed, as I’m sure you have realized during your own journey, to arise stronger & wiser & happier than we ever thought possible & to extend that knowledge, strength & self-worth onto anyone who is struggling. Your a beautiful person, inside & out, & to that “3rd person”, who has yet to be revealed, buy that person a drink & thank them for relieving you of that troubled soul. God Bless!

        • Beverly

          Jayme, I’m giving you a virtual hug!! I have so many people asking me to do a podcast. I’m starting to seriously think about it now. I want to be used for good and if I’ve went through what I have for that, then I’m ok with that lol! Ok…I’m going to start looking into it because I do much better if I just talk. I’m just now able to tell these stories with a twist of humor, so I’m sure it would be intriguing ha!! I even thought about another website dealing with this type of subject and spiritual warfare. Whatever I do, I know I will have a “must do” passion about it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • FreedomAtLast

    I was also in a similar and very scary situation. Thank you for sharing what I know is painful to re-live but helpful to many who may be looking for a way out.

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