My girlfriend(32F) broke up with me (33M) because of toxic behavior I wasn't aware I was doing. I'm posting to share what I did so that hopefully others can learn, also.

Ow, you sound just like my ex. He showed very defensive and narcissistic traits throughout our relationship. Over time, I realized that our dynamic was one in which he put his needs first, and I also put his needs first. And even so, he took this for granted. If he told me to jump, he’d expect me to ask how high. If I did respond this way (dropping absolutely everything to read his mind and support him in every way at the drop of a hat without any reciprocation) he didn’t even thank me. Why would he? It was just expected. But if I didn’t respond that way, he absolutely blew up; called me selfish and even heartless.

He had awful communication skills (as I said, he expected me to read his mind) combined with atrocious listening skills. Like you, he would zone out while I spoke about things that were important to me, and he often completely forgot conversations we had in which I’d confided in him. Moreover, he was wildly defensive. If I gently brought up something he did that hurt my feelings, he would get mad at me for “making him feel like shit/like a bad boyfriend” and then he would “need space.” Somehow, I would be the one who ended up apologizing after each of his shows of disrespect.

He had very little empathy for me. By the end, I felt that he didn’t even care about me or respect me as a person. For example, he repeatedly engaged in what I like to call the “pain Olympics.” My family member was actively suicidal and in the midst of a relapse this year, and I confided in my ex about this. My ex’s response was to literally break up with me because of this, as he “wasn’t emotionally equipped” to support me. Then, half an hour later, he BEGGED for me to take him back. Stupidly, I did. Later in the year, when my ex was diagnosed with arthritis, he felt that I wasn’t supportive enough. I mentioned that that was a bit rich given that I was being quite supportive, especially in contrast to the fact that he had literally dumped me in the midst of a crisis because he couldn’t support me at all. His response? “That was different. This is much harder for me than that was for you because this is about me (the arthritis), whereas that was about your family member, not you.”

That was his response to anything. My prior sexual assaults, abusive relationships, depression, etc etc etc - none of it was ever as bad as anything he went through. It’s common for narcissists to feel that no one else’s thoughts or struggles are as deep or real as theirs.

I hope you can continue to introspect about these qualities as time goes on because deeply-entrenched thought processes like this will likely take time to break.

/r/relationships Thread