Jealousy, Sabotage, Smear Campaigns


I didn’t know he was a narcissist then, but he hated my steady rise up and how I made everything “look so easy”.

I married my narc a year before I finished college. I was one of those driven young women. Growing up in a hard-working family I could never stand to be idle long. My father taught me the value of a hard day’s work, how to negotiate and drive a hard bargain, but also how to out work the competition to stay on top.

When I met my now ex husband, he was living the leisure life of a lifetime student. Already onto his second school after changing his major from engineering, he was literally playing in the masters program in architecture. Looking back, even then he fancied himself the “best” at everything. His projects were the “most creative”, “most innovative” and his models were the best constructed. He was leaps and bounds above his peers and had plans on working for a large eco architecture firm without doing any of the work to get there.

He Was Mastering the Art of the Persona When We Met
The reality was quite different. He was a poor kid from a small backwater farming town. His dad was a good man and perpetually jolly. His mother was a pessimistic victim who played her family and friends like puppets in a circus. He never fit in. One of the “slower” kids, he was book smart, but was a social misfit. He planned to set those folks straight with big dreams of rising to the top of his profession working for a snooty architect with published projects and funding behind him.

We married a year before I graduated with my BA. He was supposed to be working on his thesis-but what I discovered was I was paying our bills while he played during the days. He sat leisurely sipping coffee in his favorite spot, went for long mountain bike rides with pals, and was doing just about everything but working on finishing his masters degree.

When my grandfather found out, he was furious! He confronted me and suggested I maybe married a man who was a secret con-artist, but I wouldn’t hear of it. I was “in love” and being love bombed to death. I didn’t know the man I hitched my wagon too was going to be the horrible path to my undoing.

I Landed a Good Spot In School
I worked hard in college and secured several internships and working for incredibly low wages to secure skills in my profession to land me a good paying post after graduation. I spent four years answering phones, running packages around town, getting coffee/donuts for agency executives, and even cleaned the toilets a couple times! The time I put in was noticed by the COO in the firm. He made me his personal assistant, and the rest is history.

I learned tons and he showed me how to work with a creative team, how to communicate and work with clients, how to prepare contracts and how to present and manage customer meetings. I even learned how to recover from projects gone wrong and how to reestablish trust with clients and problem solve. The experience was life changing and he was wise enough to also partner me up with a younger woman on the team with more experience. Lynn was amazing. A good person with incredible instincts. These two mentors, shaped me into the marketing leader I became.

Years passed an my career really started to take off. Soon, I was out-earning my husband at the tender age of 23. He was 30 and struggling to report to work on time and deliver projects on his deadlines. While I continued to excel, he floundered and soon I realized I was dealing with career sabotage.

He Set Landmines to Frustrated and Continually Derail Me
I had an opportunity to interview with a team of ad women who started their own firm. An hour before the interview, he picked a fight with me and had me in tears. Laughing, he assured me I wouldn’t get the job, I wasn’t qualified, and didn’t deserve it. I went to the interview pissed off and feeling like a phony. I bombed the interview (which is what he wanted all along) and when I came home defeated, he added insult to injury by saying, “See, I told you.”.

Over the years he sabotaged peer friendships in several of the firms I worked for. He caused a scene at nearly every annal awards show, blew up at several work Christmas parties and was particularly Grinch-y at parties where I was being recognized for annual performance or receiving an award. He was also smearing me behind my back at those work events.

You may be asking yourself, “Why would someone you are married to sabotage the highest paid partner’s income and ability to be promoted? It just isn’t even logical.” The answer is really simple: because he wasn’t rising, he wasn’t in the spotlight, and he hated being in my shadow. In fact, he absolutely loathed it.

He Tried to Make Me Suffer Financially for Leaving
Even after leaving him, he lied about his assets he hid during our marriage, he saddled me with a crippling amount of debit to attempt to “keep me down”. It didn’t work. Instead, it only fueled me to work longer, harder and with more intent to rise above my past with him. I paid off the debit, it hurt like hell-but I did it without filing bankruptcy or destroying my name.

I Refused to Give Him My Future Too
Today, I am a marketing executive and compensated accordingly. I rebuilt my career, rebuilt my peer group, and am on the brink of something big. None of this would have ever been possible had I stayed with my ex narc. He would have never let me get so far. He would have continued to clip my wings and anchor me to our home and family. I broke free and in my freedom–I found the ability to actively pursue my dreams. I set the bar high and continued to reach for the impossible. . .until it got closer to me.