Editor’s Note: This true narcissistic abuse story was shared by a fellow survivor. Read more survivor stories here, or submit your own story here.
Today, I want to share my experience with the narcissist I call “Ultimate Edgelord Casanova.”
Many narcissists are subtle in their manipulation. They don’t throw down in the dramatic way we come to expect, because people will call them out. So, they gaslight. They provide evidence that they’re telling the truth. The only way to prove they’re lying is to engage in extreme sleuthing. This, of course, is time-consuming and unreasonable. But narcissists rely on people to be reasonable, which is why it takes so long for many of us to figure out what they’re up to.
The Ultimate Edgelord Casanova and I were introduced by a mutual friend, who had wanted to set me up with him three years ago. I kept putting it off until last fall. I knew he was shady when he canceled our first date.
Once, when I asked how his evening was going, he sent me a photo of what was definitely a wine bar. It was a romantic-looking setting. I asked him if he was on a date. He said he was having a dinner party with staff. (I did not believe him). But it wasn’t until the second date that I realized what was seriously wrong with him. Additionally, I was dating a few other people at the time, so I was not that focused on him.
Basically, he had this tendency to ask me out on a date only to cancel two days before the date. His usual excuse was that he had an out of town business trip. One time he told me he was out of town on business but sent me a photo of a golf cart on a golf course. So, clearly, he was playing golf and not doing business. He has outed himself as a liar, correct? When I pointed out the discrepancy, he claimed that he had taken his staff away to play golf. Whatever. The next morning, he sent me a photo of himself (naked, from behind) with a large painful looking bruise on his back.
His message had lots of exclamation marks.
“Look!!! I fell and hurt my back!!! I can’t go out with you!!! It hurts when I sit down. I can’t even drive!!!”
I was not actually in contact him at the time so I thought it was weird how much effort he was putting into making excuses to not see me. He seemed happy about the fact that he was injured. Weird, no? Anyway, the bruise looked really bad, so I urged him to go to the hospital, in case a bone was broken. He replied that he had no time to go to the hospital as he had a plane to catch. Red flag. A few hours later, he was back in town and he sent me a photo from inside his car. He was driving to another city that was three hours away. I said something like, “Good luck.” Grade A A-hole, right? Big red flag.
A month later, he asked me out. By this time, I realized that for him the payoff was my accepting the date and not actually going out. So, I told him to ask me out on the afternoon he was available. I said that if I was available on that day, I would go out with him. I think that was how we ended up going out on the second date. He wanted to save face because I was calling him out on his shadiness.
On the second date, he told me he had spent about USD 2 million on lawyers to avoid paying a bill of 200,000 Canadian dollars to a commercial supplier. My spider senses were on full alert so I asked for receipts. As it turns out, he had photos of the contracts, the shipping container, and payment invoices saved on his phone. Wow. The evidence did not match his story, at which point, I realized he was lying to me. I asked to see what messages he had exchanged with the company. Then, I revealed to him that I had a business negotiation certification from Harvard and that this was my area of specialization.
Could I do anything to help? Because he’s spent ten times the amount of the bill to avoid settling the bill. So, clearly, he needed to fire his lawyer, right? If he was in the right, he would ask me to help him. He hasn’t.
What happened? He did the same thing to the Canadian company that he had been doing to me. He made a big order of commercial products to feed his large ‘international man of business’ ego. Then, he paid half the invoice amount to have the product shipped. This gave him boasting rights with the receipts (which is why they were in his phone in the first place). But it took a long time for the products to get to him in the shipping container, so he lost interest. (Typical narcissist – short attention span). Then, when the container finally arrived, he took photos of the container to prove that he had in fact completed this huge international transaction.
But, of course, he decided to “Ultimate Edgelord Casanova” the company, like he does to women. He called the company and said that he wanted to return the products and be refunded his money. They were defective, he said. Their lawyer demanded that he pay the remainder of his bill.
Do you know what he did next? He told them that the person (his representative and agent for the contract) who inspected the products was actually untruthful about the quality of the products put in the container. He also claimed that this person disappeared on him. However, he probably forgot that I had just seen the text messages he and this agent had recently exchanged via iMessage on his iPhone.
At this point, I realized that he was lying to me about EVERYTHING and that he uses photos as “evidence”. Obviously, he spends a lot of time talking to women who aren’t very clever. Right? Who sends golf course photos when they’re supposed to be on a business trip out of town? Also, for a business person, he has a lot of golf playing time. He has serious financial problems so how can he afford to take his staff to play golf? The back injury could not have been recent. Driving for three hours after you dinged your hip bone on the edge of a concrete step?