The other day, my step daughter sent a broadcast poll question out to everyone via text message.  The question she asked was:

If you know that a man will never really excite you, should you date him anyway and try to make it work?

Not only is that the bazillion dollar question that many of us have asked ourselves, there was also another underlying question that I perceived.  You see, my step daughter has manifested a pattern of not-so-good choices in men.  She’s a grown woman.  I make no judgments about how she lives her life.  I only want her to find happiness, like most mothers do.

When she and I talked about her poll, I asked what sort of responses she had gotten.  She said the resounding response was that she shouldn’t pursue it.  She said she had decided to take the date anyway and found the man to be incredibly boring.  While acknowledging that passion and excitement were important, I gently suggested that it was possible that her pattern of choosing  unusual men clouded the ability to recognize a nice man in her midst.  She agreed.

Narcissism comes in many forms.  My step daughter’s Narcissistic ex is so obsessed with making her unhappy that he has tied her up in court for years with child custody issues.  She isn’t wealthy and attorneys cost money.  When she has represented herself, I’ve the hearings to provide moral support.   I’ve stifled laughter when I see him playing the judge with Narcissistic charm.  I’ve also stifled laughter when he doesn’t get what he wants and starts raging at the judge.

During the last hearing, the family court judge was barely visible from the bench behind no less than 30 boxes of filings, all of which had been initiated by him.  She brought the paperwork along to prove a point, because she had run out of patience with him.  The selfishness he exhibits is overwhelming, at times.

A Narcissist like that man is scary.  He has driven the children from his first marriage so far away that they won’t even talk to him.  Since he cannot affect his older children anymore, he targets my step daughter on child support payments.  His concern is not about the children’s welfare.  It is about him wanting to be right.  For example, he has opposed vacations and refused to take them to their sporting activities if they interfere with “his time.”

Intellectually, I understand the basis of my step daughter’s dilemma.  Her father, my former husband, was not a nice man.  In essence, he has abandoned her and she has most of her life being attracted to men just like him who are controlling and manipulative.   In fact, his disregard for her is part of the reason that he and I divorced in 1979.  I consciously decided to not have a child with him when he offered one up in an effort to keep me, back then.

My step daughter and I have discussed Narcissists.  Even though she loves her children dearly, she wishes she had never met their father.  The other day, she said she understood why I had chosen to not have children with her father and admired my foresight.

The difference between my ex-husband and the Narcissist who inspired me to launch this site is profound, however  My ex-husband was overt about his desire to control and manipulate others.  My former beau claimed he didn’t want to force anything when, in fact, he controlled everything with emotional blackmail tactics that were so subtle they went unnoticed for years.

So, back to the bazillion dollar question from my step daughter’s poll … is it possible to create a spark where none seems to exist?  Is the lack of a spark truly what it seems or is it an inability to appreciate a really “nice” guy after having been involved with a Narcissist?