When my narcissist, Julia, and I first started seeing each other, she told me about how, when you genuinely love someone, you’d do anything for them, trusting them implicitly, beyond reproach. She then regaled me with a “Russian” tale where a man was so in love with a girl that, even though he knew the “gift” she held in the palm of her hand would kill him, he nonetheless loved and trusted her to the point that he’d willingly eat it, saying, “I would take poison from your hand.” How many times did we freely take poison from our narcissist’s hand, trusting that what s/he offered wasn’t, in fact, the emotional death we knew it to be?
The story Julia referred to is actually a British story by author Marie Corelli, entitled The Sorrows of Satan published in 1895. It’s a Faustian tale about a man, Geoffery Tempest, who is completely and utterly derelict – penniless and quite literally starving to death, living in a small hovel whose rent he can’t pay, warming himself by only a small oil lamp during one of the coldest winters in history. In a nutshell, on an eve when it appears all hope is lost, Geoffrey comes into a small fortune. He is then introduced, in a roundabout way, to the Dark Lord, himself – Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Devil…you get the idea – by an old college friend. Satan presents himself as a wealthy man, Lucio, with more money than he knows what to do. Lucio seeks to advise Geoffrey on how to spend his newly acquired wealth. Interestingly, in this story, the Devil is actually the one true believer of the Christian Gospel; however, because of his outcast state from the Kingdom of Heaven, he is forever forbidden to experience or savor any of its rewards. It’s truly a fascinating story and one I would highly recommend.
In so many ways I came to identify with the main character and the storyline in that, before I met my narcissist, I had only ever witnessed in others, or read about, a once-in-a-lifetime love. I never knew what it was to truly and unconditionally love another (adult) person – I was a pauper, so to speak; however, when my narcissist and I met and she began the love bombing phase, it was only then that I began to grasp how empowering, while at the same time humbling, it was to genuinely feel an unending and unconditional love for someone other than my son. And, just as Geoffery Tempest was oblivious to his companion’s true identity and agenda as the story progressed, so was I completely unaware of the fact that my “companion” was, in a similar fashion, leading me down a very dark and destructive road from which damnation was the destination.
In the end, much like Geoffrey Tempest who renounces evil and goes back to a life of poverty and pauperdom, but with the knowledge that he can at least live his remaining days with a cleansed soul, I finally saw how completely destructive my companion, my narcissist, was to my person: my mental and physical health, my psyche, my well-being – to me – and I was faced with the decision to either continue living in a dejected state of denial and faux bliss with a toxic and destructive presence (my narcissist), or leave her and the ever-exhaustingly strained relationship behind, knowing that no amount of joy with her was ever going to lead to any true sense of inner peace or contentedness.