It hurts, doesn’t it? Seeing how quickly and easily your narcissist has moved on to someone new. You feel absolutely crushed. And you should. You should because, unlike the narcissist, you were actually invested in the relationship. Its success or failure genuinely mattered to you. And, for whatever reason, albeit your decision to save your sanity and yourself by walking away, or the narcissist’s decision to punish you yet again with their childish silent treatment, you now find yourself on the receiving end of unimaginable pain at seeing them with someone else. Perhaps it was even someone whom the narcissist had known for some time that they repeatedly claimed was, “…just a friend.” And now they look so happy and carefree with their “friend,” holding hands, laughing, walking, talking…kissing! How can it be so easy for them when you can barely pull yourself together and function from day-to-day?
It really doesn’t matter if it ended 6 days ago, 6 weeks ago, or even 6 months ago, let’s face it: this hurts! This hurts worse than any other breakup you’ve ever been through. It’s nothing short of excruciating. You feel so absolutely alone and lonely. You probably even feel as though any value you once had is now gone. Maybe you even feel unworthy of love or being loved. You find yourself wondering what your narcissist is doing, where they are, if they’re happy without you, if they’re happier with their new supply! My beautiful soul, you are understandably fixating. And you have every right to do so. You are drowning in the quagmire of suffocating misery and it feels as though the person who pushed you in, is the only person who can save you. But not only are they not throwing you the rope that rests at the edge of this slough, thusly rescuing you, they have also turned their back on you. They’re walking away. And they’re not alone!
How could they do this to you after everything you gave to them? After everything you sacrificed for the relationship? S/He looks so happy, doesn’t s/he? And if s/he had the audacity to actually approach you and talk to you when you saw them with their new supply, s/he probably told you how much happier they were with him/her, leaving you wondering, “What do they have that I don’t?” So, can the narcissist actually move on like nothing ever happened? Like you never shared the last few months, or even years, of your life together? The short answer is, “Yes.” But how?!
Please hear these words. “I know your pain. I share your pain.” I also know that you probably feel not only unloved but perhaps even unlovable, right now. You gave so much of yourself to this relationship that, somehow, you lost your individuality and assumed the identity of the relationship with the narcissist as your new sense of self – it grew to define you and quantify your worth. Sure, the relationship began fantastically, even magically, spending almost all of your free time together, lost in the ethereal, euphoric haze of them – their touch, their scent, their voice and their laugh, the way they looked at you longingly with a deep and rich passion. But as the relationship progressed, the days you and your narcissist spent together increasingly became fewer and fewer. You could feel them drifting away but nothing you did seemed to draw them closer to you. In fact, all your efforts seemed to push them further away the harder you tried. But then they would reciprocate, at least temporarily, seemingly so in love with you once again. But then the cycle would repeat…and repeat, and repeat ad nauseum. This is what’s called trauma bonding and it’s a completely reprehensible tool the narcissist resorts to in an effort to elicit your unwavering loyalty and devotion. And pretty soon it got to the point that you didn’t see your narcissist for several days in a row, maybe even an entire week…possibly two weeks or longer! And what’s worse, they seemed perfectly fine with this abyssal chasm that had somehow manifested between the two of you..and they expected you to be okay with it, as well! You felt so lost, unsure of what to do. Sure, you could somehow manage to go about your day; you could work, hit the gym, grab some dinner, but your thoughts invariably gravitated back to your narcissist. Gravitated?! Let’s be honest – you never really stopped thinking about them. You never truly stopped missing them. Today, yesterday; what longing with tears for you. You wished more than anything that they would just text, or maybe even call so you could hear their mellifluous voice – if only you could see them!
This doesn’t mean you were in any way weak or “clingy.” On the contrary, it means that you were committed 100% to the relationship. So much so that you sought out and cherished any opportunity to share every aspect of your life with someone who was the most important person in the world to you. Yes, sunsets, flowers, beaches, the starry night sky, they’re all very beautiful. But aren’t they all so much more amazing when you’re sharing them with someone whom you deeply and unconditionally love? So how can they leave all that behind? How can they move on to another person, another relationship, so easily?
It’s as though all those days of taking romantic strolls, all the evenings of lying out on a blanket under the stars, or all those late-night conversations wherein you lay intertwined in each other’s embraces after intimately sharing yourselves – baring your souls, sharing your hopes, tears, fears, desires, laughter, dreams, secrets, even fantasies – never transpired. My beautiful, they didn’t. At least not for our narcissist. For you, they were an anchor, a grounding point that re-centered you and recharged you. Wasn’t it so amazing when you felt needed, wanted; loved? It felt better than anything that had ever hurt, before. Unfortunately, for our narcissist, none of this ever happened because the narcissist is not an actual person. They are a facade, a facet of a false persona that was created for no other purpose than to develop and nurture a hollow and self-serving relationship with you solely to feed their ego. Any affection, kindness, love…anything they gave to you was for no other reason than to have that very same affection and attention be reflected back upon them ten-fold.
Think about it. Of everything the narcissist ever shared with you, how much more did you give in return? Every word of adulation, every loving action, every expression of affection that they gave you, how much more did you willingly, even gleefully reciprocate in volumes? They gave you just enough of their love to keep your hunger barely satiated. A veritable smorgasbord of crumbs lightly peppered here and there over the course of your time together. And now that it’s ended, how do you feel? Empty. Completely and utterly spent. You’re little more than a shell of the once beautiful, vibrantly alive person you were before you met your narcissist and gave them all that you had to give – maybe more than any person could ever humanly give. My beautiful, through no fault of your own, you are emotionally bankrupt. For every crumb our narcissist gave us, we gave them a banquet, a feast that could have easily fed thousands! And we did it without hesitation or reservation. This is no ordinary love. And this is no ordinary pain.
There is no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to say it. “We never mattered to our narcissist. Not genuinely.” We were never anything more than a primary source of narcissistic supply for an emotional vampire. A source of narcissistic nourishment that served no other purpose than to make someone who was undeserving of our amazing love, feel deserving and loved. And guess what. That’s exactly what this new person is to them, now. Yes, they’re walking hand-in-hand, laughing, kissing, talking about how wonderful things are, how happy they are, about what a fantastic future they are going to have together – none of this will ever come to fruition. Even if they marry, it will not endure because it is not genuine.
My beautiful, two of the hardest things you will ever have to do are mourn the loss of someone who hasn’t died, and the loss of something that has. Please, do not be discouraged. You entrusted a heartless person with your heart. Their getting over you by getting under someone new is not closure. It’s as a bandaid to a cancer patient. And that’s what our narcissist is/was – cancer. They came into our lives with promises of wonder, of happiness, of an undying and unending love. But they instead invaded our lives, intertwining themselves into every facet, every aspect of everything that mattered to us, that defined us, everything that made us, us; and now there is simply no way to excise the tumor without taking untold surrounding healthy tissue in the process. To remove them is to remove parts of ourselves that we can never reclaim. But what other choice is there? Our narcissist has left us completely devoid of any life or vitality, bereft of any joy. We have ceased living and now we simply exist.
As hard as it is, you have to continue, my beautiful. Put yourself on autopilot, if necessary, going about and through your daily routine as best you can. Trust me when I tell you, with time, you will once again find small joys returning that you didn’t even notice had left. For me, it was music. I used to listen to music everywhere I went and every chance I got. And I always had a song in my heart. But I found no more joy or solace in anything once my narcissist and I started having issues – even my treasured music. I was so hyper-focused on us, on making it work, on recapturing what we had at the beginning – the love bombing phase when everything was so idyllic and perfect between us – I didn’t realize I was slowly losing my identity, my sense of self, in and to the relationship. And soon, our relationship became the new me, it was my identity. It took more than six months after I finally walked away before I began to rediscover myself. And it was as though I had reconnected with an old friend.
So, has our narcissist moved on? Yes. Are they happy? From all external appearances, it would seem so. However, I can assure you, with time, you will begin to see their paradisiacal rapture unravel and slowly disintegrate. They might even show up on your doorstep one night at 11:07 PM, like my narcissist once did, saying, “I just had to see you.” If that happens, be strong. Know that they are only there in the hopes that they can once again begin making withdrawals of love from your still-healing soul. My beautiful, they crushed you once. They will most assuredly do it again. Do not allow yourself to fall victim to their manipulation or surreptitious tactics to lure you back in – the hoovering phase. They may even go so far as to tell you that it took being in a relationship with another person for them to realize they truly loved you. My narcissist told me those words when Bryan failed to meet her unreasonably high standards for a primary source of narcissistic supply. “It took being with him to realize it’s you I really love.” It’s a lie. It’s all a lie. It was all a lie.
There is nothing wrong with telling your narcissist you barely survived their “love” before. And there is no way you could go through that hell, again. Set a boundary and stand firm. I wish I would have told my narcissist these words. I wish I would have walked away long ago. But if they come, if they persist, if they plead for another chance to put things right, say these words to them,
“For a long time, my heart belonged to you. You had my love, my care, and my undying devotion. But you threw it all away and now it is gone forever. There is no longer a place for you in my heart and I want you to know that there never will be again. My love was a privilege and an honor but you had no appreciation for that gift. You may think you have much in your life, now, but my love is something that you will forever be much poorer without. You will look for me in every person you are with, but you will never again find me.” Then gently kiss their forehead, say, “Goodbye,” and close the book to that chapter of your life. Don’t re-read it. You already know how it’s going to end.