Did you sell your soul for your narcissist and the relationship? As I sit here now, looking back over the course of the 4-½ years with my narcissist, Julia, I can’t even begin to count the number of sacrifices I made for her and for the relationship. Mind you, I’m not talking about the usual gambit of sacrifices we willing choose to make when it comes to spending time with someone for whom we deeply and genuinely care. What I’m referring to are the sacrifices of one’s core morals and beliefs, one’s relationship deal-makers and deal-breakers, those things that are, and rightly should be, the unwavering conditions of what are and are not acceptable when entrusting another person with your physical and emotional welfare and well-being. Those very reasonable and rational relationship boundaries that were, and if you’re currently with your narcissist still are, being unceremoniously ravaged and raped on an almost daily basis. And yet because we were so surreptitiously manipulated, we kept returning for more abuse, more punishment, more violation, more disdainful disrespect, and all at the hands of someone who promised love but, instead, delivered pain – our narcissist.
For me, one of the biggest sacrifices of my core values was allowing my narcissist to manipulate me into embracing her religious beliefs (she’s Seventh Day Adventist). Beliefs to which I, in my heart of hearts, never sincerely subscribed and could never genuinely rationalize. And that’s the crux of faith – it defies rationale and logic, reason, and even explanation. After all, faith is, by its very definition, the belief in and of something that extends beyond the explainable and the tangible. Now we’re not here to debate religion, any particular faith or lack thereof. I merely state that keeping the relationship I (perceived I) shared with my narcissist from falling apart was so insanely important to me, so paramount, I allowed her edict that she refused to be with someone who did not share the same faith as her to sway my better judgment, my values, and my morals. As a result, I soon found myself wearing her beliefs as though they were my beliefs not only each and every Sabbath, but each and every day!
The thing is, I initially told myself, “What could it hurt? Someone who means the world to me is asking me to share in something that is very important to them. If I share in this with her, (hopefully) it’ll draw us even closer together,” and that’s what truly mattered the most to me – building and maintaining a deep and loving connection with my narcissist, regardless of the price it exacted. I equated this to one partner lovingly grimacing their way through each football, basketball, or baseball game with their sports-crazed partner, supportively sitting through each and every sports-charged rant, series of vehement expletive exclamations, and even feigning interest as to whether the team/s in question won or lost. So, when it came to my narcissist and her faith, I mean, really, what harm could come from parroting words I didn’t truly believe, or practicing rituals to which I don’t genuinely subscribe?
The harm is, that’s called rationalization, and when we begin to rationalize an uncomfortable or unwelcome situation to make it fit into our reality, we begin to lose ourselves, dissolving into whatever façade we are trying to convince ourselves is that something we should embrace – in essence, we are manipulating ourselves. We know full well that this specific something doesn’t quite fit within our life, let alone our paradigm or universe. The thing is, if you continue to twist, contort, and warp anything long enough, you can eventually, usually, force that square peg to fit into a round hole. To put it another way, you speak a falsehood into existence so it can become your truth. And that is the first step in exchanging your core values for your narcissist’s unreasonable expectations in a hollow effort to appease them whilst simultaneously and conversely betraying yourself. In short: you sell your soul.
If you missed it, go back and re-read the second sentence in the previous paragraph. “Someone who means the world to me is asking me to share…” Let’s be clear here – there was no legitimate asking nor was there any sincere sharing. Sure, much like your narcissist probably did, my narcissist (at least initially) ever-so-liltingly, so very sweetly demanded that I share in her faith if we were to remain together. In fact, it was so lovingly and kindly commanded of me that had it been a vial of poison, I would have happily taken it from her hand and drank every last drop, asking for more as I fell to my knees. And, in essence, that’s exactly what we did for our narcissist. By embracing something that went against our core values and beliefs, we were, in essence, poisoning our heart and soul by betraying loyalty to ourselves, our ideas and ideologies which we cherish and which define us. And aside from the betrayal perpetrated against us by our narcissist, there could be few greater crimes than the betrayal of one’s self by one’s self. And that truth is as salt to the wound; we were our own betrayer, at least in this regard. Although, to be fair, we only drove that particular dagger, or set of daggers, into our heart because our narcissist so deftly and surreptitiously convinced us that this was what we wanted. Falling victim to a maestro of manipulation is nothing to be ashamed of, beautiful. We’ve all fallen prey, even me. Some of us multiple times; especially me.
In the end, once the relationship with my narcissist came to a very sudden halt, I persisted in attending services each Sabbath for several months, seeking some form of solace, direction, some guidance, but continued to never truly feel any sense of spiritual connectivity or unity at any church or with anyone whom I fellowshipped or congregated. However, as my healing progressed, and I began to rediscover my identity, an identity that had initially been suppressed and then lost in the relationship and to my narcissist, I also began to rediscover the truth of who I once was and who I truly am. And part of that truth is the reality that I do not share my narcissist’s faith, beliefs, or spirituality. I soon came to realize the truth of why I always felt so lost and alienated during church service, albeit with or without my narcissist. It wasn’t that I didn’t have beliefs. It was that I didn’t share my narcissist’s beliefs. And it all finally made sense – the reason I felt so ostracized on Sabbath – this was not my home. I was a stranger in a strange land.
This is merely a single example of the myriad of mountainous sacrifices I made for my narcissist and the relationship with her, that should never have been expected of me, let alone asked (read demanded) of me. And though this sacrifice was, for me, the most monumental, there were so many other sacrifices I made whose resultant guilt and regret I grappled with for quite some time during the relationship and even many, many months after it ended. And when it ended, I realized I had shunned close friends, wasted rather sizeable sums of money, even foregone investing in and spending quality time with my young son, and for no other purpose than to appease and placate my narcissist. What about you? I’m willing to wager that you also sold your soul for an appallingly paltry price, and all in a futile effort to earn your place in your narcissist’s life, by their side, and even in their bed.
But, let’s be honest, of all the places in which we fit into our narcissist’s life, we never truly had a place in our narcissist’s heart, did we? No matter what fabricated truths they might have lovingly whispered into our ear each night as we drifted off into the sweet caress of slumber, embracing him or her who was our heart’s one true desire, we never actually had a place at our narcissist’s table unless it was subserviently at their feet, starving, eagerly lapping up whatever crumbs of love just happened to fall to the floor from the corners of their mouth as they gorged on the feast of unconditional love we had prepared for them, contentedly deluding and deceiving ourselves into believing the lie that the person we loved unconditionally, loved us equally.
I sincerely hope you have found your way out of the dark pit that is loving a narcissist. I further hope you are well on your way along the path of your journey to healing. But, my beautiful, if you are not yet on your journey, if you are still trapped in that dark place, please do not lose hope. Please do not lose whatever faith you might have, albeit in yourself or any higher power in which you have placed that hope. You are only one step away from taking the first step, and the next step, and then the next, away from your narcissist and their abuse, beginning your journey of healing where we all travel alone, together. Deliverance is within your grasp. Salvation is within you.