Home. Such a simple, four-letter word. But if you asked any number of people to define home, you will get a myriad of copiously varying answers. One person might tell you it’s where they sleep each night, another might say it’s where they hang their hat when the day is done, and still another person might share that it’s where they go to escape the rigors of reality and the world. Regardless of how you define home, didn’t your narcissist feel like home to you? I know mine certainly did And through repeated triangulation, manipulation, gaslighting, and trauma bonding, my narcissist cemented in me an unwavering devotion that would last for years. And when our relationship finally ended, I found myself not only emotionally bankrupt but “homeless,” as it were. So where do you go when your heart no longer has a home?
I vividly recall when I first met my narcissist, Julia. The date was February 7, 2015. It was about 3:15 PM on a surprisingly clear day, albeit somewhat chilly though not cold; but even more deeply ingrained in my memory is how she felt the first time I held her in my arms and kissed her just seven short days later on Valentine’s Day. There was a feeling of true contentedness, of blissful peace; that my heart had finally found the end to a tireless quest for a home, a quest I honestly didn’t even realize I was on until that moment I first held her. The best way I can think to describe it is to ask you to think back to a time where you’ve been slaving away all day, working on a project and were so engrossed in the minutia of the task/s at hand that you didn’t even think about eating. And then, after you’d finished that chore, and with perhaps only mild interest, did you finally sit down to eat your first solid meal for the day. You take that first bite and it just explodes with flavor in your mouth and you suddenly realize you weren’t just hungry, you were famished! And every bite you take seems more amazing and delicious than the last. Remember that experience? That was what it felt like to hold Julia for the first time, to smell her hair, to feel her arms around me as I put my arms around her. I don’t know how else to describe it. I just knew, in the moment of embracing her, that her in my arms was the home I’d been seeking for decades.
That initial euphoric phase is what’s known as the idealization phase in the cycle of narcissistic abuse. And while idyllic, unfortunately, it never lasts very long. In my case, it began waning about two months later, although it didn’t really start to spiral out of control until about five months in. That’s the point where she began using triangulation in an attempt to manipulate me and control the relationship. More than once she told me, “If you don’t want me, there are plenty of men who do. I have boyfriends everywhere.” I wish now I would have told her, “Good luck with that,” and walked away. But I didn’t. I panicked. I loved her intensely and didn’t want to lose her. I could sense that she was slowly slipping away and I became fixated on doing anything, whatever it took, to save the relationship with my narcissist. In fact, I was so hyperfocused on salvaging something that, in retrospect, wasn’t even worth spitting on if it was one fire – the relationship with my narcissist – I couldn’t see the huge, glowing neon sign hanging over her head that overtly advertised my narcissist was surreptitiously using triangulation, gaslighting, and manipulation to further cement my unconditional love of her. So, I continued blindly venturing ever-further down that abyssal rabbit hole.
You see, that’s the thing about loving a narcissist, when the relationship ends, and it will end, of that you can be certain, it’s not just an end to a relationship, it’s the end to what had very quickly become an ingrained way of thinking, of doing, of being! This has been your life for, in my case, 4-½ years. And with the egress of the narcissist from our life, the resultant emotional and psychological ruin generally leaves the empath nothing more than a shell of who they once were. So how do we replenish what was so surreptitiously suckled and drained from us over the course of months and even years? Honestly, the only solution is to leave and stay gone.
It honestly does not matter whose decision it was to end the relationship. If your narcissist decided to walk away, and even if it was yet another discard phase in the seemingly endless string of discard phases but not the final discard phase, use this opportunity as a stepping stone to turn this chance at emancipation into the final discard phase. Don’t empower your narcissist to be the one who decides it’s over. Be your own salvation! And if it was your decision to leave, kudos to you! Now, stay gone! Yes, you can do it. You found the strength to leave once. You have it within you to go no-contact and save yourself from the source of certain destruction – your narcissist – even when your narcissist reaches back out to you, and they will, and s/he nothing short of begs you to come back, to give them another second chance, promising to go to counseling and to do whatever it takes to make things work – both of which they won’t actually do.
Now, to be fair, my narcissist did actually agree to, and go to, counseling with me…for two sessions. Just enough for the counselor to meet her and be enamored with her. You see, if they do go to counseling with you, it will only be a half-hearted effort and an opportunity they will most assuredly use to duplicitously deceive the counselor/therapist into believing you are the one who is unhinged, the real problem, thus turning the one person who could have helped you, against you. Please, if you believe anything I share with you, believe this: the narcissist will feed off of you for as long as they possibly can – food for the future – and they will do anything they can to turn your allies into their flying monkeys for the sole purpose of tethering you to them for as long as possible. Don’t give them that opportunity!
So what can you do? As I’ve said so many times before, write out your feelings, your pain and anguish, list any and all instances of where your narcissist has hurt you, albeit physically and or psychologically/emotionally – pain is pain, and abuse is abuse no matter how you slice it. This exercise might seem silly, perhaps even pedantic and trivial – but it isn’t. Believe it or not, the hurting and broken you is saving the future stronger and more healed you from once again venturing back down this particular path of destruction. And after you’ve written all of these things down, don’t delude yourself into thinking your work is over, beautiful – it’s only just beginning. Every single time you find yourself reminiscing about your narcissist, fondly recalling your time together – and you will, believe me, you will – pull out what you have written and re-read it.
And don’t start making excuses for your narcissist as you read that list of transgressions and sins. “Oh, but s/he was under so much stress from work/school,” or, “S/He was angry because I did this or that.” No. Let me stop you right there. You are not the harbinger of your misery. You do not bring abuse into your life. Your narcissist is solely to blame for all of the pain and suffering that transpired. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do – there is absolutely no excuse for abuse. Period. Don’t make excuses for your narcissist. They already have enough flying monkeys to defend them. They don’t need you, their victim, in their corner cheering them on, too. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear of people who have committed suicide because they couldn’t live with or without their narcissist – that is how powerful the narcissist’s spell, their control, can be over their empath. No matter how desperate, depressed, sad, or lonely you become, taking your own life will not save you. Why? Why would you destroy a flower to save a weed?
If you ever feel yourself slipping, gravitating back toward your narcissist, and you have no close friends or family with whom you can converse and confide, you can always, always reach out to me through a private message via Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or via this site. I may not respond quickly, but I will absolutely respond to you. I had no one there for me the way I needed when it ended with my narcissist. The deep and unabiding feelings of loss, isolation, desolation, and despair are ineffable – brutally beyond description. There is no place more alone than to be alone with yourself possessing no sense of self, having lost your identity in the relationship, and having lost what was once your emotional and psychological home – that safe place you once felt you could find solace and refuge when the world had beaten you down. That is the private hell your narcissist prepared for you but it is no place anyone, aside from your narcissist, should ever reside. No matter how alone you might feel, you can always share your pain with someone who genuinely understands what you are going through and who is living proof that things will get better, that you will get better. That there is indeed life after annihilation.