What did your narcissist steal from you?  Mind you, I’m not talking about the common casualties of war – money or even physical items that one loses when battling a narcissist, most of which can be replaced.  I’m talking about those intangible things that, no matter how hard you try, can never be reclaimed.  As we have already established, the narcissist will spare no intellectual or emotional expense when it comes to planting those infinitesimal seeds of doubt early in the relationship.  Then they simply sit back and shower those sinister seeds with a deluge of attention, knowing that one day those tiny little saplings will grow into the biggest of destructive doubts, thus aiding the narcissist in absconding with your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth.  But what else did your narcissist steal from you as a thief in the night?

For me, it wasn’t just the theft of my self-esteem, my sense of worth, or the unceremonious hoarding of the endlessly voluminous love, affection, and commitment I gave, or even the substantial financial sacrifices I made for her and for us.  Of all the casualties of my private little war, the most precious thing that met its demise was the very real potential for a future that will now never be.  When I met my narcissist, Julia, I was 46 years old, she was 36.  Part of our burgeoning courtship centered around us sharing a deep desire to have children.  But, as we discussed in last week’s article, I Loved a Lie, in the love bombing phase, the narcissist is just getting started at trying to figure you out – your likes and dislikes, those things that you abhor and adore – so they can repeatedly regurgitate and reiterate your life’s goals as their own shared aspirations.  In this way, they use the beauty of your dreams to deceive you into believing that you have found the one, that person whose heart’s desires and life’s goals closely align and mesh with your own.  Their intent is to instill a false sense of security and peace under the mistaken notion that there is no way the two of you could ever grow apart – life together will be twice as nice and a thousand times sweeter.  Guess what!  That life will never come to fruition because the narcissist is simply spoonfeeding you your own truths in the form of their lies.  So exactly what did I lose?

I wasted 4-½ years of my life with someone who had absolutely no intention of having a child, family, home, or life with me.  That’s 4-½ years I will never be able to get back, time I could have been working on building a solid, caring, nurturing, supportive relationship with someone who actually did want to have a loving husband in her life and a devoted father for our children.  And now, at my age, the odds are statistically stacked against me this will ever come to fruition.  While 4-½ years might not sound like such a long time, consider not only the length of time but the late stage in my life at which this transpired.  You see, my 52nd birthday was yesterday.  And while there was much frivolity to be had with my officemates, ever present in the back of my mind was the bitter reality that my dream of being a dad again has a much greater chance of not happening than it does of happening.

And, let’s be honest, for there to be any viable possibility of having a child with someone, whoever I was with would have to, at most, be in her early-30’s for there to be any hope of avoiding the myriad of complications that are associated with pregnancy and giving birth later in life.  And even though I’ve been told that, by all external appearances, I can easily pass for my early 40’s, most women in the 30-something age range simply see a “dirty old man,” when they learn my age, regardless of the sincerity of my evaporating dream.

They don’t see that I long to be a father, a husband, a source of strength, love, and support for her and our child(ren) that will never be.  That I yearn to have a home, family, and life that centers around an amazing wife and, at the very least, one more perfect little person whose diapers I can change 1,001 times, a bundle of joy to whom I can read bedtime stories and tuck in at nights as I kiss their forehead and wish them sweet happy dreams, only to be to awakened at 2:00 A.M. and find myself groggily rocking him or her back to sleep.  A precious little someone who we can take on family walks and play hide-and-seek.  An ever-curious, tiny adventurer with whom we can explore an all-too-familiar world and rediscover that world for the first time through the innocence and wonder of their eyes.  Yeah.  She didn’t just steal 4-½ years from me.  She knowingly stole a family and a future that are forever lost to the ether of time.  And for that, I can never forgive her.  So what about you?  What did your narcissist steal from you that is forever lost?