While there’s no denying that even after everything my narcissist did to me and to us that ensured the regrettable and unrecoverable demise of our relationship, I honestly don’t regret our time together. Don’t worry. I haven’t fallen off the wagon. And I’m most assuredly not falling into the trap of romanticizing what she and I had. I’ve sufficiently healed to the point that I will never again allow my heart or my mind to return to such a dark and damning place. I have no reservations over giving my love to her unconditionally or believing all of her lies and hollow proclamations of undying love and devotion. Although, I do wish I hadn’t fought for something and someone who saw me and the love I gave as disposable.
Until my narcissist, Julia, I had never known what it was like to love another adult so wholly, completely, and unconditionally. When Julia and I (formally) first met, I felt an emotional awakening that I had never experienced with any other person – an emotional epiphany, of sorts. I say formally because, as outlined in Do You Believe in Love at First Sight, she and I had met previously…in a roundabout way. That aside, as I suspect with you and your narcissist, I sincerely believed that what my narcissist shared with me was what she wanted in and for her life. It never dawned on me that all those questions she was lovingly asking me – all those times she bade me confide in her my dreams, fears, aspirations, insecurities – she was secretly taking a tally by which to better know the most efficient and duplicitous fashion in which to love bomb me so I would unwittingly idealize her and thus put me on the fast track of beginning the 4-½ cycle of abuse that would become loving a narcissist.
As I’ve stated in more than one article, Julia is Russian. As such, I soon came to call all the associated ups and downs of being involved with her riding the Russian rollercoaster. And a rollercoaster ride it most assuredly was! From being on (together) for anywhere from two weeks to one month, and then off (broken-up) for anywhere from one to three months, it was an experience rife with manipulation, triangulation, emotional and psychological abuse – a ride most certainly forged in the bowels of narcissist hell. The thing is, even when things were going to hell in a handbasket, or had already arrived and were being ceremoniously and casually roasted on an open spit, I still loved my narcissist so deeply and intensely. And that is the magic of trauma bonding – it conditions you to forget the mountainous bad and focus on the minuscule amount of good. And that, coupled with the empath’s innate predisposition to be forgiving of someone, even someone who has done so many unforgivable things, guaranteed Julia a reserved place in my life.
Either way, I’m past all the pain, the anger, all the hurting that goes hand-in-hand with being on the receiving end of a narcissist’s walking papers. But the one thing I do have, the one thing that seems to follow me no matter where I go, is regret. There are so many things I find I regret. As I stated a moment ago, I regret fighting so hard for something and someone who saw me and my love as disposable. I regret things I never did or said that I should have done and said. I regret not standing up for myself when I should have, taking a firm and confident stand against her endless onslaught, attacking and undermining my sense of self and my self-esteem. I regret not establishing healthy and reasonable boundaries and standing fast by them instead of giving in when she pushed and stepped over those few very reasonable lines I had drawn in the sand. I regret not being stronger when she came back and laying down some very reasonable and rational ground rules of what was no longer going to be acceptable. But I didn’t. I didn’t do any of these things. I trusted that someone I loved wholly and unconditionally would never, under any circumstances, do anything to knowingly hurt and manipulate me even though she had done nothing but knowingly hurt and manipulate me almost since day one.
You see, just like you with your narcissist, I trusted her. I trusted that everything I was witnessing, everything that was coming to pass, was never going to happen even while it was transpiring right in front of me. I regret not loving myself the way I loved her. I can now see that between Julia and me, I deserved the unconditional love I was bestowing upon her. If I would have, I would have unquestionably embraced and cherished it, unlike the person to whom I gave it. But I honestly don’t regret my time with her. I learned so much, albeit some conversational Russian, how to be an even better chef, adopting a vastly improved diet which has lead me to an even healthier and happier lifestyle. And I even learned how to say, “No,” if I feel that helping someone else is going to be detrimental to me and my peace of mind. That last one was the hardest thing for me – learning how to be sensitive to the needs of others while still being kind to myself. And I suspect yours is, or perhaps was, a similar battle. So, do I regret loving her? No. But I do regret not loving myself more.