Hello, fellow survivors, and happy anniversary!  It was one year ago yesterday I wrote my first article heralding the chronicling of the before and aftermath of the 4-½ year ordeal that was loving a narcissist.  Honestly, at the time, I had no idea where I would be a year later.  All I knew with any degree of certainty was that my psychological and emotional fortitude were shaky, at best.  In point of fact, even my awareness of a broken self was viewed through a fog-like haze – the lingering aftereffects and resultant fallout of my narcissist’s remarkably successful gaslighting and trauma bonding campaign.  The really twisted thing is, even after all of the emotional and psychological manipulation, triangulation, abuse, and multiple infidelities, I still missed Julia, my narcissist.  As with most victims of a narcissistic relationship, I had been conditioned to equate abuse with love; and I missed it.  Yeah, I was pretty messed up.

To be perfectly honest with you, even today, well over a year after I walked away from Julia, there are still times where I find myself missing her.  Well, to be fair, it’s not really her who I miss, it’s the lie of who she convinced me she was that I miss.  I’ve chronicled in several articles, as survivors of a narcissistic relationship, we often think it’s our narcissist for whom we’re pining when it’s not really.  What we actually miss are those few good times; the laughs, however rare they might have been, the physical and emotional intimacy, the feeling of two souls connecting on a completely spiritual level.  What we have to remember is that our narcissist is the embodiment of that longing, a longing which is merely the emptiness that fills our lives long after the devalue and discard phases have ended, and most especially after the final discard phase.

As a moth to the flame, what we miss is the corporeal manifestation of what nearly destroyed us; our narcissist – the person who emotionally brainwashed us, spiritually broke us, and torn our psyche asunder – and they called it, “love.”  All we wanted was to be loved by our narcissist.  And that “love,” by its transitive nature, equated to abuse.  Whether that abuse took place over the course of months, years, even decades, is irrelevant.  No matter how we chronicle our time with our abuser, there are copious amounts of physiological conditioning that necessitate undoing which simply won’t happen overnight.  Case in point: even though it’s been well over a year of no-contact with Julia, there are still remnants of those abusive tendrils stealthed away in the recesses of my mind that randomly reach up from the darkness, enveloping me and reminding me that I may never truly be completely recovered from my time with her.

But I no longer feel contempt towards her, at least not to the degree that I did when I first started my journey.  At this point, it’s really more of a subdued disdain, an awareness that I no longer despise her as I once did, juxtaposed with the truth that I never wish to see her again.  There’s no lost love here, not for her, just the reality that I never could or would welcome her back into my life, heart, or bed the way I did for 4-½ grueling, torturous years. In fact, over the last couple of months, I’ve grown to feel that my journey of healing has reached its conclusion.  I’m, I feel, about as healed as I’ll ever be from her and the psychological damage she inflicted.

In the interest of full disclosure, the last article from July, Foto Phinish, was originally intended to be my last article altogether.  Hence the title.  However, having had several survivors reach out to me – some for advice, others for help, and still, others just to know that someone who genuinely cared about them and their plight heard their voice and listened to their story – gave me cause to reconsider and to continue writing.  The reality is, even though my journey of healing may be coming to its close, so many other survivors are just starting their journey while others have yet to begin.  And isn’t the biggest part of being there for someone, actually being there?  So, for now, I’ll continue to write, continue to share, and wholeheartedly hope that I help you and continue to do so.

In closing, I would like to extend an ardent and sincere thank you to each and every person who has decided to follow me and who has trusted me with their pain by trusting me with their story.  I have been where you are.  And I promise you, one day you will be where I am.  Of all the things you could do, there is one thing I would earnestly plead with you to not do: do not stay silent about your experience(s) with your narcissist and the abuse they subjected you to; that’s what they’re counting on happening as your silence ensures their continued surreptitious psychological cycle of destroying other good people and their lives.

You don’t have to go so far as to start a blog, or even share your most intimate and innermost secrets.  Just share what you feel comfortable sharing with fellow victims and survivors – anyone who will listen.  Believe it or not, even if you’ve only taken one step on your journey of healing, you are much farther along your journey than someone else who has yet to take their first step.  Maybe they’re afraid to leave the all-too-familiar confines of their microcosm, that narcissistic minefield they’ve learned to navigate as best they could.  Maybe they just need to know they won’t be alone in their sojourn if they take that first step on the journey of a thousand miles.  And just as my words have, I hope, helped you on your journey, so can your words help them on theirs.  Remember, you may only be one candle, but in their darkness, your guiding light will glow with the healing radiance of a thousand suns.