“Everyone who hurts us becomes terrible.” Veronika’s words to me this past weekend. Apparently, my narcissist of 4-½ years, Julia, and her new husband, Arty, had just moved from our fair city in Tennessee to South Dakota. Needless to say, I was more than mildly pleased at the prospect of there no longer being any possibility of running into them when out and about. Mind you, it’s not so much that I still harbor any ardor for Julia. In fact, it’s quite the polar opposite. However, I also have no desire to see her and the person whom she was surreptitiously seeing behind my back during the final months of our relationship as it was writhing in its death throes.
Regular readers might recall that Arty and Julia had met when Julia began working as a nurse at a local hospital. At the time, Julia and I were quasi-together and she told me all about Arty – especially the part where she had discovered Arty was, in fact, Veronika’s ex-fiance of 4-½ years. You see, Veronika is Julia’s arch-nemesis. Julia had commented, “She just keeps showing up like a bad penny,” and made it a point to reiterate how horrible of a person Veronika is. The funny thing is, Julia is a staunch Seventh Day Adventist and, as such, she would often preach love, acceptance, and forgiveness. It was several months after I walked away from my own personal little hell that was loving a narcissist, when I met Veronika and the truth of who she was and what truly transpired betwixt her, Julia, and Fred was revealed.
As Veronika and I got better acquainted, I soon discovered that she was, in fact, Julia’s Veronika from almost 12 years earlier. And when I shared with Veronika that not only did I know Julia, but I was the person with whom she had been involved for 4-½ years, Veronika was understandably curious for more details. I shared with her a number of things Julia had said about her, none of them flattering, among which was Julia’s complete and utter disdain for Veronika. I expected Veronika to react defensively when I shared this. Instead, the first words out of Veronika’s mouth were, “I thought we had made peace with that years ago! Can I have her number? I want to apologize.” I remember thinking, “For what?!” If you didn’t read the article linked above, in a nutshell, Julia’s first husband, Fred, had tried to have an affair on Julia with Veronika. Surprisingly, when Veronika found out Fred was still married, instead of pursuing a relationship with him, even though she’d grown to care very deeply for Fred, she told him he needed to go back to Julia and work on his marriage. However, Julia blamed Veronika for Fred’s attempted affair instead of thanking her for being a good person, the type of Christian that Julia professed being, instead of pursuing Fred or a relationship with him.
Of course, a large part of that refusal to thank Veronika for doing the right thing stems from Julia having begun a relationship with another man who, six months later, would become her second husband of just over six years. But Julia wasn’t happy that Veronika had returned to her the, “…worthless, lazy, porn-addicted husband,” of which Julia had thought she was finally free. Now, I share all of this to point out the obvious: narcissists, especially religious narcissists, will invariably, without fail, preach piety and sanctity whilst actively practicing immorality. Or, to put it another way, narcissists will preach purity with one person whilst burning calories beneath the sheets with someone else…or even several someone else’s.
It was only after I met Veronika and we began comparing notes that I come to better understand just how much of a hypocrite my narcissist is. And so much more of the confusing and befuddling 4-½ year timeline with Julia made so much more sense. It made all of those times I saw blatant hypocrisy displayed by Julia, hypocrisy that was a glaring, glowing neon sign screaming, “I AM A NARCISSIST,” to which I, much like you, I would venture to guess, somehow managed to turn a blind eye and embrace a terrible person just as they were, thus giving an unloveable person unconditional love.
And over the course of the following few months after it ended with my narcissist, as I began healing and the fog on my rose-colored glasses began clearing, I began seeing things so much more clearly. Only then did I begin to see my self-righteous, Adventist narcissist for who she genuinely is. Or, as I came to call her, “a Badventist.” And it was here in my new-found discovery that I came to rebuke the lie of the wonderful, amazing, beautiful soul I loved and, instead, I accepted the reality of the terrible person she is. “Everyone who hurts us becomes terrible.” No, beautiful. They don’t become terrible. We just finally see them for who and what they are.