“I can’t live without you. I’ve tried and I didn’t like it.” Those were my narcissist’s, Julia’s, words to me after yet another discard phase in an endless parade of discard phases, about two years into what would wind up being our 4-½ year toxic relationship. The thing is, at the time, I felt the same – life without her was simply existing, it wasn’t truly living. What I didn’t realize was, regardless of how sincere my feelings of longing and lamenting her absence were, she was simply saying what was necessary to hoover me back into her grasp for the sole purpose of continuing to feed off of me. So with the softly lilting lie that slid so effortlessly off her tongue, “I can’t live without you,” it was once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
The only problem with this particular once more is that it was no different than any of the multitude of previous once mores. Nor would it be any different from any of the plethora of succeeding once mores that were to follow. Of course, I was assured with each once more, “This time will be different! We’ll make it work. I’m not giving up on you or us.” The only problem is, there was never actually an us. There was me loving her. The only problem is we both loved the same person – her. But such is the status quo for a narcissist. In essence, I was simply along for the ride, nothing more than the invariable pitstop when she needed to refuel her ego and id so she could continue on her neverending quest of adding to her reverse harem to perpetuate triangulating and manipulating me and the other people in her life. After all, with a narcissist, it’s never about building genuinely healthy, loving relationships.
What about you? I suspect you’ve found your way here because you are lost, lonely, alone, scared, hurting, desperately seeking to just put an end to your pain without seeking a permanent solution for a temporary problem. (We both know what I’m talking about.) You thought you couldn’t live without your narcissist, just as I once did, and yet, here we are. So how long ago did they leave? Or did you leave them? Was it a day ago? A week? A month? A year or longer? You’ve made it this far. Believe it or not, you can continue on and you will heal. To be perfectly honest with you, there was a point where I found myself drowning in waves of missing her, I didn’t believe I could or would heal, but I did. I’m not saying it was easy. In fact, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
To complete my journey of healing, I first had to undergo several micro-journeys, as it were. What micro-journeys, you ask? Well, firstly, and probably most importantly, I had to not only realize, but accept, that healing isn’t a race. That to rush healing is to never truly fully heal or to heal improperly. And poorly healed brokenness leads to perpetually broken people. I had to also embrace the truth that grieving is its own journey wrapped within the journey of healing. And If we don’t walk our path of grieving to its conclusion, we can’t continue our journey of healing and follow it through to its final destination of wholeness.
So when someone tells you to, “Just get over it,” or exclaims, “Seriously?! You’re still pining over him/her?” Remember, they’re not on this journey with you. They may tell you there are there for you, but they are not there with you – there’s a difference. They don’t genuinely feel your pain. They don’t truly feel the emptiness or see the void that was once filled to overflowing with your narcissist’s “love,” even if it was actually abuse. They don’t understand how unbelievably and illogically debilitating this is for you. They don’t consider a good day simply being able to keep it together long enough to get home just so they can fall apart in solitude. But I remember those dark and damning days and those long, lonely nights all too well. Now that I stand here, as healed as I think I will ever be, I don’t delude myself into thinking that it was an easy journey. Far from it.
As with any journey, healing is comprised of a single step followed by another step and then another. So how long will it be before you’re healed? It’ll be as long as it is. It’ll take as long as it takes. But I promise you this, you’ll wake up one morning and simply realize your journey of healing has ended. In fact, on that morning, you’ll realize it’s been over for quite some time. And there will be a peace within you. Maybe not peace as a whole, but peace, nonetheless. How I wish I could tell you there is a quick fix, but there isn’t, beautiful. However, I can tell you this, looking back now at what I (thought I) had with my narcissist, and seeing what I actually have with me and in my life without her, I am so very grateful for not winding up with what I thought I couldn’t live without. Of those few quantifiable gifts my narcissist actually gave me, her absence was, by far, the most enriching. I promise you, with time and healing, you will also come to cherish your narcissist’s final gift, too.