It was August 2019, and my narcissist, Julia, had graced me with yet another discard a little over a month prior. I vividly recall debating whether or not I should embrace this latest discard, in what had become a long line of discards over our 4-½ years together, or if I should hold out hope that maybe, possibly, she might return. I still didn’t realize that I was caught up in an enabler/enabled, abuser/abused, narcissist/empath dynamic. To be perfectly honest with you, about the only thing I knew with any certainty was that I missed my narcissist.
As had been the case so many times before, Julia had left, once again, in a huff because of some ill-conceived and imaginary slight which had garnered her ire. Night after night, I sat in my tiny hovel, lamenting the void my narcissist’s absence had ushered in. And day after day, I got up and went about my activities and life in a blind haze, running on autopilot. Our “relationship,” for lack of a better word, had gotten to the point that my czarina, my princess, was as the princess from the story of the Princess and the Pea. Just as in the fable, it took very little to upset the delicate balance betwixt a contented empress and a lady of royal unrest.
It was a balance I had long ago learned would result in month-after-month of the silent treatment should my actions and or words be deemed displeasing by her highness. The only thing was, this time, this discard phase, unlike all the other times and discards over the last 4-½ years, seemed different. It had been well over a month and not a single peep from Julia. Normally, by now, I would have at least seen her out and about in the city. Her birthday was July 19th and I had texted her a happy birthday, even though we were officially broken up. At the very least, I thought she would have replied, thanking me. Instead, crickets. Hmmmm, something was rotten in the state of Denmark, and it wasn’t the fish.
Allowing my suspicions to get the better of me, I began doing a little light sleuthing and discovered her Pinterest virtually bursting at the seams with pins of wedding dresses, flowers and bouquets, venues, rings – you name it. If it had to do with a wedding, she had it on her board. Granted, Julia has several hundred friends on Facebook, so it wasn’t unusual for one of them to be getting married and for her to be saving pins as contributing ideas for the occasion. But this was different. This felt different. My Spidey-sense was tingling and I knew something was afoot. I was tempted, oh so tempted to text her and ask when the big day was. But I knew she’d simply ignore my text and me as she had during the previous deluge of discard phases. And then, something clicked. I don’t know what it was but I simply realized that, this time, she wouldn’t be coming back.
As I continued to peruse her Pinterest, several other pins (suggestions) began popping up for me. One of them was for something I had never heard of before – Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A little voice told me, “You need to read that.” Eh, why not? Not like I have anything else going on. So, I dove and I delved. It was as though someone had silently sat, observing, taking notes betwixt Julia and me over the entirety of our time together and apart. It was move-for-move, play-by-play, a 100% accurate recounting of what had taken place betwixt Julia and me, but the person who had created this pin was a stranger. How could she have pegged every single thing that transpired between us so perfectly? Because she’s Melanie Tonia Evans, a world-renowned expert on narcissists and narcissism. As I read, and read, and read some more, I soon came to realize that I, much like you, had been duped. I had foolishly thought I was building a future with my soulmate when, in fact, I was naively investing my heart and my soul into a unilateral lie of biblically mountainous proportions. A lie perpetually professed by someone whom I loved as I had never loved anyone before. Someone incapable of truly loving me back.
I was furious. I was crushed. I was angry and disheartened. To say that I was pretty much every negative emotion you could possibly fathom, taken and thrown into a blender, then someone hit purée, is putting it mildly. I exaggerate not in the least when I say, in hindsight, I have no idea how I was able to function on a daily basis being as confused and disheveled as I was. The miracle of autopilot, I suppose. Regardless, I decided I had two options. I could tuck my tail and crawl away somewhere very dark and very secluded, slowly collapsing in on myself over time, or I could do something more constructive and positive with all of the destruction and negativity. So, I started this blog.
My first article, How I Met My Narcissist, was relatively rough in both form and verse. At the time, it was so difficult to create coherent, linear thoughts. But more than that, it was prolifically painful to relive those past 4-½ years with each article I wrote just as it was embarrassing to finally go public about all the things that had transpired betwixt Julia and me. But it was a start. I stumbled, I fumbled, and somehow I found my way to today, to here; to you, beautiful. You see, here’s the thing: narcissists rely on their victims to remain silent. If you remain silent, they are free to continue charming and harming others because no one else in the village is made aware that a snake slithers betwixt and beneath their feet, that a wolf mingles and skulks about in the fold looking for its next meal, for its next victim. What I have to remind myself of, sometimes many times, is that so many victims of narcissistic abuse have had the fight slowly leeched out of them over the years, so much so to the point that all they want to do is crawl into a very dark and secluded place and simply wither away, merging and blending into the nothingness that seems so deceitfully inviting, where they will become an echo of who they once were. If we’re being totally honest with each other, that’s where I wanted to be.
But I decided that if I embraced such a dark end, I would be allowing Julia to win the final battle. And I wasn’t going to cower and kowtow any longer to her. Now, don’t mistake that as me being angry, seeking to somehow get revenge. Nothing is further from the truth. In point of fact, despite all of the lies, manipulations, triangulation, even multiple infidelities, I still loved my narcissist. Crazy, huh? But I knew that I had to break free. Free of her control, free of her manipulative grip. I had to put the proverbial nail in this coffin or else I would return to her if she didn’t return to me first, especially if she came back wielding that same false penitent heart she had worn so many times in the past. In fact, when I wrote my first article, I was so afraid Julia would see it, become livid, and any hope of reconciliation would be lost. As such, I was afraid to speak out, to tell my story, to make others privy to what I had endured. But that’s what narcissists are banking on. And it was time to cut the toxic ties.
Narcissists hope beyond hope that we, their victims, will remain quiet; silent, especially after the final discard phase. Because in our silence, lies their power. Throughout the time together, via gaslighting and trauma bonding, our narcissist has conditioned us to remain quiet lest their wrath be visited upon us with a furious vengeance. Yes, it’s true that some survivors of abuse do write from a place of darkness, a place of pain and anger, whilst others write from a place of healing. Either way, neither is a “wrong place” because both speak a truth. And truth is truth, no matter how painful, distasteful, or unwelcome it may be.
But the one common connection, that one nuclear core from where we all write, albeit in anger or in healing, that unifying bond which binds us all as victims, as survivors, is a place of brokenness; hence the healing. But unlike before, where our brokenness left us emotionally impotent, silent; compliant, it now serves as a source of power and strength. And it’s from this place of power, of strength; of healing, that we write and we share. So when it finally comes time to share your story, what will you be? A voice? Or an echo?