“I love you, but I hate you. I miss you, but I’m better off without you. I want you out of my life, but I never want to let go of you.” Ugh. I can’t even begin to count how many times I was faced with this unbelievably painful and confusing conundrum. On one hand, I absolutely detested Julia, my narcissist, for hurting me in all the various ways she did. Albeit via simple manipulation through (yet another) discard phase, triangulation through jealousy and insecurity via the multitude of men in her reverse harem, or the old tried and trued infidelity epiphany.
You know what I’m talking about. That’s when someone claims to finally realize just how much they love you but only after they’ve pursued something romantic/physical with someone else. And generally only after they’d burned several thousand calories between the sheets with said person…or persons. But then, on the other hand, I loved her. I truly, in my core, loved her even after all the pain and anguish she’d wrought. Yeah. The incessant gaslighting had already left my mind a foggy haze and boggled whirl of cloudy confusion. The last thing I needed was someone who claimed to love me, putting my emotions into a blender and hitting purée – something Julia seemed to take great pleasure in doing repeatedly – and yet, that’s exactly what happened.
One such instance was with a fellow nurse named Brian whom Julia had met when she was nearing the end of her training at a local hospital. Brian wormed his way into Julia’s life and bed but he made it a point to pepper-in little insults here or there during their time together, just enough to push her away, to only then turn around and reel her back in – a somewhat diluted form of trauma bonding – and it worked. On this particular day, she and Brian decided to go for a hike and they took his Jeep. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the top was down, and Julia, being the princess she is, had her hair wrapped in a scarf to keep it from getting windblown and tangled. As they were leaving, Brian told her, “You look like a cancer patient,” (as in she appeared sickly/gaunt and to have no hair. And, of all things, this from a nurse!). Julia was somewhat put out but didn’t say anything. Brian had unwittingly given Julia a taste of her own medicine. And she hated it! Nonetheless, they went on their little hike and had a grand time that day.
And you see, it’s things like this, the back-to-back push-and-pull dynamic where the narcissist says and or does something hurtful, but then immediately on its heels, they do and or say something to make it better, to (supposedly) undo the hurt, to retract the pain which they have authored. The resultant dichotomy, the polar opposite feelings of both resentment and attraction in their empath slowly work their way into our psyche to the point that we find ourselves in such a perpetually confused state, hating the person we love, loving the person we hate. And we hate loving them; however, as empaths, it’s not truly in our nature to hate, so we don’t love hating them – and that unwanted disdain only leads us to fight a mini-war within ourselves. Do you see how confusing this all is? How confusing this all can be? Now imagine being your mind and trying to make sense of all this confusion. Yeah, and now we know why we keep going back – we just don’t know which way is up. But we do know, with our narcissist, there is an up, albeit short-lived, even if it comes with prolific and prolonged downs.
As noted, in the end, Julia and Brian wound up testing those physical waters (i.e. they had sex) and it was only then that Julia (claimed she) realized it was me she loved and not Brian. In fact, Brian is the person who provoked Julia’s assertion, “It had been so long since I’d sex,” when, flabbergasted, I asked how she could have climbed into bed with someone less than two weeks after meeting him and just three weeks after we’d broken up. I remember thinking, “Sooooooooo, you had to screw him to appreciate me? That makes absolutely no sense.” But, she was back, we were back together, and that was what mattered most to me at the time. That being said, I didn’t pursue the issue further. In hindsight, I should have and I wish I would have. I wish I would have called her out for being the unfaithful, absent, abusive, and toxic partner she is. But, I didn’t because I’ve never been one to seek war when peace is preferable.
So what about you? Do you hate your narcissist? Do you love your narcissist? Do you hate yourself for loving someone who doesn’t return the same love, affection, devotion, attention, commitment, and respect that you so freely give them? Yeah, I’ve been there, before. I get it. I loved my narcissist, too. I hated my narcissist, too. I hated loving her, but I didn’t love hating her. If you remember anything from today’s article, please remember this: someone will only do to you what you allow them to get away with.