Earlier this week, a fellow survivor of narcissistic abuse, Stephani, posted a tweet that really hit home. I’d never before contemplated this aspect of being involved with a narcissist. Consider: when we were first being groomed to become our narcissist’s new source, did it occur to you that every step you took in their house was you walking on the narcissist’s previous supply’s proverbial grave? Did you grasp that every whisper so deftly uttered in the still of the darkest night, betwixt the most passionate of embraces, was an ethereal utterance within a mausoleum of warm linens and cold cottons? Did it ever register that your Eden was built on the resting place of the soul of your narcissist’s previous victim? Yeah. Me, either.

Lucky. If you’d asked me at the time what I felt, what I thought in having initially found my future-nex (narcissist ex), Julia, I would have told you I felt lucky beyond measure or definition. And why shouldn’t I have? She was absolutely stunning. Every step she took was so fluid and graceful – the product of 10-years of ballet – and that Russian accent only added an air of erotic intrigue to her every word. Her love of literature and Classical music was a breath of fresh air and with each inhalation of her ineffable magnificence, before I’d even begun to exhale, I was exuberantly anticipating the next. To say I was smitten is a grotesque understatement. And while it may sound as though I am still quite under her spell, I can assure you with absolute certainty this is simply not so. It’s no different than acknowledging that even a snake slithers with grace.

You see, that’s the funny thing about healing. There comes a point where you can look back, reflecting, reminiscing, even smiling, without missing what bloody near killed you. You can appreciate whatever (perceived) redeeming qualities a person has, or had, without actually missing that person. You can remember the few good times without wanting to relive them, especially when you grow to realize that the minute slivers of heaven are in no way worth paying copious volumes of hell. And though I realized that, before me, there had been others who fell prey to her smiles, her charm, the darkness within her that shone with a deceptively beautiful and blinding brilliance, it never crossed my mind, at least not at first, that I would one day become a brother within their Legion of the Forlorn and Forgotten. For as with many things beautiful, she was also quite deadly.Β 

It never occurred to me that, Mr. B, the man whom she’d begun surreptitiously seeing some seven years earlier when she and her first husband of ten years, Fred, separated had, himself, been traipsing about in Fred’s shadowed footsteps. And he would continue to do so for the next six years until she met me. Nor did it truly dawn on me that I was now unwittingly walking in Mr. B’s once-hallowed halls, sitting at his table, relishing the favor of his ex-wife-to-be. It never once occurred to me that I was simply another would-be husk from which any and all goodness would be unceremoniously suckled, drained, and sucked dry over the next 4-Β½ years until, one day, as with Fred and Mr. B., I’d find myself flippantly cast aside in favor of her new flavor, Artie, “…just a friend,” who, a mere three months after my final discard, would become victim husband number three.

No. Such awareness had yet to visit and grace me with its presence. But if it had, would I have tread any the more lightly? For that matter, would I have even entered this spider’s parlor knowing that victims are the only thing to ever emerge? I don’t know. I’d love to think I’d have been evolved enough, self-aware, and emotionally mature enough to have realized, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark…and it ain’t the fish!” But if I’m being honest with myself, the reality is, I would have probably just as blindly walked straight into that trap with no less exuberant glee than I did some seven years ago.

Sadly, it’s only hindsight that’s 20/20. So, yes. At the time, I had considered myself to be not only quite fortunate, but excruciatingly lucky to have found Julia. However, looking back, the only thing in which I was truly lucky, in which Dame Fortune had genuinely graced me, was the fact that, after 4-Β½ years, I escaped with my life. At the time, and for the 18-months following that final discard, I’d have definitely argued that I was neither lucky nor fortunate. Truth be told, I missed Julia. And such is the “magic” of trauma bonding: you actually miss what’s destroying you.

But slowly, as your mind and spirit begin to detox, you start to realize just how destructive this person and their presence were for you and in your life. Although that doesn’t make the process of healing any easier. The truth is healing can be quite messy and undeniably painful. As I’ve said before, we call ourselves survivors because not all of us make it out alive. Let that sink in for a moment. You and I, unlike an untold number of victims of narcissistic abuse, are here, now, the only voice to our silent suffering’s echoes. In this, we are lucky. For in this pain, in this healing, is where we find we are truly fortunate. If you’re still hurting and healing from your time with your nex, it may not feel as though you’re fortunate, but believe, one day, it will.

If you’ve already left your narcissist, wonderful! I sincerely hope you’ve escaped. Your happiness, if not yet, is joyfully waiting to be rediscovered. But if you’re still with your narcissist, no matter what you tell yourself, it’s not too late to excise yourself from your personal hell. It’s only too late when you draw your last breath. And do you want that to be while you’re still a prisoner to your narcissist? A slave to their whims, their bi-polar’esk mood swings, their gaslighting, triangulation, and tempest’s temperament, with puddles of your own tears the only things to embrace you at night? Remember, just as you are now walking in the faded footsteps of your narcissist’s previous supply, so, too, will someone one day walk in yours. Never forget, while the narcissist is your forever, you are their for now. If you stay, over time, untold volumes of your spirit – more of your soul than you can possibly imagine or comprehend – will find itself lying, quietly dying in those once-hallowed halls in which you walk, with silent walls the only witnesses bearing mute testament to your resting place.