What amazing parts of you did you hide to make your narcissist happy? More importantly, Why? With my narcissist, Julia, it was my (admittedly) exuberantly expressive and somewhat boisterous sense of humor. Julia is a relatively quiet and reserved girl, at least in comparison to my fervent loquaciousness. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for her to effectively manipulate me into being quieter and more reserved when around her. At the time, she very deftly convinced me that the me she had surreptitiously twisted me into, was the me that was happiest when I was with her. But the reality is, I was more worried about losing her if I continued being the real me than I was concerned about losing the real me if I continued being with her. You see, somewhere in all of that manipulation, triangulation, and gaslighting, I’d lost my identity in the relationship with my narcissist and I was brainwashed into believing who she had changed me into was who I truly wanted to be. The thing is, it wasn’t. And I feel quite confident that you experienced this same, if not a very similar, dynamic. So, where along the journey with your narcissist did you feel the need to hide some part of the beauty that is you?
Home. Such a simple, four-letter word. But if you asked any number of people to define home, you will get a myriad of copiously varying answers. One person might tell you it’s where they sleep each night, another might say it’s where they hang their hat when the day is done, and still another person might share that it’s where they go to escape the rigors of reality and the world. Regardless of how you define home, didn’t your narcissist feel like home to you? I know mine certainly did And through repeated triangulation, manipulation, gaslighting, and trauma bonding, my narcissist cemented in me an unwavering devotion that would last for years. And when our relationship finally ended, I found myself not only emotionally bankrupt but “homeless,” as it were. So where do you go when your heart no longer has a home?
Survivor’s Log: Stardate 73838.6. It’s been well over a year since I walked away from my narcissist. If I’d had any idea meeting her would have resulted in the 4-½ year trek through hell I was about to undertake, I would’ve turned and warped into a different star system. But I didn’t. Damn me, I didn’t.”
What did your narcissist steal from you? Mind you, I’m not talking about the common casualties of war – money or even physical items that one loses when battling a narcissist, most of which can be replaced. I’m talking about those intangible things that, no matter how hard you try, can never be reclaimed. As we have already established, the narcissist will spare no intellectual or emotional expense when it comes to planting those infinitesimal seeds of doubt early in the relationship. Then they simply sit back and shower those sinister seeds with a deluge of attention, knowing that one day those tiny little saplings will grow into the biggest of destructive doubts, thus aiding the narcissist in absconding with your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth. But what else did your narcissist steal from you as a thief in the night?
How long did the relationship with your narcissist last? From the first time you met, till the last time you interacted with them in any fashion. Mine was right at 4-½ years. That’s fifty-four grueling months, or 1,643 demoralizing days of the soul-crushingly repetitive cycle of narcissistic abuse – hoover, idealize, devalue, discard – lather, rinse, repeat. Looking in from the outside, one would think that after several discard phases, I would have finally realized what was going on and never returned to her or the abuse again. Unfortunately, thanks to the wonders of gaslighting and trauma bonding, I was caught in my narcissist’s web of manipulation and deceit, thinking I was in love with a person when, in actuality, I was in love with a lie.
Although it’s been well over a year since I walked away from the abusive and destructive relationship with my narcissist, Julia, I’ll never forget how, with each discard phase, I grappled with an uncontrollably unyielding yearning to return to her (and, believe it or not, the abuse). And even though it wasn’t too long into the relationship before I saw the cyclic hoover, idealize, devalue, discard phases incessantly repeating, as a result of the malicious miracles of trauma bonding and gaslighting, I didn’t actually put the pieces together until well after the relationship ended and Julia’s brainwashing fog began slowly dissipating from my mind. However, until that grand day of emancipation came to fruition, as time and the relationship painfully and pedantically plodded on, with each instance of that deplorable cycle of abusive phases coming full circle, I found myself growing more and more resentful of Julia and my apparent inability to tell her the manner in which she was treating (abusing) me was completely unacceptable. And somewhere along our 4-½ year trek, I crossed that line, the line between love and hate. I went from loving my narcissist deeply and intensely, to despising her thoroughly.
Did you sell your soul for your narcissist and the relationship? As I sit here now, looking back over the course of the 4-½ years with my narcissist, Julia, I can’t even begin to count the number of sacrifices I made for her and for the relationship. Mind you, I’m not talking about the usual gambit of sacrifices we willing choose to make when it comes to spending time with someone for whom we deeply and genuinely care. What I’m referring to are the sacrifices of one’s core morals and beliefs, one’s relationship deal-makers and deal-breakers, those things that are, and rightly should be, the unwavering conditions of what are and are not acceptable when entrusting another person with your physical and emotional welfare and well-being. Those very reasonable and rational relationship boundaries that were, and if you’re currently with your narcissist still are, being unceremoniously ravaged and raped on an almost daily basis. And yet because we were so surreptitiously manipulated, we kept returning for more abuse, more punishment, more violation, more disdainful disrespect, and all at the hands of someone who promised love but, instead, delivered pain – our narcissist.
“If you just weren’t so needy / clingy / desperate / insecure / [insert belittling attribute here], things would be better between us! We would be happy again!” How many times did your narcissist “lovingly” share these words, or very similar words, with you? How many times were we the reason the relationship was falling apart? Somehow, it didn’t seem to register with our narcissist that their lying, unfaithful heart and wandering eyes, or trove of opposite-sex “friends” repeatedly expressing far, far more than appropriate aspirations for that friendship to become something more than “just friends,” was the true reason the relationship found itself cast upon these rocky shores. And yet, somehow, it was always our fault that things were falling apart, wasn’t it? If only we would do, try, be better, then things would be better between us once again. If only…
Regular readers may recall that in late-November 2019, I was contacted by Veronika, who you might remember from several other articles, informing me that Julia, my narcissist, and Artie, Veronika’s ex-fiance, had gotten married. This blessed union comes on the heels of a “lengthy” four-month courtship. You might also recall that my first reaction was to quite literally laugh. As we have already established, the narcissist will bounce from one relationship to another, in a neverending quest for both external validation and the unyielding thirst to find a replacement primary source of narcissistic supply as a successor to the supply that was lost when the relationship with their empath, (that’s what you and I are or, hopefully, were) ended. But how could they move on so soon? Didn’t they hurt over losing us? Didn’t we mean anything to them? Didn’t what we share with them matter in the least?
Are you a person of faith? Even if you’re not religious, you’re probably spiritual to some degree. Whether religious or spiritual, wherever you observe your faith should, of all places, be an unquestionably safe haven, a place that can be frequented to both escape from what ails one’s spirit as well as find revitalization for one’s piety. However, it’s also the perfect place for a narcissist to lie in wait, looking for their next victim. So why do narcissists love the church so much?