I think it must be one of the hardest battles that an ACoN ever faces to just let go. By that I mean, when and if an ACoN ever makes the decision to go fully NC (we know not all individuals choose to take that road and this is NOT a criticism of that choice) he has to fully accept that his narcissist is going to move on, and leave him alone. For me, I rather feel like that's got to be the toughest pill to swallow, if only because having all the drama that comes with a narcissist at least makes the narc's target feel like she might have cared.
When I was dating a narcissist and was one hundred percent invested in that relationship, it was devastating for me to think that, when I walked, he wasn't going to come after me. And in my heart of hearts, even while I was trying to bury my head in the sand, I knew that was true. I knew that when I decided enough was enough and that I was done with the constant abuse, he would not change, he would not see the light, he would not suddenly decide to treat me differently. I knew that he might stalk me, oh yes, but that's not the kind of "coming after me" that I wanted. I knew that he might call me once or twice, while actively seeking out other women, and tell me that he missed me. I knew that he might bemoan his loss to others and claim that he'd lost the "best thing that ever happened to him" and that he'd always "just wanted me to be happy," while simultaneously badmouthing me to anyone who would listen.
When I walked, he did not follow. He did some of the things I stated above, even going so far as to find me on Myspace two years after we'd last spoken and sent me a message saying, I'm glad you're happy. That's what I always wanted for you.
A rage filled me when I read that message, like none I had ever felt before, even while I was dating him. I think because it was such an intrusion on my space; such an invasion of my privacy; such a reminder of how much pain I had felt when I was still with him; such an apparent attempt to destroy the self-esteem I had gained in the time we had been apart. I remember writing back the following message, not even giving myself the time to think about whether or not it was worth it: Thanks. Die. I remember the finality of it. I remember how good it felt, just for a moment writing that because it was true. I wished death on him for all that he had done and for all the lives he would probably destroy in the future.
And then, I regretted it. Because it meant that I had not truly moved on. I had not truly stopped caring about how badly he had hurt me, or worse, how badly I had let him hurt me. Because the common denominator in any of my abusive relationships have always been me. I was raised in an environment where abuse is never tolerated, I was not taught to go out and find it, as so many ACoNs have been. Therefore, I literally only have myself to blame. As much as that asshole abused me, I let him do it. I offered my soul to be ripped apart; I gave him my mind to torment; I willingly relinquished control of my body for him to do with as he pleased, no matter that I felt used, worthless, and weak because of it.
But anyway, I learned a really important lesson that day, which has repeatedly come up over the years: that when you walk away from a narcissist, it does not change them; not even a hair. And if they contact you months or even years later, they'll still have not changed. It's a terrible feeling to know that our absence from their lives does nothing to force them into a transformation. I think we all want to feel that our presence in their lives meant more to them than how much time they could steal from us, how much abuse we'd be willing to take, what we could do for them.
But that's not the case and never was. I don't believe that you can love someone partially, or that there can be love without genuine respect and caring. Narcissists will always show you what you mean to them, you just have to be willing to accept the truth of it. You have to be willing to accept that they never loved you, and never will; that they never respected you and never will; that they never recognized your humanity, and never will. Know that when you walk away, they will not follow. They will move on, with little thought about you, except for a general longing to have you back in their lives someday so that you can fulfill their narcissistic needs again, just like you used to. They'll find somebody else to fuck, somebody else to feed, somebody else to use, somebody else to manipulate, somebody else to hurt, somebody else to blame, somebody else to deceive.
And years later, they'll send you a casual email or letter, just a few lines, telling you that they just wanted you to be happy. Don't believe them, they don't mean it. Don't respond, it won't change anything. And don't look back, except to analyze your part as the victim in the abuse. Go No Contact and be free.
That's my wish for all of you. To be free.