Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No Looking Back

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.


  1. For me personally, I never really had that problem. The process was hard, but the decision wasn't because it came naturally, it was the natural climax to the build up. Even in the last months of contact, all the shit I went through, was with the same goal in mind. To get out of there and leave them behind. I was never afraid of losing their love or them abandoning me. It was the other way around, 180 degrees. I didn't want THEM. I wanted to get away from them. What I was afraid of was that they wouldn't let me, that they'd get in the way somehow. And what I was afraid was that I wouldn't be able to make it on my own, that people wouldn't like who I was. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to exist on my own. I didn't like THEM, but I was afraid they would keep finding ways to keep me down. I didn't want them, but I was afraid that I would not be able to make it on my own and if I tried, they would hunt me down and kill me.
    I was scared that if I left, I would have to come crawling back to them, because of food, because of money. But I would never go "crawling back to them" because they don't offer rest or safety or anything. I would rather sleep on the street then go back to their house. Sleeping on the street is nothing compared to them. I wouldn't go back anymore than I'd stick myself into a giant bear trap.
    I don't think what you said was bad. Thanks. Die is a great reply! It's never bad to be honest. You needed to say it. I wish I could've said something like that to my mom.
    And I don't think you can ever blame yourself for being a victim. You can't blame yourself for playing the role of victim. Victim isn't a role you play. By its definition, it's something you have no control over. By definition, it's something that happens to you. Everybody runs into somebody who is either a psychopath or someone not as good as them, who hurts them. Your childhood wasn't perfect. If we ran into abusive friendships and relationships because we were ACONs and you ran into one with your good childhood, what does that mean? That somehow you are different from us and the only one who just somehow magically went into a bad relationship on her own? Or maybe that your childhood wasn't perfect? Maybe there was one thread in your childhood that led to it. It makes absolutely no sense that you would exist in a vacuum.
    It doesn't matter how good or perfect a childhood you had, it's a myth that people with perfect childhoods are not victims. Just because of life, you are a victim. People with good childhoods or good people FEEL. They FEEL so they know what it's like to be a victim because everybody has been a victim. Whether as the butt of a joke, of criticism, of punishment, of a negative opinion, of not being seen, of a bunch of catty girls at the school, of a bunch of things we couldn't control. That's what being a victim is. You get hurt. Every person walks out into life and just by being a trusting good human being, they will get hurt. You can walk down the street and some asshole strange will call you a name. Is it your fault for walking down the street? Is it your fault for being you?
    Everybody runs into assholes. Everybody gets hurt. If people didn't know pain, they would never know anything. That's how they learn.
    I'm accepting that they might leave me alone and they might not. They're leaving me alone now, but I'm prepared for something to happen in the future. I WANT them to leave me alone. And fuck them, I'm me. Who knows either way.

    1. Lisa, I actually thought of you when I wrote this and I was like, if there is anybody who didn't look back, it would so be Lisa. I mean, the fear is still there that they'll try to hunt you down, but the bad feelings about them not changing don't seem to be there for you and that's fucking awesome. I don't feel that way about DH's parents either, but I think he does (or has, or will in the future). I can relate to people who go through that because I did feel that way once, with that narc ex-boyfriend.

      I didn't regret telling him to die because I thought it was a bad thing to say. I regretted it because, at the time, I wished I didn't even care enough to respond and I could have just shrugged that shit off and threw it in the garbage where it belonged. The fact that it bugged me was what he intended. I think that's why it bothered me that I responded.

      But, when I spend any time thinking about him, I do still wish death on him. He's evil. And no one deserves that kind of evil in their lives.

  2. Oh how I WISHED I would have been left in peace post NC! I agree, letting go of ANY hope for change on the NPs part is what needs to happen-and that's a boat-load of grief, facing reality and recognizing it just *isn't* gonna change. Period, the end.
    The day I wrote my short 4/5 line letter to Psychobitch I had spent the entire night before reading another nasty letter she had written and just thinking. That particular letter was no better, no worse, no different than any that had preceded it. But geographical distance and time away from her, her phone calls etc. gave me breathing room and opportunity to reflect on her behavior for the previous ~30 yrs. What really brought me to my knees, really hit home hard was the realization that not only was she NOT going to change but envisioning the rest of my life into the indefinite future would be more of the SAME.
    And THAT prospect was absolutely untenable. I knew I couldn't and more importantly wouldn't do this anymore. I had both the right and the responsibility to chose in this area of my life what I wanted and didn't want: I had admitted long before I did not love her, I did not like her and if I had a choice I wouldn't even have her in my life. And NC WAS a choice-painful, unnatural but honest. And of course she confirmed that decision beyond my wildest nightmares.
    Yk, we all have our younger years of "trying on" different relationships. That's just what we do at that time in life-I call it the "Do it now or do it later" thing: Mistakes we make in our younger years are not only learning experiences but generally a whole lot less messy/more easily "remediated" than finding yourself in your 40s with a couple of kids, a mortgage and all the responsibilities of adult life. And Mon Dieu, I was absolutely the Poster Child for horrid relationships! But they all taught me something-primarily, if I kept doing what I was doing, I was gonna keep getting the same results. Attraction and hormones are some powerful stuff. But if I didn't respect myself there were enough guys out there who wouldn't either. And sooner or later you're bound to run into them. (Here's to all the "Good Guys!") Gotta love that message: "...That's what I ALWAYS WANTED for YOU." Hahahahaha! Riiiggghhhtt!

  3. I was married to a Narcissist for three years.
    It was all my fault.
    When we met just before college, I knew.... this guys loves me too much..
    We broke up after 1 st semester, as i concentrated on my studies. Then my father died years after and this narc was super comforting.
    I was at my weakest, he got me!

    Saying that, eventually I got out.
    Had the longest divorce in history- WOULD NOT ACCEPT NO CONTACT.
    He used the divorce court to drag it out as long as possible.

    It was the fight for my life

    And for what? It makes no sense.

    I do not wish him death, death would be too easy for him.

    I am just so grateful that we don't have children, he would've been in my life forever. It would be like a terrible movie.
    Woman on the run from obsessive husband.

    I have to say though, it has damaged my faith in God.
    How can these people exist, if all they do is hurt people?

    1. I don't know how they are able to exist but I do know it sure as hell doesn't seem fair. In the end for them, it doesn't matter that they hurt us. It doesn't matter how angry we are, how sad we are, how tortured we feel, how much they've damaged our self-worth. They walk away. They move on to the next target. They only hold on to us for as long as it's "worth" it to them, insofar as how much we're willing to play the victim. And if we ever decide to stop being the victim, they move on and if it seems like they don't care, that's only because we've finally opened our eyes to the fact that they NEVER cared. Us leaving really doesn't make a difference to them.

      I'm so sorry. I'm with you. I know how you feel, right down to the fact that I'm thankful, everyday that I didn't have children with that monster because it would have been hell. Absolute hell. And there would have been no escaping.

  4. I just saw the movie Hush with Jessica Lange, I know its a bad movie.... but this is exactly the problem I have with my mother-in-law. I know it sounds weird like I am just one of those women who have mother-in-law problems.
    But it's not like that, its something else....

    She came to spend time with us when she retired.I loved her, she was so funny, vivavious, intelligent. I idolised her, in fact the idea for her to stay with us was my idea. My mother was is so traditional and frumpy, I was so excited to have an intelligent, funny and vivacious MIL. She was full of life!

    After about 10 days it turned dark...I began to see she couldn't back up the stories about her accomplishments she was claiming. But okay, she's eccentric and perhaps retirement was affecting her more than I expected.

    But when she went dark.... it coincided with my daughter and I being very ill. She looked after us but I can't shake the feeling that she poisoned us.

    She thinks me and my daughter (5) are stealing her son from her. A few things she said to me when we were ill gave me a strange feeling.
    I can't put my finger on it.

    Our daughter starting developing nosebleeds, had bad nightmares, wet the bed, and developed a stammer in the 6 months her paternal grandmother lived with us. She was a confident child before and now is very self conscious.

    I dread to think the things she was saying to our daughter when she was unsupervised.

    My husband's father dead and I wouldn't be surprised if she killed him.

    According to her and my husband our daughter is very much like his dad in her gentle nature and musical flair.
    I think that is where the trouble started. Which is just a crazy thing to say I know, but I can't explain it..............

    My daughter apologises now for everything she does, and with her first year at school looming I am concerned her now apologetic and submissive nature coupled with her stammer will make her a target.

    I also feel extreme guilt for inviting this evil into my home.

    I don't want to cut off contact because she is not MY mother it is my husband's decision. But I don't want her around my daughter at all.

    I was interested in family counselling but my husband is not interested....

    1. Anon, your story has me absolutely terrified, for you, for your daughter, and for your husband. If I've learned anything over the years of dealing with narcs/sociopaths it's to TRUST YOUR GUT. I can't advocate that enough. Your MIL sounds like a rather "typical" sociopath, charming from the start and "fun-loving" enough to trick people into thinking she's just "fun!" and "harmless!" But what you are describing sounds like a monster. Your MIL straight up sounds like something out of a horror film.

      "According to her and my husband our daughter is very much like his dad in her gentle nature and musical flair. I think that is where the trouble started. Which is just a crazy thing to say I know, but I can't explain it.............."

      I am absolutely terrified for her. Keep her safe. Keep her away, no matter what your husband says. Don't give up on sharing those feelings with your husband, but even if he doesn't agree with you, keep your baby away from her!

      Your final thought, about how your husband isn't interested in counseling, is distressing to me. I think EVERYONE could benefit from counseling, but in this case, he especially could. Even if you're "wrong" about some of this stuff, the clues are all there that something is wrong. The thought of your MIL poisoning your daughter (literally or figuratively) is absolutely horrifying.

      Also, your daughter's behaviors seem to me indicative of possible physical/sexual abuse. (I'm not a doctor or a psychologist, this is just my personal opinion). But for her to have such sudden and disturbing behavioral changes after spending that length of time with her grandmother is VERY critical, in my opinion.

      I'm so sorry, and if I had anything to say, I would say keep that baby safe! Keep her far away from your husband's mother. And in my opinion, "far" probably isn't far enough.