If I am completely honest, I knew the day that the – what I once believed – great love story of my life was ending. I remember the exact moment.
It was late on the evening of October 8th, 2015. It was that night, when his fists came crashing into my head, hitting me so hard that all I could see were white flashes of light, and I was lying in a heap on the concrete floor of my bedroom, bruised, crying and frightened when I knew I would never again be the same person I was before that moment. At some point I managed to scream and he stopped punching my head into the concrete floor long enough for me to get to my feet and get help.
I had previously said to him and others that I would be forever changed as a result of loving him. To be fair, I didn’t think it would be exactly this thing that would change me so irrevocably but nonetheless, the changes he wrought in my psyche have been significant.
That’s not exactly right. He was simply the vehicle that Christ would use to bring about some of the most significant change in my life to date.
What was the “great love story” of my life was in fact a journey of destruction, high highs and low lows, and the near annihilation of the person I am.
I’ve been told that I have an incredible amount of love to give, that I am kind, that I am compassionate, that there is much goodness in me, and that I am a rescuer. It’s true. It’s also these very qualities that make me a desirable target for the self-serving, the narcissist, and the emotional vampire. And on this occasion, I was thrown into the orbit of one of the most damaged men I’ve come across to date. The trauma and loss that this man has suffered sparked in me the most prodigious desire to pour as much of my love and myself into him as I could in an effort to heal him, to ease the pain that he has carried around with him his whole life and give him back some of what he lost.
This would prove to be naive, idealistic and futile because no matter what I did, no matter how I behaved – and there was a large amount of self-denial, self-sacrifice and very poor choices made on my part in an attempt to strengthen our bond – it was never enough for him. No matter how low I sank into the pit, I could never quite reach him in the darkness. And he likes the darkness, it’s familiar, it’s safe, he is alone there. He and the darkness are companions and he will not break from that which he has known since he was a child.
The narcissist is focused solely on themselves and this stems from a profound and very deep wound, most often inflicted when they are children, which has unraveled and fundamentally damaged them.
Enter the Empath who responds with a visceral need to care for, love, and heal the narcissist.
You can ask any HSP (highly sensitive person) or Empath and they will tell you that they were drawn to the narcissist like the proverbial moth to the flame and I most certainly was. From the moment we met, I knew I would love him.
I met someone charming, affable and intelligent and who very much appreciated my giving, sensitive, and kind manner but before I realised it, I was living with someone who was focused solely on themselves and having each selfish need met with little to no thought as to how much havoc he was wreaking in me.
The lower I felt and the emptier I got, the more I sought comfort from the person I believed was my safe place from the world. Only I had it all wrong. I was battling to hold it together with my friends, family and job because of how he was emptying me out on a near constant basis.
He once said to me that he felt ‘bad’ that when I was sad or feeling low he was unable to provide comfort. Quite.
And so after the night of October 8th, I came home to our apartment (he was away for that week) knowing I wasn’t going to leave him. I loved him and I thought he loved me enough to work through what had happened and move on, together. We were engaged after all.
Only there I sat, alone, more broken than I have been, possibly ever, and I prayed. It had been a long time since I had come before The Lord. In complete and utter supplication, I asked Him to do the work for me. I asked to be pushed so far out of his life, to be given no choice but to walk away because I knew that I would have held on to that which was slowly poisoning me, until all of me was destroyed.
It took four short months for this prayer to be answered. And the separation was traumatic because in many ways I was not ready to let go. The truth all came crashing down around me when I did what I have never before done and probably should not have done that day.
I looked at his phone and in true Pandora’s box style, I found exactly what I was looking for.
The knife that ripped into me that morning zigzagged through my soul and each message I read sent a barb that tore at my innermost being, leaving me in shreds.
I would like to say thank you to the women – yes that’s plural, though there seems to be one front runner – who helped remove him from my life. I owe you a debt that I am unsure I will ever be able to repay. I owe you my sense of self and my self-worth. I owe you what I now know is my very bright future.
For a time I laboured under the misguided belief that any of that relationship was about me. When I realised that it was not, it was as if a switch flipped. My self-worth and my value are not tethered to that person.
And then, after a few weeks, I received the inevitable phone call. Sobbing, apologising for how he had been so cruel, so damaging, so unable to love me the way I need to be loved.
And I cried too.
I told him I missed him, it was a knee jerk reaction.
I didn’t miss him.
I missed the person I thought I knew, the person who is no longer there.
Image: I wish I knew the artist, so that I could give credit.
If you know the artist then please let me know. Thank you.
Thank you for ripping my soul apart in so devastating a manner that I have no choice but to stitch myself back together – properly this time.
Thank you for showing me exactly the type of man who will never deserve a space in my heart again, ever.
Thank you for showing me that I am strong beyond comprehension – something I have never believed about myself.
Thank you for showing me that I am capable of the most incredible and all-encompassing love that a person has to offer.
Thank you for showing me the greatness of the love I have to give and how to keep that so fiercely guarded that I never waste it on another undeserving boy playing at being a man.
Thank you for showing me who you are and teaching me how to listen out for someone who is narcissistic and subversive, in effect teaching me exactly the toxic type of man whom I need to stay away from.
Thank you for teaching me how to not be so selfless that I (almost) forget who I am.
Thank you for teaching me that I cannot pour all of my love into another in an attempt to heal them.
Thank you for replacing me so easily that I had no choice but to excise the cancer that is you, move on and keep moving on, every day, one foot in front of the other.
Thank you for teaching me that my boundless love does not come from me (it comes from a Source so much bigger than me), and that despite pouring all of myself into you, I’ve in fact gained more than you could ever have taken away.
Thank you for teaching me that I am not hateful – not in the least – because even after all this, I don’t hate you.