Healing is Possible Even if You Still Love the Narcissist…


Lilies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While writing my last post, Love Does Not Die Even When it Should, I realized that part of me will always love my ex husband, a narcissist with Anti Social Personality Disorder. Finally, I understand that I do not need to ‘get to the bottom’ of my love for him, nor do I need to eradicate that love.

I met him when I was  eighteen, and our history has created a considerable volume of my personal narrative.  I can just agree to leave the love alone. I can accept the love without feeling threatened by it, and move on. Perhaps the part of me that ‘loves’ him originated in my young girl’s heart and  that love is frozen in a childlike state where it can  discern no evil but only good in the object of its affection.

Whatever the reason, I forgive my child self for loving him, I forgive my woman self for loving him. I don’t need to understand, psychoanalyze or eliminate this love in order to be done with him.

In fact, I’ve spent most of my adult life being done with him. Both times that he revealed himself as a selfish, narcissistic sociopath, I escaped. Once, with a young child in arms, and then again, eighteen months ago.

He has been a trap in my life. I have needed to escape him twice in order to survive and live a healthy life. Although the second time around, he passively aggressively ended the relationship by taking up with another woman, I salvaged my self-respect by making a clean break with him.

I could have hung around and gone in for a third round.  He made it clear to me in our last phone call  that he still loved me, and dangled the possibility of further or future entanglement . I could have  tried to ‘get him back’.

Instead, I broke the connection. I drew my line in the sand. Lucky for me, we live a couple of hours apart. I haven’t gone within seventy miles of him since the ending. I changed my cell phone number and my email address.

I guess what I am saying here is that while we cannot control our feelings all the time,  we can control our actions.

I am proud of myself for getting away from him and his narcissistic games and sociopathic mindset. I did the right thing at a very young age (22) to determine that I would not raise a child in his toxic environment and leave.

Yes, he came back and tricked me twenty years later. But, when I found out that he was tricking me, I packed up and left again.

I can promise myself that no matter what residue of feeling I have left for this man, I will not let him into my life a third time to mess me up again.



Betrayal: A Life Lesson

Fourteen months into the process this betrayal has become, a journey through brokenheartedness, shame, grief, denial, bargaining, acceptance, pain, and healing, I am recognizing a cycle. I have gone through a similar sequence of emotions before,and it was again, related to this man whom I believed to be my soulmate.

When I took the baby and left him and his druggie lifestyle at the age of twenty-two, I came north, to this same town, to heal. The cycle was different; I had a baby to look after and so instead of processing my grief, I ‘stuffed’ it. Instead of coming to terms with how badly my young husband had treated his family, I made excuses for him and held his friends responsible for his behavior. In this way, I sheltered my heart from the miserable reality that the love of my life was a real selfish scumbag.

However, although I did not go through the emotions of grief consciously, these feelings gnawed at me for a good long time, close to a year and a half, after I’d cut off all contact from him.

I did go through an intensely personal cathartic process of growth which was painful and quite lonely. It was a time for spiritual introspection and for guarding myself closely, keeping myself and my daughter safe, and meditation. I”m going through a similar experience now: I am wondering about the spiritual aspect of this part of my life.

I am convinced that the reason this man came into my life was to betray me; one of my life’s lessons was to be betrayed. Or perhaps, from his perspective, he had a choice. He had a choice at the age of 22 and then again, a chance to change that choice at the age of 42, and both times he chose against us. He chose addiction, lying, betrayal, and low friends over his family.

At any rate, I am now curled up in my den for the winter. My wounds are no longer raw: I have stopped licking them. I am standing up and moving on.




Rubens, Peter Paul - The Fall of Icarus

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Now that I am one month out of the initial shock of the betrayal, I am evaluating my reaction, holding myself under the microscope, to see what I can find.

I’ve divided my reactions into four layers of self; physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Well, here we go, one by one:

Physical: My physical body does not understand that is has been betrayed by his physical body. My body thought that it had been created solely to be with his body. My body still thinks this. I’m not sure how my body is going to handle this. I’ve pulled the plug for now to keep my body in the dark. Several decades of cold showers? Maybe I’ll become a nun. Not sure, but I have no clue how to introduce the betrayal to my body. “Body, you have been betrayed.” Hmmm. To tell my body directly about his betrayal would be like informing a two year old in direct language that her mother had been killed in a car accident. I must soften the blow and find symbolic ways to explain it to this youngest child, my body.

Emotional: On my emotional level, a little girl is still crying because she lost her boyfriend whom she loves so dearly. She cannot believe that he was buying another girl presents and telling another girl he loved her. She cannot believe that he was a liar. He is her own boy, whom she loved and missed all these years, whom the angels returned to her and now some bad dream has taken him away. She wants to awaken from the dream. She misses her boy and doesn’t know where he is. The mental self keeps telling her the story of the betrayal, but she cannot believe it because she knew that he only ever loved her, so the story of his betrayal must be false.

Mental: My mental self knows and accepts the betrayal. My mental self kept me safe through the discovery, shock and trauma from his betrayal by surrounding myself with family and friends cutting off communication with him. My mental self has pulled the switch on my physical self and has wrapped my emotional self in layers of soft cotton to ease the sharp edges of reality. My mental self keeps explaining to my emotional self, over and over again, just exactly what happened, and why he is no longer in our lives, and why he can no longer be trusted. My mental self has written a list of all the small clues that he was having an affair or had pulled himself away from me emotionally over the past year. My mental self has taken full control of the ship and is sailing it towards integrity, self knowledge and healing.

Spiritual Body- My Spiritual Being experienced an old fashioned fall from grace from the betrayal. A true Icharus fall, having flown too closely to the sun, my wax wings melted. I was flying higher than I had a right to, because the foundation I had built my trust in, my ability to fly, was warped.  The entire experience of reunion with this man was wrapped around my concept of spiritual redemption. We had broken each other’s hearts long ago, we had forgiven each other, and now, older and wiser and more tolerant, we were going to truly love each other in a love and trust which knew no bounds, and I had every confidence that he would be holding my hand at my deathbed, or vice versa, and that even after death, our souls would remain united. To have traveled through all of the tribulations of our lives and to have found each other and returned to each other with open arms and souls, had become the spiritual story of my inner life. Fall, fall, fall. Like those terrible falling dreams, like the endless black hole. To fall forever. But this weekend, in NYC, my soul landed on safe ground through attending mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and I will write more about this later. But my spirit has mended, my wings are now held together with gold instead of glue and I am again soaring again, looking down at this human tragedy I’ve been part of with complete compassion.