My first relationship with a narcissist destroyed part of me forever

narcice You know, we are supposed to believe that everything gets better again post-narcissist, and that is mostly true; however, I feel like a part of my childish dreams died for good–a bit of idealism, belief in fairy-tales, hope for a soulmate…all kinds of romantic ideas. A therapist once told me that I would heal, but there would always be a scar and if I focused on it too much, I would still hurt. That is true.

I’ve written about my history here before. I grew up with an absent narcissist father and a narcissist mother who abused and neglected me. My childhood was spent in books and daydreams. It was all I had. I dreamed every day of a better life and of finding someone who would love me and give me the real family I was missing. I saw romantic movies, read books, heard music and daydreamed about a soul mate who would understand and love me unconditionally.

One year, I met the person that I thought fulfilled that role. It was the happiest year of my life. We did so many fun things, and I was filled with joy at finally having my dreams turn into reality. There were signs of abuse very early on, but I was so dedicated to believing in my ideal man, that I ignored the signs. A woman with self-respect and boundaries would have left on the first date, because that’s when the controlling started. I didn’t. I was starry-eyed and looking for love and an escape from abuse. Through all of the fun trips we took, the feeling I remember most is hope for the future. Even though the relationship turned abusive and left me miserable, I truly do remember some of the days as the best days of my life–not because of my partner, but because I felt like I had everything I’d ever dreamed of.

That was nearly ten years ago, and I have no feelings for the man who turned out to be my first husband, and first abusive romantic partner. But, every time I see or hear something that reminds me of what I believed were good times, I still feel pain. Sometimes, so much pain that I need to cry, but more likely, I change my thoughts quickly because I just can’t think them without feeling as much hurt as I felt the day I was discarded after two years of trying to please an un-pleasable narcissist. I had loved with everything I had to give, so when he was criticizing every single thing about me, I tried harder and harder until I had no spirit left. I thought my dreams had come true, but they turned into a nightmare and left me broken. The best year of my life was followed by despair and then the worst pain. It still haunts me.

When I ended up with a narcopath abuser who was much worse than my first husband, I was so glad to get him out of my life, that I never felt a bit of pain. (Just regret that I trusted someone so evil.) But, the first narcissist husband did the real damage. The experience killed my child-like faith and hope in romantic love and happy endings. I still have hope and love, but they are very subdued now, scarred by reality. The idealism is gone. My dreams are more practical, and middle-aged.

Instead of wanting a soul mate, I wish I had a partner. Instead of someone who cherishes me, I’d settle for someone who simply respected me. Instead of wanting the man of my dreams, I want a good man that I can respect. Instead of romance, I want friendship. But, I no longer believe in soul mates, or falling in love, or feeling so excited that I’d dance around a room. That part of me is gone and never coming back.

I wish I could say that *everything* gets better, but I honestly don’t know how long it will take, if ever, for me to stop feeling sick with emotional pain about the joy I had during that wonderful year, then the despair I felt when the truth came. I can promise that we get stronger, wiser, smarter, and more thoughtful after surviving narcissistic abuse, but I don’t know if the wounds ever completely go away. I guess that’s how life goes.

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16 thoughts on “My first relationship with a narcissist destroyed part of me forever

  1. You described my life..the one that no one else had lived or so I thought.The pain is almost too much at times. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I am left with the same feelings. Except that I don’t want anyone any more. I am so thankful to be by myself, in charge of my own life again, I don’t think I could share my life with anyone ever again. It is actually healthier to want a partner, a good man you can respect. That’s what it really should have been. Romance, and soul-mate doesn’t even sound good to me now.

    • Crystal..I relate so much with your comment. I am learning to be happy with me. Trust is a huge issue. Don’t know if that will ever be possible again.But I am determined to travel this road the best I day at a time. It is lonely sometimes but it’s getting better as I learn more about myself. I never really had an identity if that makes sense. So I like who I am now and am not concerned with what others think. I do wish I had one good friend that I could trust…maybe in time.

  3. The 2nd to the last paragraph really resonated with me. I copied it and came across it again tonight. A couple of years before the discard I told my best friend that I never wanted to fall in love again like I did with my Narc ex-husband. I loved that man beyond reason even after he left (20 year marriage and my heart would skip a beat whenever I saw him, blech), had been having an affair, and lied about it and living with her! Yes, he had a lease on an apt with her and I had to find out by running a credit check and he STILL wasn’t honest when confronted with the evidence. Despite the abuse I kept thinking that he loved me, (he told me so! It was “always and forever”, “I’m happy married to you”, “I don’t want another wife”, “I would be nothing with you”–retch, lies…all lies) and if he’d only acknowledge his horrible behavior that he’d get help and things would change. Hahaha, yeah, right.

    But I’ve met someone since who has actually become a friend. He’s never made any big romantic gestures, made any grandiose promises. Instead, we’re taking it slow. We seem to be honest with each other (I’m still wary, but have some hope that I’m not wrong). We seem compatible in many ways, but respect our differences. We’ve had a few tiffs, but he made a concerted effort to work things out (something I never got from my ex). I don’t know where this is going or what the future hold for us, but it’s given me a new appreciation for what can be possible. Even if it doesn’t last I think this is the sort of relationship where we both would move on better for the experience. Not that it wouldn’t hurt too, but that there’s a good chance we would treat each other with kindness and compassion if we decide things can’t go any further. But the thing is–I like this; this seems more real than years of passionate love that brought only heartache and nearly destroyed me.

    Soul mates don’t exist, being madly in love is overrated and, really, it is madness. There are other types of love that can bring as much or more joy.

  4. Seeing posts and blogs such as these allowed me to be able to gradually recognize that I had fallen into a bottomless pit when I started seeing a narcissist woman. She was everything and everyone I had ever dreamed that I needed to be a partner, friend, confidant, and lover in this life. The initial “love bombing” phase was a heady experience indeed. I was praised, loved, (I thought), and had convinced myself that I had found a life partner, maybe someone I could have a happy marriage with. My first marriage ended in divorce, and while it was upsetting, we both knew we were not a good match. We talked, cried together, said goodbye, got some measure of closure from each other and both moved on. Something i didn’t and never will get with my ex N. As one of the previous posters remarked, the first year was one of the happiest of my life. There were signs, such as her never ever being wrong about anything, but nothing really serious. Or so I thought at the time. The devaluation and discard came literally out of nowhere and after about a year, I am not close to being able to move on. My thoughts are still on the good times, despite the horror of a human being that I came to eventually see. I am a financially, emotionally and a physically stable man. A strong man before this. I see no end in sight for the endless spinning thoughts and urge to think to myself, “Maybe there’s something else I could have done.” Even knowing what I know now about her. I am determined to get through this, but like some of you all here, I don’t know if I’ll ever whole again. God Bless you all.

    • that “whole again” feeling, is to me just that feeling of normalcy from the before, before he intruded, pursued me, -a narcissist, cheating on the woman he lived with, who he had cheated with, on his wife. But, I didn’t know any of this. I want that “whole feeling” again but if a piece of you is taken, not given, part of you is missing and after five years I have not been able to get it back.

  5. I knew from the very beginning of our 18 month “relationship”, that it was all wrong for me. I always had a knot in my stomach. My intuition was truing to tell me something and I ignored it. It wasn’t u til these last couple of months that I started reading about narcissists. I had no idea. Well… This month it came to an end. He has been acting strange and distant this last month. He was looking to secure someone new. And out of the blue, he’s gone. After numerous texts and calls left unanswered and responded to, he finally called me back. Blamed everything on me said he wouldn’t give me another chance, and that it was over. He hung up in my face. I spent 18 months loving this man to death. Gave him money for his rent, bought him nice gifts, food sometimes for his house, was there whenever he called. I was being the good girlfriend who was trying to otive my love to him. But he never cared. He was about money. He never really liked me as a person. I could feel it. But I was always there so why get rid. I finally started to stick up for myself and I stopped doing things for him. We were fighting all the time and he said I’m just full of dramatics and he wasn’t gonna spend his days like that anymore. I told him he is a narcissist and needs to get help. The door was slammed closed and there isn’t a crack for me to come back in. And I know I shouldn’t and don’t want back in. But somehow these people manipulate so bad, its like a drug. I’m going through withdraws. I’m completely devastated. How could he be so cold and do this to the woman who was always there for him? I haven’t been to work for 2 days. I’m physically I’ll over this. I want to feel better. But the feeling of betrayal is unbearable. And sadly.. I miss him to death. Its a sick thing, really.

    • I am sorry to hear about your experience with this man, Denise. I met a woman 20 years ago and was, unfortunately smitten with her at first sight. We had a mostly sexual affair, (we were both unmarried at the time,) and one day she just disappeared. Wouldn’t return calls or even acknowledge me in public! A few months later, I learned she had gotten married. I figured she was probably engaged and I was just a final fling before the marriage to this other man. Then out of nowhere, after 20 years, she messaged me on Facebook telling me she had thought about me a lot over the years and was getting divorced. She was going through a bad breakup with her husband, who she claimed was a narcissist. We got back together and she was charming, caring, and we talked and texted for hours. I realized I loved her twenty years ago, and still did. I thought it was destiny. Everyday we’d share our lives, talk and have this unbelievably intense sex. We had a couple small disagreements, but less than probably most couples have. This went on for 8 months. But I was always aware, even from the first time, that something just “wasn’t right” with this woman. She was never wrong, and became angry if I even suggested that she was being unreasonable and had hurt my feelings about some thing. Like catching her in outright lies. Anyway, as soon as I began to figure out that it was more than just a little something off with her I realized she had no ability whatsoever to actually care about someone else. She had no ability to put her self in my, or anyone else’s shoes. I began to research personality disorders and it hit me like a train when I realized she was full blown. NPD. Every symptom was there all along. When I began to gently question her, she disappeared again. I got a text that she was “talking to someone else” and wanted to stay “friends.” I realized she wanted to keep me on a shelf for supply if she ever needed me again. I told her how I felt about her and got NOTHING in return. Not a “I’m sorry it didn’t work out” , or any attempt whatsoever to explain why she was “talking” to some one else. I was destroyed. My self image, self esteem and overall mental health was in the gutter. I was tossed away like an old shoe with no explanation to this day. It’s been about 7 months and I am starting to become my self again, but it’s hard. I tried to go no contact but broke it a couple times, but have managed to stay away from her. She suggested sex out of the blue after about 5 months of not seeing each other, and I turned it down. I spin and think about her a lot still, and wonder if there was something else I could have done, but I know deep down there isn’t. These people are bottomless, empty pits that lack empathy and the ability to truly love. Do not contact this man, and avoid any hoovering attempts. You will get there. It will probably be a while, but you’ll get there. Concentrate on YOU and your present needs. Posts and blogs from victims of these people helped me tremendously. You will move on from this if you leave this man alone. I promise. Take care.

    • And one last thing…I think now that the most important thing I realized and was hurt the most by, is that our “relationship” meant so much to me, and meant absolutely nothing to her. You are not alone in this.

  6. I was with a Narcasistic women for a year. Went through the stages, love bombing where I felt like i’d truely met the love of my life, it was an amazing time. Then devaluation started to kick in, little comments about my clothes etc which at first I thought were the normal relationship differences we’d resolve.

    Then the criticism became more aggressive and nasty and personal until I started thinking am I a bad person, what am I doing wrong and I tried all and everything I could to ‘FIX’ my issues since nothing was her fault. I was blamed for everything wrong in the relationship, friends started suggesting I get out as it was wrong but I stayed with it because I was in love with her.

    Then finally the discard came and nothing could convince her and she turned very nasty trying to belittle me with comments of the most ridiculous nature. Broke my heart but as with most contacted me a while later as though nothing had happened but by this time I understood about naracistic traits and that I had now become a backup supply.

    Both guys and girls have their hearts ripped out by these people, you try everything to please them but they lie without any regret, they have little to no empathy for others, they are always right and you are always wrong, they change account of events that happened in the past between you which starts you questioning your own memory of events. They manipulate you to get what they need and they will project their negative emotions and self doubts of their character onto you making you believe you have all these negative traits. If you question anything about them, they will turn it around to make you think you are the problem. You can’t discuss and resolve problems because they are not able to handle adult conversations. It has to be their way or the high way and you start feeling you are walking on egg shells.

    When they leave you, you are left a broken person, you gave so much and then you realise they just take and move onto the next. It’s hard to understand unless you have been through this with a narcastic personality.

    But the key to moving forward to not let it ruin your future is to accept there was never a future with these people, they have cluster b type personality, you never stood a chance. Also I realised that you do attract as you act, I attracted my narcastic into my life because of insecurities I had in myself which is a perfect person for a narcastic. Look at yourself, ask yourself why the narcastic picked you because that is what they do, they pick someone with certain personality traits. Use the time after the discard to learn about yourself, improve yourself, the narcastic will not care about your improvement so don’t do it for them, do it for yourself and other good people will notice and love will come to you, when you find it you will know and the narcastic episode in your life will have been a silver lining as you will have grown and learnt things to give you the chance to find and experience real love, kind of ironic really.

    • I am so sorry to hear that you went through this. I suffered the same fate. I, too just got a call this past Tuesday from my ex narc as if nothing had happened.I was polite, but the thought of her repulsed me. These people surely lack the two most important qualities that make the rest of us human. The ability to truly love and feel empathy. I am sorry that you had to deal with this, but give it time. It’s been eight months for me since seeing her, and I am still not myself, but am getting closer. I will heal form this and so will you.

  7. I am also going through this. It has kind of torn out my soul. That is putting it lightly. I had never dated anyone like him in my life. The love in the beginning was overwhelming, but so were the red flags. I weighed the red flags and I stayed, because I had never felt love such as this. What kills me is that looking back, the blame is beyond insane. I mean I was the one that apologized when he kicked my dog for peeing on his new deck OUTSIDE. He would pout and I would always apologize for things that were not my fault. I mean who kicks a dog for peeing outside anyways. I would apologize for everything and I was always the one starting fights. Well, I am freaking sorry that I have a hard time with your ex girlfriend calling looking for sex, but you will not tell her you are in a relationship, I am sorry that you hat my dog that everyone else that has ever met him love, I am sorry that I gained 5 pounds and you no longer find me appealing,,,,guess what it was baby weight from the child you demanded prior to marriage. I am sorry that I lost the baby and you hated me for it…honestly you psychopath…I never ever ever wanted any harm to come to anyone…but I pray that one day you see. I know you never will…but you are a shitty person. an very shitty person.

  8. I’ve been researching this for… 2 or 3 years since it was brought to my attention. I didnt know what a narcissist was. 6 years in my relationship and I’m totally depleted. I was a confident guy at one point. I know what I need to do. This site hits the nail on the head though. Thanks

  9. It has been almost 2 years for me from No contact and moving on (our relationship lasted 4 years), but something inside me says that my core has shifted after my experience so much that I even cannot imagine I would want to meet anyone in the future and share my life. I still mourn – i bury him every day again and again.

    He entered into my heart like a turist.
    Turist taking snapshot photos
    With the only aim to see the sights
    With a backpack, always eating on the go
    Leaving behind empty beer cans.

    But in My heart, there is a whole world
    not just one fancy cathedral facade.
    In My heart there are cities, mountain range
    and all the seasons.

    Don’t drink just one glassful of ocean,
    dive and swim in it with me.

    Don’t dash around on an airplane or a fast train.
    Come and walk, barefoot.
    Don’t develop your photos in an hour.
    Paint my landscape.

    Even in winter, come, into my heart, naked – you wont be cold.

    But above all, do not chop down trees,
    in my heart,
    They are not accustomed to grow back.

    Here I am, years later, living in my deforested land.

  10. I guess I’m a sucker for the charm of A faker. I suffer the damage. I don’t have those feelings of excitement anymore. And I cry because of it. And I don’t believe there are soul mates. Not only that but because it’s not biblical either. And the heart is deceiving. Don’t follow it. But I still got married my wife is good to me. She loves me. It’s not fair to her. I love her in an unconditional kind of way. Like because it just the right thing to do kind of way. But not because I dance with excitement. Flowers and butterflies and magic. It’s a well she’s good to me. So ehh whatever I beats burning with desire and living in sin Because that part of me is dead. And it brings me to tears. It’s not fair to my wife. But it’s the truth. But i will continue to be a good man for her I make my marriage work because I love God if anything. I’ll just have faith one day he will fix me. And I’ll keep trying to love and be good to others.

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