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.