Grieving a Narcissist
"If a relationship with a N is life in the Twilight Zone, then healing from a pattern of relationships with Ns is the Dawn Zone. When N-Codependents despise the Ns in their life for the abuse enough to want it to stop, really and truly stop, the beginning of freedom has begun. Leaving any N has more layers than a Napoleon pastry, each one painful in a different way."
Dear Recovery Friends:
Grieving the loss of a relationship with a Narcissist has many layers. They are not the usual layers of grieving a healthy person. The problem is that some of the layers ARE the same as grieving a healthy person but then there are layers reserved only for the loss of an N relationship, which are not understood by the 'civilian' population and can ONLY be understood by those who have survived a significant relationship with a Narcissist or Psychopath.
In a healthy relationship break-up one grieves:
The dream of love not continuing.
The break in the continuity of the familiar.
The pain of saying goodbye.
The sadness of the exchange of ill will in the parting.
A sense of loss.
Living with the nostalgia of things one used to do together, broken memories of past pleasures.
Well wishing put aside for self-survival.
Those are typical feelings that can come up after a break-up of a healthy relationship.But grieving an N there are other ingredients, not available to the public understanding, such as:
The nightmare of going from being idealized to being devalued.
Discovering the web of lies on many levels.
Coming to terms with the terrible, terrible understanding that one was not an object of love but a source of Narcissistic Supply. That in itself is so painful that it has many stages of comprehension
The dawning of understanding that one's nostalgia and tender memories of affection for the N were corrupted by the N's agenda.
Not being believed by people about some of the weird things the N did and feeling isolated in one's grief more than in grieving a healthy break-up.
Discovering with some horror, mingled with relief of a strange kind, that the person one loved was not the person one thought one loved. Everything about the relationship shifts into the garish clinical light of the DSMlV. One's object of former love is now something of a lab specimen, "a typical N".
Not being able to let go with love but having to let go only with understanding. The closure itself has the sadness of knowing the ex is disfigured, deformed but always dangerous.
When one hears one's healthy ex is having sex with a new person, married, or has gone on in their life, there is a sting of sadness, the nostalgia for 'what could have been'. That itself, the astringency becomes part of the detaching. And as time goes by that sting becomes a well wishing, including the ex in one's loving prayers. The ex gets woven into the fabric of one's fond memories.
But with an xN, news of their present life always bring chills of fear and twinges of unresolved grieving. Who are they hurting now? Will they ever come into my life again? Was I not important to them, was all that for nothing?
Knowing about the N's need for Narcissistic Supply one cannot help thinking will they come back for my NS? Was *my* NS something they treasured and miss? But in the light of day, understanding the N means that one is not valued for who one IS but only as a commodity, for NS, empty, meaningless NS. After the detachment is physically complete with an N there is the nagging abyss of was that all for nothing? It's a terrible loss and there is nowhere to go with that loss. It's static. It doesn't evolve into lost love. It just remains as a loss. Grieving a N is a burden, it's a hole in one's life.