And she, like me, is berating herself that she's so undone. After all, its been 3 years since she first uncovered one of her ex's infidelities, the divorce happened earlier this year, so, by now, surely, she should be on her way to having her life renewed and sorted. But parting from a Narcissist just isn't a straight line. Normal people cheat and lie to cover up their infidelities. It's a self-preservation thing, of course. And many relationships break up when the cheating is exposed and it hurts like hell.
But parting from a Narc is devastating on a whole other level. And the abuse, bullying, frivolous litigation, degrading, gaslighting, discarding, love bombing, hoovering and all sorts of other delightful tactics Narcs use to destroy their victims just continue way past the sell-by date of the relationship itself (go read up about it on this site: Outofthefog.net). And we partners of Narcs go through the most disorienting, crazy-making apocalyptic time trying to find our way back to normalcy - some of us have been in the crazy space for so long that we don't even recognise normal when it finally arrives.
So our grief and craziness isn't just about being heartbroken. Pathology inflicts much greater wounds than that. They lie and cheat and make us think we are going crazy. They construct Truman Show stories around us and change our sense of reality so much that we struggle to survive the cognitive dissonance we experience when we finally come out into the light. I recognise myself in my friend as she slowly begins to see and understand her relationship for what it was. That she was minimised and abused all the way through it and is only starting to feel the pain of that now. That it was never just about infidelity. That we start to understand how our ex-Narcs are so well-versed in our needs and emotional hard places, that they use it relentlessly in order to manipulate us into doing what they want.
Today I found another WhatsApp transcript I saved on my computer. This one is a couple of days after I had found out about Debbie. I will edit some of it, because it has actually the most debasing and horrific things I have ever heard anyone say about another person, and I don't want to subject Debbie to it again if she ever reads this, and nor can I bring myself to 'out' John-the-Narc even in this anonymous forum. It is John-the-Narc saying whatever he possibly can to try and win me back. He uses every single manipulation on the planet to try to trigger my compassion, my fear of abandonment, the terrible lostness that I was feeling on those days. He fucked up and got caught, and now needs to bring me, his supply, back into the fold. When I read it again now, almost 7 months later, I am amazed at how I managed to follow the rules of leaving a Narc during that time. I did what the literature said and went No Contact. But at the same time, I was so so SO desperate to run back into his arms and forgive him for everything, SO strong was (and is) my addiction to him:
19 May 6:40 AM - John Smith: Trudy ..... there are things I CANNOT say on the open forumSorry - but I will write some things here this morning. As soon as I have mustered the courage
19 May 6:48 AM - Trudy North: John my world is now so full of lies and pain that I cannot believe anything you tell me. The Betrayal platform (the WhatsApp conversation I created between the three of us) makes sure you're telling the truth because Debbie will verify. You will just spin and manipulate me here and take advantage of my pain and disorientation
19 May 6:59 AM - John Smith: I have not read the forum today ..... or what you have written hereI don’t want to be restricted in what I am starting to tell you now
19 May 7:00 AM - John Smith: Here I am - in the very bottom crevice of the dark place I seek19 May 7:00 AM - John Smith: Let me talk to you from here
19 May 7:06 AM - Trudy North: I no longer believe a word you say.
19 May 7:07 AM - John Smith: Pardon my arrogance but please treat what I say with dignity ...... my words come from the blackest hole in my tortured soul
19 May 7:08 AM - Trudy North: You want me to face your pain but you're too much of a coward to face mine by reading the forum
19 May 7:11 AM - John Smith: Unless you have told her in the last day or so, Debbie has NO IDEA WHATSOEVER that I use her for my own deprivation and super-humiliation. She thinks I am just a kinky old man
19 May 7:12 AM - John Smith: She does not know that her body disgusts me....... and that THAT is what she is for
19 May 7:13 AM - John Smith: She thinks I am attracted to her, when I am actually craving the repulsion of it all19 May 7:15 AM - John Smith: I realise what is happening to me me RIGHT NOW......I am "enjoying" the utter humiliation of making myself tell you this19 May 7:15 AM - John Smith: Fuck I am fucked up
..........parts edited out to protect the GUILTY!!!..........
Interesting dilemma here: Is he thinking that by saying this to me about Debbie, that I will somehow understand and reconcile with him because he 'wasn't attracted to her'? He was with Debbie for more than 20 years - through fat and thin times. She's a lovely woman who is, herself, also devastated by this stuff. Did he mean it? Didn't he? He said so many of the same things to her and me (she and I compared notes). So. Is he using both of us to 'humiliate and debase' himself (I have been both plump and slimmer in our time together)? Or was he actually just in two normal relationships with us both (and others, of course - it was never just the two of us), and manipulating us both into believing we were the most amazing sex goddesses on the planet? Crazy making!! How much of his professed attraction to me was real? I have huge compassion for us both as we try to unravel this disgusting bullshit.
......ugh......more edited out here...sorry Debbie, if you’re reading this.......
19 May 7:54 AM - Trudy North: Stop this. I am not going to witness you reraping that poor woman. She is a good human being who does not deserve this. Call your shrink.
19 May 8:07 AM - John Smith: Sorry ..... you are right. This is too much information19 May 8:07 AM - John Smith: I have upset you even more, if that’s possible
19 May 8:08 AM - Trudy North: It's not the information19 May 8:09 AM - Trudy North: It's my compassion for Debbie19 May 8:09 AM - Trudy North: Call your shrink
19 May 8:10 AM - John Smith: I am Trudy19 May 8:42 AM - John Smith: My shrink is away till Tuesday evening ..... he will see me for a double session on Wednesday. Will you please come with me this last time19 May 8:59 AM - John Smith: I am worried about you - the pain and soreness I have inflicted on you has sent you to your most hurtful and abandoned place ..... deeper and darker than anything ever before. (is there a little bit of pride in this sentence? That he has so much power to have been able to inflict this amount of pain on me?)
I am truly sorry TrudyI know you too well (BIG button for me – so compelling to feel so known)
19 May 8:59 AM - John Smith: Even now you are not alone (Another great button – talking into my fear of abandonment)
19 May 9:03 AM - Trudy North: No. I'm caring for myself. Thanks. But no
19 May 5:38 PM - John Smith: The dark and the cold is closing in for the night. I feel your pain and terror inside me. I am holding you ...... wishing there was another wayI love you
19 May 6:16 PM - Trudy North: Debbie says you have made her feel like the sexiest woman on earth. Don't you dare ever break that for her, you hear me. If she really is as large as you say, nobody will ever be able to heal that if you break it.
19 May 6:25 PM - John Smith: I wouldn't Trudy19 May 6:26 PM - John Smith: How you doing ?19 May 6:26 PM - John Smith: Tell me19 May 6:36 PM - John Smith: Please talk to me19 May 6:36 PM - John Smith: I am worried about you19 May 6:36 PM - John Smith: I love you
19 May 7:04 PM - Trudy North: John you have been fucking another woman throughout our relationship. You have told her you love her. You have told her you're with me to protect your job. I remember your going to “Her Employer company” 'MEETINGS' even in our early days together. My memories of happy sexy loving times together have all been desecrated by the sick knowledge that you were fucking her through it all. I haven't just lost my lover. And my future. But my past as well. There is no love in that act of yours at all. Don't ever say those words to me again.
19 May 7:16 PM - John Smith: Trudy ..... I am not ALL bad. You know me better than I know myself, so you understand the good man inside me (find Trudy’s compassion now).And that man loves you to the ends of the earth.I have an inglorious dark and terrifying monster inside me ....... but my true and real self adores you.I am so very very sorry for all of this misery
19 May 7:28 PM - Trudy North: It's not about good or bad. I am having to come to terms with the fact that the relationship I thought I was in DIDN'T EVEN EXIST! !!
19 May 7:30 PM - John Smith: I am so sorry that that is how you see our past ..... but I don’t blame you at all
19 May 8:24 PM - Trudy North: You saw how much pain I went through with painter girl (caught him sexting her – long story! Ugh!) . It was then that you had a chance to exit your choices and recommit to me wholeheartedly. But all you resolved to do was cover your tracks better.
19 May 8:29 PM - John Smith: Trudy ..... I have completely fucked upI made some ridiculously bad choices that have completely devastated you, and destroyed my lifeMy excuses are pathetic and unviableI have so frequently failed to rebuild my life when the opportunity has been handed to meAnd you are now paying the price for my stupidityI am embarrassed and ashamed. (And yet he lies and steals and tries to take more money from me than he has already stolen – shame clearly is selective in this man. Or maybe this is just all more of that wonderful bullshit he is a master at generating whenever the opportunity arises)
20 May 2:08 AM - John Smith: I adore you Trudy
20 May 4:11 AM - Trudy North: You can stop this now: you no longer need to hide late night sexting sessions by declaring your love to me at the end so I won't know you were doing it!
20 May 8:16 AM - John Smith: Or I can stay awake worrying and afraid ..... and then tell you what’s in my soul (Yeah, right!! I’m going with the late night sexting theory)SorryI adore you
20 May 8:41 AM - Trudy North: I would never know the difference. And would never believe you again anyway. I've asked so many times and you've lied so many times. That part of me is dead now.
20 May 8:45 AM - John Smith: I know thatBut it is alive and embedded within every fibre of my being stillI am apologising for itBut sorry ..... I love and adore you
20 May 1:00 PM - John Smith: Holding youFor your therapy and your doctors appointmentI am thinking of you
20 May 2:28 PM - Trudy North: Interestingly I'm not popping past my secret lover for a quick shag on the way to therapy (like he used to do with Debbie)
20 May 2:28 PM - Trudy North: I start my chemo on Friday. (Diagnosis confirmed by Rheumatologist)
20 May 2:30 PM - John Smith: Oh my loveSorry .......I am holding you and loving you
20 May 4:05 PM - John Smith: You will be shattered nowSorry .... I am still thinking of you and holding you close20 May 4:42 PM - John Smith: Are you safe ????20 May 6:04 PM - John Smith: I hope with all my heart that you are alright
20 May 6:07 PM - Trudy North: I'm fine (not!!!). But I'm going no contact with you. It's the only way I will survive this. This is the last personal message I will send.
20 May 6:11 PM - John Smith: I will hold you from here TrudyI love you very very much
21 May 5:30 AM - Trudy North: http://www.psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/what-your-favorite-porn-says-about-you/
21 May 8:59 AM - John Smith: That was hard to read ..... I don’t want to be this thing that I am, TrudyI want to be stronger than a man who is so easily influenced by his pastI am holding you still ..... my truth lies in my genuine love of you
21 May 9:02 AM - John Smith: I don’t demonize you in any way - I just feel genuine and honest and real about you (performance in court last week showed a very different story)
You are my normality
Well. Maybe that last line is the truth. I am normal. He is pathological. I created an anchor for him. He used that anchor, abused it, and now discarded it. And now I'm watching him unravel into the abusive horrific manipulative man that he is capable of being as he attacks the foundations of my life even now, 7 months after it was over.
I hope you can understand how disorienting it is - on the one hand to experience this loving adoring outpouring of feeling, and on the other, to have your life and money and friends slowly stolen from you under your nose. You believe it all. You believe none of it. People around you wonder why you are being so unreasonable to leave a man who loves you so much. And yet, only people like me know the Hell that it is to love a man such as this.
And why recovery feels like living through the Apocalypse.