“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi
Have you ever loved someone so deeply, and so strongly that the thought of having found a happily ever after in them fills you with ecstasy? I did.
I believed that the love I had for my partner could outweigh the fact that he was, in fact, a narcissist, and this was the start of a terrible love story.
From as early as I can remember I’ve always been a lover. I believed that with the right amount of love, anything and anyone could change, I was wrong. You simply cannot love a narcissist and expect to be loved back in the same way.
Narcissists love loving themselves, they are ego driven and feed off-putting others down for their own gain.
I learned this the hard way by putting all my love and attention in this person, and all I got from it was a broken heart and a broken self esteem.
When we first got together we were so ‘in love’ I felt safe in his arms and I trusted him, but as time went on I realized that he made me feel this way so that could tighten his grip on me.
I made the mistake of telling him how much I believed in love and that there is nothing more powerful than the power of love, (which is true) but he took my words and held it as leverage when things went south.
He made me believe he had my back
When you enter into a loving relationship with someone there is supposed to be an unspoken bond, the kind that lets you know that they are there for you no matter what. At first, in the beginning, he was there for me in all the ways a partner was supposed to be but as time passed he became withdrawn, and only showed up when he needed me and because I loved him so blindly I stayed, despite the emotional rollercoasters I had to endure.
He took away my identity
Loving someone who only loves themselves is one of the hardest things I have ever done. He played the victim and I played the hero whose superpower was to heal, with love. It was as though he sucked my very essence from my being. During this process, I began to lose who I was because I was so busy trying to mend the holes in his heart. He took so much of me that I barely had enough love to give myself. I forgot how to love myself by loving him.
He manipulated me into believing that the love he gave me was as good as it was going to get
Relationships are about watering each other’s gardens so that both of you may grow. He used this to his advantage by making me believe that all of his selfish traits and out hurts were a result of childhood trauma and that the only way he would overcome it was if I stayed and continued to be the ‘good’ girlfriend. When we argued he would blame me for not understanding him and the way he loves, and obviously, being someone who believes in love thought that I should learn to accept the way he loves me because, well, I loved him and if I loved him then I should love ALL of him. What utter bullsh*t that was!
Eventually, it became too much, I faded away into the background of his world and when I looked into the mirror I could hardly recognize myself. I found myself running to his every beck and call, constantly providing for his needs and wants and never for my own. If I ever voiced my feelings he’d make me feel stupid for not just doing what I want, which I now see was also manipulation because whenever I did do something for myself he would have something nasty to say about it because I wasn’t giving him that attention.
One thing I realized was that he never truly loved himself and that’s why he demanded so much of my love.
Finally, I gathered the strength to say NO MORE
It was after not being able to recognize my own reflection in the mirror that I decided to leave. Our ‘love’ became toxic.
When I left I began to realize that I was the one who was enabling his toxic narcissistic behavior.
His ‘love’ tore me to pieces, he shattered my self-esteem by making me believe that without him and all that he ‘did’ for me I’d be nothing. This was something I struggled to let go of because I truly believed that our love was the happily ever after kind of love.
It takes courage to leave a relationship you so deeply believed in, it takes strength to walk way and chose yourself. When I finally did this I began the long walk to self-discovery.
In his absence, I began to mend the broken piece of my heart by simply loving myself. I did the things that brought joy to my life. I started reaching out to family and friends, rebuilding the relationships that I had so easily disregarded because of him, and slowly but surely I began to recognize the reflection in the mirror.
The truth is, you cannot make someone love you, and no matter how much you believe in the relationship, love sometimes isn’t enough. Love is about balance and equality and when one partner fails to meet you halfway, the relationship can easily become toxic.
Know this, you have the power to change your reality because you are the master, and because we humans are made of love there will always be love. All it takes is the realization that self-love is the most important thing to cultivate because without self-love you cannot truly love another.