Q: I left my narcissist almost two years ago after being with him for 17 years – I adored him but couldn’t put up with the pain anymore – he cheated, lied, abused, and finally took everything of mine during the divorce. He moved his mistress into our joint home within three months of me leaving and she is now his wife. He enjoys telling me how solid their relationship is and that she will stay with him even if he has affairs. I am left devastated. I have lost my home, my love, my step children and my self esteem. I obsess about them and range from wanting extreme harm to come to them both to being back in his arms. I am trying so hard to re-establish myself but I am just numb to everyone and everything. I have a good man in my life now but I miss my narcissist so much – I am honestly not sure whether the pain of leaving is worse than the pain of putting up with my old life. I am successful in my career and hold down a stressful job. He has told me now that he will never contact me again and I believe him and I hate it. I just don’t know what to do to move on.
A: Sometimes it takes a very long time to get over a narcissist; they are masters at reeling you in…and you are still hooked. It took you 17 years to get to the point of leaving, your feelings aren’t going to change overnight. With time (but not distance) you have diminished in your mind the degree of pain you suffered when he cheated, lied, abused and stole everything from you (including your self-esteem). You say you miss him…you miss the man who cheated on you, abused you, and lied to you?…or do you miss the man he pretended to be? You are still longing for the happily ever after that is never going to come. He still has you hooked and I would recommend that you work with a therapist to help you distance from this man- you need to have NO CONTACT with him– whether it is by his choice or yours.
Stop communicating with him in any manner. You can’t move on without distancing yourself from him. Some day you will be able to love again and it will be true love, two-sided, and genuine. Don’t throw away the good man in your life right now because of chasing an unrealistic dream (nightmare, really). Try to focus on the fact that what you had with the narcissist was a one-sided love–what he gave back to you was false, just like all the other lies he told you. A narcissist is incapable of giving genuine love. Do you really believe that someone who loved you could cheat on you, abuse you, lie to you and take everything precious away from you? Please initiate NO CONTACT right away and make an appointment with a counselor or support group. Read (or re-read) “How to End a Narcissistic Relationship” on this website.