Missing the Narcissist

Now you’ve done it. Forced to choose between your own sanity, your future and sense of self, and the arbitrary, absurdly selfish whims of a mentally ill manipulator, you’ve chosen the high road to peace and clear thinking. You’ve broken up with the narcissist.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE!!!! CALL HIM!!! Beg his forgiveness! Yes, he’ll wiggle with glee at your showering him with this attention and taunt you with ambivalence or outright haughty insults as punishment for your taking control of your own life, but hang in
there! You might still be able to resume your place in his whacked psychoworld!

OK. I know. You miss him. We all know how that feels. But, now, let’s take a peek at this ‘missing’ thing.

I assume we all agree that with narcissists, we’re generally dealing with two people: The guy he is, and the guy he pretended to be. You miss one of them. I take it we all know which one.

Pretend Guy is gone. Deceased. This hurts. This really hurts. It needs to be mourned. In addition to the loss of Pretend Guy, you’ve got mucho grande abuses heaped on you by Actual Guy. Topping off this pile of misery and trauma, Actual Guy and Pretend Guy inhabit the same body. Only another psycho wouldn’t be thrown into a tailspin by the surreality of it all.

When he calls you after the breakup, he sounds just like Pretend Guy! ‘You’re alive!,’ you think. ‘You’re not dead! Yes, YOU are my true love! You’re finally back! Oh, WHEN can I see you?’

Whoa, there, Sister. Let me spare you a tiny bit of hurt here by having us skip ahead to where he slams you again and you wake up in the harsh, cold world of Reality. Things just got even worse. Pretend Guy is still gone, Actual Guy is still abusing you, Pretend Guy and Actual Guy are still the same guy, AND now any baby steps into healing you might have made just got deleted into nothingness.

And you wonder how he’s feeling. Of course you do; not only are you sensitive and caring (narcissists don’t pick hardasses for partners), but you’re conditioned to feel that way. The entire relationship was about him and his wants and needs. He literally trained you to think of little else. The real you, the pre-narcissist you, doesn’t want an abusive, mentally ill, inconsistent, selfish freak, ridiculous in his pandering for attention, chock full of contempt and inner conflicts that spill out and burn you. The real you wants a real partner.

“Hey,” I hear one loyal heroine say. “Don’t talk about him like that! He’s NOT an abusive, selfish freak! He’s…. Well, OK, he’s an abusive, inconsistent, selfish, ridiculous, freak, but he’s MY abusive, selfish freak!” Oh. Sorry. Hey, didn’t I see you last week on Jerry Springer?

For the rest of us, we need to heed the experiences of my online friend Lin. Lin’s man came on strong. Charming. Wonderful. They married, and he immediately became selfish, cold, and ambivalent about their marriage but refused to leave; he was unempathic, wildly defensive and manipulative. He was a Narcissist. Lin knew something was morbidly wrong, but she stayed; he’d grow distant, she’d work to make it better. How long did this go on before she read the writing on the wall?

Friend Lin stayed with her narcissist for three decades, until she ‘selfishly’ left him to preserve the remaining shards of sanity she had. I wonder if she has any regrets about leaving and wishes she could have him back, or if she has any general advice for the rest of us. Let’s ask her, shall we?

Aunt Alex: Hey, Lin. Do you have any advice for the gals out here who are on the fence about their narcissist partners?


Hmmm. Well, don’t pay any attention to her. She should have stayed for 31 years; maybe THEN he would have changed. Besides, YOUR narcissist is different! HE’LL get better! He will! I swear! Please, just take him back and get him away from the rest of us…

When we leave the narcissist, it’s because the abuse has gotten intolerable. Afterward, when he calls us and pushes the buttons he knows extremely well, the temptation to give him another chance can be overwhelming. We’re hurt; we’re mad; we want to recoup some of our losses; we love him and want it to work; we just can’t believe that anyone would be so warped as to hurt us that way, so we want to give them the benefit of the doubt. All roads point to trying again with the narcissist.

Except for one. Reality. Which is Truth. Reality is Knowledge, and Honesty with yourself. It’s Your peace. Your health. This road points in the opposite direction, away from the narcissist. Yes, it’s an uphill road, but if you can invest in the climb, the view from the top is spectacular.

Does it seem like if you just invested enough love and time in the narcissist, well, it just can’t help but to get better?

Our Lin spent 30 years wanting her narcissist to get better. I wonder if he started to get a little better around year 10. Or year 17. Year 23? Year 29? Is Lin content that she tried hard enough to make the relationship work? Let’s ask Lin.

Aunt Alex: Hey, Lin, are you glad you spent 30 years in a ‘relationship’ with a narcissist?


Sorry, folks. Apparently I said something wrong.



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11 responses to “Missing the Narcissist

  1. Please delete the above post, there is a typo in it.

    I really love your essay. It is fabulous! I only wish I had someone talk to me like this 23 years ago. It took that long and a world of hurt to finally say “No More!” I would love to put a link on my blog to this post. Can I have your permission to use your story. I really think it is a wake up call to all of us who have doubts about whether Mr. Pretend was real or not and if we could have only done something MORE or DIFFERENT to make him stick around. Uhg!

  2. Can you post a link on your blog, and talk about it, you mean?

    You bet, girlfriend. Spread the word. 🙂


  3. Donna

    It’s taken me 4.5 years of an online ‘romance’ for me to be able to read this article and genuinely laugh at its truthfulness. I knew years ago my ‘friend’ fit the profile for an N, but I just didn’t want to believe it. I missed him so much I thought I would die if I couldn’t stay in touch with him. Thank you God, I can finally see what a sad little person he really is and feel sorry for him. If he contacts me again, I plan to play with his head…..;-)

  4. AdmitTruth

    “Pretend Guy is gone. Deceased. This hurts. This really hurts. It needs to be mourned. In addition to the loss of Pretend Guy, you’ve got mucho grande abuses heaped on you by Actual Guy. Topping off this pile of misery and trauma, Actual Guy and Pretend Guy inhabit the same body. Only another psycho wouldn’t be thrown into a tailspin by the surreality of it all.”

    This is SO spot on. The problem is, Pretend Guy is dead, but his corpse is alive and well and walking around sporting his beloved face. Real Guy understands the advantage of this built-in mindf— all too well.

    The entire article is a joy to read, the way it uses absurdity to deal with a very real emotional dilemna and make it seem like, well, not so much of a dilemna after all. THIS was the passage that slayed me:

    “When he calls you after the breakup, he sounds just like Pretend Guy! ‘You’re alive!,’ you think. ‘You’re not dead! Yes, YOU are my true love! You’re finally back! Oh, WHEN can I see you?’ ”

    Every single word of that, punctuation and use of all-caps included, is just 24 karat GOLD. I laughed hard all the way through, and have been walking around the house saying, in my best Rescued Princess voice, “He looks just like PRETEND GUY!!” And then laughing myself silly.

    By way of backstory, after a 4-year on-again, off-again relationship, I got my final rude awakening from my N just about a month ago. The words on this website give me a GREAT perspective on the whole situation, and my story begins to look less tragic (although of course it is that) and more comic all the time. I’d rather laugh than cry anyday. THANK YOU for the gut-busters.

  5. David

    I wish there were more about female narcissists. I”m a very sensitive and gentle and giving man trying to put my life back together and come to terms with the firestorm of my 2 year whirlwind with a female narcissist. Yes, pretend and real. I agree. I’m completely addicted to what the pretend “her” shared with me and what I felt when it was right. Sex, closeness, acceptance, intimacy. The very things that evaporated and became tools or control and crushing aggression. I’ll never be the same, one day I hope I’m better and stronger for it. I think I will but don’t know how to get from here to there. Let go of the desire for that delicious closeness. Thank you for your postings.

  6. Dawn

    hello – I am going to start with this post to see how my name shows up here. My annonymity is very important and the need to stay safe is even more so.

  7. Dawn

    okay – now I can say what I need to say. I would like to first reply to Donna’s post and the last thing that she wrote – “I plan to play with his head”. Donna the worst thing you can do is mess with a narcisist because they are like a ball balancing on the edge of psychopath. They can get physically abusive. Please remember they have no empathy and you are the narcisistic supply that they are loosing. Please be careful.

    When I finally wokeup and realized something was wrong and that this relationship was toxic I started searching the net for information on :”toxic relationships” and that’s when I stumbled upon this personality disorder called “Narcisism”.

    I have been in a relationship for 7 years with a man who I called my friend. It stared out as a friendship and so much that has been said here on this website is what has happened to me throughout those 7 yrs. Now I am working very hard to separate from this friendship. The reason why I found this website here is because I am feeling the need after 2 weeks of removing myself 100% from the situation to contact him. Instead I am finding these types of forums to speak about him instead of to him. I am keeping it green so I don’t forget what I have been thru and know that I am not alone in it.

    I can’t say too much more about myself personally because the Narcisist that I am recovering from is also a drug abuser (which many N’s are because they have an extreme addictive streak) and is doing what many narcisists do, engaging in dangerous activites and feels he is above the law. He is having fantasies of getting even with someone else that abandoned him and he made the mistake of telling me of his dangerous thoughts. That was my red flag. Then 2 weeks ago when I said no to his request to help him with something he started calling me that person’s name saying that I was just like them. So the threat became my reason to stand firm but I have to be very careful. He is now that ball teetering on the edge of psychopath.

    I truly believe that we are victims of past narcicists, those people who when we were growing up we needed to raise us; and/or if we grew up in alcoholic or codependent households. We are prime targets for a narcisist because we don’t know any different. That’s why it takes so long to figure out that we have been had. I can’t focus on all the years I’ve wasted – I am looking to the future and all the things I can now do and hopefully not fall into this trap ever again. It is giving me a new life with so much to look forward to as long as I keep vigilant and not let him back in.

  8. dawn hall

    hi all it’s been two weeks and I’ve managed to not make any contact but it’s been really hard.

  9. Just recently I have been forced to deal with/cut off an incredibly terrible narcissist, my fiancé’s friend. She is the herpes narcissist! She refuses to have personal accountability, never is wrong, cannot loose at anything, will ignore everyone else’s feelings or needs to satisfy herself. And worst of all will justify the mistreatment of others, constantly making it seem that they “deserved it” or “made her do it”. Constantly stating that others are the aggressors, that she is innocent. How do I deal with this person? I am for now ignoring her.

  10. I’ve been in a 14 month on/off rollercoaster ride with a Narcissist. He graduated from college with honors, is athletic, and is so charming. He works with children and volunteers coaching. He has parents that are well-known in the community. He’s had the same group of friends since 6th grade. My question is, do these other people know that he’s a Narcissist and just protect him or are they not subjected to the same treatment that I am? Is he able to be a Narcissist to those he dates and “normal” to people he works with, goes to school with, lives with? His mother refuses to talk to me because I brought to her attention a devastating lie that he told me about his father being in a coma (which he was not) in order to only see me after visiting hours (10 p.m.) for a full month. Incidentally, my own father had never came out of a coma and died. It’s all so confusing to me. He calls me a “sneak” for checking up on him (on public websites/facebook) and asking people questions about his life. He has told me over a dozen times that I should believe him stating, ” I have no reason to lie to you, not ever.” When I bring up instances that I know he is lying about (fact checked on websites, facebook postings, etc.) he’s told me, “It creeps me out how you conjure up these thoughts that I’m lying to you and deceiving you. I just don’t have time to even entertain the notion.” He is famous for keeping me waiting (up to 4 hours) but will text message me the entire time and not cancel. When I call things off, he waits for a safe “cooling off” period then sends me messages like, “You talk to me the perfect way. You know me so intimately, in a way that no one can touch. You’re sweet as an angel and fun. I just love everything about you.” or “You’re worse than a drug baby 🙂 I can’t be without you. I’ve tried and you’re too much of a good thing and amazing woman xoxo in every sense of the word.” When I bring up issues that we are having and then ask if he’s willing to do something different to resolve the conflict he responds, “You’re not asking for anything I can’t do baby.” However, in a day, few days, nothing has changed and he’s not followed-through with the request. When I ask him about things that I have found to be lies he responds, “I’m sorry that I don’t dignify the accusations with a response it’s just a waste of my time to play ‘he said she said’ with you or anyone for that mater. I do love you.” He refuses to take responsibility and will turn the problem on me, sometimes even using my own words, to mean something different then how I implied it. At times I feel like I’m going crazy – that it’s like a complete drug withdrawal – each time that we are apart. I don’t know how to get through the rough painful periods and end up giving in and going back only to be treated worse each time. I wish there was more information on how to be able to have “NO CONTACT” when you’re heart wants the “him he tells you he is going to be” more than anything in the world.

  11. vivigive

    I was lucky as Pretend guy went away for a weekend and shaved his beard shaved his hair supershort and waxed his body and came back looking feeling and speaking like a completely different robotic unloving person who did not want to touch me…it was disturbing but at least now when I see him I do not see Pretend guy he is ugly now.

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