Patches Make the Goodbye Harder Still.


I love Cat Stevens. I know there was all that kerfuffle about his allegiances and such, but none of that can change how old-school great his music is.

In his song Oh Very Young, the lyrics actually aren’t the most comprehensible in his oeuvre, but here’s a clip:

And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away like your daddy’s best jeans
Denim Blue fading up to the sky
And though you want him to last forever
You know he never will
(You know he never will)
And the patches make the goodbye harder still.

So, by the end of the verse, I’m not sure if he’s talking about dreams, the dad or the dad’s clothes, but I LOVE this line:

And the patches make the goodbye harder still.

The more you take care of something, the harder it is to let go when you must.

Entanglements with narcissists are no different. Take two couples. Both have a narcissist in them. Both last the same duration — say, eight months. One is a relationship where they don’t get to spend a whole lot of time together, and so the relationship crashes and burns and needs to be rebuilt only six or eight times. But the other happens to be more intense, and the sane partner in that one finds herself constantly under threat of loss, and with many upheavals and repairs — with Herculean effort, she’s temporarily repaired things a couple dozen times.

Both of these people are going to be roadkill by the time the narcissist is done with them, but the second babe is the one who’s going to have a harder time recovering. She gave so much of herself, and put so much work and love into constantly patching things up, that the loss is of the man, the potential, the hope, the dreams — AND all that careful crafting she did. The extra soul she put into it. The patches.

Now of course, there’s a moral to this story, and of course it is this — ALWAYS keep trying, and ALWAYS pour yourself into a narcissist relationship, and make it last as long as possible. Hmm — you’re not buying it this time, are you. OK, fine. The moral is, a relationship with a narcissist IS going to hurt when it ends. And more fixing, mending and soul on your part will only make that inevitable final hurt more intense, more eviscerating, and more intolerable. (Yes, I know those all generally mean the same thing. But if you’ve been with a narcissist, you know how important it is to drive that point home.)

Patches extending the life of a beloved pair of jeans — priceless. Patches extending the time with a narcissist — ruinous.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Patches Make the Goodbye Harder Still.

  1. Case

    Oh, Alex. How do you know just what to say? After 7 years with my N, I have spent the last 6 months trying to free myself, with all of the usual trauma and regret. More recently, I am seeing myself for the first time and recognizing all of the self-destructive things that I do to numb myself from feeling the pain that he caused. I buried things and patched things up for years, and in turn lost myself. I just read an article this morning and a certain phrase caught my attention, the author wrote, “Numbing yourself prevents you from confronting your issues and keeps you from ever finding resolution or peace.” And that is what I have done for 7 years. Numbing myself from the inevitable, now forced to FEEL all of it so that I can be free. If I was in a healthier place, I would have “felt” it all when he was doing it…and would’ve said goodbye awhile ago. I am not blaming myself for what happened, but I do think that there is a deep, psychological reason why it has taken me this long to be brave enough to face the pain. I’m just glad I’m here now and I hope to power through. Thanks, again!

  2. e

    OMG I can’t believe how accurate this is. I am girl number 2, I always just thought my N just didn’t have good social skills so I always just “helped” him with what I though was rude or arrogant behavior toward others! I always “patched” up his criticism of me thinking he loved me so he wanted to improve me. What a joke it now is.

  3. Rae

    Married to a narcissist for 12 years and it wasn’t until the last 3 that I even realized there was a “problem”. I found out some dirty little secrets about him that I believe now he’s probably had hidden for the duration of our marriage and our lack of time together throughout the course of our marriage made the hiding so much easier and the fact that I trusted him completely, even easier still. Since my awakening (because that’s how I see my life now…I was living in a dream and now I’m fully awake), the narcissistic traits have emerged as if before my very eyes. I see them in everything. i’ve been patching for YEARS but I’m finally understanding that the holes have grown too big and there isn’t enough left of me to patch another thing. I am leaving, but it’s a process. Hardest part is our 9 year old son, and my husband’s rages leave me with a lack of knowledge how to end this. But, I will find my way. I thank GOd today for bringing me to your blog. I’ve been reading all morning. I’ve always known I wasn’t alone, but I never realized just how many sisters in toadery I have out there. Thank you for writing!

  4. Welcome, Rae. Yeah, you’re definitely not alone. Waking up from a bad dream — great analogy.

  5. Case

    Alex,
    Speaking of meaningful songs, I think Adele’s “Turning Tables” is about her relationship with a narcissist. Take a look at the lyrics and let us know what you think. It’s a beautiful song with really potent words! I listen to it almost every day to find some strength. My favorite line (although I have seen the lyrics disputed…she confirmed them to be) “I won’t rescue you to just desert me”.

  6. Hi Alex,

    This is so true. For anyone who has already been discarded before, and they got through it, it is dangerous to think the same recovery period will apply the second time round too.

    The patches most definitely prolong the agony.

    I am reading through all your posts, keep up the good work. I hope we can stand united against these predators with all our knowledge!

    Ariel

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