Google the relationship between a narcissist and an empath and you can see for yourself, just how toxic that journey can be... well, I survived it and let me tell you, I am still rebuilding myself and that process is going to take some time.
The cycle of loneliness, excitement, hurt and denial
There are moments that I still find myself thinking that I did something wrong. Most of all, I find I am beating myself up for not listening to my intuition. Because let me tell you, there were plenty of red flags and tons of warning signs where my radar detector definitely went off. However, being an empath, I chose to think better of the man, to see the good or what I thought was potential and to focus on the positives, ok, maybe denial, yet still have the highest of hopes for us. I can tell you though, I will not make that mistake again. That was one painful lesson.
Flashback 8 years ago, when I met him in a bar out with girlfriends, totally under protest by the way, and he spontaneously bought me a drink. I hadn’t event noticed him before but then, oh did the attention kick up a notch. I still didn't pay that much attention to him at first but then three weeks later, my loneliness or my having been single for so many years got the best of me. So, we went out. The relationship escalated so quickly; I could barely catch my breath.
That is how those relationships go; the level of excitement, intensity and passion are intentionally overwhelming so you can’t think straight. They lay on the charm so much that you think, “God, is this man for real? He must be unique because there just doesn’t seem to be anyone like him”. Suddenly, all logic and reason vanish and you are in this vortex of emotion, which, much like a tidal wave, sucks you under water.
Three months in, a huge blow up takes place where a very relevant and important detail about his life was discovered on my own putting him on the spot regarding this “lie by omission”. We took some space then and a step back and he proceeded to cheat on me and make it my fault. Now remember, this is 3 months into this nightmare. All signs say, run, flee, do not turn around, do not look back. But again, like a vortex, I got sucked back into this chaos. This was the pattern; this was how our entire relationship went. The level of wooing, the level of roller coaster rides we took was beyond ridiculous, yet I still got sucked back in and at times, felt like I was drowning.
Unless you experience this kind of relationship yourself, an outsider looking in can think, “Why doesn’t she leave him, why doesn’t she walk away”. It is one of the most subtle and pervasive relationships on the planet and you really get consumed into this fog, so to speak. It is my biggest regret and lesson I have ever experienced in my lifetime (so far).
From guilt to anger
While in that relationship, flash forward a couple of years, I am now married and living with this man. I managed to break my ankle on Easter Sunday walking towards church and he had to rush me to the ER. Do you know that I was made to feel guilty because we never made it to church that day? Literally words spoken to me in the ER were, “Well, I guess we aren’t going to make it to church today thanks to your klutziness”. I mean, who does that? Then over the next 6-8 weeks, I was an inconvenience to him because I needed help, attention and care and couldn’t drive myself anywhere safely. I couldn’t shower easily; I couldn’t do the cooking or cleaning or laundry or everything else I did pretty much solo. Now bear in mind, he had lost his job 4 months prior and had nothing but time on his hands. But still, I was the inconvenient one. Meanwhile, I am working full time and supporting us and this life event was such a burden to him.
This is when I I began to experience the angry narcissist. Let me say that the level of anger demonstrated by a narcissist is very frightening. We have now shifted into another phase of this ridiculously toxic relationship. Now, after one of those episodes of anger escalated to the point where my then 13-year-old son dialed 911 to protect his mom from this monster, you would think I would walk away. Believe me, I debated it seriously.
I enjoyed the peace and quiet while he was in jail, but then the guilt kicked in again. Those voices in my head that were really more from him. So, I mistakenly allowed him home. And then the wooing started again. The promises. The “I can’t live without you” comments, the “We took vows and made commitments before God”. It won’t happen again he said. And while those episodes didn’t happen directly to me or my physical body, he instead took it out on a couple of doors in our home or a few objects instead.
The arguments, wow… they could escalate to Defcon 5 fast. The level of damage inflicted by a narcissist on an empath is something that I am confident will take years to heal from…. And honestly, might always be a part of who I am.
Calling it quits
I am not going to give too much more focus on the rest of the relationship. Let’s just say that 4 ½ years after meeting him, I finally asked him to leave. I was miserable, he had managed to ruin a wonderful trip to Maui that would have been perfect had he not gone as I had asked; a trip to Disneyland was equally unhappy despite being the happiest place on earth.
I no longer felt like myself let alone looked like her. I had gained so much weight because alcohol was my comfort for self-medication that I was puffy and slept terribly. I had no energy and had no clue why I was always so tired. I call that period of my life the vampire years. Emotionally and physically sucking the life out of me, that is how I felt. I deeply regret exposing my children to him, my friends and family and myself. I truly felt more broken after that relationship than any other in my past. And sadly, I have experienced some whoppers.
Rebuilding and Healing
Like I said though, I am still rebuilding myself but I am happier single and living alone than I ever thought possible. I am grateful I pulled myself out of that abyss, that nightmare of toxicity and started to heal.
But the process is not over yet. I am still working on feeling stronger and more confident. I am working on letting go of those hurts and wounds inflicted and focusing on a healthier future. I have a long way to go. I still don’t trust my judgment with men and have zero desire to date let alone be in a relationship with anyone. I am re-discovering who I am now and who I want to be going forward. I am still trying to forgive myself for years of unhappiness for me and especially my youngest son but in time, I think I will be kinder to myself too.
If I can give any words of advice, trust your intuition. Intuition is there for a reason. It protects us when we need it but that means we have to trust it and listen to it. Mine was 150% right about him and I saw the warning signs less than 3 months into that journey. I think about how different my life could have been had I not ignored those red flags.
I hope this helps someone, anyone that needs to hear these words. If this speaks to you, then listen and get out. It is not too late.