There are many types of losses, most of which are natural and normal, even if they hurt like hell. Most of us will experience the loss of parents and grandparents, the loss of a relationship or two, the loss of a friendship. Some losses are much worse than others; the loss of a child, for instance.
Even under the best of circumstances, loss carries a huge emotional load, but when you’re dealing with the loss of a narcissist, there are whole other dimensions to consider.
It’s not just the actual physical loss: the loss of the person, the loss of that relationship, the loss of that duo-dom.
It’s the loss of much of yourself.
You’re stuck in mud, your feet becoming larger and larger as the mud adheres to your shoes and tries to hold you tightly.
You’re not just hurting from the loss of the relationship, you’re hurting from the loss of yourself: your self-confidence, your judgement, your logic.
Breakups are painful, but when the breakup involves a narcissist, there is so much more to navigate. Narcissists are litigious and aggressive, so a good lawyer (read expensive) might be required. In my case, the ex-N became threatening and I had to go to the police. I had to change my door locks, install an alarm system and hire a security company.
In the meantime, he was hammering away with every type of hoover he could think of.
At the time I didn’t know that that behaviour had a name and I didn’t know about no contact. I just wanted to get his stuff out of my house.
The simple fact is that you might not even realise until much later what you have been involved with, and until that becomes clear, the mud will stick to your shoes in a big way.
When I got my ex-N out of my life, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about narcissism, but I knew that he had to go and I had to get help.
I was fortunate on several levels: there were no children, I had financial stability (my ex-N put a huge dent in that but I was essentially okay), and I had a good supplementary heath plan and could afford counselling.
The counselling portion of my quest to reclaim my life was very important because I wasn’t just mourning the loss of a relationship; I had to come to terms with the underlying reasons for my involvement with the narcissist.
That was hard – very hard. It required me to look at myself in ways that were uncomfortable and difficult.
I had to get to know myself better. And getting to know myself was paramount because it is my best defense against further involvement with another N.
In the meantime, my sense of self, my judgement and confidence were all on life support and I had no trust in them at all.
I had to rebuild, and the structure that came out is nothing that I expected. I like it though. It’s a good structure, even if it’s not pretty.
Most of all, I had to let myself grieve: I had to recognise the guilt and stupidity I felt about myself, forgive myself for that part of my humanity, and allow myself some relief from the self-criticism.
With help, I let myself off the hook and began to learn what I need to learn from this experience.
What are your thoughts about mourning?