Mourning the Loss of a Narcissist

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?

27 thoughts on “Mourning the Loss of a Narcissist”

  1. It was strange for me to realise that I was mourning. I had spent so much time dreaming of freedom and yet when the PTSD and the grief hit, it knocked me sideways. They set us up to go through all this. I did not mourn the loss of him as a person as much as I mourned the loss of us as a family unit. I came close to changing locks etc but had then decided to sell. My mother had suggested a bolt on the door. I went through periods of the phone ringing continuously but I screened all my calls. Like you In reached out for counselling initially. It changed everything because God led me to somebody who understood narcissistic abuse only too well, as he had experienced it several times. All I had really needed to do was be heard and believed. It still took me quite some time to recover.

    1. Right? It does take time because you have to come to terms with the fact that the N wasn’t the person she/he was presenting, and the “relationship” wasn’t real either. It was all false, and you have to grieve for that too. When you think you are in a pretty great situation with a pretty great person, finding out that none of it is true is a huge emotional hurdle.

  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    It’s a deep ponderable.

    I agree about the mourning apres Narcissist. I think also there’s a mourning which goes on during the relationship with a Narc after the golden period/ honeymoon phase, when the dream turns into a nightmare and who you thought they were is no longer who they are for and to you.

    When I read about Elisabeth KΓΌbler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief in her autobiography (now, that is an autobiography which I really enjoyed reading), it was around the time I had gone NC from both of my parents, and it clicked, connected, together.

    By the time my father died, I think one of the reasons I didn’t really mourn his passing was because I’d already mourned the loss a decade before. However his death caused all the Narc-mess to return into my life, and that caused a different kind of 5 stages of grief process to occur – all of that can be seen in my blog posts πŸ˜‰ I’m at acceptance and moving on now, finally!

    Someone I recently followed has just experienced the death of a difficult loved one, and they’re blogging about it, sharing how it is affecting them. I think we all have to go through the chaos inside and out. The tower comes crumbling down, and when the dust settles, then we can gradually rebuild a new structure which may suit us better.

    You’re very inspiring! Someone recently said to me that they were sorry I went through what I went through but also glad that I did because of what has come out of it, which is the ability to share the story and show that we can not only survive but thrive apres Narc and all the loss and death of self involved in the experience of being in a relationship with a narcissist.

    I think you’re awesome, and I’m honoured to have met this you, your you!

    1. Thank you. πŸ™‚
      I agree that there’s the mourning of what you thought the narcissist was and what you thought the relationship was.
      You make a good point about having already mourned for your father when you went no contact. When I divorced my ex-N, I didn’t really have to mourn him. I knew by then what he was (more or less) and I had already gone through the stages of disbelief and deal-making and so on. I saw him as a parasite that needed to be eliminated from my life. As I’ve said to you before, I became quite narcissistic myself. It was a case of fighting fire with fire.
      I find you inspiring as well! πŸ™‚ There was a period when I wished that I hadn’t had to experience this guy, but as time went on, I realised that I somehow became better as a result. The structure that is me isn’t pretty at all. It kind of looks like a Suessian Whoville house with windows in odd places and turrets that trail off in strange directions. But I like it a lot. πŸ™‚ I’m honoured to have met you too. Your structure is pretty wonderful too. πŸ™‚

  3. I can relate to this. I remember one friend telling me my mom (narcissist) was never going to be the mom I wanted her to be and I had to accept it. I think that’s when I mourned, because it hit me that my friend was right, and I had to mourn the mom I longed for.

    I also had a situation with a different person who lied to me. Not a narcissist, but I can relate to the self-criticism you mentioned. I blamed myself for falling for the lies. I felt like such a fool and berated myself for being so trusting. My counselor reminded me that trust is a good/virtuous thing. The liar is the one who deserves scolding, not the person who trusted.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and how you had to mourn, and for giving others a chance to share.

    1. That’s so true. When I recognised my ex-N for what he was, it was quite a relief. I had already been through the shock of finding out that he wasn’t what he had sold himself as and that I wasn’t going have the relationship I thought I would have. It was an awful period where I really mourned what was supposed to be. Once I got him out, I then went through the next period of examining myself, not trusting my judgement, and as you say, blaming myself and feeling all sorts of guilt. You’re right – it’s such a human thing to feel guilty about something someone else has done!
      Your’e welcome. πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming by and sharing too. πŸ™‚

  4. Mourning is about loss, and where there is loss there will be mourning. The loss may be a person, or a relationship, or a dream … . I think the mourning can help us heal. Or rather, navigate a new normal.

    The “mud on your shoes” was a great description. πŸ™‚

  5. This is an excellent post. No matter what the details are of a given relationship, the ending of such always brings mourning to some degree, even if that end is the best thing that could happen….

  6. You make such good points, Lynette. This man was bad for you but still, your psyche had to mourn. It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. I’d think (in my simplicity of being married once to the World’s Greatest Husband) that you’d feel good, no grieving. How wrong I would be.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Many thanks for your support. πŸ™‚

      It was more about mourning what I thought I had, and then having to get this nasty person out of my life. I was tempted to give up a couple of tines, but I also knew that would be even worse. Forgiving myself for having made a poor choice was part of it too, but I also had to figure out why I did that. Quite an odyssey.

  7. you can tell someone something but they will never truly understand until they experience it themselves.
    You are at your best when you are at your worst.You needed this to better understand yourself deeper.
    Your a survivor Lynette!

    1. Thank you for your very supportive words. πŸ™‚ Yes, I had to learn myself better – it was really important for me to figure out why I found someone like him so attractive. It was hard work.

    1. Yes – I did have a very good counsellor. I really needed to take a look at the choices I’d made that lead to my involvement with him and more importantly, why I’d made them. It was difficult but it was also very enlightening.

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