Grief and Narcissistic Recovery

20jalba“You’re in a long-term relationship with grief. But it has to evolve. And it’s okay to keep letting go. You have to.” Alba Villanueva in Jane the Virgin.

It’s interesting to still be in mourning well over a year after a relationship ends. It’s not something most people can understand.

“But you know you made the right choice, so why are you still sad?”

“Do you regret leaving him? I thought you said you were happier now!”

“You have so much going on for you now, though! What is there to grieve?”

What is there to grieve? Well, a lot.

#1: Dreams of the future. The life with a partner. There’s being married. There’s having kids. There’s the whole package of happily partnered domesticity.

I don’t have that now. And while I hope I will meet someone someday and don’t think it a terribly far-fetched notion, I think I’m laying to rest the idea of having children. The idea of having a first child at my age is not one that appeals to me. These days, I think far more highly about relaxing, going to bed early and saving up for an early retirement, than I do the pitter-patter of little feet.

#2: My house and the dreams of decades spent decorating, gardening, making and enjoying a lovely, cozy, beautiful, comfortable home.

I loved that house. I loved it as it was and I loved the improved version we planned for it to someday turn into. I loved, LOVED the garden. I loved getting my hands dirty and watching things grow. I loved looking out the window and seeing the beauty I had created. I loved the big bay windows and the fireplace in the living room. I loved the kitchen with its dining nook. I loved the space I created for myself upstairs after the breakup, with my old 4-post bed and an area rug and fairy lights draped around the windows. I can’t believe how much I miss that house.

I’m sure where I am now won’t be my home forever. It’s fine for my current situation and my current needs. It isn’t my house, though. There’s no garden. My view is of trees and a highway. It lacks the cozy feel of a home. I try to tell myself this will change with time and effort, but the honest truth is that I miss having a freestanding house and I hope I’ll get into a little one of my own again someday.

#3: Ending a narcissistic relationship requires a total rebuilding of Self.

“This process not only takes a significant amount of time, but it requires you to face your demons and exorcise them. These demons are the remnants of the narcissist; the scars they have left upon you. They are the false beliefs about yourself that grew out of your experience and they need to be dispelled before you can start reconstructing a new self.”
A Conscious Rethink; The Rollercoaster Of Recovery From Narcissistic Abuse

This is the Big One. I grieve for my old Self. The one that was charismatic and enjoyed socializing. The one who felt joy. The one who liked her appearance. She is gone now; my ex made sure of that. So now, what’s left? What am I now? What parts of me remain, and what parts only exist because of his influence?

I see myself now as unattractive, as dumpy, as disorganized and lazy and socially inept. These are new feelings about myself and I hope they change with time.

I still hear his voice in my head, though. I still hear him, criticizing me constantly, doubting me incessantly.

I grieve for so much. I ended a long-term relationship with a narcissist only to start another long-term relationship with grief and depression. Each relationship is with ghosts that I can’t address directly or resolve any issues with fully. My ex wouldn’t stay pinned to one point and made it impossible for any conversation to actually reach a resolution. My grief also won’t stay pinned to one point and makes it impossible for a resolution to be achieved.

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