Narcissistic Recovery: The Shame

It’s so easy to fall into abuse. It’s so hard to believe that the person you’re with is a monster. You build up walls to deny it. You can’t believe that it’s true.

It’s why it takes so long to leave. You can’t believe that you were in love with someone that horrible. You can’t believe you were fooled; there’s ego wrapped up in the lack of desire to leave, too.

You can’t believe this person you once loved, who you have spent so much time with, is capable of the actions you’ve witnessed. There must be something you’re not understanding. There must be something else going on, some external circumstance that will go away eventually.

That’s what it was with me. I kept blaming circumstance. He’s in the middle of a stressful project. He’s obsessed with a new video game that just came out. He’s distracted by x, or y, or z.

Whatever it was, I convinced myself it would blow over. It would pass, and then we’d get back to normal. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, I realized the misery WAS the norm. It wasn’t going to end.

For a very long time, “He’s simply an asshole” wasn’t something I was willing to admit. He hadn’t been when we met, when we fell in love…

It makes me shudder with disgust now to recognize that I did once love him. It is something revolting to me now.

But it’s true, I did, although it brings me much shame to recognize it. It’s much easier to stay angry with myself and with him, to think I was in the FOG from the beginning, rather than admit that I once had genuine feelings for someone so despicable.

But I did have feelings for him, and that’s why I didn’t see him for what he was. It’s why I made excuse after excuse for his behavior and allowed myself to be treated so terribly for so long.

Because I loved him.

I can’t remember what I loved about him now. I can’t think of good things about him. They’re lost to me. Perhaps one day they’ll return but they certainly aren’t around now.

When I think back on the early days of our relationship I think of the things I wish I had seen at the time, the cues that are so obvious to me in retrospect. I don’t remember a glow of love. I don’t recall feeling that rush. I don’t recall feelings at all. I just have memories of events that I wish I had paid more attention to.

I didn’t know. I didn’t see.

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