To my narcissistic lover who taught me that hell is real

Subject: To my narcissistic lover who taught me that hell is real
From: your ex-empath
Date: 31 Jul 2016

Dear N

Hell is a real place! It is not just an abstract concept, a metaphor or something made up to scare...hell is the place at your side, darling. Hell is being your partner, hell is living with you and being "loved" by you.
Writing this, I can still hear your voice in my head, the voice you always used when making snide, hurtful comments and judgements about me, my character, my person, about those I love and hold dearly.
I have still flashbacks of the all-encompassing despair engulfing me, paralyzing me, haunting me while living with you.
Let's talk about boundaries, darling. I had none. Before you, I was an empath with no firm boundaries in place, always going overboard to accommodate and be understanding and willing to bend whatever personal boundaries I had in place. Before you, I knew nothing about the nature of empaths, their tendency to bend their boundaries, their susceptibility to narcissistic abuse. Now I know that narcissists love empaths, darling. You can sniff them out, right?
You put my willingness to waive my boundaries to many tests right from the start of "us", didn't you? I was an even better empath than you expected, too good to be true. Over-achieving as usual I was a dream come true for you. Remember our first time together in Dubai when we were "house-hunting"? You were rushing around, meeting up with colleagues, dragging me along, literally running - on foot - from one place to the other in the smoldering Dubai heat. I was wearing high heels, wanting to look nice for you. It took a while for me to tell you that I needed to sit down, that my feet were killing me. When I finally couldn't walk anymore it was night time and you sat me on a bench in front of the largest Dubai shopping mall and told me you would be back in fifteen minutes. Taking a taxi or staying with me wasn't an option for you.
About an hour and a half later you finally came to pick me up. During all that time I had no idea where you were, no means to reach you, knew no one in Dubai. While sitting there I saw happy couples and families and groups of friends passing by my bench, all of them partaking in life, talking animatedly and having a fun night out. I felt completely invisible. Do you remember what you said to me darling when you finally came for me? It was "my fault". I could have gone with you and didn't want to, so it was my fault that I had to sit there.
This, right there, was your first implementation of the wizardly skill of gaslighting, a very effective technique to instill self-doubt. You are a true master.
Looking back now, darling and knowing now what you did while I was waiting for you on that bench- you were having drinks at a friend's house who had no idea that your girlfriend was waiting for you on a bench - it is almost inconceivable to comprehend how I could move forward with a man treating me like this. How could I push aside all those red flags waving in my face? The only explanation I can come up with, darling, is that I was an empath with no boundaries. I was ready to push aside whatever red flags I encountered, plowing forward no matter what.
And there were so many red flags, darling, so many. The time we were invited to a dinner and you wouldn't talk to me or look at me for three hours. I had no idea what I had done but I just wanted it to stop. That was the first time you introduced me to your silent treatment. I learned to crave the moments you were nice to me again. The relief I felt! This is where the addiction began, the addiction to your moods, your judgements, your punishments and finally the addiction to the sweet, warm feeling of relief to be loved again after being punished. The duration and cruelty of my punishment was solely up to you and non-negotiable. I begged you so many times to be nice to me again, darling. Remember?
These were the secrets of our relationship, kept and well hidden from the public. In public you were sweet and charming to others and told anyone and everyone how much you loved me. This is your mask, darling.
The real you is a bully and and a liar and the most self-centered person imaginable. You are verbally, emotionally and psychologically abusive. Every tear I cried was "inauthentic" or made you mad. Remember your threats when I wouldn't, couldn't stop crying? You'd never talk to me again, leave me at once, tell other people how crazy I was,....I got weaker an weaker, my energy drained and depleted, darling. You were successfully crushing my soul bit by bit by using the cruel weapons and tools found in the narcissistic arsenal:
- Isolation: I was living in Dubai without a support system, friends or family (your choice). Isolated in a country where the only thing a woman on her own can do is sitting at home or go shopping. You were traveling all the time, having an exciting life in New York, London or elsewhere. That was a brilliant move on your side, darling.
- Gaslighting: You made me doubt myself more and more. I was being called a "whore, slut, ugly witch" by your children and your only response was that it was up to me to change their behavior. I should think of "something", show my "commitment", be a "real partner" for once. You distorted and misinterpreted everything I did or said. You made me feel unworthy and worthless. Remember when you said that I shouldn't have been born? That was on my birthday, my darling.
- Financial abuse: You told me I couldn't be trusted with money (you made that up) that's why you wouldn't open a joint account. The truth as we both know is simpler and more straightforward: you wanted to be in complete control. And you are the one not to be trusted with money, darling. You left us in a very vulnerable financial situation, darling, which resulted in me having to spent my savings (I wasn't allowed to work in Dubai as you well knew, darling) while trying to help you find your footing again. This is what empaths do, isn't it? While I fought for us, you managed to re-mortgage your ex's house and you secured a bank loan behind my back, your grandiose self still building an empire, no matter what. You made us live like beggars, borrowing money from your sister while still funding and working exclusively for grandiose projects of high finance. Projects that are to this day without any success and never will be. At times there wasn't enough money to buy groceries or pay the utilities bill. Remember what you said to me when I tried talking to you that we couldn't go on like this? "Everything is always about you. You are the most egotistical person in the world, the worst partner." And to this day you refuse to look for a job, holding on to your make-believe empire and future successes.
- Triangulation: You always made a point of letting me know how little other people thought of me or what they would think if they knew how crazy I really was. You basically told every person you dealt with behind my back how miserable I made your life, how horrible I was to live with, how egotistical I was. You painted yourself like the victim in an abusive relationship you couldn't get out because you "loved me too much". I met those people, feeling their (for me inexplicable) dislike and outrage towards me, furthering my self-doubt and low self esteem. Of course I had no idea that you were busy undermining me.
- Blaming others: Nothing was ever your fault, darling. Even if it was your fault, it wasn't really your fault. Never. People who dared to think for themselves were "a*holes" and "stupid", it was always your way or the highway. This way you alienated a lot of people along the way. Once they took a stand against you, they were done for you. You started bad-mouthing them just like you did with me. Nothing anyone ever did (including me) was enough, darling. Nothing. ever. We were all "parasites", feeding off your "generosity" and "selflessness". I'm not kidding.
This is the hell I was living. This is the hell you created.
You tried to destroy me. You almost succeeded. You truly are the Lord of Destruction. You are set on destroying everything that is pure and innocent, kind and true.
I was saved by a sudden change of circumstances: we had to move away from Dubai because you had spent every dime you had and borrowed.
By getting away from this place that had held me hostage, I was able to help myself. Through therapy, friends and family I was able to reconnect with myself. I learned that I was stronger than I thought. I surprised myself and you, darling. We were both astounded by my sudden strength and determination to define and invoke boundaries. I learned to say "no" to you. Writing this still makes me cringe when I think about your reactions.
You responded to my boundaries with terrible threats and violent rage, a rage so strong, powerful and encompassing, it scared me to death and almost made my new-found courage falter. You knew my fears and weaknesses all too well, darling...However, I regrouped and I tried again, I stood up again. Again and again.
You were my teacher, darling. Your abuse taught me to always honor myself and my boundaries. And to trust my gut feeling!
You were my teacher, surely not the wise and kind one I would have wished for but a teacher nonetheless. I learned the importance of self-love and self-respect.
You taught me about abuse and I learned about resilience. The moment my abused self emerged strong and steadfast and said: NO MORE was utterly liberating!
The path to your hell is plastered with red flags. I realized that I had kept my eyes willingly shut for a long time, willingly pushing aside those red flags.
Thank you for teaching me to never shut my eyes again.