I remember the first time I saw you and you made me feel as if I was the only person in the room, in fact, the world. I remember how my body reacted to your touch and how your words filled my mind until I couldn’t think straight. I remember all the little surprise road trips just because you knew I loved them so much.
I remember us laying on a blanket looking up at the stars and sharing our hopes and dreams of what the future would be like for us together. How many children we would have, where we would live, in a perfect home just for our little family and where you vowed, we would all be safe from harm.
I remember waking up to messages from you that you had sent during the night as you said you had woken up and thought of me being so far away from you whilst I was working in another country.
I remember you changing all your plans to meet me at the airport each time I came home. I remember the times it was your turn to work away, yet you would drive five hours just to see me for one before you had to turn around drive back to where you were working.
I remember all the special meals you made and then us cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie which I always fell asleep watching my head on your chest, your arms around me safe and warm. I remember believing you to be my soulmate and that life couldn’t possibly be any better than this.
Then once you had me all to yourself, everything changed.
I remember when you told me you had placed a tracker on my car and phone so you knew exactly where I was at any given time, and that you would know who I was with.
I remember the first cold clammy grip of fear when I realized you were not who I thought you were. I remember how my whole body shook when you told me you had been trained to kill, and you knew exactly who to call to make my body disappear.
I remember when you told me I was being watched so I had better do what you told me to do at all times. I remember feeling so helpless and alone.
I remember the time I was brave enough to say, ‘stop, enough’ and that I was leaving, then you told me you had cancer and all thoughts of leaving left my mind as you needed me, then the horror when I discovered that you had lied about it.
I remember you crying and telling me you had lied as you couldn’t bear to lose me, you said everyone always leaves, they either die like your family or leave you and you don’t know why. I did, and then to discover your family hadn’t died at all, I remember all of that.
I remember how you behaved after being caught out, you gave me the silent treatment, first, it started as hours of no contact, then it turned to days, then weeks and just as I thought I was finally free of you, I remember you turning back up and telling me that you knew exactly what I had been doing in your absence, to the point of you telling me where I had been, who I had spent time with, and I remember knowing that I was in real trouble now.
I remember losing so many friends because of you, the true friends stayed around which you hated and should I even attempt to spend time with them, your rage would be horrendous and I truly feared for my life.
I remember that you could tell you were losing control of me, that I was reaching out for help to get me away from you. I remember your reaction to that was to drug me, the last thing I saw before passing out was your face contorted with rage. I remember when coming round the groggy disorientated feeling and realizing what you had done. I remember vowing to never take another drink or food from you ever again.
I remember finding out you had accessed my bank accounts and helped yourself to whatever you wanted, and finding there was no money, another way for you to control me, and I remember thinking I’m going crazy when you denied taking it and saying I had done the transfer to you myself.
I remember seeing a picture of you and her when you said you had been working away. You told me it was an old picture of an ex, but that wasn’t true and you accused me of stalking you.
I remember apologizing for my mistake and that you were right I must be going crazy and saying I needed to see a doctor which you refused and said I only needed you, I remember that oh so well.
I remember each time I worked up the courage to leave you, that you would threaten to kill yourself, and one time you threatened to kill us both as only you were the right man for me, no one else could have me. I remember sitting up all night begging you not to take your life, and the time you threatened to take mine too, I remember staying awake in case you killed me whilst I slept.
I remember how the next day you would be full of smiles saying today is a great day to be alive. I remember wishing you would just disappear forever from my life.
I remember feeling like a woman who was drowning and the oxygen was full of toxicity that there was no escape from. You did that to me, what was once beautiful was ugly and rotten.
I remember becoming a shadow of my former self, and that you would berate me for not looking after myself. I remember the phone call from you saying you had left for good this time and that your girlfriend was pregnant, the one who I had seen in that picture, so I was right all along.
I remember feeling like you had killed me with that call, as my heart turned cold and my mind became my enemy with so many crazy thoughts, I remember you did that to me.
I remember the months that followed, the panic attacks that caused me to be scared to even leave my home. I remember the hypervigilance stopping me from sleeping as I was scared you would break-in, and I remember how food became the enemy.
I remember screaming in pain and crying until there was nothing left, not because you had gone, but because of the damage you had done, I remember thinking “How am I ever going to come back from this?” I remember seeing my face in the mirror and feeling pity for the broken woman looking back at me.
I remember coming across the word ‘narcissist’ and how suddenly all the pieces of the puzzle fitted together.
I remember falling to the floor in horror, and then the grief grew to a point I thought I couldn’t take anymore. I remember replaying over in my mind all the memories of the time we had together that turned from loving moments to fantasy, a fantasy you built and I had believed.
I remember learning that narcissists are incapable of love, but they are experts at the illusion of it. I remember that hit hard. Reading that narcissists can only mirror another person’s behavior, that blew my fragile mind apart.
I remember buying books, searching the internet looking for answers, looking for reasons why you had picked me. I remember the moment of clarity when my brain almost shouted you are not crazy you are a victim of evil, you have been gaslighted, all new words that even felt alien to say, but I knew to be true.
I remember thinking I should warn her, this woman who you were now with, then after reading more decided there was no point as she was no doubt under your evil spell just as I had been.
I remember thinking I could turn my life around, recover, heal and grow from this experience and that is what I did. I remember wanting so desperately to save others from the hell of a life with a narcissist. I remember thinking if I can’t save someone, I can at least tell them they are not alone.
I remember the solace, validation, and safety I found among the recovery communities. I remember deciding to start a Facebook page, in the hope that people would see it and be encouraged to not feel alone which survivors of a narcissist so often feel.
I remember letting you go, you were no longer part of my life, you were part of my history and that is where you will firmly stay. I remember thinking I will not be your victim.
I remember the day I looked in the mirror and I no longer pity the woman standing there. I remember seeing a warrior, and someone who will never allow another human being to break my spirit again.