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Totally Not A Blog

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The Freedom of Saying Goodbye

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I feel the need to get this off my chest, even if nobody really reads this.

Yesterday marked the end of a chapter of my life that was open for 16 years - since I was 16 myself.

When I was 16 I met someone online. We were the same age (or so I thought - years later she admitted she was actually 6 years older than me) and had similar interests and immediately clicked as friends. In fact, it turned into more than friendship and we started a long-distance relationship. I was infatuated, in love as only a 16-year-old could be.
I vividly remember our first fight. It was around the time of my 17th birthday. We had a mutual friend who was interested in a site called Furcadia. She'd invited us both to play with her but my girlfriend wasn't interested. I decided to give it a try, though. When she found out I'd been hanging out there with our friend she was furious. I was taken aback, but I placated her and it was over.

Thus began my dealings with a person suffering from psychiatrist-diagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In the early years she broke up with me several time. Each time I was sobbing and heart broken. Each time I was told to get over it. At one stage I moved across the country to live with her. I had no car and no way of catching public transport so she promised to drive me around. Three days before my flight she dumped me. When I moved there, she refused to drive me around. My parents had to buy me a car and drive it cross country. Two months later she decided she didn't want to live there any more and broke the lease to move back home. I had to do the same.
She told me to move on because we were never getting back together. Eventually, I did.

I kept it from her, knowing that in spite of her telling me to move on she would be furious. I didn't lie about it, I just never mentioned it. I didn't really try to hide it. Enevitably she found out and the fallout was phenomenal. Eventually, we began talking again. She wanted to resume our relationship after mine ended, but after she had stranded me across the country without so much as a single apology for her actions I'd seen her true colours and could never feel the same about her. I was willing to be friends, but any love I'd felt had been crushed by the hurt I felt.
Despite not being in a relationship, she rewrote the history of mine. She accused me of being with him while I was still with her. She claimed that she'd never said to get over her and that she'd been trying to get back together with me while I was with him. None of that was true. After telling me so many times I had to get over things she'd done in the past, she never let go of my 'betrayal'.

Once I found out about the NPD I began to learn how to avoid the arguments and brush off the constant criticism. I was a bad friend, I made her wait too long when we talked online, my illness got in the way all the time, she made all the time in the world for me but I wasn't reciprocating. Somehow, amidst the constant barrage of criticism she kept hinting at us getting back together, but she wanted me to be the one to make the move.

That's when I realised - she didn't love me. I was her backup plan. When she had a better prospect she was happy to let me go, but when there was nobody else she wanted me. She took for granted that I'd wait around for her and ask to get back together and be grateful for the opportunity.
She was wrong.

A couple of years ago, I met someone new. Somebody whose love didn't come at the cost of my self worth. Someone who didn't complain about making endless sacrifices for me and ignore the sacrifices I made from then. In fact, I didn't need to make sacrifices for him at all.

It was a love different to any I've felt before, and the first time we met up I realised I couldn't imagine my life without him. Earlier this year, we got married and it was the best thing I've ever done. Naturally, I did not tell her.

I told him everything about her - how our relationship had started, the ways it had ended, and our continuing 'friendship'. I told him that she viewed us as being in a relationship even though I hadn't agreed to one. I was completely honest, and he was completely supportive. He encouraged me to disconnect with her, made me finally believe I didn't deserve the constant criticism, that even though I'd learned to deal with her and didn't rise to the bait it still negatively affected me. He didn't push. He just let me do it at my own pace.

Yesterday, I finally disconnected for good.

It was over something relatively minor in the scheme of our rocky relationship. I was going through something difficult and she was angry with me for being distracted by it because she was having problems too. I told her I was dealing with a potentially terminal illness in my family. Most people would at least offer some perfunctory sympathy. An 'I'm sorry', even if the next word was 'but'. But she didn't. She was just angry I wasn't asking about her issues.
And that's what did it.

I told her I had nothing more to say to her, and this time I truly meant it.

I know how different the story would be coming from her. I am a horrible person, a heartbreaker, cold and cruel. I am a cheater and a liar. I am not a saint and I know I've done things out of anger or hurt to lash out at her. I am not blameless. I feel genuinely sorry for what she's going through right now and it's very hard to not tell her so, but I can't get drawn back into contact. My words yesterday confirmed to her every bad thing she's ever thought about me and she will never forgive me. She'll hate me. I needed it to be that way. I wasn't cruel, at least I tried not to be. I wanted to say she was a narcissist and a hypocrite, but I didn't. I didn't get mad. I just said I could no longer be in contact  - but that's all it will take. Ending things myself, on my terms - that's an unforgivable sin. I still feel guilty, despite everything. I hate hurting or upsetting anyone.

But at last, I can finally breathe.

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Congratulations on making that break! It's not easy to say enough is enough and follow through with it. The guilt is just a sign that you're a decent person. Over 10 years out from cutting someone similar out of my life I still get a twang of guilt but I know that the relationship was draining me of so much of ...well everything really, that it was 100% the right thing to do. 

Also sorry to read about one of your family members is sick. I hope their health will improve.

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Thank you so much for your kind words. It gives me hope to hear that even though you feel guilty you were able to stick to your guns and keep that person out of your life. I'm hopeful that I was blunt enough that her anger will be enough to prevent her from trying to contact me (although I have blocked her in every way I could).

Thankfully we found out that the brain cancer my aunt was sure she had (she's a nurse and lost her mother and grandmother to hereditary brain cancer) was actually a heart problem causing her to black out in a similar way to her mother and grandmother. She's not out of the woods but it's certainly easier to manage her heart problems than terminal cancer, of course.

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Two years ago I had to cut off my former best friend of a similar duration- we met in the sixth grade and ceased contact at 30. It's hard. But my life is much better without her. Losing the constant stress and negativity and emotional exhaustion from dealing with her constant issues (plus the financial stress- she lived with and leeched off us for almost two years at the end) meant that I was able to use that energy to tackle my own shit. And I bet her life is better without me- I hope so, because God knows if that episode wasn't hitting bottom for her, I don't know what it'll take.

Standard advice for breakups- while it's fresh, make a list. You'll probably have your hand on the "send email" button more than once. So- every shitty fucking thing she ever did to you. Every time she made you feel like a non-person*. And when the pain fades and you think about calling her- read the damn list. I manage to forget stuff on my list every time that would be unforgettable coming from anyone else.

Oh, and check your credit regularly. Just... trust me.

*This is the cardinal friendship sin for me, but that's a different rant.

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I with through the same thing when I was about 30. In this case it was two people and I had known them since high school. I look back on it now and the best way to describe them was the term "emotional vampires".  

I applaud you for standing up and taking care of yourself.

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Thanks guys, your words are truly resonating with me.

The one thing I won't have to worry about is being tempted to contact her. There's nothing that could, but thank you kindly for your advice.

Emotional vampire is a great term that describes that kind of behaviour without having to resort to armchair psychology.

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