We Can Pretend Can’t We?

Here we are again. In that all too familiar place. I have lost count of how many times I have found myself here. Despite my very best endeavours, my valiant intentions and earnest dedication I am stood in his hallway of despair. Some time ago this hallway was a welcoming place where polished tiles gleamed and marble pillars glinted. The air was filled with the scent of jasmine, bright sunlight pouring in through the glass dome high above. So many corridors and doorways led from this hallway, offering exciting and intriguing possibilities, new experiences and enthralling opportunities. I can still picture you when you had crossed the threshold, invited into my world and you stood open-mouthed impressed and amazed by the grandeur. With a typically generous and expansive sweep of my arm I offered you the free run of those corridors and rooms. You took full advantage of my generosity and why not? You were a very welcome and special addition.

Now look at us. Your failure has made this a cold and desolate place. The dome has suffered as a consequence of you frequent eruptions of frustrated anger, the once clear panes now either broken or smeared with the grime of your betrayal. The sun has not shone into this hallway for a long time, in fact, neither of us can remember when it last did so. The tall pillars are cracked and chipped, testament to your unwarranted assaults on our person as your forked tongue of criticism lashed out at us. The tiles are fractured and uneven causing you to regularly trip and fall to the floor, the cold slap of your downfall a stark reminder of the change that has gripped this place. You can hear the low moan of the wind as it billows, wuthering and gusting, seeking entrance through the broken windows and dilapidated shutters. That is the wind isn’t it or is it the tortured protestations of the shades and spectres which still haunt this hallway? Sometimes you see them, the forlorn figures which glide haplessly along the dirty passageways, heads bowed as they seem to be seeking something. Whenever you see them you feel a strange sense of familiarity and understanding with their plight even though you are unsure who they are. No doubt a consequence of the empathic traits which still cause you to remain here.

I let you walk these beautiful corridors. I allowed you to marvel at the statues, the ornaments which adorned the walls and alcoves, mesmerising you with their beauty. You felt loved, you felt content and you felt safe as you walked this place never needing or wanting to step back through the door that you once entered all that time ago.

Now you are sat on the icy floor, your hands clasped together and raised in a gesture of contrition and pleading. Your face is etched with wounding woe and the lines of desperation evidence your determination to remain. I brandish the heavy iron key that will unlock the dark door which looms over you and which will reveal the doorway to the cold, uncaring and harsh would beyond, a world you have no desire to return to. I hold the key as I stand over you watching you and although I hear your voice I cannot discern what you are saying. You struggle to your feet, weakness pulling at you as you pull down the sleeve of the tattered garment which you wear and you begin to rub at a nearby pillar. You spit on it and frantically try to remove the grime as if you are showing me that the damage can somehow be undone. You turn and look at me, hand still moving back forth and I see that eternal optimism in your eyes. That look which once looked like paradise to me and now only serves to reinforce your selfishness in wanting to remain here after everything you have done and everything you have not done as you let me down. Again. The distortion that has surrounded your voice and now I can hear you as you are pointing to the windows and the doors which hang from their hinges, holes smashed into them.

” This place was once so beautiful and you have let it fall into neglect, why have you done this? I just do not understand. I helped you keep it shining and in a pristine condition but then you just lost interest, you would not work with me anymore and it began to fall into decline. It was too much for me to maintain alone though heaven knows I tried, I really did. Not only did you not help me but you then started to hinder me, stopping me from carrying out my tasks, holding me back and diverting me.”

Why are you saying such things to me? Why are you seeking to pin the blame on me? Why are you trying to make me responsible for the demise of this once grand place? I shake my head and point the key at you, a clear signal of my intent. Your face twists and the tears start to form in your eyes. Perhaps they might fall into the now dry fountain and bring about restoration. Does such restoration hang from your sadness?

“Don’t make me leave, please I do not want this to end,” you plead, your eyes, which once shone with delight and joy, which are now glazed as your fear of abandonment starts to rise.

“This does not have to happen, ” you continue as you place a hand against my arm, ” let me stay, I only want us to be happy, to be as we once were. Surely we can do that? Our laughter once echoed through this place and it can again. We can repair the damage, it is not about who caused it, I can put that to one side, I just want us to be together and for us to rebuild what we once had. We did it once,I know we can again, let us join forces and re-create that wonderful time once more, let us admit sunshine and clean away the dirt and the hurt that seeks to envelope this place. We can fix the glass, mend the doors, scrub the floors and clean and tidy and make good. We can do it. I know we can. I can sense it deep inside you, I know it to be the case.”

Your words are impressive and burgeoning with hope. Perhaps it can be done but then you let us down and for that you must pay the price. That momentary consideration of allying with you and recovering what we once had is dispelled. We shake our head.

“It cannot be recovered. There is no hope to do so,” we say slowly.

A tear spills down your cheek and hovers on your chin as if unsure of where to go.

“Then let us at least pretend that we walk through gilded and fragrant halls once more. Please ? We can pretend can’t we?”

Yes we can pretend. It is all we ever do.

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34 thoughts on “We Can Pretend Can’t We?”

  1. But, it was only ever a dream, a spell, a selfish induced coma by you that lasted months, perhaps years even. I lost count of the days, as I lay in the stillness and the dark, alone in dream. While you visited me there, to caress and then torment me. To switch, at a whim, the pleasant images of tropical beaches and love making that I would stroll among blissfully with eyes tightly closed. To nightmarish escapes, In the dark, running barefoot, through high grass, in any direction to escape your capture.
    I see the spectres often In those dreams, the hauntings of your victims, warning me with mouths sewn shut, hollowed eyes and fingers pointing directly towards you. As you stand off to the shadows, never fully seen, but I am always aware that you watch me. To ensure, I remain asleep and in this dream and nightmare you have created for me.
    How I wish to escape this dream, to awake and find you never existed, that I had only created you and can thusly banish you. While you are away for times, I feel my eyes slowly beginning to open. I cannot see the light quite yet, but I know it is there. I sense it’s warmth and can catch glimpses of shimmer through the heavy curtains you placed over the windows.
    I will continue to pretend that this dream is real, until my eyes fully burst open to the truth and this dream and spell is broken, finally.
    Yes, this is the most lovely place, I see no ruin here, only beauty restored. Return the veil to my face and let me sleep, to dream and to wake, once again and recite…
    This harmful spell I now negate,
    Return things to their rightful state!

    HG, do you do pretend? As long as it garners you fuel. As long as the victim can maintain their false image of you and your relationship long enough to entertain your desire for fuel. Is it once that facade is shattered completely for them and you can no longer see the reverence In their eyes. That they become obsolete?

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      1. Yes I am doing very well thank you.
        Had four! Yes four narc females come into my life in the last eight months. All dispelled pretty rapidly. All came via forums similar to this. They all moved on me first.
        So I am very wary but will always compliment good writing.
        The last episode has been a very damaged post narc relationship female. I think she craved genuine male attention. Was all over me like a rash. Until I called her bluff.
        There are a lot of sickos out there.
        No more cyber buddies.
        Be careful you guys and girls.
        Mike.

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      2. Hey Mike! I hope you are well…..I am so sorry about your experiences with N women…they can be worse I think than the men….I had 2 close female friends that were N’s, and they can keep the mask on for YEARS!! I hope life is better for you…keeping you in prayer!

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    1. Karaa34 that is beautiful! It speaks from thee soul. As I read it, it had taken me to many places in my mind concerning the narcs (family members/former friend) in my life. In particular it reminded me of a narc-psychopathic family member who used to cover the Windows heavily so that no light would enter…It also represents his spiritual state of being as well and what he inflicts on others.

      As I’ve been away from narc/psychopathic family members my eyes have slowly begin to open. The healing has come slowly as I’ve engaged in spiritual battle-warfare with them…The thing about it is I still feel them watching from afar. I Continue to remain on high alert and remain in a permanent state of hyper vigilance.

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      1. Thank you low profile that is very kind of you. As I read HG’ s words often I feel a deep connection to what he writes regarding myself and my feelings. Then that is from. Where I respond. I felt the calling and the curse of being in a dream like state, the difficulty to determine what was real or dream, the presence of the watcher as I sleep. I am glad you felt the things I was seeing and feeling as well. Yes, the feeling of unease and as you say, being in high alert. It is a spiritual and emotional battle waged bewteen us and them and within ourselves, as well. Where we win through our awakenings and eventual escape.

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  2. Once again, a great read. I find the psychology behind your mind set fascinating and love reading your point of view. I have never encountered a malignant N outside of a professional setting but have “danced” with quite a few of the non malignant variety. You mention quite often that you don’t engage with your kind or women who aren’t empaths. I find that N’s are drawn to me and may even enjoy the challenge I present to them. I’m easily bored in relationships and quite enjoy the drama and constant games involved with carrying on with a N. I knowingly feed them premium, high quality fuel only to take it away and deploy the “gray rock” technique whenever they “try” to devalue or insult me in any way. I’ve never been discarded and have always been the one to walk away and go no contact, hoovering doesn’t work on me once I’m done. So I guess I’m interested in trying to understand why some N’s would only pursue empaths while others have no qualms with accepting a more challenging target.

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    1. Dear, not….

      I’m not trying to offend you…..but are you sure you’re not a narc? Is there something between narc and empath? I only ask because I usually fall victim to narcs and I am a confident and together woman. However, narcs are very attracted to me. I even had two female friends that were sociopaths (I had no idea until the discard), that loved to be in my presence….it’s like they studied me…in retrospect…that’s what it felt like. They, like you….could never be played by men….they were always one step ahead of any games in love relationships….

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      1. Most narcs prefer empaths for their caring and forgiving natures, it brings forth much desired fuel. Why empaths are Predominantly targeted, unfortunately. Due to the cold, unemotionally detached nature of the narc, they require the emotion ladened empath to fuel them and reenergize their needs. Two narcs I would imagine would not provide or sustain the required level of fuel needed over a period of time. Or would get bored quickly with being manipulated and outdone In the mind games of each other. The ideal would be they all pair up and cancel each other out or spontaneous combustion is another thought 😞

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      2. This quote speaks to me of the way of an empath to seek forgiveness and acceptance and understanding.
        “The weak can never forgive. forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
        Mahatma Gandhi

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  3. Every article of yours hit home. So, I decided I am gonna ask you a question, and since you are the source, I guess I will finally get some good answers to something I haven’t been able to understand. Let me explain. My ex (thank god) narc, of course used to think of me as some kind of goddess. The first time we were together, nothing bad happened. I guess up until this moment, I did not have any cracks to be filled in, and by the stories I know of him now, I assume he saw there was no way to get me into his web. So, since I was the one who left him, in good terms, we ended up being friends for a long time. I know for sure, that the women after me were always compare to me, and expected to behave, think, and look like me. Back then I was flattered, now I even feel guilt, and deep connection to their pain. Anyhow, time passed by, and with things that happened in my family, I was finally cracked, and he knew it. Getting back together was a mistake, this time he left, very fast with devastating exit lines, but I believed him, because truth was, I had changed quite a bit. I was going through very hard time (my dad got very ill and I saw the inside of an ICU, the silent pain in people’s eyes for feeling absolutely helpless, while waiting on a loved one to die, or even worst, to be taken out of a hospital in vegetative stage). So, I did change. And for years to come, I was convicted that I had hurt the most amazing person on earth. I am a strong person, I know that. I am a fighter, I am a go-getter, I use common sense, and I read between the lines. I know that. It is almost impossible for someone to pull a BS on me, a lie. I catch them. Success with that comes only because I sabotage myself and when I see a lie, I convince myself that I didn’t see it right, or that there is a reason behind it, which I avoid to think is malicious intent. Not for a long time though, it stays in the back of my head, and sooner or later I pull it out. We got back together again, he reached out, of course, and I was happy I had a second chance to treat him right. Was I wrong? 🙂 Thinking about the way he treated me, was really the worst compared to every one else, that I know now of. Talk about narcissistic injuries, rage and hate…I have seen that. I fought back, not with him, with me, to not let myself being smashed completely. Of course, every time I would pull my self up, he would smash me again, and again, and again, and I kept pulling myself up, again and again and again…I finally did it. He is out of my life. And I am finally fine. But, I keep thinking of what he did, never physical, the emotional was brutal though. And I have been asking, and trying to find answer to one question. Are narcissist afraid of certain kind of people? What kind of people? Why? I, from all his ex women, am really the only enemy he has, that’s what he considers me. Every one else either doesn’t matter to him, or they are afraid of him, so he does not bother with them. With me, it is a different story, the biggest smear campaigns, the most cynical behavior. Real planning of constantly surprising me with things he thinks will hurt me. And finally now, an unbroken silent treatment. Not that I want to talk to him, but we have a kid, so once in a while there are things I am required by law to let him know about, so it is like my texts go into a number that doesn’t exist. He pretends very well to care about my son, which is a BS, and a project for his Facebook only. I am sure you know that.
    What a long comment….but I am taking my chances to have an answer from someone like you.

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    1. We do not fear you. We fear the loss of fuel. We regard you as competition when we are devaluing you, competition that keeps trying to steal our fuel or not give it, but we do not fear you. We do not fear other people because we are above and beyond them. They should fear us if they cross us and experience the heat of our ignited fury as we lash out at them. We fear criticism and the weakness and wounding that is accompanied by it but we do not fear people.
      We fear ourselves.

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    2. I think they do feel threatened by us, by the awareness when we know what they are and that we may expose them to others, thusly sabotaging their fuel supplies. We then present to them as an unknown variable that needs to taken care of through devaluation and discard..to quell us or silence us. We must not interfere with their ability to get fuel.
      Since they know us well, as we present as ourselves. To them, they know how to manipulate situations to their advantage and make us look unstable, irrational, jealous and so forth. They know what silent treatments do to us as well.

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  4. HG,
    This post is triggering-but brilliant!!!
    We empaths (me at least), will never understand the narcs refusal to “fix” the problems that they(the narcs) themselves created? This applies to all narcs….friends, family, coworkers, and lovers!
    All it takes for us empaths to forgive is a heart felt talk and a hug….but your kind is just so unforgiving (although it’s usually your kinds fault) and cruel to the people they love and that love them.💔😥….

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  5. Perhaps it’s my not-quite-awake state and physical exhaustion, but I feel like this is an internal conversation between the N and his beast. It does truly sound like it could be between an N and his discarded victim at first read, but I think it goes much deeper then that.
    Does there come a time when it’s harder to keep the beast locked away and the world indeed feels as though it’s about to crumble?

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      1. There comes a time for the empath as well, when the choice is to keep ignoring the small child we keep quiet within us or to acknowledge him/her and learn to give that child the love/compassion/understanding to allow us to heal and become healthy. No one ever knows when/if that time will ever come until they start shattering the walls of their own imprisonment and allowing that child to surface.
        I feel a sadness for you, HG. It’s mine and I own it whether you want it or not, it’s there for the young HG that needs the care and love you seek from others that you need to provide for yourself.

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  6. T,
    I’m positive I’m not a narc, however I do possess narcisitic traits. I experience the wide range of emotions and am very capable of love. I typically don’t form long lasting or strong bonds with most people, therefore I have little difficulty cutting ties with the N’s I do choose to engage with.

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  7. I remember after 14 years of marriage and the last one of pretending being the happy family and that nothing happened, because nobody had the courage to break up the marriage, this enlghtening moment when I knew it was time to put an end to pretending.
    We did not have a marriage of fights after the come back but speciall, the last two years were pretty sad of emotional withdrawl and sometimes his silent treatment.
    It was a saturday morning very early. I was drinking my coffee and preparing for meditation. Friday afternoon he had called to say he would not make it tonight home from the business trip but Saturday night.
    I remember having felt nothing, planning Saturday for me and the kids alone and saying ok. Have a nice trip back.
    He indeed returned Friday night very late and slept with the kids.
    So that saturday morning as I was drinking my coffee I saw a shadow in the hall and turned my head and saw him standing there observing me, I dont know how long ago.
    I remember having felt very dissapointed. And the words that came out of my mouth, which I had not said after thinking but just came out ” What are you doing here ? I thought you would arrive tonight”
    He must have sensed the dissapointment because he coldly answer. ” live here” and turned back to bed.
    This moment as I continued to drink my coffee I thought. I have to put an end to this. I was drained out of energies trying to hold everything together and I felt I could not take it anymore.
    Luckily he agreed calmly also to put an end to pretend as it was clear there was nothing anymore to save.

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  8. What blows my mind about your writings is that you describe every interaction, every excruciating detail of the dynamic in a surreal and metaphorical way that the experiences felt like – everything felt like some macabre Twilight Zone episode interlaced with The Magic Kingdom. I think N’s and Empaths are both highly imaginative and creative people but working toward very different goals.

    My dance felt/feels like a strange, ancient one as if we connected across many lifetimes. I have never felt like that before.

    I wonder HG, do you ever have preferred or special targets or past targets? Was anyone categorized in your inventory under “special”?

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    1. Thank you Bethany.Yes I do have preferred targets, super-empaths or co-dependents. I discuss the hows and whys of who I target in the forthcoming book “Sitting Target”. Karen andCaroline immediately spring to mind as categorised as special. I am interested in your comment about how your dance felt like an ancient one and that there was a connection across many lifetimes. Was there anything said and/or done by your N which evoked that feeling or was it just how you felt about it?

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  9. HG….these words describe the way I feel each time an N ruins things….EXACTLY….is this what you sense from your discarded lovers?:

    “Don’t make me leave, please I do not want this to end,” you plead, your eyes, which once shone with delight and joy, which are now glazed as your fear of abandonment starts to rise.

    “This does not have to happen, ” you continue as you place a hand against my arm, ” let me stay, I only want us to be happy, to be as we once were. Surely we can do that? Our laughter once echoed through this place and it can again. We can repair the damage, it is not about who caused it, I can put that to one side, I just want us to be together and for us to rebuild what we once had. We did it once,I know we can again, let us join forces and re-create that wonderful time once more, let us admit sunshine and clean away the dirt and the hurt that seeks to envelope this place. We can fix the glass, mend the doors, scrub the floors and clean and tidy and make good. We can do it. I know we can. I can sense it deep inside you, I know it to be the case.”

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