The Devastation of the Illusion

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You fell in love with an illusion. You fell hard and deep for something which never existed. The golden days that we created together were the twisted reflections of my manipulative hold over you. I know how anxious you were to try to recover the golden period. You poured your beautiful heart into securing the impossible. I know that my silences, my verbal violence, the cheating and the lies, my perfidious control of you was brutal, malicious and devastating. I understand that the whole avalanche of manipulative techniques I applied to you, in savage wave after insidious wave crushed your self-esteem, mauled your sanity and shattered your world. This brutality was nothing compared to the aftermath.

For now you have slipped away from my tight, choking grip. I know however that you sit looking from the window where you used to watch for me strolling up the driveway, a bouquet in my hands and the pain still wracks you as you remember how you fell in love with someone who was not real. Memory after memory stirs from within, an endless loop of ‘best of’ moments that you want to stop remembering but you cannot. It hurts yet you still want to remember because even as the pain rises in your chest, you still feel the flicker of your love for me and you still cherish that. Like the drug addict, you know that line of cocaine is no good for you but still you need to snort it. The cold silences may no longer chill our living room. The sting of my slap across your cheek has long since faded. The barbed comments I fired your way each day have lost their power to wound. All of that has gone. The one lingering, tortuous pain that still sits deep within you is the knowledge that you were in love with an illusion No matter how much you discuss it with your friends, the earnest hours with your therapist and the pile of books about healing that are stacked up besides your favourite chair (which I always tried to sit in before you), none of them help take away that awful aching.

You can manage the shame of being fooled. You take a strange pride in having given your all to such a despicable person because that is the person you are. Honest, decent and a provider of unconditional love. You do not want that to change. You do not want to lose the empathy for which you are renown. The battered bank balance will repair (eventually) and the dosage of the medication will come down (your doctor has said as such in soothing tones). The strength of character which made me choose you means you can deal with all of these things. The one thing that will never leave is that deep-seated pain that you loved a ghost. Your head will eventually accept what happened, that you were charmed, entranced and enchanted and you never stood a chance. That was why you were chosen. Emotionally, you will never lose that dull ache as you sit and reminisce about our time together and how wonderful being in love with me was. Your heart will never accept that it was not real.

That crack, that fracture, that tiny chink that remains from your frenetic and devastating time with me shall always remain. It is through it that I can return as I slip, shadow like into your heart through that unhealed wound. That is why we did what we did; so we always had a way back in. For all of the strength that you exhibit through never taking a call from us, from changing email accounts, from burning the pictures and changing mobile numbers, you are never truly safe. Yes, you manage to evade the snaking tendrils that we uncoiled to try to haul you back under our spell. You will have to maintain that vigilance for the rest of your life. Our polluting influence, if ever allowed near you again, will creep and trickle through the hole that will never seal. You are consigned to a lifetime of wariness and maintain your defences because that damage is permanent.

You will always be in love with the person you thought I was.


65 thoughts on “The Devastation of the Illusion”

  1. mmmm….
    a rumbling pain that has just begun to soothe.
    It is like a death when the blinders are removed.
    when in fact, I had two deaths this year.
    One was an illusion, and one was real.

  2. Yup, I will always reserve a piece of love for him because for now it is the last link to the part of me completely uninhibited, blindly trusting and passionate and I loved feeling that too. No one has come along to erase that up close & personal so all that lingers now is perpetual numbness. For now.

  3. “You will always be in love with the person you thought I was.”
    HG, no, now we know to much, we can’t love something that not even exist. That change things. Now we are standing in better place.
    My ex is a ghost for me now, an illusion, I don love him and I dont hate him, I just dont care anymore. I dont know this is how I feal.

    1. I agree. Its not love. Im not even totally sure it ever was, in my case anyway, I was in love with the idea of being in love. Sure I am scared from the last 10 years of the off and on ‘relationship’, but no love lost here. Damage yes, love no. Anger indeed. Determination now to nuture my scares through learning. Its the best I can do for myself. He calls it love still, which just proves to me it was all an illusion. Even to himself. Thanks HG.

  4. I loved him and it was pure and unconditional . I would have grown old with him watched his hair grey and see the wrinkles slowly over time cover his face . I would have loved him through that and never would have hurt him or leave him . I never wanted anything else but a life with him . I could have woken up every single day and looked into his blue eyes and fall in love all over again . He was my everything and he was my world . I never would have ignored or cheated on him . A love like what I felt for him is so rare . I don’t know why anyone would throw something so beautiful and unique away . Finding someone who loves you that much is something to be happy about and thankful for . He cheated on me and hurt me like it was easy as putting on his socks and shoes . Total devastation is all I felt and still feel .

    1. Memories with this song. Driving my silver 280Z fast. I was badass. On top of the world and unattainable for more than a moment. Fun times

      1. AO,
        Nice 280Z. I had a white toyota supra. Then a Mustang 5.0. I was very very predatory at that time. 80’s 90s, started calming down late 90s. He Married in 2001. Been with Mr. Normal Nice Guy Ever Since. I just made an 80’s playlist. I think in music too so, every time so eone commments, there’s a song I it for me. You name Ah Oh is not the lyric but reminds me of red hot chili peppers Snow. The part, hey oh, listen what I say oh. Especially when I write to you AO. Bet your always a fun time.

      2. I also had a red 5.0 mustang. I have had many cars in my life. I was very spoiled. 22 new cars to be exact. My favorite was my s600 Mercedes 12V, I had two of them. My Escalades, I drive one now. I liked my Boxster too and I had a Jag for a short period. On and on. Now I look at cars a bit differently. I am going to get a new one in the next six months. Not sure what I want yet. I am leaning towards a Tesla or a Porsche Cayenne GTS or Turbo. >

      3. Ah oh,
        No contest of the 2. The Tesla. Number one rated in so many areas. Being from Detroit and having so many relatives involved with car companies, it is a good choice, oh and Jack White drives one.

      4. I am told to wait 2 years to get the new SUV Tesla I have a few friends who have them. I also have tesla stock. They signed a huge deal to build a battery plant in Nevada. Also the Chinese are building a plant here for their electric car. Interesting to see what comes on the horizon. Want to ride with me ABB?

        Sent from my iPhone


      5. Ah oh,
        I used to fly to Vegas alot. My forever Narc is a private pilot. He lives in Henderson. I have good friends that also live in Henderson on a golf course. My good friend is part owner of the new hockey team and has a big stake in the new stadium and bringing the Oakland Raiders to vegas. Unfortunately for me, i cannot go to vegas without my husband. This is under the advisement of my good doctor. It’s too big a temptation to engage said narc. I believe I could go alone and you would slap me around for attempting to engage him, or maybe you would meet him and be enamoured by him and we’d both get hoovered. He’d fly us off to Cabo and then shit would get real. Oh and I hope you are not his wife, or ex girlfriend. If you are then we need to talk.

      6. I am very aware of the Hockey Team as I am one of the 1st 75 season tickets holders who signed up. Do you know Gavin Maloof? Who is your friend? Bill Foley? I have been in town since 1976

        Sure show up! I might know your ex. >

      7. Hi. Blake and Delise Sartini i am aquainted with. Which she is the sister of the Frititta brothers. The other good friend I cannot name as he is a silent partner in the hockey team and has contractual obligations tied to the stadium. He also again is tied to the football deal.

  5. Cold As Ice and he believes he is a man of God. I am seeing Karma taking place in his i life, I didn’t have to do anything just sit back and watch and he wonders why. No comprehension cold as ice he is.

  6. I am thawing from my frozen condition he put me in.
    I actually laugh at him now. He is such a dumbass.
    He thought he was so smart and untouchable. Wonder how he felt when I found out he was an abuser and let him know it.
    Wonder how he felt when I did not keep it to myself…shattering his golden boy image.
    He is a 3-dimensional joke.

  7. I just said this is what is the hardest for me. I know there were lies. I know she exaggerated. I know she faked her tears. I know she pretended to like the things I liked.
    But how could I have not loved the parts of her that were real. Some of it was real. I loved her even though she hated herself. Even though she cut herself. I loved all the ugly parts of her.
    “Your heart will never accept that it wasn’t real” is 100% is where I am. I have read and read this and I can’t get it though my thick head, heart, and soul.
    I need a whole book explaining this to me. 💔💔

      1. Hi Alexis, when I met her that’s what I thought. She told me she always believed she had a personality disorder. But she does fit into every one of HG’s books. I couldn’t match up her behaviors better anywhere else. I know that they all can overlap. Maybe one day she will seek help. But I doubt it. She has an anchor in her life now that will be there to pick up the pieces and will allow her to do as she pleases. She now has the time to punish me. I’m sure she feels like she has won. 😓

      2. I’m so sorry snow who’re. It doesn’t matter what she thinks. She will always think of herself.

        She hasn’t won because you’re learning and healing.

        It really truly only does matter what you think.

        I used to internalise everything but not anymore. It is so empowering and I wish I could cast a magic wand and make everyone feel this way.

        You’re doing well. Finding HGs site is the best thing you could have done. Even if he is a bit dodgy !!

        She hasn’t won and can never win. You can !

      3. I wish you had that magic wand too Alexis. Lol… It would make things easier. I’m glad to hear that things have gotten better for you.
        You definitely have won! ❤️
        I do think you are right though. She has a lot going on and I can’t be the one to help her anymore. She needs a lot of therapy. Too bad I’m the one there instead of her. Lol…
        Thanks for your well wishes. I appreciate it.

        That dodgy comment made me laugh. 😂

  8. We loved an illusion because I think at least for me, my entire life had been an illusion. My normal was not healthy! My normal was dysfunctional due to how I was raised! We are there because we’re also abused and really have the need to control in our own way. We are similar we just go about life a different way but I still think it’s for the same reasons– control! I have now learned this year what my Mother was! My life now makes sense and I thank God every day for finally revealing what she was to me! She has said the most awful things to me my entire life but no one would ever believe me if I told you what they were! I know why she does this now and her flaming arrows no longer penetrate my Armour of God!

    We are in these relationships because it has been all we’ve ever known! We can change the pattern but an important piece is not only knowing what you are and why but then how to respond! This gives us back the control! The control is also what we’ve been searching for all along. Powerful stuff!

  9. Thank you HG. I was able to release his tears for the first time while reading this. I have held them back for so long. Maybe this is what I need? I hate this feeling and emotion and I just want it to go away. I couldn’t cry when my own brother died, yet I sit here bawling like a baby over the death of an illusion. What the fuck is wrong with me???

  10. If this post does not throw any PTSD sufferer straight into a flashback: nothing will.

    Narcoine, better know for its street name Prince Beezelbub, is many times more potent than any crappy synthetic opioid the Chinese can manufacture. The withdrawals symptoms are as brutal as the side effects.
    Antidote: one day at the time spend your juice loving and reconnecting with yourself. Accept the reality, get angry if you must, forgive you, forget him and go no contact: move on.
    Heavy objects bear no weight if you choose to stop carrying them.

    Alternative method: buy a blow up doll, call it by his name, dress it like GQ Narc, draw facial hair/birthmarks -if the Narc had any-, tell it how much you love it, bend over and backwards for it. You’ll soon realize you are in the same one way relationship with an emotionally unavailable doll as you were with Mr. Not so Nice.

    On the bright side: you know the doll won’t pick up the phone because it really can’t. Plus, the doll won’t lie, verbally abuse you, or hunt you down. 🙂

    1. You want to know what he is? Read Sex and the Narcissist. Read it! I have nothing else to say. I can’t finish it. >

  11. HG, the one thing you don’t mention is what happens when that old target finds a new partner, the right partner. And it turns out this new person is smarter, funnier and sexier. At that point everything you mention falls away and becomes a distant memory, something to laugh about in fact. You laugh at yourself, at how wrong you were when the narc was the best thing you could imagine. And the memories of times with the narc become as hollow as the narcs themselves.

    1. Hi Steve. Some of us, based on our brain wiring, don’t know how to be with that great person. We wouldn’t know the first thing about having a normal healthy relationship. I, for one, wouldn’t even know how to act. Plus how can I be sure this person is truly good and not just ‘seducing’ me? The narc relationship cycle that Mr. Tudor writes about is torturous yet comforting in its familiarity.
      However, I do appreciate you showing us the silver lining. If one day I find that loving kind soul, I will not look back and laugh at my lifetime of torment. Instead, I will blow all my memories to the wind and be reborn into a new life.

  12. Such powerful article. It made me cry for hours. I consider(ed) myself intelligent, educated and smart woman. No codependency issues, no family or childhood problems. But I fell for the illusion. I still can not fully process this phenomenon intellectually, let alone emotionally. I was not aware such thing existed. It looks like SF to me, even though I’ve been there and my experience matches 70% of articles on your blog. It looked like a fairy tail. An “alpha male”, yet vulnerable. I felt his strength, intelligence, but also some deep wound that I wanted to fix. And he made me think/feel I was the only one who could do that, who could make him happy. I almost left my family, husband and two children, for this man. Remaining 1% of my sanity and gut instinct prevented me from doing that. And after/despite everything that has happened, I could never call this man “an evil”. Although he harmed me in many ways, I have the feeling I was the one who let him down, who betrayed him. I guess such is the power of the illusion i.e. cognitive dissonance. Thank you HG for your great work. It is extremely painful to read things you write, yet very enlightening.

    1. Hello, SEF, you are not alone! I was left with the 1% sanity also. My story is very similar. I had already filled out part of my divorce papers when I finally listened to some family members. Just like you I almost left my husband and two children.
      Good luck with your healing❤️🍎

      1. Hello, Snow White! Thank you! I was convinced my story was unique, so uniquely devastating..But when I started the research, I discovered somewhat similar stories, then came across the book/novel “The Seducer”. Reading it was almost like reading my biography. Unbelievable.
        Take care and all the best!

  13. Wow! To the “T” with what I always felt might happen even after leaving my ex narc.
    In some sort of sick way it’s good to know that I was correct in my assumptions and having them validated feels, meh’….

    1. Same here. The hardest part is to accept that I actually miss the illusion, not him. Because it was a real man, made of flesh and blood, saying and doing wonderful things. Well, until he “switched”.


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