The Sense of Loss
People always struggle with loss. It might be at the top of the scale where you have suffered a bereavement and lost a well-loved family member. It could be the loss of your home where you have lived for twenty years, owing to damage or repossession. It may be the loss of your job, a loss of good health all the way down to something far less important but a loss never the same, of your favourite restaurant when it closes or your daily caffeine injection from a coffee shop because you are economising. Take something away from someone and they will experience sadness, frustration, upset, anger and sometimes confusion. Since people are governed by emotions rather than cool, hard logic, the loss of something often has a devastating and traumatic effect, especially in respect of major losses such as a spouse or partner. Once upon a time your parents seemed as if they would live forever. They were always there. They raised you, guided you and supported you. They let you find your own way through life but if ever you needed them they were always there to listen and help and then one day you find they have gone and you are left with a huge black hole in your life. Your best friend who you have known for over twenty-five years was a huge part of your life. You spoke daily, laughed about your younger selves and the scrapes you got into, supported one another and cruised through life like the dynamic duo until they have gone and you feel a massive void since their departure to the next life or another continent, dependent on the circumstances. Remove something from a person’s life and they are left with hurt, despondency and despair. This is all the more so when it is something or someone wonderful and delightful. Then the emptiness becomes a howling wilderness.
Of course we are fully aware of how loss affects people from our repeated study of people. We also know that being able to gift someone something wonderful and then remove it, is a sign of considerable power. A power that can be wielded with considerable effects. The power of withdrawal,even if just threatened, can bring about an extreme reaction in the subject. This is something we are fully aware of and something which we take advantage of.
We gave you everything in the beginning. We provided you with a love beyond compare, a dizzying array of compliments, a barrage of desire and a tsunami of flattery. We raised you up, higher and higher and sprayed you with affection, passion and generosity. The light was bright, warm and golden and we let it shine every day just for you. We allowed you to bask in this golden period of utter ecstasy and in return you gave us everything that you had in pursuit of the maintenance of this golden period. Without warning we withdrew it. The door was closed and the shutters lowered and once where you had walked happily and freely you too found yourself transported to the howling wilderness where you stood alone beneath grey, leaden skies as a cold and unforgiving wind whipped around you. It felt like someone had died.
Whereas once we uttered such sweet, sweet words to you, there is now only silence. The reassuring embrace of our arms and lips has somehow vanished and you feel stripped and vulnerable. All of the places we took you to and shared seem so distant and you begin to wonder whether they really happened. Alone and distraught,you wander this wilderness searching for us. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of us but in an instant we have disappeared as you stumble along. The kindness has been removed. The long nights of sexual congress which went beyond anything you have experienced before has been taken away, leaving your bed a cold,hard slab where rest is to be endured rather than enjoyed. If we even grace you with our presence in that place where we once coupled each and every night, a writhing mass of limbs and mouths that explored and pleasured, all you know now is our back which is defiantly presented to you each night. That’s if we even come to bed at all. The spare room or the sofa seem to attract us more than you these days.
We know that taking away this passion, desire, interest, largesse and kindness is like a hammer blow. It is as if we have died but yet you can still see us, touch us and hear us which makes the sense of loss even greater and all the more confusing. Like a pet-owner dangling a bone in front of a salivating puppy, we occasionally open the shutters and allow the golden period to return and the joy and the relief which washes over you at the restoration of his oh most glorious time is electrifying and so is the extent of your gratitude and delight. Yet it is ephemeral. It is like a wonderful dream that has transported you away from all the hurt and misery, but just like a dream when you open your eyes in the morning, it has gone.
The power that comes with withdrawal and your predictable reaction to it, mean that it is a method of manipulation that cannot be ignored. To bestow and then deny has you caught in the strings of our puppetry as we jerk you back and forth between granting those things that you desire the most and then taking them away from you. Your reactions and the control this grants us means that it is so simple yet so effective and something we can never withdraw from doing.
36 thoughts on “The Sense of Loss”
How long would the isolation be? Have the doctors proposed a minimum number of weeks?
Hello Lou, one week has been suggested.
are you ever surprised by the reactions you get? and how does that feel to you if it’s unpredictable?
No I am not because the reactions are cultivated by design and I have spent years doing this.
I feel very sorry for narcs. Even though my H was nasty to me and caused me grief, I pity him. empty. How sad.
Only God can fill the empty soul. I let H down……everyone will. We are humans. Narcs are not clever,. They are very sad.
Hahahaha. Emergency fuel delivery!
I know the feeling. When the blue skies turn grey and the sunshine become torrents of rain. The pain. Terrible. Confusion. I would be on the phone to my sister….telling her “We are splitting up..for definite…he told me to F..off, he broke my favourite ornament, he went down to his parents and stayed there all day….he refused to help me and told me the supper I cooked him was crap”!
Then one day later…..maybe two…..I am telling Sister…”Oh he is ok now. Says it was just stress from work…..he was worried about his dad……concerned about having no money till Friday…..” whatever.
I used to call the time when he pushed me off the pedestal…..the AMBUSH. I was always cross with myself. Letting him build me up….and yes, it usually happened when I least expected it. The ambush. During a family holiday. On chrismas Day…….on a special birthday. After a lovely day trip out. AMBUSH. and it hurt.
Came a point when I refused to let him build me up for the ambush anymore.
I am now trapped. H has changed and I am grateful for that. He is sincerely trying to live as a new person and make up for the pain of all those years.
I have trust issues though….which is why I am on this site.
How many narcs change? Is H a burnt out narc? H is an insulin diabetic of 40 plus years….if I left him now…..he could drop down dead in the weeks following and my family near and far would blame me.
I care about him. I don’t love him. That love died. I want to be able to try again. But its gone.
I went to a dog shelter this week, with my daughter….she is looking to get a rescue cat. I stared at the dogs in cages. I actually cried!! One of the huskies was howling in his cage. My H laughed at me crying at the huskie….but it really upset me. This morning I realised why I cried. Because I identified with the trapped huskie, the frustration.
HG thanks for the articles. I do believe it is possible for changes. I have seen so many changes in H. But it seems to late for me to have any trust for him, damage so vast.
If you do decide to do this and go into isolation, HG, let me come with you. I will be on standby for emergency fuel delivery.
HG, in the comments section of your youtube video ‘Introduction and Fuel,’ you replied to a commenter that you are contemplating isolation, in order to write about the experience of low fuel levels in detail. Please HG don’t do it! 🙏
I know many people want to know about it. I have asked about the precipice myself, but if it involves you isolating yourself then I don’t need to know about it. I care about you HG. Your health is important. Please don’t do this for us. You will say it’s not for us, but clearly this is only for us, because this one topic will not have a significant effect on the fuel you get here. Please don’t do it HG😰
Hello PTSD, your concern is noted and appreciated. It is very much in the discussion stage for two main reasons. Firstly, there are numerous considerations which must be taken into account. Secondly, my social and business commitments are such that I do not have any appreciable time available to undertake the task. If it happens, it will not happen soon.
Thank god. Please let it never happen HG. I adore you and wish you the best of health.
Thank you PTSD.
I totally disagree with you. This is one of the healthiest things he could do. HG is a remarkable person. He is willing to put himself out there to let people see his thought process. If he takes that risk he is more than intelligent enough to know if it would be detrimental. He is loved and cared about by many people. He has a support system. He is an altruistic person whether he intends it or not. I believe he needs to do this so he can see that he has fuel within. He is successful because of his knowledge, skills and abilities. Not because he is ruthless, arrogant and manipulative. Not because of a lack of empathy. He is everything that he thinks the construct is. He is an amazing man. He needs to prove that to himself internally. His cold bitch of a mother ripped his heart out. She fucking broke him. Now he spends his life breaking women to subconsciously get back at her. He needs to do this. So he can believe in himself not from external sources, not from performing. Not illusion. I say he quits his day job of narcissism and starts new in January. I am sure the transition will be beneficial. HG has contemplated every angle to this endeavor. He is not the type of man that would hastily make a decision like this. I have complete confidence that he has got this. Btw, you forget, he does this for himself. He will come out of it a better version of himself, which seems impossible to improve upon, but nonetheless it has to be attempted.
HG even though I do not know you personally, from the time I have spent reading your blog, listening to you speak and reading your books, I have affection for you. I care about you. I want nothing but the best for you. Whether you ever change or not, I will be eternally grateful for the time and attention you have shown to me. I would hug you but I know you hate it. Maybe one day you won’t and I will get that opportunity. Until then, make your move, do it, try it. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. 👄💙🐼
Thank you FTW, your kind words are appreciated. The proposal remains up for discussion.
Your kindness and gratitude for HG’s help is clear and warm.
With that said, French Toast is correct. This endeavor is not to destroy HG in any way. We all care deeply for him here, even if we do not know him in person. This is an effort to help him reach even greater heights in his own personal development.
Is it hard? Hell yes! Just like therapy is hard, just like rehab is hard, this will be a challenge for HG. Think of fuel like this, it is a drug for him. We all use fuel everyday, ALL OF US. He happens to seek it, hunt for it and craves it far more than us and at a level that is immensely complex and deep. Fuel is emotional positive or emotional negative response from outside of us. It is external validation of our existence and our power exerted and realized to ourselves in this existence. It is something delicious and it can make us crave it more and more too.
YES, EMPATHS AND CO-DEP ALSO SEEK FUEL. Just not the same level, or to the same degree as a narcissist. We all have to be careful to not solely depend on other’s validation of our existences. I had to work on this myself, as I had a high degree of seeking “approval”, seeking praise for accomplishments (like a drug, I still have to watch it). In my family, that was how we communicated love. I know now that that is not healthy and I feel more free now that I have let it go to a degree. it was a long journey though. It started in my training as a therapist, when I was learning how to do DBT in internship. My supervisors were/are brilliant. In fact one of them referred me here for help with my ex-narcissist. 🙂 So, for an entire year my supervisors watched to not give me much praise for my work. I had to praise myself and be sure of it. No seeking reassurance from them. Hard as HELL! I also had to work on my rescuer instinct (a co-dep thing) And, I feel stronger and soooo grateful I did it. Sure, not the same level as HG’s experiement, AND it is doable!!!!!!
This “fuel diet” will give him a chance to withdraw from fuel, like withdrawing from a drug, to see if he can “fuel himself”. This is very healthy. We wouldn’t say to a drug addict, “oh please don’t go into rehab, it will hurt. You will be different. You may die.”. No. For one, it is a controlled environment. Withdrawals are accounted for. Two, usually the person comes out an improved version of the same person. They do not change into a different person completely. The brilliance is still there, the humor is still there. The goal is to reduce the time he seeks fuel and reduce the craving, which allows him to spend more time doing other things. Like help us (hehe, see what I did there). ….
I am sure the docs and HG are planning this all out in detail. Plus, HG would not allow anyone to hurt him. He is going to go through this in great detail, I am sure. All checks and balances made.
I hope you give it a try, HG. We are here. And, if it was anything like the process I went through, it will be tough and soooo worth it.
Well put Indy.
Thank you for your input. I know everyone here cares about HG a great deal. However, we all have different perspectives. I do understand and appreciate your perspective though.
I worry if HG were to go into isolation because I have seen how low fuel levels are affecting my narc. He is slowly exhibting schizoid behavior, as sam vaknin proposes will happen with low narcissistic supply. He is experiencing memory loss, even though he is only in his twenties, sometimes even forgetting his way home. He says these days he does not ‘know how to react to people’ as he used to. I think his mirroring abilities are decreasing, and he is only able to maintain a cold, straight face most of the day, even when clearly not appropriate. He says he feels like he is suffering all the time and is just waiting to die. It saddens me and my heart goes out to him.
I am trying to give him as much fuel as I can by praising him, providing sympathy etc. even though it’s difficult for me to do so considering the emotional abuse i’ve suffered from him in the past. But as an empath and co-dependant I just cannot leave him in this condition. He refuses to get treatment. I realized that when he reached out to me, and I started praising his intelligence and his abilities, his memory started improving. He no longer has difficulty finding his way home. I don’t want him getting lost in a big metropolitan. His childhood consisted of sexual abuse. He has already suffered so much😞
Whatever HG decides or does not decide to do, he knows that we are here for him and he is loved dearly by all of us. The fact that he has even contemplated isolation for us moves me so much.
I wonder if, like those with BPD, if narcissists also are in a process similar to prolonged “inhibited grieving” from childhood loss. For example, loss of the perfect loving parent, loss of the notion of never having a “perfect loving” parent.
Indy, can you expand more on what you mean by “inhibited grieving”? Do you mean there is something to grieve but we are unable to do so?
Blocked grieving for what never was.
For example, in the case of the Empath/Co-Dep/Normal when they discover they never really knew the narcissist (only an image), it is very difficult for us. When we leave or break up, we often grieve multiple losses: The grieving of the loss of the person that never existed; the loss of the one that did exist; and sometimes loss of self and self respect.
The question I am pondering is whether the grieving of the loss of the idea of an ideal childhood/parent is inhibited in the narcissist (not absent but hasn’t happened yet). (I know, horribly wordy)
I understand. I shall reflect on this.
I really appreciate it.
I found all of that interesting.
I just told you a little bit of my exes background and I have been trying to put the pieces together of what she was trying to do from her perspective. I believe she might be mourning the family that she never had. I think that’s all she ever wanted was to be loved and in a family that didn’t abandon her and accept her for what she was. I think she was trying to put her “own” family together. She was going to have two wives and she was looking forward to having my son in her “family”. Now I know it would have just been about fuel and all the manipulations that go with it but what you just said reminded me of that.
This is her new situation.
Her wife works with a young girl (18 years old) and they became friends. The girl is extremely nice, trusting, naive, and an Empath. She calls the wife her “work mom” and my ex referred to her as annoying all the time. She never wanted anything to do with her. The girl referred to my ex as her as “dad”. As soon as my ex and I went NC ( within days) the girl was immediatey included in everything they did and is now referred to as the “daughter”. She even moved in with them and now they are a “family”. I think about that girl every day and I know that I can’t do a thing about it. I know she is isolated from her family and has dropped out of college. She has been brainwashed.
But I think my ex built the family that she was seeking.
Yes, she sounds like she is going through grieving of a family she never had and unconsciously or consciously built a new one.
The concept of “inhibited grieving” was born out of research on BPD specifically. “Inhibited Grieving is the tendency to avoid painful emotional reactions. Constant crisis often leads to trauma and painful emotions, which the individual frantically attempts to avoid.” (Linehan, 1993). or, “suppression of emotion as a result of constant conflict.” early in one’s life/family. Thus the emotional walls seen in some with BPD (at times) and the majority with NPD. Some folks with BPD will avoid all forms of pain until it comes to a peak and then go into a crisis state with symptoms that are quite intense including suicidal ideation, self harm, dissociation, etc, to not feel the pain. Those with NPD may have packed many emotions up and put it in a container within rather than to deal with those feelings–I do not know, a hypothesis. I am still learning about it all too.
I must have missed this but thanks for giving me your thoughts. It was just something I kept thinking about and I love what you have to say about so many of the topics that are discussed here. I have much respect for you.
Aww I’m humbled and it’s s pleasure. We are all seeking answers and support here and the most effective to help are our peers. I too feel support from you and respect your views. I am learning and growing everyday. Hugssss and apples 🍎 🍎❤️
H G ……. I must say yr absolutely amazing …Are u sure yr not the antichrist ?? 😁I listen to u on talk shows and yr voice and words the way they go together is completely captivating … I’m so glad I have done all my research on narcism or would be in a mess 😱… I’m a impath but I’m sure u can tell that already 💁🏼…. But I’m a bad ass one I must say 💁🏼😊…. Again yr great !!!
Hello Donna, many thanks for your kind words, they are appreciated and do keep reading.
Your welcome 😊
😂 and now you know why TV is usually off and music is always playing.
Its a fact of life, nothing last forever except death.
Love I agree with you, you cant date the dead.
At times the bastard X Factor seems to go on forever.
Perhaps Día de Muertos was created just for narcs. We can remember and celebrate all our past narcs on this day.
If I can still see, touch, smell that person, I don’t feel the loss. His withdrawal may be hurtful, yet there is solace in his presence. I remember even when he travelled, I did not feel alone because I was in his house. His scent was everywhere and it brought me comfort.
I only feel true loss on the day I’m discarded. That is the day they die. I mourn the loss like an actual death. That is why I never go back. You can’t date the dead.
😩 you’re so mean!
But I love you nonetheless💖😊
Always good to know.