Let’s Pretend

LET'S

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 this 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 your 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 world 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 and 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 has gone 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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21 thoughts on “Let’s Pretend”

  1. That one hurt! Exactly what happened to me! But, on a bright note, i know that grime, those broken Windows, all of which where there when i entered, that hell of a place, though i know i let some of that sunshine in, will fall into a never ending hell. With only the reprieve of pats on the back, and short term trysts. That hell comes from the one that resides there, and it will, like him, in years, crumble in ruin!

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  2. How come you don’t tell me that I am beautiful? Because I don’t want you to get a big head.
    But if you don’t tell me other people will. Please tell me. Pretend or lie if you have to. Just tell me what I want to hear.
    Some time later.
    You look amazing. You’re hot. You’re gorgeous. You’re sexy.
    Do you mean it? Or are you just telling me what I want to hear. Hmm.
    Is he being sincere?
    Why do I question his motives?
    What if he is just saying that to manipulate me to get his way.
    Oh he is good.
    But I do like what I hear.
    Let’s not pretend anymore.

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  3. This one is another sticky for me. It speaks what ive lived the past 7 yrs. We pretend so much and it can be fun to pretend when everything is going ok but once life hiccups and brings struggles that pretend foundation crumbles and youre left to pick the pieces up. When you have a solid relationship thats built on truth and reality you dont have to overthink anything. You have so much more energy to live life free of insecurities and doubts. Pretend relationships are taxing bc you know you have to walk on eggshells to keep it going and functioning thats when life slips by the wayside and is centered on keeping things from falling apart. I have to ask myself is it worth it? A good friend of mine said to me…if you want to see your true worth start putting up boundaries and you will soon see how real your relationship is. Pretend is fun but it is flimsy.

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    1. narc affair, you have nailed it, again. When we, by degree, come to let go of our addiction to the narc’s emotional roller-coaster, when we learn to direct our intent towards aligning more with our authentic selves, they will fall away from us, because our restoration of our awareness and solidity will repel them. The energy we expended maintaining the facade, will be freed up for more durable, rewarding pursuits, including relationships with genuine people who generate their OWN fuel. Imagine what we could do with our boundless emotional energy, if we we were not channeling it into a black hole.

      Imagine having no fear of abandonment, upset, or betrayal as you move through your day. Imagine having a partner who gives back to you, who actually HAS your back. I have to trust that the universe will give me what I need. I want reach a place in my healing when I will take the desiccated remnants of that dome, those eggshells, and grind them up in my hand. I want to walk them out to the compost pile and scatter them there. They can keep good company among the potato peelings and corncobs, as they take rest and go back to the earth. She’ll make good use of them.

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      1. Hi merripen…ty for your reply. What you say is so very true! When we become more aware and self reliant narcissists are repelled and either slither away or retaliate but they can never be with someone who has firm boundaries and respects themselves. The whole idea is that the victim has some sort of vulnerability that can be manipulated in a way to control them.
        At my kids school this week they had a bully presentation and when asked what are some things a friend doesnt do? My son put his hand up and answered, control them. This is narcissism in a nut shell its about controlling the victim. Pretend is another dynamic of control where the narcissist uses intermittent reinforcement to wear the victim down to a point theyd rather pretend everythings wonderful then go thru the discard or devaluement. Stockholm syndrome usually sets in as well.

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  4. I LOVE this post! Now that I can read it without emotional attachment, it’s really awesome how you describe it. My God, it’s spot on!

    I wonder if someone who has not experienced this would feel it?
    Peaceful.

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  5. What a beautifully rich, colourful and painfully accurate allegory. I look forward to the day when, like Peaceful, I can read it without the strong emotional reaction.

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  6. “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 world beyond, a world you have no desire to return to.”

    You certainly know how to tart up the abyss HG……so much so….that even when we are in the chasm for ourselves, many of us can still not see that the real sanctuary is actually just beyond that door……..all we have to do is have the courage to take that key, open the door and walk out of it ourselves…..but for some reason we do not do this.

    In my case it was not that I didn’t see the abyss or that I didn’t have the courage to walk out the door (as in the end I did)…….in my case part of what stopped me from leaving was that I didn’t want to leave my narc in the abyss on his own……some of us would never give up on a lost cause…….some of us have a conscience…….although I wonder if I had known he was a narc, and all that entails, how strong my conscience would have been then?????………….Diva

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  7. Take this as you will. It is a true story.

    I have an older friend who claims to be psychic. Our paths cross now and then and we exchange pleasantries about the kids and the weather. Years ago our paths crossed, the following day he approached me to bum a cigarette.

    He lit the cigarette and told me I was in his dream last night. We were walking through a blizzard with a group of people. Nearly frozen to death, the group came upon a sewage pond. We all shed our clothing and got in. Once thawed, the stench became unbearable and the group prepared to move on. However, I refused to get out.

    He took another drag of the cigarette. Exhaling, he looked directly at me and asked, “How long are you going to sit in shit just because it’s warm?” I smiled and warned him, “stick to just cigarettes.” We parted and never spoke of it again. I continued to wait for the storm to pass. I continued to pretend the sewage smelled like roses.

    Lurking here for more than a year, I am now sharing. For not only our eyes, but all of our senses must be open to reality… even when it stinks like shit. Thank you HG.

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    1. That’s one hell of a metaphoric dream to share.

      Dreams affect me so much…this post really hit me hard. Thank you for giving me today’s mantra: “How long are you going to sit in shit just because it’s warm?”

      I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

      Please keep posting I look forward to hearing from you.

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  8. “Yes, we can pretend. It is all we ever do.”

    What a sad existence. My heart felt heavy reading it put so straight forwardly.

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  9. It is pretense and pretend on both sides of the fence.

    Because everything the narcissist does is fake and false to gain fuel to function and because we, or at least myself, fool ourselves by pretending to ignore the red flags of behaviour to make the relationship work.
    Sometimes pretending is easier, when you know the truth.

    Leaving is best though.
    NO Contact, as edicted by HG.

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