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.

20 thoughts on “The Sense of Loss

  1. Reba says:

    The loss of the person we thought and hoped the narc was is indeed a powerful. But at some point the victim starts missing themselves more–who they were, their sense of selves before involvement with the narc. Although we are empaths we do not have that same empty hole in us that narcs do, we have self-worth and value who we are. So that is who I want to get back to, to reconnect with–not the mercurial narcissist. Because I know that I can rely on my own love, unlike whatever the narc has to offer.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      A constructive way of altering your perspective.

    2. Morning sun says:

      “But at some point the victim starts missing themselves more–who they were, their sense of selves before involvement with the narc.”

      But what if you find that the self you used to be was the very self that made you vulnerable and prone to engage with narcissists? I have zero interest in returning to that self. So how to go about constructing a new sense of self that doesn’t make me vulnerable again but doesn’t close me off to people and my own emotions?

  2. geyserempath says:

    Oh, HG…so true. In the love bombing stage, he was attentive, wrapped his arms around me, made sure I felt safe and loved. Little by little, the things I relied on got pulled out from under me. He used to wake up, go to the bathroom, and then return to me in bed; then he would wake up, go to the bathroom, and go out for a smoke and coffee and I would wake up without him by my side. Compliments disappeared, reassurances disappeared, my self esteem plummeted. Phone calls on a certain day disappeared, pet names disappeared, benefits disappeared. I am exhausted. Thanks to you for making things clear.

    1. Star says:

      Geyserempath: that comment where you stated how you telling him you loved him only gave him the power to put you back on the shelf ,reminded me of how ill informed( tho probably well intended) I was at one point in time. Long ago when I seriously thought I was going insane, the first therapist I went to actually advised me to continuously remind him of my love for him. To basically bend over backwards to show him “ that his insecurities are unfounded “ His theories were that if he felt “ loved “ and “ cherished “ that he wouldn’t be “ triggered into instinctive reactions “. Of course…. it backfired, horribly, and he became more and more abusive( which in turn caused me to try harder) fortunately, my brain eventually took over and I found a new therapist. HG though I have to say has really nailed the reality, and has been the most helpful with my mind and heart healing:)

      1. Narc Angel says:

        Good to hear that despite the twisted path, that you finally got the clarity and advice you needed and that you are healing. I believe I read that you have moved onto a new relationship. All the best to you. Give your Doxies a scratch for me-Ive lost both mine now and I miss them.

  3. Insatiable Learner says:

    HG, my question got overlooked. Repeating if you don’t mind me asking. So if the narc knows the shelved appliance is under control, can this be a reason he does not bother to provide regular comfort crumbs to keep her interested when she made it very clear she is very much bound to him?

  4. Bekah B says:

    Do you narcissists experience loss? I’m sure the easy answer to that is possibly the “loss of fuel” or “loss of residual benefits”, etc.. But really.. Can a narcissist experience the loss of a person they once had in their life, if that person was suddenly removed and the narcissist did not cause it to happen? As they age and when they realize the children they have are all suddenly grown up, do they not feel as though they lost out on the years they could have spent time with them and gotten to know them? Do you they not feel a sense of loss when seeing a former primary source with another mate?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You answered your question in the second sentence.

      1. Bekah B says:

        Thank you.. I’m getting better at this.. It scares me a little bit, realizing the increased knowledge level I have about narcissists now.. I guess the hope still lies within me, somewhere, that their perspective would be closer to my own.. But it’s not.. Glad I understand both perspectives, though..

  5. ava101 says:

    Even if this means that something finally broke inside of me …. – I like it that I care a lot less now (after narc) about socalled connections, and friendships. I see how it an be an advantage and almost fun to be able to move on immediately and not look back. And not care about conflicts. Oh yes, I used to be different …

    1. blackunicorn123 says:

      Me too, ava101, I can so relate!

  6. Insatiable Learner says:

    Thank you, so what goes through the mind of the mid ranger when the shelved intimate secondary source tells him she is afraid of losing him?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The appliance is under control and I could take it off the shelf now to gain some fuel because the appliance will be grateful of this interaction or they can stay on the shelf because they are not going to wander off at present.

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thank you, HG! So if the narc knows the shelved appliance is under control, can this be a reason he does not bother to provide regular comfort crumbs to keep her interested when she made it very clear she is very much bound to him?

      2. geyserempath says:

        OMG…so all those times I told him I loved him and always would, I was just giving him the power to keep me on the shelf! How stupid…no wonder he controlled me so effectively. He knew I wouldn’t wander off!

        1. Jasmine says:

          Yep. I got that thrown in my face. Apparently I gave him permission to do whatever he wanted to me (screaming, scarring, scaring, breaking, pushing, shoving, slapping, and pinching) all because I said: no matter what. Ergo: I lied

  7. Jasmine says:

    That first time. Wow… caught me so off guard. I didn’t even recognize this total stranger in my life. It completely threw me.

  8. Insatiable Learner says:

    This is very insightful and so accurate, HG! Of course, you already knew that. Are mid rangers also aware of the effects of the loss and withdrawal and are they also using it deliberately?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you. Instinctively so.

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