The Devastation of the Illusion


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.

35 thoughts on “The Devastation of the Illusion

  1. k says:

    I see a pity play.

  2. Leslie says:

    I don’t know if I will wait for him to kill me.

    There is no protection for me. There is no safe place for me. There is no accountability for him. It’s just a deadly squirrel cage and I’m running myself to death.

    There is only death for relief. Either he will succeed in killing me or i will beat him to the task.

    1. NarcAngel says:

      I can see that you’re hurt, but death is not the answer for anyone. You can change this if you shift your focus from what they are and what they do (agreed that its awful) to how you respond and what you are willing to do to change it. The change is with you – he does not control it, despite how it may look to you right now. Maybe the first step is getting out here what your situation is to release some pressure? It can help to let it out in a safe place where others can relate.

    2. windstorm says:

      Are you away from this man or still having to live with him? I feel remiss in that I can’t remember your situation.

      You need to get away from him and find someone trustworthy to talk to. Things often look worse than they are and look hopeless when they are really not. I have been there. Hopeless and suicidal. I was certain that things could never get better – but they did. They did for me, and they will for you, too. I’m going to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. ❤️

  3. Mona says:

    I should have added a last sentence : “Yes, it is true. It is a devastation of illusion – his illusion.”

  4. Valkyrie says:

    “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.”

    I do not want to remember. I think it helps to actively try not to focus on memories, so they are easier to forget. I will always care about my NX because I care about everyone.

    “The one thing that will never leave is that deep-seated pain that you loved a ghost.”

    Absolutely not true. I have loved and lost narcissists in the past and I can honestly say I have zero pain in respect to them now. I do not long for them or feel pain over them. It took several years though to push through.

    I think narcissists breakups are like regular breakups. I felt enormous pain breaking up with normals too and I craved them after. I think the breakup with the narcissist is more intense because of the trauma bonding, but the end result can be the same. After a while, there is no pain or longing.

  5. kel says:

    Thank you for shining the light on the reality of the world. I’m stronger now, less emotional, happier, and I’ve shaken off the dirt and found myself. I choose to be happy every day, to be positive, to see people as they are, to be wise to what lies and what’s underneath, to love me and all the you’s, to be my best at everything, and to never be a victim again. That’s my pledge. HG, I would never have understood things or found myself without your help, God bless you.

  6. kel says:

    You know what? Their Construct isn’t even likable.

  7. Presque Vu says:

    Mercy just give her the site address.
    I’ve introduced others with just the site address – and they ended up reading for days!
    Remember the Youtube videos as well.

    It will all fall into place.
    A simple text… ‘HG Tudor – – everybody is talking about this – it’s helped many! Have you seen this?’

    She can then weaponise herself. I feel your pain, my son is 23 and he had the female versions 🙁

  8. Presque Vu says:

    I don’t want this to be true.
    Despite everything he did to me, I still want the best for him. He will always be remembered for good and bad reasons.

    It was never real, i keep telling myself this over and over.
    I still can’t accept that 🙁

    1. NarcAngel says:

      Presque Vu
      I think it’s ok for you to want the best for him as long as it is from a distance and not you providing it. There IS good and bad. The good is that it was real to you. The bad is that that will have to be enough.

      1. windstorm says:

        “The good is that it was real to you. The bad is that that will have to be enough.”

        Profound words – painful, but profound.

      2. Presque Vu says:

        NA that’s what I struggle with.. ‘The good is that it was real to you. The bad is that that will have to be enough.’

        And also, I do want the best for him. I’ve forgiven him. I feel like the only one here sometimes who does want the best for their nex. I don’t hate him, I don’t despise him, I see the little boy inside who was terribly abused. I know he loved me, I know.. he loved my fuel.

        NA you mentioned in a previous blog response that you can mix with Narcs and have great interactions with them – but you have boundaries and cannot carry their cross. I relate to this completely.

        I actually appreciate them to a certain degree because they are certainly not boring! I’ve learned a lot from them over my lifetime, and not all bad either.

        But yes, I want the best for him – and I know sadly i’ll never see it because I cannot grow and find the love I need if I’m anywhere near him.

        NA you sound like you’ve healed and have found some peace through it all too?

  9. Hope says:

    The Devastation of the Illusion is an awesome article. I especially love the statement, ” 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.”

    I thought I found my prince charming when I first met my Ex! I loved him dearly!

    Over time he instilled insecurities in me that made me desperate for him to validate his love for me. But he slowly pushed me further and further away for a period of 20 years. I never could get close to him.

    Today I just shake my head in disbelief!!

    Can Narcs control the pace of taking their mask off? Because It was such a slow process over a course of 30 years total.. I was blind sided, but knew his reaction was not normal the last 20 years! I didn’t understand why he didn’t see the emotional pain he inflicted on me because that’s not how you treat someone you love!

    I will always have a small place in my heart for him. But it doesn’t me I can’t move on! Hope

  10. PaganSkyye says:

    My heart and head have both accepted that I was in love with a ghost who was not real. My anger, no, my rage, when I discovered who you really were through a slip in the mask, gave me the push I needed. You are the fraud you feared so much. Your secret life disgusts me and I pity the devastation of those you will continue to leave in your wake. But me? I’m free. Sadder, still a bit bruised, but free of your contamination. Yes, the truth truly does set one free. My heart and head have accepted that I was in love with the devil in disguise. Be we angels are looked after. So don’t feel so smug. It would be shame for you to choke on your own false triumph.

  11. Mercy says:

    I need suggestions. My middle daughter is 22. She is in a relationship with a narcissist. Like many of us, she wants to leave but can’t do it. They have no kids to tie them together. I believe he has a IPPS and she is IPSS. She knows none of this. She is not aware of what he is. I have to tread carefully with her because I don’t want her to stop coming to me when she needs help. Could someone suggest something for her to read from HG. Something general that she can identify with. I want her to read and make the connection on her own. I have pointed out the obvious signs to her but she has to be the one to realize that the relationship he created is an illusion. I’ve always guided my girls but it’s important that they take control. In this situation I fear she will withold what she is going through because of the shame we feel as empaths for staying.

    1. MB says:

      Mercy, I like HGs book ‘Black Flag’ for those already in an abusive relationship. There will be aha moments where she hopefully will connect the dots. Certain behaviors will not be recognized as abusive/manipulative until it is pointed out in black and white in HGs no nonsense style.

      1. Mercy says:

        Thank you MB, this is exactly what I need her to have. An aha moment. Do you know if black flag and red flag are the same book?

        1. MB says:

          They are different books.

    2. SMH says:

      Mercy, I don’t think there is much you can do. A friend was in the same situation with her 25 year old, who is (still) with a Lesser and can’t break away. My friend is a psychologist (she helped me with my situation) but when it comes to her own daughter, she is helpless. Maybe you could suggest to yours that she see a therapist and then help her to choose one, which is what my friend did. She just told me that the daughter is finally moving, though I will not believe it until I see it, and moving doesn’t mean she is not still with the guy. She is trying to go far, though, so perhaps she will finally get there. But she had to see a therapist who was not her mother to do it. Your daughter probably needs a neutral space to talk about all of it and sort it out.

      I am appalled at what these young women go through. I can’t imagine how life would have turned out had I run into a narc in my 20s.

      1. Mercy says:

        SMH, how are you doing?

        Thanks for your reply. You have explained the mother/daughter struggle with your friends situation. This is the exact reason I need her to figure this out on her own (with a little persuasion of course).

        Of my 3 girls she is the one that struggles with relationships. She is such a beautiful loving selfless girl. If only she could see the person I see in her.

        1. SMH says:

          Hi Mercy,

          Working and seeing Irishman next week, as he is mostly mobile again. He seems to feel things deeply but I still don’t entirely trust him because of MRN. I’ll suddenly get a mental image of a puppet master pulling the strings. That’s MRN creeping in!

          I think I also have another date with someone else (he told me he texted but I haven’t looked at my phone yet-plus I forget to unmute it, so I never hear anything).

          I can be very social and meet these guys online as my IRL on and off person died in June. But I go out with lots of different people that I know in lots of different ways.

          Anyway, I am not in any kind of bad situation – I am catching up on all the happiness I missed while MRN was in my life! The operative word is FUN. Ask your daughter if she is having fun and if not, what the point is. That is, why does she want to be with this guy when she is so young if she is not enjoying it? Is she happy with other parts of her life (friends, work etc)? Does she have a plan for her future? She might be clinging to him so she feels anchored, as I did with MRN at a vulnerable point. She sounds very sweet. I am sorry someone is taking advantage of her but she is lucky she has you as a mom.

          My friend’s daughter has everything going for her too – family, beautiful, lives in a world city, caring mother – but she suffers with anxiety and depression, which makes her vulnerable, and she doesn’t have any direction. I think a lot of kids – boys and girls – find their early-mid 20s rough.

          1. Mercy says:


            It may be MRN creeping in or it may be your instincts saying “hold up”. Whichever it is you seem to be aware so that’s a very positive thing. Catching up on fun sounds like the best therapy. I’m remodeling my house and it has kept me occupied but I’m ready for some fun now too.

            Yes I’m going to have to talk to my daughter this weekend. She’s not doing very good right now. As a mom you want to just take care of it but I can’t and it sucks.

            I had a little set back yesterday. I’m realizing that when I get emotionally upset my mind defaults to my ex. It’s like I associate being upset with him and that’s where I’m comfortable. Does that make sense? Like I became so comfortable in the misery that when I feel negative emotions that’s where my mind goes to cope. I found myself wanting to reach out to him. I didn’t but it made me feel lost because now I don’t know how to deal with negative emotions.

            I guess it’s good that I identify this but I’m not sure where to go from there.

          2. SMH says:


            Yes it makes perfect sense. Think of your negative emotions as signalling that you need a ‘hit’ of your narc. I think anything can trigger us. Afternoons used to trigger me because that is when I would see MRN. It is why I started writing down my moods last year. I was able to separate it all out and see that it was not MRN, per se. It was the routine that he had created for us (his routine – not mine). I reclaimed my afternoons by going to the gym.

            Maybe when you get upset you should start a new routine. It doesn’t matter what it is – punch a pillow, go for a walk, have a cuppa tea! I think HG recommends something in one of his posts – a talisman of some sort, a rubber band around your wrist. Soon you will associate being upset with that new thing rather than with narc but it will be easier to un-link the two things because they will both be under your control.

            Keep on your path. Don’t reach out to him, create new routines for yourself, and eventually you will relax and things will feel normal again.

            Remodeling sounds fun – I love to do stuff like that, though it can get overwhelming. Spice it up with a date! (I wanna see you go on a date!) Have you dated online? I know HG warns us about it but so far I have not run into any psychos. I kind of like it, actually.

            I am being careful with Irishman. I think my stopgap is that I am leaving. When I met MRN I was also leaving and it didn’t change anything, but I am much more aware this time and owning my life, which I wasn’t doing with him. I figure that if things go well with Irishman, it shouldn’t change things with him either, but it is also my escape valve if things go badly.

            I hope your daughter gets out before it gets too bad. Can her sisters intervene? Are they close?

          3. Mercy says:


            Haha “I want to see you on a date” I see this in the near future. I need to at least go through the motions and start trying. Who knows, maybe someone will catch my attention. I have been on dating sites. It’s all fun untill they start talking then I lose interest.

            The remodel has been my therapy. A year ago I found out my narc was seeing someone and she was claiming to be pregnant. This was at a time when things were really good with him and I so it took me by complete surprise. I “outed” him for the first time in 7 years. Emotions were crazy at the time. That night I took a crow bar to my tile shower. I’d been wanting to replace the shower anyway, I just didn’t realize I’d be doing the work myself haha. Since then every wall, floor, plumbing and light fixture has been replaced in my home (by me). I’ve lived under construction for a year with a dorm fridge, microwave and toaster oven haha. My therapy is coming to an end and my appliances will be delivered Saturday and I’m working on my last major project, the floor in the kitchen.

            It’s said that empaths want to fix things. Fucking right I fixed some things. It’s been frustrating and overwhelming at times but the sense of accomplishment I feel is satisfying where I never was able to get satisfaction from the narchole.

            Through all of this I’ve had a lot of time to myself and I’ve learned that my wants and needs are important. I do not need to spend my life sacrificing myself for someone else. Especially someone that doesn’t appreciate the love and loyalty I’ve given him.

            Now that my therapy is at an end my plan is to focus on myself, my relationships with family and friends and yes, I will be looking for a future love interest. I’m ready to explore my future.

      2. Mercy says:

        SMH, one more thing, she works in a mental health facility. I believe she had a therapist.

      3. delane levy says:

        i married a narc when i was 22 i put him through medical school had 3 kids and then he dumped me after 28 years for a midget housekeeper at the hospital. now he says he just wants me to be happy and he would come back if i never complained about his affair.

    3. Valkyrie says:

      Mercy, one of the first things I read was about love bombing. I didn’t know the term, but I came to an article about it by putting certain criteria in the search bar.

      Sites with general descriptions about narcissists and sociopaths were my first recognition that something was wrong. Sites about love bombing specifically are good, since she is likely in the first phase before devaluation.

      I think most people want to get out after devaluation. It is very hard to convince someone who is in the honeymoon phase that they are headed off a cliff. The link below is on general love bombing.

      The article that finally woke me up was “Parasite” here by HG. I would not recommend reading that until she reads the softer material first or has been through devaluation, but for others struggling here, that article broke the spell for me.

      Thanks again HG. Very appreciative of you.

      Good luck Mercy. ❤Valk

      1. Mercy says:

        Valk, thanks for your reply. I’m not sure if the love bombing applies to her situation since she is probably the IPSS and it may not have been a “bomb” golden period.

        I agree softer material until she identifies what she is dealing with

    4. mommypino says:

      The Red Flag book was really good, I learned a lot from it.

    5. Mona says:

      No. I do not think that way. I changed my mind within the year, I have visited this blog. I have seen real good parts of him, they have not been faked. They were real. He himself did not appreciate these parts of him.

      And his bad behaviour towards me forced me to think about my life. At least he gave me an immaterial present, he never wanted to and he would be furious and envies to know.
      I have had to think about my upbringing, my worldview, my believe system and my needs.
      In some parts we had identical needs. He realised them for himself, I often only dreamed of it and never started to do it. I do now.

      His feelings of superiority and grandiosity are not based on real achievements but on a lot of fantasy. There is only a few real substance.

      He was very mean to me, but I was very mean to him too. I showed him his real identity, which he could not stand. He was not able to face the whole truth about himself. That is bitter – not for me – but for him.

      He is so addicted to recognition and attention, that I do feel some kind of contempt for him.

      I saw his dark side, I saw his inner conflict and I do not want to have someone like him ever in my life again.

      My inner wounds heal, he is not attractive for me anymore. There is too much darkness inside of him instead of light.

      He exaggerated so ´much about my “faults” and how inferior I would be in comparison to other women, that it became obvious to me.

      The opposite was the truth.

      And that gave me a lot of self esteem, which was not there before.

      He never wanted to give me that present, but he did.

      And therefore I thank him.

      But should he ever knock at my door- it will be closed.

    6. Michelle says:

      When a good friend of mine was in an abusive situation, I refrained from commenting on it so to preserve our friendship, but I would ask her the question each time she confided in me, “Is this the happiest you ever believe you will be with a man?” When she repeatedly could not say yes, she came to her own conclusions.

    7. Desiree Mia says:

      Hello. I’m sorry for what your daughter is going through. I don’t have any real professional advice but I do have some suggestions.

      1. Straight up ask her if she is happy with him and the way things are

      2. Create a scenario that will bring out his true colors

      3. Talk to your girl and find out what she feels is normal in a relationship and from there compare her standards to the way it is. If they coincide then that’s what she wanted so… But if they different, then she should obviously see that and start to question things about the relationship more, eventually shifting her attention on his true behaviors.

      4. Maybe talk to someone her age and get them to talk to her. Someone that has been thru it and survived. Get to know her friends and suggest they sit down and talk to her.

      I don’t know what else to say as of now. I am still trying to get away from mine. Being aware doesn’t always mean you can leave. She is lucky to have you in her life. I dont have a mom that is there. She is blessed.

      1. Mercy says:

        Thank you Desiree, I agree that awareness is the first step before she can decide to get away. I stumbled on this site and have been aware of who I was entangled with a few years but leaving is a whole different battle. Good luck to you. You will get there! Just keep reading and eventually you’ll realize that the pain if leaving is only temporary but the pain of staying is forever. It took me a long time but I’m glad I did.

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