We do not do the clean break. We never allow closure. There is no neat conclusion when you have been entangled with our kind. You are not allowed the precise and final cut of the surgeon’s scalpel but instead you must be content with the rusty saw that has sought to effect an amputation but instead has merely created a grisly abomination whereby there remains tendrils attached and ragged and torn flesh. No matter how hot the water which flows in your shower and the vigour with which you scrub your reddened flesh, no matter how much detergent you apply and no matter whether you use scrubbing brush or wire wool you cannot remove that residue. We linger. We remain. We percolate and infiltrate.
This, like much of what we do, is a calculated act to maintain a connection between you and us. We can never let go so we see no reason why you should be allowed to either. The residue which we create and which you cannot remove, takes many forms. It may be the fact that we chose you when we worked together so that each day you have no choice but to see us across the floor space in the same office, in the cafeteria or striding across the car park. Once upon a time, like every good fairy tale, you smiled and you felt your heart skip a beat as you saw us exit the lift and smile at you. That wonderful smile which was just for you. Now when we exit the lift and our cold, dead eyes alight on you, the smile is no more than a sickly leer which slowly opens up across our face as we know the residue of our impact on your remains deep inside you. You are faced with this each day. It is either that or leave and go somewhere else and even though you know that the latter is probably the most appropriate cause of action, something prevents you from doing so. Is it because you still want to see us? Of course it is. You may very well hate us but you cannot still help yourself as you want to see what we are doing and allow yourself the indulgence of looking at us and remembering.
In a different way the residue may be the fact that we owe you money and you are left to contact us, despite not wishing to do so, because you want, no, because you need that money. After all, we leeched from you so successfully that we have left you in penury and you need this money to be reimbursed. Part of you would rather write it off and in doing so hope that you can scour us from your memory, but circumstance dictates the necessity of collection. We know this and we shall provide excuse and exhibit delay and prevarication in order to keep you hanging on and in order to keep the connection between us alive still. The money will be paid by the end of the week promise. Sorry but we had to have a new boiler fitted so it will be next month now. The bonus was not as large as had been promised so it will a further three months as I shall have to pay you be instalments. What money? I do not know owe you anything. We keep you dangling and pull at the connection that remains between you and I. If it is not money, then it will be possessions. We will purposefully leave our belongings in your house and you will repeatedly ask us to collect them. We issue similar excuses to the repayment of the borrowed money. I am a bit busy at the moment maybe next week. I need to collect it in a car and mine is in the garage at the moment. If the possessions are not ours at your property then we will have ensured that in addition or as an alternative we will have kept items belonging to you with us, causing you to have to keep some form of contact with us in order to recover them. We ensure we select those items which are expensive and of sentimental value so you will not be able to replace them but instead you must keep asking us for the items. We will string out the return of these items by failing to be in when you call to collect them, turning up to deliver them when you are not in, forgetting to do so and so forth. It all maintains the link between us and increases your upset, annoyance and frustration. We want to keep our residue in your life so that when we choose to make our move we can suck you back in without difficulty.
We will remain in the same circle of friends as you. With our notoriously thick skin we will still turn up to meals and drinks knowing that you will be there. You will feel uncomfortable and resent our intrusion. Third parties will try to keep the peace and of course we will maintain our façade in order to show that we are a good person and we are just trying to be civil following the ending of the relationship. You may react to this and it enables us to point out that you are unhinged, unpleasant and always have to bear a grudge. Is it any wonder that we left?
Whilst we create the ever presence so that you see us everywhere you go, in sounds, in sights and sounds, we also like to leave our mark on you, smearing you with the residue of the relationship so that you feel tainted for the rest of your life, marked with the repeated reminder that you have been embroiled in a relationship with us and moreover to let you know in the clearest terms that you will never be free of us. We can never be washed away.
29 thoughts on “Residue”
Welcome back, HG! Really missed you and your daily dosis of logic thinking 😊 I guess your ever presence technique makes it impossible to wash you away completely, even after implementing no contact. It is like a scar of an old wound that sometimes hurts, don’t you think?
Thank you Kate. The difference is, I do not hurt – here.
Right! Here, you help us not only to heal the wound, but to remove the scar! You free us! And you know that I am very grateful for that. Thanks, HG!
Even the positive residue has less power to sway me these days.
Lately I’m struggling big time with some behavioral issues with my son. Last evening we went for a rambling walk just to ‘chat.’…I reminded him of times when we were less frustrated with each other …he started naming off “good times” and memories in his head. Then we turned a corner and found ourselves walking down a dirt laneway with the trees almost meeting together over top of us; which must have triggered a visual memory for him. Because he suddenly piped up and said: “Remember when we went down a road like this? When it was you and me and Dad together? And it took us to a beach?
That was a good day.”
I just said, “Yes it was.”
(Actually, we went many times, but I found it curious that his young mind summed it all up as one time.)
And now, as I lay awake at night, revisiting the laneway, my son’s words and the original memories…it would normally send me on a big crying jag that would disrupt my sleep for the rest of the night..and I felt the familiar rise of emotion in my throat but then – almost anti-climactically – I found there were nearly no tears to express. It was more just like taking a brief walk down memory lane (literally and metaphorically); and saying “Oh… yeah…that happened.”
I guess the potency of our emotional response really does lessen with time.
Hi HG. Good to have you back.
So, if the residue is a group of friends, I suppose the way to go is to get out of that group. Is that right?
I know it’s kind of a dumb question but I am struggling with this at the moment, as I really like some of these friends. But I think I can find a way to keep some contact with them without having to deal with the narc (still to be confirmed).
Thank you and yes it is.
Thanks HG. I know I will have to leave this group sooner or later, narc or no narc in it. I like some people there, but I will be better off without them in the long run. I am just enjoying them now that they have entered my life again.
I relate to your current situation and understand your predicament with regard to the need to leave a friendship group. I am so sorry you are in this position, it feels unjust.
I left my relationship, my home, my job and my friends all at the same time when the N and I broke up. Leaving the friendship group felt like the cruelest punishment for me. These were people I had enjoyed so many memories and years with and at that time it felt beyond difficult to walk in a different direction.
My reflection is that you can’t walk two paths at the same time – if you try, you will get nowhere. If you stay within these relationships you will be constantly questioning their authenticity and the N’s influence. There is no surety when the N remains within reach of your social circle.
When you leave a friendship group you find yourself more open to new connections which can be reinvigorating. Rebuilding marks the beginning of the rest of your life, it takes courage but it saves pain further down the line.
I wish you well Lou!
Thanks a lot for your kind comment and advice. I agree with you; it is better to leave the group and have peace even though it feels unfair to be the one who has to stop having contact with people you like and had very special moments with. It does feel unfair to me right now, but I will leave because I see that that is the best option for me.
Thanks again Sarah.
Another thing to consider regarding your group: Do you really want to hang with people who tolerate and/or fuel a narcissist?
I recently made this kind of decision at work, where I noticed that others would put up with a narc bully in the office. I cut her off, and others could have done so, too, and very easily, but they just hang on. I lost my respect for them, and so don’t really even engage them any more, either. Because it is work, I’m still professional and friendly. However, I just won’t let myself get any closer to them.
I am not 100% sure the person I am referring to, and who is part of this group, is a narcissist. He is for sure not obvious. He shows himself as a very calm and nice guy, although I have noticed he needs to be smarter than everyone else but in a nice and charming way. I have never seen him furious or giving the silent treatment and I have known him for quite a while. However, there are other signs that make me think he may be one (basically control). Most people in this group like him and I understand why. However, if he is a narcissist (and this is what I want to find out), he gets little fuel from them.
But I get your point, and I have already taken the decision to get out of the group as soon as I can, even if this guy is not a narcissist. I really do not want to have anything to do with him (although he seems to want to have to do with me… Another red flag).
Thanks for sharing Lisk. It does help to see several aspects of the “group of friends dilemma”.
lisk & Lou
The narc and I only have a couple friends in common and they are mainly loose social media connections at this point. BUT, I have had to block them too because I simply could not deal with their ignorance of what he is, and the fact that they remain in his cheering section made me seethe. To be fair, they did not have the entanglement with him that I did (at least not that I am aware of). Regardless, their support and fueling of him added to my annoyance so I needed to cut those ties.
I realize Lou, this is easier than removing yourself from an active/current in-person social circle which is far more difficult…
Hi Joanne. These friends, although I like them and shared good moments with them, are not really close friends. It will be relatively easy to disengage from them. I just would have preferred to keep some of them in my life. But, if that’s not possible, so be it.
That is solid LT right there 💪🏼
Hi again Lou,
To your points:
*He is for sure not obvious.
*He shows himself as a very calm and nice guy
*He needs to be smarter than everyone else but in a nice and charming way.
*I have never seen him furious or giving the silent treatment and I have known him for quite a while.
*other signs that make me think he may be one (basically control).
*Most people in this group like him and I understand why.
*if he is a narcissist (and this is what I want to find out), he gets little fuel from them.
Sounds like my narc-ex! And to him “little fuel,” was still fuel, especially if it was coming from a controllable source who thought he was smart and funny and charming.
I see that you are following your perceptions and your gut here. I commend you for that. I don’t think you have to be 100% sure about a narc to trust your conclusion and act on it.
And, who knows? Perhaps others in the group are getting a similar vibe from him.
Hi Lisk. You’re right, I don’t have to be 100% sure about his NPD. Just some days ago I wanted to be sure, but I have seen enough these past few days to conclude that I should GOSO. I am just thinking now what’s the best way to do it with the people I like in this group. I hate the idea I am going to be the strange one with the problem. But I guess that’s the price to pay for getting rid of him. Prick.
If you keep your exit professional and don’t blame it on “a problem,” you’ll be fine.
They will be curious, of course. So you could always use the “I’m resigning in order to spend more time with my family” trick.
Or, you could say you’ve decided to start working on a new novel/project and need to devote your time to that. “What is it?!” they will ask. “It’s in development so it’s Top Secret right now.”
Or you could just fade out with no explanation at all.
Anyway, you know what to do.
Whatever your exit strategy, I hope you end up leaving on a positive note (e.g., as the smart one with a project) rather than on a negative one (e.g., as “the strange one with a problem”).
With best wishes,
Thanks for the advice, Lisk. As I said to NA; I am still thinking about it. But I will try to leave with a positive note for sure. Fading out is an option I am considering too.
Thanks again., Lisk
Curious. Is the reason that you don’t want to be near this person and feel you have to leave the group because he is already controlling them in some way or you anticipate that happening? If others in the group approach you about why you have withdrawn, have you given thought to how you will handle that as to providing reason/explanation?
No, that is not the reason I want out. He is charming them, which is a form of control, but I don’t think he can go further than that. This is why I thought I could keep contact with some of them on a bilateral basis, without his annoying presence. Annoying only to me
No , I don’t know yet what I am going to tell them. I am still thinking about it.
There will be a big party in two months and I really want to go. But he will be there too, so I am thinking not going after all. I need to reach zero impact with this prick. I still have time though.
I definitely notice that your ooze of confidence ran outside the lines of reality on this one. You tend to group all victims into set categories and leave no room for anything else but your victories. I am certainly OK with that because it is just your nature. After all my years of research… You Mr. Tudor are the one who put the final piece of my puzzle together for me. I accept my part in the relationship with my narc. I am not excusing his metal, emotional and physical abuse. We are no longer together and I am not tormented inside by his past, present or future actions. I once thought of him as being sick and actually had empathy for him. Now I just see him as wired mentally differently. I no longer have a relationship with him and find it amusing when he pops up out of the blue to get attention. The relationship challenged me more than any other in my life. However, I tend to grow more through the experiences of pain and disappointment than during happy times. I have had enough lessons and growth experiences through the hands of a narc and I am smart enough to learn the lesson once and not have to repeat it ever again.
HG why did narcissist have the need to keep the connection that part doesn’t make sense to me I can be around someone who are used to have in my life and have literally no care factor that they’re there I don’t like games and I don’t understand the need for connection to someone that you don’t want in your life ????
This is baffling to me as well.
My relationship with my nex ended with him being arrested for domestic violence. I’m the one who wound up giving him a love note, one of my favorite shirt, and a watch so he would be reminded of me. Makes me wonder what he did with those things. Might have thrown them away? I hope not, but that’s emotional thinking which is a huge no, no and prevents healing according to H.G. Tudor.
My nex was also arrested for DV. I did not want him arrested but he locked me out of our home and threw my clothes outside. I just wanted back in. But the cops had seen what he did physically and arrested him. Before the night was over, I had a hotel and an Uber waiting for him. I had a night bag with all his things and scheduled an appointment with an attorney to fight the charges. None of this mattered and he was out for revenge against me. He never took responsibility and tortured me for months and months over the incident. And still brings it up today. I’m grateful he is a nex.
I am so sorry you went through all of that. And even after he attacked you, you were still doing all of these sweet things for him out of love and he still treated you horribly. I hope you see now that he doesn’t deserve you. You are far too kind and loving to wind up with someone like that. May I ask what happened with his case in court? Because my nex’s court case is making me feel like I am being revictimized all over again. His defense attorney filed a motion for a trial continuance so he can get a better plea deal.
Is this truly a calculated act if it is committed by a Lesser/Mid Range thirty year old loser? I can believe the taint should be considered intentional by a Greater Elite such as yourself, but I find it hard to believe that someone who does not even know how to spell the word arrogance (errangence) is capable of such planning.
No, it will be instinctive.