Narcissistic Abuse and Gaslighting: Reader Shares Decade-Long Survivor Story

Written by GuestAuthor

Editor’s Note: I received a moving letter from a reader who has been following my work on narcissism, and it really offers a glimpse into a long-term narcissistic relationship. I’m publishing her story as written with her permission (under the condition that she isn’t identified personally), and I have offered her some advice, which I will publish soon – but first, I’d like to ask you – what would you tell this survivor?  ~Angie

Survivor Tells Story of Narcissistic Abuse

I met my N at age 13 (we are the same age).  He was my first boyfriend (oh lucky me), and he promptly swept me of my feet like the little Casanova he was.  

I was too excited to have him as my boyfriend that I ignored advice from a male friend of his to stay away – that N was a user.  

This friend already saw this trait in my N at that age.  That is a red flag flashing in neon lights! 

My N and I began a rocky teenage relationship in which me triangulated me, gave me the silence treatment, set the reset button at his convenience, and took my innocence.

By age 18, I had been demoted from the title of girlfriend to just the friend… with benefits, no doubt.   This time of our relationship he controlled how often I see him and didn’t bring me around his friends. After a hookup he’d disappear for a few weeks at least. I learned to wait for him to contact me, in fear of being called clingy or annoying.  He called the shots. 

Around 21ish, he really started love bombing me, but surprise, surprise! He was using me in a triangulation with Emily.  

I didn’t like this and asked for commitment, I got a discard and a smear campaign on social media. 

He doesn’t answer calls, so I go to his house to talk to him.  

He has a friend come to the door, so tells me THIS WAS THE WRONG HOUSE, THERE WAS NO N LIVING THERE.  

Wow, I’ve been there several times before.  

I just cried. 

I went to the car and cried some more, which was apparently super crazy and dramatic of me.   He just gaslight the hell out of me and I could feel my stomach churning trying to digest such outright cruelty.

A year later, he contacts me and tells me Emily is annoying and they have nothing in common.  He strings her along for another 6 months or so.

And then, the inevitable: Bye bye Emily.

Now 24ish, I get my status as friend with benefits until Sally comes along. Of course I’m used in triangulation  (must be tough to seduce someone without using me as his mirror…).

I once again “freak out” as he would say, meaning I ask for him to be accountable for leading me on, and I get another discard for 2 years.  Sally and the N move in together and get not one, but three dogs – and a pig.  

Not all at once, but it happened.  Two have been rehomed that I know of.  

And then, a strange hoover after  2 years this time: I get a random message that says, “So N says you are really weird. I’ve heard stories.”

 I directly email the N because it was obvious it was him, who denies it and we start an affair.  

Sexting a lot.  

He got very aggressive if I wasn’t in the mood but he was, saying “YOU LIKE IT, YOU WANT IT, GIVE ME MORE!”    


Mind you, if I was in the mood and he wasn’t I was a bad person in his eyes. Of course.

He and Sally want to have an “open relationship,” he tells me one day.

He talks about wanting to go to nude beaches and brothels, and she’s on board.  (Supposedly.)  They break up, he doesn’t tell me for months until I asked. 

I tell him I love him, he sighs. Says he knows.  

Many times I express that I love him, he is quiet and acts burdened. 

He’s suddenly his old self again, being suggestive and flirting, even if lightly. Turns out he’s courting Tracy, his now-wife.  

They reunited over Facebook from childhood, how sweet.  

N tells me he is now in love with Tracy, be happy for me.  A friend would happy for him.  He doesn’t acknowledge anything we had, maybe he didn’t even think we did have anything.   

I try to flirt, I’m reprimanded and told how terrible if me that was, I have no repeat for him, he will block me if I try again, he will never cheat on Tracy. He no longer loves me, he only wants to be friends.

He says he was just young and stupid before, he didn’t feel like that for me anymore.

Yet 2 weeks before this it was the N who was asking for pictures of me and sending me face selfies.

He was only playing, he says.

He wasn’t in love with me anymore, he loves Tracy and will change for her.  I told him that playing with me hurts me. No response.

Yet I’m the inappropriate one, though, he said earlier.  

I have to force him to talk to me about why he was giving me such mixed messages.  He says they aren’t mixed messages.

He wants me off the phone, acts very annoyed at the entire conversation that he provoked “playing with me.” 

I cry. I beg him to say he loves me, just so I can hear it.  

I feel pathetic, sobbing on the phone.  

No, you need to chill out, he tells me.   I’m not in love with you, but I will always love you as a friend. He will talk to me later.  

The next week I send him a scathing message that we aren’t friends and never have been. That friends don’t hurt and abandon each other. That I know him, I’m his constant and the other girls are the variable and that he’s a cheater.  

His response was “you need to chill out, I’m busy, I’ll call you later.”

Three months go by, nothing. I block him on Facebook. 

He and Tracy are married now, she has a previous child.  I’m not sure if they live in her parents large house, but I get the feeling they do.  

Her parents have them a big white wedding and a fully paid for honeymoon.  

I’m sure they give much more.  Idiots.  

My N posts selfies of him at the gym, shirtless, and posts about anything, all the time.  I’ve since gone compete NC.

I do my very best to not cyber-peek, with the occasional mistake. The last time I broke down to peek, I noticed that he and his friends with all the exes mentioned in this story again on Facebook and likes their pics.  I wouldn’t like that as his wife… but he seems to think he can have all these female friends.

From the Author: What do you think?  Is he going to cheat on Tracy just like he did with Sally?  He seems pretty convinced that he fixed himself and doesn’t seem concerned with his past behaviors, as if Tracy came as he matured and she was all he needed to be fulfilled.  What’s your opinion?   
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.  I hope that there is enough adult years  to determine if this is a pathological pattern or not. 

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