Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie
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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5 Responses to Narcissistic Abuse and Gaslighting: Reader Shares Decade-Long Survivor Story

  1. One thing I would like to stress to your writer is that she was loving and grieving someone who never existed. I couldn’t get over my N and really start healing until I accepted I loved and grieved a non-existent human being. And, the “real him”, is the one who allows himself to hurt people and be cruel to people who have done nothing but love him. That is the “real him” not the one who uses loving ways and loving words to get something he wants from someone. I had to get counseling to heal from my family of Ns and learn how I could fall in love with a N man so that I now can see a N a mile off and when I do, they get no part of me. If someone can be cruel to people that only give them love and that they supposedly love, I have decided in life I don’t want to share my life-space with that kind of human. I don’t like that kind of human to even have a pet. I was not surprised that two of his pets were re-homed and I am sick that he married someone who already has a child. N people can only spread poison and they will spread that poison to every.single.person.they.get.involved.with. or shares any kind of life-space at all.

  2. We all long for that perfect love, and our hearts ache for love and acceptance. When we get love bombed it throws us into a tail spin and when we get ignored, our hearts ache for their attention. We soak up the little crumbs they give us and savor them. It is a vicious game they play and all we are left with is a broken heart and soul. I feel for my NARC’s current victim and all the others he has played.

  3. Omg! This is my story. I just noticed it! Thanks for posting Angie! Makes me feel special.

    Btw… 4 years later… guess who started sending me selfies (of his face…”innocent,” right? =p) and wants to be FRIENDS and says his wife has no problems with being friends with exes. Just sounds like a lie.

    • Wow I would SO love to connect with you! It is like I just read my own life only mine just ended and I got what appears to be the final discard 34 years later in the most hurtful hateful way I could have never imagined for a woman he met on the Internet 5 months ago! We met when we were 14 and he was my first love and I was his first and we have been best friends with benefits for 34 years off and on just like ur situation and then crossed into a relationship without the title of course but we were together living together, together 24:7 all the time worked a construction business together and he was home every night told me he has nothing to hide never kept his phone secret even gave me the Password and then the ex fling from two years before texts him and want some work done at her house and it all went down hill from there! He was on dating sites and texting. All the time and keeping his phone secret and upside down and taking it in the bThroom and I confront him and I get told I am insecure and jealous and crazy and immature and psycho and he is not doing anything wrong and starts staying away from me physically and shows me nothing affection I am the one showing all the affections and then spends my bday with his ex out to see a band as friends but is texting me all night so I go out and he comes home and I am gone and he texts me with the nasty gram that I wanted him home so bad and I am out running around with some guy he’s sure!! (Really are you kidding me)!!! Then we get close again and the secret phone stops and he pays attention to me of course because he thought I found someone else and then all of a sudden This New chic messages him ok a dating site and he meets her and after that is was 5 hour or phone conversations and goes out with her to a party and doesn’t come home and then every weekend for 4 months he spends at her house and at first tell me he has a job out of town and i find out he is there with her even though he wasn’t texting me the entire time!! Then a month ago he starts moving stuff out cause he is afraid I am going to “pawn” it and I find out that she basically told him he has to live with her and move out of my house (cause I contacted her and told her the real truth about what was going on that he was having a relationship with me during the week and then going to her on the weekends) and he does it! He premeditated how to move in with her and not let me know that was what he was doing hw even bought new clothes instead of taking the ones he had here!! He is registered here for probation and needs my address so he had to figure out how to do this in order to keep me in the dark and not let me know he left! 😢😢😢he has not been home in over two months but to pick up a laptop few weeks ago and would not even come in the house cause he was not allowed to or she would get mad and refuses to come and get his stuff and move out! I even rented and paid for a truck and he did not show up and ignored all my messages telling him I was paying for his way out of my life that he wants so bad and come and leave and he says I told u many times I had an empty trucknand u would not let me come and get my stuff stop playing games!! Really!! ?? What I told him was if u are starting a new relationship and leaving then I would pay for the truck and he was leaving all at once and moving out of my life and never coming back not that he could not have his stuff and. Don’t understand he doesn’t want to be here had moved out then why won’t he come and get his shit and leave my life? It is is obvious he is never coming home and I lost my daughter a year ago and another best friend died a few weeks ago and he has left my house half painted and tore apart with repairs he never finished and spent his money on materials and remodeled this New woman’s entire house while mine is sitting torn apart ANd unfinished so why does he even think I would let him come back after the emotional torture he has put me through and why would not he just leave my life and leave me alone?! Please if you woipd be willing to connect with me contact me on Facebook messenger under the name Raelynn Jaden I am in Minnesota and a member of SPAN as well, I really think u can help me and I can’t believe when I read this it was like reliving my own life and I thought I was crazy and he had me convinced it was MY fault he left me for this woman cause we were never together and committed and he couldn’t handle my jealousy and insecurity and controlling who he could talk to and see!! WOW I really thought he loved me and that’s why he kept coming back and could never walk away from me I feel like such a fool! 😢

  4. Right now I guess the discard phase is what my N future ex husband is doing to me.Before I had no idea that thats what and who he is….The sneaky name calling by his harem for 2 years. Had me thinking I really was a ho.but no, that’s what he was telling this incredibly large group of chicks he had persuaded against me.Gaslighting,silent treatment, it’s a checklist from hell. I’m so hurt and feeling stupid that I didn’t realize that he was a N.

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