I’ve brought this post forward from 2009 for a time to make the info a bit more accessible…..
This afternoon, a friend brought me the mail from my box.
There were a couple of memos, lots of junk mail, magazines, catalogs,
….the usual things.
At the bottom of the stack was an envelope addressed to the N.
Now if my life were a movie, this would be the moment in the film where the orchestra music would swell with a tense portion of the score…..the strings, the woodwinds, the trumpets, the English horns….the harps….Hey! This is my horror movie….I want a full orchestra.
But it’s not a movie. It’s just my boring life, (my life that had an N in it for a while.) I can visualize a guy with an axe running across the screen from stage left….cue the screams.
Three years ago, seeing that envelope would have made me feel like all the air had been sucked out of my universe. I wouldn’t have been able to function for the rest of the day, thinking about the loss of my frieNd(ship.)
Three years ago, my obsessive thought…the only thing I would have be able to do….the compulsive desire…would have been to return the envelope to his mailbox.
Worse yet. Deliver it to him in person. Big mistake. Huge.
And I would have felt a constant aching, gaping void.
I know…very dramatic…however true.
Today my response was…
“Huh…Would you look at that? Somebody screwed up in the mail room.”
I felt nothing. I sat at my desk. In my office.
For once it was peacefully quiet…and thought nothing about this piece of correspondence.
A smile spread across my face as I realized that I could honestly say, “Whatever.”
What do you do about missing the “Pretend Guy?”
When I check my blog, sometimes I will look at the Search Engine Terms that people use to find me. My friend taught me this trick. When the “Writing Muse” is evasive, I read through the terms and sometimes I get “inspiration”.
There is a phrase that continues to come up in terms that really tugs at my heart. It brings back painful memories – like a wave of grief washing over me. I feel raw writing about that period of time, after The N…but if people are using this term as a search, then I need to share what I’ve learned.
But first I need a glass of wine….talk amongst yourselves for a moment….
This terminology was the perfect description for a man who pretended to be my friend. When the friendship was over after the “last” D & D…during the next four months that I beat myself up…blaming myself for the loss of a friendship that never really was….
I was “Missing Pretend Guy”
(If your N was a female, feel free to change it to Girl…or “Bi**h” if you are still at that point in recovery…I understand.)
When I discovered there was something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and that ‘my friend’ the N, had 18 of the 20 characteristics….(actually he probably had all 20.) I still foolishly thought that the N could be fixed.
I’ll wait for you to stop laughing.
It took more time and more instances of D & D for me to realized that his personality disorder was woven into the very fabric of his ‘being’. This ugly ‘quilt’ that was his personality could not be changed. You couldn’t go to the store and buy a new duvet and tuck the ugly quilt in it…something new to make it pretty… This disordered individual could not be thrown into the washer with Mountain Fresh Tide and an extra cupful of Downy….there was no way to wash away his abnormal way of interacting with people…
Okay, enough of the bed linens analogy. Hope it helps you understand.
After months of reading…actually it took closer to a year, for me to be able to wrap my mind around the fact that ‘my friend’ was not what he presented himself to be. He wasn’t Pretend Guy. Pretend Guy didn’t exist…he never had. Coming to terms with that made me feel like I was in some weird Twilight Zone movie marathon, and that Rod Sterling was going to walk out from behind the drapes. Even knowing all that. it still didn’t stop me from missing Pretend Guy.
Everything that my ‘friend’ the N had portrayed himself to be was false. Pretend Guy was like an imaginary friend…(but not like the one in Sundays at Tiffany’s.) The person that I thought was my friend, didn’t exist….but the alien who created the illusion did. The alien was Real – Actual Guy; he was real ugly & really nasty.
When the N dropped his mask after D & D’s, too numerous to count, it was truly rare for me to see Pretend Guy.
If I was unfortunate enough to witness a performance of Pretend Guy, his ‘warmth and caring’ was always directed to some other person. When I would witness this charade, every fiber in my being wanted to scream out…I wanted to shake the receiver of his kindness. “Don’t you see? He is not the professional, charming, kind, human being you think he is! He’s not even human!” Watching these scenes made me nauseated.
While I was recovering from the loss, not a day went by that I didn’t miss Pretend Guy. Some days were worse than others. I would stay busy, but inevitably, a quiet moment of the day would come. Sometimes the memory would sneak up on me. Perhaps it was the time of day that was sometimes spent in the company of the N. Whatever the reason, the pain would come to me fresh and raw.
I learned to accept it; you could almost say that I embraced it. At least feeling the pain let me know I was still breathing. I was still alive. Unlike the N, I was human and capable of feeling loss.
I would often talk about him to my close friends like he was dead because well, he was.
I gave myself permission to grieve Pretend Guy.
Give yourself permission too.
I would tell some of the funny stories he had told me…who knows if they were lies or the truth. I would use some of his phrases when talking to those who knew of his ‘demise’. For all intensive purposes, it was like having a memorial service for Pretend Guy.
(Just the other day a friend of mine mentioned THE funniest thing I think I ever heard the N say in response to a fellow colleague. I wish that I could tell you…but like they say, you really had to be there. Anyway, I laughed so hard I cried, and then we intermittently giggled from time to time the rest of the day. )
I wish I could present you with an easy step by step guide for getting over the phase of “Missing Pretend Guy”. I don’t have a book to sell you. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an easy fix.
Time really did help.
I won’t say that “Time heals all wounds” because frankly that is the biggest load of BS ever written. Whoever coined that phrase should be slapped; they never met this Narcissist.
NC = (No Contact) was and still is the BEST thing, EVER.
No Contact is simply that. No Contact! No phone calls, no text messages, no emails, no notes, no letters, no post-it notes, no memos, no waves, no polite greetings…Nothing.
Pretend Guy can’t answer the phone, email, write or wave.
Real guy could do those things if he was human or cared, but he’s not and he doesn’t.
And no, you can’t have a friend /relative /acquaintance get a message to him. Don’t play that game. The N is far better at playing games than you are. And, you must ask yourself….Do you really want to play his sick games any longer?
Do you want to be the game piece in his never-ending board game of Devalue and Discard?
No, I didn’t think that you did, it is just that we have been on the park merry-go-round for so long, we don’t know how to make the ride stop.
I know for people with children by a Narcissistic partner, NC is difficult, but still necessary, and hopefully communication can be carried out for the most part through your attorney or solicitor.
For those of us where the N was a friend, NC is amazing! It feels so good to turn the tables and give his behavior back to him. The victims/targets of the N feel so helpless at times; to be able to direct the “ignoring” behavior back at him (to use a phrase of his) “is simply grand.”
After I had grieved for a time, his name, the stories and his stupid clichés were banned from my office. We declared it a “N – Free Zone.” The office has been sanitized for my protection.
I hope that hearing about my experiences has at least given you the comfort in knowing that there is “light at the end of the tunnel.” Here I am, 3 years later – I survived. Sure, there are flaws, marks that were not there before; but I’d like to think that they have added character and depth. (With a little spackle, I can fill them right in.)
Can I look back on those two years we were “friends” and laugh?
No. I’ll let you know if, and when, that ever happens.
Are you wondering about that envelope that found its way to my mail box?
Don’t worry – I didn’t open it and I didn’t deliver it to him. I dropped it in the outgoing mail bag.
Just like Karma… IT will find him, eventually.
The phrase Pretend Guy was one that I found early during my research of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I went back through reams of paper….most of them being yellow highlighted. The good news is, I found the article and here is the link. The author’s name is Alexandra Nouri. The article I found was called “Missing the Narcissist.”
If the link does not work, you can also Google – “Missing The Narcissist.” You can find Alex’s writings there too. Sadly, Alex’s web site is not to be found. But fortunately someone at:
http://thepsychopath.freeforums.org cared enough to save Alex’s posts.
I hope you are well and safe.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world. I am speaking for ALL of us when I say that we are grateful.