It's been said that Narcissists always cheat. They "can't help it" because of their self-focused brain disorder. They are wired for instant gratification- not the long-term junk commitments are made of.
But, that's someone else's narcissist. You just know it won't happen to you. There is something unique, special or extra-strong about your relationship. While you acknowledge that he/she has some narcissistic traits- or has even been diagnosed- you revel in the fact that your love is stronger than that. There is a passion between you and your partner that could never be duplicated. Either of you would be crazy to even look somewhere else.
Then it happens,- the bomb is dropped and your world is shattered. It's nearly impossible to see through the dust, smoke and blinding pain to pick up the million little pieces you will need to carry on. It's hard to breathe, let alone plan for a future without the person who was supposed to be your soul mate, the love of your life. And dammit, you've worked too hard and put up with too much N-crap to deserve this sh%t storm now.
Then there's the family! The kids... the house... the bills.. the photographs on the wall... the memories of the happier times... Not to mention the Great Unknown that's looming out there.
Besides, he or she is sorry. They have real tears and everything. Your partner has never been so remorseful before. It's touching, really. Maybe this is the thing that really turns his or her heart around for good. Maybe this is just a really difficult turning point for your relationship, and it will all be worth it in the end.
Plus, those million broken pieces.
So, you stay. You determine that you two will come out of this stronger, better and closer than ever before. You read about affair recovery and reconciliation. You set your heart toward forgiveness. You go to couples and/or individual counseling. You remind yourself of the other couples who have survived with success - and you hope for the best.
Then reality sets in. There is no true remorse. There is annoyance over how inconvenient your suffering is. There are demands to heal already, forget it and move forward. There is no acknowledgement of the pain that was caused. There is no 'working together to heal.' There is only justification, rationalization, blame shifting, bragging that it was done, threats that it could be done again, and many other defensive techniques that only cause more pain. That promised journey toward healing was a lie. Another mirage in a desert world.
But the human soul is strong and resilient, and those million pieces cry out the truth. "You may be broken now, but not forever!" And, slowly, steadily, you realize that you can heal on your own. You must heal on your own. Slowly, steadily, your pieces come together- wiser, healthier, more beautiful than before.
And eventually, you emerge. Transformed. Complete. Whole. Smiling, even, with an inner joy you never knew you had.
You no longer feel the need to fix or save or stay. You no longer carry the burden of guilt that was never yours in the first place. You see differently now. Clearly. You see that it wasn't about you. It was never about you. Your partner's behavior is a reflection of his or her own brokenness. And in its own way, it too is beautiful. Like a wildfire or a lightening storm.
Beautiful, but not safe. As with wildfires and lightening storms, you now experience a distant awe for your partner; a curiosity over the mysterious combination of magnificent force and captivating loneliness.
You look at them now with stillness of heart. Compassion. It wasn't about you. And now you know that in a way that can never be unknown.
And you are free.
Don't fight the moments that shatter you, my friends. Broken pieces make gorgeous mosaics, - M
Photo credit: http://artbybryn.com/Artbybryn.com/Blog/Entries/2014/9/7_Isaiah_61.html
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog