It’s a new year and time to shove 2020 out the window, welcoming a fresh start. The following handful of posts are a series, written a lifetime ago, that track my journey from a painful breakup with a man I adored, to the shock of discovering the truth behind his mask, to glimpsing the depths of his depravity, and finally acknowledging my own error in blindly trusting him. This tale ended long ago, but only now am I ready to disclose it – and perhaps help others who find themselves in a similar situation. Thank you to those who shared evidence and convinced me to tell my story.
I deleted the photos last night. Every. Last. One. I almost said “our photos,” but there was no “our” about it. It was a con, from the beginning to the end. An emotional con – and I was the dupe. For the majority of our time together, his actions towards me were sweet, kind, loving – but it was an act. He went through love’s motions without any emotion behind them. I deleted our numerous 10-page email arguments last week, but not before showing them to someone who specializes in creatures like him. She sees how I tried with him and shakes her head at his pathetic responses, full of lies and gaslighting.
And the lies and the photos and the texts keep piling up. Unbidden by me, his friends continue to drop these pieces of evidence at my feet, like the bloody and lifeless mice my cats leave me as presents. To counterbalance these blows, some reassure me that he “cared” for me at some point. Oh, how my tender heart wishes it were true, but he and I know the truth, don’t we? He is incapable of it – devoid of any authentic feelings, except his own self-pity and feelings of persecution. He “cared” for me in front of his audience; he “cared” for me on his terms.
He knows he’s damaged, deficient in something essential – what did he call it that one night, “demons”? He lacks empathy and has no remorse for how his actions injure people. I was not special. I was a “source” for him, nothing more, and once he used me up, he discarded me and moved to his next sources already waiting in the wings (although I’m convinced they were in his bed while I was still there – in retrospect, the signs are too numerous to be coincidence). What’s ironic is that he’s not very good at them – all his lies. They are mediocre and unimaginative, at best. Had I wanted to, I could have caught him out early. I just chose not to see them. I chose ignorance in pursuit of what I thought was love.
How many times did he say, “If you believe nothing else, believe this,” only to have me discover later that he lied about that very thing.
And his secret – the one that’s recorded in yellow and blue? Like Prometheus nailed to the cliff side, this one agonizing torment is his atonement for the damage he carelessly inflicts. It’s his subconscious trying to fill that insatiable void inside of him. He may resist for a few months, but it will be with him forever.
Yet even now, after all he has done, against my rational judgment and friends’ admonishments, I still feel deep compassion for this creature. I cannot imagine living in a world like his. I’m not sorry he’s gone from my life – I’m just relieved I survived.
Hyperbole, you say? Read this directly from a narcissist’s mouth.
Paprika Chicken with Potatoes
Chicken, potatoes and sweet onions are tossed in spices before roasting in the oven. Add a salad and you have a great weeknight meal.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoons paprika (not smoked paprika)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 ½ lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
- 2-3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
- 1 sweet onion, cut into ½” wedges
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 500⁰ F. Mix olive oil and spices in a large bowl. Add chicken, potatoes, onion and garlic, tossing to ensure all pieces are well coated.
- In a 13”x9” pan, layer potatoes along the bottom, cover with chicken, skin side up, and nestle onions and garlic under and around chicken.
- Bake until chicken registers 165⁰ and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. If chicken skin is not crisp, broil another 5 minutes until skin is crisp and tips of some onions are black.