In nearly every toxic relationship, there is another partner: the replacement. At first, this person is the main source of contention & hatred in your recovery journey. They are presumed to be the home-wrecker. They ran off happily with your soul mate, flaunting themselves all over Facebook for the world to see. You became the crazy, jealous ex. This person stole your dream.
But with time, you come to see that this person actually saved your life.
This is a letter for every “other woman” who happens to find us in a Google search or a random click. We cannot reach you directly, for it would only send us back into a world of insanity that none of us desire to revisit. But we can hope that you might come across this letter and learn that there are always two sides to every story. You have already been told one. Here is the other.
To the other woman:
I hated you. I watched you run off with the love of my life, happily and shamelessly showing the world what you had done. It took me weeks to realize that the infidelity had been going on long before our relationship ended. It took me months to realize that my pain and tears were used as a device to manufacture your sympathy. And now, it will take me years to recover from the insecurity that comes from being triangulated with another woman.
But I do not hate you anymore. I fear for you.
Although we share different personalities, bodies, and spirits – when it comes to this relationship, we are the same woman.
You see, I once rode the high that you’re currently living. I was the special one. The most beautiful, perfect, flawless partner in the world. I saved him from the pain of his last, crazy ex. I sympathized with him about how horribly she treated him, according to him. I was elated to be the woman who finally made him happy, after all of his alleged suffering. He was fascinated by me. He spent every waking moment texting me and showering me with attention.
Does this sound familiar?
One must wonder, in this short span of time, how I suddenly became crazy. Bipolar. Jealous. Needy. Clingy. Abusive. How did that happen? Is it really possible for a person to go from flawless to horrible in the blink of an eye? And furthermore, is it really possible that his previous ex was all of these things as well? And what about the ex before that?
The common denominator has become startlingly clear.
For so long, I punished myself. I truly believed that I deserved it. Something must be wrong with me, I thought, in order for him to run off into the sunset with another woman. So happily and enthusiastically.
But then I realized, I was once that woman. I was you.
And because of that, I understand that I can never save you from this nightmare. Psychopathic victims cannot escape once they have been groomed. For the rest of your relationship, you will deny reality and invent reasons that you might be the exception. You will lie to yourself, desperately trying to recreate your perfect dream. But ever so slowly, your identity will begin to fall apart. Like sandpaper, he will push your boundaries until you don’t even know who you are anymore.
Another woman will enter the scene. It is inevitable in relationships with narcissistic men. You will be strung along for as long as possible, as I once was. Your increasingly volatile reactions will be used against you, to evoke sympathy from the new target.