One of the most often asked questions on forums about sociopathic/narcissistic abuse (and one that I thought about myself so often) is, “Does he miss me?”
Before I answer, I want to explain why we ask this question. It seems very off to someone who has never experienced abuse. I know a well-meaning friend asked me, “Why do you even care if he misses you? He treated you like shit.” She was right, I shouldn’t have cared and he did treat me like shit. But here’s the rub: someone who is abusive gives their victim (in the midst, I do believe we are victims and before we are victims we are targets, but that’s a discussion for another day) just enough kindness, affection, attention or love to sustain them through the next cycle of abuse that is it come.
We as the victims get stuck in that cycle. We are not dumb. We don’t enjoy the abuse. We aren’t weak. We aren’t damaged. We aren’t crazy. What we are is a mix of slightly hopeful and abundantly confused by what is happening to us. As I’ve mentioned in the past this is intentional on the part of the abuser.
When we are confused, we don’t know what to expect from moment to moment. And when we are hopeful, we don’t know what to make of the contempt. After all, didn’t he just tell us he’s never loved anyone like this before? That we are his soulmate? That he feels like he’s known us forever? That his life began the moment we met? That he can’t wait to get married/plan an expensive trip/move in together?
By keeping us confused and hopeful, our abuser succeeds in controlling, manipulating and devaluing us. All of these things are his goal in abusing us but not his greatest goal. What is his greatest goal? Discarding us. Because that’s such a huge topic, I want to talk about it another day. But you get the idea and can see where I’m going as far as the original question is concerned.
“Does he miss me?” No sweet girl. He does not. He cannot miss someone he never respected, valued or loved. As hard as this is to hear, it is the truth. A relationship with a narcissist is built upon lies. Lies that we were told and the lie that is our abuser.
We want to hear that he thinks about us, that he looks for us online, that he wants to contact us but is too afraid we won’t accept him back and the list goes on and on. This isn’t at all what he’s thinking or doing. What he’s thinking, well, I have absolutely no idea. But what he’s doing is searching frantically (likely via online dating sites) for new supply because that is always his goal.
This is so hard for us to believe, but it’s true. He is no different than an alcoholic needing a drink. His life is about collecting the parts of us he admires the most to feed upon in order to regulate his self-worth and his self-esteem. Without feeding on us, he feels a panic and void greater than the ocean itself.
What we fell in love with? It was his false self and it wasn’t real. But we are real. Our love, however misguided, was real as is the pain we endure when we accept the truth of what wasn’t.
We cannot get stuck here. It’s okay that it was a lie. How could we have known that monsters aren’t just in our imaginations or under the bed at night? Monsters have advanced degrees, hold good jobs, have children and give the illusion to others that they are warm and kind and full of hope and love. But those traits? They belong to us and are not his for the taking any longer.