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I'm a 24 year old male who has recently discovered I am a narcissist. Through my entire life, I convinced myself that I was happy and that any pain I felt was unimportant or unreal, and I became paranoid of being rejected and unloved if any conflict occurred between me and another person. I felt that I had to earn love from others by being happy all the time, and everyone in my world--family and friends--seemed to validate that I was as happy, calm, peaceful and content as a teen could be. But in the context of committed romantic relationships, when intimacy and the passage of inevitably brought interpersonal conflict, my inability to confront and process pain came back to destroy my life and that of those I was with. Today, as part of my recovery, I've written a letter to the most important woman in my life that just left me.

My only hope now is that through intense treatment, dedication to change, and a lot of luck, I become someone I've never genuinely been before (even when I thought I was), but it may still be too late. Please feel free to comment if you relate to either my experience or my girlfriend's, and your experience/opinions on the possibility of recovery from NPD. [All names have been changed].


As I think now, I see the beautiful young woman you are in your purest form. The real [Girlfriend], realer than has ever been. I see the you that you saw when you saw me, the vulnerability, and brightness, and unconditional faith as you so genuinely sought to become a happier, more peaceful, and more successful person through giving your heart to me. I was supposed to be the correction, the final chapter, a relief to you that I could never imagine.

I see now that what I have done instead is infected you. I was a plague on your health, your trust, your soul, your you. You were so innocent, so exposed when you offered yourself to me hoping only that I would accept you and love you. I can imagine neither the high of the way I reciprocated in those first weeks, nor the agonizing, unwarranted torture that I put you through after.

I was a predator. I treated you, the best ever, worse than anyone because of what I robbed you of. I wanted you to be a narcissist, like [previous girlfriend 1] was, like [previous girlfriend 2] was, like [previous girlfriend 3] was, and like I turned [previous girlfriend 4] into. I wanted you to break. To take your love back, to make me a victim again, so that I could try and fail to feel pain once more, or to earn attention, or to again chase what I chose to deprive myself of in relationships.

I can only thank God that I failed to take from you more than I did—that you were strong enough within yourself to survive, of all things, loving me. I was so scared of the perfect life you saw for us; of the uniqueness of us that both you and others saw in our relationship, because I had unaddressed pain that I was terrified of letting you find out. If I wasn’t happy, you’d know I wasn’t anything at all. And if I was something solid, you wouldn’t have anything to crush—or maybe, you would, and that is why I chose to never build anything; to assimilate parts of others so that the whole me could never feel the pain.

I said I was simple, and after four years I believe that you in fact needed that even more than you knew at the time. That was a lie. Simplicity was a euphemism, an excuse for severing healthy emotional processes prematurely, failing to empathize, and failing to exercise self-awareness and growth. It was an infestation of the garden of your life. And even WITH THE GUISE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and even eventually RELIGIOSITY, I was a painful, losing battle between good and evil forces. You never could get just one, and I wish you could have gotten either—anything but both so that the world could make sense.

You are the pass that came to me that I didn’t put my hands up for. The game-winning touchdown pass that guarantees my induction to the hall of fame, the record, and my immediate retirement in my prime and youth and health. I’m sick for dropping you. I’m tired of dropping you. I want to pick you up off the ground, and never let you go, and retire in my prime and youth and health, < edited > the record, game, and hall of fame. You are all I need.

I would forsake anything to have you in my life. I forsaked everything already without even knowing, even you, for nothing but the avoidance of pain and the fear of letting down and not being loved. I know that the paths are set, and our individual journeys must occur either way, and that my new confidence must come from a deep, unshakable, and natural place within. But [Girlfriend], you are all I ever had. You were the only thing in my life that pulled when everything else pushed. My mom needed me to be happy, and my Dad it seems just didn’t understand—he was simple, and practical, and though he tried couldn’t make me actually be that way. My friends accepted it, and it became a running joke, but none of them could see the real pain, or if they did, perhaps were just convinced I would never want to help myself.

You have been a warrior and a caretaker when you should have been carried throughout the kingdom on plush shaded cushions. You only needed someone to massage you and carry things for you, and here four years later, you have carried the most burden and massaged the most ego. It was a bitter, cruel trick I played on you. More cruel and bitter because you had already lived so much pain, and LIFTED YOURSELF to such a radiant, empowered level in a timeframe that didn’t exist in my world.

Last night I had a dream that I looked up. I was on a train when it was announced the train was about to crash. A military/engineering team onboard rushed to save it because it was about to wipe out a large town. They said they succeeded in preventing the crash, but I soon realized that what they meant was they prevented the crash with the town that would cause the most damage. Everyone abandoned the train because it was still going to run off the tracks. It did, right where I was standing, and nearly hit and killed me. I believe it even landed specifically on my Mom’s house or Mom’s car. And after the crash, the town was so mad at the negligence and destruction that they began throwing excrement from every window of every house, and I was hit on the back of the neck. I’m sure you can already tell from the symbols presented that what I have done is a damaging, disgusting, dirty and painful thing—that I am not the most offended or hurt in the situation, and I have a terrible fear that it could be too late to save the train.

This is the first of what I hope will be many, many letters that help me access the emotions and reality of what I’ve done to you, us, and myself. Any emotional inability is a childlike, masochistic, and sadistic antithesis to what I represent to myself and what I was born knowing constitutes a good person. I will need this for my recovery, and I thank you for listening.[/I]

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