Its been 4 months since ending a 10 year relationship with a Covert Narcissist. I have no desire to get back together, but I still find myself trying to understand, evaluate and observe his actions from a distance. I don't know if its because of my interest in human behavior and shock of realizing the mind games he played on me an is now playing on his new victim, Or its just that its not been long enough to fully detach From him? Anyone else going through this hanging on, but not for the reasons of wanting them back?
I think that we try to confirm over and over that they are narcissist. I also think that we find some enjoyment in being able to see their deception, when we couldn't for so many years. It takes a long, long time to completely dissolve the triggers. It's like someone who has worked through the withdrawal of an addiction. It may be 20 years since they last smoked or drank, but it only takes a few puffs or one drink to be right back to abuse. The addiction never really goes away, we just learn how to best manage it.
I'm going through the same thing. I didn't identify that he was a narc until a few months out of the marriage. I'm at just under a year and all of the 7 year relationship just keeps replaying in my mind. It like it's all constantly spilling out and making sense now. The big problem that I've been having is with each memory and snip it of flashback, I feel the exact emotions with the same depth as the original moments. I still keep getting hit with moments of clarity each day that explains so much of what I saw and experienced with him. I have absolutely no desire to get back with him, yet I find myself still feeling love for him and I have to remind myself of how it truly was. I made so many excuses for him and did so much forgiving daily that I am just now seeing how it truly was as a whole. I had stuffed so much away to be able to "try to make it work" , and now it has the opportunity to be seen, understood and felt. Because with him I couldn't show emotions and because of myself, I didn't want to see how bad it really was, I'm just now really experiencing it all completely.
I read everything and re read my journals in regard to my narc. I wanted to make absolutely certain that all the red flags would be more evident to me, just in case I run up against another one. Woe to him!
Yes, after realizing he's mentally ill, I feel sorry for him. But I also, wonder why I settled for so much less then I deserved. And like 4optimism said, looking back over the past, I realize how many lies, deception, manipulation he was able to get away with. He still reaches out occasionally, and now Im wise enough to know better, but when he does, I get this creepy feeling inside. Like he's some sort of Alien and I never knew how crazy his mind was. I honestly, can now understand, how someone could live with a serial killer and never know until they start digging up bodies in your yard.