It’s been almost a year since my ex and I broke up and there has been a lot of healing and crying. For a long time, I thought that I would be with him forever and that he was my soulmate. No matter what happened I would tell my friends over and over that he wasn’t a bad person and it was all because of his mental health. I tried so hard to convince them that he was the only person I could be with and the only person I would ever be happy with. After we broke up, he got with someone else almost straight away. I explained it away and defended him. It wasn’t until later that I learned about narcissistic abuse.

Whilst researching for an article, I came across an Instagram page that talked about narcissistic abuse. I looked through a few of their posts and honestly, my world had changed. All of the behavior that I had been explaining away for so long finally made sense. To be honest, my world came crashing down. I thought back through some of our memories and I saw them in a completely different light. A mutual friend saw the posts and she was shocked. Her exact words were ‘it’s like looking at a picture of him’ and I couldn’t agree more. 

These are the things that changed my perspective the most:

Overlapping relationships

This was something that I knew about but I didn’t realize why. I always thought it was because he was naturally charismatic and things just happened but the reality was completely different. People who are narcissistic tend to have overlapping relationships as they need constant support and supply. Even when they are in a relationship with you, they are always on the look for a new supply. This was my ex. It was a year between his first girlfriend and me. After we broke up the first time, he got with someone within a week. I explained this as ‘he is looking to deal with the pain of dealing with the break up’. Looking back, I realize that it was because he couldn’t stand being alone, it had less to do with me and more to do with his insecurities. 

Flying monkeys 

These tend to be their friends who will actively attempt to ruin the life of the person who has upset the person that is narcissistic. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, they send their Flying Monkeys after them to keep them quiet and prevent them from speaking against the narcissist. My ex did this. I never really liked his friends but I put up with them because I loved him, this was a mistake. After we broke up, we would still speak. One day, he stopped randomly and I tried to find out what happened. In retaliation, he had his friends messaging me, constantly stalking my social media and my personal website. I felt isolated and scared. I was intimidated; it felt like I was alone. I always thank my friends for standing next to and in front of me to protect me. 

Disciple type following

They are worshippers that are devoted to those that are narcissistic. Friends make sure to keep you on the right path and give you advice, even when it might be hard to hear. They don’t condone all of your actions blindly and always blame the other person. Holy shit, this changed everything for me. My relationship fell apart when I tried to give advice to my ex when he was wrong. All I received for that was abuse. I was made to feel like I was going crazy, not just by him but by his worshippers. Some of them were my friends, but they honestly wouldn’t have cared if he physically abused me, they would have found some way to blame me for that. The more he changed, the more I fell out of love because the person I loved didn’t exist and even though people agreed, they would never speak to him about it. I was fighting a losing battle. 

I know that I don’t want to be with him anymore. The way that he treated me was abusive and I can finally see that. Something that really drove it home was speaking to people who didn’t idolize him. The similarities between our stories terrified me and I knew that I had to cut contact with everyone he knows. I’m still reeling from what I found.

For his sake, I hope he becomes the person I fell for because he was amazing. But I know I deserve someone who won’t manipulate me. Who I can truly trust and who won’t abandon me just to bring me back into his life to ghost me. I cannot wait till I meet him because I know I deserve better than what I got. 

If you are in need of support, reach out to these helplines:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 (United Kingdom)

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233 (USA)

  • Aafiyah is a graduate from Lancaster University with a BA in International Relations. In her spare time, she loves writing poetry, and dismantling racist and patriarchal structures