Healing, Growth, and Transformation

How I Got Over a Relationship With a Narcissistic Man And Found Inner Peace, Joy, and Freedom In My Life

I was in my 20s when this happened

Órla K.
7 min readMar 22, 2024

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Image by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash

When I met this guy, I was in a low emotional space. I had returned home to Ireland after having lived away for many years.

I wasn’t too keen on being back and had just ended a relationship with someone else.

This is how he got me. Narcissists prey on vulnerable people.

Anyway, I have finally acknowledged that I regret having let him in, but I forgive myself as I was not in the right headspace to know how to handle him.

Persistence can come across as genuine interest at the beginning of an abusive relationship. However, he was not genuinely interested in me.

From my recent study of covert narcissism, in his mind, he was genuinely in love with me which in reality translates as infatuation and idealization.

He didn’t care about me, he cared about the good feelings he was getting from idealizing and love-bombing me.

I had no idea what narcissism was at that time, but I was no fool. I had a sense that he was being foolish. It all seemed a bit childish to me. I should have stopped it then but as I said, he was persistent.

I am not going to go into the whole relationship as I want to share how I moved on and healed. You can read about the relationship here.

You don’t need to know what a narcissist is to know something does not feel right. Mostly, I just observed him. The relationship only lasted a year and a half and we lived in different locations so I had space from him.

Still, there was enough contact and times together to do some damage.

After all the lovebombing, flattery, and intense interactions, I had formed a bond with him which I have come to learn is called a trauma bond.

I didn’t know any of the terms but I knew we had become attached.

I was beginning to notice how mean he could be but when I questioned him he would always manage to avoid the question.

Deep down I did not feel valued and I was right.

Narcissists do not value you. You are nothing but a source of supply to them which I later learned is called narcissistic supply.

I was getting tired of him, but he wouldn’t go away. He was clearly enjoying the adrenaline rush he was getting from the relationship.

It was exhausting for me.

Finally, after I got depressed and he learned that I did not trust him, he got angry and ended the relationship harshly.

It was hard, but I was glad he finally left.

At the time and still to this day, my view of relationships was that if someone wanted to go out with me, we would both be enjoying the relationship, working towards building it and there would be good communication.

If he wanted to break up without explaining why, then he was simply showing me how little he valued me. Imagine going out with someone for over a year, spending a lot of time together, buying lots of gifts, and then ending it suddenly!

That was when I saw his true colours.

Because I did not know what narcissism was, I couldn’t understand why he was so harsh and because I was shocked and disgusted, I did not ask him anything.

I refused to give him the satisfaction of getting a reaction from me.

Later he started to call me again, being all nice, which confused me because as I said, my view was, If you wanted to end the relationship then why are you calling me?

I never once asked him why he ended it and he never said why. He just kept calling me.

In one phone call, I remember saying to him, “This is interesting how you are helping me to get over you and move on.” I was clear in my understanding of how relationships should work, yet I was still confused.

Little did I know that he was probably expecting me to beg him to come back. But I knew my worth. I knew that if he treated me like that once, I could never love him again. I would get over the pain and move on.

It’s one thing to be tricked, but to stay after seeing how wicked and deceitful he was is a different story. No one was ever going to abuse me.

I was a lot tougher than he realized.

How I moved on

The phone calls kept coming which I was happy to receive as it was hard to let go. At the time, I thought he was being sort of nice, but it didn’t make sense why he was calling. I suppose he missed me or should I say, he missed his supply.

But, God works all things together for those who love him. I needed him to be nice to me so I could let go. He had been abusive and so I needed him to finally be kind. I didn’t know that he was ready to launch into another cycle of loving me, treating me badly, loving me, being mean, etc. which is what narcissists like to do.

During this period, I had left my job and found a new one where they treated me well. I worked part-time so I could recover from the depression, I moved to a nice house with three other girls which was a positive environment and I’m sure I must have shared my story with them.

I can’t remember the details but they helped me in many ways that I did not even realize at the time. Girls are good at nurturing and supporting one another.

I had signed up for a two-year part-time course in Theology run by the Jesuits in Dublin. I was busy and by the grace of God, within a short space of time, I was surrounded by beautiful, kind, loving people.

I honestly didn’t have time to think about him.

I was moving on and I had no idea what he was doing in his life. He didn’t tell me much. That is all part of the covert narcissist’s secret character.

It must have been annoying for him to see how quickly I moved on. I had buried the hurtful side of what happened and moved on with my life.

I let go of other toxic relationships and even spent less time with my family. I was becoming independent and strong.

Looking back now, I can see the hand of God in it all. I went from one thing to another. I wanted to be me and to do all that I could with the gifts and desires that were bubbling up in me.

God truly heard my prayer.. He brought me up out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock. (Psalm 40:1–3)

Gradually, he faded away. I would have wanted him back if he had explained why he was so hard and cruel to me.

I met up with him a few months after the breakup to see if he had reflected on his actions but he hadn’t changed. He was cold again. It was quite a contrast from the nice phone calls. This I later discovered is part of the covert narcissist’s way.

They feel they need to punish you when you are not giving them excessive praise and admiration.

After that meeting, I knew it was the end and I never looked back.

That was over twenty years ago, until this Christmas when the Holy Spirit led me to release the memory of the break-up. I had not dealt with that as it was hurtful and downright abusive.

I have now released it into love and light. I have forgiven him again and I feel at peace. I can’t change others, I can only change myself.

In the years following that relationship, I never met anyone I wanted to get serious about, so I just stayed away from relationships and worked on myself.

After I completed my diploma in Theology, I went on the do an Arts degree. I supported myself through that by working part-time as a nurse. I was busy, but I was enjoying my life.

I was using my gifts and talents and I was happy.

Life went on and he became a distant memory. It was only two years after all that when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died within a few months. I had a lot of grief to work through yet somehow managed to carry on working and finishing my degree.

I found a therapist (prh educator) who was supporting me through the challenging times. There were a lot of tears but somehow by the grace of God, I kept going.

When my mother died in the summer of my first year at University, I honestly thought I would not be able to go on with my studies as I had moved back home to care for my mother and felt I could not stay there after the summer.

When I went back to the University, I decided to talk to the Chaplin who was a very kind nun. I was sharing about my grief and my housing situation. I wasn’t asking her to do anything I was just offloading my burden.

However, after our counselling session, she set up a meeting with the person who was over the student housing department.

He was the kindest most empathic man I had met in a long time. I told him my story about my episode of depression, my mum passing away, and other difficulties I was going through. He shared that he had gone through similar things in the past.

Within a few days, he called me and told me he had a room for me on the campus for one year. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t even consider that as an option as the accommodation on site was known to be chock a block with a long waiting list.

God was supporting me all the way. I could never have made it without His guiding hand.

Long story short, I completed my degree with honours and in the summer of my last year I went on a mission trip to Kenya, Africa. After that, I was on a new path in life and was committed to following God. I never looked back.

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Órla K.

Learn about mental, emotional, and spiritual heath. Top writer in Travel. Christian Life Coach/Substack: https://orlakenny.substack.com/