A memento box, we all have one that we store in an attack or closet and largely forget about it and it’s contents until one day we come across it while searching for something else. Or we occasionally dig it out to add something, or to share the memories and pictures with your children or grandchildren. But not my ex narcissists, I would store his box and before I knew it, he had it back out, looking through all the items and pictures he had seen a million times before.
He would do this rather often, a few times a week, or a few times a month. The first few times he did this I thought, “awww how sweet”. When we first met he took me through all of it’s contents, telling me stories and sharing memories he “seemed” to cherish. But when it became clear to me he did this far more often than most people I grew curious and concerned.
I felt compelled to finally say something. I asked him, “why do you keep dragging that box out and digging through it over and over and over again? What are you really looking for? Are you hoping to find something or answers that weren’t there last week or the week before?” He never really had an answer.
I have since come to believe that there was a part of him that was desperately searching for his true self. The real Chris he was meant to be but was long since lost to the false self he created as a child as means to escape his abusive environment.
As a mother, my heart broke for that child and the broken man I saw before me. No child deserves to be robbed of a happy, stable, nurturing environment. Unfortunately this compassion for his plight, one I did not fully understand at the time, only served as a means of me willing to continue to absorb almost any amount of mistreatment. Had I known about NPD at the time, my compassion for him would have remained, but I would have had a better understanding that compassion for myself and my own psychological and emotional well being should have taken precedence.
I had always been a problem solver. I have since come to realize that sometimes, there just are no answers and you must save yourself. I have had to come to accept that somethings are simply broken beyond repair.