I will admit that until I met you, I had no idea what narcissism meant. I had to Google its meaning, and even then it took time for me to understand fully how this term fit you. Others had warned me, others waited for me to see the light, but still it took months and years for me to step outside of the situation and begin to get a glimpse into who you really are.

We are complete opposites. Your need for admiration and your sense of entitlement worked well with my empathetic side. Looking back now, I can see all those conversations where I stroked your ego only helped strengthen your control.

There were too many times I stood by and watched you raise yourself up by putting others down. I saw you manipulate and control conversations, so you came out as a savior. It may have taken me longer than most to find out who you really are and what matters to you, but finally, I did see. And once I realized what I had refused to acknowledge before, well, all hell broke lose.

I began to question your decisions and to challenge your “ideas.” I started to stand up to you when you put people down. When you wrongly blamed an individual for something and tried your damndest to convince the rest of the group you were right, I spoke up and told them otherwise.

It wasn’t long after those encounters that the narcissism became bullying. It left me wondering at the end of the day, who was the crazy one. You or me? It left me doubting who I was to my very core. It kept me fearful of what I would greet the next day and when I would get the email that I had failed once again.

But still, I tried. I fought for you; I saw the good in you, and I even risked friendships and family for you. I believed the good would overtake the sides of you that early on I refused to see.

I once saw myself as a strong woman. I have survived many situations in my life, but the level of stress you placed on me became too much. I began to question and doubt everything I knew, regardless of what others tried to get me to see.

The silent treatments when I challenged you, the hiding behind emails because you hate confrontation, and the belittling of my intelligence when you finally had no choice but to talk to me, all took their toll.

I tried looking for any opportunity to stay. I sought counseling to find ways to regain the control you had on my mood, emotions, and self-esteem. But your final statement telling me I had a split personality because I can set boundaries between personal and business relationships, was a light-bulb moment. So I did the only thing left to do, I walked out.

Sadly, my leaving wasn’t enough. The narcissism continued, and now that you no longer have control over me, you are doing your best to control how others see me. I shouldn’t be surprised, and I shouldn’t let it bother me, but honestly it does. It bothers me, but it doesn’t control me any longer. It makes me sad for you. Sad that you still can’t let go and need to continue finding ways of showcasing your own importance.

But even in my sadness, I have come to realize each of us is responsible for our own lives. We must own the way we treat others. We must do our best to uplift and encourage people instead of belittling and knocking them down. You have made your choice, and it is evident in how you continue to treat those around you and those who have left you.

But I have made my choice as well. Even now as I close this letter, I find myself concerned your feelings will be hurt. But that is when I remind myself this letter isn’t written for you; it’s written for me.

Writing this letter brings me the closure I am needing. By putting my feelings down and getting them out of my head, I am speaking with a restored voice and know I am finally once again in control of my life.

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