March 29, 2022

Letter from a “Covert Narcissist”: I Didn’t Know & I’m Truly Sorry.


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This is dedicated to the one person I could live on the side of a mountain in a tent with.

Almost precisely one year prior to our breakup—a catastrophic event, which has left me staring catatonically in the mirror—I saw it for what it was.


The dynamic between us.

You cited it as the reason why we couldn’t make it work (despite the love, the adoration, the chemistry, the common ground, the intellectual masturbation).

And I didn’t get it.

Surely, inherent in the word dynamic is also fluidity.


Problem. Solution.


Except not.

Except that our dynamic had us flip-flopping between being the puppeteer and the puppeteered.

I was aware of the former in our relationship but not of the latter.

I saw you as the puppeteer, a rather large contributing variable for me behaving like a screaming banshee to grind through the prison we had created and called a “loving relationship.”

The thing that got me—and I gotta say, I really did not see this coming—

Is that I, too, at times was the puppeteer.

Nowadays, they have other naming conventions for it. They call it:

Covert Narcissism” as a response to “complex post-traumatic stress disorder” based on our self-perceived “abandonment issues,” or rather, our self-denied “abandonment issues.”

How sad.

How sad that panthers have to find other panthers to be playmates with because less sinister characters are wise enough to flee for the hills as soon as the curtain draws.

So, here’s the thing:

I didn’t know and I’m truly sorry.

You see, I have only ever been either the puppeteer or the puppeteered.

Real was never an option.

Real people weren’t invited into the arena.

Neither as participants, nor as spectators.

Real people were the snacks the real actors and actresses ate before a performance.

So, you see,

I have to but ask for your forgiveness.

Because I didn’t know that I was trained by the circus.

Trained to perform like a dancing monkey.

To chameleon myself to the degree that I was unrecognisable to you.

I didn’t know that my tactics of protection caused you pain and confusion.

I didn’t realise that when you said you were “deeply disappointed” that our relationship had ended,

It was because you had no other words for the anguish.

I was so consumed by my own disbelief in the ending of our fairytale that I didn’t.

No, I couldn’t.

Comprehend yours.

I acknowledge and accept that this may have made me present as someone lacking empathy.

It’s just I turned it all inwards. Against myself.

Today, seeing your face,

The little heart I grew for you murmured.

The desire swelled.

And my mind—the one which ought to be kept mute—whispered:

What the f*ck have I done?


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