“Narcissistic Glow”

Fiction. Based on a True Goodbye Los Angeles. 

by Mingjie Zhai

Feature Photo by Walid Riachy  

“You’re hoping for a break while your heart’s still mending, surely it won’t fix ya. Or the way things go, for hope collects her toll. If you get one more try, then you got to tell it right. If you get one more try, on the west side….”

-Colin James

“Narcissistic Glow”

Dear A,

That morning I cried because I knew I couldn’t change your false illusion that I was just some kind of mistress for you. The truth is I served as a functional relationship rather than a true relationship. The truth is we lusted each other.

Love addiction is not love. Love addiction is the opposite of love. It was the sex that confused us both. Addiction is impatient and mean-spirited. Addiction is possessive, manipulative, and self-deceptive. The sex confused us.  I became the object of your love and sex addiction, you mine, and you had traded your recent alcohol sobriety for another addiction with me. I had given you the Big Book and the 12 and 12, and instead of encouraging you to read and be on your own with it–letting go and letting God, I had allowed the 13th stepping to take place, knowing it would prove toxic for both of us. And it did. 

I cried because I knew I was powerless over this situation. You objectifying me into some exotic Asian massage sex worker in your fantasy of having this “fly by night mistress” whilst having to put up with your “main” chick, in hopes of saving her from the destructive forces she was aiming to drown you in an ocean of oblivion with is a delusion. 

You wanted to play superhero to her by day and at night, you wanted the mature woman who can fill you with wisdom, that which is supposed to be God’s job. Had you put God first, perhaps you would not have tried to escalate our relationship and you would muster up the courage to let her go.

Still, there I was the last night of being at your place. You still kept my pink toothbrush tucked in that drawer. I knew that you did not initially think of me as this exotic call girl for you. We were church friends, developing a healthy intimate bonding, and I would encourage you to recover and you would give me some financial advice. But things quickly escalated and spiraled when we had gotten intimate.

I cried because I knew I could not have you and even if I did have you, it would only get worse, because I would have stolen you from another girl, like a thief, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I cried because this dream of finding a life partner whom I can travel the world with, make a global difference with, a man who would provide, profess, and protect me, who is proud of me, would be a man like you–awkward, brilliant, beautiful, and artisticially sensitive, was not you. Instead, your OCD would have you stop me from using your pot, as if the expensive metal itself had more intrinsic value than me, the woman standing before you. I gave you 2 Euros and made the point that you seem to want metals more than meaning and relationships, so I tossed it to you like you were worth 2 Euros for the lay and the night I spent at your place. I had cheapened the meaning between us because I am actually sicker than you. I could not be out-narked by you. This disease is progressive, and I am the older and sicker one.

I had to win, but winning the battle meant losing the war. This time, I believe I lost the battle so I can win the war. And thank God for that. It was a genuine sigh of relief when you requested no contact and brushed me off as crazy. Because I knew in my heart of hearts that you wanted to be with the idea of me rather than the actual me. More importantly, you desperately wanted Amy to be like me but without it actually being me.  When Amy reached out to me, and I found out what kind of girl she was, it was no surprise that you are the way you are–A girl who enables superficial and bad behavior, a codependent, the 2011 version of myself in full bloom.  

I knew it came full circle in multiple ways. She was how I was 9 years ago, self centered, self absorbed, and codependent, and now I am on the other side as the “other woman.” I was now the woman that Sonny wanted me to become 9 years ago, but he was not patient, so he wound up jumping train to the older woman who was seven years older than him. He had chosen expediency over meaning. He had jumped ship to a girl who exemplified the qualities he wanted to see in me, but now I know better. Now I perceive the true tragedy of his choice. He had chosen the idea of what I could be by being with her rather than actually working with me to become that way one day. 

I saw the glow of pleasure on your face when I began hurting that morning, and I knew I was feeding into your narcissistic supply. I saw it on your face. The way your eyes lit up as if to say, “Yes, you do love me!” 

You were happy to know that you are capable of hurting me, thereby,  it validated that you matter to me. And you do matter to me. But your sense of self worth should not be affirmed by the measure by your capacity to hurt me. This now, I understand, as both the perpetrator and the victim, and now I understand what my last boyfriend, who wanted to marry and have kids with me, meant when he said that he saw the look of pleasure over my face that day he was naked and vulnerable before me. Sometimes, truth is better revealed when observing a darkly mirror, in another person. In our case, we are indeed darkly twin flames.  

I saw your face of pleasure when I cried. 

That was the face I wore whenever I had hurt Drum and Bass. See, since the very beginning of meeting Drum and Bass, I never really liked him for him. I liked the idea of him, the same way you liked the idea of me that you desperately wanted your girlfriend to become one day. But you were not patient with her and thought you could just train hop to another woman who had the qualities you were searching for, like a typical love addict. You wanted that next level without the sacrifice that a true commitment requires. 

I now know that Sonny never really loved Micky the way he loved me. We had young love the way you and Amy have young love. It was the homie, lover, friends, shared understanding, and a deeper love.

Sonny desperately wanted me to become the ideal woman that I am only lately becoming– more mindful, calm, contemplative, and peaceful. Had you chosen me, you would have made a tragic decision of loving the idea of me rather than the actual person.

My dad did not say much during the divorce between Sonny and I, but when he did say something one day, it was profound. He looked down and then said, “He will one day realize what a big mistake he’s made.” 

I do believe that this year is the reaping of the sowing for Sonny and I. 

Narcissistic Glow

I transformed from abused to abuser by playing the role of Sonny. I also now know how he really felt those moments I was crying, sobbing, and breaking in front of him.

He felt pity and disgust, and a slight inner delight of egoic power, illusory and temporary power. 

Drum and Bass was naked, crying, at four in the morning. I could not help but laugh on the inside, delighting at how I can make this man look so ridiculous–a grown man in his forties crying in the middle of the night. He claims I had caused it but I dismissed it as ridiculous and childish.  How overly sensitive and ridiculous he looks. It looks comical. Pathetic really. 

It fed my narcissistic supply–a temporary high of power–illusory and temporary power.

“Look, you’re just in a racket. You’re in your head right now. Look where we are? Stay present.” I counsel him.

Drum and Bass is looking for compassion. He is hoping to melt the ice queen with his vulnerability. He wants me to nurture him, but all I could think of was how pathetic and weak he is as a man, and how I’m irritated that he has waken me up at this early in the morning, disrupting my sleep. Perhaps, he was looking for a motherly affirmation, but I only see it as coddling his pathetic behavior if I gave him positive reinforcement.  I am incapable of showing compassion or love to him. 

I did not get the mothering presence of compassion desired when I cried. I do not have a model, a blueprint to feel and cry with a man that I consider to be responsible for his own emotions. What he needed from me at the time I could not possibly give him–the will to care and love. 

That is why I truly cried that morning, A. I cried because I knew I could not do a single thing to change the way you currently are just as Drum and Bass could do absolutely nothing but let me go. And he did. And thank God for that. 

I liked the idea of him. He lived in Venice, he is smart, and he plays music. He also had a digital community that respected him. He gave me great messages and great sex, and I found those things he did for me useful. But I had no real intention of giving back. There was no real inspiration behind it. That’s how I know that it is a love addiction and not real love.

You like the idea of my maturity, my wisdom in my years, that I have this seemingly healthy social life, a mission to mind, and a relatively jet setting lifestyle. It would increase your status, your image, to be with an older woman like me, but ultimately, it was the same karmic equation. You would never truly love me, because narcs, until they resolve their own childhood wounds, is not capable of true loving another person. 

This I’ve accepted. That’s why I’ve been single for almost two years since Drum and Bass. Every man who wants to get close, I somehow find ways to use his weakness to hurt him. I do this subconsciously and it gets triggered consciously as a defensive mechanism. This is called love anorexia, to protect that inner girl from ever getting hurt to the point of wanting to end her life, ever again. Until I get my love and anorexia treated, this will continue to repeat itself. 

I’m nine years older than you. I should know better. 

It felt so right to unmatch the Conservative Christian narc from Berlin who had the same name as you. He found me again, I gave him another chance to show me something different than what I suspected was the same kind of narcy behaviors that got me unsatisfied in the first place when I was with you. It felt good to set healthy boundaries and tell my inner child, “no, he’s no good for us. Pass.” 

No delusions. 

No excuses. 

No bullshit. 

Just reality. Stick with reality. 

Drum and Bass accused me of having my narcissism filled up by his show of pain and weakness for me. He was right. He was hurt by the way I did not care about him because I did not. There was nothing I could do about it. Now, I also understand Sonny. A Narc goes through the motions but can not truly feel because it comes from growing up with covert narc abuse as early childhood. I believe that Sonny was a Jocasta son. And he is the way he is because that’s the way it is and I am the way I am because that’s the way I am. 

And there was absolutely nothing I could do about his being that way and I can not doing anything about you being the way you are. I am completely powerless. I did not learn the concept of letting go and letting God. I was not taught at the time. But if I knew 9 years then what I know now, I would have walked away and never looked back.  When Sonny had sat me down in the van he said he had bought in preparation for our family that fateful month in October, I would have not taken him back, because I would have known that there was nothing I could have done to have changed his covert narcissist abuse towards me. I did not know that it was covert narcism. I just knew that something was not right. And it had not been right for a long time. He had gaslighted me for too long. He loved me but he also loved controlling me through manipulation. It was just his character after the many years of being raised knowing that way of being. And I had married a character I did not love nor respect when time passed. There was nothing I could do but to let him go. The break up was painful and prolonged. Because of my love addiction, I could not break free of the addiction to him, and it had almost cost me my life. 

I was feeding into his narcissistic supply during the gruesome few years that followed. His self esteem was filled up through my pain and torment, like a devil would feel nourished by the screams and sufferings of his victim. 

Narc-y Origins

Someone in recovery said, “The child trauma is not my responsibility but the recovery of childhood trauma is my responsibility.” 

The mothers covertly abuses their daughters.

and the enabling, codependent Fathers who becomes mother’s attack dogs.

The mother takes over the home by controlling everything and eventually pushes the dad out of the picture. His say, his assertions, his wisdom gets ignored in the family, because the mother oversteps the father, and thus, he takes a back seat, and eventually searches elsewhere for how he could provide value.

The first thing I need to understand from how I became a narcissist is that I am not broken.

I am wounded.

This is partly why I know I half love you, Aaron, because I understand how you were made, and the real you is that the person I had gotten to know. Perhaps that is the one thing I would have wanted Drum and Bass to understand, had he understood, but he did not. I saw similar signs and symptoms of woundings of you, which shown a bright light on me, because it was as if medusa is finally looking into the mirror.

Two narcs falling for each other through shared wounding. I remember Donny telling me that when two twin flames can learn to accept each other, learn and build from each other, the experience of spiritual growth amplifies.

“Second, what the mother insists, we come to believe their perception as real instead of our own. Gaslighting is one of big tools of a Narc. They do things to protect their fragile egos, so when they enact the abuse, they act as if it does not exist. A covert narc abuser is two faced– she acts nice and makes grand gestures to look good in front of people, but when nobody is looking, she can be critical, harsh, judgemental, condescending, manipulative, resentful, and bitter.” an audiobook revealed.

This was becoming obvious for me when men who cared about me had told me, “You made me want to kill myself.”

And that’s how I knew that it was the way I was raised that became the root cause of my suicidal attempts. I had adapted the critical voice, even when I was away from mother.

I was raised by a someone who carried the narcissist ice queen spirit and now I have inherited the narcissist ice queen spirit.

Now what?


The Man with the Wedding Ring

He tells you that as a child he thought he was an alien that was in this human suit trying to mimic people rather than actually being with them. He tells you that ever since he was young, he learned that the people around him would be better off if he were to just go away, so he felt like he always needed to be on the run.

You realize you are also on the run.

The Aaron in Berlin says to you, “You should probably change or else you’ll end up being alone.” You blocked him. He’s also a narc. It takes one to know one, and you are still in recovery. You can’t save him. You can’t even save yourself. Only God can. You block him and pray for him. You also thank him for telling you the truth.





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