At first, I wasn’t entirely sure who I was writing this for…
Maybe for the self-doubting 22-year-old version of myself. Or perhaps for my stunning 22-year-old temporary replacement.
Maybe it was for my future self—a reminder of who I was and how far I have come. Or maybe it was for my mother, or my grandmother or any other being who has walked this long, exhausting path. Maybe it was for those who are uncertain of their self-worth and in jeopardy of ignoring all the tell-tales signs and falling prey to the grip of a narcissist.
Since, I definitely cannot change the past, I will choose instead to gently shape the future. Therefore, I know exactly who this letter is for…
To my Extraordinarily Beautiful Daughters,
I am writing this letter from the bottom of my heart. Not to break yours, but to hopefully save it from unnecessary hardship and intense pain. Because at some point, I did not know any better and wish that someone would have gifted me these lessons.
I hope that you accept this knowledge as the greatest of offerings and let the cycle escape effortlessly from your being. You are worthy of this and so much more, my loves.
I know you—all of you. I am you. Your heart is immense and feels for everyone around you. You cry when a stranger loses a hat in the wind, and not just because you feel pain for that stranger, but because you can actually feel their pain. You love openly and generously and don’t ever ask questions. Your love is unconditional, healing, uplifting and full of empathy.
You don’t realize the gift you bring, the light you shine. You are so uniquely, and wonderfully, you.
Your love is your greatest attribute, your most endearing quality—and it will attract the brightest of souls and best of friends throughout your life. It will slay fear, it will valiantly guide you through darkness, it will knock you down, but it will pick you back up gracefully. It will lead you from temptation and surround you with health and happiness. Always choose love.
But a day may come when you attract a certain type of partner. Someone who you, and maybe only you, can see the goodness is. Someone who needs to be saved, but cannot be saved by anyone or any amount of love. Someone who cannot fully accept your love—not because of who you are, but because of who he is and how he came to be that way. You will see his pain. You will feel his pain. And you will want so badly to wrap him in love and never let him go. The urge to help may be unbearable for your beautiful heart.
When you meet him—and I know you will—please tell him that you have been expecting him, blow him a kiss from a distance and then walk away. Forever.
You cannot fix him, babe. If he is broken, let him go. Please. Not tomorrow, not after the next “episode.” Now. Right now. Follow your intuition and run for the hills. Run with the wind at your back, or you may live your entire life struggling with the wind pushing against your face. It’s just not a chance to take.
This is your life and you only get one shot at it. It’s okay to leave. I promise. The world cracked him a long time ago, and it is not your dharma to glue the jagged pieces back together. Please, just let go.
I know you see the signs. You are bright, intelligent, but also loving and hopeful. Just this once, please do not give the benefit of the doubt; open your eyes and realize that not everyone is innately good. See the signs, the bright flags that so clearly state who he genuinely is. You feel in every ounce of your being that he lacks integrity—he does. His actions do not match his words and you have this aching feeling in the pit of your soul. It’s constantly reminding you that something isn’t right, and it never goes away. It will just get stronger over time—when he touches you or when you have caught him in another lie or when you are subject to yet another empty promise or one more request for forgiveness. It just feels wrong. So, so wrong.
That isn’t an ache to ignore—it’s your intuition love. I have so carefully taught you the difference between right and wrong. You can sense the truth, you know what is fantasy and what is not. You can’t ignore it forever. The lesson will present itself over and over, usually with much more pain and greater consequence, until you have learned it fully.
He will sweep in and knock your world off its axis. He will keep pulling magic tricks out of his perfectly-positioned hat until he has captured exactly what he desires, but does not come close to deserving. He will adore you and profess his love loudly to a carefully selected audience. He will try to occupy every spare moment you admit to owning. He will move so quickly to show you his intense love. To make you his. He will act like your warrior, the man sent to fiercely protect your heart. The man who will lead you to your hopes, manifest all of your dreams and shield you from fire along the way.
It seems perfect. It seems too good to be true, and I am telling you—it is. Do not be fooled by his poetry and endless supply of compliments. They were not created for you, they are recycled and will be used on so many others in the future. You are worthy of so much more. Let someone prove their love to you, let them earn that sacred spot in your heart. Do not give that preciousness away. You are worth getting to know. And taking copious amounts of time to savor the moments of courting and falling deeply, passionately in love, without being forced to love. Without being held in a cage. Precious, please fly while you still have wings.
I know you want to believe that he is capable of being better, of loving unconditionally But you know in every ounce of your being who he truly is. He does not intend to change—not for one moment.
I can tell you what will happen, because I am you. I made it to the other side. The hell you will endure between those perfect moments will never make the stay worth it.
You will think you can brighten his days, that your strength and optimism will be enough for both of you. But they won’t. Your success, strength and positivity will just make him resentful and bitter.
You will start to be pulled down and doubt yourself, your success and your sanity. You will start to numb and make excuses and think that there isn’t better or it can’t be this bad. But it is.
He will never be happy. You will never be enough. He will give you a well-drafted list of what you need to do or change to make him happy, but his happiness will only ever be surface deep and temporary. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. He has a dark hole and is searching for someone, something to fill it, but the only one who can fill it is him. He doesn’t know this, and it’s not your job to teach him.
You will silently struggle through life beside him, yet all alone; over-functioning with little support. You will feel bad asking for help, because, after all, you should be able to do it all on your own. And, I don’t mean daily life,babe, I mean the real stuff, the heavy details—miscarriages, conflict, heartbreak, death, loss and grief.
You will have a few friends who stick with you, but you will also lose many because they will not be able to watch your suffering. They will not understand why you withdraw. They will not understand why you make excuses for him, help him, support him, love him. They just won’t ever understand. They will get tired of you cancelling plans and shutting them out. They will get tired of watching you go back to a man who does not deserve, love or respect you. Those who stay close will become your sisters for life. And those you lose, you will miss forever.
You will start to lose yourself. You will become impatient and anxious, angry and resentful. You won’t recognize the face that so coldly stares back at you in the mirror.
You will feel nothing. Nothing but sadness and sorrow.
So run, doll. Take your kind heart and run for the sake of your future. And never look back.
I can promise you that real men exist. That you will be listened to genuinely and loved unconditionally. You will be swept off your feet, not as an apology for your bruised face and battered ego, but simply because you are a symbol of beauty who deserves to be reminded so each and every day.
I am thankful I didn’t know this until now—if I had, I wouldn’t have you. But, I won’t forgive myself if you repeat these patterns. So little one, take your confident heart and run with the wind at your back.
With so much love and so many lessons,
Your Momma—who knows, who has lived, who loves you deeply and knows how worthy you are.
(And to my two extraordinarily beautiful boys, this lesson is not only for your sisters. Narcissists are not always male and Empaths are not always female. Please, always choose love. For yourself and for others.)
Author: Lina Lewis
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Image: Jon Ottosson/Unsplash