“A Bittersweet Good-By” (A Poem to a Narcissist)

poem-narcissistNarcissistic partners suck – we know that. No matter what we do or say, they can’t love us and we can’t fix them. Inevitably, the good-by is bittersweet. From one silent treatment to the next, amidst all the hoovering and narcissistic discards, we hope and grieve and hope and grieve until our hearts have no choice but to give up and give in to acceptance as a means of salvation.

At some point, we have to choose life over the narcissist’s manipulation. It’s something no one can even begin to understand unless they’ve lived the experience.

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Once the victim of a narcissist boyfriend, I’ve now had both the privilege and opportunity to write books, blog on this website, and counsel others out of their pain. These tasks and all the wonderful, caring people who visit here have helped me move forward and, thus, my pain has faded into something far less threatening. But while this is truly a good thing, maybe it’s also true that I, too, need to be reminded every so often of just how awful Wayne really was and just how bad he made me feel. Maybe I’ve needed to rewind the movie back a few years so that I could watch, thankfully with detachment, how Wayne’s cold narcissistic indifference turned this strong, independent girl into a pile of mush. Well, today, in a dusty envelope under a big stack of papers, I found my reminder.

The following poem was written by me in 2003 just a few years into the 13-year relationship and in the midst of a devastating silent treatment. Reading the words brought back a flood of emotions and tears because, without a doubt, it could have been written by any one of us who come to this website.

So, I’m sharing it with all of you….

A Bittersweet Good-By (by Zari Ballard)

Bittersweet, I hate that word
It makes me sad, its so absurd
For when its time to sink or swim
I always drown from missing him

Good-bys are bittersweet, he’d said
And left me lonely in my bed
He wasn’t where he’d meant to be
I’d beckoned him to come to me
And as the sun began to rise
He fled so there would be no lies
And vanished…right before my eyes

Then Silence, that I fear, begins
I try to call, an endless ring
I want to talk but always cry
My anger is in fact a lie
Outside his door, I can’t come in
I fall apart…the Silence wins

His good-by is Bittersweet, I know
It follows me, however slow
And creeps upon the love I feel
Biting gently at my heels
Fearing grief, I try to run
Knowing soon the end will come

I hate good-bys, I hate the end
I hate to let the sadness in
It makes me just a little girl
Who clings too tightly to her pearls
If I let go, my heart won’t beat
From missing him, I’ll never sleep
But here it comes, however slow

His Bittersweet good-by….I know

When I wrote this poem, I was inconsolable and so utterly heartbroken. I missed him so much, I could barely breath. In utter desperation, I typed these words on a pretty piece of paper and left it on his doorstep hoping it would make a difference and end the silence. Instead, he returned it to me….because I meant nothing. Today, so many years later, it became exactly the reminder I needed.

Let your hearts not be troubled, sisters and brothers, for there are reminders everywhere that are reason enough for you to end the suffering. Your happiness is and always has been patiently waiting…..


Zari  xxoo

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  • Lilly Hope

    April 26, 2017 at 11:13 am Reply

    This poem touched me so deeply. I understand exactly how you feel and how you must of greatly suffered. I have now spent hours reading your blog and articles and learning about you and your pain. I discovered you because I have been hopelessly and desperately searching for answers to the end of a recent relationship and (hate to admit this).. adulterous affair of what I believe to be a very narcissist man. I read your book WHEN LOVE IS A LIE and oh my.. how so much rings true. My intuition speaks so loud and clear. It cannot be silenced especially after reading your book and blog.

    I, however, still feel so ambivalent to the truth. He was so good. SO GOOD. Seemed so honest and real. How can that all be a lie? It is devastating coming to terms with this. I think the hardest part for me is that he retrieved or recovered in me a very sacred sense of belonging and security. Something I have only been able to describe in one word. “HOME”. And what that meant for me as a young girl was that I used to get very homesick being away from my parents and home for a long period of time. Being reunited with them and coming back home was such a wonderful, peaceful feeling where I knew I was back where I belonged and safe from all the troubles of this world. That is the feeling I experienced with him instantly. Within the very first moments of our interaction. Many I guess would call that the
    “Soul-mate” affect maybe… but I really don’t believe in the soul-mate concept.

    Anyway, this fact alone is the absolute hardest part amid this discovery process for me to reconcile. How could such a heartfelt gut emotion engrained in the deepest part of my soul be such a lie? How could I be so wrong? It is sickening and heartbreaking in every way if true. I am shattered and crushed in a way I never knew was possible.

    Thank you for reading this. Thank you for sharing your story. I would love to talk with you more and seek out more therapy and healing. Let me know how I can do that.

    • Zari Ballard

      May 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm Reply

      Hi Lilly Hope,

      Thank you for writing and I am so sorry that you are in so much pain, sister. The “soul mate affect” is a term that I gave to the very feelings that you describe but they are feelings that HE creates in you. It works because we ALL want it – even you – and a narc knows this and learns to play it well.

      You say How could such a heartfelt gut emotion engrained in the deepest part of my soul be such a lie? How could I be so wrong? but the truth is that YOU weren’t wrong at all. YOUR feelings were REAL based on HIS fakery and these people are very good at what they do or they wouldn’t be who they are. It’s not abnormal for you to assume that the person that you love is telling you the truth. How were you supposed to know? Your narc – as they all do – figured out what you wanted most in a relationship and mirrored it back to you. This is what they do. Again, it is WHO THEY ARE.

      You can contact me here and I will respond. I speak with people all the time and see them through their recovery. I’m not saying it doesn’t take time and due diligence, but it is ALWAYS successful. Hang in there…I am here to support you:)


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