“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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  • Jane laughton

    November 30, 2016 at 12:41 pm Reply

    I wish I had read your articles 5yrs ago, I hit the Abyss at 100 miles an hour, after 2 yrs of the hot and cold, I even left him twice because he showed no emotion, he came round crying saying he just needed more time, and I believed him,. I had warning signs I chose to ignore, I broke my own heart, lost my identity,. And found it impossible to date, I was so broken, had so many questions, the sadness was so profound. Two yrs after the break I was diagnosed with PTSD. Am happy to say that I have finally got most of my mojo back, still have trust issues, but with the certain knowledge i will never be afraid of walking away should I not be treated with respect. My encounter with this emotional Vampire nearly cost me my life. I am so grateful for your articles they have made me realise i was not a raving lunatic, just the victim of one,.namaste. Jane

    • Zari Ballard

      December 6, 2016 at 10:47 pm Reply

      Hi Jane,

      No, you are not a lunatic… much less a raving one! YOU, my sister, were never the problem. It’s a pretty empowering fact, isn’t it, given the fact that we spend almost the entire relationship thinking (and being told) the exact opposite? I’m grateful that you are free and thank you so much for sharing:)

      Zari xo

  • Michaela

    October 9, 2016 at 5:02 am Reply

    Firstly what a boss name (cool) 😀 I have been reading your articles with complete hunger and absolute relief, I AM NOT NUTS! hallelujah ! Zari your words are a comfort and a sense of freedom to me as I broke up with my narc four years ago and was left with a brain like play doh? A personality smashed to bits and severe anxiety and depression which I felt through the entire relationship . without going into detail what horrendous things he done to me and me losing my entire mind and well being, I just want to say at this time zari THANKS ., I did not know the full extent of his condition until now ? And what it actually was , alls that I knew he was a monster i had no understanding of him at all. I knew this creature inside out but was under the impression he hated me I repulsed him and that was why he was the way he was. I hated myself, I repulsed myself, no self worth , nothing! Just a carcass. You’ve given me a flicker of my old self … I wasn’t cuckoo after all. Thank you with all my heart.

    Michaela. U.K.

    • Zari Ballard

      October 12, 2016 at 12:09 am Reply

      Thanks, girl, and I appreciate you as well! You are perfect just the way you are and don’t ever forget that. No one’s self-worth should ever be based on the ideology of another person – never – let alone one that is barely human at all. Carry on…you are four years out just like me and life, now, is whatever you choose to make of it. Be free and happy – you deserve it!

      Zari xo

  • GuyFromPhx

    August 24, 2016 at 8:48 pm Reply

    It is so interesting Zari.. I found your site by looking for answers at what happened to me with this angelic, stunningly beautiful, fragile looking woman I was involved with albeit briefly (just shy of 4 months). We met and she was going through the divorce and the more I read everything I realize that every action, red flag I had make sense now and that I was dealing with a narcissist. I’ve never experienced this before and it’s been months now and I was up until a few days ago completely devastated. Funny enough, it seems that for a lot of us the poems, words we write after the narcissist we loved are very similar. I will share my messages to her I posted embarrassingly on my instagram hoping she would read them so you can see how similar we the “supply” are for them. What a fool I was. I have been always a strong individual, I moved to other country and built myself from scratch but I was NEVER hurt and devastated by an individual like this woman. Btw, she was far away too, and I even flew half across the world to try to see her when she started the silent treatment. And while I was doing that and waiting at the coffee shop with a rose hoping she would come see me, she was going to some parties and having time of her life. Everything now makes sense and I am grateful I’ve looked up this information and came across your site.

    She did everything you mention in your articles, raised me up, she played a victim and talked about her ex-husband in the most horrific ways smearing him, saying he controlled her etc etc, but in the end it looks like nothing was really true because she made me crazy, stalker, lunatic in the eyes of her friends too when in fact, I did nothing but love her and it’s funny, most people with narcissists go through this same phase, where we look up their facebooks, instagrams, even after they block us (the silent treatment) and they know we will be looking especially then. And then they have excuse to keep painting us as controlling and crazy when in fact all we were looking for is answers, some closure, something as to why this happened. Unfortunately as that is exactly what they expect.

    Funny enough, up until a few days ago I was still looking at her instagram and I know for a fact that she was looking at mine and you know, they are so cunning, she knew I was watching and when I post something on my instagram (sad, romantic, I’m going to hawaii etc etc) she posts something on hers that mimics what I do and deliberately trying to keep me hooked and wondering whether or not we are “soul-mates”, because that’s how she made me feel in the beginning.

    Btw, here is my post to her on instagram that I deleted now because I know what the deal is but just for the sake of your poem, this is what I wrote:

    I am cruising the city alone this evening trying to heal my broken soul even though i know it is an impossible task.

    I have loved very few women in my life and never really understood what people meant when they talked about a soulmate until i found and lost you.
    Maybe i was meant to enter your life briefly to help you through tough times but when i saw you for the first time i knew it was you i missed my whole life and why i felt unfulfilled. But life or God have a cruel sense of humor.

    People tell you, you are beautiful, gorgeous and things you hear often but to me you were always perfection and so much more. I loved to pieces all the little things you felt sometimes insecure about, but especially when you wake up in the morning and i see your smile and the way you looked at me.

    I have never imagined that i can feel this way about someone, especially someone who i knew so very little, but the moment i saw you i felt something i have never felt before. And now when you took your own path, a path that does not include me i understand what they mean when they say about the one you truly love leaving you being worse than death.

    Some people try to hate those who leave them so they could move on, but i don’t know how to do that. Hating you would be hating myself and I can’t do that regardless of how we ended up. I would have traveled the world 3 times over again just to try see your smile again.

    I sit in this city right now feeling half of my soul is missing. I would have been writing you a love letter right now, like i did every morning so you could have a smile on your face when you wake up, but right now all i am left with are memories, a broken soul and these words i am typing on a glowing screen.

    I now know it was always you.


    It is really sad, how low we go thinking this will get them back, when in fact they had absolutely no emotions or empathy towards us. It was all a game to them.

    • Zari Ballard

      August 26, 2016 at 1:33 am Reply

      Hi GuyFromPhx,

      Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt letter to that empty soul of a person that we all know here. Our lives become interchangeable, don’t they? I thought it was very beautiful……Stay strong and know that you are NOT alone by any means. Recovery is a team effort, brother:)

      Zari (GirlFromTucson, btw!)

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