After my break-up many, many years ago, I accidently-on-purpose, came across the Facebook profile of my ex’s new woman. I remember at that moment turning into Joan Rivers, “What a hideous troll beast- oh gag me with a spoon- what is he thinking – how on God’s green earth did he choose her over me? Can we talk?”

Then I saw pictures of them together. They were both smiling and they looked really happy and in love. There were pictures of them hugging,  you know the ones where their foreheads are touching – the ones that look so sweet and deeply intimate. There were even pictures of her hugging his mother – his mother….the same woman, who months earlier, thought of me as her daughter-in-law. I was beyond consolable. All I kept thinking about was how easy it was for him to replace me and how unfair it was that he was so happy and I was still so miserable.

The more I looked at her Facebook, the more upset I got, but I couldn’t stop looking. I was like a moth to the flame. How could this hideous troll beast, or HTB, as she came to be known, have stolen my man? I was baffled. I was angry, but mostly, I was in pain.

Through tears, I told my best friend all about it, and she tilted her head and gave me a wry smile, the kind of smile that you give to someone that’s simple. She spoke very slowly and clearly, and she said, “What you’re looking at –  is – not – real.”  She continued, “Do you honestly think that he’s a different person? He’s still the same guy, he hasn’t changed, and you should feel sorry for her.”

She pulled up some photo’s she had of me and my ex through the years, and low and behold – we were smiling and hugging and laughing.

“You look happy in this picture, but were you?” she asked.

“How about this one? I know you weren’t happy when this one was taken” I started to realize that perhaps it’s called posing for a reason.

I went home and gave that some more thought. Was she right? Was Facebook all an illusion? I pulled up my own page and looked closely at my profile. I looked great in all of my pictures – all my ugly ones never made it to my profile. Each photo that was there, was carefully chosen by me. My status updates were all positive affirmations and happy quotes. The reality of my life at that point was the complete opposite of what I portrayed on my page.

The truth was, I wanted my ex to look at my Facebook page and I wanted him to see how awesome I looked, how busy I was and how happy I was without him, the truth didn’t matter, only the perception.

I looked up another friend, who I knew was having trouble in her marriage. She had spent many evenings on my couch, with a bottle of wine, describing the nightmare she was living with her husband, but when I looked at her Facebook, all I saw were happy, happy pictures of the two of them – on vacation hugging and smiling – at a family event smiling – they looked so happy on the outside. So maybe, just maybe, there was something to this. Maybe Facebook wasn’t just a few snapshots of your life, maybe it was all a carefully crafted illusion that we all create. It’s an image, not of reality, but of exactly what we want others to believe about us.

So I started to think of HTB’s page again with a fresh perspective. Yes they were probably still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, but at some point, she’ll have a fake smile just like mine.

Who knows maybe through some miracle, or divine intervention, he will be a different man for her. But he sure wasn’t the perfect guy for me. He was toxic to me and being rid of him was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

I needed to remind myself of all of the things that I didn’t like about him:

  • His weird, creepy relationship with his mother.
  • His complete and utter disregard for me and my happiness
  • The most horrible, and when I say horrible I mean hands down, the worst sex of my life
  • How he’d always seek attention from people (really turned me off and made him look weak, needy and pathetic)
  • How he had no heart – nothing sparked his passion or meant anything to him (except getting new supply)
  • How he always talked about himself to everyone.
  • How he was oblivious to how strange his behavior looked to other people.
  • His OCD and all the odd behavior that went with that.
  • His extreme selfishness.
  • How he alienated me from all of the people that I cared about.
  • His horrible hate filled outlook on life and how he hated everyone.
  • How he could never take a joke. If he was insulted he would wait till he got home, then go on an insane rant about that person.
  • His need to be taken care of. I really wanted a bit of an alpha-male – I like a guy that takes charge, not one that wants to act like an irresponsible child, with me always driving the apple cart.

Oh I could go on and on, but the bottom line is – this guy wasn’t for me. The Narcissist – codependent dynamic wasn’t even really relevant, because aside from that, we were so wrong for each other in every possible regard. I just refused to see it at the time. I wanted a man that would protect me and be a man and he was the emotional equivalent of a 4 year old. I wanted a man that was confident and outgoing – he was weak and full of insecurity.

When your partner cheats to be with you, I often wonder how easily you sleep at night and if you have the right to be upset if they do it to you. I suppose we all think that we are sooooo special and that it will never happen to us, and we of course believe all the crap they tell us, about their ex’s and how everything was all the ex’s fault, but would it really come as a shock to you, if your mate left the same way they came in?

So little Miss HTB can smile and show the Facebook world just how happy she is with her man. She and I both know the truth, that she inherited an emotionally stunted man/boy, who will never have a real intimate connection with anyone. She can have all of it.

Remember a Narcissist wants you to be pining for them.  They derive some kind of sadistic pleasure just thinking about, how much pain they are inflicting upon their flock of admirers. They feed off of your pain, so don’t give them any.

Facebook is the perfect tool for a Narcissist, not only do they get to cyber stalk all their victims, and search for new ones,  they also get to bask in how much agony you’re in, while all the while portraying the perfect, fake image and the perfect, fake life. Always remember, just because someone says its so – doesn’t make it so. And just because someone posts a picture of a happy life – doesn’t make it a reality.

So, the next time you’re thinking about cyber staking your ex, just remember, that what you are seeing isn’t reality. It’s only the image your Narcissist wants you to see. Rather than sitting there sulking, reflect on all the ways you weren’t happy and why the relationship didn’t work out and you’ll find the less time you spend looking at and thinking about what’s going on in their life, the more you’ll be living yours.

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Written by Savannah Grey
Savannah Grey is a Freelance Writer, a Hypnotherapist, Consultant, Sports Fanatic, and Philosopher and has a degree in Psychology. She is the founder of www.esteemology.com, a website dedicated to educating and healing survivors of abusive relationships.