Updated: Jun 17
After 42 years on this planet, I had finally stepped into my purpose: To share my truth and help other people find theirs. To shine the light on the freedom we all have to choose how we respond to situations instead of being victims of them. I quit my successful business as a personal trainer, realized my marriage was no longer serving me (though my ex-wife is a wonderful human being), and began trusting the process that I was attracting and manifesting everything that I wanted. At the time I was unaware I was also attracting what I needed: utter devastation.
On May 1st of this year, I experienced one of the deepest pains I have ever felt. A pain that I needed. A pain that through reflection, meditation, journaling, and lots of ugly crying, helped me heal wounds that sat within me since childhood.
My wife moved out in mid-February under the best possible terms. We had no ill will for each other and agreed that, though we loved each other, we were no longer in love and the passion had died. Less than two weeks later, a few days after my birthday, I had met an intoxicating woman who, within hours of meeting at a party, had told me she loved me. At first, I was flattered, keeping my guard up and replying with "I know" every time she would say it. But as much as I had my boundaries up, they very quickly eroded.
At the time I was unfamiliar with the term "love bombing" and soon was completely swept off my feet. I mistook all the "sweet gestures" (buying a portrait of my dog after dating for a week, inviting me to dinner with her mother after two weeks, giving me the keys to her house, and saving her mother's number in my phone as "future mother-in-law" after three weeks, and it goes on and on) as a genuine connection. She even filled out contact forms for my business with her email and the name "Your One." I had found my soul mate! Everything I likes she liked. Exercise. Hiking. Personal growth. Meditation. She said it was a good thing that my divorce wasn't finalized yet because if it was, we would certainly be married by now! A month in.
Because when you know, you know! She soon integrated herself into every element of my life, even my work, insisting I make her an email address at my domain and we sit down
and develop a business plan together for my business. She would even watch all of my speeches and give me notes about which part resonated and what words I should change. I was already planning a trip to Hawaii, so she joined and we were there for each other as we worked through some of our past trauma. She was supportive, loving, compassionate, and connected to me in every possible way. There was no need to love myself. Someone was doing it for me.
I was so overwhelmed by her generosity that I was made to feel like I was the most special person on earth. Every morning that she didn't stay the night, I would wake up to a text or email telling me she loved me and to enjoy my day. Every night the same before bed. Things were perfect. Too perfect and soon my intuition would help me realize that things were not as they seem. She had said that she was my one and that no matter what we would be there for each other. My gut instinct told me that was unhealthy.
While in Hawaii she wanted me to promise that I would always love her. I remember telling her I couldn’t do that, and that I was genuinely bothered by that. And when I started voicing that maybe I wanted to slow down or need some alone time, that’s when the gaslighting started.
I began saying that I feel it's important that we have some alone time to ourselves, she would text later saying the same thing. Not in an "I agree" kind of way, but in a way to make it seem like it was her idea. I can pinpoint the exact day that the switch flipped and her mask fell off completely. I had come home from a business trip, my flight was delayed and I was tired. After being agitated that we had to go to her friend's birthday party, I told her I needed to spend the night alone. I was starting to feel overwhelmed. She didn’t say a word… she dropped me off… and within an hour texted me that she wanted to be alone that night. That infuriated me. I recognized it for the gaslighting that it was. Why couldn't she let me express my feelings? Why did she have to flip what I was saying back on me? After spending a day apart, I drove to her house to talk about the things that I felt were bothering me. I brought up all the ways I felt things were moving too fast, having them written out beforehand. Everything from her telling me she loved me, to her telling me not to replace the furniture my ex took because she could just move hers in. And as I stood in her home, she convinced me that it was ME that wanted things to move so fast. That SHE needed space and this was my way of blaming her. I asked if she wanted to stop seeing me and she said no! She loved me! But she wanted to be courted, that’s all. That we should go out on dates. I said that sounded great and we had a wonderful dinner out that night. I got home and there on my phone was a text thanking me for being so wonderful and patient and kind to her but she was going to be turning her phone off. It wasn’t until later that I realized what that meant. After all, I had asked the universe for my soul mate, and it answered! Sure, we would have disagreements, all relationships do. But I was about to get what I needed. Not what I wanted.
Three days later I drove up to hike the Grand Canyon with some friends of mine and she was set to drive up and meet us after our hike the following night. She and I spoke on the phone the night before the hike, talked about future vacations together, and told each other we loved each other and how we couldn’t wait to see each other the next day. The next morning, she texted me to hike safe, and that she loved me. Eight hours later as I was making my way out of the canyon, the texts came in that were truly the beginning of the end. She told me she wasn't feeling well. She felt TERRIBLE! She needed to sleep and would be going to bed early. She would not be coming up to visit but she loved me and to let her know when I got to Flagstaff. I let her know when I did. I never heard back.
It was unlike her to not respond and I was worried about her. She had some health issues that were getting worse and worse and I had no idea what had happened. She had never gone radio silent before. I woke up early the next morning to drive the two hours back to town and went straight to her house to make sure she was okay. I'll spare you the details, but what I saw when I entered her house broke my heart. I look at her and she, with eyes and voice void of any emotion tells me “You need to leave." Full stop. Looking at me like I was a vagrant in her business. I say "ok." As I walk out the door, her standing in the doorway as another man was still laying in her bed, I turn and ask her if there is anything she has to say to me. She stands inside her door, unable to make eye contact, and says "I'm sorry." No tone, no sorrow, no truth. It wasn't "I'm sorry." It was more "I'm guilty."
My world was reeling. I almost got into several accidents driving home. How could my "one" my "soul mate" do this to me? I had made up my mind that I needed to protect myself. That I didn't know who she was. I set a boundary and blocked her in every way imaginable, phone, text, and email, and wanted to go home and deal with the PTSD of what I just saw. A few hours later I get an email from an address of hers she hadn’t used before:
To: Ramsey Bergeron
May 1st, 2022 at 12:13 PM
We didn’t have sex.
Yes, he stayed the night.
I was sick all day yesterday and did nothing but sleep all day and night until he came by.
He’s a friend I’ve known for many years. He was upset last night and wanted to talk. He was drunk and so he stayed.
No, it wasn’t right. Yes, I was going to tell you. I am sorry.
Please, don’t break in my house again.
I also have things at your house. My shoes, necklace, and ring. Please let me know how I can get them.
To: Ramsey Bergeron
May 1, 2022 at 4:12 PM
You have my hiking poles
This message has no content
Someone who had claimed we would always be together, who texted me she loved me the same DAY she had another man in her bed, wanted her hiking poles back. No remorse, no guilt.
After she demanded her hiking poles back I agreed to a phone call. Luckily, I was already on the phone with the friend who introduced us and I discreetly merged the call so she could silently hear everything that was said. I was hoping for answers. Maybe even closure. I had made up my mind that if she were honest with me, no matter how bad it hurt, I would be willing to work it out with her. After all, she was my soul mate!
Was everything a lie? Could she be telling me the truth? Am I being unreasonable? Was the guy her ex-husband who she claimed abused her? What the hell was going on? If she didn’t want to be with me, she would just tell me yeah, I'm sleeping with someone else, this is over… right?
We agreed I would drop off her things in exchange for a face-to-face conversation. As I stood in her living room and asked her about what happened, nothing she was saying was making sense. He was a friend who just came over to spend the night, but she didn’t have his number saved and they never texted each other. He tried to kiss her and she said no, and even with two couches, they shared a bed and fell asleep. No, we couldn't call him to have him explain the misunderstanding. No, she had absolutely no proof that what she said was true. She wouldn’t even show me the ring doorbell camera footage. I was broken. For the next two weeks, I would vacillate back and forth between wanting her back and hating her for what she did. Everything she said and did make me question my own sanity and my own reality. She still wanted to be part of my business, but now wanted to be paid for it. But what I wanted more than anything was the one thing she refused to give me… the truth. Nothing but lies, deflection, and blaming me. She would deny me any real closure, using my compassion and kindness against me. Even though I caught her with a man in her bed the same day she told me she loved me, I was made to feel like I was wrong. She was blaming me for my reaction to her betrayal. There was something wrong with me because I was angry and hurt that she was cheating on me and I wanted to know the truth. How dare I.
It all came to head when, after over a week of having my reality questioned, I called her out on her behavior and she lashed out, accusing me of everything she had done to me and, without admitting it, blamed me for her cheating on me. I saw her for what she was. Someone who was in even more pain than me. Someone who was so badly wounded, that she couldn't even experience her own reality. Someone broken. Who loathed herself and would use and blame everyone and everything in an attempt to fill the void. Healing had taught me that every poison-tipped rage-filled word in her final text to me was really her speaking to herself. She was too damaged to even begin to have any remorse because she doesn't even realize how hurtful or damaging her actions are to others. Or, worse, maybe she did and enjoyed destroying me to make herself feel better. I thought back to other times she "wasn't feeling well" and texted me she was going to sleep. Other times she was hot then cold. Other times she took the trust, love, and compassion I had for her and with psychopath-like abandon, violated them. Narcissists project their insecurities and actions on others.
This person never loved me. She couldn't. She was incapable of love. She wasn't even who she presented herself to be because she didn't know who she was. She learned who I was, what I liked, and who I wanted, and mirrored all those things back to me. She idolized me and became the EXACT person I wanted. She exploited my desires and vulnerabilities. Looking back the signs were there. She had never been hiking but claimed to love it, and went out and got all new equipment. Same with exercising. Her friends couldn't believe she would sell her farm animals to move in with me. Yet she had emailed me her lease after three weeks of being together so I could help her break it to move in. And even after knowing all this… and feeling some of the worst betrayal and pain in my adult life, I don't hate her. I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for the little girl within her. The one with the unfillable void. The one who was hurt by others who then, in turn, hurt me. Even after looking at other text messages and seeing the gaps where I now knew other men were keeping her company, I hold no anger. Why? Because I am not blameless.
This is what I needed.
For the last few days, I knew I needed to feel this pain, but I didn't know why. I pleaded with the universe "why is this happening to me? I did nothing wrong! Sure, we had problems, but to be deceived like this? Violated on every level? To feel so much pain caused by the one person with whom I had shared all of my pain? WHY? But the universe remained silent. This was a lesson that could not be told, only experienced. On Sunday, May 15th, I cried, unlike anything I had ever cried in my life. Ten minutes on the floor, wailing so loud that no sound was coming out of my mouth. Convulsing. Even two years ago, as I held my best friend's hand as he passed away, I had never felt this depth of feeling.
I was feeling it now. I was feeling everything.
I was feeling Eddy dying. I was feeling the embarrassment of 5-year-old Ramsey having his father pour a soda down his pants in front of company because I didn’t bring him a diet soda. The terror of a male teacher in high school kissing me on the lips and having no one to turn to about it. Being called racist names growing up as a half-Arab in Arkansas. Every feeling that I had neglected to allow myself to feel came to the surface. I was feeling the pain of being a little boy who was his parent's caretaker. Who can't remember a single time when anyone asked how he felt.
This is what I needed.
I needed to feel loved so fully, so completely and without judgment by another human being only to have it completely and utterly ripped away in the most egregious way possible to learn this lesson: I never learned to fully love and accept myself. By ceding my value to someone else, I never fully grasp it for myself. I allowed myself to get swept up in the fantasy. I wanted to be loved completely, I ignored the signs that everyone around me saw.
This is what I needed. I had to suffer to realize that, I too, had a void within me. Yes, I had practiced the masculine meditation of observing my feelings, without judgment and allowing them to pass. But I never practiced the feminine meditation of allowing myself to feel the feelings. The sensation of self-love. The knowing that I am valuable and that I love myself regardless of what anyone else says or does.
In releasing all the pain and hurt that was buried in me for so long, I feel lighter. I feel freer. I feel more authentic. I feel less shame and more deserving of my own love. I have shed the shame of falling into the trap and have begun the process of accepting myself in a way I didn't know was possible.
Am I still hurting? Absolutely. Moments wash over me where I reminisce and it slices me wide open. Glimpses of the past where I was made to feel special. Made to feel extraordinary, only to walk in on her betrayal. There are moments where I want nothing more than to have her reach out and say she was sorry, she's healed now, and can we start over? But then I take a moment, recognize that the person I thought she was never really existed, and focus on being there for myself. That I was chasing the concept of true love and that still exists out there somewhere. Chasing my rabbit. But it has to begin within me.
I am so grateful for this experience. Grateful to those in my life who helped me learn what narcissism was and show me the compassion and a path back to myself. Grateful for my intuition telling me to come home early. Grateful that I discovered her true colors before we did get married. Grateful for the tools and lessons I have had over the past few years that allowed me to have this massive catharsis. I am only able to speak and share with others from the level of depth and understanding that I have been able to experience. I wanted to be healed to be able to help others learn from my experience and find freedom. And to that end, this was exactly what I needed.
Epilogue: The Dangers of Calling out a Narcissist
If you expose the truth about a narcissist, they will try to destroy you. I learned this lesson the hard way when a few days after this initial blog post was published, she filed a false protective order against me in an attempt for me to remove the post.
A protective order is issued by a court when someone claims their safety is in danger and can be granted with absolutely no evidence and without the other party present or even aware of what is being said. When I was served a week later and was reading what she had filed, the rewrite of history was mind-boggling. It reaffirmed everything that I had thought about and shared in the original post: Nothing in the relationship was real to her. From May 1st on, every conversation where I attempted to get my business files she had, or gain closure, every single interaction was either bastardized or denied. She neglected to mention I went to her house to check on her. Or that I had a key. Or that she was supposed to see me that night. Or that another man was in her bed and I simply got my thing and left. Or that I blocked her.
Her motives were clear when she contacted my lawyer with a list of demands in order for her to drop the protective order which included:
Remove all information regarding me, our relationship, images, and any other specifics from social media, personal and with his business, other businesses he has participated in, or any other web or public activity now and in the future.
Not discuss the specifics of our relationship on social media, print, or any other way in the future.
It was obviously an attempt to silence me or ruin my reputation. At no point was her name or images mentioned and she was grasping at straws to keep me from sharing the truth of her infidelity and the ramifications of her behavior. Yes, I plan on sharing the lessons of this experience in my speeches, presentations (where appropriate), and my book. And though I would never use her name or anything identifiable... she'll know it was her. And that was enough for her to try to ruin my life. After spending thousands of dollars to defend my name, the order was dismissed. I had the option of pursuing action to attempt to have her pay for my legal fees and hold her accountable for the lies that made up the order. But I want to be done and as far away from this person as possible. This was an important epilogue to the story of how to part ways with a narcissist: Do everything you can to cut them out of your life completely. Should I have pursued further action against her and won that case too, I would have been tied to her for months, trying to get her to pay up. Still, after all this... I still hold nothing but sadness and pity in my heart for her. The amount of pain someone must feel to do the things she does.
But now as my life progresses without the lies, the love-bombing, the gaslighting, the false accusations, and the betrayals... I see how much better off I am with this person out of my life completely.
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