“We can’t play this game anymore, but can we still be friends?”
Our broken heart is asking, pleading with us, whispering: “Can’t we be friends with this person”? As a last resort? First, we have to understand the love story, on a deeper level. Let me tell you about David Aames, to answer this question.
In the amazing movie “Vanilla Sky”, David (Tom Cruise) is a playboy millionaire. He suddenly finds himself head over heels in love with a girl. All is wonderful, in fact, better: it’s perfect!
David’s world will soon begin to show cracks in the perfect façade. But: He is so happy, in a way that he’s never been before; his life has meaning, now he’s found the perfect love. So he clings to that, with all that he is. Naturally, who wouldn’t? After all, isn’t the meaning of life, to love and be loved in return? David is spellbound and refuses to see the evidence in front of him. We, the viewers, can all too well sympathize with David. We root for him; we hope the nightmarish flashes of another, harsh and cold reality, are all just a bad dream.
Even we, the viewers, can see, that the love David is feeling, is so real. Sure, he’s been troubled before in his life, but now, he’s found true love and his life is complete. The love is so vibrant, alive, passionate, tender, that we can almost touch it…..
Then he wakes up, finally. And what he wakes up to is not a lover who has left him. No. It’s a thousand times worse. Cause when a partner leaves, (or passes away) there are still memories of what was real, to comfort us, in our grief. But David finds out he’s been living in an alternate reality. The love of his life never existed. At all. All the time, David’s body was actually frozen, in a tank. Cause after David’s life had taken some wrong turns, he had killed himself and arranged to let himself be put in a frozen state (with cryo-techniques of a very futuristic nature). The company responsible for the cryo-technique had then made his mind live on in a “lucid dream”, a world David helped to design, that was supposed to be perfect. But David’s subconscious creates cracks in the dream world, ultimately making him realize his now wonderful “life” is not real. The shock and trauma that ensue, are heartbreaking. But David chooses to be “resurrected” into a real life again.
And that is what a narcissistic relationship is like, to a T. We believe 100% we have the love of our dreams. The narcissist is that real in his performance. We wake up, to find there is no person there. It was all a game, a mask. Unlike David, we didn’t design the “lucid dream” ourselves. If only that was the case, so we could blame ourselves more, for getting our hearts ripped out in this way! No. It was all the work of…. a phantom, parading as an ordinary human being. But a human being with only the flesh, blood, and brain. Not with a heart. Nor a conscience. No empathy, remorse, or accountability. In essence, a human being that might aswell be…. a robot. Naturally, if we spent years, or even decades, on this…”person”, we’re so drowning in disbelief, that we often wonder if we’ll ever find our way back to sanity.
Our first (and recurring) instinct, is so very human, in the most touching way; we want to run back to the illusion. We deny: It can not be! How can there be people who are mere actors, and have absolutely no soul, moral values, no love, no…. anything, within them? We have encountered a phantom, a void. And we want to hide under the bed, like a child. And we want someone to tell us it’s not true, this nightmare! We spent years and years, loving this…. machine, and we wish for nothing more than for the machine to tell us, that they do have real feelings for us.
Since this robot we encountered, is “programmed” to extricate as much narcissistic “supply” as possible from us, he/she/ will grant us this request. They will try to persuade us to stay in the lucid dream world, even after the cracks have revealed an underlying nightmare. Since there’s neither empathy nor conscience programmed into this “person”, they’ll hurt us, any way they can, to get their supply/fuel. It’s what keeps the machine going.
Amazingly, there seems to be a human need greater than the need for love! The need for truth. Authenticity. In movies on this topic (Vanilla sky, Matrix, Truman show), people are not happy anymore, once they know they’re living in a lie. That’s what I’ve seen in real life too. We need love. But, if we find evidence of the love being “fake”, we don’t rest until we’ve gotten to the truth of things. We may live in denial for a while, but the truth will always catch up to us in the end. A feature of being human; and why we’ve reached so far, in science and progress. We need to know. And we need to live in, and trust, our reality.
So, can we be friends with the narcissist?… Do you think David in this movie wanted to stick around and be friends, (or lovers), with a computer animation of a girlfriend?….No. We want real, just like David. In his case, he knew: if he left the Lucid Dream-computer-world, he would be disfigured in the real world. And face other unimaginable challenges; he would be waking up 150 years after he died, with all the people he knew, gone. He chose real, anyway. Just like we should.
Trust me when I say: You can not be friends with the robotic personality of the narcissist. We didn’t program them, but they do operate by a programmed agenda, as predictable as computers; they’ll only try to gather “fuel” from you, in the form of emotional reactions. They don’t care about being your friend, support you, have you lean on them. They can not. Their programming is: to use you. If they offer the “friendship card”, it’s only a manipulation, to be able to steal more from your soul, heart, energy. Do not go there. Please.
Let us live in reality….it may be horrible, it may be wonderful….but at least, it’s real and it belongs to us.
(P.S If you like good old school music, I highly recommend the song in the beginning of the post. I also recommend the movie Vanilla Sky: if you like existential questions and love; but I guess most of you have seen it already).
(image quotes: Vanilla Sky through Pinterest)