I was Robert Cook’s first wife and the mother of his first child.
When I met Robert, I was young, vulnerable, and eager to belong. I was swept away by his confidence, his talent, and his potential.
When his abuse began in earnest, it crippled me–mind, body, and soul– and I am lucky I escaped before he destroyed me. The abuse continued up until the day he died, through his lies, his threats, and his neglect of his children. I wasn’t his first victim, and I certainly wasn’t the last, so it brings me great relief that I no longer have to fear that his destructive behavior will explode in my child’s face.
I did my grieving then, for the man who wasn’t ever real. And I learned something about narcissists during my recovery that I feel compelled to share with those who are freshly grieving, who may not have known the dark side of Robert that I did, who knew only the funny, worldly masks he wore.
Narcissists are, by nature, a patchwork of memories, delusions, and wishes. They adopt the traits of others to match what their victims, their energy supply, hope to find.
Because of this, the chameleon collection of others’ best selves, I cannot believe that anything worth missing in Robert Cook is truly gone.
It was never him or his. It’s here. It’s you.
That’s where what goodness he reflected as his own came from all along.
So, as I grieve the last spark of hope for his recovery for my child’s sake, and as you grieve the man you thought you knew, I hope this offers some small comfort during your healing.
Whatever you think is lost with his passing was only a mirror of your own goodness. He took it from you so that he could shine, but now it’s yours again.
Be whole. Be well, for you have lost nothing but a mask, and the world is a more honest, safer place than it was with him in it.