Personal Blog

Dear Jacques and Nell*,

A funny thing happened today involving a fly, a patch of sand and a Land Cruiser, and for a brief moment I thought I was as good as dead. I have no idea how the Land Cruiser didn’t take me out, I guess they weren’t trying hard enough. But the experience left me with a few thoughts, as near-death experiences tend to do. One of those was that it seems a shame to me that, if I did die all of a sudden, there are several things that you would never understand. And that seems wrong. So, just in case another fly decides to zoom into my mouth at exactly the same time I hit a patch of sand and a Land Cruiser is rocketing past at 600 miles an hour, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you both. And there’s some good news too.

I am still angry, and I think justifiably so. I’m fairly sure that Jacques thinks that this is just because of all the cheating and partially he can’t help that because he’s male, and males are too often subject to the mistaken belief that the entire world revolves around their penis and where they put it. It’s a weird notion, but more properly a reflection of their own minds than reality. I’m also fairly sure that Jacques thinks I’m still in love with him, but I can lay that idea to rest right now. Every shred of the love that I felt was burned down to the ground the night I received the email from Louise in which she described how he zeroed in on her weakness (for older men in case you’re wondering Nell), and then worked it and worked it until she overcame her initial misgivings about him and then came to the mistaken belief that she (too!) had found a soulmate (as everyone that Jacques zeroes in on is condemned to do — Jacques has had more “soulmates” than I have pairs of knickers. Clue: I have far too many). I always used to think that once you fell in love with someone, no matter what happens some fragment of that love, that care, remains with you for all time. It’s one of my core beliefs. But I guess there’s an exception to every rule.

I realise now that in fact I was never really in love with Jacques. Being trauma bonded to a narcissist feels very much like love, in fact it feels a lot more powerful than love. A love like you’ve never known before. But it is an awful corruption of an emotion that unfortunately defines every emotional relationship with a narcissist, including yours Nell. No one has ever actually been in love with Jacques, and no one ever will be. They will only be tricked by past traumas into thinking they are.

But enough of that. I’m not here to make accusations, just to set out some facts and explanations. I don’t have any questions as such, because I don’t think I’d ever receive an honest answer. That has certainly been the experience so far. And truth is everything in my view.

What lies beneath…

Jacques already knows how I experienced those months between September 2020 and January last year. I laid it out clearly in an email in February last year. You should read it Nell. What someone else was going through while you were having fun. Because you were having fun. The absolute torment of those months, and I was so caught up in ‘love’ that I was helpless to do anything about it. I have since realised that I appear to have wildly powerful instincts, but they’re worthless when you lack the power to follow them. It was instinct that made me go to the guest-house that day I found Jacques sneaking around with Hannah. The same instinct almost made me come join him at the market at Arudy where I guess you two used to meet up for sneaky snogs in the car park. I nearly did once, probably the one before you went on your VTT trip, but I’m glad I didn’t follow that instinct in the end, as I might have disrupted your plans for one evening, but not much more than that. Nell, you should know that Jacques really, really loves sneaking around. He thrives on the risk taking, and the feeling of power that that gives him. You probably noticed it when you two were doing your sneaking around, but chose to ignore it. Does it bother you from time to time now though? And he’s not really fussy about who he’s sneaking around on too, whether it’s a friend (have you told her that story Jacques?), a wwoofer, or a lover. I suppose the best is a lover. But there has to be someone to sneak around on, or I suppose life just doesn’t feel spicy enough, Jacques doesn’t feel clever enough. That role is yours now Nell. Whether he chooses to act on it now, or later, is simply a matter of time.

He can be a bit of a shit about it too I have to say. One of the things I’m still Most Offended by is the fact that when you two went off on your little jolly to the beach in September ‘20, I was the one that paid for all the food and drink that he brought, including some very expensive things I had bought for us, plus the two canisters of cooking gas that you’re doubtless still using. I mean…

Just to be clear though, Jacques doesn’t cheat for the sex. That much really is true. He does it because he is entirely dependant on the admiration that people, especially women, give to him. His ego is dependant upon that in the same way his body is dependant upon oxygen. There is no real qualitative difference between the two in terms of the absolute existential need they fulfil. Mostly he’ll be satisfied with someone praising his furnishings, or admiring his handiwork, or thinking he’s just an all-around swell nice-guy. But if someone wants to express her admiration by opening her legs for him, it’s honestly all the same to Jacques. Just another sign of the attention and admiration that he desperately craves, and that he is absolutely powerless to resist. It’s kind of pitiful really. You should probably make sure you get tested for STDs periodically Nell. Condoms don’t protect against everything as I’m sure you know.

Speaking of condoms, in particular the one I found in Jacques’ wallet in December. I realise now that that wasn’t for you. Jacques has a tendency to blend a teaspoon of truth in with his lies, I guess it helps him keep track of them all. He also lacks imagination. In that case he said that it had been there from the time two years prior that he’d been having an affair with the married shepherdess who shares the mountain hut in the summers. Which sounds fine and well, apart from the fact that there had been no condom in his wallet earlier that year. My brain managed to forget about that in the moment he produced that particular lie. My brain was definitely not always on my side that year. Not at all. However, that means there was a brief period when he was banging you, me and the shepherdess all at the same time. Lucky I was feeding him so well. Lord knows he needed the energy. I could be wrong about this, but I really don’t think so. But I suggest you should probably keep him starved to help avoid his straying. A bit like a bad farmer does with their dog.

Speaking of cooking, does he mention my cooking from time to time? Do you know why he does that? It’s a neat little trick that makes him look generous of spirit, but also keeps you on the defensive, unsteady, feeling like you need to compare yourself with someone else.

Anyway, my anger mostly stems from what came after all that. When I caught Jacques sneaking around with Hannah, it triggered ten of the worst days of my life. I literally still have no memory of almost all of it. All there is is a sulphuric whiff of the desperation I felt to save a relationship that I didn’t know had been dead on arrival. Like all of Jacques’ relationships. You’ll see why below. But it’s hard to know a relationship was dead from the start when the other party worked so very hard to make you feel like you were truly, deeply “loved”. I’m sure you’ve heard all the lines too Nell. How no-one understands him like you do, how unfair it is that you’d not met sooner in life, etc., etc., etc. He’ll look so miserable when coming out with that one. But unknowingly carrying a dead relationship in your heart is a bit like unknowingly carrying a dead baby in your womb. Fucking Tragic. A real man… wait, a real man is never a pathological cheater. But anyway. A real man, i.e. one who is defined by his honesty, integrity and courage, all the things that Jacques lacks entirely, would have told me clearly that our relationship had no future, and taken steps to help ensure that I got out “safely” and with something resembling a clear path, as much as possible in the difficult circumstances anyway. They would have taken care of the one they claimed to care for, even if they no longer loved them. Jacques did none of those things. Instead, he painted over everything with thick layers of ambiguity, obscurity and bald-faced lies amid all the half-lies that are his stock in trade. And he maintained that for six weeks after he booted me out knowing that I had nowhere to go and no money left (partly because he’d been spending it on “our” guesthouse, and which he still refuses to pay back). I guess he felt that the threat of another lockdown kind of forced his hand, regardless of how horrifying the consequences would be for me.

Six weeks of ambiguity, open-endedness and obfuscation followed, until March 12 when I forced him to take a clear stand. Though, in fairness, by then my despair was beginning to bore and irritate him rather than feed his ego. “Take a month” he’d said, and kept up his loving talk. I still have the messages. I was supposed to come back. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to come back. I didn’t know that all he wanted from me was my help with launching the guesthouse we were supposed to be setting up together. Regardless of how horrifying the consequences were for me. Incidentally Nell, have you ever wondered whether your promotion from part-time to principal shag coincided with Jacques’ realisation that he couldn’t run the place on his own?

One of the photos I took to promote the B&B, that still hasn’t been credited, paid for or, in fact, removed from all social media, and booking and promotional platforms, as I have requested a dozen times. Pretty isn’t it.

But the worst part is that during all that time, he wasn’t neglecting to tell me all about the things he was doing with you, Nell. When you went paddle boarding just a few days after he booted me out, practiced yoga one morning a week after that, that philosophy for idiots book you gave him, when you went to the beach, or he took you to the market, your frankly weird posts on the guesthouse’s Instagram account, etc., etc. Of course, I hadn’t a clue who you were or that you even existed. But you can imagine all the questions that arose about this person, or persons, with whom he was suddenly doing all these things. How that added to the torment I was already going through during two months of total isolation, completely alone, in a gîte, in the middle of nowhere in Brittany.

Is it any wonder that I broke?

I can’t think of a single good reason why you did that Jacques. And you know me. I’m an over-thinker. I think of everything. I can think of lots of bad reasons though. Especially the one where telling me what you were getting up to with Nell, while keeping me in the dark about the state of what was happening, had happened, to us, simply made you feel powerful. And the cruelty of it is breathtaking.

This brings me up to how I did discover your existence Nell, and I have to say I’m a little bit pissed about this. That April 12 Instagram post for the guesthouse, of Jacques paddle boarding with your handle on it, has always made me think of a dog making his mark by pissing on his favourite tree. It was a spectacularly insensitive, and dumb, thing to do. Even dumber was the haste with which your name was taken off when I asked Jacques exactly whom he’d been paddle-boarding with all the way back in February. Amateur move guys. But leaving the rest of your Instagram account as it was when it would have taken five minutes to remove a couple of locations, hashtags and commentaries, and remove altogether the one from your trip to the beach in late February, or the one you posted at the crack of dawn on the same morning I went to meet Jacques on the coast in September. I mean, what made leaving #chambreavecvue up there seem like a good idea? The carelessnesss of that action, or inaction, has always staggered me. It staggers me still, because it almost feels vicious, vindictive. And I had never, have never, done a single thing to you to merit that kind of brutality.

The post that triggered another torrent of torment. Bravo.

There’s another thing that you should know about. It relates to another one of Jacques’ misplaced beliefs about my motivations. I tried to kill myself in April last year as I’m sure he told you. What an ego-boost that must have been, eh Jacques? By then I was in the full throes of a nervous breakdown and had become convinced that the whole world was as corrupted, depraved and “unclean” as Jaques had turned out to be. I was very fixated on the unclean part of the thing. And imagine, this is before I had the first clue about all the things he’d really done. I was terrified beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Terrified of living in a world like that, and couldn’t fathom how I possibly could continue to live in a world like that. I didn’t want to live in a world like that. So I took what seemed to me to be the only reasonable course of action. Thank goodness the blood brought me back to earth with a terrific bump. Imagine if I had done it and died. For nothing. For a six-foot, hairy nothing who learned how to fuck by exploiting his position as a long-haired founding “guru” of a christian sect all those years ago back in South Africa. For an ignoramus whose only talent is seducing and manipulating women, and who will never protect you when it counts. Ask him how well he defended his wife when it counted.

Jacques still wouldn’t have felt any actual guilt though, would you Jacques? Narcissists don’t feel guilt. They do feel shame though. Lots and lots and lots of shame. But these are not the same things. Your ex-wife was right Jacques. You really are a narcissist, a covert one. The problem for me is that when you told me that she had said that, I had no idea what a narcissist actually is. What that term really means. And I had never even heard of covert narcissism. But that’s understandable. Not very many people do, including most narcissists. You just know that there’s something wrong and different about you. That you don’t feel things the way other people do. That you have a ‘little heart’, as you yourself say. Incidentally, what you’re really referring to there is the right anterior insula region of the brain, not your heart. But that’s getting a bit technical.

Protecting his shame is why he was so determined not to tell me the truth about what had been going on. I’m 100% certain that he will have told you, Nell, that he didn’t want to hurt me by telling me the truth, and I can promise you that that was a big, fat lie. What we call a “whopper” in English. I must have told him 100 times that the greatest part of the despair and torment that I was feeling was rooted in the utter, absolute, total and mind-bending confusion that I was experiencing (I still get chills just thinking about it now). And then there is his response when I actually worked out the truth in May last year (thanks to your Instagram, Nell). Believe me, it was not the response of someone who was concerned with my wellbeing. Quite the opposite in fact. Because what he did was try to make it appear that I was the one making unreasonable accusations, that, in other words, I was the one who was at fault and to blame and, well, that I was the bad person. He would have graciously pardoned me if I had apologised of course. There’s a word for that. Tell me, is that what someone who’s concerned with someone else’s welfare does? Or is it someone who’s concerned uniquely with protecting their own image regardless of the harm it does to someone else? There’s a word for that too.

That need to protect himself, and his shame, from scrutiny at all costs was at the root of another lie he’s told you, and the last big lie he told me, last October. You know, it still feels like a punch in the gut every time I think about it now. At no time ever during our relationship did Jacques “tell me his expectations”. Did you Jacques? It’s a preposterous statement when you think about it, because your “expectations” were clearly that you should be allowed to cheat on me right from the very start. Louise, Nëll, that shepherdess, Hannah (I know you didn’t actually sleep with her while we were together, but you’d been working on it; same guilt), Edith. And I have no doubts about Edith largely because you couldn’t resist telling me how attracted she was to you, or about the frankly weird question she put to you when you “bumped into” her last October. And, as we know, Jacques can’t resist that. And of course, you used to use her name along with Louise’s every time you were trying to convince me that I was paranoid and jealous. That’s called gaslighting Jacques, and like much that I’m describing here it’s a play straight out of the narcissist’s toolbox. It’s linked to the same category of behaviour as when you were telling me all the things you were getting up to with Nell. It’s pathological behaviour. A little bit psychotic if you ask me, but I’m no expert.

There are very many things about this world that I don’t know, but I do know that I would never have agreed to an assertion of any such “expectations”. But I’m also 100% certain that that lie, although it was directed at me on that day, was not strictly meant for me. It was meant to underline one of the many lies that he’s been telling you, Nell. I think the main reason it makes me so angry still is that I was so shocked when I heard you say it, Jacques, that I couldn’t even respond. I should have just laughed. Really. Because, in its arrogance, entitlement and sheer obnoxiousness, it was and is utterly laughable.

But now for the good news… Actually, I lied. And that is the first and last time I’ve ever lied to you (I’ve also never once lied about you; I don’t need to. The truth is awful enough without embellishment). And just telling that little one gives me weird feelings. Actual palpitations. I don’t know how you do it all the time, all day every day in every single relationship. It must be exhausting. It makes me want to pity you.

But even more a pity for you is that when you made that false accusation to the police last November, you set the ground for my own claim against you under Art. 226–10 of the criminal code. And since I have documentary proof of at least one of the lies you told the gendarme, I’d say it would be a one-minute case for the procurer to ponder. They don’t like that. But, to be honest, I really can’t be bothered. Let it hang over your head for the next five years instead.

I don’t know what other lies you’ve been telling about me, I’ve already heard some of them. Even from your own mouth. Nell, you really should ask Jacques to play you the messages he left for Louise last July. There are three of them. And they’re… edifying. More lies by omission really. His favourite kind: all the half-truths and fudges that weirdly always leave out the bits in which he looks a little bit less than a hero, or make him look like the crying victim (that hallmark of the covert narcissist, sometimes called the vulnerable narcissist. Ask him about the fact that he uses crying to manipulate people. He knows he does it, and he knows he does it to manipulate because we’ve talked about it). But once he got those out of the way, he talked at length about what he’d been doing with the guesthouse. Funnily enough, considering all the work you’d already been doing, he didn’t mention your name, your existence, even once. But I guess he doesn’t when he’s in the mood for seducing someone else.

But I do know that the truth always comes out in the end. One way or another. I imagine you’ve been making a joke of me, your “crazy” ex-girlfriend. Had a few laughs over beers and barbecues. The problem is that my “craziness” was temporary, and you actively subjected someone to that torment and pain simply in order to protect your ego. And what you are is permanent. Makes me wonder who really is the crazy one. Because you kind of enjoy it, and need it, don’t you?

When we met last July and you poured a pure mountain of lies over my head, it made you feel so powerful, so good, that you forgot yourself and the mask slipped. I’d never actually seen a smirk in the flesh before, but yours, yours was a sight to behold. At that particular moment, Nell, we were talking about whether or not Jacques had slept with Hannah yet. Or maybe it was Olivia. One of them anyway. Doesn’t matter. It wasn’t long before you messaged him to see if I’d gone yet. I’ve since discovered that the narcissist’s smirk is actually a thing. A horrifying thing. But even without that, I knew I was being strung along after I saw that Jacques had planted the book that I’d bought him about serial adulterers in the bathroom. It was a dead give-away Jacques. Very unsubtle. But then, what can one expect from a poor mind?

Truth and light will always prevail. Isn’t that what the Bible says Jacques? But the Bible’s real good news is about forgiveness apparently. But I won’t be getting my sainthood, because I can’t forgive you, either of you, because you don’t forgive those who have never shown even the slightest hint of contrition.

(Don’t forget those appointments with the gynaecologist Nell).

*Not her real name.

Another one, that has also never been credited, paid for or removed entirely from all social media and booking and promotional platforms.

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