Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse, Part I: Blindsided

Woman looking in mirrorWe often hear the term “narcissist,” but what does it mean? From my vantage point as a psychotherapist, I work with many individuals who are leaving and healing from relationships, especially romantic ones, with people who are narcissists. When I first heard the term narcissist as a graduate student, I had a hard time labeling someone with such a label. I pride myself on being a strengths-focused therapist, in direct opposition of any of such disempowering diagnostic nomenclature.

However, as time progressed, I found in my own therapy practice that, indeed, there exist some individuals on this planet with narcissistic challenges. My clients educated me about the aftermath of what it is to heal from narcissistic abuse. I feel I owe it to the people I work with in therapy, and others who may be in similar circumstances, to assist with educating the public about narcissistic abuse, so that people can be informed and aware of how to protect themselves in the event they encounter people with narcissistic traits.

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The following is an attempt at a primer on such individuals. For further study, please refer to the resources listed at the end of the article, as the subject is quite vast.

Identifying Individuals with Narcissism

So just what traits does someone with narcissism have, and what does that person look like in the early stages of dating? Studies suggest that 1% of the general population (2-16% of psychiatric population) has narcissistic personality, while an even greater number exhibit typical traits of narcissism (Brown, 2013). In addition, although 75% of people with narcissism are found to be male, women can also be narcissists.

Narcissism is defined as: excessive sense of self-importance over and above the needs of others; grandiosity; arrogance; absence of ability to empathize and experience reciprocity in relationships; intense need for admiration/attention to fill very low self-esteem; impaired relationships resulting in parasitic/predatory behaviors designed to fill one’s self-esteem in the form of narcissistic supply (DSM-IV).

One could wonder, then, how someone would find such an individual, someone who embodies these characteristics, attractive. Well, studies show (Brown, 2013) that people with narcissism market themselves in attractive, deceptive packages. They may present with a swagger, intense eye contact, false bravado/charm, knock-your-socks-off seduction (often learned by neurolinguistic programming (NLP) programs or online seduction programs), swift pacing of rushing the relationship into commitment/cohabitation/marriage/business partnership, promising a future together (which is later discovered to be a lie), intense sexual chemistry, love-bombing (repetitive texting, emailing, phone calls), or romancing the target excessively (flowers, etc).

People with narcissistic traits are known for targeting intelligent, self-sufficient, empathic individuals as partners. They tend to lack core identity (Brown, 2013), and need narcissistic supply to fill their empty psyches. Narcissistic supply comes mostly in the form of adulation, adoration, and attention, but any sort of feedback allows the individual with narcissistic qualities to feel alive (including negative attention). These individuals feel a sense of challenge in targeting highly successful, attractive individuals who may already be in other relationships and/or who express a sense of vulnerability (i.e. having grief or depression, or recently getting out of a relationship).

Characteristics of the Relationship

The literature on malignant narcissism is extensive, yet many are not informed about the dangers of being involved with someone whose character or actions tend toward narcissism. I find that clients who were entangled in relationships with such individuals have more healing to do from breaks in these relationships than if they had been in relationships with healthy individuals, because often these clients are manifesting symptoms of posttraumatic stress.

Not only are they grieving the loss of the relationship, but they are also processing the unreality of a “fake relationship.” Furthermore, often psychological abuse (and sometimes physical and sexual abuse) has permeated the relationship. In order to heal, psychotherapy must focus on grief work and trauma recovery, in addition to understanding the elements of the toxic relationship, so that patterns are not repeated in the future.

Once the initial honeymoon wears off, partners of people with narcissistic traits go from feeling high on a pedestal (much like being on cocaine) to feeling devalued, discarded, and figuratively knocked off the pedestal. Their partners have successfully seduced and hooked them into relationships.

But suddenly, the individual with narcissism begins to reveal traits of lying, future-faking, and Dr. Jekyl /Mr. Hyde Personality. He or she may vanish for hours or days on end, or gaslight (confuses the reality of) a partner. This person becomes emotionally abusive and detaches from the partner, extracting narcissistic supply in the process.

The partner, then, is dropped/discarded, coming to the sudden and shocking realization that the other, the partner to has narcissistic qualities, is not capable of true intimacy/love, and really exhibits a limited capacity for emotional connectedness/bonding (Brown, 2013). The partner who has exhibited narcissistic personality traits, who was once a knight in shining armor, is now a mere fantasy, because he or she acted through mind control and brainwashing (Brown, 2013).

To Protect Yourself

So how does one avoid encountering someone with narcissism? I would suggest being particularly cautious with the pacing of dating. If you’re using a dating website, exercise extreme caution when meeting up with a dating partner for the first several dates until you feel you know the individual (i.e. meet in a public place).
If the dating partner attempts to rush the relationship, that is a red flag. An individual who respects your boundaries will work with you to slowly progress the relationship at a pace that is mutually agreed upon. Just because initially there is a highly seductive “zing” quality to the attraction does not mean that the dating partner is healthy. To protect yourself from someone who may end up behaving out of narcissism, it is best to allow the connection to unfold slowly and observe to see if actions and words are matching up.

Sexual chemistry is not the same thing as healthy bonding and attachment. A healthy person will want to get to know your personality, dreams, and interests, and slowly evolve the relationship. An individual with narcissistic tendencies may also want to know all about you, but then may fake being your soul mate by rushing you into consenting to a relationship/marriage/cohabitation/business arrangement (Hotchkiss, 2010).

If you have encountered an individual who seems to display these qualities, or are considering leaving a relationship with a similar person, it is in your best interests to get yourself out of the relationship as quickly as possible. People with narcissistic characteristics may be prone to causing harm by invading personal boundaries, lying about future possibilities in relationships, engaging in abuse, and exhibiting no empathy or remorse for emotional harm they have done.

Consult a licensed psychotherapist who is trained in narcissistic abuse recovery in addition to locating a qualified support group to help you through this time. You will recover. You will heal. But, it will take time and the assistance of qualified professionals who understand what you have endured and how to help you to reclaim your self-esteem.

Resources:

  1. Saferelationshipsmagazine.com:  Sandra A. Brown, MA’s website and resources related to abuse recovery from unhealthy relationships
  2. Lisaescott.com: The Path Forward online forum and support network for survivors of narcissistic abuse
  3. Baggagereclaim.com: A website dedicated to individuals healing from relationships with emotionally-unavailable people (including narcissists)
  4. Outofthefog.com: A website with support and resources for people moving forward from abusive relationships
  5. Help! I am in Love with a Narcissist by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol
  6. Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Narcissists by Sandra L. Brown
  7. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare
  8. Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry by Albert J. Bernstein, PhD
  9. Emotional Blackmail: When People in Your Life use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward
  10. Why is it Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy HotchKiss, LCSW
  11. The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love and Family by Eleanor Payson, MSW
  12. Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover, and Move On by Cythnia Zayn and Kevin Dibble
  13. Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Bill Eddy, LCSW
  14. Stop Walking On Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Love Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason, MS
  15. Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited by Sam Vaknin
  16. Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life: At Home, At Work, With Friends by Linda Martinez-Lewi, PhD

© Copyright 2013 by Andrea Schneider, LCSW, therapist in San Dimas, CA. All Rights Reserved.

Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org. The preceeding article was solely written by the author name above. The view and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceeding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Rebecca

    June 7th, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    In an extreme oddity… I believe you have explained to me what I am and why I loose interest in partners as soon as I know they aren’t going anywhere.

    Intriguingly enough… the person I am currently with demostrates all the exact same tendencies. And we are always trying to conquer each other.

    So perhaps it is only weak minded romantics who should stay away from narcissistic personalities. They seem to do just fine with each other.

  • Jena

    June 7th, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Oh have I ever been in this kind of relationship before! I was with a guy who couldn’t ever give me a compliment because he was so busy thinking about and talking about just how great he was. I bought in to it for a while, thinking how lucky I was to be with this guy who was so smart, so hot, so rich, until I got so whatever! I was tired of hearing about how wonderful he was and feeling dinimished because I just knew that he didn’t really see me as being on his level. Took a while, but I finally kicked him to the curb, with no tears shed on my part I might say.

  • jason t

    June 8th, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    Hard to have a relationship with someone who loves themselves far more than they could ever love you.
    You give and you try so hard but they are such a taker, that sometimes it’s hard when they are not reciprocating that love and affection.

  • Alison

    June 8th, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Perhaps you could make your fortune by setting up a dating site for narcissists then, it would give your kind a more appropriate opportunity/challenge to outdo each other… and it’d keep us ‘weak-minded romantics’ a hell of a lot safer!

  • Andrea Schneider

    June 8th, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Hi Alison, sounds as if you are directing your comment to the commenter who claims to be self-professed narcissist… I would encourage you not to respond to incendiary comments as this fuels a narcissist’s NS (narcissistic supply)– also any criticism coming from a narcissist is really a projection, and is actually how they feel about themselves…”don’t feed the animals” was a great suggestion of wisdom by a smart person ;) Be glad you are a human being who actually knows how to love and what that feels like, Allison. A narcissist can never be capable of mature, true love. Sad, eh? You wouldn’t want it the other way around.

  • melinda

    June 9th, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Was married to a narcissist for two years and it was hell.little things could turn into big conflicts and anything that goes against such people is a big big mistake you have done.thank but no thanks.walking out of that marriage was the best decision I have ever made.

  • Paul

    June 19th, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    This is empowering to read your comments. I don’t know if my wife is a narcissist or not, but she shares a lot of the oddities of personality disorder. My passions were often ridiculed, hurt emotions dismissed, opinions questioned and I was rudely treated (disrespected) in front of her children and family. It happened so fast I was overcome with shock that I didn’t know how to react. She was so difficult/blaming in arguments that I felt I needed reinforcements. It was so deflating and defeating. Once I purchased a book on ADHD and found she had written a note inside stating that I didn’t have this and it was just the “flavor of the month”. Rudeness beyond belief. God help me.

  • Walter

    July 6th, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Paul, your wife sounds VERY much like my own. We could never disagree, someone always had to be right, and it was always her. She would escalate any argument more and more until I found myself giving in from exhaustion. She would try to get involved with my friends and family, but then make an enemy of anyone I was close to (my brother and mother for example).

    I don’t know how long you’ve been married, but I was married for 18 years. You should get out as quickly as possible. But be prepared for a storm. My ex went nuclear when I left her, and has done as much as possible to destroy me in every, legally, financially, and personally. Prepare yourself, protect yourself, then get out.

  • Ali

    August 8th, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    I have been married for 10 yrs to my hub who i tried to leave as i could take no more about how demanding i am and controlling within 6 hrs he took huge OD and was in a coma for 4 days obviously i went back to him with the kids. since them which was only 5 months ago he has been diagnosed with Autisum ok so i am now back on meds as the emotional abuse was too much i also hurt my back as he refuses to do housework etc before this i tried to start tai chi and after the second week accused od having an affair. when i was unable to move he didn’t get me a drink or anything to eat. i tried to explain this and i got a barrage of verbal abuse about how exhaustive it is for him and that he has no energy left for me not even enough to hold my hand. I am now to scared to leave again due to what happened last time. i also tried to explain that what he did and how it brought all od my sons death back. Is this just Autisum.

  • Andrea Schneider

    August 10th, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Both men and women can have personality disorders…although narcissism is more common in males, and borderline personality disorder more common in females…there is a lot of cross-over, however, in these personality disorders. Ali–I am unclear about your question, but if you are asking if autism and narcissism are the same thing, my answer is: no. They are very different conditions. A narcissists lack of empathy could look like a social skills deficit though. Autism is neurological and developmental disorder. Both conditions are very different with different subsets of qualifying symptoms.

  • JANELLE

    August 11th, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    I was in awe reading this. After dealing with a divorce and relationship of over 10 years, I began dating one of my best friends of 17 years. I thought it was a safe and logical option. I trusted this person. I felt connected to this person. The person I knew for half my life was a lie. The relationship became intense. He spoke of being my soul mate. He spoke of marrying me one day. He spoke of loving my child as his own. He spoke of our children growing up together. Once I became comfortable and trusting of the idea, he broke up with me. Stated he couldn’t give me what I needed. I didn’t understand. I didn’t ask for anything. For four months after the title of commitment was taken away, he would still come by. He would still say he loved and cared for me. Then I was excluded from birthdays and holidays. He wanted his freedom to be single. After I would state my hurt from this exclusion, he would buy me gifts such as diamond earrings. Send me roses on Valentine’s Day. Then he would tell everyone he did those things just to be friendly to me. He would continue to be intimate with me and flirt with other women. Ask an ex what it would take to make things work with her. We would stop speaking for months. Then he would call me to say he missed me and still loved me. He regretted losing my love. He would talk about not wanting to miss out on a chance of us working things out. I would ask about that. Are we working this out or not? I was then told I was being pushy. I would then be sited the one going to fast and not taking the baby steps. We would get on each other’s nerves and stop speaking. Then during a hard time in his life he would contact me saying that he wanted to call but was scared I’d hang up. He missed me because I made his life better the year before. He would flirt with me and make sexual innuendos. I discovered that a woman I confided with about my feelings for him and the frustration of not understanding what was going on, became involved with him after she told me to give him some space to think. His charm had worked on her too. He manipulated her to gain attention and boost his ego. She beleives there is something special. So while he is telling me all these lines of missing me and about how he never stopped loving me, he is building this bond with a woman I confided in. I confronted him on that issue and he said I took his words the wrong way. He only meant them to be friendly. We would not speak for weeks again and then he would become flirty with me again. I stated that if he flirts with me, then the other women go. He again found me pushy and demanding. Would get irate that he has made his stand of being single and can flirt with whomever he wants. He borrowed money from me, and for almost a year he has not even tried to pay it back. He goes out to dinner frequently and to concerts, but incapable of paying people back. He overextends him self financially. Uses his charm and self pity to gain empathy from people to loan him money. My point is. I’m still just recently discovering that this was a completely abusive narcissistic relationship. It was all about him. His needs. His desires. The thrill of the chase for him. I would ask him if all our years of friendship meant anything. If all the talk of marriage and a future meant anything. Ask if any of it was real. He would become so annoyed with my questions that he would continue to say that he didn’t owe me anything. Today, I am discovering it was all about him boosting his self esteem by getting someone to want him. Once that goal was accomplished, he would move on to the next person. What I thought was real from a man I knew for half my life, became nothing but a broken fantasy that nearly destroyed every peice of who I was. I thought I had found the love of my life in my best friend. I was completely wrong and that hurt worse than the divorce with my ex husband. Bottom line, I am aware now what type of relationship we really had. I am aware I was only a toy for him. I am aware that I wasn’t as special as he made me beleive to him. He is an almost 40 year old man that refuses to commit. He refuses to go to counseling, even if it means bettering himself for his own children. He is so self indulged and addicted to the other women that he is capable of getting with his extreme charm. He is a highly intelligent man. But refuses to acknowledge he could be an extreme narcissist. His world is about what brings him instant gratification. Nothing else.

  • Andrea Schneider

    August 11th, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Wow, Janelle– good for you for leaving such an emotionally abusive situation… To validate your journey, all narcissists are commitment-phobic…when they get “too close”, they fear engulfment…a healthy person evolves the relationship to a deeper level…sounds like you are very capable of a healthy love relationship– may the silver living in this dark cloud be that of wisdom, peace, safety, and the path of true love with healthy folks…best to you, Andrea

  • Janelle

    August 12th, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Thank you so much for you wisdom and this site!! More people need to be aware of the pathological reasons behind these actions!!

  • Andrea Schneider

    August 21st, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    You are most welcome, Janelle…I am happy to provide some information on a subject that few know about. Knowledge is power, freedom, and safety!!!

  • Sue

    August 24th, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Janelle- these words you wrote:
    ….he said, “that he didn’t owe me anything.”
    – my ex used that same phrase, one time I said to him he could make it up to me, mine replied, “I don’t want to own anyone anything”,…. there lies the difference in core thinking.

    Another thing I noticed in discussion when I said to him you were my man, i.e. a loving thing, his reply was annoyingly saying, “no I am my own man”…. I was then immediately put on edge and had to pacify him saying no I dont mean it like ownership but loving, its a good thing. He didn’t grasp it. I think their brains are wired differently, which is why it’s near impossible to cure.

    And you said, “What I thought was real from a man I knew for half my life, became nothing but a broken fantasy that nearly destroyed every piece of who I was. I thought I had found the love of my life in my best friend.”
    – yes I thought I had found that man who I would live many happy future years with. No, I was wrong.

    I think the main issue is there is a fundamental lack of empathy and without that there is a lack of core bonding. And where they feel no pain for hurting you or considering your feelings there is nothing stopping them hurting you, because they simply dont feel it, or realise it, such is the emotional deadness and emotional immaturity.

    It’s taken me a long long time, almost 3.5 years to recover from being in a relationship with a narcissist, mainly because for the initial 1.5 years I had no idea what this was.

    There is Jekyll & Hyde, and no guilt remorse, etc, for me personally it’s the total and complete abandonment that has been the hardest to take while he rebounded to another.

  • Morse P

    August 24th, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    Great post! Thank you!
    I am reading as much as I can on this and talking to close friends about it, because things just aren’t made real until you share. Ultimately though, one has to make oneself the focus, to discover what made us vulnerable to such abuse in the first place. That’s when the real healing began for me, and I’m still at it.

    One thing though: I strongly contest the “statistics” on NPD. First off, nearly all the information I’ve come across even admits that the statistics are far from certain. And I had contact with one authority on NPD who put the number of Narcissist males at 75%. I challenged her on this and she said that it’s true that “many, many Narcissist men had Narcissist mothers.”
    I asked how many and she confessed she didn’t know, but assured me that it was a lot. To which I simply replied with, “Well, there goes your 75% number for males.”
    I never heard from her again.
    Still, the information is very relevant and useful and can be applied to ones personal situation without paying much attention to the statistics.
    Thanks again for this post!

  • lulu

    August 25th, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    This is a very good analysis. I have a financial advisor friend who I trusted with my family but after some time getting to see how they behaved, I grew to recognise the signs of narcissism behind their kindly mask.

    Red flags were evident very early on as i got to know them but I fell for the trap and in someways still feel trapped. It is very hard to get this person out of my head although I feel heartbroken by their deception and see it for what it is. The hardest thing is realizing they will never change.

  • Janelle

    August 31st, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    The more knowledge i gain about this disorder, the more I become shocked how many people go thru this type of abuse. They only pretend to be remorseful. It’s an act. It’s to try and convince people they are still “good”. It’s been weeks since i had context with him now. I always was walking on eggshells talking to him at the end. He always made me fell bad for my hurt. He even told me several times that my pain was my own fault for sticking around. It’s a true fact, but completely lacking in empathy or responsibility. He’s already moved on to his next target. He’s already in love with someone else. I’ve been replaced so quickly, but I’ve learned the cycle. I know about his exes and what happened. I even have spoken to one of them. So while none of our “mutual” friends believe i was abused, and he has managed to convince everyone that i was obsessed and crazy, he is unfortunately some other woman’s problem. I’ve recognized what he did to me so recently was the same thing he did to the others so many years ago. Funny thing is he knows he needs help. But refuses to go. So i become less hurt each day for me, and more sad for the current woman and his children. They have no idea what is in store for them.

  • Janelle

    August 31st, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Sue,

    The thing we have to remember is that we were not the ones that lied or manipulated. It’s exactly like you said about their brains being wired differently…but the wires are misfiring when it comes to the empathy of other people. They can see injustice done to other people, and can sometimes see the injustice they cause to other people, but instead of correcting their mistakes and making themselves a better person, they just move on to the next victim. Their hope is someone will accept them for who they are…no matter how awful they treat people. They see their behavior traits wrong in other people, but not in themselves. Those of us with a conscience learn from our mistakes. They don’t. Because then they would actually have to feel the Rath of guilt. They don’t want or don’t know how to cope with guilt in healthy ways. They’re actually afraid if they try to redeem themselves it will all blow up again anyways, so they don’t even try…it’s a misfiring and self doubting brain that sabotages their own happiness. And it’s sad really. It’s not us. Yes we were abandoned, and yes I’m lonely…but I’m sleeping better without a thousand questions running through my head. Yes i lost a whole group of friends and there are many who think I’m crazy. So what. If they don’t believe what i went thru or if they don’t want to hear my hurt, they were never really my friend. Only his. I’m stronger with the knowledge I’ve found. And I’m glad that you’re on the right road of recovery. :-)

  • Andrea

    September 1st, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Janelle, you sound really empowered and right on…keep on learning about this disorder…and you now have the tools to stay away from such disordered folks…you sound very clear about what direction to take in your healing…sounds like great perspective…

  • TwistedX

    September 5th, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Although I did find your article accurate, you cannot possibly imagine what it is like to be in a relationship, or have a child with a malignant narcissist.
    As a therapist myself, I can honestly say that watching someone else go through it is nothing in comparison to living it.

  • Andrea

    September 6th, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    @TwistedX–never make assumptions…sometimes the best therapists have had their own prior life experience with such topics they now help people heal through ;)

  • Laura

    September 24th, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I am just coming out of a relationship with a man who I suspect has borderline personality disorder or strong traits, rather than narcissistic personality disorder. Yet this article was so so helpful for me, and described my experience in a way I hadn’t yet been able to consciously articulate to myself. This devaluing and being discarded after being idealized really speaks to my experience especially.

    In my case, the trigger for his rage and pathological lying would often be me pulling away or being assertive, even though he had already broken up with me quite definitively. The last ploy used to get my attention, post breakup, was to tell me his mother died. She didn’t. I don’t understand why he would tell lies like this that would so obviously be found out. Anyway, I digress.

    My question is really how similar are the issues that are faced by those leaving/having been left by, a partner with BPD compared to those with NPD? Is no contact the best approach in that circumstance also? Insights greatly appreciated. And thanks again Andrea for a great article that has started to help me make sense of this experience and the real nature of the losses I am grieving.

  • Andrea Schneider

    September 24th, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    @laura–I am so glad the article resonated with you…honestly, yes, BPD and NPD are very similar in many ways in that they are considered “Cluster B Personality Disorders” in all DSMs (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals) before the DSM 5– I believe now the clinical consensus is that there is so much overlap between the two diagnoses, as well as that of Histrionic Personality Disorder, that they are often looked as a cluster/umbrella term…there is great overlap…and those is=n the abuse recovery world would definitely agree that No Contact is the best policy…because the behavior from the abusive person is toxic…So reading up on BPD and NPD is a great idea…often a person can have elements of both…either traits or full blown disorder…I would also read Emotional Vampires for further validation on these issue of these abusive folks… and yes, NO CONTACT, for your own protection and healing…. Andrea

  • David Caton

    October 3rd, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Good article. I think the only weakness is that it sets the bar rather high to make a determination that a partner is narcissistic. One need not have the full blown, substantial traits described to be able to shatter one’s sense of self, worth, etc. As a therapist and as the son of a pathological narcissist, I can attest to the fact that they can function quite well and carry on in society without undue notice for years. You may never know you are around one until you begin to stand up to them- this they take great exception to and you may rapidly become secondary supply at best. Really hard stuff to deal with. Once this happens, I too agree the only way to be safe is to stay away.

  • Stephanie

    October 3rd, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Andrea, thank you so much for coaching Allison (and me) up on relating to such individuals as Rebecca in a manor that does not play into their dysfunctional dynamic and power struggle. That was a cool learning experience. I would greatly appreciIate any vignettes with guidance of how to respond or not respond. I know it might be a bit much to ask but if possible, I’d love some tangible approaches I can be cognisant of in future dealings with individuals with narcissistic traits. Thanks and keep up the great work!!

  • Stephanie

    October 3rd, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Andrea, thank you so much for coaching Allison (and me) up on relating to such individuals as Rebecca in a manor that does not play into their dysfunctional dynamic and power struggle. That was a cool learning experience. I would greatly appreciIate any vignettes with guidance of how to respond or not respond. I know it might be a bit much to ask but if possible, I’d love some tangible approaches I can be cognisant of in future dealings with individuals with narcissistic traits. Thanks and keep up the great work!!

  • Andrei

    October 4th, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    The accuracy of this article is almost frightening, it perfectly describes the relationship I just got out of.

  • Andrea Schneider

    October 4th, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    @David–thanks for the feedback…I totally agree with you that people can have “narcissistic traits” and possess tremendous toxicity that causes emotional harm…you don’t need to have an official diagnosis to lack empathy/be self-absorbed/etc…and you bring up a good point…narcissistic abuse people sustain is so subtle that at times one may not even be aware of the manipulation until after the fact…thus, education is the best medicine in order to avoid these types from the beginning…

  • Andrea Schneider

    October 4th, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    @Stephanie…thanks for your feedback…what I would say is keep reading up on narcissistic abuse…see the list of resources at the end of the article and read, read, read. Information is power. As you are armed with knowledge, you will learn how to discern who is a “safe” person and who is not. In dating relationships, beware of the individual who swoops in and promises you the moon and back again, proposing to you in 2 days…a healthy relationship gradually builds, with mutual respect and empathy and self-disclosure. If you have already been entangled in a relationship with a narcissistic type person, then the best policy is absolutely No Contact…unless you share children, in which case you legally might have to do Limited Contact…I would highly encourage you to seek a psychotherapist who can provide you support in recovery from narcissistic abuse, and to also join an online support forum (like Lisa E. Scott’s The Path Forward). Here’s to your healing and recovery! Andrea

  • Sally

    October 4th, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    When I read this i think these are many of the qualities of my ex, but then, when i left him he told me i was a narcissist, and i have been so confused as to which one of us is the narcissist! if i am it terrifies me and if he is, that’s sad too cause he would never admit to that and he is clueless and would not get help. if i am how does one get help? can a narcissist get healed? i have no idea if i was the n or the traumatized one.. confusing!

  • Andrea Schneider

    October 5th, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    @Sally–the fact you have the capability to reflect is really a good sign of insight…which many narcissists are sorely lacking…I would recommend, as with anyone who is pulling through an abusive relationship, that they seek psychotherapy with a highly skilled psychotherapist who can provide a detailed, comprehensive assessment and work with you to answer your questions. best of luck, Andrea

  • Darlene Lancer, MFT

    October 18th, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Very often codependents fall in love with a narcissist – they may have had a narcissistic parent, also, so the connection feels familiar. They are easily charmed by the attention of narcissists and attracted to their self-directedness and power, which most codependents don’t exhibit. In the beginning the they’re comfortable deferring to the narcissist for love, but when that soon disappears and they’re met with abuse, they absorb blame and criticism, and try even harder to please. These abusive relationships further undermine the codependents little self-esteem. Underneath both suffer from shame.
    Darlene Lancer, MFT
    Author of “Codependency for Dummies”

  • michelle

    October 19th, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” …
    What you wrote in both of your articles on narcissism, describes, practically word for word what I just experienced in a romantic relationship. My jaw dropped the first time I read your writing on this subject which was a couple of weeks ago. I have printed out both articles and read them daily to remind myself to avoid ever dating another man with this affliction as well as sent copies to all my single girlfriends. I am happily dating a man who is completely the opposite and I’m really enjoying letting things unfold slowly and build at a healthy pace. It was so easy to get swept away in all the drama, the ups and downs, highs and lows with the narcissist, but now know what an incredible sham the whole thing was. You truly could not have described in more accurate detail what I went through. And sadly, but better late than never, I don’t believe he was the first narcissistic man in my life, but hopefully the last. I can’t thank you enough for opening my eyes and educating me about this. My mother is without a doubt a narcissist, and I have dealt with treating my co-depency all my life. Now at 59, the puzzle is finally coming together! THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  • Phil S

    October 20th, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    The impact of my relationship with my partner led me to almost commit suicide. I was always wrong, my friends weren’t good enough, she was extremely jealous of my relationship with my daughter, she told people she didn’t trust me around her daughters, my clothes weren’t good enough, I was always wrong in an argument or discussion (if we ever had one – in 9 years I was the one who started our relationship discussions, never her, and I was always wrong or there was a reason for her behaving the way she did).

    We had the most incredible physical relationship and enjoyed doing so many things together, so long as it didn’t involve my family or friends.

    I broke it off with her and within a week she had met someone and within a month he’d moved in with her. I’d been broke twice in the last 6 years but worked hard and saved enough for a house in a lovely area. But she had to tell me how great this new man was, how intelligent and talented, how they are going to keep his apartment in the city and his country property, how he has motorbikes etc.

    For anyone who is in a relationship with a person with strong narcissistic traits I warn you to be careful. I was never good enough and got to the most tragic point. Thank God for my children who saved me from doing it.

  • Taralynn

    October 21st, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    In Recovery,I was in a 4 year nightmare with my now Ex finance is NBPD.and was an Alcoholic as well.and to this day Still doesn’t admit any fault,as a result I have PTSD from the abusive control ,As I put that No Contact down..it seems to get better..and for my recovery I put up Boundaries.Trying to stay Near Positive People..One Day at a Time.Trying to stay Near Positive People..One Day at a Time..

  • Michelle Mallon

    October 30th, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    I truly wish more was written and openly discussd about this type of abuse. I am grateful to this author for helping to increase awareness of something that has the very real potential to completely destroy lives. Before March of this year, I did not know that this type of abuse had a name. If someone would have asked me if I had heard of Narcissistic Abuse, I would have simply equated it with abuse by a Narcissistic person and that is very misleading. What I have found is that a lot of people don’t know what this this type of abuse is- in particular- the mental health professionals who see victims in their offices after the abuse occurrs. After enduring the most horrific emotional abuse I have ever experienced at the hands of a psychologist I had taken my two small children to for counseling, I endured even more trauma in the aftermath trying to understand what actually happened in the abusive relationship. Narcissistic Abusers are quite skilled at leaving the victim with all of the guilt and blame for the abuse. After I refused to see this therapist any longer, I spent 9 months trying to understand if he was trying to help me (like he insisted) or literally trying to kill me. The therapist I saw after the abusive one (and it took me a long time to get up the courage to see a new one) really wasn’t sure what happened in the relationship at first either. That made it even harder to heal from the abuse. I spent every waking minute thinking about what happened searchign for somehting I had missed that could make all if make sense. It wasn’t until I found TELL (therapyabuse.org) and found books that explained what I went through and experienced that I was finally able to stop searching for some thing I might have missed that would explain what I went through. What I have found in my own journey is that there are a lot of people who have experienced this type of abuse and they don’t know what Narcissistic Abuse is. They are still searching for answers and carrying the guilt and blame with them for not having done enough to prevent the destruction of the relationship. It shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did to find answers. Even the licensing board that my current therapist and I reported the abusive one to didn’t seem to have a clue about what this type of abuse is. Why aren’t more people talking about this?

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 1st, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Glad the article was of help and put a name to very covert, insidious abuse. Just because there may be no bruises doesn’t mean it’s not abuse. It is not discussed often because many do not understand it. However, with more awareness, more people are armed with information and can protect themselves from dangerous relationships.

  • Jade

    November 1st, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    I have read so many of these websites, desperately trying to find words that will bring me peace or closure or…something to just stop it hurting. It has been over for a few months now, although it didn’t help that I was still involved trying to get him to feel some sort of guilt and remorse for all the pain he caused. The new girl that came swooping in minutes after I left with my heart in pieces didn’t think twice about what pain she was causing even though I tried to make her see why I was so devastated, why he was causing so many problems with her too. I was the love of his life, but I abandoned him so what was he supposed to do when this girl came and saved him where I had dropped him. Feelings of guilt transferred to me…I am so terribly insecure now, after being so independent and strong growing up! How do I get back to normal? How do I leave him behind where he belongs and stop shedding a single tear for him? I wish there was a quick fix button…

  • Jay

    November 3rd, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    I have a friend who has been married 20 years to a very successful physician. Here are some details of her relationship with him:

    1. Her father is a physician as well. Her parents were very strict and controlling, enforced with verbal and physical abuse on occasion, forbidding her to go out with friends, while driving her to do well in school and other activities.

    2. When she met her future husband, they had both been recently divorced. She was about to go away for a few months for a nursing job, when he literally swept her off her feet and took her to Las Vegas to be married before she left to go on this job. After they were married, she quit the job rather than going away.

    3. She was filled with great admiration and love for him for roughly the first half of their marriage. She thought of him glowingly as her rock, white knight and the love of her life. She did everything and anything he wanted her to do. She changed who she was to be who he wanted her to be. He didn’t want her to go out without him, so she stayed home and declined all invitations to go out- for the better part of two decades. Instead she focused on being the best home-maker she could be. She loved to cook and perfected meals. She kept the house very clean all the time. She did everything for their two boys. She was always very driven, so that was how she used her energy. She also worked part-time as a nurse, against her husband’s wishes, which he questioned and belittled.

    4. He always had the last word on any subject related to them and their family. She spoke that often their was fear- both from her and her sons- shortly he would come home from work that everything was not done- dinner, clean house, etc. and that he/Dad would be angry. Her boys would express this as well and tell her to hurry and get things done or Dad would be angry.

    5. Roughly 10 years ago, she had the first desire to divorce him. She was upset when he flirted with other women at parties. It was also around this time that he no longer satisfied her sexually. Still, she went on as before, but now more unhappily, mostly for the sake of their boys.

    6. A little over a year ago, she found out he was having an affair. This was devastating to her on so many levels. Apparently he had known the woman for 6 years. She felt she had lost her best friend, husband, her rock, her everything in one blow. It challenged everything she thought about love, marriage, everything. In the months after the discovery, she would often go stay in a hotel by herself with a candle and drink by herself rather than be in the house with him. She stopped having sex with him.

    7. Since she discovered his infidelity, he has become increasingly hostile toward her verbally. They have been in counseling for over a year now. She is increasingly stressed and unhappy with her marriage and does not want to spend any time with him because it is so unpleasant. She doesn’t really want to work on their marriage anymore.

    Their counselor is trying to help them preserve their marriage.

    It is this last point that is most concerning to me. I’m not a psychologist, but her relationship with her husband seems to have all the hallmarks of one with a narcissist, which now seems increasingly abusive verbally/emotionally.

    My thought is that the counselor has not identified the husband as a narcissist, otherwise he would not be trying to preserve the marriage through counseling.

    I would love to hear feedback from those who know / have experienced more on this issue than I do regarding the above situation. Thank you.

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 3rd, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    @Jade– I would suggest seeing a psychotherapist who specializes in this area as well as joining the aforementioned support forums online– with time, you will recover and move on to love someone who loves you back in a healthy way…@Jay– sounds like you have a lot of concern for your friend…have you addressed your worries with her directly ? If she and her significant other are in couples therapy, then it sounds like they are working on their issues… You can always share this article with her and see what she has to say…obviously, this is not a forum to actually diagnose people…she is lucky he has such a caring and concerned friend looking out for her interests…

  • Jay

    November 5th, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Andrea- thank you for the feedback and advice. I met her the other day and asked her if she thought her husband was a narcissist. Her reply: “of course he is.” I showed her both your articles, which she glanced at but said she had already read a lot on the subject and knows about it. This did not surprise me entirely, and yet she seems stuck in what to do. She does not see an immediate need to end the relationship, primarily for the sake of her 14 and 16 year old sons it seems. She says he demonstrates bi-polar behavior toward her – sometimes verbally abusing/degrading/demeaning her, other times trying to court her again. When she first discovered his infidelity, he was very verbally abusive and degrading/demeaning toward her, where I think a normal person may feel remorseful or guilty. Anyway, it appears his relationship with the other woman may have ended against his will, so now he seems more focused (in a bi-polar way) on her again. Their couple counseling is on an individual basis (she ended the couple sessions after he repeatedly lied to the counselor). Very sad and troubling situation. And yet the counselor is trying to preserve their marriage. Apparently she asked him for a separation a year ago, but he refused, and he said he will not divorce her either. She has said that if he asked, she would divorce him, but she is afraid of her kids reaction if she were to ask for a divorce.

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 5th, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    @Jay– again, your friend is very fortunate to have your support…all you can do is continue to be a reality-tester and help her to know of resources that might assist her (see bibliography) — she may need a different therapist who understands narcissism more completely — it is, ultimately, your friends choice how she proceeds with her life…but, armed with information, hopefully she will choose her own self-preservation and mental health– a happy mom is a happy family, whether or not there are two parents in the picture…best wishes !

  • Jay

    November 6th, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Andrea-
    Thanks again for your feedback. I think I have done what I can while at the same time trying to respect her privacy and independence. I get the feeling she knows what she wants to do, but is preparing for the right time for her. Thanks again.

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 6th, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Jay- yes, it sure does sound like you have done everything you can to support your friend. Sounds like she has a good-sounding board in you. I would focus on your own self-care and release the issue at this time. It’s really on her to determine what she needs for her life. Best wishes in your journey, Andrea

  • Jay

    November 7th, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Andrea- thanks again for the feedback. Good advice.

  • Lorenz

    November 13th, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    This is so classic – frightening really because I can identify so strongly. I have been in a relationship much like this for 5 years. Always wondering what I have done (I have tried so hard) and it’s not until I begin to leave that I am valued/chased again. I even went to counseling and they never saw it which made me feel even more isolated and confused. They told me he “had a right to have a life away from me as well” although repeatedly I said I was not given that same right. It’s really confusing because half the time you think you are with your price charming forever and the other half of the time you feel like the rug was just pulled out from under you and you can’t understand why. Worse yet, we spend endless hours trying to figure out what we did wrong.

  • Leslie

    November 17th, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    I was in a relationship with a narc for 3 years, after realizing what he was after “come here, get away” he has embarrassed me publicly and in private. We were not married and have no children together, thank goodness. I gave up my job to work with him, gave away most of my belongs (my bad decisions) and gave it my all in the relationship. He was very charismatic in the beginning but soon I realized he was shallow and unfeeling towards other people pain. He hates his ex’s and I know I am in that group now as well. Him and I bought a house together which is down the street from my daughter and her family. When I left, I also signed this house over to him because I did not want any ties. The narc hated my son in law and never had anything nice to say about him. Now the narc and my son in law are best friends, but I know my son in law needs the money his is making off of him at this moment. He thinks he has the narc under control….I know he is wrong and the hatchet will fall with him as soon as the narc no longer needs him. We live in small community and the narc decided to remodel this house (the one we bought together) on a grand scale and so it is being noticed by everyone in this community. Originally he was going to sell it and I was all for that, just to get him away from me and family. But now it seems he wants to keep rubbing my nose in it for breaking it off with him. He is even trying to get his family to move here???? He is taking my family to nice places to eat and giving them money (which they need) but it is making me feel sick to my stomach. When I first discussed some of the narc’s behavior with my kids, they didn’t believe me but after they saw him in action, they were believers. My son and his family has broken ties with him but my son in law has not. When I broke it off with the narc, I did the no contact rule, went back to work and even starting taking some college classes. I have accepted that he is a narc and uses people, is shallow and hurts people without a conscious. I have always been a forgiving person and I want to move on without his baggage cluttering my life. I do not want to move from this area, my family lives here, children and grandchildren,they are my family and not his, although he has a strained relationship with his kids and almost no contact with his grandchildren. The narc always told me how wonderful my kids and grandkids were, and how they always treated him with respect. I tried to raise my children to treat others the same way they treat themselves, with dignity and respect. My children are raising their children the same way. But I am at my wits ends on how to get him to move on. I do not discuss this with people in my community because I don’t like to talk bad about people but some times I feel like taking a ad out in the local paper warning people about the narc. I have also been told he bad mouths every chance he gets. I don’t want to stoop to his level. I don’t wish him bad just wish him away from my family and myself. Any advice would be appreciated on how to handle this.

  • Leslie

    November 17th, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    I am adding to my original comment, I almost feel like I am venting. Before I met the narc, I had been divorced for almost 10 years and had dated some but had not found someone I wanted to have a long term relationship with. I had a job with people I liked, a decent place to live, was close to my family, had close friends and volunteered to help our troops. My life was good by my standards. The narc swept me off my feet; I thought he was the one. He put me on a pedestal and would call and text me. We talked of building a future together so when he suggested I quit my job and work together (we are flood adjusters) it seemed like the right thing to do. We would save our money and buy a place together and grow old together. I gave up my place and gave away most of my material things; I thought I was doing the right thing. I know realize I should have seen the signs, both of his ex’s, who were in long term relationships with him, left the relationship with depression and anxiety disorders. He always thought it was odd that I get along with my ex’s, but we never felt the need to throw rocks at each other just because our relationship did not work out like we planned. He admired how I was so close to my children and grandchildren as he was not close to his. What turned out to be the “one” turned into a nightmare. It was slow but soon I was realized I had not seen my friends or volunteered anymore. And everything I did, wore or said was wrong, He would say mean things and hurt my feelings, but when I would say something about it, he would say I was wrong and he did not say or do those things. I started recording some of our conversations and would play them back just to check my own memory. I really thought I was losing my mind. I was right, he was saying and doing mean things. He would call me a piece of worthless s*#t and then say he did not say it, but he did. I thought maybe his mind was not clear because he would drink almost daily and usually too much. I cannot drink because I have ulcerative colitis, I can’t even drink socially but he would always try to make me feel bad about not drinking. A few months ago, he told me that he did not trust me and doubted I loved him. It was like a light bulb went off, that was way our relationship was not in good shape. He also told me that when we met I did not have a place to live, a job, furniture or clothes. He said everything I have is because he gave it to me. He also told me that I was a drunk (?) and my kids loved him more than me because he can do more for them. I told him that was wrong and he knew it, but he continued to try to convince me of this “story”. I left, I signed the house we bought together over to him and did the no contact rule. I just wanted him out of my life. Instead he has inserted his self into my children’s lives. I almost feel he wanted my life, he wanted to be me. I have always prided myself on being close to my family, friends and community. My motto has been “celebrate life and smile”, this motto has helped me weather a few storms in life and try to live it every day. After we split I realized I needed to get “me” back, I went back to work, got my own place (without furniture), reconnected with friends, decided to go back to college, started mediating on loving kindness and forgiveness of myself for making bad choices and him for hurting me. My family has told me I have been a great mom and nana, and they want me in their lives forever but their relationship with the narc is optional and right now they need his money (the money I helped to put in our account that he withdrew down to the last penny when I told him it was over). I just want my life back free from his drama and bad mouthing of me and others (including my kids who he adores now). I have at times thought about calling him and telling him what I think of him. I would like tell him to move on and get out of our lives, but I know that will only fuel his feelings that he is special. I do not feel I should have to move away from my family, friends and community, they were mine long before they were his (now I sound narcissistic). Even my kids have told me it like he wants to torture me for breaking it off. I believe they are now his narc supply and he will hurt them like he did me but they need the money right now. I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. I would go to counseling but I can’t afford it right now, starting over has been challenging. I just want him gone out of my life, any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Maya

    November 18th, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    I am trying to recover from a relationship in which I believe my ex is a narcissist. There were lots of red flags at the beginning e.g. an overlapping ex, coming on so strong etc but I sidelined them because I was, ultimately, vulnerable – I’d lost my job and I thought this could be entertaining and pressure-free whilst I find something new – it was a long-distance relationship. I became aware that he had a commitment issue, but I did have all the concerns that relate to narcissim – he wanted constant praise, but it felt insatiable; he blew hot and cold, but every time I tried to leave the relationship he’d step up his attention; he gave very little back, withheld affection; he had a harem it seemed of female exes and admirers and so on. I ditched him at one point, as it became clear that the r/ship wasn’t going anywhere, but by this point I was in love with him so it was so hard, and he seemed to take it just as hard. But after a space of a week, he came back and we basically continued as normal. Over a period of time I began to live in a state of uncertainty, confusion and what I find most deplorable, is he made me question my own judgment. I tried to go no-contact so we could have a proper break but he wouldn’t let me go, and I became exhausted by having to erect and maintain boundaries all the time and actually thought ‘oh god, this is going to have to be on his terms’. He then later down the line replaced me (by this point I wasn’t really feeding his ego anymore) – I immediately cut contact – and at first it seemed he was trying to placate me, but then he was really mean and quite cruel. Thinking this was just him acting out (given I already knew, as does he, that he’s immature/emotionally immature)I just accepted it as that and didn’t take it personally. After just under a couple of months of no contact, and based on that logic, I texted to say hi, as a kind of, it’s fine, you have a new (very pretty and very young-looking) girlfriend who can meet your needs better than mine (for one she’s in the same country), but he then said something that reminded me of the confusion and self-doubt, so I made a comment, which was not supposed to be about us, but he was immediately very mean again. Anyway, this last bit of meanness, and learning about narcissism, has knocked me for six, and I’m now feeling a bit stunned and lost. The worst is that friends think I’m being the jilted lover – so in effect, making me question my judgment just like he did!! It’s so frustrating and unhelpful when you really need someone to believe you and that you are not insane!

  • Craig

    November 18th, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    As Laura pointed out (above… #23), the partners of BPD’s are also left in tatters. I’ve been divorced 13 years now (23 year marriage to BPD) and I’m still suffering PTSD. But getting out meant I could live again. Life is good.

  • janeen herskovitz

    November 18th, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Andrea, thank you for writing this article. It’s well-written and right on. I will be sharing it with clients for sure.

  • Bethy

    November 20th, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Hi. I could have written your piece, nearly word for word. I spent so much time confused & the second I made resolve to leave he seemed to read my mind & say exactly the right thing to keep me engaged. I doubted myself, felt bad about me, & fortunately he devalued me & discarded me. So grateful he did. I had noticed that he seemed to maintain contact with every female who’d rejected him. I also have worn out my friends as I’ve tried to figure out what the heck was going on. You aren’t crazy! Just dealing with the fall out of crazy making. It gets better! Helps to remind ourselves to quit thinking healthy responses can come from an unhealthy mind.
    Also helped to read about the cognitive dissonance NPD’s have. I found myself baffled with his bizarre thinking.

  • Joanne

    December 3rd, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    I called it “Roller Coaster Merry-Go-Round”
    You either have to Jump Off this lunatic circus ride,
    get flung off or keep riding it till it kills you.
    I jumped off with a whole lot of injuries, but
    I still am walking away, healing as I go. You can and will too. Only you can decide when Enough is Enough. Going ROUND and ROUND in continual Highs and Lows..constant drama and trauma. After awhile…well, one day, you just jump off. Better it be YOUR decision than getting Flung off or Stuck in a Prison of Madness.

  • Mia B

    December 6th, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    I really appreciated this article. I feel so empowered and could relate to many of the comments. Where is part two???

  • Bee neely

    December 15th, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I’m not in a relationship with a NPD but I know a young man who is very much brain washed by his mother which only started a year ago. Will he ever come out of this disaster. He hated her an seen her nasty ways before the brainwashing began. He is now 18 graduating in 6 months and hoping to join the military. I’m so heart broken because even I can’t reach him he won’t even look me in the face. NM started this when she found out he told the law about sisters abuse. Should I just let go….

  • jennifer

    December 31st, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Wow…. I have read so much trying to make sense of what has happened to me. Your description is by far the best I have seen yet. It is so hard to have lived thru something that i thought i would never live thru only to come out into a world that I have no idea how to relate to anymore. It is truly like learning to live again. I am out but I still feel crazy and find myself most comfortable when I am alone. I think it is because I have become so accustomed to the feeling. I don’t know. Anyway I usually just read the stories but I had to respond to your perfect description of the hell they so perfectly manipulate u into willingly putting yourself into.

  • Toni

    January 30th, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    How can I actually find a therapist trained in treating the victims of narcissistic abuse? Is there a specific “term” I can google or a website?

  • admin2

    January 31st, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Hi Toni,
    Thanks for your question. If you use the Advanced Search function on GoodTherapy.org, you can select either “Abuse / Survivors of Abuse” or “Relationships & Marriage” in the drop-down list of concerns, and specify the geographic region you want to search. After selecting a therapist (or several) to email, you may want to specify that you are looking for some help in recovery from narcissistic abuse. The vast majority who specialize in abuse or relationship problems will have experience and expertise with concerns about narcissism.
    Our search page is here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    We hope that helps! Best wishes,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team
    :)

  • STM

    February 5th, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I’m trying to figure out if my partner of 4 years was indeed a narcissist, maybe some of you can give me insight.

    He constantly showered me with gifts, we did everything together & we always said we loved each other throughout the whole day.

    His personality traits include but not limited to – self critical about weight, getting older, name dropping, always talking about his past achievements, loved to get new things all the time, he helped me get my first car and credit card, he was often critical of celebrities but always loved the lifestyle of the rich and famous, he would always compare himself to his sibling who made great money.

    He then decided to end the relationship, calling me unmotivated, complacent, that I didn’t support him and that we just had different goals in life. I felt some tension in the weeks leading up but thought he was having issues with his anxiety (which was almost every night that he couldn’t fall asleep unless he had a couple glasses of wine)

    After the break up, he treated me cold. He proceeded to say “I guess I just fell out of love with you”… But he also said “it’s not just you, it’s me, I need to figure out what I want to do with my life”

    So a lot of the traits point to narcissism but the part about him being loving and emotionally involved for 4 years is what throws me off considering it’s been said narcissist are emotionally unavailable.

    I just feel blindsided and hurt by all of this… Especially considering he’s basically told me to fuck off and go my own way… Not what I expected considering how good our relationship was.

    The one thing that still holds me to believe he had some sort of heart was how big of a mess he was breaking up with me, he was sobbing, and kept apologizing and said he still loved me. It was a big cluster fuck of emotions.

    In hindsight, he had left what he claimed to be his best friend since high school to start a relationship with me. According to him, his best friend had been in love with him a long time and was jealous of him dating me. I sometimes wonder if there was another side to the story, that his friend wasn’t 100% in the wrong? Ugh this is so confusing, it hurts and I’m trying to hold onto any type of hope that he did indeed have a place for me in his heart, that he loved me for 4 years straight and just fell out or love due to his own demons rather then have never really loved me at all.

    Advice anyone? Was this a sign of a narcissist?

  • Andrea Schneider

    February 5th, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    STM- individuals with narcissism can have traits or a full blown “disorder” — a person can fall any where on that spectrum of narcissism with some variation in strengths and areas of growth… Bottom line is that your man was not available to you in the way you needed him to be, so it doesn’t really matter “what” he is — except he wasn’t the right person for you…

  • dramafree

    February 9th, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Put on your Nike sneakers and run! He’s toying with your emotions. Anyone who loves you doesn’t act that way. Don’t waste anymore of your time. If he was right for you you never would have to ask that question.

  • Paul

    February 12th, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    I have just got out of a relationship with a person who has all the characteristics. I feel hurt, angry and empty. I tried so hard and it was draining.

  • Scott

    March 4th, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    I met this girl about 6 years ago and liked her. About a year ago she got fired from her job. So I called her and we started seeing each other. She was smart, beautiful, passionate, and she didn’t take my crap. Her sense of humor was sarcastic like mine. She was maninpulative, but in a very attractive way; a real turn on. She was like a dream girl.

    She was having financial problems so I started helping her out with her groceries, gas, utilities, insurance, student loan, etc… It all added up to about 15000 over 10 months. Despite all this her house was going into foreclosure in January. So I loaned her another 1800. Ever since that loan her attitude has changed dramatically. We had some arguments before, but not like these. The verbal abuse is shocking. She would make threats all the time. For example after about a month of this verbal abuse and being stood up multiple times, she calls me and wants me to help her out with her utility payment or they are shutting off her power. Well I tried but I wasn’t able to get the money to her in time. So for about 3 days she gave me non stop verbal abuse over the phone. So when I said that I felt like I had let her down, she texted me back that I was a f****** d****** and that she needed the money now moron. Well I snapped and I finally let into her about the way she had been treating me since I loaned her that money. Her response was not that she was sorry, but that she would never forgive me. I stated that she had abused me 10 times the amount I had been mean to her. I don’t think she even heard me.

    So I ended up loaning her another 400 so that her account wouldn’t over draft. She then stated that I was a compulsive liar and that she did not trust me and she threatened to never see me again. When I asked what I had lied about she couldn’t come up with anything so she just started making stuff up. I disagreed with that to no avail. I said that the more I did what she wanted, the worse she treated me and I apologized for the nasty things I had said that she wouldn’t forgive. I just wanted things to go back to the way they were before I loaned her that money. When she was like a dream girl.

    So she calls me up and she wants a new bike. So I said I am not going to get her anything because the more I do for her the worse she treats me. She lit into me like I have never heard. She said that I never give her anything out of the kindness of my heart, that she hates me, and I am an idiot. She accused me of lying again about something that wasn’t true. I didn’t think that all this impacted me but I have lost a lot of sleep and I got ill this last weekend as a result of all this. I called her on Monday and stated that it was a good idea not to talk for the next 2 weeks. I think perhaps she has a new victim because she has only texted me a couple of times over the last 4 days. Anyway, I just didn’t know how much of an impact this was having on me. I am disinterested in everything now and I feel like I have no purpose, i.e. worthless. So many times I knew here texts were going to be nasty, but I just had to read them. It was like I was addicted to the pain. It comes on slowly but then escalates and you don’t even notice how you are affected.

  • Ansel

    March 17th, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    No Andrea Schneider, you are wrong about NPD and BPD being very close or similar.

    I cant overemphasize this enough.

    BPD people are at the mercy of their over reaching and over active emotions, with a large touch of seeing the world as a cynical and untrustable place thrown in. Our largest problem is an exisistential fear of abandonement. we are stuck in that spiritual development of not feeling lovable and with thenfatlistic view that whatever love we do feel that we will lose it. BPD hurt others only secondary to intense fear of abandonement and the pain that it evokes. They often feel extreme guilt and empathy days, weeks or even months later for the hurt they cause over reacting to this fear.

    Narcissists are in fact the exact opposite. They hurt people because they are not in touch with themselves and their feeling. They don not have a “heart” or a conscience. Narcissists have decided early in their life not to value love “at this time”.

    What this says about the human condition is that healthy people fall somewhere between these two extremes.

  • Andrea Schneider

    March 20th, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    @Ansel…you are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, I respectfully disagree. Best wishes to you.

  • Stacy W

    March 21st, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    It’s been almost 2 years since I left my Narc/BPD relationship. One of the most painful parts was having to physically leave the place that I loved, my home because I knew after many years that if I stayed physically in the same place as him I would always be manipulated back into the same b*******. I’m reading and writing because though I am in a healthy relationship with a wonderful, kind person now I still feel haunted and often have dreams that make me relive the pain over and over again. I have been perplexed because it’s been so long. I should be over it, right? Well, I’m not and I feel guilty and weak that I’m not over it. Right after I left Brett Gyllenskog swooped up one of my good friends, she was moved in with him within a month of me leaving. I thought that she was one of my best friends. I just have to remind myself that I also fell victim to his manipulation so many times. I thought it was my fault that I wasn’t good enough and that perhaps she is but I know now, from lots of therapy, that there is NO good match for a narcissist!! She is now in the same pain I was and although my hurt and anger are still here ultimately I feel pity on her.
    I just wanted to thank all of you that have commented and to those who wrote the article. Especially all the parts about, sleep, reactive depression, nightmares, etc.. I thought I was crazy and totally lame that I still carry the pain around and dream of him and her so often still.
    All of this has helped me feel okay about where I’m at and helped me to see how damaging these people and relationships can really be. I don’t have to feel so crazy and weak anymore about still reeling from this experience.

    Research characteristics of “REAL” Narcissistic/Borderline/Anti-social… Personality Disorder!!! It’s not just someone who think’s they’re pretty awesome and likes to look at themselves in the mirror. It’s so much more.

    Our society’s casual idea of what Narcissism is NOT the reality! They will manipulate you every time you try to leave. You feel like you can’t go on without them because they have groomed you to feel that way. That’s not real! – even though you feel physically ill and overly fearful at the thought of leaving. I promise that It will never end! It is impossible for them to change because of the type disorder they have does not allow them to look at themselves the way that we can and they NEVER will be able to.

    So ultimately please hear my advice…(I do realize that kids and marriage make this even more complex and difficult)…

    BUY YOURSELF A PLANE TICKET TO SOMEWHERE SAFE AND AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT….BECAUSE IT DOES!!!….even if it means leaving everything you love and where you want to be.

    ….and STOP BELIEVING THAT YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH, STRONG ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH, SKINNY ENOUGH, ETC…

    IT’S A LIE!

    THEY NEED YOU TO FEEL THAT WAY SO THEY CAN KEEP YOU THERE TO KEEP SUPPLYING THEM WITH WHAT THEIR DISORDER NEEDS TO SURVIVE.

    REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT WELL – THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL….you cant expect “normal” behavior from them. So STOP TRYING!

    Love yourself and don’t look back.

    Lots of love and kind regards to all of you xoxo

  • Barbara

    March 22nd, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    All of this is true. I think the point at which you start to feel confused like maybe YOU are the one who is narcissistic is a big red flag that it is time to go. At that point the NARC has gotten to you! One thing I have discovered is that a NARC is often generous to you and your friends and family This may also confuse you. However, being generous isn’t about how much they love and care about you and yours. It is about their reflection ie how their being generous reflects on them and makes them look good as well as being a disguise! In other word it is all about THEM. This was a major realization for me. I got into this situation and it took six months to realize he was a narcissist. The way I got in it and got stuck was my codependency issues.

  • James Cullen

    March 23rd, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    There is a more subtle form of this abuse, which can be found in the high functioning and covert narcissist, often found in women, who are astute enough not to blow there cover.
    Be prepared for no one to believe you, after all aren’t the abusers such lovely people, often church goers and outwardly successful people. Be prepared for your efforts to confront the abuser to be met with lies and denials, having your history changed and distorted ever so discreetly, (See the tim Gaslight) and you be made to look like the abuser. get out with a plan, and be aware that your emotions might well be in turmoil so much that your attempts to handle the situation seem to backfire. You may all end up looking foolish and loosing friends, but those that leave were captivated by the abuser and in a way victims also. It hurts, and the mess after hurts too, but the most profound disturbance comes from knowing that it was all a lie. That the person you thought you had dated/married, is not the real person at all, in fact there is no real person, they are like chameleons, very sad, but you cannot change them, change yourself. Look at your boundaries.

  • Lori

    March 23rd, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    Sounds like u have really been taken advantage of. At this point I think u need to cut your losses and run away; no looking back.

  • TzuZen

    March 24th, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    Leslie, many colleges have counseling services that are available at low or no cost to current students. Check with your university health service. There are therapists who do low or no cost counseling, too.

  • cris

    March 25th, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Reading your story is just like you put my thoughts into words! Its not easy.. I’ve felt like its a spiritual battle like no other!! God has been revealing to me painful reality’s. Ive lied to myself for bout 5 years…… its painful!! Be blessed..

  • Lorraine

    April 8th, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    My relationship lasted 7 years. Or should I say I stayed to be humiliated, lied to, abused and romanced. I changed so much I felt dead inside, when driving to his home I would feel sick and never knew what to expect. I in all honesty cannot remember the worst abuse, but do remember sitting in the fetal position for days knowing I was bad and till the last 2 years rang up and begged forgiveness. I was told he was not sure if I were a suitable person for him to have a relationship with. I was too serious to casual, I was never right. Then he would give me cars, trips overseas. So I always thought how could he be bad, he was generous. My work peers thought I had the best man on earth. I made every meal he ate but that was nothing because when he took me to dinner it was much more expensive than anything I did. In the end I began to forget how o cook, afraid to tell him my children had come to dinner without him knowing. If he knew they had been to dinner it was always you cook for them and get too tired. No it was cooking for others that annoyed him. The last time I was badly behaved he said it is over and why I did it I dont know I said thank you good bye. Blocked his phone number after many hang up calls from him. I am still shell shocked but I will never make contact again. I would rather be alone than be frightened to be myself and be controlled to the stage I had died.

  • Sally Ann J

    April 14th, 2014 at 4:15 AM

    After reading all of your comments it’s like a lightbulb went off.
    I have been on a merry go round for 6 years with a man who displays all year traits. Overly generous to those around him, never thankless about it though. One minute loved me next minute was cold and mean. When I would receive a text or call I was never sure who I would get. Sometimes i would monitor myself as I knew certain things would set him off and I wanted to keep the peace. One comment I read really resonated with me, and that was about putting up boundaries and then removing them. I’ve constantly done this. I moved in, I moved out. I got pregnant he made my life difficult, while celebrating it with his friends. It was a confusing hell. You question your own sanity, and it destroys your self esteem. As you are constantly having to pump up their esteem. Another trait I noticed is when something bad happens in their life they want you to rally about them, if the tables are turned though they can’t be found. Almost creating a fight to avoid to be there for you. I’m out of this now thankfully.

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    April 18th, 2014 at 2:51 AM

    Andrea, I am currently trying to raiser awareness about this type of abuse here in Ohio. It has not been easy. In fact, worldwide, it seems as if the United States is lagging significantly behind Ireland, England and Australia when it comes to any sort of acknowledgement about this type of abuse. I have found everything you have described in your article above to be on target with what victims of this type of abuse endure in trying to remove themselves from these toxic relationships but also in regaining their sense of identity once they are free from the abuse. Without the awareness and insight into the reality of what they went through, victims are significantly at risk for being preyed upon by other Narcissists. However, it’s the ability to find insight and awareness that is sorely lacking. I am finding that currently, victims are relying on social media sites to get an understanding of what happened. That is fraught with complications of its own. In addition, there seem to be far too many victims who still have no idea that they are being manipulated so they haven’t found their ways to any of these sites yet. Promoting awareness about this heinous form of abuse seems to be tricky. It sometimes feels like I am telling people I just saw a UFO when I speak of it (based on the reactions I get from people when I talk about this). I would be very interested to hear how your journey to help promote awareness of this type of abuse for your client’s sake has been going for you. Could you comment? Thank you very much for your time. Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    April 18th, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    Also, I would like to comment on the reply posted by admin2 January 31st, 2014 at 11:54 AM in response to the question by Toni. Toni’s question had to do with how to find a therapist who specializes in this type of abuse. The part of the admin reply that worries me is this “The vast majority who specialize in abuse or relationship problems will have experience and expertise with concerns about narcissism.”

    This is simply not true. One of the reasons why Andrea wrote this article is because of the fact that this type of abuse is so poorly understood by mental health professionals. She explains early on in the article that she primarily learned about the aftermath of this type of abuse from her clients. Like most of us in the mental health profession, she did not come to understand this type of abuse or the devastating effects it can have on the people around the Narcissists during her graduate training. The ability to understand and help victims of Narcissistic abuse is not something currently being addressed in most graduate programs for mental health professionals. And that should frighten all of us.

    I feel it necessary to say something about this because Toni is asking a very important question and I feel like the reply you gave runs completely contrary to what this entire article is about. How many of the people posting comments about this article sought out professional help during and after abusive relationships endured at the hands of a malignant Narcissist only to be told they needed to try harder to work things out with them? The damage that can be done by well intentioned mental health professionals who have no real understanding of what this type of abuse is is very real.

    So I would respectfully ask that her question be readdressed. And perhaps I would add to this question- what can victims of this type of abuse do to help prevent victimization from mental health professionals who don’t “get it”? Until more people like Andrea stand up and speak out about the effects this type of abuse has on everyone around the abuser, it will continue to be something where victims must search social media trying to find the currently hidden path to recovery. Thank you for your time. Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

  • Andrea Schneider

    April 18th, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Michelle — thank you for your comment — I agree, awareness is really limited and many therapists are not trained in this area — it’s great you are out there spreading the word — I hope that with more people like you out discussing the issue that more individuals will realize they are not alone and recovery is very possible with a trained therapist

  • Jami

    April 27th, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Janelle
    So well stated . I totally deal with these exact issues daily ! And the lack of empathy is unbelievable! He doesn’t even have empathy for our 10 year old son ! I’m so grateful to know at least what I am dealing with now . It has given me the ability to know that he is not going to change and we have to get away ASAP ! Thank you for your comments !

  • anonymous person

    May 21st, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Finally, there is a name to this type of emotional and verbal abuse. I couldn’t explain to anyone how I am/was made to feel. I’ve finally came to the realization that its not me and I’m not going crazy.

  • Emily

    May 24th, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Death of the Imaginary Person: Narcissistic Abuse and the Aftermath

    I am mourning the loss of some one who never existed. What do you do when when the wool has been pulled from over your eyes and your heart is broken, specifically when you miss and love some one who literally does, and never did, exist. You have to mourn the death of an invisible man. You have to start your entire life over, and deal with feelings of rage, injustice, heart-breaking sadness (sadness so cruel and bitter that it physically hurts), and the most ugly, evil betrayal and social slander (smear campaigns worthy of a politician) you can ever experience.
    The master manipulator had you in his claws, you truly loved him (or the “him” as it was presented, who does not exist), and he has a network of family and friends who are supporting his social agenda by remaining ignorant to this. He still has them fooled, and you are now the villain because (god forbid) you had enough respect for yourself and your safety to stand up and walk out (run like your hair was on fire). You finally saw through his web of bullshit, you saw who this “person” truly was, and for that you must now be punished, be “destroyed.” You are public enemy and threat #1.
    You have to let go of a life, a reality, a future that you have been robbed of; you have to let go of a soul mate and a kindred spirit who in reality was only a façade used to manipulate you. You have to mourn the death of the imaginary love of your life, the future that you were building with them, the life you had created with them. You feel like an idiot. You feel empty, used, and discarded. You are left with nothing and you have to accept the fact that some one who led you to believe you were each other’s everything, does and never did care for you one bit. You mean nothing to him, and you never did. Human beings are nothing but pawns to him, used to maintain his false image, feed his ego, and be manipulated according to his various agendas. You were idealized, and then de-valued. You were adored and then destroyed. You were “loved” and then ripped apart… and then judged for its affects on you by the responsible party themselves. You were everything, and then you were nothing. Now you are dead to them; now you are yesterday’s trash.
    You have to recognize how much the emotional abuse has changed you so that you can heal from it. You have to fight with everything you have in order to stay strong and not let what devastating forms of psychological abuse can do to destroy one’s self-esteem, sense of reality, and sense of self-worth. The gas-lighting, the manipulation, the stone-walling. The brutal words that echo in your head have to be fought off constantly. You feel like you are haunted, there are nightmares, constant shock, and confusion.
    You cannot apologize to loved-ones enough, because you also have to deal with the fact that there was (and likely still is) collateral damage. You didn’t just get your heart ripped from your chest, the ones you love and care about the most had to sit by in utter confusion as they watched you change, and had no idea why. They got hurt too. You were sucked dry by an emotional vampire, a disordered individual who “loved you,” and then projected all of their own deficiencies onto you, in such an insidious and manipulative matter that it worked wonders even against a woman who was highly intelligent, strong, and kind.
    In every way they were able to get under your skin and damage you, and then they judged you for it. You lost your value to them; they parasitically attacked everything they “loved” about you (and that you loved about yourself), and then devalued you as a human and judged your self-worth based on the very things they were responsible for doing. They wanted you to lose value of yourself; they had you open up to them and share your every vulnerability and life experience, and then deliberately used it against you. They are proud that they know how to “hit people where it really hurts.”
    By the time you move on (if you haven’t already been discarded and left alone in a state of total shock and confusion), you have already been replaced. There is a new target; you left this person for the sake of both of you, and after doing everything in their power to destroy you, they re-focused their attention immediately to the new one(s). You never really meant anything to this person. They had their “back-ups,” the alternate sources of ego supply (women being objects, toys, new victims to feed their pathology) in the background ready to give them what they want. You were “the love of their life, they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with you, wanted you to move in and be with them all the time,” you were building a future together… absolutely sick. In retrospect, god knows what previous target was nursing their wounds in the background while the narcissist was sweeping you off your feet, even if there wasn’t “overlap.” To the victims of past, present, and future, my heart truly goes out to you.
    You will never know if you were ever the only one at any point, if you ever had received one true iota of humane treatment. You will never have the full truth or the closure that you deserve. All you really ever were: A source of Narcissistic Supply. You were being fed on by a parasite, a misogynist who is literally incapable of love and has no real interest or respect for other people other than what role they can play in maintaining a false image and an ego. They are sick. They are cruel. This awful “human” is incredibly intelligent – they only fooled you for months and they’ve had others in their life fooled for years, possibly forever; family members and close friends, pawns in part of their game. This is the same person that you shared everything, your life with, the same person who you dedicated yourself to, to whom you gave your heart and would do anything for. You are nothing to them, you never were. The man you wanted to spend the rest of your life with isn’t just gone, he didn’t die; he never even existed. How do you mourn that?
    You now know that you were being betrayed and manipulated the whole time. They are cereal cheaters and liars; you were “the one” but you had no human value. The person you slept next to every night, thinking they loved you: They were your worse enemy and you didn’t even know it.
    They don’t deserve human relationships; they deserve no one. They deserve for everyone to know who they really are, but you know that will never happen. They’ve had their whole lives to focus on how to build a fake persona, and manipulate everyone around them to use at their own will. This is not human behavior; this is beyond sick. Something in them is broken, and it can never be fixed.
    Evil does exist. And it lies in the shadows of some of the most charming people you will ever meet.

  • Matt

    May 29th, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Thank you! I have felt so alone the last 4 years and as I cry writing this, I finally am thinking it want my fault. I just started counselling but I feel my entire life was sucked from me. I just hope one day I’ll be able to have a normal relationship again. Everything I meet or start talking to a girl I can’t stop thinking about how my ex was like and if I see one spec of similarity I run for the hills. I hope in the end I’ll get past this, but idk how I will

  • Victoria

    June 2nd, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    I joined this thread today because of a break up I went through in January. It was three months long, ended terribly. And I’ve never been so heartbroken in my life….A few days ago someone sent me an email suggesting that I look into narcissistic abuse. I thought I would share my story again here and see if I could bring myself any closure or find others who could relate to my situation or bring me any advice on the topic. This is my story….

    After the breakup I felt devastated and literally could not understand how I could live without him. He had a lot of baggage but I accepted him anyway because I could feel how much pain he was in. He had a four year old child, apparently according to him, his ex got pregnant on purpose and then after seven years of being together she told him she didn’t love him anymore and left him. On top of that his dad came out recently, his parents had to get divorced after having been married for over thirty years, and his grandpa was a convicted child molester. And after his breakup with his “ex”, which I later found out was a divorce with his EX WIFE, my ex tried to kill himself by drinking himself to death (when his son was around two years old), and ended up in rehab.

    I met my ex online in November and we were only together for three months. He told me and did a lot of things that I didn’t want to see as red flags. I fell in love with him the moment we first spoke and I just wanted so desperately to make him happy and help his pain go away. He told me about his family issues, how his ex “girlfriend” came up to him one day and told him she didn’t love him anymore and left him…and I felt his pain. I wondered why such an amazing, special person deserved to feel any of that pain. I only wanted to see the beauty in him. He didn’t actually tell me about his child until we met in person, about three weeks after talking almost every day online…..I slept with him on the first date, out of lust..and out of already having fallen for him. It was a very special, intimate night for me…but only after we slept together did he tell me about his kid. Not when we first spoke online, not before we met in person, AFTER we slept together, during which he started begging me to not leave him. I stayed….despite my confusion and shock…because I had already fallen for him, and realized he had been through a lot and that everyone deserved to be loved despite their pasts. This is something I probably should have taken as a red flag…not his child, but his dishonesty about his child.

    It seemed like in the beginning of our relationship he had treated me like a queen. He told me he would do anything for me, that he would never want to argue with me or hurt me, that I was his angel, that he couldn’t imagine his life without me, that he wanted to marry me, wanted me to meet his kid and move in right away. He told me that I had saved him and had transformed his life from one that was black and white to one that was full of color. He told me I looked at him in a way that no one else ever had and that now he finally understood what real love felt like and that it was a kind of love that his ex was never able to give him.

    Needless to say he broke up with me suddenly after three months and painfully told me he never meant a word he said to me. He tried to convince me I was bipolar and insane and that I was just like his ex who had a severe personality disorder, according to him. I told him after a month of us being together that I was in love with him and he used that as a weapon against me in the end. It was extremely difficult for me to be so open with him and I had a flat out panic attack when I told him. I came from a two year relationship, during which my ex never told me he loved me. I told him I loved him after six months and suffered for another year and a half until we finally fell apart. When I told Andrew I loved him, I had a panic attack and blurted it out, but he said it back and I literally just cried out of happiness. I was overjoyed.

    I admit, I got extremely vulnerable and insecure after I told him I loved him. I constantly questioned if he felt the same way, I would get upset and fight with him if he didn’t respond to my texts for an entire day or if I wanted to talk about our relationship and he didn’t want to. Or if we fought and he went to bed instead of making sure I was okay. I got paranoid that I cared too much for him and that he didn’t care for me enough.
    I know my insecurities irritated him and pushed him away in some ways. Right before we broke up I could sense something was wrong and I rushed over to his place with a gift I bought him, wanting to hold him…. and he threw my arms off of him, cussing under his breath, and put a pillow him between us so that I wouldn’t touch him. I stayed the night, hoping that he would crawl back to me and hold me, but he never did. He just yelled at me anytime I tried to kiss him or touch him. The next morning I wrote him a letter apologizing, I sent him loving messages telling him I wanted to change and didn’t want to lose him, conveying how much I cared about him….

    And two days later we were over. And he told me all of these terrible things….telling me I was a complete nutcase for ever saying I love you to him, especially after a month. He said, “What kind of crazy person says I love you after a month in a full blown panic attack?” When I asked him why he even said “I love you” back or why he would tell me he loved me multiple times, almost every time we hung out, without me even instigating it, he said he was just happy and “felt like saying it” at the moment but didn’t mean it…and that goes for everything he said….marriage, meeting the kid, everything. He said he never meant it. And that I WAS THE ONE who changed, and that’s why he took back everything.

    And I believed him. For four months now I have been telling myself that I deserved how he treated me, that I am actually insane and that I lost the best person I had ever met. I have cried every day from the pain. I tried to see him about a month ago after many many many attempts at trying to get him back and trying to convince him I cared about him and wasn’t crazy. Finally after ditching me and leaving me waiting at a bar for him or waiting by the phone for him to let me know if he could hang out, and him ignoring my texts, he finally asked me to come over. I tried to act as though nothing had happened, I tried to act cool and calm. And we ended up drinking and sleeping together……after which he told me he had so much fun with me and asked me to start staying the night at his place again and that he wanted to see me the following week. Neither of those things happened. I tried texting him multiple times to hang out, he would ignore my texts and give me excuses that he locked his phone in his car, “maybe tomorrow”. And tomorrow never came. I ended up texting him when I was falling apart, begging to see him and wanting him back and he never responded…..and about a week later I found out from his friend that Andrew came up to him and asked him to date me so that I would stop texting him and get off his back…….I was devastated. He acted so friendly and caring and loving when I saw him again..he barely let me climb out of the bed and walk out of his door. He started telling me how pretty I looked. And then he completely ignored me once again and made me out to be this crazy person. I felt as though he had broken up with me twice.
    It was a complete stab to the heart. After sleeping with him I somehow believed things would come back to normal and that he would want to see me…but he completely used me and left me and tried to sell me to his friends…..

    Since then I have been making a list of all of the red flags that I saw during our short relationship, but chose to ignore because of my codependency and my inability to let go of the original picture of himself he painted for me….the perfect “family man” who impressed my parents and was romantic and was a southern gentleman and loved animals and children.

    – He lied to me about being married. He blurted it out accidentally when he started to tell me he went to rehab. He started telling me he went to rehab a MONTH into our relationship during a conversation I brought up about my brother who went to rehab. I don’t even know if he would have told me if I hadn’t brought up my brother. During our conversation he goes…yeah I ended up in rehab because of my ex wife…uhhh I mean ex girlfriend. I said, wait…what? Andrew…you told me she was your ex girlfriend. (I asked him earlier, right when we started dating, why he chose not to marry his ex girlfriend after having a child with her and he said, “I wouldn’t marry someone just for that reason….I would want to be sure they were the love of my life first.”)
    In response to my confusion he said, what are you talking about? I thought it was obvious that we were married? My son has my last name doesnt he?
    And I sat there, completely confused, wondering if I IMAGINED the conversation I had with him earlier about why he didn’t marry his ex girlfriend. And he gave me this explanation of how his marriage to her was just a piece of paper that he wanted to get in order for his son to have his last name…and that they never had an actual wedding ceremony. He started putting the focus on his son and how “important” it was for him to have his last name. Why did I stay at that point? Confusion, maybe not wanting to believe that he flat out lied to me about being married…and I continued to feel sorry for him. About a month after we broke up I found out from his friend that Andrew actually DID have a wedding ceremony, with flowers and family and friends and everything. And that his ex wife had a ring as well.

    – I found out from his friend after our breakup that he had a bad argument with his mom over the phone and he took her dog which was staying with him and threw it out of the window….This guy, who claimed that he wouldn’t hurt a fly and cried when animals were hurt in movies.

    – He wouldn’t stop talking about his ex and all she had done to him…I feel as though she was brought up almost every time we saw each other…how crazy she was, how if I met her she would seem so perfect but that in fact she was a manipulative, insane woman. How when he met her he thought she was a gift from god but that she had changed and ruined his life. He would compare me to her which made me so uncomfortable, not only in matters of love, but how I was “prettier” than her and so forth. I let him talk because I felt sad for him..but I should have recognized this as a sign that he wasn’t over his past relationship and that he just enjoyed demonizing people so that he could play the victim.

    – He told me after his divorce that he started texting his wife hate messages telling her he wished she was dead. And he kept telling me that she was fighting for full custody and that she had his son for five days out of the week and he only had him for two…I should have questioned why…but he always filled my head with stories about how crazy she was and how much she ruined his life and how she took his son away from him… so I always took his side…and always focused on his pain and victimization instead of actually taking his aggression and anger as a red flag.

    – He told me he never celebrated anything and that he spent his birthdays alone…that he didnt have any friends..Whenever we argued he always said, Victoria, please don’t be mad at me…You’re the only one who is nice to me.

    – He told me he would go to bars all of the time alone and get so wasted that he would pass out on the street. Every time I came over, he always had a drink in his hand..ALWAYS. He wouldn’t leave his apartment without drinking a full glass of whiskey or smoking a joint, even if he knew I was waiting for him or that we would be late.

    – He told me after his dad came out he yelled at him calling him all of these derogatory names. I often heard his phone conversations with his mom and he would yell at her and showed constant annoyance when talking about his family. One time he had to talk to her with the shower running so that I wasn’t able to hear the way he was speaking to her.

    – Almost every time we went out he would want to leave the place we went to, despite me wanting to stay. He always complained about how crowded it was, how it wasn’t his scene…even though I wanted to stay.

    – The first night he met my whole family which was on my birthday in January my twin brother asked us to all go out to a club or a bar after dinner. Instead of agreeing to come he said, “Party at my place, I’m going to sleep,”…in front of my whole family who he had just met that night and on MY birthday. I had a conversation with my sister after she had met him and she said..I really didn’t like how Andrew said that. And it was our first time meeting him. Couldn’t he be more polite? He also complained the entire time during dinner about his stomach hurting. The ENTIRE time. To my whole family.

    – He would tell me how all of these people would wrongfully accuse him of being a bad father. I always wondered why anyone would accuse him of such a thing. Now I know that it wasn’t an accident.

    – I told him I wanted him to use condoms and start using protection because I didn’t want to be on birth control anymore and it gave me adverse reactions. I told him that it was important for me and I didn’t want to take any risks, especially because of what happened in his previous relationship. He agreed and told me he would buy them immediately and then never did. When I asked him why, he lied to me saying “I had one in my apartment and tried to put it on and I hated it. I’ll never use them”….I knew that he didnt have any condoms in his apartment because I had asked him the first time we slept together and he said no….He flat out lied to me.

    – He only saw his son twice a week but would always complain to me about how annoying his son was, how hard it was to be a single father and how hard it was to spend all of this time constantly watching his son. This was his SON he was talking about..this beautiful four year old boy. And he would always say, “Dont worry it’ll be easier when you’re around…I felt as though he almost expected me to alleviate him from his own SON. And then he would come up to me later telling me he wanted to fight his ex wife in court to get his son for more than two days out of the week…none of it made any sense.

    – He seemed materialistic, telling me I needed to clean my earrings or he would text me that some girl at the bar he was at was so ugly out of nowhere. His Instagram was filled with pictures he took of people that didn’t know their pictures were being taken. It upset me seeing how he paraded and made fun of these innocent people.

    – There were times when he snapped at me. I remember the night of my birthday I got really sick and he took care of me. And in the middle of the night I rolled over and wanted to put my arms around him and he yelled at me saying “C’mon Victoria I just spent all night taking care of you and I have a four year old that wakes me up all the time, get off me and stop asking me to cuddle”

    – On a personal note, I had a physical issue when we were intimate. It was painful for me to have sex with him. But I still wanted to sleep with him to feel close to him. I remember one morning I tried to sleep with him and in the middle of everything he got up and started getting dressed. I was confused and I ran out of his apartment, feeling completely embarrassed and self conscious. He walked up to me and told me that he doesn’t “enjoy having sex with someone when it hurts for them”. He was so insensitive, knowing that I had that problem.

    I feel as though there were SO many issues and red flags that I ignored. Because one, I had no respect for myself and two, I was too focused on him and his happiness and I was truly codependent and so in love with him and the fairytale picture he first created in my head that I didn’t want to see anything else….Anytime anything was off, he would counter his strange behaviors and negative comments with something sweet and romantic, telling me I was the best thing that ever happened to him.
    And all I did was blame myself whenever anything was off. All I wanted to do was take his pain away and love him. All I saw was the good person that charmed me and seemed so perfect in the beginning…………

    I’ve realized from this relationship that my codependency made me blind to a lot of things and that I do need to work on myself, but I also have realized that I was a victim of a narcissist and psychopath.
    Now I understand what a con artist he was. He truly fooled me and my family. All the promises, love, marriage, moving in….were things I latched onto and fantasized about. But for a man to say things like that so early on and then take them back and throw me away like a piece or garbage, telling me I was insane and just like his ex and to make a joke of me to his friends telling them to date me so that I would never try to contact him again…..its just unforgivable and terrible.

    If any of you have had similar experiences I would really appreciate any advice on how to move on from this situation and overcome the narcissistic abuse I endured. If you would ever like to talk, please feel free to message me as well. I’m here for you. Lots of hugs and love,

    V.

  • RM

    June 10th, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Excellent article but it seems to be slanted towards the narcissistic behaviors found in some males. Many of these are common among many men not just narcissists.

    Has anyone had any experience with women that are narcissists?

    From what I have seen, one of the common threads between male and female narcissists seems to be rage and abuse. A need to demean those around them to maintain inflated sense of self worth.

  • Annette H.

    June 12th, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    I have not read this thread. I only want to say that my mother was a malignant narcissist and I struggled every day to justify my own existence because she brought me up to be no more than an extension/clone of herself, on this earth for no other reason than to fulfill her insatiable needs. She tortured me every day and When I was 17 she came after me with a carving knife because I disappointed her–but no one at school would help me or believe me because she was so charming and attractive. For twenty years I slept with a baseball bat under my bed and to this day I cannot sleep without drugs.

    Finally at forty years old I found a highly trained psychiatrist who spent years wiping my hard drive clean of my mothers influence and then reprogramming me. Psychologists I tried before him just looked at me, puzzled with no idea at all of just how damaging a person like that can be. Thank god I was delivered from my misery. My mother passed away three years ago and for the first time in my life I felt like I could breathe clean air. I hope she is rotting in hell.

  • Sophie

    June 18th, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    You wrote, very eloquently, what I have dealt with for five years. Thank you for verbalizing my own special hell.

  • Ashleigh

    June 24th, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Omg a lot of what you said sounds similar to what I just went through. The part where he says he only felt love with me blah blah and not with his exes. And degrades women saying they don’t satisfy him. He was jealous and abused me for SMILING at a guy. Wouldn’t let me express myself or criticize me if I try to … I could go on and on. I’m glad I read this and realizing in what I was dealing with. Now and in the future I’ll recognize the red flags. And I won’t settle for less just cuz oh I get lonely. Nope. I hope all the narcissistic dirtbags rot in hell. Im sure they will there’s no worry there. I truly feel this planet is a battle of good and evil and in the end good will prevail. So he can enjoy his fake temporary grandeur writing on his Jack Frost Journals on Facebook. And I’m moving on SMARTER than I was before. The jerk got me pregnant too – but he’s not invited into my life. No megalomaniacs allowed.

  • Rebekah

    June 25th, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    A little late to the to discussion but I saw you mentioned Ohio. I’m struggling with a relationship right now that is literally unbelievable and unheard of in my opinion. Even I’ve been struggling with disbelief on this being the reality defining my life lately. Anyways I’m struggling to find qualified help in Ohio as well as a way out of the relationship that actually doesn’t add to the already existing worries and problems. You seem very knowledgeable about these issues and I was just wondering if you had any resources or references of anyone or any place that has the awareness and knowledge to help. Anything is better than nothing.

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    July 4th, 2014 at 5:21 AM

    Hi there Rebekah. I am sorry I did not see your message sooner. Luckily I just happened to go back and look at the comments here this morning. To be perfectly honest with you, it is very difficult to really get a grasp of which mental health professionals might possess enough of an understanding about Narcissist Victim Syndrome to even make any suggestions. In my experience, it is not uncommon for mental health professionals to “think” they understand when the reality is that they don’t get it at all.

    My own experience with healing from Narcissistic abuse was that fraught with difficulties. After I finally fled the relationship with the emotionally abusive psychologist I had initially taken my two small children to see, it took me about a month of falling apart to finally get up the courage to see a new psychologist. While she was very supportive and helped me file a 15 point ethical complaint with the Ohio Board of Psychology, she did not understand Narcissistic abuse. That resulted in me suffering from C-PTSD for almost a full year after the abuse trying desperately to make sense out of what had happened to me. What was even more disturbing was that when I finally found a website (TELL- therapyabuse.org) that began to explain what I had been through and unravel the mystery of the devastation I had endured, I took what I was learning to the new therapist. I remember taking the book that had really opened my eyes to what had happened to me (“Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity” to my therapist to show her what I found. I remember my hands were trembling, my voice was shaky as I read excerpts from the book that explained the incredible difficulty I had had with recovering only to hear her say, “But why would anyone do that? What would be the motive?” I offered to lend her my book and she said she could get her own copy of she wanted to read it. I actually stopped seeing this therapist for several months while I read all I could about Narcissistic abuse and come to some conclusion myself about whether or not this was what happened to me. I knew that if I continued to speak with her about it, I was going to become even more confused. All I knew was that this was the first time I had found anything that made the whole terrifying ordeal make sense. And I was hoping to stop reliving everything that happened again and again trying to make sense out of it. When I went back to see the therapist, I was quite sure of myself and what I had been through and I had enough confidence to confront her with her own lack of understanding about the problem. It turns out she thought she knew what Narcissistic abuse was. The reality was that she did not. I am finding that my story is far too common.

    Because of the immense difficulties I have had with finding the path to healing from this abuse- despite doing all of the things a person should do to get better- I have since become a very vocal advocate of changes in the mental health system. If you would like to read more about the work I am currently doing, you can find it here: naswoh.org/?page=mallon My hope is that very soon we will see major changes to the ways in which mental health professionals are presented with these types of concerns while they are still in their graduate programs. Currently, this is not a topic that is given any credence whatsoever in the graduate programs of many mental health professions. And that should enrage all of us who are struggling to overcome the devastating effects of this type of abuse.

    I do know that Andrea just created a new professional website andreaschneiderlcsw.com/narcissistic-abuse-recovery.html On it she clearly identifies that she is competent in helping victims of Narcissistic abuse. My hope is that as more mental health professionals become aware of this type of abuse, more will be in a position to help survivors and clearly state that on their list of competencies. I know Andrea does teletherapy but I believe she may only be working with clients in California. Hopefully she will clarify on this forum.

    My hope is that through the CEU course I am creating for the Ohio Chapter of the NASW, there will soon be competent social workers ready to help the countless victims of this type of abuse. Until then, you might be able to locate competent providers by asking other survivors. One place that may be able to get you to a large enough audience to actually find someone would be facebook.com/pages/After-Narcissistic-Abuse-There-is-Light-Life-Love/114835348601442

    One site that has been instrumental to me in my own journey to heal from this abuse is narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/. This site was created by a psychotherapist in Ireland who is committed to trying to educate mental health professionals all over the world about this type of abuse. She is truly an inspiration to me.

    I hope this has been helpful to you.

    Sincerely,
    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    July 4th, 2014 at 5:27 AM

    RM, I have absolutely encountered female Narcissists. It is worrisome that the public perception seems to be that Narcissists are primarily male. This can really leave innocent people vulnerable to being horrifically emotionally abused. I think that because this type of abuse is such a tightly held “secret” there is a lot of misinformation floating around about it. My hope is that as more people, like Andrea, write about this to expose this abuse for what it is, we will see much more being written on the many facets of Narcissistic abuse.

    But I can tell you first hand there are female Narcissists out there and they are capable of causing just as much destruction as male Narcissists. And perhaps because public perception is that most Narcissists are male, female Narcissists are in a position to do an incredible amount of damage to the people they harm. Many just don’t see it coming because they don’t think it is possible…

    And that is frightening!
    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

  • Kara

    July 9th, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    I have been on and off with a narc for 3 years. It has been the worst experience of my life. So many ups and downs… The verbal abuse and lies. He has lied to me so many times about him seeing other woman. But I finally think that he is really having sex with someone. I think he just keeps me around for a fix. I thing he realizes I see him for who he is and he is not getting the supply he wants from me. He has called and left me so many nasty voicemails. Those are his attempts of him trying to control me and my emotions. I think I am co-dependent but have been doing a lot to change that. I never want to let someone like this in my life again. I am just happy to know I am not alone in this. Thank you everyone for sharing! I am doing my best to keep boundaries between me and the narc. How could I of fallen in love with someone sooo hateful? Well he was not hateful at first he was really nice.

  • Santy

    July 9th, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Oh yes! She exists… she left 4 years ago without even apologizing for her actions after screwing my future supervisor at the time and til this day Im still left wondering if it was my fault. I loved her and she dissapeared without ever looking back all she left was a letter saying “I hope you find what you’re looking for”. I felt just as the writer explained “high” from her supposed love but I now know that I was just another casualty. Then I found out she was married. Yes! She does exist!

  • Lynne

    July 10th, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Wow. Thank you for putting into words exactly what I needed to see right now. That is what I have been through for the last two years. The love of my life passed away suddenly and unexpectedly two years ago and his “friend” took advantage of my vulnerability and grief to put his narcissistic hooks into me. And a successful, strong and educated woman was slowly made to think I was unworthy and insane by an alcoholic unemployed narcissist. It’s so easy now to look back and see how he manipulated me. Silent treatments, discards and then he would pull me back in to tell me he loved me and was so glad I was in his life.
    Just trying to be strong now, to accept and process it all and to let go of a love that never really existed while still grieving a love that actually was real.

  • Katie

    July 18th, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Hello Kara…. I myself know what your going through. I have been on and off with a narc for 5 years I love his family and thought I loved him and always think it’s going to get better!!! One day he was trying to get me pregnant and want to move in with me and wanting to be with be me and the very next day he turned around and met someone else with a quickness he dropped me and wanted to be friends! It broke my heart and still hurts this was just recent and I’m still coping with it!! I have my life together with a good job and I own my own home and etc..after 5 years this is what he does and it’s happened alot on the past he always manages to contact me someway or another!! Hang in there it will get easier!! I have no contact with him for a whole week now but reading these blogs really helps!!!

  • mary

    July 19th, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Time and distance. ..thats it

  • melissa

    July 19th, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    also read Out of The Fog online.

  • sue

    July 20th, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    I have recently separated from my NPD husband of 30 years. It’s been a nightmare.He comes from a narcissistic family.I wish I new then what I know now.I’ve always had problems with his mother.He told me the other day, how when he’s done something that he thinks will upset or anger his mother, he tells her something to make her mad at me.He has deliberately thrown me under the bus with her! All the crap I’ve been through. Wondering why she was upset.Talk about feeling confused.Even having her yell at me over things I didn’t do.Now things make sense.

  • JC

    July 22nd, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Not all Narcissists have the obvious characteristics that have been listed, or at least they are not so obvious, in my experience they can be very carefully hidden and only “leak out” under pressure or slip ups when they get confident and feel secure (they have a sense of entitlement) . Not all swagger around showing arrogance, some are smart enough to have tamed this after learning that their Narc mothers arrogance is seen as a negative trait which gives the game away.
    Another thing to be aware of, is the effect on others, Ive seen some of my closest friends “seduced” by the “Golden Light” as I call it, where they can see no wrong in the Narcissist, and the “real victim” will most likely experience a loss of friendships and other important people in your life, such as church members, when your character is trashed. Yet the Narcissist will not always have had to do hardly anything, it is like they are experts and non verbal communication and can find a weakness in a persons boundaries (of those who may have slight vulnerbiity/ dependancy issues)
    Expect it to take time to heal, and to regain your life back, it is very distressing for you and those around you, the wake of consequences/destruction reaches far beyond the “victim”.
    Finally, you will be angry with yourself for being a victim, for loving a fantasy and lie, it hurts, seriously hurts, so build yourself up, look to find what has made you vulnerable and what need(and didn’t get as a child) you have that caused your boundaries to be vulnerable.

  • otilia

    July 23rd, 2014 at 5:44 AM

    I just got out of such a relationship. This person eventually became my husband… I wasted 4 precious years alongside this man, and I will need as much to recover.

  • otilia

    July 23rd, 2014 at 5:46 AM

    Sue, I had the same problems with my ex mother in law. The same. And talk about inflated egoes to mask extremely low self esteem!! OMG! they were textbook cases.

  • anna

    July 26th, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Everything in your post is exactly what I experienced! I walked away 6 months ago! I just couldn’t do it any more. After breaking up with him, he was dating/living with someone else in a 2/3 week time frame. I know I made the right decision but the aftermath has left me CRUSHED! THANK YOU for your most really needed it

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    July 27th, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    glad it was helpful, Anna :)Good for you for moving on and taking care of you…healthy relationships include reciprocity, trust, respect, empathy, and mature love…you deserve no less… Andrea

  • Kate

    July 30th, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    I was married to a covert NPD for 10 years and am struggling to recover. I am looking for a therapist in Texas (near Houston or Austin) who specializes in NPD abuse and. An help me with ptsd and loss of identity/self-esteem.
    Does anyone know of one, or a resource listing people who understand NPD? None of the 8 therapists I’ve interviewed or seen for a few visits understand the disorder, and the insdidiuos damage caused.

  • Sophie

    July 30th, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Wow! Same thing with me! I’ve recently found out after five long, confusing, painful years that my husband has been scapegoating and smear campaigning me to his whole family! It’s been so bizarre because I, of course, have been the one buying the houses and repeatedly bailing him out! It’s like he has recruited them to abuse me as well. It’s so disorienting! These people hate me so much that they shunned me at my own daughter’s funeral. I am so happy to finally be breaking free and accepting that this has all been a massive lie but, oh my goodness, it is going to take me a while to get myself back up. He took me for everything.

  • Sophie

    July 30th, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Exactly. Thank you for summing that up so very well. Tragic and shocking and scary. They are soulless.

  • Shane

    August 2nd, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Can someone give a bit of advice? I am trying to get out of a 6 yr relationship with my narc wife. She has cheated on me and periodically emails one of the ones she cheated on me with. I have seen the proof but she denies it saying someone else had to of done it….it’s her email and they are all the exact way she talks. She makes me feel like a piece of crap for mentioning it or letting her know how I feel in general. She has broken up with me quite a few times yet I’m not allowed to. Her kids are so disrespectful and get away with a lot yet my kids get griped about. I’m done but don’t have any energy to bring it up. I have four kids of my own as well so it makes it harder to just leave.

  • Mila

    August 3rd, 2014 at 1:11 AM

    I mentioned this theory to my therapist (because I am currently in THIS situation, which I am trying to get out of), and her opinion is that his actions are due to alcoholism. She insists that many of the characteristics of addiction can mimic personality disorders, and I shouldn’t jump to conclusions to diagnose when he hasn’t been through an extensive recovery program yet…

    What is DO know is, I don’t like the way I am being treated. AT ALL. There is the lying, manipulation, blaming, shaming, empty future, etc., but there is also an element of cruelty that doesn’t make sense for an addict. It seems like sublet cruelty for no reason, other than to feed his ego. Which is more accurate? is narcissism the cause of his actions, or alcoholism?

    Either way, I need to leave.

  • Stan

    August 5th, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I was in a marriage relationship with a somatic narcissist for 6 years. If you are reading this and are convinced that you are in a relationship with a narcissist, my advice is to leave and terminate all contact immediately. You are in relationship based on lies, infidelity, and you are in psychological danger. Their behavior is like a swarm of roaches, for every one lie in the light, there are thousands that you cannot see, because they are expert manipulators and you want to see the good in the person. If you need to be convinced that you are indeed with a narcissist, confront the person with a conflict (doesn’t have to be real). If body language changes dramatically and there is an immediate shift of blame to you or if you are suddenly “crazy” or “stupid”, you are with a narcissist. Also, you can insist on counseling. If there immediate dismissal, try saying that he or she is incompetent in the relationship. If you get an immediate negative reaction, you’re with a narcissist. A normal person will look to find blame in themselves or both of you. Also, don’t try to catch them in the act to justify leaving them. Chances are, you will never know the details.

    If you are with a narcissist, you probably already know you are. If you are with an alcoholic, it’s probably not narcisism and more likely a codependency. Narcissists are excellent actors. They will often act like codependents (because they know you inside and out). You must confront harshly to inflict the narcissistic injury. If you are feeling very brave, admit to a fake affair. If the person immediately admits to their own affair, you know the answer. Narcissists go after married people and people coming out of relationships. They (we) are perfect prey.

    Get out and do no contact.

    If you have kids, do not separate. Get an attorney and go for the jugular. You will be the subject of lies and deciet. You just land the first deviating punch. Get your kids and get out.

    I’ve been there twice. Read human magnet syndrome and set boundaries.

    Period.

  • Mila

    August 7th, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Stan, it’s hard to tell which evil it is – narcissism or alcoholism. I am convinced it is narcissism, as I can drink my share but not act this way. My therapist (who is an addiction recovery specialist), on the other hand, says I shouldn’t jump to diagnose, if he were to go to recovery and starts working the steps, he would change. Either way, something is seriously wrong. I don’t even need to confront him with conflict – he pulls it out of the air! The lies, manipulation, blame and shame, etc. all point to narcissism.

    Thankfully we don’t have kids together (my daughter is from a previous relationship), nor are we married, but the hard part about getting out is the cost – where I live is VERY expensive, competitive, and almost out of my budget. Moving to another town is not an option, as my daughter needs my residency to be enrolled in her school. I look at apartment listings all the time, but don’t think things will stabilize here for a few months, if at all. He refuses to leave, because he is on the lease! It’s tough because I feel trapped, but am trying to find the best ways to take care of myself whilst in this situation.

  • Julie

    August 9th, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    Hello-I am married to a narcissist.His mom is a very stern abusive Asian woman and his dad was a narcissist as well. It was wonderful in the beginning. I thought to myself “here is a man who finally gets it!” He was good to my children and made me feel so important and special.He told me he was everything that I was and believed in. I found out it was all a lie. He lies about everything, big and small. He was even married to a woman for 7 years before me and when I questioned him about who she was, he lied and said it was his cousin. We have been married for four years and it has been horrible. He says things to me that put me down.Like I am fat, lazy, an ingrate, who would want me after him and much worse. Everything I do is wrong. He has a horrible temper and I can’t ever have a turn to speak.. He thinks he is expert on everything, including childbirth.Very much a God complex. Never apologizes for anything or takes responsibility. He is addicted to porn and takes risks making bad decisions. After he belittles me and screams at me, three hours later he acts as if nothing even happened. He manipulates me until I back down. I don’t even try to defend myself anymore because it just gets him more worked up and I am always wrong. He controls every aspect of our lives. I have a child with him who I want to protect from him and his narcissism. I am his third wife and recently filed for divorce. I am afraid because he told me if I try to take money from our business that we built together, he will bury me and make sure I live on skids row. I am really tired and afraid. He has beaten me into the ground so much verbally (and even hurt me physically before) that it is hard not to feel exhausted.

  • Kara

    August 9th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Thanks for the comment Katie… These forums help me a lot with keeping my strength up not to talk to the narc. It makes me feel a lot better to know I am not alone. My narc keeps texting me nasty things about me…. I have not responded…. I need to just not respond. Not give him his fix and power over me.

  • Kara

    August 9th, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    You should go watch you tube videos of this guy the Spartinlifecoach. Good stuff he does therapy over Skype… This guy knows his stuff.

  • Annie

    August 11th, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    This site has been awesome for me. It helps to validate that none of us deserve the treatment we have gotten. It truly is an illness and there is no hope for the victim. The Narc will use you up and spit you out. I am at the stage of wondering if I will hear from him again. I know I should NOT have any more contact with him, but I am still not past missing him. Thanks to everyone that is giving me the strength to keep away.

  • kathy

    August 12th, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    I felt like i could have written that. 27 years. Sep.and moved to a different state and he followed to be near to his kids,,i mean be close to me to make me pay. Brainwashing of myself and
    Of our 9 kids. He worked diligently so that every friend,neighbor,anyone that was a support now thinks i have mental llness and made it all up about him and hes great. Got me kicked out my apartment,wheni was in a hotel with my kids he unleashes social services on me trying to take custody. He has publicly humiliated in ways that i dont have time to share
    Hes dr jekyl and mr.hyde, he sets the rules and rhw rules change,he has even brainwashed and set up a reward system for kids who disrspect or abuse their mother. I left him with kids then returned bcause he pored on the ive changed and want another chance.i dont know how i lasted this long.when j returned he told me it was a trick to take the kids.im trapped because he uses the kids to keep me under control,the big kids over 18,he will do something thathurts them,covert,like he punished ME by secrertly orchestrating to get my daughters fiance to break up with her.he is everywhere,he controls the family.we dont live together.i have a restraining order against him.im not free, i want to make the sep. Final into a divorce,he will terrorize me of i do with more custody stuff etc,he doesnt want a divorce so i cant be with anyone else. Hes always up to something.my mind is tired of. Thinking about him. He tried to take out everything in me that was me. I let him do it. I listened to him. He is a master at mind games.like the online narcissistic games they play ,i saw recently .he is proficcient at all of them. I recently scared myself by thinking its not gonna stop until one of is dead. That doesnt mean anything more than its just true.i have been fighting to get away,to raise the kids,he has caused chaos and drama and trauma without ceasing. All while he maddingly declares in that soothing voice..im just trying to help the kids,….he recently was relentless in his evil to destroy us and i collapsed and went to rhe emergency room.my kids were with me.i had a nurse watch them and was going to have a friend pjck them up.an little while later,a nurse said a man came to get the kids. He found out somehow i was there,he uses every opportunity or weakness to get an advantage, i was so upset that i started vomiting n the hospital that he came there, and also he made sure to tell the nurses and dr,while he was there that i had mental problems that they should probably look into,wheni was there because his acions and mind games had exhausted me.

  • Aceon

    August 13th, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    Hello!,
    I was recently in an abusive relationship with someone who had just left an abusive relationship. I knew this at the time, but I didn’t know the person I was getting involved with was abusive as well until the real them started to show through months later. I am aware that her family life had been abusive as a child and that she was used to the abuse. Probably so used to it that she felt uncomfortable without it. This was a burden upon our relationship as I was hoping I could be the one to show her a new light in positivity from the way that I keep myself positive and happy with myself. Eventually, I had to move on because I could see that she wasn’t willing to let go of the past abuse but kind of “ticked”, if you will, on giving others the abuse she had been given. It really hurt me for quite awhile that I had to leave her as well as the abuse that she had shown towards me. I didn’t fight back at her or seek revenge but stayed positive because I knew that was the only way further I could show her love. I am hoping that she can seek a way out of this suppressed anger on her own and find a way to make her self happy on her own. I had been in a position like hers a long time ago when I was younger and couldn’t recognize my pain, problems, and how to deal with situations or people and make the best out of them. I have found that you really can’t be happy with others if you aren’t happy with yourself. You have to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. This makes it very hard to love someone who doesn’t love themselves. Sometimes it is seemingly impossible.

    I ended up writing a song to relieve the pain I had gone through. I know there is someone else out there that will accept my love purely. Sometimes you have to walk away even though you love that person with the fullness of your heart and soul. But, you also have to care for yourself. Don’t mistake unconditional love as pain. You shouldn’t have to live in agony to be loved.

    Writing this song helped me get through the pain I had experienced and helped me grow positive from the situation.

    Prove your love and others will eventually love you more purely.. don’t give in to someone saying they love you and not showing it. There is someone out there that will.

    – Aceon

  • Stronger01

    August 21st, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    Victoria,
    Wow! I’ve never read anyone’s story that sounded so close to mine. Please take comfort in the fact that you are NOT alone. I saw my N out with the new girl. I know they’ve been seeing each other for awhile, longer than we did and I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he appears to be having this “normal” relationship with someone else. He is NOT normal and hasn’t changed. I have proof if this as a little over 2 months ago he called late one night very depressed and talked of wanting to die. Note that this happened while he was in his new relationship and seeming all loved up. Things fell apart with us quickly as my fears of being taken for granted became a reality. Suddenly, there were dates broken at the last minute, promises made that we’re not kept. He was a master at the phone game. Always a bigger name on the other line. He’d sleep with his phone in his pocket and take it to the bathroom. It became evident that he wanted me available for him at all times but he could come and go as he pleased – especially on weekends.

    He had a very sad story which he told me vey soon after we met. It included military service, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, physical pain, divorce, another crazy baby momma, estrangement from family. I was a bit overwhelmed that he confided in me so much so soon but I also admired that he was putting his life back together. We spent days and nights together (not like me), became domestic, making dinners, doing laundry together (not like me). He’d have panic attacks and wherever he was I would drop everything and go to him. Sometimes when I’d get there he’d be fine and would say just knowing I was coming calmed him. He would call regularly and we had a routine. I changed my regular schedule of working out or hanging with friends. Times I did try to do “my thing” he would call and wanted to see me as soon as possible. It was like he was saying please care about me. I didn’t see that he was testing me – seeing if I would drop everything for him.

    During the first few months I and he would blame any bad behavior on his past experiences coupled with suffering from PTSD and drinking too much at times. A night on the town would go from a good time to him being angry about something or at someone to being sad and frustrated about his past experiences to the point he would be in tears. We’d be up all night until he’d finally pass out. The next day it would be like nothing happened. It didn’t happen all the time but enough to where I started to get anxious every time we went out not knowing how the night would end. Through all this I didn’t see red flags, I saw someone who needed a friend and he told me exactly what it would take for him to be better and to “love” someone. I made the big mistake of trying to express MY feelings about all this and was told I was getting too emotional and that he had too much to deal with and that I shouldn’t be with him if I couldn’t handle it. I pulled back and began to return to MY life but before long, sometimes days or a week he would call suffering from anxiety or another panic attack. I thought there was no harm in remaining to be a “friend” to him. He didn’t seem to really have many other friends and was estranged from his family. He said no one wanted to deal with the PTSD. Now I know they all tried but nothing was ever enough.

    It’s now a year later and being a friend caused me more anxiety and also cost me money. He still played the sympathy card but instead of needing my emotional support, he had financial problems. He was on military disability. How could I not help someone who sacrificed four our country. It wasn’t like he had no money, he just had a hard time stretching it until the next payday. He also paid child support. I understood and also mistakenly thought because of his ego and pride that it was hard for him to ask for money. Trust me, it got easier. At some point he also confessed that he gambled quite a bit trying to “make money”. It took me refusing a lot of additional requests for him to finally get the message. The last was just 2 months ago. A month before that I made it clear that he should not ever ask me again as I had done enough but he still came and asked for money saying he’d be out on the street. Well, I didn’t help him, in fact I ignored his last request. I know for a fact he is just fine. I had NEVER loaned money to anyone EVER. I even told him one time that if I helped him I wouldn’t have any money left, wiped out and then where would we be. I’d been paying for most things when we hung out. I wanted to see how far he would go. SHOCKER! He took the money anyway. All the time telling me not to worry. That HE was my security. HE would take care of me if I lost my job or something. He actually told me once that he wanted me to be dependent on him. What?? I’ve been taking care of myself and never dependent on anyone. It was like whatever I was he wanted me to be the opposite. I was independent, he wanted dependent. I’m educated, he once said he’d rather marry the girl working at McDonalds. He didn’t like women taking on the role of men, breadwinner. Really? Didn’t seem problematic when asking for loans. When he no longer wanted me emotionally, he wanted my money. It was like he wanted my life. Now with his NS he is in school and said that he told her that if she didn’t want to “make something of herself” they wouldn’t be together no matter how much he liked her (she has no higher education but I’m sure she is a very bright, lovely person). Quite the switch from his former attitude.

    Six months ago I started researching on line trying to understand PTSD and someone pointed me to NPD. I couldn’t believe how much it fit and how so many other stories sounded like mine. I saw a therapist to get my mind back on track an to reinforce the need to not have contact with this person any longer. I have no doubts about what type of person I was dealing with and know what I experienced with him. His treatment of me was text book. I’m still shocked at how much letting this person in my life has affected me. I am a strong person and very self-sufficient and have been basically my whole life. I have great friends. In relationships I was always a bit guarded and weary of being taken advantage of or taken for granted. I’m not sorry I let my guard down briefly it only proves I am a good person. Even he can’t deny it. Unlike others I haven’t experienced his wrath or rage, just silent treatment because he didn’t get what he wanted. I’m just sorry he is so empty and needs other people so much but will never feel content or whole. Maybe this new person will be able to give him what he needs, the way he needs it and he can feel normal for awhile. He definitely acts like he wants that type of life and I do think he feels pain when he doesn’t have it. His life is as fragile as a house of cards and it always comes down because he depends on others to build it and well, people are people with their own lives and their own needs. Needs he can’t or doesn’t have interest in fulfilling no matter what he makes it look like on the outside.

  • Annie

    August 24th, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Still struggling with my esteem. My N hasnt attempted even once to contact me again. Before he left, I could feel the voids becoming bigger and longer when I stopped offering to pay for things. I know he moved on for a better deal and a new sexual exploit. I want to feel thankful because he once made a suggestion that he was moving after my kids move out. “We could talk about the terms later” Ha. Thankfully that never happened. I want to feel like I am lucky although I was discarded without a word. I questioned him and sent follow up email. I advised that if I no longer heard from him, i would assume he has moved on. And that was it. Please someone tell me this is not normal? He spent 3 days at my house the weekend before? IDK. Crazy making.

  • Brony

    August 25th, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Annie as hard as it is to move on you are getting stronger each and every day. I believe everything in life is a gift or a lesson to be learnt. You must remember its not the person you loved it was the idea of having that kind of love with someone. I to lost apart of myself in a (what I see now) fake relationship. Love can be blinding but if you look back and really be honest you can see how we tend to let it go on because we needed it at that time. Now I look back at my blood sucking, money hungry lazy low life ex and see that he was my b****. I choose to look at him as a pool boy. It may not be health and I’m not one to turn evil on the world but I feel better thinking I paid him for sex n not the other way around. His way of thinking is a collection of loyal girls all over the place who he can revisit when it suits him with no strings attached. The funny thing is that from the start there was something off about him that I couldn’t put my finger on and it’s only now that I search for answers on google that I know what N stands for. I wish you love and joy with your healing. You are stronger than you know and no this kind of relationship is not normal. Stay strong. True love will find you.

  • Annie

    August 25th, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Brony,
    Thanks so much for the encouragement. It was so surprising since I was not even attracted to this person at first. He had to really pursue me. So my question became, why did he go to all the effort just to have me included with a tribe of other women? What was the point?
    BUT you are right, I dont even want to question it anymore. I want to put it behind me as fast as possible. Thank you for helping along the way. Now the new question becomes, how to trust again.
    PS> your comment about “something funny” that you couldnt identify was also spot on. I was right there with ya! Take care

  • jonathan

    August 25th, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Hi my name is I’ve read what you have and fit s so true but iam out but the problem i have i have 2 children with her and thay live with her my son is 9 and has just left her today what do i do

  • Brian

    September 5th, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    It’s been 12 years since I was in a narcissistic relationship, and it’s not something you fully ever get over. This article described my ex and our 5 year relationship together to a T! So I guess a narcissist can’t control being a narcissist? Is this something one can get help for or is it a lost cause?

  • Brian

    September 5th, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    It’s hard, but the best thing to do, for you, is choose for yourself to cease all contact with him.

  • sara

    September 6th, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    I met my ex boyfriend four months ago. We met online and talked everyday for a month before actually meeting. We had very deep conversations and I felt like I already knew him even though we hadn’t met yet. On our first date he brought me roses and made me feel like I was the only person in the room. Two weeks into dating him, he was practically living with me. At this point, I was hooked. He told me he hasn’t felt this way since he was married and saw a feature with me. The way everything was clicking between us I felt like I had met my soul mate. We seemed to be on the same page about everything and had so many things in common. By the end of our first month together, I was head over heals in love with him and thought that this is the guy I was going to one day marry and share a family with. He has two kids from his marriage but told me repeatedly that he wanted to have a baby with me. Every time he brought it up I would tell him that its way too soon but I do want that for our future. Month number two he told me that he loved me and I said it back. After we said it though he never said it unless I said it first or unless we were in the bedroom. That bothered me but I just put it off as he’s just not used to saying it yet to me. His birthday came in month number three and on his birthday he told me again that he wanted to start trying to have a baby. He said he didn’t want to discuss it but for me just to say yes. I told him that it was too soon and that I needed to first meet his kids, meet his family/friends, have him meet my family/friends, and be at least living with him before this conversation can truly happen. He replied that that will all happen but he still wanted to start now for a baby. The next day I barely talked to him and he didn’t come over that night. The next day same thing. By now I know something is not right. He just said that work has been busy and that he was tired. The next week he had told me that he was under stress and that he needed some space. When I asked if we were ok, he told me not to add to his stress. I was hurt and confused at this point. If it didn’t have anything to do with me why couldn’t he talk to me instead of pulling away. I called him the next day to talk to him about what was going on. He told me that it had nothing to do with me and that he was going through some things with his family. The more we talked though, he started saying that there were some things that was bothering him about me and he wasn’t sure if I could handle being in his life. Everything he said was assumptions he made about me. When I told him that, he said I was turning it and he knew how I felt. I told him that I would give him the space but we really did need to talk about things. Two days later he came over but had no intention on talking about anything. I was a wreck cause I had no idea what was going on or where we stood. I kept trying to talk to him but all he kept saying is relax. It finally came out that the real reason he was pulling away is because I didn’t want to start trying to have a baby with him. When I asked him why he needed it now and why he wanted to do it backwards all he could say is that this is just what he wants. I felt like he was giving me an ultimatum and couldn’t understand why my point of view didn’t matter to him. He stayed the night and I thought that he was trying to work things out but then he didn’t call me for two days. I finally called him and was upset. I felt like he didn’t care about my feelings at all and that he wasn’t willing to hear things from my point of view. He got angry at me for asking him why he was treating me this way and said that I keep going back to the same arguments and that I wouldn’t listen and was turning things on him that were actually my fault. I was totally flabbergasted by this whole conversation. He was so angry at me for asking why he was treating me so poorly. I texted him the next day to try to work things out but it just seemed like he didn’t even want to talk to me. I asked him if he wanted to work things out and his reply was don’t know. I told him that I would give him a week to think and then would like to get together to talk. He said ok. The next week came and when I asked him when we could get together, he wouldn’t commit to a day. I asked him to at least tell me if he wanted to work things out cause it wasn’t fair to me to string me along. He got angry that I wanted an answer and told me to move on. I couldn’t believe it. How could someone who said he loved me, wanted to have a baby with me, and told me he wanted to marry me one day just throw it away without any real reason and is so angry at me. I felt like everything he ever told me about how he felt about me was a lie. You don’t just give up on someone you love cause they are not ready yet to have a baby with you. I kept trying to reach out to him and asking him not to give up. I loved him and didn’t want to lose him over things I thought could easily be worked out if both of us were willing. He finally agreed to talk so I went to his house. After talking and thinking we had everything figured out and agreeing that we were all in, he didn’t call me for a week. This again crushed me and after numerous texts and phone call attempts, He finally texted me back. He acted like it wasn’t a big deal that he hadn’t tried to contact me and that I was making too big of a deal about it. He then told me that again he didn’t know if he wanted a relationship with me. I asked him why he told me he was all in then and he replied don’t know. Its been two weeks now since I last talked to him. I know I deserve to be treated better than this and that I did nothing wrong but why do I still miss him. I really don’t think he truly loved me and that’s hard to face. I cry all the time and cant get past it. How do you move on from someone who you thought was your soul mate only to find out that it was all a lie? 

  • Kady

    September 6th, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    I am 55 years old and the scapegoat of N parents. Recently they disowned me for the 8th time in my life after I had the nerve to want to gain closure on my mother physically abusing my brother and I. Well, it’s only been a week since I was disowned and the sweet emails started today. I didn’t open them. The titles said it all. I am now so done with them. My life is good with a wonderful husband, children and grandchildren. I have a thriving business and close friends. They would all support me should I go No Contact. The ball is in my court now. I feel so relieved at the thought of being emotionally free from my mother. Learning about the Narcissistic personality has been a real game changer for me because now I know it’s not going to change. Sadly I’ve spent all of my life waiting for something that’s not going to happen.

  • Kady

    September 6th, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    To clarify. .The emails are from the same mother who just disowned me a week earlier. It’s a roller coaster ride. It has nothing to do with her missing me personally. No way. If I ignore her she will invent a crisis soon to get a response.

  • Cara

    September 8th, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    Sara,
    I was in a very similar situation 18 months ago and reading your story made me almost jump out the chair, it was so familiar to my own.

    Just like you I was completely love-bombed by a narcissist for the first three months of our relationship. He made me feel like a goddess – constant compliments, 10-page love letters sent to my home, flowers sent to my work, candle-lit baths…. Ironically I remember thinking, wow this guy is too good to be true!

    Just like you, my guy kept pushing for commitment at a very early stage in the relationship. He asked me to move in with him after 3 months and was talking about marriage and children. When I gently told him it was too early to move in with him he seemed to accept it well and said it was fine. But after that day it was like a switch went – he changed from being this absolutely loving and wonderful man to someone who seemed constantly annoyed by my presence and would barely touch me or kiss me. He began calling me names, such as wh**e, b**ch, sl*g, sl*t, and when I would react angrily he would say I had no sense of humour because of course he was joking.

    All talk of marriage and children in the future were now forgotten, they were subjects he never mentioned again. He was incredibly cold and sometimes when I looked into his eyes he would give me this empty stare, like there was nothing behind the eyes, no soul. He constantly ridiculed and sneered at me and of course, everything was my fault.

    I’m ashamed to say I allowed this horrible treatment for another 7 months until I finally came to my senses and told him I needed space. The look of shock he gave me when I said this – I will never forget. He could not believe that I would be the one to try to end the relationship, he thought I adored him and was totally blind sided. Obviously he had to be in control, so when I got home I received a text saying HE needed space…forever. I put the keys to his flat in the post and never contacted him again. He has asked about me through mutual friends but has never been in contact.

    I know you are hurting now but believe me you have had a lucky escape from this guy. What I have learnt through therapy is that healthy people are consistent in their words and actions – narcissists are incapable of love and incapable of consistency. You did nothing wrong, you just got preyed on by a nasty piece of work and one day you will be thankful you did not settle down with him. I thank my lucky stars every day that I had the sense not to move in with him after 3 months. You are obviously intelligent and savvy or you would have agreed to have a baby with him instead of standing up to him and saying no. I wish you the best of luck, you will recover. It takes time but I am ok now.

  • Sammie

    September 8th, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    I am 52 years old and raised by a narcissistic mother. I have been abused my entire life. She controlled and convinced the family including all relatives that I was no good. My father was too weak to stand up to her. I continue to take abuse from a few family members and I have destroyed my life trying to get their love. I have few people in my life because I am do depressed and damaged. You can never, ever win against a narcissist. It is best to walk away for self preservation. Unfortunately, I keep returning for more abuse and I have destroyed my life!

  • Annie

    September 9th, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Sammie
    Apparently I have been attracted to narcissistic men because of my family background as well. My mother was too consumed with herself and left me with my sister most of my childhood. She resented me also. I have battled both of them my entire life as well. The other remaining family members dont stand up to my mother and especially my sister. She is wicked. No matter how much I try to leave my entire family behind it still hurts. I feel insignificant, not worthy. I am working hard to manage some self esteem as an adult, but your childhood is so hard to heal. Look for something to be grateful in your life every day. Please dont let them take your entire life. I am OK with no family on holidays except for my own two children. I feel it is so much better to be alone than to endure constant criticism and walking on egg shells. I literally would exhaust myself to host family dinners, holidays etc and they still would find some kind of fault? AND if it was too good to “make fun of” they would counter with, ” Did Ann really do all this?” Its a wonder I have ANY self esteem. I feel betrayed to my very core. Then as an adult I end up with men that always cheat on me. They chase me really hard and first and I cannot resist feeling valued, acknowledged, even if it only lasts a few months. Then I end up falling into deep despair. Please hang in there with me. Sammie. Dont let them ruin what you have left of your life.

  • Pamela

    September 10th, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I am a 39 year old mother of 3. I just recently got out of a horrible 10 month relationship with a text book narcissist. I had never come in contact with such a person before. It was all so confusing to say the least. I had just gotten hurt pretty badly by a guy I was seeing, it had been a couple months since the breakup and I had decided to get on a dating website. Well… TAHDAHH… there J was, my knight in shining armor. J was perfect, he came across as someone I could trust. He was so attentive and loving and said the right things at the right time. He was sexy and confident. The guy had game!! Like I said, I had been devastated by a previous boyfriend so J came across as the balm to my broken heart. He presented himself to me as just the person I needed in my life. We talked on the phone for hours and text constantly for a couple weeks prior to us meeting in person. He told me about his family and I shared with him some of my deepest darkest secrets, something I have come to regret…. I felt like I had known him forever. I felt this bond with him that I had never felt in my entire life and he swore he felt the same way. Our first date was so much fun. We both love football, so he got us tickets to a college game, 2nd row right in the endzone. Afterwards we went to dinner. I had already started falling for him pretty hard and he claimed he had done the same. The chemistry between us was amazing. It was almost addictive. A week or so went by and I had him up to my place for dinner. We were moving pretty fast so he brought his 2 kids and I had my kids there as well. His girls loved me and they got along pretty good with my kids too. But there was this huge problem, my kids HATED him, my youngest who is 13 said, as soon as they left our house “I do NOT like him mom.” All 3 of them said there was something about him that didn’t feel right. He hadn’t done anything wrong but they just had this sense about him. I was so sad because I was falling in love. I should have trusted their instincts. When he left after dinner that night he seemed off. He barely kissed me goodbye and barely thanked me for having them out. He didn’t text me for the rest of the night either. I was SO confused because even tho my kids had their red flags up, the day went pretty well. The next morning I was getting ready for work and he text me. He felt that we needed to break up. That the distance between us was too far (we live about an hour away from each other) and he didn’t want to let his girls get attached to me and it not work out. I was completely devastated. Especially because it was over text. Who does that? I tried to call him to talk but he wouldn’t answer the phone. So we stuck to texting. And thus started the cycle. Breakup, get back together, breakup, then get back together. We couldn’t go a week without getting into a fight. He had this huge issue with the guy I had been seeing before him even tho we didn’t even speak anymore. There had been some things happen in that relationship that had been heartbreaking and I unfortunately shared them with J. He started throwing the things I had confided in him in my face, even tho he knew how devastating it had been for me. He was heartless. I had never in my life been called a w**re, s**t, crazy, stupid, drama, b**ch so many times in my life while I was with J. I had always been very even tempered, it took a lot for me to get fired up. But J could take me from 0 to enraged in a matter of seconds. He took no responsibility for his actions, or for what he said to me EVER. And if he did, it was still my fault. He would say… “I’m so sorry baby, I hate that I have hurt you, but when I feel there has been fuel added to the fire (meaning, it being my fault) I just blow up and I know I shouldn’t. I NEED you to help me be better, I NEED you in my life!!” about 4 months in I found out that he cheated on me. He said he went to the girls house but couldn’t do the deed because all he could do was think about me, so he left the girls house…. ok, right. I was so beyond hurt, and all he could say was “baby… I love you and I would never hurt you like that again, but look at it as a blessing, it shows how much I love you that I couldn’t go through with it” OMFG!!! don’t do me anymore favors then!!! I had to take that as an apology, and I can’t believe I accepted it. One of the many times we had broken up and I was told that I could talk to whomever I wanted and that he was going to do the same, I reached out to the guy who I had dated before J. It was purely about football and it consisted of me sending a text and him texting me back. J went snooping on my phone while I was in the bathtub at his house one night and saw the conversation. He didn’t say a word to me while I was there, he acted completely normal. I didn’t think to hide the conversation or erase it because there was nothing to hide! I left his house and when I got home I was barraged with countless texts about what a whore I was that I was reaching out to my ex. Even tho he had just been caught cheating on me. He actually had it in his brain that what I had done while we were broke up was no worse than what he had done while we were supposed to be together and working things out. That is the kind of crap I had to deal with our entire relationship. What was good for him wasn’t good for me. He was so close minded about anything that he did wrong, and had so many double-standards that it was almost comical. What I did was worse than what he did, if we had a fight, it was always my fault, if I had any issues with us, I was told I was stupid and causing unneeded drama. I NEVER had anything I was feeling validated. What was so strange tho was when we were together all our problems were forgotten. We would see each other every other week and I would pack up and go stay with him at his place while my kids were gone to their dads for visitation. We actually had a lot of good times, he was still an ass sometimes, but the chemistry was undeniable. He was obsessed with me. If we broke up he would still keep his eye on me, and text me and stay in contact with me, ask me to come over and “hang out” so that he was taking up my time and I had no time to myself to try and get past him, he would practically stalk me! But I allowed it to happen! I was in love with him! When we were together he was pretty attentive. It was when we were apart that he was awful. He wouldn’t tell me he loved me unless I told him first. He never told me he missed me. He completely changed from the person he was when we had first started talking. He would give me glimpses of the J I had very first fallen in love with, but it was only when he thought he was going to lose me. He would play mind games and purposely withhold saying anything sweet to me, I would say nice things to him, or let him know I was thinking about him and sometimes I would barely get a 2 word answer in reply. I told him that I was worried because while we are apart, texting and calling were important to keep our relationship going strong. He agreed and would try for a day or so and then completely stop again, totally ignore me and actually go out of his way to be even more complacent and withdrawn from me. But I would still not be validated in anyway, he acted like it was a chore. We went on this way for months. I was becoming more and more withdrawn from my family. He never had any interest in meeting them. Which was fine because they all hated him, they all had the creepy feeling that my kids had, they all could see the negative way he was effecting me even tho I would try and put a smile on and all I kept doing was sticking up for him because when I was at his house and in his element, he was “normal”. I was always the one who had to make the sacrifice to go to his house if we were going to see each other. In the 10 months we were together he had been up to my house maybe 5 times. Never would he say…”babe, you have came to my place the last few times, this time I’m coming to you” NEVER did that come out of his mouth. His time was so much more important than mine was. This last time we broke it off was for real. I wasn’t going back but he was all ready to play the game again and start the same cycle we had always been in. I had a lot of my belongings at his place and so I went to get them, alone. Which was a bad idea because that meant he would pressure me to sleep with him again “one last time” … and I would give in. About a week after we had broken up, I really needed to get out and have fun with someone new. I had been introduced to a really nice guy and we hung out. Well in the meantime J had gotten on Facebook and stalked my page to see what new friends I had. Because I was giving him the cold shoulder and not returning texts and telling him NO when he would pressure me about coming to “hang out”. He found I had a new friend and asked me about him. I knew I had no reason to give him an explanation because we were broken up. I told him that I had talked to this guy on Facebook and we had text each other but that was it, I lied about going out with him because I knew J was going to start in with the crazy abuse. He ended up hacking one of my accounts and sending horrible messages to my son about me and also to my new friend, then did the worst thing he could possibly do, he went and posted some of our most intimate pictures on a porn site and wrote a horrible story about me to go along with the posted pictures. Right now I am working like mad to get them taken down, I have criminal charges against him and will also have a civil suit against him soon. I had to get a stalking injunction against him also. He is a horrible human being. He has since stopped harassing me because he knows he is in some serious trouble. I have all of his threatening texts and call logs and as of right now he has 13 3rd degree felony charges pending because of everything he has done to me. I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He will be spending time in jail. I feel like I am finally taking my life back from him. He is going to regret the day he hit me up on that dating website. Almost as much I regret letting him into my life. Wish me luck….

  • Tina

    September 13th, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    I meet my abusive narc in 2008. He literally came into my
    Life the day my divorce from my husband was final. Wasnt a horrible marriage, we just grew apart. Still consider my ex husband a friend. Unlike my ex narc. So this narc named B for Brutus had me lined up for his next prey. He came Into my life like a vortex. Never ending phone calls, I love you within two weeks, never ending love letters and poems, gifts, feeding me with all his tricks of the trade he has learned to find and keep a girl as his prey. I had NO CLUE that these kind of men existed. Wow was I blinded!! He was extremely jealous and controlling. He back lashed all his exes and the relationships as they were the sick ones. He lied about everything in his past. I fell for it hook line and sinker. So now I have finally cut off all ties, summer 2014. I regret ever being with him, I know he doesn’t think for a moment that he is sick and abusive. He is incapable of loving anyone. He hates his mother so he hates all woman. His character was extremely competitive in all parts of his life. Sports for one. He started learning how to street fight. His youth was filled with fighting. He wanted to get married within like months of dating and tried to get me to move in with him, only so he could monitor and control me 247. I wasn’t allowed near my family and friends. He forbid me to wear bathing suits and shirts had to be up to the collar bone. The list of his sickness was endless. Ugh how stupid was I to think for a moment that this was going to be ok. I’m glad I finally fell out of love with the person he never was and never would become. Hang in there, the more you get to know your abuser the more you will get your soul back piece by piece you will eventually heal. Took me years but I made it!
    Excited for my freedom to live a life of happiness. ( I never married him)
    Btw, a therapist told me from the beginning to get away from him. He is extremely dangerous and unless he does years of therapy to change he will never ever change. She has dealt with these kind of anusive men and sees it all the time. Hope the next girl sees thru his superficial charming mannerisms. B gets a trophy, most abusive:))

  • Kristen

    September 13th, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    I’m 25 years old and just got out of a sexually abusive relationship with a 35 year old. He controlled me sexually and emotionally. Made me do things sexually while I cried and told me I was a good girl and liked how submissive I was. Im not sure if he is a narc but why am I still attached? He finally ended it and told me I took advantage of him because I’m a student and not workng and he pays all the bills. We’ll come to find out he is with a 21 year old girl. Why can’t I move on what do I need to do. Even after all the pain and names and be Littleing I still want him. I feel like I still hve to tell him what I’m doing or anything. He wanted to put his foot in my face during sex I would bleed during anal and he told me it’s okay if we do it more it’ll get better. Then he just threw me out like I was trash after he met this new girl.

  • Jessie N.

    September 14th, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    Best thing you can do is learn how to be happy without them. It’s hard at fist but I have been Narcissists free for ten years. I learned from my past relationship and it’s helped me detect so many other red flags when it comes to people. In a way I am glad it happened because now I’m more able to notice things that I wouldn’t have noticed before.

  • Jen R.

    September 14th, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    I am so sorry to hear your story. As hard as it is right now, he did you a favor by leaving you. You need a support system now (and a therapist). Do not suffer this alone.

  • sage

    September 14th, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    Im almist positive ive been in a relationship with a narcissist for 4 yrs..
    I seriously need to seek support my life is completely out if contril right now

  • Michael

    September 15th, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I understand you so well. I’m in the difficult process to end a NPD six years relation. It started like a fairitail, I was amused how a person could be so similar to me. Everything was so easy, we had always the same opinion except for cars…
    She believes she is an exceptional person, a great actor and model but she would never have accepted anybody to challenge this. And after 14 years of trying she has never got any role.
    Than slowly she was pushing me to change, first details like the way I was dressing then furniture, etc. after she was telling me that she needed me to support her and her appetite was never satisfied. I bought her a car, then a house, then a house for her parents etc, and it was never enough. Finally last year she told me that she was getting sick and everything we were doing together became difficult. In April this year she told me that she had to go for treatment and that “she was setting me free”. Two month later I discovered that she was pregnant and lived with her next victim already at the same time she was with me. She is contacting me again now as nothing happened, ignoring completely all controversial subjects and telling me that I should take care of my health. She never acknowledged that she is pregnant so I dnont know who is the father of the child. And she repeats that we are still together but that we cannot see (without any explanation). It’s really difficult for me to accept but I have to if I want to survive…

  • Charlene

    September 17th, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Wow!He may be related to my ex….! Your story sounds so familiar. I wish you the very best of luck. I read your story twice and it brought tears to my eyes. Please note that you are not alone.

  • Christy

    September 20th, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    Julie, ur story is nearly identical to mine! Ive been married 15yrs and have a son with my husband. Everyone thinks he’s just the greatest thing since ice cream except me! He’s an expert liar and manipulator. He’s cheated 3x that I know of! And walked off and left me and our son when he wz a baby. We had no phone, water, cable, car, money or food and he was living with a girl who had no idea he was married. He came running back and eventually I took him back which has been the biggest mistake of my life. However, he made every promise imaginable and I had no where to go anyway. That was 8yrs ago. Before I met him I had my own home paid for, my car paid for, bills paid, and excellent credit. Now I have no access to any money, my credit is ruined, I have no home or car, my friends left long ago and I don’t know how to get out. He’s so emotionally abusive I’m scared of him. He controls every aspect of my life and has the nerve to tell me its my fault he can’t trust me with money, accuses me of lying, cheating, stealing, u name it! I can’t ask about our money without getting cussed at and screamed at and he’s borrowed money from my family and not paid a penny back but then when we can’t pay rent and no one would loan him money he blames me!! He turns everything around so it becomes my fault and has threatened to kill me before he’d ever pay me child support! He’s threatened to tell my mom things about me that aren’t true so she doesn’t let me stay with her while I try to get away from him. And I’m scared of what he’s gonna do. I told him a long time ago that id stay in our town so he could see our son anytime as long as he didn’t make my life hell but I have no friends or family here and need to go back near my mom and other family. I’m so confused and don’t know the right way to go about leaving. He’s gonna try to take our son from me and doesn’t care to try to turn him against me. He tells him how stupid mommy is and that mommy is a liar and other horrible things and knows he’s hurting him more than me but doesn’t care. He’s so self centered and mean and sneaky as hell. He’s probably already talking to a lawyer and is gonna try to prove me unfit or something. God only knows what he’s got planned. He’s a car salesman and he’s the best one around so that should tell u something about how easily lying and manipulating comes to him. He acts like I’m the maid and nothing I do is ever good enough. He criticizes me daily, calls me a stupid f*#@ing b**ch, embarrasses me in front of people and has temper tantrums that u wouldn’t believe. In front of our son. I don’t want him seeing this and thinking its ok to disrespect women. Plz tell me u have some advice about how I should go about leaving. Idk what to do 1st and I feel like I’m being sneaky myself by planning to leave and thinking about not saying anything to him and just wait til he comes home and finds our stuff gone. Oh hes also blown every penny ive ever had,including $75,000! But says I can’t be trusted with money. He gambled so much away too its pathetic. So what do I do and how should I go about it? Anybodys advice would be great!

  • Christy

    September 20th, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    I accidentally replied to Julie but meant to reply to u Stacey. I’m new here and not aquatinted with naivigating it yet. Sorry!

  • HRW

    September 22nd, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    I was in a 2 year long friendship with someone who I believe to be struggling with NPD. In that time I had never felt so loved, hated, out of control, hateful and resentful, confused, seduced, and everything in between. It was passionate and spiritually deadly. I wanted to help this person but soon realized that I needed the help. The Narc was clueless and careless as to how fast he was driving me insane with head games and emotional abuse. any form of retaliation or self care was seen as an affront and a reason for him to see himself as a victim and withdraw and discard. I found myself clinging to the ideas and false hopes of what he said the friendship could become if I could heal from my past and so all problems and conflicts became my fault. I was always apologizing for not trusting him and felt guilty and ashamed for the basic friendship needs that were not getting met. Until I blew up and sent all of my feelings and aired out all the lies I had caught him in via text. I could hold back, I cried for days and he never responded but chose to leave town. I was told by a counsellor that a Narc will do this if he has been exposed by his supply source, fears retaliation, future exposure, and that the supplies have been tapped. Of course I felt crazy, insecure, but mostly guilty of possibly being the reason he moved away ( which is what he wanted me to feel). It has been 6 months and I still feel the residual abuse in my body. I have much to thank God for and I trust in my spirituality again. Life is coming back slowly. It is to date one of the most scarring situation I have been in. I feel alone a lot and the friends I have have been amazing and great supports. So I guess what I’m wondering is how can I speed this healing process up!!! LOL seriously though it really hurts and I don’t want to hurt anymore. I welcome feedback

  • Arleen

    September 22nd, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    kristen
    i met and married my boss the same age you are.
    i experienced the same horric lifestyle as you. we were married twice to each other (how stupid is that). he could kill me with his tongue ,i would
    rather have him hit me, everyday i was on eggshells.
    the eleventh year of orexsistence togethor ended when he kicked me and my six week old daughterout of the house changing the locks so i couldnt get in, i rember it so well because it was the same day of our son’s funeral.
    he was eleven days shy of turning 21, they were fighting, i wasn t home so he couln t come after me therefore his son would take his abuse.
    he drank himself to death four years later. we were divorced at the time but i still loved him imminsl y.
    i am so thankful my foundation of jesus christ was solid. i know without a doubt i would be dead if it weren’t my mother’s love of god, translation , church every thursday, frday and sunday.
    i still think about him everyday especially. when i look at my gourgeous little girl! SHE LOOKS JUST LIKE HIM, but her heart is just like mine!
    she is the best thing that came from him, i
    am truly blessed.

  • anne

    September 25th, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    I too am going out of a 16yr marriage with 3 kids. Hes dumped me 5 times in 2 yrs and it was always me trying to work things through. He keeps telling me he tried his best but he did absolutely nothing different. I literally broke my back trying to find any way to save the marriage with zero response.Its been 2 months since he left. I am no closer or better to recovery from the loss. I’ve read over everything possible I was completely co dependent on him too.He on the other hand looks great is happy away on holiday and then out with friends i was never invited to be a part of.theyre mostly work friends he’s the boss. I looked on his all new Facebook page which by the way he detested in our marriage. His ex girl and son of 18 yrs of who he had no interest in are friends too. I’m trying my best living each day for kids but I am emotionality crippled that he left without a backwards glance at me. All of a sudden its all about the kids whereas as my begging before for exactly that led to most of arguements. Everything I asked for from him he is now doing but the catch is me. Its now been done cos I’m now not part of his life anymore. I feel used, cheated and insignificant. Was I that bad a wife that to be a family man and proper father I had to disappear? I didn’t drink smoke go out sleep around never said no to sex looked after the home our kids 24/7 our finances but when I opened my mouth for anything I was shouted at. He was a workaholic worked 6 days a week day off with anyone but us. I lost the plot the day he walked out and physically attacked him out of grief and hatered. He since has told anyone even neighbors we never talked to before that I was a violent unhappy person with everything he did for us.I want to kill him one day and beg him to come home the next. Help me pls break the cycle of him being in my head constantly.

  • GoodTherapyAdmin

    GoodTherapyAdmin

    September 25th, 2014 at 9:54 AM

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  • Nicola

    October 3rd, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    I almost could have written this, good god. I too had a few conversations with an ex that were so innocuous I didn’t hide it…why would I? For the next SEVEN years, that was my “affair” and the alleged root cause of nearly all the verbal and emotional abuse (and physical intimidation–throwing and breaking objects etc) he heaped upon me.

    I get so annoyed when everyone tries to claim only “women with poor self -esteem” are in abusive relationships…I appreciate that the article mention the narcissist WANTS someone successful. My ex’s first wife was in college and basically ran an office as an executive assistant. I had just finished my Master’s and was a successful teacher. He is now dating another well-educated, self-sufficient woman–ex-military, neurology nurse-practitioner, has her own home, etc. I worry because she has a child with needs that require a little extra attention…something he is NOT good at sharing (he physical attacked my daughter the night after I found out she had a drug addiction.) In any case, it always seemed to me that he had a need to tear that self-confidence away; and with systematic attacks, he succeeds quite admirably.

    And yes, he was the single most charming person I’d ever met. He could go a year between abusive episodes toward the end (of course, by then more subtle things were going on, and I was well-trained in catering to him). We shared many interests, the sex was far and away the best, shared a sense of humor…there was definitely the “soul-mate” sharing feeling going on, for me (I have to assume he was faking it. A typical narcissist, he dropped me from his life completely when I left, and was appalled at the thought that people would know what he’d been up to. He also moved on to new prey immediately.) I left him once and went back, before leaving for good. Part of me is still convinced I love him…or at least the “good side”, since in order to cope, I basically split him into two people in my mind. That bond is something one cannot admit to anyone, even my therapist just dismisses it, so I don’t talk about it. I just assume that one day it will fade. However, I do know that no matter how I feel about him (fury one day, nostalgia the next), it is immaterial, because he is bad for me, and I deserve better.

  • J.C.

    October 4th, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    Thank you for this article.

  • Crystal

    October 5th, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Great article, My divorce is almost final!
    I’m finally free fr 20 yrs of N abuse. If a friend hadn’t recommended a Narc abuse page I wouldn’t be. I doubt I’d be alive much longer. The occasional thought of ending my life turned into daily thoughts of it..I has begun a pre plannig of it. I felt like I was crazy, horrible vile person. And he pushed the buttons to get the reactions that made me look that way. I’m free now

  • Crystal

    October 5th, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Anne
    First off I’m so sorry ur going thru this, there are no easy answers and I hate when someone generalizes it and says things like focus on ur kids etc
    What jumps out at me is the things u said about reading his Facebook and all the info u have on what he’s doing and who he’s with.
    My advice? Stop all of those things. You are only tortuting yourself and more than that he EXPECTS u to do it. I understand the desire behind ur actions I used to be the same way, I went thru phone records, used the find my phone feature to track him. I quit and even went so far as to throw away all pics of him out, deleted pics fr my phone
    He may not be physically present but ur right he’s in your head. The first step in getting him out is to stop all the stalking him on FB, if ppl are telling u what he’s doing tell them to stop. I promise u he knew u would do those things and is getting pleasure fr it, he may even be planting things on there or feeding info to ppl who will get it back to u. U know he lies right? So why believe that he isn’t capable of creating things to torment u fr afar
    Hang in there, don’t let him have an ounce of satisfaction

  • Andrea Schneider

    October 14th, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    thank you for all the feedback on the article…Andrea

  • Heather

    October 15th, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Hello I have a question. I live in the Brockton Massachusetts area and I have mass heath insurance. I was just wondering is there any therapist in my area that help with recovering from a narcissist relationship? Someone who specializes in this? I’ve been looking for a while and can’t find any! I have been away from my ex for just about a year and I’m still having a really hard time with it:( I just want to be happy again there is so much hurt!! I have never been through this before and I feel sad and just broken!!! I just don’t understand how a person can do this to another person!!! People tell me time will help well like I said it will be a year next month and I’m still a mess!! I have to fight to get through each day and not think of all he did to me? I would really like to find a therapist that specializes with this so I can heal and recover from this and just live a happy life with my two kids! Thanks :)

  • Carol

    October 18th, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I’ve had the misfortune to be in TWO such relationships! This article is so spot on…the hurt and betrayal and silence is daunting! Thank you so much for writing this, it provides comfort knowing that the hurt I’ve endured is real. Having someone to compare notes with would be appreciated…

  • Carol

    October 18th, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Heather,
    I’m sorry you’re going through such a tough time . Maybe talking with a stranger who understands the pain would help? I sure could use an ear as well.
    Sincerely,
    Carol

  • Geoffrey

    October 21st, 2014 at 4:08 AM

    Wow , a lot of them out there….it seems. A thought occurred to me that we have all been burgled of the most precious things we have…do we stay in that room…all sad or wise up. Do not let them rob us of our ability to love…t
    they do not win at all…we learn to be a bit more careful and cautious. I would sooner live with a wise heart than no heart. We must congratulate ourselves and carry on after this devastating ordeal. With chins up high and more inner knowledge. We are the lovers and good people. I am so sorry for each story told and my heart says sorry to you fom the male race. Never contact them again..you know the story….get on and try and smile back to who you were before…your still in there you know x

  • Kc

    October 22nd, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Crying as I read this. Thank you. That post will give me the strength to nip this bulls**t in the bud.

  • Linda

    November 3rd, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    I was married to a narcissist with a diagnosed borderline personality disorder for over 20 years. I’ve managed to entirely cut off all means of contact with him for the past 4 years. We have been separated for 7 years, but he is now on his deathbed. I fear that his family will expect me to attend his funeral, but since hearing of his condition, I have been experiencing some of the feelings that I fought so hard to overcome. Would it be inappropriate for me not to attend his funeral?

  • Linda

    November 3rd, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    I failed to mention that we did not have any children, so attending his funeral to support offspring is not an issue. If that were the case, I would definitely go, regardless of my negative feelings about him.

  • Help

    November 5th, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    I really need help here because I am desperate. I started going to a therapist and she is the one that told me that my ex boyfriend was a narcissist. What I am having trouble with is, maybe I misrepresented him and if that is the case, then, am I the narcissist?

    We broke up in mid-july because, as he put it, “I wasn’t ready.” I was basically too fat and my weight loss program was not working fast enough, I didn’t wear short dresses all the time, I couldn’t afford new lingerie for our role playing etc. When he broke up with me, he insisted that he was not going to see anyone else and that he would be, “there to un-wrap me” when I got to my goal weight. He then proceeded to tell me that the people at his work didn’t understand why he was with me and they found someone who was a better fit for him, an ex cheerleader who works out four days a week, and then he showed me her facebook photos.

    He insisted that he was not going to date her and that we just needed space so I could, “work on” me. We were basically friends with benefits for the next two months when he told me that her dad was in rehab and that she needed him but after the 30 days was over, he would dump here and we would get back together. In that month he told me that he loved me and that I was the most important person in his life and that he didn’t want to lose me and that we were soul mates.

    After the 30 days was up, he was still seeing her and me. I told him it was either me or her and then he said, “I chose no one. All of you just leave me alone.” a couple weeks later I initiated no contact. He left voicemails saying that I was “launching a slanderous campaign” against him and that he didn’t even want to be friends with me anymore and that I drove him closer to the new girl and that he didn’t know me anymore and he didn’t know why he wasted so much time with me but then at the end of the voicemail he would say that if I valued our relationship/friendship, I would stop ignoring him and call him. The new girl and her friends are stalking my Facebook and my pinterest now and that is definitely freaking me out. I know that he is too, but he is much more inconspicuous than they are.

    It has been ten days of no contact and he has not contacted me in seven. I messed up and peeked at his facebook today and he has a picture of her and him all happy together but he changed his cover photo to a picture taken on of one of our adventures together. That really messed me up.

    I really really miss him. I guess my questions are: Is he really a narcissist? Did I mess the relationship up? Is he ever going to contact me again? Is there a chance that I could fix it and he would come back to me? Is he really happy with her? Am I bat-chit crazy?

    I know that some of you are saying that it doesn’t matter whether he is one or not, but I feel like I really need to know. Because if he is not, I am the one that destroyed this relationship and I am the crazy one and I need to make changes in my life to avoid making this mistake of destroying my relationship up, again or I will be extremely lonely and unhappy for the rest of my life. This whole situation has put my life on hold and is slowly dismantling my life piece by piece. I feel desperate and hopeless.

  • mary

    November 7th, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    My vulnerabilities were liabilities. He was not my type. He was someone I respected for years. He was very cruel to me morally, spiritually, professionally. He is a long tenured police officer.

  • abell

    November 14th, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Oh girl, stop worrying about this guy. If he bases his relationship on how you look it wouldn’t last anyway. I’ve been on that emotional roller coaster and he is playing you like a fiddle. There are so many other guys who will treat you like a lady. I recommend Steve Harvey’s act like a lady think like a man book. You gotta be ok with you before you can be in a relationship. Much love to you. He is a loser a user and a player.

  • Me

    November 15th, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    if you walk away from a situation questioning your reality compass and feeling crazy, but feel ok when away from the situation in terms of your reality barometer, then you have to realise that its not you who is crazy but the situation. Or, the other person who is not right.

  • Arden

    November 15th, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    He is playing you like a FIDDLE. That excuse about her dad being in rehab and her needing him is an excuse and a red flag. He wants two girlfriends because it inflates his ego. He wants you to feel like everything’s your fault. Cut him out of your life!!!

  • boni

    November 16th, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    Narcissism or Addiction? (In this case “alcoholism”. There has been some vital research on the link between Narcissists and some form of addiction.. be it “power”; or. Any form of substance abuse. There is a direct link no so don’t believe you have to choose – is it one or the other. It’s primarily Narcissism saying “I can do what the hell I like!” Be it destructive to self or others! Good Luck!

  • Butterfly

    November 16th, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Dear Help,

    I understand the feelings you have completely. I was in a nine year relationship that ended a yeaer ago when he died. I told some close friends, and my therapist about what happened, and they all reacted with horror telling me I had been abused. My immediate reaction was to feel like I may have misrepresented him. It has been a year now since he died, and I still often feel very confused, wondering if it was me or if it was him that was the problem.

    The truth is, I am sure neither you nor me were perfect in our relationships, and so we have reasons to question ourselves. But, not being perfect does not excuse cruel behavior. The way your boyfriend behaved was cruel, unloving, lacking in empathy. It’s possible you don’t remember everything totally objectively, and I’m sure you made mistakes, but cruel behavior is wrong in any circumstance. Hurting and belittling another is always wrong. I think that in your heart, you know that the way he behaved was selfish, just as I know that about my late husband. But, you also know all yoru own faults, and, he probably pointed them out to you endlessly, so that you would feel like you deserved his behavior. That was the case with the man I was with.

    None of us are perfect. But there are people in the world who are willing to take that fact and use it against us. The truth is, you deserve respect, and tenderness, even if you are not perfect. That doesn’t mean he was evil, it just means he had his own issues, and they were not your fault. So, no, you are not crazy. It’s okay to know what you know.

    We all have stuff to work on. So, I think the answer to that question, about whether you need to work on yourself, is SURELY yes. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t mess up, and it doesn’t mean it was okay.

    I hope that helps.

  • Rosie

    November 25th, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    I have read down thru a lot of the comments here. I have been looking into and reading alot about NPD over the past few days. Most posts relate to ‘romantic’ relationships which I have learned much from. I would love to hear if anyone has had an experience of this type of abuse from a sibling? My sister treated me with such disrespect my whole life. I have suffered severe anxiety my whole life which led on to depression from which I still suffer today. In the past 4 years I have started to challenge her on things. She is my older sister and I went to her often when feeling low just to talk. Her eyes would glaze over which took me a long time to notice. She would leave her children in to me or my mother all the time without even asking. When I was working full time I took care of her kids on my days off to the point where I just couldn’t cope with it anymore. She worked around my days off. She would rarely say thankyou and when I would be taking care of them in her house when I would be leaving she would just say bye and close the door in my face. We have had about 3 major rows in the past 2yrs, she shouts me down and it is difficult to argue with her because she doesn’t listen. She shows no empathy for anyone and is constantly giving out about her husband because when he is not working he spends all his time outside doing stuff. She lies, denies having said things I know she said,,,,tho I begin to doubt myself at times. I felt a great need to remove her from my life but with family gatherings etc we are bound to meet and eventually start talking again. A family friend who I know she was talking to at a gathering rang me and told me not to be calling to see her. I know that my sister told her she didn’t want me around and I think it is because I have started calling her on things…she is a hypocrite, is extremely spiteful and is always needing to be told(all her life) how beautiful she is. I know my parents were afraid of her as she would often dictate the mood of the house when we were young. I always felt sorry for her because I felt she was in a lot of emotional pain but would not tell me or show it but her rage makes up for it. We had our final conversation about 2 weeks ago when I called her on something. She said terrible things about me and said she wished I was never born and that I ruined her life. I have been her slave all my life and she never showed any respect for me or my profession, belittling me but in subtle ways. I have only awoken to the possibility that she may have NPD as she always has to be right and have the last word but for the first time I hung up on her and I never want to be around her again no matter what. I don’t care who dies or what funerals we have to attend I will do it alone so there will be no contact. She clearly hates me if she wished I was never born. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 4 years ago and when I told her she didn’t reply and I said no more. I am now starting to wonder if I have a wrong diagnosis as looking at the cluster of symptoms one can develop when beaten down by a Narcissist,,,I have them all. For many years I did think I had some kind of PTSD as I had many of the symptoms. I want to take control of my life and start to a HAVE a life. I am no longer working as I feel such severe anxiety that I find it hard even leaving the house and I am on medication which is supposed to help this but doesn’t. Sorry for going on but if anyone could give me any feedback I would be really grateful. Every site I have been to…talks mainly about marriage and relationships. There is little I can find about Narcissistic siblings. My other siblings have removed themselves from her, they are men and cannot stand her but they have no interest in talking about her,,,,their advice is ‘let it go and stay away’. Am I over reacting to her or am I the bad person who made her life miserable because of my problems…I just don’t know and need some clarity. Thanks.

  • Laura

    November 30th, 2014 at 1:37 AM

    I came to the realisation that my boyfriend was a narcissist after about 6 months. I’m disappointed in myself that it took me so long as all the signs were there. In the early days, I kept asking him to slow down, but he never did.
    With hindsight, I think his motivation was to seek financial supply, as much as emotional supply. Thankfully I didn’t fall for that either.
    So I never fell in love (good) and I made the clean break and went no contact a month ago. Yet I still fell a huge sense of loss. I’ve read a lot, which has helped, but still the self doubt is incredible. I lie awake kicking myself for letting him get to me and not getting out sooner.
    Why do I care? He never showed any affection when I needed him. There was no intimacy and he controlled how often we had sex. His personal life is a mess. Broken relationships, no friends, 3 clearly narcissistic children with 3 different mothers. He was in debt up to his eyeballs and could never complete a task, even if he got round to starting it. Everyone else was incompetent / ignorant / stupid compared to him. But his charm and his (diminishing) looks have carried him a long way so far!
    There are a few things that I need to understand to help me to heal. I’ve read a lot but my active mind won’t stop whirring. I’m blocking FB and Twitter to stop me from tormenting myself by looking at what he’s doing and I’m going to see a counsellor this week. But how can you truly close the door and move on? I can’t get away from the feeling that I’ve been punched in the stomach and that I will keep being drawn to men with these characteristics.
    My other question. Do these people know what they are? How can so many of them have such similar characteristics? Do they actively nurture these traits? Do they have websites telling them how to behave and how to perpetuate this lifestyle?
    My friends are sympathetic to a point but they either think that I’m strong and I’ll get over it soon or that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill and trying to put a label on man to justify breaking up with him! Help!

  • Improv Girl

    November 30th, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    ***Warning: This may be triggering to those with sexual abuse history***

    On April 24th, 2014, after months of contemplating and the attention of a stranger who opened my eyes to the possibilities of the world, I broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years. He loved and adored me. He called me every night before he went to bed. He texted me every day to see how my day was going. He wanted to be with me all of the time and would be disappointed if I had other plans or if I just wanted to sleep. He referred to me as the love of his life and the best thing that ever happened to him in front of anyone who would listen and he couldn’t wait for me to move in. He had a friend take me ring shopping less than a year in even though I wasn’t ready to get married yet. About 5 months into our 5-year relationship, he told me he loved me. I’d been considering if I loved him for a few weeks prior to that and decided that I did. So when he said it, I told him I loved him, too. We were (sorry for the cliché) over the moon.

    So what’s the problem, right? Sounds pretty good!

    Well, it was. But that’s when our sex life came to a screeching halt. He could no maintain an erection and didn’t bother trying to have sex with me anymore (he was 30 at the time.) I kept bringing up and every so often he’d try (I believe just to get me to stop complaining) and it just wasn’t working, literally and figuratively. So three weeks would become nine months and nine months would become two years…you get the idea. In the end, we hadn’t really had sex in 4.5 of the 5 years we were together. I felt horrible and unattractive, even though everything else was going really well. And I’d noticed a pattern: When we were together in any sexual way, it had to be how he wanted it, the way he wanted it, and when he wanted it, and he always had to be the dominant one. He was acting out way too much from the porn he loved watching, too – calling me lots of degrading names, trading me like a whore, and being way too rough occasionally. I thought it was just his particular kink. And it all stopped after the “I love you” talk anyway. One night after he rejected me, I feel asleep. When I rolled over, I caught him watching porn, which he tried to hide from me. I usually don’t care if my boyfriends watch porn, but I do when they’re rejecting me sexually. He said he was working through his issues and he really seemed to be making a concentrated effort.

    You may be asking, “How does this relate to Narcissistic abuse?” I’m getting there, but in a word: Control.

    Frustrated and feeling majorly unattractive, I let him try to work through it. He has daddy issues and HUGE mommy issues. Two absentee parents who wanted (and still want) nothing to do with him. And from everything I’ve heard about his mother, not just from him, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So I waited. And waited. And waited. During this time, my job was concurrently sucking the life out of me. I got really ill from the accumulating stress in my life. I ended up quitting to keep my sanity because everyone there treated me like that were better than me. Several months earlier, I started writing again. I had an idea for a young adult novel and a whole notebook full of research and ideas. We decided to take a little getaway in September 2013. I shared my idea with him (I was so excited!) and he told me that I was ripping off an idea from a very popular comic book. I had no idea and I haven’t touched it since.

    After a while and some research, I’d determined he had a Madonna/Whore complex. A bad one. I also noticed that his attitude toward me in general was becoming more critical. I lived too far away (45 minutes). My family was full of stupid rednecks. My sister is a lazy, entitled disgrace. His job (he’d had about a dozen in 5 years) was harder than mine. My college major is useless and that’s why it’s hard for me to get a new job, and I should sue the person who suggested it. My best friend is a “dumbdumb” (even though she has a master’s degree and is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met). I wasn’t trying hard enough to get a new job (even though I was still sick and temping.) He tried driving a wedge between me and the other people I love. He’d yell at me over stupid things, like insisting to pick me up from work and yelling at me about the traffic. About being too tired to drive after a night out. Everything became my fault. And then other times, he’d suggest that I work for him or assign me tasks as if he thought I was really his secretary. I was beginning to feel like the most worthless person in the world.

    He also became insanely jealous of other guys. I found a guy’s wallet and sought him out to return it. The guy asked me out, but I politely declined and told him I had a boyfriend. He brought this up for months. My best work friend was also a guy and he never really wanted me to hang out with him alone, but would get mad if he went with me and didn’t do what he wanted instead. I started doing Improv. My creativity was waning and I wanted to boost it. I also wanted to do stand up. He told me I shouldn’t because I couldn’t handle it or the hecklers.

    (Thanks for sticking with me through this LOOOOOONG story. I’m almost done, I promise!)

    In April, I went to Atlantic City. A sweet, funny, charming guy who was really into me was coming on to me pretty strongly. (I never told my boyfriend about this, obviously.) I told him I couldn’t kiss him because I had a boyfriend and, I have no idea how he knew this, but the guy asked, “What the hell is wrong with your boyfriend? You’re hot and you’re really nice.” It’s like it was written all over me. So I angsted over this for a few days – rejecting this guy who was willing to give me everything I’d craved for so long for a guy who was giving me low self-esteem. So I decided to break it off. It was almost impossible. It hurt so bad. And I guess he didn’t believe me because he called me two days later like nothing had happened and told me he loved me at the end. I didn’t say it back. And I’ve been dealing with that for the last 7 months and I meant when I said I wanted us to be friends. I just wasn’t ready to dive in yet. I was desperate to know what went wrong, why I felt so bad, and why he was critical. Then I determined that he has Vulnerable Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Textbook. Just like the Madonna/Whore Complex. Textbook. And I’ve been trying to recover from it all.

    I found out on Thanksgiving that he’s already been dating someone new exclusively for at least two months. And I’m back at square one. I fluctuate between being sad, angry, relieved, and confused. It’s like I meant nothing (and I understand that I didn’t and I knew this would happen, but it took me by surprise how quickly it did.) And after she posted pictures of them on Facebook (oh, she’s a stage 5 clinger, btw) and stuff, he texted me to see if I was okay for whatever reason because he’s still trying to pretend like she doesn’t exist – he referred to her as a customer! – and facebook messaged me TWICE yesterday, right after I updated. I really want to be friends, but I know it’s probably wise to end contact so I’m not having Stockholm Syndrome anymore. It’s just a lot to process and it’s hard to let go of the person I loved, even if he never existed.

    Kudos for sticking with me.

  • Rosie

    December 1st, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Hi Laura,
    Firstly, I am so sorry to hear that you have had this experience with this man and you are left feeling the way you do. You mention that you feel a sense of loss and I can understand that as these people can be very charming and charismatic and you get sucked into to that. I would see you as being lucky to have got out after 6 months,,,this could have gone on for years! Apart from being a Narcissist he sounds to me that he may have other problems too from what you say about his past relationship and children and his financial situation. You will probably know from reading about these people that there are 2 types of Narcissist,,,Overt and Covert,,,your guy sounds like an Overt one. His controlling behaviour and the way he would undermine you etc can be extremely confusing and painful. I am just wondering what you are feeling besides the fact that you feel used and abused and yet feel a sense of loss. Don’t believe that this is the type of man you will always attract and should it happen which is doubtful at least you know plenty of the signs especially the early sign because they get in there so quickly especially if there is something they can get from you, like you mention (financial/emotional) but they also get their Narcissistic supply but making you feel like crap, and emotionally confused. I believe they are unable to give support in any shape or form because everything is about them…they are emotionally bankrupt. The thing I believe about Naricissists having read so much about them and watched videos about them, is that they do not know they are a Narcissist and they do NOT go to websites etc to become more informed about how to nurture or hone their personality skills. It is a personality disorder, a mental illness and I would doubt that if you tell them they are a Narcissist and need help you would suffer the wrath of their anger as they can not take any form of criticism whatsoever no matter how subtle or constructive. You are very brave to have left this relationship because ALL psychiatrists or experts of the subject of this disorder will tell you to RUN FOR YOUR LIFE because these people are so toxic they will destroy you…so if you are feeling that you need help after a 6 month relationship with one can you imagine if it had continued. I am wondering why you are going to see a councellor? I don’t mean that in a bad way but as I said I would like to know how you are really feeling now. I know you feel like you have been punched in the stomach but what other feelings do you have….what is the real ‘fallout’ that has left you feeling this way? It might help, along with seeing a councellor that you read more and watch youtube videos on this behaviour and the impact these people have on our lives BUT don’t spend too much time researching it, maybe just get a bit more information on the damage these men do. Google ‘Victims of Narcissistic abuse’, you may have done this already but I found it helpful as I totally identified with the symptoms. My Narcissist abuser is my sister and it began in early childhood until I slowly began to recognise what her behaviour was like and how much she had damaged me all my life, I was a constant supply for her. I began to challenge her about certain things and she would go ballistic, I feel she is truly toxic and at times her cruelty and unbelievably quite ‘evil’ attitude at times caused so much damage I find it difficult to believe that this type of person can exist. My parents were afraid of her even. When I began to look into her behaviour etc I came up with NPD,,,I had heard of Narcissism but didn’t really know anything about it and was shocked when I realised that she fitted the traits and characteristics of this disorder. I am rambling now. The only thing I can say Laura is that you have done the right thing by getting rid of him as if it continued you would be destroyed emotionally. Stop,if you can talking to your friends about him as this is just replaying ‘the tape’ as they say and keeps your mind in that whirring state. Work on retrieving your power because whatever you might thing in some way you lost part of yourself along the way during that time. Don’t beat yourself up that you allowed someone like this into your life, these people can charm the birds off the trees when they want something or someone. You are obviously a kind and very sensitive person and Narcissists I believe have an inbuilt radar to help them choose their next victim. Apart from anything, his history of relationships is a bit off putting and those poor mothers of his children could be left in a mess emotionally, who knows but he didn’t stay with any of them or they had enough of him and kicked him to the curb. I feel I have really gone on a bit so sorry about that and I probably have not helped you at all….your email is slightly vague as to the real impact this relationship has had on you but it is obviously worrying because of the fact that you are truly left reeling now. As I said above I would just like to know exactly what you are left feeling. With any relationship we can be left feeling really sad and lonely and remember the good times only(if there were any??) and we drive ourselves mad…like wanting to know their every move and what they are up to now and have they moved quickly on to someone else…these feelings are normal and I believe with some help from the councellor that you will learn to move on and stop worrying that you are going to keep drawing this type of man into your life because you are NOT!!!!!!! so when you read this email just smile and say to yourself…I WILL BE OK…. and you will you know, you just don’t see it right now,,,,it is a process that can be as quick or as slow as it needs to be. It is very painful. He is out of your life and thank God for that, You will move on. Try to tell yourself that this is a ‘life lesson’ and you know ‘lessons are repeated until they are learned’ and that goes for all repeated mistakes we make in our lives that end up repeatedly causing us pain. Please let me know how you are doing and how your session goes with the councellor.. Please forgive me if this email sounds daft in any way,,,,I am only speaking from my own experience. My sister no longer exists to me and I feel liberated and that is a wonderful feeling. As ELLEN says ‘Keep on keeping on’. Hope to hear how you are getting on soon, and would like to know the real impact of this on you.
    Take care and mind yourself,
    Rosie.

  • Rosie

    December 1st, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Hello Improv Girl,
    Wow, have you had a tough time of it with this guy. He sounds more like an Egomaniac than your typical Narcissist though some classic Narcissistic behaviour there too. I have never heard of the Madonna/whore complex but will look it up. From what you have said he sounds like a very sick guy but obviously has some redeeming qualities and charm that attracted you to him in the first place. He has truly wrecked your confidence, continuing to undermine you in every area of your life, and also showing little or no interest in your aspirations and goals for yourself. He was very quick to dismiss your book as being the same story as a comic book…when someone truly loves you they never hurt you like that and would tell you it was really great. From my own experience I believe Narcissists are unable to love in the true sense, they are just incapable of it. Your sex life became non existent because he was unable to participate and only derived sexual pleasure from porn which I find so difficult to believe especially when you were actually there with him and being unable to perform….how soul destroying for you, demeaning and frankly deplorable and cruel. As I have read about the Narcissist is that they feel no shame or care about their victim (you)..you are just feeding their supply. They want you there and can demonstrate real jealousy and anger when you are being admired or want to go out with a friend etc. The bottom line is, in my opinion is that these people don’t ‘feel’ the way the rest of us do, they are immature and deceitful.They prey on people who they know they can make feel diminished for lack of a better word. If you are a kind, sensitive person they seem to know it so there you are being hand picked to feed his deviant personality. Five years is a long time to be with someone like this and now he is off with someone else with pics on Facebook etc,,I think we think they are trying to torment us…’hey look at me, I’ve moved on’ and you are left demented. Calling to see how you are and telling you he loves you are really empty word without meaning. It is truly like Stockholm Syndrome to remain with someone like this until it’s almost like an addiction,,,because they belittle you so often and make you feel worthless and slaughter your self esteem you almost begin to feel that no one else would want you. The guy you met in Atlantic city who told you, you were hot etc but you told him nothing could happen because you had a boyfriend. After 5yrs of abuse like this is extremely difficult to recover from because you feel like you are no longer the person you were or want to be and lose belief in yourself and your abilities. You mention that you want to do stand up comedy and wow how fantastic would that be but now you can, you can do whatever you like to rebuild your self esteem. You are obviously very smart but wondering how did you ever get ‘stuck’ in this nightmare, because when you look back and see with open healed eyes how you could stay in such a clearly abusive relationship,,but the longer it goes on the greater the attachment to the person becomes and while you know at some level that it is not normal you find it almost impossible to leave. But you have and WELL DONE YOU GIRL. If I could make a couple of suggestions,,,For the foreseeable future(not permanent) close down you Facebook account or Twitter or any other social media platform you may be on where he can contact you or you can follow him because it’s almost impossible not to. Your emotions are so confused at the moment that can be all over the place,,,don’t answer his phone calls, delete his number from your phone but memorize it so that you will know it is him. You must delete HIM literally out of your life or else you cannot heal and move on. It can be extremely painful at time, actually most of the time and while you feel relieved at times you are still feeding your own pain by engaging with him in any shape or form. As the experts say and I said it to Laura is RUN FOR YOUR LIFE if you find yourself the victim of a Narcissist. They will not change because they don’t know they have it and it is a mental illness. There is a diagnostic criteria in the DSM IV/V for it. My heart goes out to you and you may need to talk it through with someone who has experience with victims of this kind of abuse. I have not come across the term Vulnerable Narcissistic Disorder but I believe at the root of all types there is a monumental vulnerability there. But it is not worth the time trying to help them because they don’t want to be helped. This guy has other serious issues also but was a classic at the start of the relationship, so attentive etc,,,who wouldn’t get a buzz from that and once they are established in the relationship you’re finished and the party begins for him. They are Jekyll and Hyde and you would be seriously embarrassed to tell some people exactly what went on in your relationship. You now have to ‘run for your life’ metaphorically speaking but there must be NO contact whatsoever PLEASE. You did so well to get out, do you really want a life like that. Be the hot, kind wonderful person that you are and believe it. Take time for yourself without any dating for now, just a suggestion, but not to long. If you are a sensitive person and have some issues of your own, you may not have, but you have to ask yourself WHY did I allow this to go on and not get out sooner but the reality is for some of us we just don’t realize how bad the abuse actually is and tend to rationalize behaviours that are alien to you. It’s complex so if you can see someone it would really help. It will pass, it’s hard work to retrain your brain. When you have the craving to check FB..stop and ask yourself how this is going to help you recover? When you get the thought you then get the stomach churning, almost like an excitement and then we move into action. Thoughts are just thoughts but they do create dangerous feelings(in this context) but this is where you must retrain yourself and NOT act on the thought and feeling. It will delay recovery and if you can do that you will feel proud of yourself. REMEMBER he does NOT CARE ABOUT YOU!!! because he is INCAPABLE. I have learned this the hard way and have been so damaged that it affected my whole life,,career etc. I would love to have been a comic too…I used humour all my life to wing it and it worked for me until I was literally worn to a thread and had to attend a psychiatrist and still attend but not as often. I have had CBT but found it unhelpful possibly because I just could not connect with what the therapist was saying and I felt she thought my course of action was to blame blame blame which was never the case. I am sorry I have rambled on so long and thank you so much for sharing your story because it really helps me and others here to know that we are not alone. I wish you well on your recovery journey..you are on your way. We will be all the stronger for the experience because we are taking back our power and say ‘how dare anyone abuse me like this and take my liberty away’. We can be strong and you Improv Girl may not be feeling strong now but you will again and I truly wish that your desire to become a stand up comes true..go for it…life is too short. Keep in touch and let me know how you are getting on,A day at a time, that’s all we have.

    In the meantime take care and look after yourself
    Rosie.

  • Improv Girl

    December 5th, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    Thank you so much for the beautiful reply, Rosie.

    I am getting my stuff that’s at his house back on Monday and I will be done with him. I’m currently “unfollowing” him, but will be deleting him after I pick it up. A lot has changed in the last week. The day after I wrote this, I woke up with an epiphany: Why am I sweating this loser? I listed all of his bad qualities (very helpful to take control back), thought about all of the bad stuff he did to me, and considered that, beyond all of this, he’s not even really a catch whatsoever. So why was I torturing myself? Then I set off to empower myself. I had my hair colored the color he always told me not to (it looks great and made me feel even greater.) I started looking better when I left the house, and I FEEL better already, like I’m starting to really break free. There is still anger – lots of anger, possibly even bordering in bitter- but I think that’s normal and probably healthy. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. We have a LOT of mutual friends, so that’s something I’ll need to figure out, but as one of my favorite bands sings, “Everyday I Love You Less and Less.” And that’s a GREAT thing. I can’t wait to start actually doing some real comedy stuff and defy him once again. :)

    Thanks again for your kind words and all that you do for the visitors/members of this site. 💓

  • Rosie

    December 6th, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Hi Improv Girl,
    So glad to hear you are feeling better and starting to take back control of your life and also glad to hear that you are ‘unfollowing’ him, good for you because that is sooooo hard to do but it really just feeds into your own insecurities and anger. Ir’s absolutely normal, as you say to feel lots of anger towards this man for all the hurt and damaging impact he had on your life. With regards to your mutual friends,are they your real friends or just people you both happen to know and did you know this man before you started your relationship? As you say there is still work to be done to you are going in the right direction and it was a great idea to make a list of all his bad qualities…it can make you see the light!!! Feeling bitter is something that is a relative of anger and it will all pass in time. You were torturing yourself for been taken for a fool (not that you are ) but that he made you feel like one for being taken in by him…Narcissists, when they choose their target can charm you so much that you almost instantly fall for them, it’s not your fault and you were not to know the twist to come. I am so happy really that you are taking back your power and doing all the right things which ultimately will make you stronger. If this guy is hanging out with your mutual friends for dinner etc,,,ask prior to it and find out if he will be there and if he is going to be there you need to stay away at least for a period of time and forever if possible. You are starting to break free and when you get your stuff from his house that is IT. Delete his phone number and don’t be tempted to follow him on social media, as I said it’s feeding the ‘beast’. Follow your gut, it’s rarely wrong. I’ll bet your hair looks great and you said you started looked better when you left the house,,,it’s amazing the toll it can take on us not only emotionally and psychologically but physically too. So plenty of pampering for you, even a small thing done for ourselves BY ourselves can make us feel great and actually ground us too. It’s me looking after me after all the negativity. Start doing what you love like your comedy stuff BUT do not think about doing it just to DEFY HIM…He is not longer important in ANY way in your life,,,,,You do it for YOU because thinking about doing it as a way to prove to him that you can do it is just giving him power again and remains in your psyche. When you begin to do what you love and get great pleasure from it other things, that seemed so important just pale in significance and I truly hope that happens for you. I don’t know the song you mentioned but keep playing it….and was it really love? Or were you hostage to this man who behavior did not in any way ADD to your life and the only people we really need in our lives on a personal level is people who add to it and us to theirs whether it be friendships/romantic relationships. I wish you all the best on your journey, you are making a good start, continue to do that taking each day as it comes. Believe in yourself and how wonderful you are and if you want to get into comedy then you obviously have a wonderful sense of humor so try and get a sense of humor on your road to recovery from Narcissist abuse…you can use it as material at some stage and may when doing so WAKE UP a few members of your audience!!!! lol. Keep in touch even if it’s six months down the road or whenever you can as I would love to hear how you are doing.
    In the meantime, take good care of yourself.
    Rosie.

  • Peter

    December 7th, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    The cluster B’s personality disorders are similar- but from my personal experience- Andrea you are simply not informed about the difference between a Borderline and a Narcissist. One has no emotions or they are very shallow, the other has deregulated emotions (the BPD) I am Male diagnosed with BPD- Been in therapy for over 3 years, and DBT nearly a year. I am also a Gay man who was involved with someone who was very likely NPD- with traits ASPD. The lack of empathy was stunning- the inability to recognize my needs- so unfulfilling. Then came the ambient abuse/gas lighting. This person literally ravaged my heart and soul. Borderlines can be nice- caring and giving, and be very codependent. I ended this relationship nearly 4 years ago- went into therapy 6 months after that for depression and anxiety. It was finally reveled that I suffered from a personality disorder myself- having 7 of the nine traits in the DSM IV. I consider myself on the long road to recovery from BPD- but let me make it very clear to you- borderlines and narcissists are not the same!

  • Rosie

    December 8th, 2014 at 3:43 AM

    Hi Peter,
    Rosie here,nice to meet you. I totally agree with you that NPD and Borderline’s are very different. NPD’s show a total lack of empathy and never recognise the needs of others. When you are a BPD and get involved with a NPD you can be destroyed especially when in a romantic relationship. I often thought myself to be a borderline(and may be) but never diagnosed. The Narcissist in my life is my sister who made my like hell since I was a child. I see myself as a caring, sensitive individual with great empathy for other people’s pain but am also a caretaker which is not always a good thing. I suffer from anxiety and have done all my life which has lead to serious depression at times. BPD is no longer seen as a psychiatric illness which I find difficult to understand but there is a new DSM V removing BPD from the book. I would have many traits of BPD and wonder if, for me, it my problems were as a result of having this NPD in my family. I am sorry to hear that this man caused you so much suffering and I wish you well on your journey to recovery. I agree that Borderlines and NPD’s are truly not the same, in fact, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.!! Wishing you well Peter and take care,
    Rosie.

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    December 8th, 2014 at 6:41 AM

    @Peter–Respectfully, I am well aware the difference between NPD and BPD as set forth in the DSM…my prior comment was indicating that there are some individuals that have some crossover with traits of both of these “cluster B personality disorders.” What I was referring to is that not everyone fits into a pure clinical category … I hope that clarifies things…I wish you well. Andrea

  • Peter

    December 8th, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Thanks do much Andrea– reading your post, and the ‘targets/victims’ of Narcissists in the replies – I can surely identify with.

    Rosie BPS is still diagnosed as a cluster B personality disorder in the DSM V- it has been improved over the DSN VI however.

    The Narcissist I knew had been married- had three kids. Left the wife after 23 years. Then proceeded to have a track record in the gay community, in which everyone eventually ignores him (just punishment) He still ‘hoovers’ around for me in the most subliminal way- but I told him to his face in no uncertain terms he was in fact NPD. His reply? ‘OH’ -typical. One has to learn that certain evil does exist out there. I as a Borderline have created many troubles for myself- alienated many- but I do not have the kind of power a narcissist has-

  • jennifer

    December 14th, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    I was in a relationship for 6 years until I realized what kind of person I was dealing with. I was the “bread winner” of the family. I took care of him and our daughter. He never helped me out around the house or with our child. When he wasn’t happy when I spoke up or he threatened to leave me every time. He would also tell me how nobody wants me and I was wanting a prince which he said doesn’t exist. He would give us the silent treatment if he didn’t agree with something we did. He never tried to go above and beyond for his family because he knew I would take care of everything. I lost all my friends and my family wasn’t too fond of him. He had everyone convinced that he was such a great person. One day he started focusing on a hobby and completely shut us out. He was home but he never communicated with us. I felt like I was living with a roomate. He felt that if he was at home and not at a bar or with friends he was spending time with us. He couldn’t tell you how our daughter was doing in school, who her friends were, how her day went because he was never involved. Basically he went to work and watched tv. He never went places with us. I finally got fed up and kicked him out. Now he tries to make me feel guilty and playing mind games. It’s so hard to know what right from wrong. I’ve been attending church and trying to surround myself with positive ppl. I’m really trying not to fall for his games. He is a sweet talker and then the next minute he says he wants nothing to do with me. I know what I need to do and continue to keep him out of my life. It’s just not easy. I’m so confused.

  • Rosie

    December 15th, 2014 at 2:29 AM

    Hi Jennifer,
    So sorry to hear about your experience with this man. I am not really sure, from what you say whether you are dealing with a Narcissist or not, you may need to tell us more. I know he said things like ‘no one would want you’ which is a very unkind and is psychological abuse. But you have done the right thing for you and your daughter by kicking him out as he does not seem to be adding to your family life in any way. Has he in other ways put you down and tried to control you? He could have other problems other than Narcissism, we would just need a bit more information on his behavior towards you. He obviously has no interest in your daughter either. I know he is playing mind games with you now and Narcissists are sweet talkers and can be extremely charming…don’t fall for that. I don’t know that Narcissists would find a hobby as you say, as I don’t know if they would devote that much time to something other than themselves and always need someone to feed their Narcissistic supply which I am sure you have read about. This man sounds lazy, lacking in interest in both you and your daughter which could mean that he may be suffering from depression or other disorders. The only thing I can suggest to you is read as much as you can about Narcissism and there are some great videos on youtube which are very informative. I am not saying he is not a Narcissist but from what you have said there are signs there that might suggest he suffers from something else. Check out B clusters of personality disorders. Stick as you are doing with positive people and do not allow him to sweet talk you and fall for false charm….You sound like a strong woman but ask yourself questions like…has this man destroyed my confidence…do I feel worthless…am I a nervous wreck etc. Do some more research in order to see if he is a true Narcissist. You have to protect you and your daughter whether he is or not as he sounds like someone who has no interest in either of you only himself. I would love to hear more from you and see how you are getting on. In the meantime, know that you are not alone and stay strong.

  • robin

    January 4th, 2015 at 1:26 AM

    So married for27 years to a very controlling
    Man that liked everything his way and if you questioned him about his choices he would get furious. We got in debt and he ignored that and used that as an excuse to make me look crazy to his family. After 5 surgeries for breast cancer that was the beginners my of the end. He was a salesman on the road 2 weeks out of the month and by now he started getting on laptop late at night and texting a lot. That started setting up a red flag for me. He left me after Christmas for a woman he met in another state on a porn site A month after our divorce he moved her her and her kids in behind me and loves to keep things stirred up with my daughter. I’m come to realize what a liar he was and to what extinct he would go to try and torment me. I know he still lies about his self worth and how wonderful he is. Over time hoping the hurt will go away he’s not worth the pain and lies he told to tear me down

  • Rosie

    January 5th, 2015 at 3:16 AM

    Hi Robin, sorry to hear about all the pain you have gone through with you ex husband. It is difficult to say whether this man has Narcissistic Personality disorder or not. He does sound controlling and liked to put you down and blame you for circumstances to his family, that were really down to him. The fact that he would become furious when you questioned his choices does not necessarily mean that he had NPD..he could just be a very angry man, one who sees being questioned by his wife on any issue just unacceptable. Whatever he may be he does not sound like a nice man. He has caused you so much hurt and sounds like he was never there for you. He is now out of your life even though he has moved his new woman and kids in to live behind you which show the thoughtlessness of this man. Let him try and stir things up with your daughter if he want but you cannot let it affect you. His behaviour is totally unacceptable but you have to let it go and move on with your life. You have to rebuild you self esteem and begin to find joy in life and it would be really helpful if you could get some therapy in order for you to be able to move on and let him go. Remember what you have been through and survived both physically and mentally…yes you have survived so begin to take a day at a time and try and get on with living YOUR life. Ignore what he is up to and remember the best revenge is to show that you are happy and getting on with your life. I know this is difficult to do but even if you have to pretend at times, do it. I hope you have a good friend that you trust and can talk to because it can be really helpful. You can always come here to the site and offload because I believe that writing stuff down to be very helpful, whether you do it here or have a journal of your own or both. I wish you well, it takes time to recover from living with an abusive man and one that likes to control everything because slowly over the years you suddenly don’t really know who you are anymore. Now you have a clean slate with regards to this man and you have to let him go mentally and emotionally and be thankful that he is not your husband any more and has no control over you or what you do….don’t feed into his ‘stirring things’ up with your daughter because that is what he wants,,,to control you even when he is in another relationship. This new woman he has will learn soon enough that he is not a nice man and if she has a brain will run for the hills.. While you are still reeling emotionally just take the time to say to yourself.. that this is your time now and you are going to do your utmost to be happy make the decision to no longer feed into his madness. Stop allowing him to have power over you, even from a distance, through your daughter. You will be ok. I hope that your Breast Cancer has been treated and you are on the road to recovery. You take care of yourself and we may talk again soon. Rosie.

  • Lucy

    January 7th, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Hi I was hoping someone could give me an opinion if they think my one is an N or something else.. he is only 18 myself 19 we were in the same class in school and the 1st year of our relationship was great he was too good to be true to be honest very intense thought nothing could stop us all that stuff we did argue but during he acted as if it was a debate any the day of our leaving cert he blindsighted dumped me I was shocked and devistated barely able to complete my exams I pined and begged he headfucked me to no extent until I stopped contacting him where he played and later admitted to using Facebook to get to me liking other girls pics and stuff like that I was so confused why he did this to me I never done anything bad he was worshipping me days before why would he hurt me we later got back together and told me I had been emotionally abusing him I agreed but didn’t believe him I just wanted him back but again he dumped me out of nowhere blaming me again ignoring me as if I didn’t matter just as I settled into the relationship he dumps me and blames me for fights we had months ago he never shows remorce or guilt for hurting me he can leave me so easily I thought I was going crazy whenever I agreed with the break up he’d start the whole I just love you but I can’t when I begged or pined he’d turn cold and say mean things anyway he came back after breaking my heart with flowers the whole lot begging me back I was skeptical first but he wouldn’t stop so I agreed he told me he was wrong about the emotional abuse he would talk to my parents and friends who hate em after everything we were happy for a month until he dumps me again out of nowher ignores and blocks me saying everything from you don’t deserve my love you had plenty of chances to make me happy you fucked me up to how he hasn’t tried to move on and he should try being with other girls cos he knows during our break up I was with someone but hes gone again hes so young to be this manipultive he always dumps me during a significant time like the day I moved out to college and new years eve and I think he doesn’t think I’ve gotten support from family or friends cos im too scared to admit to them that I’ve been seeing him which empowers him cos I wouldn’t realise hes fucked up but I have and they all tell me he’s an N and he will come back for more I know im young and him but ive no doubt that if he truly is he will worsen as he ages as he seems to be every time we get back together I’ve been going through this for nearly 2 years and I would love for him to change but it might be hopeless thanks for reading

  • Rosie

    January 8th, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Hi Lucy,It is really hard to tell if he is Narcissist or not. He sounds like a bit of looneytune alright but it is hard to tell what his problem is besides making you miserable. whatever he is I would suggest that you let him go completely….it will be very painful but you cannot continue in a relationship where he drops you when the mood takes him and he knows well that this caused you terrible pain and confusion. Ask yourself,,,’How is this guy adding to my life’..If you can give yourself at least 5 ways in which he adds or enriches your life then maybe but I doubt you can really think of any because someone who treats you this way does not love you and he sounds to me like he gets pleasure from hurting you. I don’t think he is good for you and you should move on really,,,seriously. It doesn’t matter what his issues are or the reason why he behaves the way he does. His behaviour illustrates that he is unstable in some way and you should run for the hills. It’s difficult but you must think about yourself,,,you don’t need this kind of abusive…up down..relationship. I think you know this in your gut already or else you would not be here looking for help. When your emotions are in turmoil as a result of the way this guy is treating you, it’s sounds like a no brainer to and I don’t mean to sound callous because I am not….I am just concerned about you. Please let me know how you are getting on. Think seriously. Good luck to you Lucy.
    Rosie.

  • what now

    January 9th, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    need help, worked in place, where they mobbed me, went into community, work all to ruin me and my life. I am there and cant get a job, I had a great job prior. I don’t know who to turn to as I have moved and no one wants to help. I am so at a lost as now I realize so much about me. need to hide from these narcissist ppl and get the drama away from me. I am a complete mess.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:09 AM

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  • Diana

    January 9th, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    After reading all of these posts, I started thinking to myself that I am not the only one who has gone through this. I had never even heard of the term narcissist. It wasn’t until just recently that I discovered my ex was a narcissist. Between weekly therapy sessions and researching narcissism it has helped me to learn all about it and has made me stronger. If only I knew about this a year and a half ago maybe I would have changed the outcome and avoided a broken heart because I would have been stronger. Let me rewind and tell you my story.

    I met this wonderful, amazing man who I had fallen in love with almost immediately. I had never looked at him in that way before until we started talking more and joking with each other. He defines the term “narcissist”. He is the ultimate charmer, very charismatic and intelligent in his field of work, but also seems to be about “him” all the time. I was so gullible in the beginning and I am the type of person that always sees the best in everyone and I think he knew that and this is why this experience tore me apart physically and emotionally. We had built a very strong friendship and once that line was crossed it had changed everything.

    Once that line had been crossed, he was incredibly sweet and attentive. I had heard from him constantly and after the first time we had hung out alone together he had told me that he loved me. I was a little hesitant at first, but I was head over heels in love with him that nothing mattered. We spoke all the time and sent each other emails on a constant basis. We had planned a future with one another including talk of marriage and children.

    It wasn’t until the past six months where I had really seen his true colors show. When he would pull away I would get instantly depressed and upset thinking what did I do to deserve this treatment. When he did want to me it was like nothing bad happened. I had even confronted him about his feelings and I always got indirect answers from him. This left me so confused because he was the master manipulator of mind games. One minute I was everything to him and the next I didn’t exist. I would break down and cry myself to sleep because I couldn’t understand why he treated me this way. This constant push/pull would leave me feeling crazy. He would also like to twist his words around to make it sound like it was my fault. Some of his actions include giving me the silent treatment whenever he felt like it. This was due to me calling him a narcissist and when I would confront him about the way he was treating to me or if I got to close. He would seem to get more distant the more I tried to get closer to him. However the more I pulled away, the closer he got to me. He would also devalue me. For example this included inappropriate gestures or conversations when I would try to avoid it. He would make sexual comments a lot even after he was the one who ended things. He would make comments about other guys who liked me and how they wouldn’t measure up in certain “areas”. Everything with him was always sexual. He broke my heart and would continue to pull me back in as soon as I started getting stronger and moving on. It makes me laugh because he was the one who told me it wasn’t going to work out, but yet continues to try to find anything to strike up a conversation with me like we were friends before it crossed that line. He can’t be my friend without it turning sexual in some way. I used to be a confident person and he completely destroyed that. I was deeply in love with the man. He tells me that I have a special place in his heart and that is the truth. It is hard to believe anything he says since he is a good liar. Why is it that I exist when it is convenient for him? He wants to be “friends”, but also wants the sexual part of it without the love/commitment. I don’t think he ever loved me. Narcissists can’t love. It is hard to learn that he just used me when he tells me that was not the case. He has such an ego that he has to have everyone love him. Forget having a conversation with him because the moment you talk about you he interjects with something about him. After seeing his true colors, it has allowed me to move on and I don’t even want him anymore (love or sexually). I want to be his friend because we had such a strong friendship before, but it will never be like that again. I have told him I don’t like the sexual comments or gestures, but he continues to do them. I feel like he just wants to control me with the Jekyl/Hyde routine. I also think he is a somatic accumulator narcissist. Reading up on this he values things as objects, including myself. He always talks about his cars, home or other objects. I am just an object to him. He wants me to want him and honestly I don’t think I want him anymore. I am still working through this as he did a number on my self-esteem. It helps to share my story and let it out and reading everyone’s posts has helped me a lot. I wish I could say he wasn’t a narcissist, but unfortunately he has all of the characteristics.

  • Lucy

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:22 AM

    Hi rosie thanks for your advice and I realised your right it doesn’t matter what’s wrong with him he won’t change and its my job to charge him. Taking a look at him I see him more as spoilt brat pussy baby then anything else who has no problem destroying the vulnerable to make himself feel important. I feel silly for giving him that much power over me but no more of it. Neither will I let him fool me again with his manipulation, stop believing the lovely hearty things he says but more importantly stop believing the horrible things he says. I can probably think of five positive things but I can think of about 20 reasons that he should have no place in my life his bad side is just too horrible to live with and feeling confident because I got through his bullshit

  • Rosie

    January 11th, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    Hi Lucy,
    I am happy to hear that you are feeling more positive and starting to see this guy for what he is…a cruel manipulator. You are right, it is not your job to change him and what would you even be bothered, there is someone else out there for you that will love and respect you and never put you down and treat you badly to make himself feel better about himself. He has had that power over you because you gave it to him and now you are taking it back and keep it. It is a common downfall for some of us women to fall for guys who build us up with their charm etc and we get a buzz from it. The reason, I believe is that we sometimes feel such pain and believe the put downs that when they come back we fall for it all over again…..It is then we need to look at ourselves and look at the part we played in the relationship ie. why we give our power away. It can be that we suffer low self esteem and we may not even realise it because women who know how they should be treated will just not entertain this type of behaviour in a relationship. Know your boundaries and be mindful of them and keep this man out of your life. Good luck
    Rosie

  • Rosie

    January 11th, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    Hi Diana, well you have been through a rough time with this guy. He does sound like a Narcissist to me. It is good that you have read up on this disorder as it has given to good insight into his behaviour and shows you that he cannot change because Narcissists don’t know there are Narcissists and you are wasting your time telling them they are because they will never change because they can’t. This man has seriously effected your self esteem, and you have been sucked back in again and again by him even though your relationship is over. I know it is extremely difficult but my advice to you would be get this man out of your life completely. You CANNOT be friends, for a couple of reasons. 1. You may not be able to resist his charm or his manipulative talk with you, we can all so easily fall for it because we all loved to be charmed and buzzed.If sex follows and then you are left alone again,,each time you lose a part of yourself. 2. Do you really want a FRIEND like him..He is not capable of a friendship with you or anybody else…he is only interested in himself…when you converse with him he changes the subjects to talk about himself…he will never be a good listener and even when you think he is listening he is already thinking of what he is going to say about himself!!! no kidding. This is not a friend in real terms. A true friend does not use and abuse you??? No, they care about you and want the best for you,,,this man can NEVER be that friend to you no matter what he says( maybe he believes he can be???) but he can’t. It will take time but you are already getting stronger so keep on trying to get more strong. Be careful, when you give him the push completely he will come back stronger than ever because the Narcissist hates rejection because the believe that someone could not love them,,,,so be on your guard and repeat to yourself daily that he will never change. When he knows you mean what you say he will eventually give up and move on to another woman who will find herself in exactly the same position as you. You will get over him in time but it is hard. Acknowledge that to yourself and work through it. Time will heal and in the process learn to know yourself and rebuild your positive feelings about yourself. The day will come when you meet someone who will be right for you and will treat the way you deserve to be treated and having had the experience you have had with this man…you will soon know the difference between a Narcissist and the ‘Norm’. The best of luck to you, and keep us posted on how you are doing. You WILL be ok.
    Rosie

  • Sylvana

    January 12th, 2015 at 6:12 AM

    I am currently involved with a man who was previously in a 21 month volatile relationship with a NPD female. She left him abruptly 2 months ago and crushed him! This wonderful man was shut out, no contact and dumped via email. He is most definitely traumatized and grieving still for the relationship he thought he had, despite the abuse.

    We met and immediately hit it off! I am polar opposite to his ex, he kept telling me and before I knew it he was professing his love for me! It was soon.. we had only been dating a couple of weeks.

    Suddenly, out of nowhere, this wonderful man who would text me constantly and tell me how much he loved and missed me… faded and disappeared. We spent a night together, had a wonderful time and went off to work in the morning and then he shut me out for two days without any communication! I had no idea what happened. (It is almost as if he did to me what his ex did to him… only smaller scale… they were going to be married)

    Finally he did respond to my text and call and said he did not have the energy within him for a relationship. He needed and could only give friendship.

    I am confused because he initiated our relationship… he fast-tracked it by saying I am falling for you and I love you…. then, when he has me falling for him, he backs away! I was blindsided completely!

    I realize now that he began dating me far too soon after his abandonment from his ex. He is in therapy and also on anti-depressants.

    The thing is…. I am in love with him and would very much like this relationship to develop, over time, into a healthy one between two compatible, mature people who love one another.

    Is it possible for him to heal from that traumatic experience? I am fine just being friends with him and moving our relationship back a few steps…. he is worth it!!!

    What can I do to assist in his healing process? Is there hope for him?? Hope for us??

    I would hate to lose him and his friendship.
    Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!

  • Diana

    January 13th, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    Thanks Rosie for your kind words. It has helped to get information about this since I didn’t know much about this to begin with. You are absolutely right about being friends with this man. I was hoping that it could go back to that way, but since we have a history and he is a narcissist, it is just not the case. He keeps trying to talk to me and I will acknowledge him a little and then try to distance myself since I am still healing from this abuse. I am just trying not to get hooked in again because I feel that any piece of information I give him about my life he will use to his advantage to draw me back in. So I haven’t mentioned a lot about me and my life when I talk to him. He really did a number of my self-esteem and now I am rebuilding it back up. I think that he already has someone else and before I knew he was a narcissist I would feel jealous. However, knowing who he really is makes me feel bad for whoever his next target it because they will think he is the greatest thing and then they will be discarded just like I was and left feeling confused, used and abused. I am just taking this day by day and finally moving on with my life and being happy. He will never be happy and will always want the confirmation that he is the greatest person and I pity who he is with. This relationship was very exhausting and I am done with trying to figure him out because deep down I know what he is and I think he is starting to see that I am stronger and not giving into his BS stories anymore.

  • MaryA

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    After being married to a narcissist for 13 years and divorced for 3, I am still struggling with my recovery. The one issue that I cannot seem to come to terms with is my part in the failed marriage. I was the one that cheated. For years I suffered the amped up abuse and control that occurred because of my infidelity, until I could no longer function. I felt like I deserved it and it was my cross the bear. Towards the end of the marriage, the abuse grew from emotional and controlling to physical and sexual. I started standing up for myself, which was something he had not experienced, and he could not tolerate it. He would say “who is this person that is so cavalier?” In all my research, it seems that the narcissists are the ones to be unfaithful. Is it uncommon for the abused spouse to be the one to cheat? My struggle is that I caused this abuse. I know that infidelity is unforgivable. I am still shocked by my behavior because that is not who I am. Any input would be so helpful to help me move on and not feel so terribly guilty and that the abuse was deserved.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    Thank you for your comment, MaryA. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Diana

    January 14th, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    Diana your story resonates with mine. I was married for 27 years to a narcissist and am at last free and in recovery. One day at a time and I do the same in terms of not allowing him to draw me back in. It’s a journey that I know is necessary and I am in relationship with myself now. For the first time I can make my own decisions without having to justify them to him. I feel liberated and the grief is manageable as I believe I have grieved the marriage for years. Another Diana.

  • Andrey

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:11 AM

    9 Years and one kid together with a narcissistic woman… now we are separated but I feel the aftermath still on the same level as just after we broke up. (1 year ago) My heart is wrenched out… Sometimes I think that she is a robot, a badly programmed robot…

  • Rosie

    January 15th, 2015 at 1:20 AM

    Hi Sylvanna,
    I am sorry to hear that you have found yourself in this situation. This man most definitely got into a relationship with you way too far but in my opinion he was looking for comfort as he most likely was in great pain. I admire him for stepping back and realizing that he went in way too soon. If you can be patient, extremely patient and just be a good friend to him for however long it takes then possibly you both could have a future. Remember, this poor guy is emotionally bankrupt as a result of the abuse for his Narcissist ex and even if your relationship had continued on an intimate basis you would probably find that he could not be the man that you wanted him to be as he may have been emotionally unavailable to you as a result of his hurt. He will have difficulty trusting women again but it is good to hear that he is in therapy and while he is taking antidepressants at present, he probably needs them for now as I am sure that he is deeply depressed. At the moment as I said just be a good friend and try not show your true feelings for him as this might scare him away. I know that you both hit it off quickly and you feel that you love this guy but it will take time for him to heal and trust again and there is no way of knowing how long it will take. Narcissists can leave you questioning every single thing about yourself, I know that I was left completely diminishes as a person, not knowing who I really was and why I never saw what the person was doing to me until I began to challenge their behavior. It has the most profound effect on your whole being and when you leave you have to rethink who you are and rebuild your confidence in everyway and learn how to trust people again. You are always wary of others, even friends,, you wonder if there is a hidden agenda etc. All I can say Sylvanna is be there for him without expectations, meaning be there for him as a friend with no conditions attached if you can do that because he will need positive people in his life whom he can trust and trust does not come overnight, it is earned. He has much work to do for himself to recover from the abuse and remember too that sometimes the abuser returns into the lives of the abused so his ex may show up (or not) and if she does she will try and win him back with her charm and whatever other tools she has. I hope if this should happen that this man will be strong enough to know that this is a NO NO and tell her where to go. We can be so deeply hurt that we go back to our abuser as we believe they have changed,,,how crazy is that. I hope this does not happen and that he gets on with the business of recovery. All you can do is be patient and be a good friend. I wish you well Sylvanna and keep us posted on how you get on. Take care
    Rosie

  • Rosie

    January 15th, 2015 at 2:04 AM

    Hi MaryA,
    You poor thing. 3yrs on and still struggling. It does not matter that you were unfaithful during your marriage,,you did NOT deserve the abuse you received at the hands of your Narcissist husband. GUILT is a powerful thing, it eats you up inside and tells you the lie that you deserve all you get,,not so. You made a mistake and have you asked yourself why you cheated when you say that this is not the person you really are? Could it be that you were not be given the love and emotional need that one should get from a husband in a marriage? Only you can answer that but regardless, your husband choose to stay in the marriage and boy did he have ammunition to feed his NPD…it is almost like because of your infidelity that he had a license to abuse you terribly. Now you are here 3yrs later still blaming yourself which of course I can understand but really it is not your fault. Your husband would have abused you no matter what because that is what Narcissists do. You have to learn to forgive yourself and move on. Everyone makes mistakes but we do not deserve ANY form of abuse as a result of our mistakes let alone what you had to put up with. It was like you were letting yourself be punished and believed as you say that ‘this was your cross to bear’ (you must be Catholic!!!!) It was not your cross to bear, no one deserves the abuse you suffered at the hands of your husband and it is so great that you got out alive. Learn to forgive yourself and let go of the guilt and the belief that you deserved any of that abuse because YOU DID NOT!!!! Mary, you HAVE to move on now,,,you have beaten yourself up for long enough now. STOP blaming yourself and try and see it all from another persons perspective as in..if it was you sister or a friend who found themselves in the same situation..how would you feel? I think you would feel differently. Have you had any therapy? If not maybe you should but either way Mary, please forgive yourself and KNOW that you NEVER deserved the shocking abuse you received. Pat yourself on the back for standing up to him eventually and that you got out,,,,,otherwise you would have had such a terrible life. Learn to be happy now. Do things that make you happy. You do not have to be in another relationship or anything to be happy. Work on the things that this man clearly took from you ie your confidence and belief in yourself,,,you are still believing that because you cheated that it was all your fault, stop now and let it go, you have given this belief way too much power and it’s time to say goodbye to the guilt and the belief that it was all your fault etc. Life is for living, it’s not easy when we come out of this type of relationship but we can have happy lives and thank God that we got out. I wish you well Mary. You have bore your cross for long enough now, it’s time to put it down, let it go and move on and be grateful that you are alive and no longer living a life that no one should ever have to experience, ever. Keep us posted as to how you are getting on. I wish you well Mary.
    Rosie

  • Jacky

    January 15th, 2015 at 2:23 AM

    I was also the unfaithful partner of a narcissist. Forgive yourself you were looking for the love you deserved but never got.

  • MaryA

    January 15th, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Thank you Jacky. You are right. Sometimes forgiving ourselves is so difficult. I’m working on it. Now I’m working on parallel parenting with him and all that comes along with that. For so long I was scared. But more than that, I was unsure of myself. I still struggle with trusting my instincts and judgment. I never imagined this was such a long road. I’m even more shocked that when he was “squeezed” he showed his true character. And that I was married to a monster.

  • MaryA

    January 15th, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Rosie- you brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your kind words. I Held on to the hopes that my ex husband would forgive me, but I know that will never happen. I’ve truly got to forgive myself. You said something that made a HUGE lightbulb go on! That it gave him ammunition to feed his NPD. I NEVER thought of that. That is so true. I was letting myself be punished. Over and over. And yes… I was raised Catholic, and we love our guilt. In searching, I think for me, I’m holding on because it explains the abuse. It defines his NPD. it gives a reason for it. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that he is just this way. That I married such a terrible person. That I had children with a terrible man. That I have to be tied forever to him. That my children are growing up with this selfish, controlling unlovable father. My oldest is already seeing things for what they are. As strange as it sounds, I guess it comforted me thinking that what I did caused him to be this way. In the hope that as he healed, he would change. I now know that is not true. Gosh, is hindsight ever 20/20. I know why I was unfaithful. I felt unloved. Ignored. Unimportant. Worthless. All because of how he treated me. When I did something so out of character of myself, it shook me to my core. I questioned my integrity and who I thought I was. At the root of it all… I guess I just want there to be a REASON he is the way he is. Not just because that IS who he is.

  • Rosie

    January 15th, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Mary,
    I am glad that you are starting to get a picture now of the ‘reality’ of your situation. You did NOT cause your husband to be this way and look back,,,wasn’t he ‘that way’ before you had an affair??? You have listed the reasons for being unfaithful and who could blame you for looking elsewhere for some love and respect. We all do things at times in life that we cannot believe we have done,,it feels like it goes against the grain of who we think we are. But sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we never dreamed we would go but that is not to say that we have lost our integrity and core values,,,,no,,,we are screaming for help in our own minds and act out in ways that we find will give us some relief, even if it is only for a time or until we are found out!!! This is human nature,,,,we need nurture and when we are undermined and made to feel worthless it causes us great pain and confusion because the person who should respect and love us the most does not appear to be doing their job so to speak. Just stop beating yourself up and forget the Catholic guilt..I am Catholic and KNOW what that guilt can do. I also know now that God would never want you to blame yourself in ANY way for what this man has made you suffer. With regards to your children, just help them along the way, they will quickly see their father for what he is but you cannot speak badly of him to them. Of course children are not stupid and know alot more than we think. When you stop blaming yourself and become the person you are supposed to be then it will rub off on your children. You are not tied to this man forever, that is a myth. Yes, you have children together but you should try and practice being detached from him, as they say fake it til you make it. Once you stop blaming yourself it is easier to detach emotionally and believe me once he knows that you could not care less about him, his attitude towards you will change because you have taken back your power. Don’t give him that power in any shape or form,,if contact is necessary because of the children remain detached. This man has a serious personality disorder and can no more help the way he is than the man in the moon. Narcissists do not change because they do not know they are Narcissists. Stand up, dust yourself down and say ‘HELLO NEW ME’ and forgive yourself. You have lots of good living to do yet and remember the best is yet to come.
    Rosie

  • Rosie

    January 15th, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    Hi Andrey,
    Sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Many of us here have been through what you are feeling when having left a relationship with a Narcissist. The pain is great and deep, and in a way you have described my Narcissist to a tee because they were actually like a robot too though I never thought of it that way before. They are unfeeling, emotionally inept and lack the maturity to love I believe. They thrive on making us miserable I think,,,with the putdowns and sheer lack of interest in anything you have to say. Everything must be about them and we prop them up constantly because we are afraid not to because of a backlash and wish to make life as easy as possible for ourselves until the abuse becomes too much and we have to say ENOUGH. It is a painful and distressing time to leave any relationship but leaving a relationship when one has suffered abuse in any way from a Narcissist seems a lot more difficult because we are left depleted. We have lost faith in who we are and are no longer sure of what we feel. I believe, and can only speak from my experience, is that we give such power to these people in the hope that they will change. Our minds have become warped because we believe everything they tell us,,,all the bad stuff anyway. They push and pull us with charm one minute and pure evil the next. Andrey, have you tried therapy or just talking to a good friend who is understanding and a good listener. You have a child together but this does not tie you for life…you are 2 separate people with 2 separate minds and you need to get YOUR mind back and retrieve your power in order that you can move on with your life. Robots don’t have feelings and do not have the ability to empathize, neither do Narcissists. They are just made that way, and cannot be changed. I wish you well. It is time to do something about how you are feeling(raw) and help yourself to be able to look forward to a better life.
    Rosie

  • Brent

    January 15th, 2015 at 8:23 PM

    So glad I found this blog article after a recent horrific divorce from someone like this. I had to hire the 2014 top female attorney in Minnesota in order to deal with the ridiculous false accusations. 14 years of marriage where I had to deal with constant lying in private but to have my wife’s incredible manipulation skills now used against me in public is a whole other trauma. So unfortunate our amazing 11 year old daughter had to be exposed to a long difficult and drawn out process. My x-spouse tried for sole custody based on a laundry list of false accusations but Thank GOD we are now near 50/50 custody. I recommended to evaluator that we include a parenting consultant and in 3 weeks she has created such drama that we have already spent $3,000 on this persons involvement. Now with 50/50 custody, co-parenting is going to be a daily struggle to deal with the constant accusations and protect my daughter in the meantime. I would appreciate and am open to any and all wisdom from x-spouses of these types.

  • Andrey

    January 16th, 2015 at 2:22 AM

    Thank you Rosie.

  • Andrea Schneider

    January 22nd, 2015 at 8:52 PM

    I am glad this article has been helpful. Working with a trained licensed clinician who provides psychotherapy for people recovering from narcissistic abuse is essential to healing and recovery. I offer psychotherapy/life coaching/ telehealth . Please contact me through my profile if interested in learning more. Sincerely, Andrea Schneider, LCSW

  • Mary

    February 2nd, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    “Consult a licensed psychotherapist who is trained in narcissistic abuse recovery in addition to locating a qualified support group to help you through this time.”
    How do I find such a person who truly understands the effects of narcissistic abuse, especially by someone extremely highly sophisticated in covert aggression and deception. Unless someone gets it, a person is likely to be subjected to further invalidation by an untrained therapist. A simple therapist search tells me little on this matter. I have asked one therapist to ask colleagues in this area if any of them are experienced with this, and she came up with nothing.

  • Andrea Schneider

    February 2nd, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    @Mary– this is frustrating, indeed, trying to find qualified support. There are specialists in narcissistic abuse recovery, just few and far between are licensed to practice this very specialized and complex form of PTSD…I would like to point you to a forum with Michelle Mallon, MSW on FB for survivors: facebook.com/NarcissisticVictimSyndrome…she is working on generating a vetted list of practitioners…the ideal is an in-person provider who specializes. If you can find unconditional support, that is a beginning. Perhaps then you locate a specialist (licensed therapist) who can help you via telehealth in addition to in-person psychotherapy. Feel free to contact me directly through my profile for more suggestions. Andrea Schneider, LCSW

  • Gretchen

    February 2nd, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    Wow! after reading this article and these comments, I’m even more worried about my daughter. She met someone online and within 7 months of just talking, texting and skyping, she moved to CA to live with them. There have been so many red flags, but I can’t seem to get through to her. She has to check in every time she gets to work, leaves work, goes to lunch. She doesn’t like some of her favorite movies, or books anymore because he doesn’t approve and overreacts to what I would call small annoyances. For instance, when we were visiting her, my daughter took us sightseeing and we got delayed in eating lunch at noon and ate around 2 instead, delaying our dinner with this person by an hour. You’d think the whole world was ending! My daughter was on the phone with him crying and appoligizing for letting us eat a late lunch! ..she did nothing wrong…ridiculous! Every little thing turns into a catastrophe. He accuses my daughter of being rude and selfish, which she is NOT!
    How much longer is this going to go on? What can I do as a bystander, without alienating her?

  • Rosie

    February 5th, 2015 at 10:17 AM

    Hi Gretchen,
    So sorry to hear about your daughter. I know how worried you must be and from the short comment you have written I can see why. If he overreacts to such a small thing as having a late lunch…well it says a lot. There is no way to know if this man has NPD but there is certainly some behavior that warrants concern. I am not sure if there is a whole lot you can do really but be there for your daughter by keeping regular contact with her. You have said she doesn’t like her favorite movies/books anymore because he does not approve????? This surely indicates that he is very controlling and is in the process of making your daughter lose her identity. Does your daughter suffer low self esteem?? The reason I ask is because he KNOWS that she will not challenge him because someone who is totally confident in who they are would not stand for his behavior in any way and would have run for the hills by now. I do not mean to undermine your daughter but when people are victims of emotional abuse, they are often too nice for their own good, that is just my opinion….and they are easy targets for this type of abuse. Does this man have any endearing qualities??? Was he a nice guy when your daughter was in contact with him for the 7 months??? or, as you mentioned, ‘the red flags’…did they come before or after your daughter moved to be with him???? I am sure you have tried to get your daughter to see that his behavior is unacceptable and it is really difficult for you to see her being treated in this way. As I said, I am unsure that there is anything you can do unless your daughter begins to see what he is really like… a bully by the sounds of it.. she may be afraid of him as she may have questioned some of his behavior but he would have become Mr.Nice Guy if she threatened to leave or said that maybe the relationship was not working etc. These men are extremely manipulative and know how to play mind games. I just don’t know what to tell you Gretchen, I wish I could tell you what to do but I can’t. It is a situation in which you feel powerless and until your daughter decides that this may be a toxic relationship then there is little you can do other than, as I said, stay in regular contact and in a gentle way express your concerns and tell her that no matter what she can come home at any time. I would love to know what age your daughter is and what kind of relationships she has had in the past, if any? I wish you well Gretchen,,, keep in touch and if you have a good friend that you trust as I am sure you have, keep talking to them. The only other real option is that the next time you visit your daughter (and if you can afford it, visit sooner rather than later) is,,if this man behaves is a way that is unacceptable (and from your short comment I see that you are a sensible woman who know what’s normal and what’s not) I would call him on his behavior, in a humorous way, if possible….I know you don’t want to alienate your daughter so you must tread carefully but if it was my daughter I would definitely challenge him on his OTT behavior…but that’s just me because I wouldn’t be able to stop myself but it may be the only way..Good luck and keep looking for ways to deal with this. I don’t think I have been any help but I do know about NPD and if this man has it then he will continue to control the relationship because these people always believe they are right and NOTHING will change that unless they seek help and believe me the percentages of NPD’s that seek help are slim to nil….Take care.
    Rosie.

  • Gretchen

    February 5th, 2015 at 6:56 PM

    Thanks Rosie, It helps just to talk about it and know I’m not crazy in thinking these things. My daughter is 23 and he is 35. She doesn’t have low self-esteem. She’s always been very confident and voices her opinion (up until now anyway). The red flags started before she moved there. The constant checking in and immediately answering texts. I wasn’t even allowed to knock on her door because it reminded him she was still living at home. I’m just at a loss as to why this person was so attractive to her in the first place.

  • Rosie

    February 6th, 2015 at 6:19 AM

    Hi Gretchen,
    The age difference is quite big alright isn’t it especially when she is only 23. That’s not to say relationships with an age difference like this do not work as a good friend of mine married a man 12 years older than her at aged 22 but the difference is (by the sound of it) is that, she could do no wrong and he adored her and still does after many years of marriage and 2 grown up children. There is no advice that I can give you other than to stay in regular contact because she must feel that she is in love with him for whatever reason, especially when you can not see what attracted her to him initially. If she is a confident young woman then all you can do is trust that she knows (or thinks she does) what she’s doing. I know how difficult this is for you and I would love to tell you how to fix it but I can’t. You certainly are not crazy in thinking these things, a Mother knows. Keep in touch anyway and let us know if there any developments. In the meantime, take care of yourself.
    Rosie.

  • Caysie

    February 7th, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Hi all.. I just got out of a relationship and it kind of sounds like he’s a narc..
    When we first met he knew all the right words, swooped me off my feet.. Within a couple of months we were moving in together. Another couple of months and we were engaged. He lost his job 6 months ago and never bothered getting another, I work full time for little money, pay for everything, do house work and run around for him and his family. He leaves for days on end but the moment I mention going to my mothers for a coffee all s**t hits the fan.. Being told I’m worthless, stupid sl*t, go sit on a d**k because it’s all I’m good for and a lot worst of names everyday and not knowing what I did wrong? I still don’t know where I went wrong? I’m 20 years old and have been dealing with it since I was 18.. I’m not sure if it is NPD or not, please give some light on this..

  • Rosie

    February 7th, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Hi Caysie,
    So sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this kind of abuse at such a young age and have been for 2 years. Where he has NPD or not does not matter one small bit. He is treating you like dirt and no one deserves that. Get out now while you can. He is controlling you in the worst way by demeaning you and calling you these horrendous names,,,it is just unacceptable. You know this, you do. Do not let this continue in any shape or form. Do not make excuses for him, you owe him nothing. He swooped you off your feet with a whirlwind romance and was extremely good at doing it by telling you everything he knew you would like to hear, that is what these men do. He has no interest in getting another job and is happy for you to be the breadwinner, working full time for low pay, it’s not good enough and more than that it is scary that he feels it is ok to treat you this way when clearly it is not. I know it is easy for me to say but from my experience, there is no talking to people like this because they do not want to know what you think. You do not HAVE to do anything wrong for this man to treat you like this, he would do the same to any other woman that was in your place and believe me when you do move on he will be onto his next victim as quickly as he can. You do NOT have a choice,,,,,think about it…is this the life you want???? You are only 20 with your whole life ahead of you (I do not mean to sound patronizing). There are good, decent men out there but there is plenty of time for that. You need to go and you may need a little help in boosting your confidence again because of his despicable behavior but hopefully once you are out of there you will begin to see exactly what life was really like for you. He will try to turn on the charm if you say you are going so, if possible maybe have your mother with you when you tell him and have organized someone to move all your stuff at the same time, if not your mother, then someone who will not allow him to ‘sweep you off your feet’ again because he WILL try and sometimes it’s difficult to see the bad things when being manipulated. I know this sounds harsh but seriously Caysie, please get away from this man as fast as you can. You will NEVER change him no matter what you think or do. PLEASE PLEASE leave. Let us know that you are safe. No offense was intended in any of my reply. I just feel so worried for you…
    Rosie

  • Dan

    February 18th, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    I was with Lauren over a year. I knew her before we starting going out. I loved her very much. I found out she stole jewelry & furs from sister to pawn for money to pay for her pill habit, which I had no idea about. Mind we are both nurses. Needless to say I was very hurt by the betrayal & deceit. I loved her & treated her like a Princess. I broke up with her. She promised to make restitiution. After three months my sister charged her with theft. The case is with the Prosecutors Office now. Narcissist don’t give a damn who they hurt as long as their needs are met.

  • Alison

    February 21st, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    I have been in an abusive relationship for the past 12+ years. I should have seen the early signs; Will calling 10 times daily and needing to answer his call on the first ring or he would swear and rage. Will didn’t allow me to go out with my friends because he didn’t trust them. Although I broke up with him after 4 years, I was codependent and continued seeing him on HIS terms. He would take me out but told others he felt sorry for me and it was that called him to say I was lonely. I was getting stronger but he told me he’d change. I moved in again with him. There was a whole new set of gameplay. He blamed me for everything, twisted words, denial, lied, punishment, isolation, silent treatment, and was secretive. If I didn’t do or say something that met his expectations, he would rage, I had to choose what words to use when speaking with him as he’d be quick to anger. He would kick me out of his house a lot of times. I thought I deserved what he said. The physical and mental abuse broke me. The final discard and devaluation stage was brutal where he showed complete contempt and hatred for me. Throughout the years, let me assure you, the punishment and abuse, became more frequent, more intense, and lasted longer. I had become immune to his insidious treatment as a normalcy, so he had to hurt me more. I left November 12, 2014 and had self blame, self doubt and confusion. I lost my identity because I don’t remember who I was before I met him, but I know I was happy, had friends, had a passion for life. I thought, if only I didn’t get him mad, if only I was more loving, etc. I had suicidal thoughts. All this suffering while he already was on the prowl for women and was seen with various women. Educating myself on narcissism brought awareness. Domestic violence center’s assessment that I am a batter woman of abuse allowed me to join a support group. Therapy helped to clarify myself. I honestly discovered that I am not the cause of Will’s anger and abuse. I still struggle with the emotional recovery. I just know, if I stayed, it would be the total demise of my life. I had to leave in order to find me and to live.

  • Maria

    February 21st, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    My mother was a Narcissist & although she’s been gone for 5 years, I’m still in pain. Help!

  • Rosie

    February 21st, 2015 at 10:56 PM

    Hi Alison,
    You really have had such a terrible time with this man. It was a very long relationship which makes it all the more difficult. You did try to leave after 4 years but the damage to you was already done and you had lost your identity so sometimes it’s easier to go back. At least you are having some kind of therapy now which will be of great help. We really have to do a lot of work in order to move on. You have had a particularly bad time of it for such a long period of time. You have probably discovered in your research into NPD that the Narcissist is ALWAYS right, in their own minds and there is no talking to them with regards to their behavior, when you try they go crazy and turn it on you. The Narcissist in my life is my sister. It took me years to see what she was doing to me and it was going on since childhood. She put me down at every opportunity. I was her slave for years. She would have me doing things for her that I did not want to do and at times I felt like her maid. She has a cruel nature and an evil streak. I know underneath it all that she is just a total child and extremely insecure. Everyone thinks she is wonderful because she shows a false face to the world. I think it is probably more difficult in a relationship like yours because the Narcissist will remove all sense of self that you have. It is natural, after so many years of abuse to see it as normal because after a long period of time we forget what is normal and we think that this is what relationships are about. But they are NOT. We have to take back our power and begin to build our self confidence and self esteem. I believe now that that all of what my sister said to me was untrue. Her behavior was so insane that I began to doubt my own mind. A big part of me knew it was all a bit off the wall but there was also doubt that what she said was true…personal things about me. Our relationship ended when I began to challenge her. When she didn’t have an answer she would just scream at me. I was so exhausted and damaged by it all that I physically attacked her, which I am not proud of but I was unable to help myself, I was so angry. All the years listening to her snide remarks, put downs, downright bullying had me driven to distraction and I hit out. She had such a negative influence on my life. I hope that the therapy helps you. Remember, everything this man said and did to you was all his fault, not yours. It is easy to blame ourselves but when out of the relationship for a while we begin to see it for what it was…….TORTURE…..You were very brave to leave the relationship because I think sometimes we are so damaged that we have no idea what to do. In your case, you were desperate and thank God you got out before anything bad happened. You have your life ahead of you now. Keep up the support group, it is good to meet others who have suffered a similar fate and it’s really good to talk about it. Try to rekindle some of your friendship if at all possible because you need to start having some fun too now. Don’t get too bogged down in your recovery process because I did, for a while and it became a huge weight. While it is important for us to recover from the abuse, we also need to start living, as best we can until we begin to feel happy again. I am a much happier person owing to the mere fact that my sister is no longer in my life and never will be again. I’m still working on myself but I am also beginning to live and laugh again. Take a day at a time, do plenty of talking to people who will truly listen and all the better if you talk to people who understand. I wish you well. You will be ok, because you are out of the relationship and that’s the start of a new, healthy and happy life. At no time contact this man again.
    Rosie.

  • jt

    February 24th, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    I believe I was in a relationship with a Narc for 3 years. I also believe her to have not only narc traits but also BPD traits as well. Am I right?…

    The biggest and most obvious characteristic is her lack of empathy. For example, when my father died it’s almost as if she just didn’t know how to react. She was totally emotionless. The following Thanksgiving, after I had a horrible morning due to my father not being around and told her this, she later became angry with me because I didn’t act the way she wanted me to that day. There are so many other red flags. Things like me wanting her to learn to drive my car. I implored her as I always drove and we frequently went on weekend trips and told her how much more comfortable and safe and appreciative I would be if she learned. She tried once and since it wasn’t easy, she didn’t “want” to learn totally disregarding my feelings.

    In the beginning, she was incredibly obsessive. Talking about marriage way too early and always wondering where I am. We met at work and when I wouldn’t message her back right away, she would ask someone else where I was.

    I am the romantic type. I constantly did unexpected things such as flowers or little notes or cards on her car/desk or candles and rose petals at the house or brought soup to her when she was sick. It soon got to the point that I just couldn’t do enough. I would do something nice to make her feel special and it would get thrown back in my face. I bought plane tix for her for a trip since she’d never been on a plane but she reminded me more than once that I didn’t pay for the entire trip so it wasn’t a “gift”. It was almost like her thinking was “yeah he does X and Y for me but didn’t do Z”. It was never enough and it got to be so draining.

    Whenever we would have disagreements or basically she was upset (I almost felt like I couldn’t get upset as she couldn’t handle it) and asked why she feels the way she does or what we can do to fix it, her answer was almost always “I don’t know”. To mean that means either she thought there was something wrong with me and she wouldn’t tell me or she thought there was something wrong with her but wouldn’t admit it. One time in the midst of a crying fit she uttered the words “I am such a basketcase, I don’t know how you put up with me”.

    So I think she knew she has an issue but just accepts it as it is who she is and won’t do anything about it. I mentioned therapy once and she accused me of thinking there was something “wrong” with her.

    In the end, I think she idealized me and the relationship but when her plan or expecations didn’t come to be, she checked out. She ended up resenting me for it not working out and not living up to this dream she had. She actually said things like “I was so good to you” and “you’re such a manipulator” after she ended it.

    I always felt like if I did more or something different, I could have prevented this. She made me feel like this was all my fault and for the longest time so did I. Being called a manipulator screwed with head for a very, very long time. When the relationship is so one-sided and I am constantly the one keeping it together and then it fails, I feel responsible. The reality is because I am so giving, comforting and easy going, that is the only reason the relationship lasted as long as it did. I was a confident and self assured man when we met and it has taken me almost a year to find that guy again…along with therapy.

    What bothered me most is why I accepted all these red flags. I realize it has something to do with the relationship I had with my father but I truly did love her. With all my heart. I chose to see and believe in the good in her and it burned me. She had some great qualities but at her core, she couldn’t overcome her own self doubt and insecurity.

    I am certain that she isn’t capable of unconditional love and having someone give it to her is scary. I thought by accepting her for all these things would prove my love for her and she would eventually open up. Wrong. It doesn’t work that way. I do think she thought there is something wrong with me because I did love, accept and embrace her for who she is.

    So what I have learned in regards to what makes a narc/BPDer is
    1) the lack of empathy/perspective. It was always black and white to her.
    2) her own self doubt/constant reassurance needs
    3) inability to go outside her comfort zone/fear of the unkown and change
    4) the inability to reflect on her own actions/to think deeply about one’s self. If you cannot connect deeply to yourself, how can you to another? The problem is if she forces herself to do so, she will be faced with the truth and an incredible amount of guilt so she avoids it. Easier that way.
    5) avoidance. Most of the time she would just flee situations that she didn’t like or want to be in regardless of who it affected
    6) Relationship hopping. She was 28 and had been single for approx 3 months since she was 18.
    7) self projection. Laying her insecuritie on me to make herself feel better or justified in her decision. I am no manipulator. I only wanted our relationship to work. She couldn’t see the difference
    8) No friends. She didn’t want friends because she would feel obligated by them. This is real issue because she doesn’t know how to be friends and in a relationship, you need to be friends. The lack of outside relationships is a huge red flag.
    9) the honeymoon phase. This is where being friends comes in to play also. When the butterflies run dry, she didn’t know how to maintain the relationship. 10) sex as a weapon. She often would tell me she “let” me have sex with her like she was doing me a favor.
    11) sensitivity to critisism. She flat out could not take it and not only that, she would twist my words. We had a hard time agreeing to disagree.
    12) Her needs override my own. She was in the relationship to get something in return – an agenda.
    13) trust. Often she would ask my advice only to tell me I was right after she was reaffirmed by someone she actually trusted.
    14) “easy”. If things don’t come easy, she wanted no parts of it. This is where the relationship ultimately ended. It wasn’t “easy” anymore and took work and she didn’t want to feel obligated or make an effort. It just wasn’t worth it to her.

    I still do feel a lot of compassion for her because I know she will never be happy. It’s not her “fault” she is like this. I really do blame her mother. But she is an adult and has a choice and she chose to leave me thankfully because I don’t know if I ever would have and if I did, it would have been divorce. In my attempts to make it work after she left I actually went to propose to her. That’s how messed up I was.

    I understand my qualities attract narcs but those of you like me should also understand that they should attract “normal” partners who know how to love. Remember that. Remember we are great people and capable of true love. If you can love a narc, you know how to love.

    Sometimes the one thing we want most in this world isn’t always what we need. I am a better person and man now because she left me.

    Thanks for reading!

  • jt

    February 24th, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    I just want to add that the pain I went through after she left me is like none I have ever experienced. I never knew pain like that even existed. I didn’t know it was possible to cry that much. And the damn of it all is that she didn’t. She showed no remorse whatsoever. Just coldness. That is one of the hardest parts of dealing with a breakup with a narc.

  • paul

    February 24th, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Im married to one of these. My first ex had BPD and s temper so obvious at times however second wife a charmer who now is increasingly playing victim.

    She needs constant compliments and duscussions always turn to some irrelevant cut down about how I deal with this or that. Never a question on how she does or sees things.

    Shes a master manipulator and ive had it with her. Least I know the real unbeaten psychologically me and keep refocusing on that when second guess myself.

    These people are soulless it seems. Glad for articles exposing their ways.

  • Rosie

    February 26th, 2015 at 1:06 AM

    Hi JT.
    Wow, you certainly have described the Narc very well and I agree that I think your girlfriend also may have BPD. You have described the demon in my life very well and I am now thinking that she may have BPD also as much of what you have described, my sister displays also. My relationship with her was very much a take situation as she only ever contacted me when she wanted me to do something that I feel she was fearful of doing and got me to do thing for her to make things easier for her. I believe you are correct in saying that the Narc knows who they are aiming for as generally, I believe that the victims are ‘nice’ people and kind because I believe I am a kind person and always go out of my way to help anyone I can, well I used to be like that but now I am careful because you would be amazed at the amount of people who will take advantage of you!!!! You have done a massive amount of work on yourself and have a clear insight to your girlfriends behavior, and while you feel sorry for her(and I believe we should feel sorry for them) you also know that you could not be with her. It sounds like it has been a nightmare for you but you have come through it, not unscathed but getting there. I think these people are extremely hurt deep down and are unable to live a ‘normal’ life, in other words they never really have grown up emotionally and are always looking for a ‘surrogate’ parent who will they are dependent on, someone who will adore them and as you say need constant compliments. They are unable to be alone for long periods of time because they hate their own company. Thanks for your comment, it is very interesting with lots of further insight. I wish you well and hope that you find true love in the future. Recovering from this type of relationship is not easy as you have to re evaluate who you are because as you say we can end up second guessing ourselves and wonder if it’s we who are the problem and not the other way around. Believe me, we are the victims. Thanks again and good luck.
    Rosie.

  • jt

    March 12th, 2015 at 6:38 AM

    Hey Rosie,

    Just want to say thank you for your encouragement and kind words. It is much appreciated.

    Everything you say is spot on. Yes she is hurt deep down and it pains me to know this. After my initial comment, I actually brought up NPD and BPD to my therapist (psychologist) and he said he knew earlier on she suffered from this from what I described. So I am convinced now but the feeling is so bittersweet. Someone that all I wanted for was happiness probably will never truly be happy.

    It was a nightmare but it is fading. I still think of her every day. Getting over someone with BPD is like going through withdrawal off a drug.

    I am glad my words helped you. Yours were helpful too. Good luck with everything including your sister.

  • Nikki83

    March 15th, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to write that. I was married, discarded so quickly and years after, group therapy and counseling included am still having a hard time. This helped :-)

  • Cheryl S

    March 16th, 2015 at 3:43 AM

    I hate to say it, but it sounds like he is using a manipulative story to get you to feel sorry for him. My ex-narcissist church music director / organist knew how to draw me in by playing on my compassionate side. He was a good liar & had me convinced he had been a victim of some woman. He would get close to me & then if we didn’t see eye to eye about an issue, he wouldn’t call me for a few days- his way of punishing me & maintaining control. He was charming & romantic & intense at first & very attentive- he played off my loneliness & vulnerability of wanting to be in a relationship. My advice is don’t go back to this guy. I see red flags when I read your post. I don’t think you know the whole story & I think he is lying to you about some things.

  • Cheryl S

    March 16th, 2015 at 3:53 AM

    This sounds like my ex-boyfriend. He loves his stuff & is quite the collector of antiques. His name isn’t Wes, is it?

  • Dawn

    March 16th, 2015 at 5:31 PM

    Wow, JT. Yup. Like withdrawal from a drug trying to get over the person. My therapist just said that to me two hours ago. Not the first time someone had said that to me either. My ex Narc has been reaching out to me past two weeks after his smear campaign two months ago. Went through this dysfunctional pattern with him for 10 years. He’d disappear, I’d feel terrible, he’d come back, feel good again, then get emotionally slammed, AGAIN. And people around me couldn’t understand for the life of them why I’d go back…? It took me a lot of trial and error, heartbreak, learning, growing, maturing… To finally ‘just say no’. Like a drug with bad side affects. Get off for awhile, get back on the drug hoping ‘this time no bad side effects, but nothing ever changes. And it worries me, like getting off an addictive drug, will I always in the back of my mind crave that drug? A year from now? Two years from now? Function without it, but still think about it? I really hope not. I pray to completely get over it. I don’t ‘desire’ him anymore, which is a huge step. And blocked him completely. Cold turkey. I think part of the reason why it takes us awhile to heal, …we’re in disbelief. Taken on a wild ride of their warped idea of love, us never feeling good enough and blaming ourselves for whatever they put on us, the manipulation and emotional abuse. Seeing who he really is, and really how little I meant to him (these people are not really capable of the kind of love we think and know of – we may have seen glimpses of it, but, never consistent, which is what makes us all the more confused). I realized, no matter what I did, it would never be good enough (for him). I see Narcissists like “The Money Pit”, lol… Doesn’t matter how much energy, sweat, hard work, time, money, love, etc. you put into it, they’ll just keep disappointing! It seems hard, but cutting them off and accepting that it’s over and you need to do the work (whatever and however longit takes) to heal and move on. We need to see them for who they really are, not what we want to believe (our denial), and believe they will never change, and it would never be ‘healthy’.

  • Andrew s.

    March 18th, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    I met a woman who I believed I had a special connection with. I am shy and it felt really easy to spend time with her. She told me about abuse within two weeks. I probably went to the limits of my heart with caring and kindness. She said I had “changed everything” and wasn’t like any other man she had known. Quite quickly it felt like the bond she said we had was love. She said it was. It was like a fairy tale. But something felt wrong. She asked lots of questions but was vague about her own life. After a couple of months where I had ran around doing everything for her, tip toeing around her health issues and specific needs I tried to say I felt like it was dancing with shadows. She started hitting herself and cowering. She left in a taxi. For weeks she emailed me saying I had made her health worse and she didn’t feel safe. I had done nothing. Only been kind and respectful. We saw each other a couple of times and she was cold. I felt like I was being punished for something I hadn’t done. She knew very well the worst thing in the world would be for me to be regarded in the way she described all these other men from her past. But I realised that two months of coldness didn’t make sense when we had had so much fun. I was also confused my the intimacy. It seemed like a show. Something weird and kinky but not real or loving. She said men had hurt her but she posed nude for the sake of art and even asked me to pull her hair. It felt like power, control and mind games. I felt scared of her. Afraid to say what I felt. Weirdly emailing her and saying I just couldn’t carry this on made me feel bad. Since I’ve been in a permanent anxious state. I know the charm and the speedy “love you” sounds bad for my part but I felt swept away by her sharing and poem about us having a special bond. It felt like it was meant to be. But it was all about the attention being on her. I feel stupid. I was afraid of being hurt anyway but seem to have hit the jackpot for the deep romance and then rejection, mind games and control. I was actually carrying her up stairs even though she could dance and I suspected something didn’t add up about her health issues. She made me sleep on the couch because of her insomnia. She never asked. It always just felt like I had to do things. I was flattered. I wanted a fairy tale. I like giving. But I didn’t know someone would be so manipulative and degrading. My self esteem was good when I met her. Now it’s Rock bottom. It’s like hope has been stolen. At least I got out before i rented a two bedroom flat for us. I’m sure I’ve learned a lot. But just now I feel alone. It’s usually stories about men using women you hear about. Well. I’ve been used in every way.

  • Dawn

    March 22nd, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    Rebecca,

    You’re right. Selfish, soulless conquerors deserve one another. We “weak minded romantics” tend to do better with our own kind as well, we actually have a heart and a soul. Soulless and people who have one, do not mix well. I agree.

  • Greg

    March 25th, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    thanks to everyone who submits their experiences. You help me maintain my sanity

  • anonymiss

    March 31st, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Hi maryA, if its not too painful could you expound on the sexual abuse with your narc? I find myself knowing that I’ve “never been forced”… but crying so hard and silently that u have to run to the bqthroom and blow ur nose during sex means SOMETHING right??

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    March 31st, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    Thank you for your comment, anonymiss. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Peter

    March 31st, 2015 at 3:56 PM

    A Borderline PD will have significant differences as compared to a Narcissist. Though both in the cluster B of personality disorders they are not the same. I see some people here comparing the two- yes its possible that someone with NPD can at times have a dual diagnoses, but the stronger half will always be NPD. Borderlines have too much emotion, can be too dependent, with huge fears of abandonment. There is great insecurity and a low self with with a Borderline, their whole persona is shattered like a sledge hammer thrown into a plate glass window. The Borderline has a weak sense of self- with a personality that essentially never formed. The NPD in many ways is the direct opposite of the Narcissist- they have a solid personality structure- almost as strong as the Psychopath (the two overlap in many ways) Where the most significant borderline feature is fear of rejection and abandonment- the NPD lacks empathy. I have been diagnosed with BPD- and was involved with a narcissist. That relationship left me in ruins- now four years after it ended I have begun the long healing and recovery from BPD, and being involved with someone with NPD. Lets stop saying here they are alike- they are not.

  • Rosie

    April 1st, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Hi Peter, I happen to agree. Funnily enough I was thinking about this today!!! Borderlines are extremely sensitive and DO fear rejection and abandonment. Unless there is a dual diagnosis, which is itself seems paradoxical,,the Borderline has a conscience where I believe the NPD does not. For what of a better way of saying it, I believe, the BPD’s are too ‘nice’ to hurt, berate, undermine cheat etc, those that they love or anyone for that matter. Because BPD’s suffer with enormous self esteem issues and low self worth they have great empathy for others because they are ultra sensitive to the pain of others so they will never, I believe behave like the Narcissist because it is not ‘in them’. In fact I know believe that a Borderline may attract the Narcissistic Personality for their sheer good qualities and thus feed off them. I find it difficult to now believe that NPD and BPD can co-exist.

  • Laura

    April 1st, 2015 at 1:52 PM

    Would you believe that I’m just realizing that my father’s second wife is a N? She is a mean, self-centered monster. I am in my mid-fifties, and now I finally understand what happened. She hated me from day one. It was torture. I was 15 months old when my mother died, my father was in shock and overwhelmed. She is a predator. I’m grateful that this topic is in the mainstream. I have found The Spartan Life Coach, Richard Grannon to be helpful and I am supremely grateful to have found your website with this conversation thread. It is nice to know that I’m not the only one. I had bad software that said I was especially terrible and worthless. It is her voice, as well as my father’s that I hear saying how worthless I am. It’s time to dump that old software with a major upgrade.

  • kari

    April 1st, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    We have known each other for seven years. He came back two years after we were together for three years he tested me out of the blue. He always seemed to want gift cards when he’d write me a sweet love note. He didn’t like what I said to him because he was acting strange so he chnagedbhis phone number and won’t answer my emails…that was a month ago….after doing research I realize he is a narcissist. I was in love with his lies….the day he stopped talking to me we were talking about marriage…what a flip

  • kari

    April 1st, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    We have known each other for seven years. He came back two years after we were together for three years he texted me out of the blue. He always seemed to want gift cards when he’d write me a sweet love note. He didn’t like what I said to him because he was acting strange so he chnaged his phone number and won’t answer my emails…that was a month ago….after doing research I realize he is a narcissist. I was in love with his lies….the day he stopped talking to me we were talking about marriage…what a flip…owes me 1000$ too. I won’t see it

  • Tracey

    April 2nd, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    My husband is a textbook NARC. Whirlwind romance…married very quickly, barely back from the honeymoom and switched. I was devalued until I left…then the rage. He worked one month into the marriage and then not more since…it has been over three years. Two days ago, he severely beat me and held me falsely imprisoned. It has been a hellish ordeal to have known him. This is the 5th time he has physically abused me and it will be the last. Divorce is my next move. NEVER settle for someone like this. Unless you are extremely strong it could killl you.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    April 2nd, 2015 at 8:00 PM

    Thank you for your comment, Tracey. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about domestic violence at http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-domestic-violence.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

  • Mary

    April 12th, 2015 at 11:24 PM

    I think the rose glasses are off – I am now 22 and have been dating him on and off for 3 years. He is 28 now and has serious drug problem. Whenever I have left before I felt crippled that I would never be happy or successful without him. I feel stupid that I let myself get fooled and caught into he’s web for so long I lost my friends and my self-esteem/confidence – after reading so much about Narrasists and codependents its like I’ve woken up to a new world. I miss him completely but also feel incredibly sad that this is the person he is and that he will never change. I have let him treat him incredibly badly and if I don’t remove myself from the situation it would have deteriorated. It got to the stage where he go through my entire phone records and call me a whore for having slept with anyone before him. He would blame me for he’s drug problem and yell at me to trust him even if a girl had sent him an inappropriate message. He would tell me to stop listening to my families opinions. He would drink drive while I was in the car. He would alienate me from my friends saying they wanted to sleep with him. He had cheated on me countless times (even with escorts) and even got to the stage of having 2 phones. After all this he would make a grand gesture of love whether it be spending $3000 on a trip away or driving 7hours to see me. Im going to stop asking myself why he would go to all that effort and just accept that I let him break down all my boundaries and made myself an easy target. I know it will be hard but Im going to find myself again and completely block him from my life not a month or a year but forever. Your stories have been completely encouraging.

  • Mary

    April 12th, 2015 at 11:42 PM

    I am more writing this for myself so I never am tempted to go back. But I had two abortions and towards the end of our relationship he told me there was only a small chance they were his and that is was my fault. He has threatened to a video recording of us up on a porn site. Within 30mins he has gone from calling me the most amazing thing on this planet to a disgusting slut who’ll never be anything. I understand now that he took my to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows all because of him trying to fill a void inside himself. He has a harem of girls that he call upon if we ever had a fight – and then blame me and say he was only reaching out for comfort. He is a pathological liar and will keep lying even if he had admitted the truth the week before. I was willing to change my entire life to be with this guy and he cared naught.

  • Carol

    April 13th, 2015 at 6:39 AM

    He is/was a narc in every way. The love bombing, future-faking, complete disregard of boundaries, silent treatment, projecting, unexpected and irrational rages over very minor things… And every single time, he found a way to blame me for everything. He was never at fault. Every single thing, every single over-the-top reaction, was always because of something I did or did not do.

    The devaluation stage came pretty fast. Before I knew it, I was walking around on broken glass, picking my words with more care than I ever have in my life, being consciously aware of my facial expressions and body language. All so I could keep the peace. He was never physically abusive, but in every other way – mentally, emotionally, physiologically – he was. And I loved him through it. I told myself if I could only learn to talk and relate to him how he wanted me to (Please note, I had absolutely no idea on the “how”. It was all pretty much trial and error) then everything would be alright. How wrong I was!

    The harder I tried to please him and keep the peace, the worse things got. He would withdraw into moody silences for weeks. When I asked what the problem was, he would respond with statements like: “Why should I bother helping you understand? I won’t help you understand because you DON’T WANT to understand.” or “I shouldn’t have to explain it to you. You should know me!” But mostly, he would just shut me out with silence and make sure I knew he was interacting with and hanging out with just about everybody elze out there. It was all so frustrating. So hurtful. I was always in a state of anxiety. And don’t even get me started on the triangulation!

    I finally had to face up to the reality I was no longer in control of my own emotions. He was switching me on and off like a light bulb. One minute I was happy because he was being nice and the next I was plunging into depression because he was being mean – all this on a whim. His whim. I thought of leaving. 3 times I tried to leave. 3 times I just couldn’t stay way from my addiction of him.

    I finally gathered the strength to call it quits and tell him I was done. That was about 4 weeks ago after a particularly hurtful spell of silence, accusations and triangulation. I went no contact and even took a break out of town to just get away from it all. I felt pretty empowered at having made that decision finally… But this week, all the good feelings of having taken steps at reclaiming my life are starting to wear off. I started to miss him, and broke no contact yesterday and I feel so terrible that I was so weak but I cannot help missing him. I know it’s going to be a real struggle getting over this. Unlike the narc, I am unable to turn my feelings on and off on a whim. I admit I still have feelings for him, but I also admit that those feelings will never be reciprocated in a healthy way. This I know in my mind. I just need for my heart to catch up and get with the program.

    So I fell off the wagon(sigh). But I soldier on. I will beat this addiction yet! I owe it to myself to be happy – we all do. And happiness is a conscious choice that we have to make everyday no matter how hard it proves to be sometimes.

    I’m dusting myself off and starting my no-contact all over again. Wish me luck.

  • tina

    April 13th, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    Carol,
    Dont do this to yourself. As women we think that our life needs a man to be meaningful…it doesnt. I understand exactly how you feel. I was stand offish for a few days after his meanness …but today he spoke to me nicely…so basically i jumped right into the conversation. He had told me earlier and has been for a while now….about his financial mess / failure of business….so i asked today what happened….he respinded with ” i dont tell stories” you cant win with a narc! No matter what you say….it wont be either the right question or right tone or something. He has told me i dont show care or concern. I have started questioning my own personality. I feel like my head will burst if i talk to myself anymore. Like you i am working up the guts to tell him….what he can do with himself and his tragic story.

  • Carol

    April 13th, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Thanks Tina. I’m hanging in there. :-)

  • jt27

    April 15th, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    Hey all. I would like to touch on the the whole NPD/BPD debate really quick. Yes, they are different diagnoses, but from what I have researched, experienced and discusses with psychologists, they possess overlapping symptoms as well as distinguishable differences.

    1. Black and white thinking/splitting – “All” or “nothing”. Something is seen as all good or all bad. The reason being is that both cannot or will not deal with mixed emotions. This is why both will love you one day and want nothing to do with you the next day.

    2. Both have a fear of abandonment though the BPDer also has the additional fear of engulfment. This is where BPD is known to have a “crazy making” effect on the partner more so than other disorders. If you get too close, you set off their fear of engulfment/being trapped. If you back off to give space, you set off their fear of abandonment. The problem is both fears are at opposite ends of the same spectrum, so you cannot avoid setting one or the other off.

    3. Both have a sense of entitlement. The world revolves around them and their needs. They exibit this in different ways, but they themselves believe they always come first regardless of why. In fact, both can be manipulative to get what they want out of the relationship though the BPDer is not as likely to be as good at it since they base their decisions of what they are feeling at the moment in time.

    4. I could go on with a couple more but lastly I want to talk about empathy. Yes, BPDers do lack empathy as do Narcs. Not in the way that Narcs do where they are pretty universal in their lack of empathy but how it relates to relationships. Due to their great fear of abandonment, my ex for example, would not empathize with me when I was in pain or hurt because it was a sign that I would leave her. She would be completely cold and without feeling. It was like I wasn’t allowed to get upset. BDPers are at their worst with the people that have the power to hurt them because they pose the greatest risk to do so. So while my ex would get upset when say, she heard a cop got shot, she would go cold and/or mean when I was hurting.

    So while NPD and BPD are indeed different, they do carry some similarities that are sometimes hard to assign to either disorder. It’s also been noted that those that have BPD can also possess qualities of narcissism – which I think is true of my ex.

    For those that are afflicted with any sort of personality disorder, my heart goes out to you. I would not wish that on my worse enemy. Take care.

  • Peter

    April 15th, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    Sorry jt27

    I will have to strongly disagree with you in your comparisons between the BPD and the NPD.

    I am a guy diagnosed with BPD- first of all I do possess empathy, too much in fact where I have let others walk all over me. I was involved with an NPD, likely with an ASP overlap- we where very different people. In the DSM there is no mention of Borderlines lacking empathy. , I explained that a narcissist’s greatest fear is losing narcissistic supply. Today I’m tackling the BPD counterpart, fear of abandonment. Both have to do with the fundamental way people with these PDs relate to others.

    Fear of abandonment is the engine that drives borderline personality disorder. The real or imagined belief of imminent separation destabilizes all the other BPD traits. Borderlines want attention; narcissists want admiration and attention

    Lack of empathy is one of the most striking features of people with narcissistic personality disorder. It’s a hallmark of the disorder in the same way that fear of abandonment is in borderline personality disorder.

    You also talk about ‘engulfment’ something you say the borderline is afraid of. I suggest you do more research, and you will find that Borderlines seek relationships for nurturement, the NPD needs narcissistic supply – and fears losing that source of abandonment.

    The NPD has a huge sense of superiority and entitlement – since they think they are better then others. Most borderlines have low self worth, and self esteem issues.

    You need to go to the DSM and get the facts. What you have provided here is simply untrue.

  • Rosie

    April 15th, 2015 at 5:34 PM

    Hi jt, this is really interesting because I have always thought that there could possibly be an overlap in Personality Disorders too. It makes sense really because many of the NPD traits are similar to those of BPD. I am going to read up a little more on BPD but I can see clearly that the Narc in my life displays many of the traits which you talk about. Thanks for this. You take care,
    Rosie.

  • Peter

    April 16th, 2015 at 2:37 AM

    Rosie.

    the traits of NPD and BPD do not really overlap. The NPS has a solid personality structure- constructed in the ‘false self’ the Borderline has a fragmented sense of self that has to be ‘brought together’. The NPD has to let down the defense shield and ‘Grandiosity’- something they have difficulty in.

    NPD and BPD are both in the cluster B of Dramatic and erratic personality disorders- they are yes both dramatic and erratic- but it ends there.

  • jt27

    April 16th, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Hey Peter.

    I have read the DSM criteria for BPD and other DSM IV disorders and I do understand to “fit the bill” for the disorder, 5 characteristics of those listed need to be prevelent to be diagnosed. It is a spectrum disorder. That doesn’t mean that characteristics of other disorders cannot be prevelant. While they have these defined characteristics, their behaviors can manifest in different ways.

    That being said, there can be similarities between BPD and NPD making it difficult to decipher which is which especially for the partner of someone with the disorder.

    I encourage everyone to do their own research and not believe me (or you). I advise to not just read the listed qualities from the DSM for a disorder but read articles on the subject from psychologists and testimonials from partners along with conducted studies.

    Here is an article/study regarding the co-occurance of BPD and Narcissism. See table 3.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676679/

    Just want to touch on engulfment. I know borderlines do seek relationships for “nuturement” as you put it and not engulfment. I never said they seek engulfment, they end up fearing it from my understanding and experiences.

    It’s a fear of intimacy. Ever heard of the push/pull dynamic of those involved with most borderlines? It can also be said as the engulfment/abandonment dynamic. It’s why most relationships involve multiple “break ups” – just like mine. While borderlines fear abandonment most, a lot also fear engulfment…meaning they fear being consumed by the other person’s personality and losing what little sense of self they have by getting too close (i.e. intimacy) so they hold on to what little sense they have of themselves which is the victim and won’t allow themselves to lose it. To prevent this fear of engulfment, they push you away. Since they are the victim, they always need saving and nothing is their fault.

    Always playing the victim is often part of being a borderline. Because MY ex was always playing the victim, I was either her savior or the perpetrator. I was saving her from her unhappiness but eventually I became the cause of her unhappiness. During the honeymoon period I was “perfect” and kept her fears at bay because of this. Due to her lack of self, she mirrored me and my stronger personality but eventually grew to resent me because she never liked to do things I liked to begin with and felt like she was losing what little sense of self she had (i.e. engulfment).

    When the honeymoon period ended, her fears showed up. When she feared engulfment, she would push me away then try to pull me back. When the fear of engulfment got too strong, she left for good and split me black. I also believe she had someone else lined up just in case to avoid being abandoned/left alone.

    It also explains why they push you away most often after sharing a particularly “close” or intimate experience. Intimacy scares them often times due to the fear that the other person will see the “real” them and leave. It’s often a no-win situation. I was either the temporary relief of her problems or cause of all her problems. I was the “white knight” that turned into the “evil villian”. I was idealized then devalued. It was impossible for me to live up to this image she had of me and when I didn’t, she started to resent me for it. After it ended she projected all her guilt onto me in the form of calling me a manipulator due to her own shame and guilt to make herself feel better about leaving me – always being the victim.

    This is at least my understanding of it Peter.If you don’t agree, that is fine. I can only speak from my experience and my knowledge of it. I am not assigning any of this to you just so you know. Not every person with the same disorder is exactly the same.

    So from what I understand, I do believe Narcs can have BPD traits but I do agree they are different. I will note that we all have traits of BPD/NPD but not to the degree of a disorder. Some traits are part of a healthy mental well-being.

    Best wishes and good luck to you.

    Rosie, you are very welcome. I hope you are doing well.

  • Peter

    April 16th, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    JT 27

    Borderlines and pathological narcissists do have one thing in common- they idealize, devalue then can abandonment people. Other then that the two disorders are not very similar.

  • Michael

    April 22nd, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    Thanks for the article.

    I was already seeing the signs of her disorder before we got married, but was young, naive, stubborn, and rebellious (toward the friends and family that were trying to help), not a good combination, so I married her anyway. Always thinking I could fix it. The pain and rejection started literally our wedding night. It lastest for 13.5 more years.

    The never ending, but rapidly shortening, cycle of feeling used, feeling that she never had any investment in the marriage. I’d finally be unable to hold off the feelings any more and we would come close to a break, she would dive headfirst into making sure i stayed, until things were back to a neutral level and she would switch off again. A heavily religious background didn’t help. Everyone always telling me that “marriages take work”, “everyone has low points”, etc… It wasn’t until my sister was trapped and then freed from her abuser that someone I knew finally started diagnosing her correctly. I was still stubborn, still too committed to the concept of committment.

    Finally 7 months ago, we were on our worst low point, only weeks after another cycle of low->recover->reattach->low. It was becoming patently obvious how little she cared about the marriage as a marriage, and only what she could get from me. She finally gave me an ultimatum that I couldn’t accept: “Get me pregnant or I want to find someone who will” (she has medical issues in that regard). Other wild statements followed, things like “I even considered committing suicide to make you happy.” It instantly became clear to me that our marriage never really existed on any emotional or spiritual level. It was just bondage. I suddenly was able to disolve my religious based objection to divorce, because this was an abomination, not a sacred marriage. It gave me the resolve and the determination to walk away and never look back. Her actions over the last 7 months of me trying to bring the divorce to a quick and peaceful conclusion have proven out … everything.

    I had already restricted her to text-based communication only, all of which I retained copies of for legal reasons. I finally went No Contact on Saturday completely. She can still contact my lawyer, but not me.

    For me, the hardest part of the healing is that I want to move on. I am not looking to jump into a relationship again quickly, but having had to cut off all social contact with women to safeguard myself against the vulnerability that i knew I had, I find that I have almost no idea how to behave toward women, other than professional respect. She was the only woman I ever dated, ever had a relationship with, and was ever intimate with. I feel like I’m back to a nervous vulnerable high school nerd again, the ones that never know how to “talk to girls”. I’m probably going to mess up some relationships trying to learn healthy social communication.

  • Chris L

    April 30th, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    Rebecca, if you were a real narcissist you wouldn’t admit to being one as that would be to pierce a launch through the narcissistic sense of infallibility and perfection that is part of the essential make up of an individual with these traits.

  • Marie

    May 9th, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    After over 20 years, I have run out of energy, and feel as though I have been wrung out. I can barely keep my head up with getting my 13 and 15 year old boys to school. My house is a wreck, as I physically could not keep it up anymore. I started to feel that I was going to die, and that we had been living in a bunker mentality. And that only when my husband was at work or visiting friends did we have any peace.
    I actually mentioned to the kids that I thought maybe we all has a type of ptsd.
    And it is my kids who helped me wake up, my 20 year old daughter specifically who still lives st home, and finally graduating
    High school,(yes it effected her too with painful stomach problems, and acid reflux, causing too many school absences) talking to her younger brothers noticing that I was fading away, and aging too fast, faster then those my age, and old school friends one who has overcome an addiction to meth.
    They came to be and told me they were tired of being sad and mad all of the time.
    So they wanted him to leave, long as it needed to be. Except the 13 year old son said if it was only a few weeks he woukd be afraid when he came back that there would be no real change.
    And that is because of the manipulating, coniving, calculating, ways his dad has done all to control our responses.
    First my husband accused me of manipulating the children to get them on my side.
    By crying when he would go for the jugular in the most hurtful unleashing of comments and accusations when
    Angry, or just aggitated, which what kind of parent would do that?
    anyway, we don’t have extra money, and my husband’s two friends he trusts, after all these years of work, have moved out of state, one with his family, the other divorced, older and alone.
    So my husband found a hotel with weekly rates, that we can not probably afford, but, he has to stay away.
    We are sick, physically, and are simply crashing, on our first weekend with just me and the kids.
    Our hearts are raw!

  • A Girl

    May 18th, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    Can anyone tell me if they have experienced the N to eventually feel any remorse for their coldness and betrayal? I am going through a situation where I feel like the worst part about the breaking up is the lack of compassion and remorse; (

  • A Girl

    May 18th, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    Wow..your posting is super comforting as crazy as that may sound. How on has it been since u and your Ex Narc have been apart? I wish I could disconnect my heart from my head.. or actually just cut out my heart already :(

  • Rosie

    May 19th, 2015 at 3:24 AM

    Hi Girl,
    No remorse shown from my Narc and I don’t expect that to ever change. They are incapable of feeling any remorse or seeing things from the other person’s perspective. From learning more about NPD, I realize that I must accept this in order to be able to move on with my life. Good Luck.

  • A Girl

    May 19th, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    I actually think you have a really good.. And I’m wondering if anybody has thought about a dating site for people who have been victims of narcissistic ex’s.. think about it anybody who has been in a relationship with a narcissist must have a better appreciation for us normal people and probably would end up making a pretty good partner to a non narcissist :-) we all would know that we’ve been through that and don’t want to again

  • Andrea Schneider

    May 19th, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    @ A Girl….I would actually caution against that, as cyber predators would love to troll a site such as you mentioned and prey upon more vulnerable people…Andrea

  • Anna

    June 7th, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    Hi Michael,

    It might help to know that your post has been healing for me. I married on a religious basis and the pain and rejection also started literally from day 1. The whole cycle of losing, regaining, and then re-losing trust in my demeaning Jekyll/Hyde spouse was extremely confusing and traumatising. Years in, when I found the cycle of abuse explained on the internet, it just about broke my heart because it is apparently very rare for someone with that problem to be able to change. At that point I had even gone on fertility treatment for my stress-depleted hormones. Soon after, we split and I now feel safe again and my body has recovered its health. Every time I regret the past, I luxuriate in the peace of the present.

    I had been categorically anti-divorce but I now realise abuse is outside the category of a normal marriage with ups and downs. I have never yet been in a relationship with another guy and find the dating scene totally intimidating! but I am confident there are gentle and loving people out there that will ‘get’ me despite my shyness. The ‘fighting fair’ rules on the internet have given me confidence for future communication. Also the best advice I got post-split was to be good to myself, and delight in all the little things you can do to pamper yourself that are not sitting at home wallowing — going bowling or getting a massage, taking a walk or a dream trip, volunteering or eating at your favorite restaurant. Know that you are not alone, and I hope you find zen.

  • Michael

    June 8th, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Anna,

    Yes, you are entirely correct :) Finding peace, finding joy. They do wonders. And yes, be kind to yourself. That is precisely the wording of a woman who has surprised me by how special she is to me over the last few weeks. Also be yourself. The dating scene is indeed something that was terrifying me… but it doesn’t have to. Because you can literally bypass it completely. Be yourself and find friends, not dates. When someone right comes along, he will knock your socks off and create that secure environment where you can enjoy who he is and enjoy life with him without ever stepping foot in the ‘dating scene’, and without giving another manipulator a chance to exploit you.

    I know this is a different outlook and frame of mind than my prior post… but that happened to me rather suddenly a few weeks ago. A friendship bloomed into such incredible delicious life, in such a clear and open way. Such amazing peace, glorious harmony.

    Embrace life. :)

    -Mike

  • George

    June 22nd, 2015 at 6:12 PM

    They feel nothing at all.its like you dont exist, someone else is lined up. Sorry to be so blunt, the sooner you get out the better you will be. Please save yourself the heartache is horrible,

  • George

    June 22nd, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    I could not desribe that any better. You are an awesome person. I wish you nothing but good fortune that someone should find you. I have been through exactly that !!!.

  • jt27

    June 24th, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    No remorse here either.

    Here is a quote from my ex’s mother – “When she is done with something, she is done” (splitting). This was during first of many times she “broke up” with me (I don’t even remember why, something insignificant I’m sure) and I went to her mother for advice. In hindsight, I should have just let her go at that point but you know, I loved her. Instead it just created a cycle of push and pull.

    That being said, I did hear from her a few weeks ago…

    I literally helped her (along with my friends and family) get started in her current career then she left me a week after she started it. I don’t mean just supporting her, I mean actually speaking on her behalf. So I receive a text from her letting me know that she listed me as a reference for another position she is applying for and is requesting information. She put on a happy face with her message hoping I say something good about her when the time came. I did not respond by the way, even though I really wanted to tell her off.

    So you might hear from them again IF they want something from you. Ironically, the last thing she said to me before that was “This is the last text I will ever send you” about a year ago. It should have been “This is the last text I will ever send you…unless I need to use you for something that benefits me.”

    The damn of it all is just seeing her name pop up on my phone ignited a lot of emotions. I start thinking about all the good times. As you all know, when it was good it was absolutely incredible (i.e. the drug). Then I get sad that it ended and really started missing her. I actually broke down and cried a little. I really did pour all my love into her. It seems she may always have an effect on me.

    I want to thank you all for sharing your stories and providing me a place to let out my thoughts and reminding me that she is indeed poison and that I am not alone.

    So those that want remorse (I wanted it too), it might be better that you don’t even get that. As much as it might feel good getting that from them, it might end up making things worse and perhaps even pull you back in.

    My advice would be to hope you never hear from them again. Do your best to move on. Go on a date or out with friends. Keep yourself busy. Work on yourself and your own issues. Unlike them, we can reflect back, see our faults and mistakes, learn from them and grow as a person.

    Maybe do something you always wanted to do but couldn’t because your energy was required elsewhere. Me, I went back to school. Something I wanted to do for a while but never would have been able to with my ex. It feels great.

    Unrequited love is one of the worst feelings in the world. Remind yourself that you are indeed better off and that he/she will never EVER love you in the same way or how you deserve.

    Believe in yourselves.

  • Michael

    June 24th, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    A Girl:

    > Can anyone tell me if they have experienced the N to eventually feel any remorse for their coldness and betrayal?

    My ex expressed remorse once. And only once. It was 8 hours after an emotional attack, and 4 hours before another one that completely contradicted every point in her letter of ‘remorse’. The letter of remorse also came with a list of “demands” that I must meet “in order to get her to agree to come back to me.” So even in the middle of trying to express remorse, she was piling every possible piece of responsibility on me, accepting none herself.

    There were only two possible interpretations of the letter of remorse:
    1) She felt truely sorry that she crossed a line of manipulation that exposed her for what she was, and she wished she hadn’t crossed that line because it gave me the awareness to the truth that enabled me to get out.
    or 2) She was hoping that by expressing remorse for “what she did wrong”, I would forgive her and accept her control again. A tactic.

    And considering she BCCed my Dad, his wife, every sibling, most of their spouses, several extended family members, and all of my close friends… well, it was just a tactic. “Look at me being all ‘good’ and ‘repentant’ and ‘trying to make this work’.” “I’m the angel, he is the one doing this to me… see? I can prove it by trying to drag all of you into this to leverage him!”

    So completely in a different reality.

    Don’t expect, or look for remorse. Cut your ties completely. Forever. Even if they are a rare one in a million that could actually heal and become a reasonable loving human being, you can’t leave yourself open to the possibility that they are just faking it to start feeding on you again. I hope my ex doesn’t spend the rest of her life like this. I really do. I don’t hate her. But I am unwilling to ever again drop the guards I have against her. Put up those guards. Yes it hurts, yes it’s hard. For your own sake, you have to.

    And don’t waste too much emotion on them either, even negative. Yes grieve, yes heal, yes vent your anger. But don’t hold on to it, don’t lose yourself to it, don’t let it consume you. Embrace life. Leave all of that behind you. :)

  • Gretchen

    June 24th, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    Michael, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but, how long were you and she in a relationship, and how long did it take for you to want to get out? Also did your family ever voice any concerns? I have a daughter in a similar situation and she just can’t/or doesn’t want to see it yet. There’s always tension. My daughter is always told she doesn’t do enough, doesn’t make the “grand gestures”. She tries harder and things smoother over for a while then the berating starts all over. I just wish there was something I could do to make her see this person for who and what they really are.

  • Michael

    June 24th, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    Gretchen,

    I don’t mind at all. 17 years together starting in high school, 13.5 married. I first got a dose of her narcissistic behavior prior to marriage, but it was dismissed as just one of those disagreements. The constant reinforcement she would give me that the relationship was worth pursuing ended literally our wedding night. It only ever resurfaced when she thought she was on the edge of losing me. I always _felt_ that something was horribly wrong from that night onward. I wasn’t able to identify the feelings (Meyers Briggs INTP, understanding and dealing with feelings are very hard for my personality type) until about 5 years in, when I really understood how bad it actually was, that divorce was somewhere on the horizon. My family DID express concern prior to the wedding, but I was a beligerant rebellious naive kid. Not a good combination for listening to family and friends. Once I got married though, all of the religious reinforcement flipped that switch and I got virtually nothing but encouragement that “every marriage goes through bad spots”, “if you love her enough and try hard enough, she will respond”, etc… People that have never dealt with an abusive relationship (either close observation or as a victim) have zero comprehension of what is involved, and my family didn’t. Then one of my sisters also got hooked by a narcisist, but as she was far more sensitive than I, the emotional abuse reduced her to literal seizures within 3 years, and she got out. That was the first time anyone of my friends or family was interested in helping me see what I was in. She was pushing me toward that understanding for the last 4 years of my marriage, but dealing with her own healing and trauma, I’m sure it was hard on her still to try to openly discuss it.

    In the end, I had to see it and make that decision for myself. Before I saw the truth and made my decision, anything anyone would say against the marriage would be “but they don’t understand the commitment I made and how strongly I view that”, reinforcing my own chains. Anything said for the marriage would be a quiet reinforcement of those chains, pretending that they weren’t there. After my decision, anything said against my marriage is now viewed as “he is just lashing out in pain” or “they have no business making that call”. Anything said for my marriage is “she is just hurting too, I hope they can resolve this.” My family ties are too strong between all of us to let any disagreement come to an open break, but many in my family still disagree with my decision to divorce her, even if they keep it to themselves. Every single one of those is deeply religious, and not a single one has dealt with an abusive relationship.

    But anyway. I saw the writing on the wall 8 years before I saw the stark truth of everything exactly as it was. So perhaps that is “too long”, but I had a lot reinforcing my decision to stay and “try to solve it”. Once I saw the truth of who and what she was, my decision was made and acted on within a matter of minutes. (Another trait of INTP personality types :) )

    Unfortunately, your daughter will probably keep making excuses and justifications for it. It’s the web of lies that victims want to believe. It will take something so fundamentally truthful, and at the same time so completely obviously true, something that we can not hide from or ignore. And I would bet that in most cases of people that break free, it’s something that the narcissist does or says. The lier has to be tripped up in their own lies in an exceedingly profound way with the victim watching. For my me, it was when my ex told me “I don’t like you, I don’t like who you are, I don’t want to be with you, but I will stay if you get me pregnant. If you aren’t willing to get me pregnant, I will find someone who will.” (she was medically incapable short of IVF) It was … shocking. It was instantly clear that even if she was telling that in complete honesty, the marriage was over. But it was also starkly obvious to me that she wasn’t being honest. She was just trying to get me to agree in order to cling to her more. And if she was willing to deal that kind of pain to me to pursue something … we had never truely been married in the first place. All of the things that never made sense for someone that supposedly loved me … suddenly made perfect sense.

    I’m glad you are trying to help your daughter. I don’t have any clear or easy answers for you though. Even if you were to shift focus to who she is with to expose the lies, it is very likely that that person will easily pick up on the threat you will have become, and work very very hard to isolate your daughter from you, and unfortunately it will probably be in a form that makes your daughter _want_ to be isolated from you. Don’t let them. Don’t let a fear of that paralyze you either though. Your daughter will need you.

    Thank you for being a mother that raised a daughter with life, with energy, with love. I know your daughter has that, even if simply because that is what narcissists target, what they feed on. Don’t lose sight of how valuable they are. Life and Love are things that they feed on, but can be used as a shield against them and a way to cut through the bonds that hold your daughter. When used that way, it is something narcissists can not understand and can not really fight. It sends them into a panic, it makes them desperate. That will lead them into tripping themselves up. Use it. :)

  • Gretchen

    June 25th, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    Michael, thank you for your quick and heartfelt reply. My daughter says the same thing… about her making a commitment (even though they are NOT married) and how strongly she views that. Her father and I respect and admire that, but only to a point. She is losing herself being with this person. The things she use to like and do, she doesn’t do anymore, her silly & outgoing personality is now so formal and reserved. She’s had to change so much about herself to please this person, I just can’t understand why she would want to be with someone who she can’t be her true self with. We have always been such a close knit family, shouldn’t the entire family’s concerns be a huge red flag to her? Our daughter goes to work, pays most of the rent, does the grocery shopping, gets the mail, cleans the apt, drives them around and is being told she’s not responsible and is selfish! I hope she sees the light soon and it doesn’t take years. I’ve tried getting her to go see a therapist, even told her I’d pay for it but she said no. The only thing I’m doing now is texting and calling her, avoiding the subject altogether. When she’s with this person she doesn’t answer or respond, only when she’s at work or alone. I just want her to know I’m always thinking about her. I guess that’s all I can do. Well, thanks for listening.

  • Ms Jones

    June 27th, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    I met a man in 2008. He was part of a social circle in my community. I am a grown woman, never married, kind, ethical and friendly. This man was interesting and we became friends.
    After many months, the relationship became romantic. I thought we might get married and we both spoke of it.
    Fast forward to 2012. The man dumped me, would never speak to me again and accused me of all manner of shortcomings. It was all false of course. I found it so difficult to believe that someone I had loved so much and treated so well could treat me with such disdain.
    I am not a fan of psychobabble, but I can clearly see in hindsight this man has no remorse, no feeling, no concern about my welfare. A girl friend of mine commented when we first started dating “that guy is a weird dude. I would not let him love you.” I told her I thought he was a little eccentric, but that was all. How prophetic her words were. This is a man I would have been better off keeping at arms length at best.
    I was very wounded by this, but I am happy to read this forum. It is encouraging to hear that my experience is shared by other intelligent and caring people who also walked blindly into it, never expecting the 180 degree turn.
    It could really happen to anyone. That relationship left me blindsided and depressed. It took a lot out of me. I am slowly emerging to my normal self.
    Thanks to all for posting and sharing.

  • A Friend

    June 30th, 2015 at 5:17 PM

    My friend has been in a relationship with a Narc for seven years and he’s in the process of moving on and ejecting her from his life. He’s leaving her with a whole mess of self worth issues that she appears unable to even begin to overcome, primarily because she believes to a large degree, that her actions or her reactions to his behaviour, are the cause of the dysfunction in their relationship. I’m trying to help her through this. She’s an intelligent, successful and attractive woman who has such a lot going for her, but in her own eyes she’s a worthless piece of discarded junk. Her confidence in her ability to live her life without the perceived love, this monster had for her, is non existent. The impact is affecting her career and everything she’s built for herself. She’s in a remote town, with no family or notable friends and having lived there myself until fairly recently, I know there is no service available to help get her through this. We talk a lot on the phone, I try to reinforce her self worth and counteract every excuse she makes for the scum she’s married to, who has beaten her, debased her, spat in her face and humiliated her, over and over, and then reeled her back in, only to start the whole process again. I don’t think I’m getting through. Everything we talk about feels like a band aid solution, working momentarily until the band aid drops off, re-exposing a festering wound and then she falls apart again. How do I effectively help please?

  • Ms Jones

    July 1st, 2015 at 12:31 AM

    Hi Friend –

    Having been through a similar experience with a rejecting partner, I can only say that you are doing the best you can a supportive friend. These types of relationships have a devastating effect on an otherwise cheerful and optimistic person. This friend if yours will need time to recover her sense of her best self, which she probably had before she met up with her partner who has left her wondering and bewildered. Continue to supp

  • Ms Jones

    July 1st, 2015 at 12:55 AM

    Continue to support her and know that she will emerge from her doldrums eventually. Having an abusive partner for many years takes a toll on even the strongest person. She probably has no idea how little this man really loved her. Over time she will see. Encourage her to continue to go to work, socialize and take care of herself. With this type of partner there is nothing a person can do to make them happy. Your friend is probably a normal woman who is trying to figure out where she went wrong.

    She did nothing wrong. She simply believed in the better qualities of a man who did not present them to her. Her belief system is good, as I am sure yours is as well.

    These messed up men can really erode the self esteem of even the most happy person. Over time she will emerge. If there is no professional counseling available to her, I would just speak plainly to her and use your own common sense as your guide.

    I am a grown woman and it took me years to emerge from my attachment to my ex who was not really there for me. I am an educated and intelligent woman. There is a certain unreasonable experience that comes with a very close romance that goes awry. It is not unusual for an otherwise self respecting individual to doubt everything about their own life that can come to pass when they become deeply involved with an abusive partner. It does erode self esteem and derail careers as it did in my case.

    If the guy had previous relationships, perhaps you could ask your friend why those relationships did not work out for him. She would probably tell you his explanation, but the REAL reason is probably because he treated his ex equally as badly.

    It might take some time for her to come to this realization (it took me 3 years). I finally concluded that I was not at fault and that the man simply was an unfit partner for me.

    Continue to encourage her to do the positive things she needs to do – go to work and take care of herself. Over time he will fall into her rear view mirror. Believe me, it takes a while for some people to get past this, especially if you are in the same social circle. As a new and outside friend, she has an opportunity to gain a connection outside the limited social circle of her small town. Those old connections drag her back to the old relationship.

    I would continue to keep a positive attitude towards her. I found it very helpful in my own recovery to talk to people outside if his circle. It helped me regain perspective.

    You are doing something very kind for your friend. Sometimes it can be exhausting, so bow out if you must. But I do believe she will come to her senses eventually.

  • Rosie

    July 3rd, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    Hi everyone,
    I have visited a site called Psych Central which is a community for people with Mental health issues. There is a forum for people with NPD. It is very enlightening indeed and well worth a visit. (go to Personality Disorders forum and you will find it). The post are written mainly by people with the disorder and they are very honest. There is a thread called ”You know you are a Narcissist when……”….it’s well worth a read. …..Hope you all find it interesting and helpful….
    Rosie

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