Idealize, Devalue, Discard: The Dizzying Cycle of NarcissismMarch 25, 2015 • Contributed by Andrea Schneider, LCSW, Narcissism Topic Expert Contributor
The relationship cycle typical of extreme narcissistic abuse generally follows a pattern. Individuals in emotionally abusive relationships experience a dizzying whirlwind that includes three stages: idealization, devaluing, and discarding. This cycle can repeat numerous times, spinning a merry-go-round of emotional vertigo for those caught in such relationships.
In the beginning of a romantic relationship with a person affected by narcissism, an individual may describe the initial infatuation stage as “otherworldly.” The emotional high can feel like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one noxious dose that lasts a few weeks, months, or in some cases a year or slightly more. Targets of narcissistic abuse report feeling as if they have found their soulmate and can’t believe their good fortune that this seductive courtesan has elevated them to soaring heights upon a pedestal. “Love bombing” is a phrase describing this stage, in which the narcissistic person may smother the target with praise, courting, intense sex, vacations, promises of a future together, and designation, essentially, as the most special person ever.
Find a Therapist
Soon the relationship proceeds into a more comfortable rhythm. Perhaps the sex continues at a high intensity or it may begin to wane a bit. Gradually, the target begins to see bright red flags that indicate a problem in this fantastical paradise. The person with narcissism often may begin—subtly, insidiously, and covertly—to devalue his or her significant other. This may happen via putdowns, gaslighting, intermittently lacking emotional or physical intimacy, withdrawing affection, seductive withholding, inexplicably disappearing from contact, or blaming the target for the narcissistic person’s issues (projection).
Ultimately, the person with narcissism discards his or her dating partner, who served as a source of narcissistic supply to fuel the ego of the individual with narcissistic issues. When the target asks for compromise, reciprocity, empathy, integrity, honesty, and boundaries (all healthy and valid requests that people with extreme narcissistic qualities generally do not engage in), the person with narcissism may decide that the target has lost his or her luster and is tarnished—no longer the “perfect partner” to fluff the ego feathers. Inevitably, the discarding occurs when the person with narcissism either disappears or orchestrates his or her own abandonment by engaging in some form of egregious emotional abuse. The outcome is often shocking for the survivor, unclear as to how someone that he or she fell so deeply in love with could throw it all away.
In most cases, survivors of narcissism were able to offer empathy, compassion, authenticity, honesty, reciprocity, and compromise during the relationship. People with narcissistic tendencies are drawn to such empathic, deeply feeling people and know that, on some level, they personally are lacking in emotional depth and substance. By being in a relationship with such a nurturing, loving person, the person with narcissism is able to consume that person’s authentic love and extract narcissistic supply. Once fed over the course of days, weeks, or months, the person with narcissism is satiated and may grow bored with his or her partner. He or she must secure the supply of another target, usually in short order.
Survivors can heal and move forward with the help of psychotherapy and support in narrating their story and resolving the trauma of emotional abuse. Understanding the dynamics of abuse empowers survivors to lessen any cognitive dissonance remaining as a result of gaslighting and other emotional abuse. Armed with knowledge, survivors understand the relationship cycle they endured and can move forward with enough protective armor such that they can jump off the merry-go-round of emotional abuse and be just fine.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.
Matthew cMarch 25th, 2015 at 11:27 AM
It can be hard to trust your choices again once you have made a mistake like this, albeit probably an honest one, and let someone into your life like this.
TalinaJune 8th, 2016 at 12:49 PM
I can not even begin to describe how accurate this information is. And although I feel even more betrayed after learning so much about this personality type, (the fact all of those actions were intentional towards me…..) but I am somewhat relieved to discover that I am not a completely ungrateful psycho like I was made to feel. I honestly had no earthly idea that people like this existed until my most recent relationship and I have learned more in the past few weeks about this than I’ve known my entire life…………WoW
LuAugust 5th, 2016 at 5:39 AM
I have just recently linked ‘boyfriend’ to this mental ilness. It is amazing how after reading and finding out more about this disorder that I can literally tick every single box!!! My regret is that I did not relaize this sooner and plot my escape, it happened when I found out about his cheating ways, lashed out and told him about how distraught i was – so I somehow feel that he still has the upper hand.. I miss the ‘illusion’ everyday, yet am infuriated when I think about the deception.. my solace is that he will never find hapiness and I atleast have an opportunity to move on with my life.
VlpAugust 5th, 2016 at 4:10 PM
So the silent treatment has lasted a month. Ongoing off and on, in 9-year relationship this has happened countless times. The first year of dating I started researching how this could not be normal. I over the 9 years I rationalized it in every way possible. This time, I had it. My suffering in this never ending pattern for the rest of my life will kill my self-worth. No matter how much I love him, I will find what will make me leave for good.
Being he is incapable of loving me, that is what hits me the hardest. I was trying to prove to myself that he has to love me, but could not stop his irrational ways. I looked and looked a still could not believe he could not love me. But it’s true in his actions. I had to finally accept it. Ultimately, the silent treatment and the projecting everything to be my fault and excepting he can’t love me or emphasise the hurt he was causing me ate what I ended up seeing as a cycle that would never change. I took this last silent treatment and made my choice. For him to not feel empathy for the pain he causes me by going silent, now I now see him unhuman like the devil. My lift of the anxiety and depression has came with realizing when he goes silent. This is the time the God is by my side helping me to see the opportunity, this is my window I’ve been given the love I need from God to leave when he goes silent robbing me from love just like the devil.
So this is what gives me the strength. Opening my eyes to the opportunity I had been given during the silent treatment that was robbing me of the love I deserved. God is by my side helping me see the opportunity to escape the devil.
CarolMarch 25th, 2015 at 3:02 PM
A person with these tendencies can suck you in and suck you under so fast that many times you may not even know what is going on until you are so far gone that it is too late to extricate yourself without getting hurt. They are masters at deception and finding a way to have their narcissism control you along with the unhealthy relationship. This is what they are good at- not letting you see the cunning and deception until they are ready for you to discover just how much you are being and have been used.
BorisJune 19th, 2016 at 4:04 AM
So true! I still cannot get my head around the coldness of my despatch. It was cruel, I said to my ex “you are incomplete, the human parts of you are missing.”
Kristin W.March 25th, 2015 at 7:55 PM
People with narcissistic personality disorder are incurable. They will continue this behavior the rest of their lives. Their long term supply suffer from inexplicable health issues as over the years of going through these phases again and again their life is slowly drained out of them.
CaptainObviousMay 24th, 2016 at 4:31 AM
I’ve seen severe narcissism turned around by counseling and a safe dose of MDMA.
jorgeAugust 4th, 2016 at 7:17 PM
Yes, completely agree with your statement.
FDA approval is still years away , and I imagine that the community of psychotherapists doing this treatment currently is completely underground.
Wish I had more information.
NicoleMarch 26th, 2015 at 4:30 AM
If you see this pattern of behavior run fast before you get sucked in.
HBMarch 26th, 2015 at 6:10 AM
This is spot on and I relate. They always say the quiet ones are the worst, and its true. For its not shyness, his problem was inability to connect, be authentic, empathic on any real level. He needed all that I possessed, and still posess. In the end, he never could sustain that and neither will he with the new supply nor anyone.
VivianMarch 26th, 2015 at 9:26 AM
Sadly I believe that the people who are like this will never be satisfied with what they get from others, even though this is always what they are seeking. They use people up and discard them once they have gotten from them what suits their needs at that particular moment in time.
JenMarch 26th, 2015 at 9:29 AM
How does one tell if the other person is narcissistic?
LondonOctober 29th, 2015 at 7:56 PM
The sense of humour. Usually we can make a joke with people who trust us and they laugh. If you try this normal affectionate style of humour with a Narc they become defensive, mine accused me taking the p” and got angry when I wasn’t.
Humour is about empathy with normals.
narcs are judgemental when they attempt humour it’s only sarcasm or lame puns.
Mine often made puns but would then explain them to me, just in case I didn’t get it (patronising a key feature)
A test I did him “what is it you like about me?”
Me ” well it’s nice to go out with a guy more intelligent”
Him ‘oh yes”
Me (not spoken) – are you serious,only an idiot would accept a compliment that.
Another observation was the topic of conversation, I cannot tell you his views or thoughts on any subject, it was always talk about the goings on in his local friendship group. His lawn mowing, washing machine issues and so on.
Michelle M.March 27th, 2015 at 3:04 AM
Hi there Jen. That is a really good question. The truth is that this can be a very complicated thing to ever know for sure since very few people with this disorder ever seek out treatment for it. So an “official” diagnosis (or confirmation for any survivor that this is what is wrong with the person who has harmed them so terribly) is very, very unlikely. What many survivors of this type of abuse have been able to do is carefully research what Narcissistic abuse looks like from a survivor’s perspective and begin to understand if what they endured is, in fact, Narcissistic abuse. There is a psychotherapist in Ireland named Christine Louis de Canonville and she, much like the outstanding author of this article (Andrea), has written extensively about Narcissistic abuse. I have taken some very important information that I believe really answers your question from Christine’s website, “The Roadshow For Therapists”.
“If you are to reduce your chances of being re-victimised by yet another narcissist, then you really do need to learn how to recognize narcissistic traits when you see them. Of course, a narcissist does not have to display all of the known traits in order to be dangerous, however, the rational is, the more traits that are present, then the more potentially harmful the relationship is likely to be. No matter how you have been involves with a narcissist, whether it is a parent, a sibling, a lover, a work mate, a friend, etc., you are likely to have experienced emotional and psychological damage to your own being. You are most likely to have suffered the experience of an escalating abuse; from criticism, to name-calling, humiliation, being shamed, degradation, possibly physical violence, and some unfortunates have even been murdered.
If you are an adult entering into a new relationship, the clues that your charmer is a narcissist is generally there from the start. Whether they are male or female, they will shower you with attention that is way over the top. When they talk to you, you will feel that you are the most important person in the world at that moment. You will be really flattered with the dangerous seduction that will come your way. It will seem like no time at all before they want to spend every moment with you. They will tell you that you are their soul-mate, that you and they are exactly alike, and that you understand them like no other person does. They will want to commit incredibly fast, whether it is romantically, or some other way, like a partnership of one sort or another. They will want to shower you with gifts, flattery and all kinds of promises, and they will whip you up in frenzy. Of course all this behaviour is actually a clue to the shallowness of their emotional attachments, and the fact that you have something that they want (information, skills, knowledge, etc.), you are their next target of Narcissistic Supply for providing them with attention, approval, adoration, admiration etc. Healthy relationships take time to develop, and they are built on a foundation of respect and appreciation, and an ability to communicate honestly, and to have realistic expectations. Once you are hooked, the honeymoon period does not last long with a narcissist, and they are likely to detach from you as quickly as they attached, moving on to their next hot pursuit.
It won’t be long before you will become privy to your narcissists frightening temper. At first their rage will be indirect, aimed at someone else. This demonstration of their power functions in such a way that it serves to intimidate and control others, including you. You are also likely to witness physical outbursts, like demonstratively putting their fists through a solid wall, breaking or throwing things, hurling abuse; and it won’t be too long after that when you will be on the receiving end of the violence. All of these tactics, along with their scathing criticism of you are designed to erode your self-esteem, your confidence, and give them even more control over you. The more fearful you become, the more they will rule by fear, it is as if their power is an aphrodisiac to them. As a result of the fear you will be subjected to, you will find yourself becoming highly vigilant, nervous and overly sensitive to every threat, walking on eggshells around your captor. The more insecure you become, the more powerful your narcissist becomes.
Bit by bit you will become isolated from all your supports; your family, friends and colleagues. The isolation is likely to happen without your realizing it; it may be through covert and overt acts of criticism in an attempt to turn you against the people you are closest to. Truth is that your narcissist can feel threatened by outsiders influencing you to see through the illusion they have created, so they need to isolate you. Their behaviour will become so demanding that you will withdraw rather than go through this punishing and tortuous interrogation every time you want to meet up with anybody. Friends and family tend to become tired of all the excuses you make, and they step back from you. Before you know what has happened, you are isolated, and job done for the narcissist.
Throughout this crazy behaviour, just to confuse things more, your narcissist switches to being a sweetheart. You see the person you fell in love with suddenly emerge once again. You’re beautiful Dr. Jekyll returns, and the evil Mr.(s). Hyde disappears out of sight, and your heart begins to sing once again. Your guards come down; you move close to your beloved once again, this move towards them melts away all the hatred and frustration you were feeling. You are filled with hope and a renewed optimism for the future, and you cling on with all of your might. But this phase does not last for long, and very soon you are back to the downward spiral yet again, and along with the fear comes renewed criticism from an even more enraged Mr(s) Hyde. It is this duality in the human nature of the narcissist (the “pull and push” behaviour) that leads to the Trauma Bonding (Stockholm Syndrome) and co-dependency needs that is so damaging for the victim. Whatever caused the change to the narcissist’s behaviour, you can be sure it will be your fault, because your narcissist never ever takes responsibility for their behaviour. Ultimately you are the blame; somehow you provoked whatever “bad” happens.
When this madness eventually gets too much for the victim, and they summon up the courage to leave, the narcissists core wound of abandonment is torn open. Unless they want out themselves, your act of rejecting will most likely send them into a panic. They will manipulate everybody into getting you to return to them, they will plead and promise the sun, moon and stars if you will just give them one more chance and you can be sure that for now, the beautiful Dr. Jekyll returns. However, once you are back their grasp around you will become even tighter, and any further attempt to escape will become even more difficult.
The person you once were seems to be a distant memory, just as Echo became a mere “whisper of herself” in the Myth of Narcissus, you too are becoming a mere shadow of your former self with each day that passes. Your personality begins to change; the interests and activities you once pursued are cast aside in order for you to focus on your narcissist’s needs and wants. You start to avoid company, because the price you have to pay each time is too high a price on your moral. Your narcissist makes sure that they will embarrass you in front of company if you appear to be enjoying yourself too much. In time you find yourself with nothing to say, you are becoming something you despise, a doormat. The worst thing is that you know that your narcissist also hates who you have become, and shows that in their total lack of respect for you. No matter how high you jump, the bar keeps being raised, and you surrender to the fact that you can never be good enough. Your sense of worth and esteem is so eroded that you begin to believe that nobody else would want you, so you die inside. You are now at the mercy of the evil Mr.(s) Hyde. Your only goal in life now is to fulfill your narcissist’s sense of entitlement, to live by their rules and laws, and keep your head down to avoid being punished at a whim. You have been exposed to the psychological been truly gaslighted. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. In effect, being in a relationship with a narcissist is the equivalent of being in a cult.
If you finally managed to break free from your prison, then very well done to you, because many victims never manage to do so. The thing to look out for now is that you don’t allow yourself become re-victimized by another narcissist. You are conditioned in the narcissist’s convoluted dance, so they will be attracted to you like a “moth to a flame” as a source of new narcissistic supply. But you are a wiser person for your experience, as they say, “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. You really do need to learn what it is about you that make you vulnerable to being snared by a narcissist. Once you work that out you can protect yourself against being hooked again.
When entering a new relationship, take your time to become an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies the behaviour of the person in their culture in order to understand them. The job is not to change anything, but just observe. When you meet people, just observe the person to find out what kind of personality they have, you don’t have to judge them or change them; just know what you are dealing with. Watch how the person treats others in the course of the time spent with you, because if they act uncaring with others, that is a very good indicator of how they are likely to treat you later on. The honeymoon period is going to be fabulous, that you can be sure of, but it is what follows that you need to worry about. Watch how they behave with neutral people, for example, in the restaurant, in the theater, how they talk to people who serve them in shops, etc., these can act as “red flags” of whom this person truly is. If the person is a narcissist they will be acting out of a False Self, and while they can keep up the pretense for a short time while they win you over, they will not be able to be consistent with the other people around them……. watch for the mask to slip. If they show superiority over others, speaking down to those people they perceive as inferior, then let me warn you, that once they have you in the palm of their hand, you can expect the same treatment. Listen to how others speak of your new friend, especially those who are in more intimate contact with them. What are they saying, do they see them as having integrity, or as being two-faced? Be cautious if they are showing signs of being a Jekyll and Hyde, and watch to see if the Hyde personality is becoming more prominent as time goes on. Watch to see if they encourage your independence, and self interests, or do they tend to dampen your ardor. Do they consider the opinions of others, do they show empathy, do they come across genuine in their exchanges with others. Watch out for any gaslighting behaviour toward others, how they behave toward “their betters”, so they suck up to them and model their ways, or do they discredit them. These are signs of their inferiority and envy. Do they show respect and care for others, or does everything always have to be about them? Lying is a big part of the narcissist’s behaviour, so my advice to you is to watch out for what they are telling you, then sit back and watch to see if what they said stands up to the test of time.
It is important that you take your time to build any relationship on healthy foundations. Enjoy being treated royally, but watch for any inconsistency with interactions with others before declaring your love. If you recognize the red flags, then you need to heed them. Don’t let your heart rule your gut, let your intuition guide you. If you think this person is really too good to be true, then your spirit is giving you a warning, it may be wise to move on while you can.”
misstiqueMarch 31st, 2015 at 4:05 PM
wow, this is a very good explanation on how they operate and how to recognuze them. Describes my ex to the last point. Thanks for sharing this, very helpful!
VLPJuly 15th, 2016 at 1:30 PM
After 7 years of being with my boyfriend and long distance as part of the relationship I in the first year started seeing the signs. I in my gut felt the wrong that was happening, but could never put my finger on it as a whole. I started looking at a situation as a problem and tryed focused on fixing the problem, if is was being uncaring, not following through, or projecting. Finding out when I did that it was at my expense of regreat, because I was in reality exposing his real self and seeing under his mask. The fist year everything was perfect, then the little things I would justify as no relationship is perfect. The first was the unasked for on my part to be in competition with his mother. Know I put all the pieces together 7 years latter and see the dynamic my boyfriend and his mother both of the same cloth of narcissism. It’s the third time we have been engaged. Yes the third time. And I 100% know it’s crazy. I am a victim. His bigges tool is silent treatment. I can say it happens every time I exposed him or he is lacking supply with feeling insecure. I am not one to be walked all over, and every time I paid for it. The problem with me is I keep coming back for more. I learn each time he is lieing to me to the fact he keeps repeating the behaviors that are unhealthy. I know this behavior is wrong. I went through the same stages every time he disrespects me or whatever it my be, then I confront follow is a argument the the silent treatment. During the silent treatment, this is when I was loosing my self worth. Anxiety, overwhelmed hurt, begging him to answer my calls txt. Anything to just talk it over with me. NOTHING sometime weeks months and a 2 year break up. After so long you are willing to forget what that problem was they meant so much to you that you, that blame even though it was not you falt, or just never bring it up. All just to get ride of that pain of the silent treatment. My boyfriend would then come back around when he felt like it. I was at ease he was back that I not dare rock the boat risking that silent treatment happening again. Then the relationship would start up against though nothing happened. I was being primed and a victim to this abuseive behavior over and over and over. It has taken a long time for me to put the pieces together. Your discription is him to a T. I keep reading over the years about narcissistic personality, but I keep getting sucked back in. I don’t want to believe he really does not love me, although he is showing me with his actions of the silent treatment , projecting , lieing that he can’t. I first I though it was immaturity and after thine and time of this he would get that it’s is a huge problem. I am in silent treatment right now with him, and when he will not explain then I turn to the sights about narcissism and it’s a sure action of his. I go through stages of is this him or can I deal with this. Should this be my out. Can I still be with him and change how I deal with his unnormal acts to not trigger a silent treatment. But then I just can’t get over the fact that if he is a true narcissistic that the love is fake and he is incapable. This is the part where I struggle for long term. I gave been trying to get married now 3 1/2 years like I said 3 times we have been engaged. Crazy… He has wasted so much of my time I am to the point I feel he is my only option. I want a family and I am 36 in a half. Time is running out. During our breakups I dated. Each time he came back and I broke it off with the guys I dated in hope he would come through this time on he commitments to me. I dated one great guy for a year and never felt with effects of narcissism. But I am with my boyfriend the narcissistic and engaged again and once again being give the silent treatment. Anxiety dreams as I sleep preoccupied during the day. This is the frist time I wrote on a sight. I am at a loss. I know but I don’t trust I will walk away or can’t . I am conditioned and in my gut know I am setting my self up for failure.
MyExWasCrayJuly 22nd, 2016 at 11:16 PM
I just seperated from a narcissistic wife. She did all of those behaviors. The gaslighting was the most annoying because I’m actually more intelligent than she is by far. So I seriously just thought SHE was crazy, lol. Now that I left, she has lost her mind! She started emailing my family threatening them with police charges. She tried to press charges on me that are about to backfire. She brought her whole group of crazies (including her kids…) to the house to try to demand that I move out. (Which I already told her that I would, lol. She had left already. She just made up a story about how I threw them out at 2am. I was working until 6am… lol!) She seriously is insane! She tried to keep it under wraps, but the last 6 months I have been reading up on her behaviors. It had been slowly creating more and more anxiety for her. She was trying to people please, but she would do things that SHE wanted done. I would tell her that I’d appreciate being asked what I thought, and the look on her face was priceless. It was a mix of shock and amazement. It was as if she seriously did not think that others were capable of having thoughts and feelings at all! She would studder when I’d ask her that, and then she’d just say whatever it was that she wanted anyway. That was my first clue as to her crazy, and it was only the tip of the iceberg. As soon as I noticed her selfish behaviors, she started acting even more hostile and even tried to collect blackmail material to prevent me from leaving. I told her to bring it on because I’m tired of supporting a woman who is scared of personal growth! It’s like these grown babies actually enjoy being this way! I should have noticed years back, but she was a very good liar and manipulator. I always wondered why she’d get so offended by me saying that I thought she was selfish or angry. She had daddy issues from hell, but I recently found out that her issues weren’t childhood abuse. They were just childhood spoiling! Her older brother told me that one. What really set it off was when I told her I was going to be honest with the world about how she treated her kids. Ever since then, she’s been in overdrive to protect her reputation and shame me. The only issue for her is that I don’t care what others think of me, lol! Also, people like me because I’m so nice. ;) She can’t say the same. Her few friends and family (that arent on my side because she was a bitch to them!) are all enablers. I doubt she will ever change tbh. I offered to remain friends, but that will only happen with extreme boundaries now. She was such a lunatic when the mask came off. I could tell that me trying to ‘figure her out’ was causing a huge amount of stress to her. Tbh, I still love her black little heart. I know I sound vindictive, but really, I feel sorry for her. It really must be tough to have to keep up such a crazy mask all the time, and the fear of abandonment is definitely there. I just can never be trapped back into a NPD’s manipulative web again. She was always nice for a reason, and once I saw that, there was no unseeing that…
JenMarch 27th, 2015 at 12:32 PM
I have been married for 26 years, after being together for 5 before that. We have 2 beautiful daughters in college. Our life really seemed to be good until about a year or so ago. Looking back, of course, I did everything for him and my children. I wanted this as well, and really did enjoy taking care of them. After the girls left, things began to change and then escaladed. He had an affair with a very close family friend (20 yrs), brought her into our family business and purchase rental property with her. Of course, I had inclinations that something was going on but was always told that my thoughts were ridiculous…Until I caught it. We discussed the situation and he was to end that side of the relationship, but I did not try to force anything with the business and the rentals. This was a year ago. Since then, I have caught and tried to forgive 2 more indiscretions with the same person, left the business and went back to my career and began seeing a counselor. Believe me, I understand that this relationship has been unhealthy for me and I question myself on why I have stayed and tried to forgive. He has never been abusive, verbally or physically, but looking back I would definitely say that he was not engaged in our relationship. Now, when I ask for empathy, companionship, understanding, counseling etc. I get the deer in the headlights look and no apologies. Each of our disagreements are thought to be my not being able to relax and leave him alone. Now, there has been physical abuse in an attempt to get me to stop. Now, there is no feeling of companionship, love, friendship, honesty or faith. As I speak, I am trying to find a suitable place to live that I can afford and step out…but I am having a very hard time walking away…How can that be after so much trauma that is not going to be healed?
MyExWasCrayJuly 22nd, 2016 at 11:21 PM
You have to be strong. Learn what you’re getting from the NPD that you aren’t giving yourself, and also build up a support group that you can talk to openly. Therapy also helps. I’m a week into a split, and I still feel sad. That’s normal for nonpsychos.
BlaiseMarch 28th, 2015 at 4:55 AM
I am not sure that I will ever fully understand the appeal that it holds to someone to use someone else like this
NicoleMarch 28th, 2015 at 5:18 AM
Excellent article that succinctly says so much, and the comments by Jen and Michelle are just as read-worthy.
Jen, I am so sorry you are dealing with this betrayal. I think you can find some solace and guidance on my site: Holistic Divorce Counseling. (It’s 100% free with nothing for sale and no ads.)
While a narcissist’s behavior is not about you, but reflects their own issues, it definitely affects you.
Some really good advice I read years ago said: When people show you who they are believe them.
JenMarch 28th, 2015 at 4:42 PM
Thank you Nicole. I will go to your website. I appreciate your passing it onto me. Any help or insight that I can get will be very helpful. Jen
MicheMarch 28th, 2015 at 5:14 PM
it’s infuriating but in the end the only thing is to get yourself out of it. They will never see their own faults. They cannot.
You will never get them looking at their behaviour and understanding it because they are just so self serving and self obsessed. they will, at most, just feel sorry for themselves like ‘poor me, I’ve been dumped’
At best I had to think he is not capable of a relationship. Can’t consider another person, can’t see you as a separate person apart from
What you provide for them. Its just an impossible situation. Once you realise the unbelievable level of selfishness then you know your energy is wasted on trying to get them to understand or talk about what is wrong with the relationship. They are already indignant that you are boring them with trying to get them to focus on you or on a problem that they just can’t see.
So don’t expect any understanding or any need for clarity, they want to get past this as quickly as possible as it is painful for them and unthinkable that they could be at fault.
It’s insufferable to them that they might have to consider it for more than a few moments. They want to just go forward, next victim ..or next project. All you can do is get yourself out and know that it’s not normal.
JenMarch 29th, 2015 at 1:09 PM
You really have pointed the exact personality traits that I have been seeing in my husband. I have tried to understand, to get him to explain or even provide some type of insight. There is none given…He says he doesn’t even understand why he has done what he has. There are is no more apologizing, no more empathy and no more understanding. It really is a selfish personality and extremely hurtful. I am working hard to get myself out and separate the part of who he has become from how is makes me feel. I see an empty shell when I look at him now. So sad when we have spent so many good years together. In the long run, by staying I am only hurting myself and providing him with whatever it is that allows him to stay. Thank you for saying all of the things that I am seeing.
NanOctober 14th, 2015 at 3:40 AM
You are so right … I think we need to be aware though that leaving a relationship with a narc is a process, it comes after recognition that its a bad relationship and no good can come of it …. Getting ourselves mentaly strong enough to deal with the grief …. Because that is what it is!…. And learn to live with it and grow from it!!..Head over heart!!!!….
It took me a long time, i dont think i will ever get over it completely…. But im wiser for the experience!!! X
kirkMarch 29th, 2015 at 5:24 AM
If/when I finally see that I hold no value to this person, then I am gonna run like h###. I have no room for that in my life.
JenMarch 29th, 2015 at 1:03 PM
It is good that you feel that you would be able to run!!! I never thought that this would be my life, as it was not always this way…And I would have said the same thing, but now that time is here it is extremely difficult to cut that tie. I do value myself, my ethics, my values and who I am. I would never tell my children to live through this as I have. I wish I would have run in the beginning of the “decline”, as there would certainly be much less hurt now. I admire your strength and hope you are never in a position to run. I am getting closer to running and part of that is the strength I gain from the strength of others. Thank you for that!
MarieMarch 29th, 2015 at 1:08 PM
I lived with a person with this disorder and I had no idea until the end how dangerous these people can be emotionally. Neglectful parent to the point she put her target’s (me) needs before theirs and they were little. Red flags started early..lies and compartmentalized stories about our relatiinahip. One for family, one for friends, one for the ex’s, one for work. When confronted she was a crying Damsel is distress and played on my empathy. It progressed to compulsive disorders gambling, eating,spending and finally an affair. This person I idolized became or had always been a monster. The divorce was brutal but I have never been more grateful or less stressed than after she was gone.
graceMarch 30th, 2015 at 4:24 PM
my husband would wake up every morning and swear at the cat and then he would proceed to not wanting to communicate would be on his computer or what asked if he was busy with his checkbook I later found out that he connected with an old sweetheart from high school from 40 some years ago and file for divorce and cancel my car insurance and totally cut off communicationand I lived with hostile silence my househis opinion was all that counted I never could have my opinion or he would make himself out to be the victim in the situation there was constant criticism repeated disapproval and never apologize for anything and he did not want any intimacy sexual or holding hands
TeelaMarch 31st, 2015 at 11:39 AM
How is it that we always find a way to idealize and love them so much and all they care to do is devalue and then discard us? What kind of person does that so someone else?
NikkiApril 14th, 2015 at 10:42 PM
I am so happy to have found this. I have answers finally. It has been so painful. I have been so confused, lost myself, lost in secrets, false promises, false love. This man will never love me, never did. It’s all a game, a bag of tricks, and I am so exhausted. Almost 3 years of silent treatment tactics, withholding affection, refusing to talk about anything, my feelings are invalid, never considered. He promised me the world in the beginning. Expensive Gifts, flowers, said I love you, wanted kids, a future with me, we were soul mates. Now it’s nothing like that. The crazy thing is he totally denies ever promising me these things, making me feel so crazy. I am now just “supply” to feed him. I am so sick right now after reading this. I just had my “lightbulb” moment. A lot to take in all at once, but I can pray that God will stay with me as I try and make sense of all of this. For three years it’s been this cycle, this exact cycle. Maybe I can start to breathe again now. So heartbreaking. I have given my whole heart and soul to this man, it feels like a huge loss of something that never truly existed. I am a sweet, loving person and I didn’t know people like this exist. Now, I know. Heartbreaking and so so sad :(
PatriceApril 15th, 2015 at 2:19 PM
From my heart to yours, I completely understand What you’ve experience because I’ve recently gone through the exact same thing. Now my ex, has a girlfriend after only two weeks of me breaking up with him. I was told by mutual friends on how she’s already in love and plans on marrying him. I aactually warned her and of course his charming personality has her wrap up in his web of deceit. I’m saying all this because we’re blessed because they’re evil people who don’t have a heart and no self-love; so no matter who they target next to won’t last. I’ll encourage you to stay strong, because you definitely dodged a bullet with that good heartless joker.
NikkiApril 15th, 2015 at 4:26 PM
Thank you so much for your sweet words :) I am so sorry that you were targeted by one of these jerks. I am so encouraged and grateful to have found that strong women can and will survive this. Even though I still feel a bit in shock, I am so relieved that I found out what he truly is, and now it all makes so much sense.
Prayers and hugs to you Sweetie! XOXO :) :)
ToniApril 23rd, 2015 at 7:50 PM
Nikki, I’ve finally quit a relationship, after 5.5 yrs of giving my full heart & sole to a man who is definately narcisstic . My heart is broken, just like all of his empty promises. This man has shown a vulnerable side to me three times. He’s told me he loves me, yet his words have been as empty as his lack of actions. He’s lied to me so many times, then retold different versions to me, not recalling that he’d told me something else. When i would call him on it, he would turn it around on me, causing me to think that I was the one at fault. Very manipulative, even in the most subtle ways.
Everything has always been my fault, never his doing, never being accountable. His moods and personality would change out of nowhere. There was NEVER any follow-through by him. And i was always doing things for him yet would receive nothing in return.
Most times i felt devalued or dismissed, never valued!
In the beginning i thought i was going crazy. Something would happen, words would be shared, and later he would completely deny it all. I’ve given & given & given until i couldn’t do it anymore, and became homeless!
I WAS a care taker..taking care of other’s needs, and never my own. This man made promises about the future, causing me to feel so happy, and then the other shoe would drop each time. I’ve always been very empathetc and compassionate . He’s unable to be! When we met I felt good about who i was, yet over time i began to really doubt myself, my accomplishments, etc., as a result of subtle insults, and put downs.
Finally, i became very depressed and suicidal. I entered a day treatment program for nine months, followed by two yrs of DBT to become healthier. That was just over 3.5 yrs ago. I learned new skills and once again began to feel better about myself. That was also when i realized that my cold & distant mother is also narcissistic!
I realized that his behaviors reminded me almost exactly of my mother’s behaviors! I have had to practise ending the relationship with him to actually follow through because he has used manipulation to cause me to change my mind in the past. He’ll never change, and i am soo tired of the constant ups and downs!
It’s been a long process. I have gotten so much healthier and much less tolerant of his treatment of me. Finally, although I’m a very loyal person, i simply cannot do this any longer! It feels good to finally take care of myself. I’m 50 Yrs old and have never lived alone before, and at first it felt wierd to put my needs first. And now i love takung care of me and not anyone else!
chrstineApril 30th, 2015 at 10:14 AM
Nikki….I am so sorry to hear this. But I completely understand. I just got out of this exact relationship. They empty us completely of who we are. We can never quite put a finger on the abuse but we know it’s there. How can this person just throw us away. I’ve been mourning the loss of everything, him, our future, our time together. But it was all just to fill his narcissistic ego. I’m heart broken to think that there is a loving human being under neath it all. But there isn’t. Not the one we’d like to think there is. Get into counseling, read everything you can to help you understand. When you understand more and read more, it will help you to detach, and start to move in. By the grace of God, I got out and am well on my way to being me again. We deserve so much more and to be loved by a wonderful man. But working on you will be key. Learn about boundaries, learn to put yourself first, get involved with what you love. This is an absolute must. I know exactly how you feel sweetie and my prayers will include you. Be strong. You got this! <3
KamiDecember 14th, 2015 at 10:27 PM
I hope you followed thru with what you discovered and left him.
silvisApril 30th, 2015 at 10:42 AM
And what to do when children are involved.
We are not together, going thru custody and we have 2 daughters 5 and 8.
I feel like I need to take them away from him. But he is the father.
JenApril 30th, 2015 at 10:40 PM
I think it would be very difficult where the kids are involved. Our daughters are now 21 and 24. They both love their father and I have not said anything in the way of painting a negative light. I do believe that they feel that their father is not a publicly affectionate person and that he has a temper. I don’t think they have yet to understand or even know what his narcissist tendencies are. We always made fun of his selfishness in a way that eluded to his being the “baby”. Looking bad now, I would do things a bit differently where they and I are concerned. I would always cover for him and say that he just didn’t understand because he wasn’t emotional like we were. He was gone a lot with work, which I also said was for the good of us…Ugh, I would not do that. Now, they are in a different state and they really do not know what is really happening. Since my last post, I have moved out to a new townhome (renting). It has been about 1.5. weeks. We are in the same town. I work from home, he in his office not too far from me. We are still trying to work on finances, including putting 2 girls through college and sharing our dogs. He has literally cut me out of everything in his life. I no longer work in his office, no longer in the house we raised our children in, no longer take care of the finances (both business and personal). The hardest part of the whole thing is that I lived with him for 26 years, devoted my entire life to him and our children, including giving up my career 2 yrs ago and now feel like I have nothing of that life left. With that said, I know that leaving is the healthiest choice for me. I fought it pretty hard but was tired of fighting and crying. We were going to hate each other. Some days are good, some bad. Today not so good. How is it when we know what is best as well as the cheating, lying (still happening) and selfishness, that I feel like I miss him? What is that? Why can’t I just be angry and not want him around me? The hurt is overwhelming sometimes and I just want it to go away.
NancyJanuary 7th, 2016 at 7:27 AM
Jen, where are you now? I just divorced mine after 37 years, my adult kids sound like yours. My son was the chosen child you read about when you read about narcissists and he thinks his dad walks on water, although now all the kids are jokingly talking about when Dad “discovers other people are in the world”. They are a bit bewildered because he went to his high school reunion and sought out his first fiance, within two weeks of connecting with her was telling my girls that it was serious, announced their engagement three weeks after the divorce was final in early November, and is getting married to her in March. She thinks she is getting the version from 40 years ago but boy is she wrong. Apparently my ex is acting like a love sick schoolboy and my kids are giving him grace because they feel this is a stage that will pass, but they have all felt “shafted” in my daughter’s words. I had not been providing enough narcissistic feed for my husband for many years because, darn it, I was expecting things like bills being paid and some emotional connection and all the things that they can’t provide. So my kids, who only saw the fluffy projection of himself that he gave around them, are just now realizing what it feels like to be discarded when he has a better source of feed. But they expect this stage to pass, and it will, when he discards his 2nd wife and comes crawling back to them, but who knows how long it will be and if it will occur in such a way that they realize the dynamic. Part of me wants them to realize what is happening and understand my feelings, and part of me desperately hopes that they don’t get hurt like that. I loved the man I married, although clearly the seeds were sown at that point, and I am NOT what I would consider to be a codependent, but I stuck it out because I refused to believe that he would throw everything away and I could not imagine how he could discard our early life so easily. I’m not a quitter and I just kept thinking he would wake up and smell the coffee but it just got worse. One of the many ironies is that his dad is a raging narcissist, no surprise there, and my husband has despised him for years and yet he has totally become his dad. Go figure.
Andrea SchneiderMay 3rd, 2015 at 9:47 AM
At Jen, what you speak to is the trauma bond inherent in a love relationship with a narcissist…there are some great articles recently posted about this trauma bond, and I will also be writing about it as well…Healing wishes to you, Andrea
JenMay 8th, 2015 at 10:21 PM
Thank you for bringing the trauma bond term to me. I have done a lot of reading on it since your response. I hadn’t heard of it before and it certainly explains what I am experiencing. I look forward to more articles written by you, on this and other topics. You have been more helpful that anything I have researched. I was seeing a therapist and due to no fault of hers, I have stopped going. I just was not feeling like I was getting any further along in trying to deal with the situation. I feel for anyone that has to deal with this type of personality and the trauma of what is left for us to deal with. It has been nearly a month now since I moved out. We still have a lot of contact, but mainly due to his financial questions or sharing our dogs. When I see him, he is either in a hurry due to work or ambivilent due to being too tired. What scares me at this point is that I tend to “forget” the hurt that he has caused and the lies that continue and begin to question whether or not it is bad as I know it is. Then the cycle of sadness and hurt starts again. I realize after reading that this is typical of dealing with this personality but that doesn’t make it any easier to move on. Thank you again, and to those that are posting here as well, as all have been extremely enlightening.
SandyJune 2nd, 2015 at 12:30 AM
My malignant narcissist taught me well in our 8 years together. I will never forget what I’ve learned. I may fall for another and be swept off my feet, and why not? That’s the good part! But seared in my soul are the memories of a dead, empty stare. A woman never forgets witnessing cold, haughty contempt from one who’d kissed away all her tears. Next time I’ll be vigilant. I’ll be watching. I’ll be the one monitoring him. Next time I’ll listen to my instincts. For those who are wondering, this is what happens-you go from secure togetherness, idyllic contentment and serenity to complete bewilderment, abandonment and confusion, all alone trying to comprehend WHY???
Next time, I won’t be looking for answers. I’m jus wavin’ good bye…
LucyOctober 13th, 2015 at 11:46 AM
Wow, this hit home for me. Thanks!
“Next time I’ll listen to my instincts. For those who are wondering, this is what happens-you go from secure togetherness, idyllic contentment and serenity to complete bewilderment, abandonment and confusion, all alone trying to comprehend WHY???”
Carrie S.June 9th, 2015 at 3:43 AM
It’s so real and still hurts. I left my narcissistic finance a little over a year ago. I always felt like it was not right…from the beginning. He was an artist and drew my picture multiple times a day. Poetry that was meant for fairy tales. Finally I agreed to date him, as I feared being his muse. 8 months we dated long distance. Communicated all the time..dreamed and fantasized of our future. The day I moved into his home he threw a microwave down the stairs. I was in shock and felt I had made a mistake…instantly, I was on his turf; instantly the life I was promised was dead. I stayed for 6 years…I always challenged him despite the punishment. I cried and lived in confusion, when I asked what I did he put up walls and just left me. When he’d put me down and make me cry he’d disregard me as emotional and stop communicating. Everything good in me he attacked. Days..sometimes weeks in silence, until I apologized for…. nothing / something /everything I didn’t do. Years. The more i needed- the less hed give. I thought the good in me could help him. And we did have a great life…I made so many excuses. My children were stable, he was good to them. We had multiple businesses, and seemed the ideal couple around others. The moment we were alone he would go from hot to cold. Head games. I never pretended, and always called him out. (I think that’s why he kept me around- to date, I am the only person to ever speak up for what’s right. He hurt me but didn’t break my ethics while his ethics seemed respectable…loyalty and sobriety, integrity and work ethic… he seemed at least dependable and worthy in that regard. That was a lie too. I ended up catching him doing lewd things to clients photos online. I stood up to him on behalf of professionalism. We argued and by this time it didn’t hurt as before. (I had also gone to all anon meetings at his enabeling mothers request..which was a life line!) I awoke the next morning with his hands around my throat. Never had he become violent. He had spit on me and name called, but to awake so vulnerable… I begged him to stop. I said he was scaring me and he said “good”. He left me for a week maintaining it was my fault. He said “anything he’d done was a direct result of my actions”.
The next 4 months were a nightmare. Leaving a narcissist is worse than living with one. He couldn’t make up his mind. To make up or not. We tried and then he kicked me out…said in was not allowed in our home because in was a slobby ni***r. So the kids and I went to my cousins (one of the few members of any support system I had left). Eventually I said no more. He couldnt take that. Blaming, making up, threats to call the cops on me for stealing our vehicle (in his name)if I didn’t come see him. Deadlines. Sometimes I bought it… the second I made up with him he’d attack me again. Crazy crazy stuff. 4 months of absolute insanity. Hardly anyone believed me, thought it was just break up drama. He sabotaged my business, shut off my shops electric, backed the website, turned me into the state board on false allegations to get me to Lose my license. All the while STILL trying to make up and dating another girl I was unaware of…he promised her a future and drew her portrait. I was in shock…I’m still in shock at times. The kicker is he refused to give my kids and I our belongings. We started all over again with nothing, and I left my business because he had caused so much financial damage I couldn’t keep up. Months later he reopened my business… with a photo that says “hostile take over”. He sends me photos of him in my shoes…with my property. Cops can do nothing and I can’t afford a lawyer. A year later he is still harassing me. He has spies…and does legal things. I got hotlined on my birthday for a methlab!! He does things so underhanded that i sound crazy, or petty. I have become so paranoid that I think everyone’s out to get me. He’s lied to everyone saying I cheated and couldn’t stand the guilt…
A year+ later and he’s still haunting me. Still in my head, and he always will be because its such a warping process. How did it happen? Why did I let it happen? And because he stole all our stuff. My kids still cry at least once a month. My 10 yo son needed therapy (we all prob do). And it is the materials… I hate when some people try to make it out like its OK cause its just materials. It was our whole lives…all we had left after him. Traces of our true selves. We all were so lost. He took it from us to hinder our self discovery, and to always be remembered when we got nostalgic for our personal treasures. I never knew… one day I came across an article on NPD and I cried. Total break down, and a little relief. He possesses almost every trait.
A year+ later I have reestablished my business. He had been dormant since December and has now resurfaced by sending proxies to intimidate me and slander my reputation. I am searching online for ways to handle this, and what I can expect… I am scared for our lives. Mostly from the legal and harassing standpoint but yes, physically too. So few believe the intensity of his goal of revenge…they dismiss me as paranoid or a broken hearted ex.. I get accusedbof giving him too much space in my head…I just want to scream. Because no one really knows what happened. I dontbeven know what happened…and I lived through it.
Thanks for listening. I need help.
DeniseJuly 9th, 2015 at 5:53 PM
Wow, I understand they do get in your head. I have talked to my daughter, cousin and one of my closest friends. I know they get tire of hearing it but this is the affect they have on you.
I am looking for a support group. I cannot believe that there are people out here who live just to humiliate you and get a rush from it. Real sick! I will pray you for. The Lord keeps me in peace. I love him!
JaneAugust 23rd, 2015 at 4:08 PM
There’s a great online support group at Verbalabuse.com — the site of author Patrica Evans. Good luck!
LucyOctober 13th, 2015 at 11:43 AM
A great group is Narcissist Freei on Facebook. Private group. There are more as well.
KarmannJune 20th, 2015 at 8:55 PM
I accidentally discovered this man was a Sociopath!!
I had a 5 year online friendship with a MN that turned into a casual dating relationship of 1 1/2 years. My only rule for him was that he stay away from my workplace (I am a massage therapist) and not hit on my friends because they could be coworkers or clients. After turning him down for a date, he waited until I was on vacation to go into my workplace and hit on my boss (who he had pursued online first). I had told my boss that he was not allowed at my workplace and told her why. He had a fetish and no interest in massage at all. He convinced her to fire me when I spoke up. My boss accused me of mixing personal and work issues and that she had every right to date whoever she wanted. The MN convinced my boss to lie to me and say they were not dating. He then convinced me that they were not dating and he continued to (successfully) pursue me. Six months later, I was researching empathy and landed on a site for empaths that had a big section on narcissism. Empathic people like me are good targets for MN. I was shocked!!! Every trait, every action, every abuse listed were things he had done to me! Triangulation! Getting to me by using someone else close to me….by boss. I read close to 50 articles and hundreds of personal accounts from victims. I kept him off guard for a few days and then blocked/canceled him from 11 online accounts without notice or explanation. I went NO CONTACT. It has been 14 days so far. He sent two texts and a letter in the mail saying ‘goodbye’. This is his MN way of giving me the silent treatment even though I am the one who ended it! Turns out, he has been seeing my boss AND me for the last six months! I’m coming clean to ex-coworkers who say my ex-boss is deeply in love and she thinks he is the ‘one’. He has already done the ‘smear campaign’ and convinced my ex-boss that I am crazy. I’m showing my ex-coworkers the proof of his cheating so they will know who he really is. He is a Pathological Liar/MN/Sociopath. I found out just in time….before he could discard me. I was lucky enough to end it on my terms.
Thank you for sharing your stories.
CindyJuly 4th, 2015 at 5:18 PM
I think I was married to nr for 14 years . He court wine for about 6 months no sex . Are wedding nite we had sex and he got up and act like no connection no kissing no hugging. Always telling me about his ex. He Thought he was a grate lover buy not . It was like as soon as we had sex he no longer cared about me .would not sleep with me I was blamed for everything that went wrong. He acted like a child. It e never validated me I was a good a wife and and he wanted me to do everything . If I could of shit for him he would have me do that too never said I love you hug me got so he would go months no sex ,I was a Good woman . From day one he never connected with me . Now I am devastated my years was wasted . I have no self a steem. He is 57 can’t keep it up and with a 25 year gril why would she want him and I know he can’t get it up help
DeniseJuly 9th, 2015 at 5:40 PM
Lol, my husband is 54 yrs old and he is impotent also. I actually have no desire for him.
Listen, you can live again! I am 52 and we cannot let these lost souls steal our souls.
I believe in a God that can do anything. He can restore our youth.
God revealed this man to me. I was searching on Internet and I discovered Personality disorder bingo he has these traits. Real sicko!!!
Are you still married to him? If so bring closure. Divorce!
DeniseJuly 9th, 2015 at 5:33 PM
I have discovered my husband is a Narcissist/Psychopath.
I have been married for three years and realized something wasn’t right within the three years of being with him.
I told him I am done with him and he gave me some money. He thought this would change my mind, well I still feel the same, “Done”
I have moved out of the state. I will be filing for divorce. I have learned a lot from him. I thank God I did not surrender my whole heart to him. So, I don’t feel hurt but anger and frustration. people with this disorder are the worst! If I never see him again it would be a blessing! I can live my life without the roller coaster nonsense!
NanAugust 9th, 2015 at 11:27 PM
It makes me so sad reading how many decent loving, giving people are hurt , used and messed up by these parasites!! ( myself included!)
We have no ill will in us just goodness kindness and selflessness and thats exactly what they take advantage of .
Not much wonder that there is so much evil in the world when you finaly understand how these people operate!
I wish more of the general public were aware of narsassists and the damage they cause, even to their own children. Con artists, very difficult to see until you personaly are the victim!!
I still feel sorry for the sad,very damaged child,devoid of any feelings except for himself,trapped in the body of a man.unable to function in a truly adult life.
And there lies our downfall…. We think by loving them we can give them what they need to be whole…..
Not possible!!!… We are only making ourselves a sacrafise….they already have a line of other empaths ready happy to sacrafise themselves too. While we are still writhing in agony….
Save yourselves and your kids and give your love and goodness to somebody that truly loves you back…. The world will be a better place for it!!!! X
GailAugust 16th, 2015 at 1:20 PM
To find that your human-ness is of absolutely no value to this less than human monster is chilling…
JanetOctober 12th, 2015 at 5:57 PM
You hit the hammer on the nail. I am a victim of abuse many times over including being taken advantage of and/or conned out of money. It is hard to find someone who is truly on your side and truly cares without wanting something from you in return. I have narcissitic tendencies myself. I am a hybrid of sorts between being too generous or too demanding depending on the relationship. I still have issues and so I still struggle to attract the healthy people who would be right for me. It is hard to find people who are truly fully on my side who truly respect my values and also care enough to speak the truth and be faithful. I could go on and on. I am married to someone who fulfills the above yet still has issues similar to mine. Sadly, we have been taken advantage of as a couple too. I am more tactful than my husband. He usually lets me handle the hard interactions and transactions, some of which unfortunately were detrimental to us. There are not very much people around whom we can trust to give us the proper guidance or moral support. I am passionate about making the right decisions yet tend to make bad ones half the time, a lot of them due to the lack of true caring honest guidance or counsel out there. So many people lie and don’t give you the help or hope for that matter that you really need and/or are overly blunt and disrespectful. This leaves my husband and I very confused and discouraged when it comes to making decisions. Better stop now, lest I ramble all night.
LondonOctober 29th, 2015 at 7:32 PM
my NPD with BP is so cruel it blows my mind. I went no contact after a particularly sadistic rage, he was online within hours and parading his new target on facebook as some perverse revenge. My brother saw this and was appauled by his bltent disrespect.
I was hollowed out and distraught, I had done everything I could do to please him. He blamed me for his tirade of abuse, apparently I had made a comment, held a view he didn’t like. He was well aware of this view when he initially groomed me.
I saw three of these psychotic rages, the fist time I recieved an apology before I’d arrived hom, the second one I recieved an apology a week later, the third I was stonewalled & recieved a follow up abusive email. I watched him rage, I was very frightened and remember thinking ‘how did I get here’ and ‘who is here’ I was frozen and hyper vigilant. I’ve never felt so out of my body before.
His new target and him were very happy as advertised. Then he broke through to me using a new mail. It was a provocative short message. I replied very politely. I felt safe knowing he’s in a fake relationship. These mails grew and grew, I am uncomfortable as it proves his lack of loyalty and looking back I was deceived too. I’ve worked out the new target was being groomed without knowing about me. Now I’m the other woman.
He is a big user of dating sites, he would pretend he isn’t. So I checked this and sure enough he’s very busy here too. I know that I am being manipulative and avoiding any proper conversation just like him. It’s completely a dead end with me now because I switched off compassion. I am saying ridiculous things as he did, I ignore all direct questions as he did, I don’t react with emotion or care as he does.
I am literally a mirror just like him very blank, humourless, bland, dull, patronising, without an opinion. If I need to remind myself how vile he is I simply look online at any of the dating sites he predates on.
Once we understand that that lying is pathological it’s our licence to embrace the concept.
They WILL return periodically despite stonewalling when they have a new lead. They WILL expect you to believe them and trust their integrity. They ARE cowards who CANNOT love, care, tell the truth. They are jealous if their friends embrace you, they Will copy your jokes and use them non-stop which is annoying. They have no sense of IRONY yet they pretend to understand the joke.
They are very 2 dimensional. Very charming at first, have a pity play – mine was abs ive childhood etc. Everything is fabricated, literally every single fact they told you from day one is not true.
This subject should be part of education if I’d had some of this information I would have removed myself much sooner from such a dangerous situation. I felt suicidal, dirty, afraid and horrified with myself.
November 10th, 2015 at
I honestly a, still in relationship or whatever you would like to call it. I have so may things going on in my life I just honestly cannot believe for the life of me someone could possibly be this way. It’s so scary. It started last July 2014 and I’ve never been so spent off my feet before by anyone. The first date with him was amazing. He’s such a romantic and we had a relationship for 7 months and I actually broke up with him because I was very depressed and did not want his life of happiness that he worked so had at getting through years of therapy and stopped drinking and just being healthy. I saw him one last time before it was over. I went to his house he had no regard for compassion at all. I cried the entire time because I love him. I was depressed and he just didnt care, so weird, I just don’t understand any of this. Anyways, I ended up having passionate sex with him and he was just like no its over. Even when Im depressed and he doesn’t care. Well it ended for 3 weeks and I heard from him and we talked about just a very casual relationship which I was feeling better got back on right antidepressants and felt 100% again. So hi. And I would get together with no kids involved and spend like 4 or 5 hours together and sleep with each other every time. Sometimes he would just come to my house in the morning for am hour but he always wants sex. I guess I’m stupid. Anyways, when he doesn’t want me around or cannot deal with me he blocks me so I can’t reach him. I completely freak out when he does this so I start emailing him and sending hi. Stuff. Like how are u so mean to me. You like have no empathy for me at all do you. You don’t even care about me. How can you be so loving and caring and then completely block me from your world like I’m nothing . I can’t understand this at all. Anyways I started reading stuff on narcissism. Because I would look up lack of or no empathy for others and narcissism came up. I know he told me about his childhood and his mother showed absolutely no signs of love towards him period. She would not even say she loved him. I love him and he treats me horribly but he keeps entering my life again telling me to stop being so negative and to let go of past and your life will be much happier. I get crazy because of him I just am trying to help him and I want him better so he can see that vulnerability and love are amazing . He was in a marriage where his wife cheated on him and he’s been divorced for 8 years I think it totally detroyed him. His daughter has alot of emotional problems which he says stems from the ex wife but I wonder Id he lacks feelings and empathy his daughter must be loosing it. How can u treat your children with no love . If he can’t love that makes him a complete monster rite. Please help me understand i love him so much but I’m so tired all the time I just can’t see, to pull myself together anymore. I want to see him and I look at him like is he going to do this to me again and please don’t because I will never hurt you because I’m so caring and loving . He knows this about me. I empathize with everyone and it actually works against me because I get so upset when I get used. He wants me to be stronger but totally takes any power away from me. Please help me is he a narcissist. Idk what to do anymore.
AndrewNovember 20th, 2015 at 2:12 PM
@Dawn – I’m sorry to tell you this but the cycle will continue to repeat over and over and over again if you allow it to. I know this for a fact because I can relate to your story. I was with a woman that was exactly the same way, lots of traumatic events in her past, narcissistic, over the top otherworldly sex, passion and connection, I mean like insanely better than anything I hav experienced before, then out of the blue they just shut down or distance themselves from you. She made me feel like we were soul mates but no matter how hard I tried to help and try different ways of making the idea of love safe, the empathy just wasn’t there and that cycle will repeat as long as you let it.. In my circumstance , I was the first one to ever make her orgasm through intercourse ( I could tell by her reaction this was in fact true, one of the few things that was true) so needless to say she would keep coming back and back and back if I still allowed it.. Honestly you have to move on because it won’t change. At least, at the very least for awhile.. A year or more, if you happen to reconnect in the future and you can see that they have significantly made a change then great, but be aware it’s very likely that they haven’t, as the only remote chance that they might is through a lot of therapy.. I hope this helps, I just wanted you to know I relate to your situation and honestly I just want to help save someone else from more hurt. I no it’s hard to say no because when they are good to you it feels like your soul mates but just be aware. Please be aware because you’re likely in for more hurt..
TammyNovember 24th, 2015 at 5:39 PM
Wow…I read this and immediately thought…is this my boyfriend? He sounds eerily similar to the man you are describing. He would often make excuses to leave extra early in the morning and have been told by countless ppl he’s been cheating but he swears he was loyal and ppl are trying to break us apart. I firmly believe my bf is a sociopath…and with him literally anything is possible
Andrea Schneider, LCSWNovember 10th, 2015 at 6:36 PM
@Dawn — If I am understanding you correctly, possibly you saw that you had the capacity to fall in love with the man you describe as an extreme narcissist, but not the other way around. That true intimacy and depth of emotion is not experienced by a person with extreme narcissism. However, since abusers are seeking the very qualities that they lack, they are often very attracted to targets who have the capacity to fall in love deeply, with compassion and empathy. Because the extreme narcissist lacks those essential qualities. I don’t doubt the sex was amazing and the infatuation stage was otherwordly…however, he wasn’t able to take it to the next level of maturity and depth. Too bad for him. Freedom and healing for you. Under no circumstances is emotional abuse ok. He disrespected you and devalued you. He doesn’t deserve you. You will move on to love again with a healthy person if you do the personal work in healing. Self-care is really important during this process, finding a qualified psychotherapist, and embracing the season. Perhaps it’s time to go bake some holiday cookies…. ;) A
cindymNovember 25th, 2015 at 5:31 PM
i recently played some games with my ex n just because i felt power over him . he is 58 living with a very nieve 27 year old . i would text him ,ask to meet him out when she was working just to see what he would do . i was the old supply the olded ego giver. i have been pucking him . he is not able to give his 27 year old sex . he says she ok with it . she cooks and does every thing for him all she gets is a kiss goodnite and kiss good by . he would not even kiss me but we were married and i was 27. but when he would meet me he wanted to see how far he could go with me . i didt want him , . he would not be able to deliver any way?? all just to show i had power over him . when i was done with him. i told the grilfriend very nicely that he has been reaching out to me for as long as they been together. she seems so nieve. i ran into her mom and told her too about the text, calls pictures he wanted of me and sending me stuff . her mom told me she didt want to hear any more …. her drauther is 27 . what is wrong with people . i told her to check his phone he lives a double life with his phone . soooooooooooooooooo good to be on the other side of this as$ in my life. i would like your feed back on the mom and the little girl he is with.
EboneegirlDecember 1st, 2015 at 9:19 AM
I was discarded after a whirlwind 3 1/2 month relationship with this Narcissist/Sociopath man. I actually thought this man was my soulmate we used to talk or text day and night. We were doing everything together concerts, movies, shopping. We were even planning on moving in together next year.
I believe about a month ago the devaluing stage began we started talking less, he even told me that he got tired of talking about the same things. Well fast forward I went to visit him and he was very distant. The next day he told me he needed space and that every thing was moving to fast for him and that he wanted to slow things down. But, he was the one who asked me to be his lady and suggested that we would get married.
Well, out of the blue I was at his house and once he got off work he told me he needed me to get out of his house and wanted me to go home. I asked him what was going on and if we were still an item and he told me NO we are not.
This has all left me devastated. How can someone who was so loving and caring be so abruptly COLD and CRUEL. He’s on FB and appears to be happy as if nothing ever happened between us. He’s moved on and I’m here depressed….
KashanDecember 9th, 2015 at 5:17 PM
I was told by my therapist that I may be in a relationship with a woman with narcissistic personality disorder in 2014. After 2 years with her cycles, I had to go to a therapist to deal with issues of anger that I had been developing as the relationship went along. It was so bad that I thought I was going to throw here out of a window at some point because if her lies, disrespect, and low class. She actually told me I needed to because I was no longer responding to her behavior as I had in the beginning of the relationship. That was the best thing I ever did. That was when I found out that I was probably in a relationship with one. Thank God I am whole and happy I never gave up on her until it was time. I clearly saw the tree phases in action…. I was a bit fascinated by the madness so I stayed in it a bit to long. However, knowledge is power.
JennyDecember 13th, 2015 at 1:12 AM
I have read almost all the comments here. I am a year out if a 7 year relationship with a narcissist .
I was married for 30 years then I met him! The trauma of this relationship has been terrible. Within a year he was cheating and continued with I believe three other women too! He lied constantly. He did suck up to his boss and anyone he thought worthy.
He finally began showing signs of being interested in transsexuals. God knows where that came from. He only wanted sex with me while he was dressed in women’s underwear. I humoured this but it escalates. Eventually he could not physically have sex with me . He was obsessed with anal with men . I would not do what he wanted. I told him I thought he was a narc and ill . He was furious. I truly believe I made him look at himself. I revealed him to him. That was the end.
SusanFebruary 22nd, 2016 at 6:48 PM
Oh, I’m in the middle of trying to extricate myself from this relationship – very complicated, very costly, but luckily no children.
AdamFebruary 26th, 2016 at 6:49 AM
My experience was quite subtle. She is a very shy person who seemed to have her life together. She appeared to have great family connections as well as good connections with friends. Looking back, I saw a lot of red flags from the beginning. She would flatter me a lot but I always got the feeling that it wasn’t sincere. The sex was amazing, claiming that she would orgasm within seconds (another flattering maneuver). She was the perfect girlfriend – while I was around. I began to notice over time that her friendships were very shallow and lacked the “stuff” of maturity. I then started to notice that she became a different person when she was around them: going to strip clubs and showing her body, secretly doing drugs, and probably acting in a permiscuous way (also something I always suspected but could never prove).
Eventually the honeymoon phase ended. She became emotionally vacant and cold. She would still do nice things for me (cook dinner, etc.) But date nights ended, she never wanted to go out, she appeared constantly irritated, she began lying about what she was doing (drugs with friends). Things were also blamed on me, even to the point of screaming at me in front of my friend. I can remember being very confused by her anger, saying to my friends that “the punishment just doesn’t fit the crime.”
I thought that by being a “good” boyfriend and showing unconditional love would help but it didn’t. She seemed to use that kind of behaviour to validate her irritation. Eventually the relationship ended when I caught her in a lie and put my foot down, so to speak, and create boundaries. She got really angry at these boundaries: refusing to live together until marriage, refraining from unhealthy behaviours like doing drugs, and negative friendships that creates ceaseless drama. All of these were thrown back in my face as being ridiculous, of course.
After I walked out on her, she became very cold and refused to converse. That’s when I started researching her life. Incidentally, I discovered that her life (her front) wasn’t authentic. She had massive amounts of debt, lawyer fees, and credit card debt. I also discovered that she was borrowing huge amounts of money from people that she wouldn’t have to pay back (her 92 year old grandmother, for example). Not only this, but everything she owned was borrowed or taken while she claimed that it was hers. I’m guessing this is the classic narcissistic “front” described above. I also discovered that no one really knew who she was. I met people who graduated from her high school (a very small town school) and no one remembered her. Not only this, but she had zero friends from high school left (all of which, she said, “probably wouldn’t want to see her). At that point I began to count my blessings. I recognized that she probably wanted me to move in, become common-law, and stick me with half of her bills (which at this point could be upwards of $300,000).
All of these things were subtle until I began to pull at the thread, so to speak. So, please listen to your gut feeling and investigate the person you are with. If they’re really in love with you, they’ll have nothing to hide.
RitaMarch 5th, 2016 at 4:07 PM
I still can’t believe it happened to me as well. Iohought I had a relationship but actually I had constant nightmares with a narcissist. Very seductive, loving in the beginning but cruel after some time and at some an expected situation. The sex was really good but if he got irritated, which happened all the time, he used to keep distant from me in bed. Sometimes I didn’t even know what I had done wrong… But I never tried to seduce him when he was “punishing” me. Actually his behavior made feel completely dismotivated for sex. One day I told him: you said in the beginning that you LOVED sex but you deny sex because of small issues. Very strange… This used to irritate him…
But he was much wiser than me most of time. I am romantic, so I tried to bring back the happy moments but he wanted to fight… It took some time for me to realise he was manipulating me. And I was on therapy… But I didn’t realised it was a disorder… It was only a matter of pride in my head… Narcissists don’t have feelings. The only way to get over a relationship with them is going no contact… We deserve more than begging. ..
juliaMarch 30th, 2016 at 2:54 AM
my life is a mirror to yours : ( my kids are being hurt by their dad who is “in love” with a new victim and I have to be there for them because they are being discarded like I was after 20 years. I escaped thank God now realizing what I was in and I am trying to recover I cry everyday , I am a mess, but I have to be strong from my babies and I will show him because he will die just like his mean father , all alone. So sad because I never thought he my ex would hurt his kids especially because of the father he had but from all that I am learning I guess this narc condition they can’t help it so it’s a vicious cycle. It’s very painful nevertheless.
carolynApril 21st, 2016 at 11:30 AM
What astounds me is how IDENTICAL our experiences seem to be! Do they have a manual for narcissistic behavior that they read and learn to follow? The descriptions of abuse are eerily EXACT! Him telling me I was his “soul mate”, we had so much in common, I was the love of his life, all the promises of what our fabulous future was going to be like, and now, how he’s moved on after a few short weeks. What gives with these jerks and how come they can get away with it? Seems radically unfair to me. I understand they live in constant turmoil and fear. Perhaps that is enough punishment for their evil actions. So sad. So pathetic. So unredeemable. I suppose they deserve our pity more than our ire but still, the treatment was so horribly egregious and reprehensible. Devils incarnate.
LarryApril 23rd, 2016 at 8:25 AM
I married my (soulmate) and went through the cycles and right now I am so scared. I think she is still attacking my soul even though she is 1600 miles away. I feel I need to put tin foil over me to protect me. I have a need to scrub my wall from the blackness leaking from them.
I know in time I will overcome this but right now I trust nobody and live in great fear.
MyExWasCrayJuly 23rd, 2016 at 12:06 AM
What I find the most fascinating about this disorder is the projecting. It is extreme! Once you catch a few of their lies, you start to notice the myriad of lies that they told or probably told. Mine would lie about people telling her mean things to start drama. She would lie about what she told the kids. She never wanted to be in a group when she spoke with people. It’s like she tried to keep everyone apart to tell her insane little lies to them. In the end, she made a big scene when she left and claimed I threw her out when I was at work. I did say get out of the house, but I didn’t MAKE her leave. She left because she wanted my attention, and I was done giving it to her over her own kids… Then the lies to the children started. It was disgusting, and I told her that I was disgusted by her behavior. She immediately went in to self-preservation mode, and she tried to lie to everyone. The funny thing is that only her enablers believed her, and half her family sided with me! They told me they were wanting to say something before, but she was too big a pain in the ass. I found out the web of lies that she told everyone, and it was bordering on insanity! Like all good ‘victimized’ narcs, she tried to press charges, but it will backfire as soon as she realizes what parts she omitted… I feel sorry for her tbh. What kind of person feels so worthless to the point where they cannot accept real love from another? I tried so hard, and the more I tried to connect, the more scared and anxious she became! It’s like they know they’re evil people under all that fake image, but they can’t face it. I have no problem seeing my faults, but narcs literally can’t. They will project onto anyone and everyone. She even told me how she hated her ex’s mom for pressing fake charges on her, but she is the one who has pressed fake charges on others, lol! She told me I was abusing the kids when I told her that I didn’t like her yelling at them. She blamed me for ‘throwing’ her out with her kids, when she actually argued with me for 12 hours while I worked until I said get out at 2am. She left herself, and her kids had no idea what happened. The daughter cried and told me that she was ‘so confused’. I’d be mad at her, but it really is sad. She must feel very damaged underneath all that fake bravado… I can’t help her nor her kids, though. Only she can do that, and she must be very hurt under it all. Of course, she is hurt because her fake image broke on the surface, but underneath she is hurt from her feelings of worthlessness. I had a somewhat narcissistic father, but his alcohol abuse was the source of it. When he got sober, then he changed to a loving soul like I am. My wife just had nothing underneath the narcissism. It was very sad to me until I realized that the ‘good times’ were just her mirroring my best qualities. The qualities that she wanted, but she can never obtain. It really is sad that they cannot ever get help. Trust me, just bore them until they leave themselves. Unless you’re a fighter like me, the other way is going to be a little more than difficult. ;)
NarcAugust 9th, 2016 at 2:50 PM
I am a 40 year old male narcissist. I am not proud of this fact. I have started a blog that will hopefully help explain why narcissists become who they are so you can be sure if you have kids to watch out for these types of behaviors and if you encounter a narcissist you can watch out for the red flags. My aim is to help people and potentially help myself. Feel free to check it out. imanarcissist.com
MichelleAugust 10th, 2016 at 4:34 AM
Hi there Narc. The action you have undertaken (setting up the website to alert others to what a narcissist is so they can act on the red flags) seems to be one that is not consistent with being a narcissist. I am not sure who diagnosed you but I am wondering if you have given any thought to the possibility that you are actually a victim of narcissistic abuse who has absorbed the projections of their abuser(s) and not a narcissist. My experience with the mental health profession has been that they do not quite fully grasp just how much a survivor’s identity is warped when they are abused by a pathological narcissist to understand that sizeable percentage of survivors actually believe THEY themselves are the narcissist. And far to often mental health professionals will just take the word of the person they are treating when they say they are a narcissist and grant the diagnosis. In my opinion this disorder (and it’s effect on survivors) is one of the most poorly understood throughout the mental health profession worldwide. Obviously, since I do not know you I cannot speak to what your true diagnosis is, but I just want to point out that what you seem to be saying and what you are actually doing seem to fly in the face of pathological narcissism.
NarcAugust 10th, 2016 at 3:00 PM
Hi Michelle, thank you for the feedback. I completely understand your viewpoint, as I know what I am doing is not typical of narcissism. Believe me, I was in denial for a long time and I did not see myself as a narcissist. But I am, I fit the stereotype like a glove. I don’t believe that I am a victim of narcissistic abuse because I did not have a narcissist in my life growing up. All of my family and other influences in my life growing up are the exact opposite of narcissists. I just set the blog up recently so there are only a few posts but I encourage you to check it out and follow along with my story. Then maybe we can discuss again if you think some of the things I’ve encountered and experienced in my life that I believe led to my narcissism and the things that I have done to others in my life are typical of a narcissist.
Leave a Comment
By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.
Search Our Blog
- LF: I have been married 27 years. My husband had multiple affairs since 1998. It’s almost every two years. Recently, about 5 months ago I...
- Marylyn: I really relate to the story told by “the other side” and “Jason”. I have been married for 27 years and fallen out...
- Paul: Is not what one sees in another, merely a mirror of one-self? Is not what one gives, also what one receives? Psychiatry and psychotherapy...
- Runner: I’m in a very similar situation and it’s great to hear a supportive comment rather than the “you loser, what did you may...
- Rebecca S. R.: a minute til midnight so this 44 weeks today anniv. is over. where is the post from teri who sounds so like me? o teri hugs. pat,...