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Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse, Part II: The No-Contact Rule

Young corpulent woman with depression
 

In my previous article, I touched on the subject of narcissistic abuse recovery. I decided to write a second article as a follow-up for individuals who wish to explore further how to move forward through this specific healing process.

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As mentioned previously, recovery from this form of abuse can take a fair amount of months (or even years in some cases), given the insidious and covert nature of the emotional abuse (Sokol and Carter). Individuals who exhibit malignantly narcissistic behaviors are predatory in nature and seek to “conquer” targets to fuel their narcissistic supply (NS), which is the emotional sustenance which drives and fills them. These people thrive on attention (negative or positive) and will do anything in their power to ensure that their primary and secondary sources of NS are working in concert to feed the insecure ego of a broken psyche. Although by no means exhaustive of the complexity describing the individual suffering from narcissism, the DSM-IV states that people with narcissism exhibit the following traits: inflated sense of superiority, grandiosity, attention-seeking, self-absorption, arrogance, entitlement, and limited capacity to empathize and reciprocate in relationships.

Trapping a Target

It would make sense that individuals pulling away from someone like this would experience tremendous loss and trauma (Brown). Initially the person with narcissism presents as a knight in shining armor, completely in sync with the target’s emotions and dreams. The target is unaware that the individual then hones in on the target, studying the desired love object so that he or she can then act as the target’s soulmate, in essence.

This “hunting” can occur on dating websites or in the initial stages of dating (Brown). The target, who generally has the capacity for true, mature intimacy and love, is intelligent, attractive, and successful, then falls head over heels in love with the person with narcissistic tendencies. Subsequently, that individual then feigns love for the target. And the moment the target is hooked, distancing maneuvers ensue, which serve to disorient and confuse the target.

The target then becomes incredibly confused and experiences what is called cognitive dissonance, or a state of confusion. The person with narcissism had expressed love, but is now exhibiting distancing and detaching behaviors, which are not in alignment with the initial honeymoon stage (Carter and Sokol). Eventually, the individual is fully satiated on NS and then becomes bored and tired with it, because the target is merely an object or a vessel to obtain NS.

The target is devalued and discarded when the individual exhibiting narcissism no longer feels the need to court the individual who is a source of NS (Carter and Sokol). Ultimately, the target is left wondering what happened, and how someone who seemed so perfect as a soulmate completely undid everything that the target worked so hard to build. It was the target who fell in love with that individual, not the other way around. The person with narcissism purely was “feeding” on the NS, and as soon as his/her ego was full, the target was no longer considered useful (Payson).

Motivations of Narcissism

At that point, the individual with narcissism will either vanish completely or will say and do certain cruel and emotionally abusive things designed to injure the psyche of the target. He or she actually seeks to cause harm, and straddles the line of sociopathy (Brown). Ultimately, the target has no way of understanding what happened and is left with confusion, shock, disbelief, and betrayal.

Because people who tend toward narcissism always needs newer and fresher sources of supply, they have a habit of devaluing and discarding targets (Hotchkiss). They may be incapable of true love, empathy, reciprocity, kindness, and compassion. In essence, they may have broken psyches, much like a broken appliance (Hotchkiss).

Studies show that there is very limited effectiveness in treating narcissism in psychotherapy, as it can be firmly hardwired to someone’s personality due to largely environmental circumstances that occurred in his or her early childhood (Martinez-Lewi), including parental abandonment and severe abuse. It could be that they had inconsistent sources of love as children, if any at all, and to survive childhood, they had to create an outward mask to the world of the perfect individual. Underneath, these children could be empty and lacking a core sense of self, prone to depression and anxiety without NS to fill a void. Adults who are narcissistic are often referred to as developmentally stuck at age 5, when their emotional maturity ceased (Hotchkiss).

So what is a person to do if they have been crossed by this kind of toxic personality? First, I would say that though the pain is initially intense, you are blessed that the person with narcissism left. And no contact with this person will result in any form of healthy exchange.

The No-Contact Rule

Experts on narcissistic abuse recovery all agree that contact with someone like this always results in pain (Payson). Maintaining zero contact is essential for you to be able to heal and cognitively and emotionally process the mental hurricane that hit. Some clients have likened the experience to like coming off a drug; it is so painful to go through the traumatic grief work in being abandoned that these feelings are akin to withdrawals. However, as you heal, you can be empowered, stronger, wiser, and more discerning and reclaiming of your own self-worth.

The target is capable of empathy, reciprocity, true and mature love, and growing in a relationship. People with narcissistic behaviors are generally not. They are only capable of deceptively seducing preselected targets to fill a psychological void. The same cycle may repeat every time. It is so imperative that the target understand the process of grieving the loss of the fantasy of the person who narcissistically manipulated him or her.

Those with narcissistic behaviors are usually hard-pressed to find a healthy connection in any relationship. When the masks are pulled off, they realize they cannot manipulate and seduce as they are accustomed to. Too many people have caught on and discovered who they really are.

Luckily, for those whose lives have been touched (or slightly marred), there is a path to healing. This process takes place through no contact, a compassionate and understanding psychotherapist, and a support forum (whether online or in person). Those who have been targets heal and move on to love others in healthy, mature relationships.

Resources:

  1. Saferelationshipsmagazine.com:  Sandra A. Brown, MA’s website and resources related to abuse recovery from unhealthy relationships
  2. Help! I am in Love with a Narcissist by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol
  3. Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Narcissists by Sandra L. Brown
  4. Why is it Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy HotchKiss, LCSW
  5. The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love and Family by Eleanor Payson, MSW

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

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Comments
  • Mike June 19th, 2013 at 12:00 AM #1

    Being used this way by someone like that could wreck havoc on the person’s self esteem and sense of self.

    I would hate to be used this way.Not only does it take a toll on the relationship that one thought was good but also leaves one emotionally battered.Future relationships may come under excessive scrutiny due to this.

  • Peyton G June 19th, 2013 at 4:12 AM #2

    In my own experience I can say though that this is one of the hardest relationships that I have ever been involved in but it was also one of the most difficult to extricate myself from.

    You are so right when you talk about him presenting himself as a kinight in shining armor, because this is how this guy always came across. Even after we had broken up time and again I couldn’t stay away because he was always telling me how this time would be different, reeling me in with a different scenario or lie each time. I am not blaming him totally because I fell for it every time, but you have to get to a point where you are not going to allow this person to hurt you any longer. And yes, no contact is definitely the best policy.

  • Paul June 19th, 2013 at 12:26 PM #3

    I wonder if a narcissistic personality attracts a person with low self esteem? I say that about myself because I was attracted to her strength and confidence. I often felt “slimed” in front of others and couldn’t figure out why. I know I didn’t like the feeling. If I brought it up I would be dismissed and told to “be a man”. The longest and tougest road I’ve ever traveled. Hope I have the strength to end this. I’ve never in my life had to deal with such rudeness from a person. Older and wiser.

  • Peter S June 20th, 2013 at 5:08 PM #4

    I just went thru the most exhaustive relationship with someone who suffers from BPD. So much of this described that person and our relationship. They acted fine except was obviously shy etc but hid it so amazingly well over 5 months. Then omg the splitting. I am curious how prevalent NPD is with BPD? They sound so similar is dialectical therapy only thing helpful for NPD’s as
    Well?
    Which is more Crüel I wonder?

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW June 20th, 2013 at 6:53 PM #5

    Thanks for your comments all. @Paul-it is typically the person with narcissism who has exceedingly low self-esteem, but it is masked in grandiosity and false bravado…so on the outside, this person could look like a “cowboy” with a swagger and lots of liquid courage. They are generally drawn to individuasl with high emotional IQ, who possesses integrity and a strong sense of authenticity, reciprocity, honesty, and empathy…qualities lacking in someone with narcissism.

    @Peter–this article specifically addresses those with narcissistic behaviors, but there is ALOT of cross-over into borderline personality and also histrionic personality. Although the new DSM is re-categorizing these conditions, they have previously been under the umbrella of “cluster b personality disorders.” What they share in common is a pervasive lack of self, fear of abandonment and fear of enmeshment…many of the qualities of BPD intersect with that of narcissism. Not a lot of success reported in studies with people who have narcissism in therapy, mixed success with borderlines…it all depends if the individual has “traits” and some insight or just has the full-blown diagnosis. Andrea

  • Mike M June 24th, 2013 at 5:56 PM #6

    The woman I dated for 6 yrs and helped raise her 9 yr old child has an ex who is a narcissist. It wrecked us. My ex had a rough upbringing with her parents hating each other and never being able to get alone. She didnt want that for her kid and I was 100% on board of them having a peaceful and workable relationship. Yet, slowly ut surely he would claw at her and then she would continuously allow him to to set the tone with regards to schedule, showing up, staying for long periods of time, being nasty to him kid, being verbally abusive and the entire nine yards. He got off on making waves. It got the point where she ran scared of him and I got more frustrated begging her to set some healthy boundaries with him and for us to talk with someone to help us deal with it better. I didn’t alway react well, always being way way down on the priortity list and finally we crashed. A week later she told me she found a great guy, a nice guy who gets it. Btw, he lives 2 hours away and has for 4 kids under 10. I don’t get to see the little girl anymore after 6 years. Never in my life did I expect this. Brutal.

  • Kaye June 25th, 2013 at 1:42 AM #7

    Hi Andrea, I left a marraige with 3 kids aged under 2 thanks to his narcissism. Everything a battle, child support, visitation etc. Its now been 15 years and the kids father has cohabitated with a very similar personality……nothing but drama! All along, I have been there for the kids! Love them so much. I recently got involved with a man who still lives with Mum, he’s 50 years old, and shows so many characteristics of a Narcissistic….didn’t realise till I read your site. It’s all about Him. I would say ” How’s the weather, it rained (pelted) down coming to work”…..His response, ” It didn’t rain where I was”!!!!! If I mention myself or my children, he never asks about them or me….wait for it!…He talks about HIS stuff, experience. So bizarre. Apparently I stuffed up with any future relationship with this Man as he told me! But! He is happy with a Friend with benefit’s arrangement. What a lying, deceiving, base and unintelligent individual this person is. I pity his lack of a true soul. I did not survive many traumatic child experiences & come out the “best” mum I can be…to have it stolen by a mooch.

  • Maripaz Lara July 17th, 2013 at 9:29 AM #8

    I was married to my soon to be ex husband for 2 years been together for almost 4 years. Yes I was in fantasy land leading me to believe he was my soul mate. Everytime I was in the way with his pornography, ptostitution, online dating womanizing he would be verbally and physically abusive. He calls me fat ugly old and give me something to look at. On 12/12 I left. But after that because of my love for him he wanted to see which we did see each other a couple of times. But behind it he still continued to see women and his mistress. I am unemployed living with a friend and he depleted my account.Because of that I did try to ask him if I could come back he said too late I have a new one. His soon to be wife number 3. Looks like his youngest daughter. No contact is the best contact. He met his match.

  • Andrea Schneider August 10th, 2013 at 4:29 PM #9

    My heart goes out to all who are leaving an abusive relationship …may you heal, be free, and find healthy love.

  • jennifer August 21st, 2013 at 1:03 AM #10

    I wrote this tonight for the person I was engaged to. I left him three days ago after months of being idealized and the devalued. We are both Catholic and philosophy grad students, and I used metaphors that refer to Plato’s allegory of the cave and to Christian thought. I’m posting it here because I can’t send it to him.

    …….
    I thought it was real and that you were my husband. I thought God, and your mother, and my grandpa called us together. What the hell just happened to me? Trying to understand it just makes me suffer more, but I’m obsessed with understanding it.

    But I think I do understand. I think I’m already healing, nearly healed. My grief is holy and good, and God keeps my tears a jar. Because those tears are shed for the loss of real love, and that’d the only loss that’s real. My suffering counts. I love the real, and the real in you. But I don’t love the puppet you’ve constructed, the you that walks in your shoes today. How can you love a person who never fully became real, whose essential identity is created out of being hidden?

    I knew. There were obvious indicators. But their sound was overpowered by the loud noises of the theater that is your personality. They sounded like me as a little girl, crying in the woods. How could I abandon her? I ran into those dark woods, of course I did: I believed the illusion. I chose to love, and I thought I was choosing to heal. I thought it would heal me, and you and my children. But, what seemed to be evil has been worked toward the glory of God, because I have faced the truth, even though it stings. And I am not ashamed. Finally, for the first time, I am no longer ashamed. Praise God that I love.

    Of course I chose to go down that path. It’s who I am; a person who follows the Good. I was merely confused about what was Good. You imitated good, lured me into staying in the cave, because you were lured there yourself. You can’t see me or anyone there in the dark, not even yourself. It’s all so sad.

    But I’m free now. I’ll go get myself out of the woods and heal my children on my own! You can break free, too. There is ALWAYS redemption: it’s the purpose of our creation. Redemption nakes us real and good. God’s power and glory rests on our redemption.

    I hope you make it out of the cave, David. I really really do. I hope you can throw off your hooded cloak and face yourself in the full light of day. Even though the light is painful at first because it will illuminate the your ignorance and how you’ve wasted your time for an evil purpose, your eyes will adjust if you just tolerate the distress. And you’ll see that you are actually real, and beautiful, like all of us. You’ll grieve, but that grief is your salvation, not the salvation of you Soul, but the salvation of your purpose and dignity. You are more than a caster of shadows, and I am not a bound slave. The gold you see in this life constitutes the stores of your riches in heaven. It is the value and glory of God that is manifested here on earth, in every Soul and all creation. When you truly see it, you love it. When you love it, you act to bring it out into the light. It becomes yours to share in. It is added to you, and you are truly rich. When you love others well, you cause them to see the gold in their own Souls. But when you only love fool’s gold, the stuff that imitates what’s real and obfuscates the view of the Soul, you are given nothing. And when you cause another to think they have no gold, when you devalue them and use them to build up your rotten, cheap store of earthly pride, you become less. You are less. You become like man dying of thirst who sells his one cup of freshwater for the ocean. Mercy mercy mercy, God help those most in need of thy mercy.

    I’ll see you on the other side, in the real. Here on earth, i truly pray that you stop wasting your precious time. It’s literally the only time there is. You don’t get another chance to act, to create yourself. All action disappears when we leave. I want you to be a part of the full Glory of God, because although I don’t love the theater filling up your clothes and mind, I do love the gold in your heart. And that means I love you, because that’s all we really are. Goodbye, Lovie.

  • Andrea Schneider August 21st, 2013 at 11:40 AM #11

    @Jennifer…thanks for your input…your letter would likely be more appropriate to post on a support group forum like that of lisaescott.com where survivors can post letters and their story of emerging recovery…check out that website and post your letter there…I wish you well, Andrea

  • Tori August 21st, 2013 at 3:59 PM #12

    I am so encouraged with everyone’s comments. I knew my exN for 4 months before I was dumped. Now I say happily dumped. I know realize I was getting close to figuring him out. I asked myself for weeks why did I miss the red flags. It was like he was telling me, and I was too blind to see. The last day I saw him was 6/3/13. After this I bumped in a narcissism site. What a blessing I then began NC. I broke it a few times, but the last time I spoke with him was 7/14/13. So glad I read so many articles and comments. He came to pick up his things from my house 8/14/13, I left them on the porch. I made NC.My concern is now I get at least 3 calls a days from him. I am still NC. What do I do? Someone please give me some help on what to do or not do.l

  • Teresa August 22nd, 2013 at 8:46 AM #13

    My problem is a narcissistic mother and two of my sisters . How do I stop all contact with family? My mother knows for the first time that she can no longer fool me. She enjoys seeing my sisters attacking me and appearing as the innocent angel. I moved to another state to distance myself, but recently had to be with them because of the death of my brother.. I was the target of abuse even during that horrible experience . We are having a memorial for him in November , he was cremated and I am dreading being around them. Do you have any ideas of what the best thing to do would be? I was the only one in my family who my brother trusted, I visited him often, he lived in another state. No one else, including my mother ever went to see him even though he was very sick.

  • Andrea Schneider August 22nd, 2013 at 12:31 PM #14

    Hi Tori…Although I cannot give you psychological or legal advice on this website comment section ( I would suggest that you check out lisaescott.com for posting questions about NC)…I can say that it sounds like you are getting stalked at worst, and harassed at minimum. You may need to seek legal advice to protect yourself (a cease and desist order, restraining order, etc)…Many survivors would recommend not responding to the calls or you will be breaking NC and potentially fueling this person’s fire…be safe and careful…by responding or answering the calls, you run the risk of strong intermittent enforcement as a narcissistic supply source…not what you want!

  • Andrea Schneider August 22nd, 2013 at 12:37 PM #15

    @Tori–also, those in the survivor community would also suggest you block this person’s number on your landline, cell, and also block email…that way you send a strong message about respect and boundaries
    @Teresa–I would recommend the book The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists on the resource list as a starting point to address narcissistic family relationships. Secondly, I would connect with a very skilled and trained psychotherapist who can address your concerns and advise you. A starting point for that would be to take a look at Sandra Brown’s website on psychopathic relationships and inquire about therapists trained by her program. You can also interview therapist to determine if they have acquired any continuing education units on helping people through narcissistic abuse recovery. Andrea

  • Beth September 7th, 2013 at 8:20 AM #16

    The balance between no contact and coparenting has been a challenge for me. He punishes me via our child in very insidious ways that sometimes disarm me. And he knows it and comes in for the attack until I build defenses again by NC. It’s tough. Because it shakes my core and sends me back to the place where I don’t feel good enough, don’t do anything right and gave to return to the ‘fake it till you make it.’

  • Ben September 14th, 2013 at 7:01 AM #17

    I just left a relationship with someone that was, what I believe based on my research, BPD/NPD. I don’t think the pain would hurt as much if I didn’t bring her to my home country to meet my family. My family treated her with the utmost respect and admiration (something she ate up). During the entire trip she withheld affection and sex from me and when I got home I’d had enough. She hurt me so bad. I later come to find out that she was seeing someone else. My heart is broken by this roller-coaster that had been going on and off for two years, however, I think it is finally time I could get some semblance of closure. Thank you for this article, it was spot on and made me realize what I was enduring wasn’t simply a bad relationship but an abusive one.

  • Andrea Schneider September 14th, 2013 at 4:51 PM #18

    @Ben– I am so glad my article was validating and supportive…you deserve the empowerment ! Best wishes in your healing journey– Andrea

  • Lena October 4th, 2013 at 9:13 PM #19

    How do you protect a young child from a narcissistic father and grandfather? Like father like son and I’m now afraid for my son. I can’t break contact for either of us.

  • Andrea Schneider October 5th, 2013 at 5:49 PM #20

    @Lena–the response to that question really involves a comprehensive assessment for you and your son. I highly recommend you seek therapy with a skilled psychotherapist who specializes in this area, and who has strong connections with divorce mediation family law. Best of luck.

  • Katie October 7th, 2013 at 4:43 PM #21

    In response to a question about whether narcissists target those with low self-esteem: sometimes. But also, they can find it a challenge to try to break someone with healthy self-esteem and confidence. Plus, no one is completely free of vulnerabilities, and they have a six sense about sniffing those out. I completely agree that no contact is the only way to go, but so difficult if children are involved!

  • Brandi October 7th, 2013 at 4:58 PM #22

    Great article! Many people will see characteristics of past or present abusive relationships here. Good advice!

  • Phil S October 20th, 2013 at 7:38 PM #23

    This article caused me so much pain – because I realised what a fool I’d been getting drawn into a relationship with my ex for 9 years. I thought she loved me, truly loved me. But evidently not. This and the first article described my partner to an exact definition. I still love her so completely yet look what she has done to me.

    I feel for all the others here who have gone through this trauma. I can’t ever imagine healing from this. She was so beautiful, successful, financially independent, sexy, engaging, interesting. She was also non-communicative, obsessed about her looks, was rude to waiters and staff, wanted to wear the best names in clothes (so long as the name was obvious) wanted to mix with the ‘in’ group and had few, if any, really close friends.

    Her trump card was making me feel I was responsible for all the pain and drama we went through. She reduced my confidence and self-esteem to nothing. But that doesn’t mater because she found a new partner a week after leaving me.

    Thank you for the insightful article.

  • Pam October 31st, 2013 at 6:03 PM #24

    Andrea – I have a question about ‘degrees’ of narcissism. It is clear to me now that my ex had narcissistic tendencies all along… but I can say that he did not fit the classic destructive NPD profile and behaviors I keep reading about for much of our almost 30 years together. Tendencies – yes, but not the really abusive ones. He had a good deal of self-awareness and honestly worked to address/heal his issues over the years – he was aware that he was wired in a way that was ‘off’ (his mother was a full-blown destructive NPD/BPD), and he really, really tried to be a good father and a good husband. Until he was about 45 or so, after a near-death experience… then things started getting more and more complicated, his behavior became more and more confusing to me… the wheels fell off entirely on his 50th birthday. He is now fully, completely acting out as a destructive narcissist out in the world (not around me or our grown girls anymore, though). He left 2 years ago, broke-up via FB Message while out of the country…

    …I get now that I’d been dealing with his personality disorder to varying degrees all along. I just have not ever read anything that discusses NPD with any nuance at all – and he definitely didn’t fit that full-on narcissist description until much later in life. There’s so much more I would write – but I’ll leave this here for now. I’d appreciate some perspective, thank you!

  • Andrea Schneider November 1st, 2013 at 1:18 PM #25

    Hi Pam…yes, a person can have “traits” or a full blown NPD/personality disorder/sociopathy on the other end of the spectrum…

  • Valerie Todesco November 5th, 2013 at 10:47 AM #26

    I am in a particularly daunting situation. I am separated from, yet still married to and sharing a house with the father of my child. We were married in 1999, and separated in 2010. I had been in a previous horrifically emotionally abusive marriage that I was so grateful to survive, especially after a childhood of sexual abuse. In typical fashion, this current husband swooped in and put me on a pedestal, promising “blue skies forever” and making me feel so very safe and secure. I never felt true love for him though, I was in love with the way he made me feel. I had never felt so adored and treasured. Shortly after we married I had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with PTSD relating to my childhood and previous relationship abuse. That is when he became angry and emotionally abusive. I was beyond blindsided that I had gotten myself into yet ANOTHER bad marriage.
    He cheated on me when our daughter was a baby, would sexually molest me in me my sleep at night, completely objectified me, and was always lecherous to my friends, thinking he was really something; extreme grandiosity. His confidence is what attracted me initially. I began to see him as my step father who had molested me. Very sick. I tried letting him do whatever he wanted , since I never seemed to be “enough” for him, and I did it to keep the family together, or so I thought. But really it was about FEAR. Now I have recently been hospitalized for a major breakdown, and feel more trapped than ever. He has re-financed the mortgage on our one hundred yr old house that he does nothing to keep up so many times that I took my name off the deed, not wanting any part of this pit. And because of his poor money managing skills, he never has enough and certainly can’t afford to help me get my own place for my daughter and I. I work as a freelancer, do several odd jobs, and take care of my child under these heavy circumstances, in a dingy home that never can seem clean despite scrubbing. I am an artist, an optimist, and forgiving to a fault, but I need to know how to get the hell away from this hell. He loves his child, but this is so unhealthy for me. Where do I begin?I’ve had therapists, am on meds, and constantly polishing turds…
    -Dying To Soar

  • Freenow November 5th, 2013 at 12:00 PM #27

    I was married over 30 years to a Narcissist. He left me once came back-had an illigitemate child a 2nd one without letting me know =I only found out later. Then all through our married years I felt low down because of his adulterous behaviour. He then finally made another adulterous move-taking the other woman overseas then marrying her and now they expecting a baby. But when he heard that after 2 years I’ve moved on-met the most amazing man-now engaged to be married-he contacted me and asked me to reconsider and please make up with him. He is absolutely crazy. When I said “NO” he went bolistic-verbally abusing me in emails and on the phone- turned our adult children against me-telling them he wanted to restore this family. but I refused-called me the most horrific names and tried to get me to cringe like before. But not this time- I am finally free! My pain is now turned to gain! Although it is painful about my children- I guess this too shall pass. I am in therapy and this is the most amazing site I found since he is still hounding and threatening me with all sorts of bizarre references! Then he realises Im not giving in-he apologises only to get more and more vicious! So I am now at the courts with harrassment charges! He sends me pictures of his wife-whom he says will fight for him to the end! Yes they’re fighting alright-if you wrecked a family of 9 including grandchildren-is there ever going to be peace? With him telling her that if I call him tomorrow-she’s history. Then I ignore his pleas and I am history- What have we here? I pray for him as the father of my 3 adult children-but I am living well now! Its my time! and I’m loving it!

  • Andrea Schneider November 21st, 2013 at 2:58 PM #28

    Thanks for the feedback all. If you have specific concerns regarding your individual circumstances, please email me directly. Best wishes, Andrea

  • Gerri December 7th, 2013 at 2:44 AM #29

    In response to your mail I can say that there are many degrees of NP. My mother was a narcissist but also did things that appeared very nice or kind. It’s all just smoke and mirrors. They have no empathy. If you suspect someone has NP trust your instincts. We close of our instincts when we meet the narcissist. If you have been bitten by a N. Get help.

  • Gerri December 7th, 2013 at 2:52 AM #30

    Sorry about your brother it’s a difficult decision. I hope you managed to solve your dilemma . I am no contact with my family and that means forever. Not even with friends of theirs. It has to be total. No deaths births or marriages or even illness will bring contact. It’s a hard decision but it will bring healing.

  • Donna December 13th, 2013 at 3:42 AM #31

    What if the narcissistic person is your adult child who is abusing not only you but many others? How do you handle it as a parent Knowing your child is mentally ill? How do you help them without allowing them to destroy you?

  • Chase December 22nd, 2013 at 11:55 AM #32

    These two articles have brought so much clarity to things I knew but couldn’t explain.
    Thank you so much for writing these. Now onto the healing process…

  • Julie Snelling January 26th, 2014 at 7:05 AM #33

    May I use excerpts of this content on my personal Facebook blog, entitled
    “Narcissistic Abuse Recovery”?
    Such valuable information!

    Thank you,

    Julie Snelling

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW January 26th, 2014 at 5:43 PM #34

    @Julie–glad the article is helpful…yes, you can cite excerpts from this article, so long as you use quotes and reference the author and goodtherapy.org website…no portion of this article can be copied verbatim or in any way that constitutes plagiarism…so use quotation marks, reference author and website…thank you

  • Julie Snelling January 27th, 2014 at 6:53 AM #35

    Thank you Andrea, and yes your information has helped very much on my own healing path.

  • joiyce January 27th, 2014 at 10:55 PM #36

    working possibly with this disorder not possible to avoid sometimes got cross with her both women; and she loved correcting me. the place of importance is getting on my wick i don’t know how to handle this it even comes down to how dirty the rags are oh, i can get all the stains out with soap do not touch this side of the laundry bench its mine! please i cannot shift i live in a caravan & is not fit for towing i am on my own she brings up everything; when there is a disagreement. I don’t want to tell her anymore but my lack of professionalism puts me at a disadvantage; if i ignore her she sings at the top of her voice; corrected for saying gosh, for saying i was swearing when i said nothing please advise thanks

  • Lilly February 8th, 2014 at 4:58 AM #37

    I never thought I would be in an abusive relationship, ever. I work in an inpatient mental health unit and am a nursing student. Unfortunately, despite noting red flags throughout our nine-month relationship, I remained because I couldn’t believe that someone who “loved me” would intentionally degrade me, withhold affection, etc. My ex was masterful at subtle and overt forms of abuse. He would push me away when I tried to hug him, sleep on the couch every night, say unbelievable things (“I’m going to break you”, “I don’t know how I could love someone like you”), constant belittling, refuse to talk to me if I wouldn’t have sex with him, and it goes on and on. When I would reach my limit, he would swoop in and ooze charm, play the role of the beautiful, free-spirited hippy man of my dreams. I was tortured and chained to the cycle of highs and lows. Our mutual friends and his family all loved us together, which further enhanced my sense that maybe it was in my head.

    But it wasn’t. The final straw was when he went on a date with someone else and demanded to stay at my apartment afterward. After we broke up, he acknowledged every abusive behavior that he exhibited. I had previously determined that he was highly narcissistic and tried to tip toe around the notion. He cut me off and said, “I know that I’m a narcissist, and I treat you this way to maintain how good I feel about myself.” I was stunned. It actually made me feel worse because it meant he truly lacks empathy. I have sense initiated the zero contact rule because I realized that he was working me over yet again when he said he was going to go to therapy to learn how to treat me better.

    All empathetic women are vulnerable to this kind of predation. More awareness needs to be drawn to this issue.

    Thank you for the helpful article!

  • Lilly February 8th, 2014 at 5:07 AM #38

    I believe narcissists tend to target attractive, well-adjusted, intelligent people because their partner is a reflection of their worth and maintaining appearance is highly important to them.

  • Mark Mitrev February 8th, 2014 at 6:58 AM #39

    Pam – this is exactly my wife. After 28 years she has asked me for a divorce. There were red flags for most of our marriage, but nothing that really hurt me. I’m very easy going and ignore rude comments. In the last two years she has changed completely. Even our daughters noticed. Last year she turned 50, became an empty nester, started hormone treatments, and lost her closest sister when she moved to another state. All she can say is that she has been unhappy and wants her freedom to pursue her happiness. I also caught her cheating online with an old high school friend. This has devastated me. I am a wreck, and the pain in my heart is sometimes unbearable.
    Like your situation she was never “that bad”, but thing have definitely fallen off the cliff. I have no answer, but I do comisserate in the utter confussion.
    Mark

  • kelly February 11th, 2014 at 10:01 PM #40

    Be proud of your self lilly. You have a great perspective on your situation. It does not matter in you are a student nurse or a 49 year old factory worker like me. I lnew my narcissists for 20 years before i started seeing him. I hought i knew him but had no idea until i came involved with him how heartless he is. I believe it is a lesson to learn for all of us, no matter our age. Or profession. Be proud of yourself forvplacing no contact and for braking away from him.

    Kelly

  • kelly February 13th, 2014 at 12:22 PM #41

    Valerie, you and your child are much better than the situation you have described. If you are not able to leave for your self then do it for
    Your child. No matter the strings attached you need to pack your things and leave without letting him know where you will be going. Over time you will make right decisions.

  • kelly February 14th, 2014 at 8:12 AM #42

    Mark,28 days, years, or months. It always takes 100% commitment on both people involved . So sorry for your devastation. Make sure you treat yourself to something awesome this valentines day!

  • manu February 23rd, 2014 at 5:03 AM #43

    Hi Teresa, you do not have to go to your brother’s(I know its sad) memorial, you could send your flower’s with your card straight there or to the church. I don’t know how you feel about doing this or perhaps you can send those things via a personal friend of yours that you trust to take them for you. Best wishes with whatever you decide.. I understand these situations are indeed difficult, I too had a narcissistic mother and it affects your whole life..!

  • alan robinson March 16th, 2014 at 4:04 AM #44

    Agee 100% they seek validation by targeting those who have attributes non existent in self.

  • Liz B March 25th, 2014 at 12:47 AM #45

    I am amazed at the number of responses to this article. This sort of relationship happened to me at the tender age of 16. No wonder I was left so emotionally scarred by it. The man worked in television, much older than me and we met when I did some work experience. He treated me like a princess one minute then the next cast me to one side. It was horrible. Looking back I now realize I was in a relationship with someone who was very damaged. I remember he used to have a photograph of me on his mantelpiece, this was soon replaced by a picture of another girl he was pursuing. And so it went on. Luckily I married a lovely man and we are still married after 18 years however the sense of degradation and worthlessness hung around me because of this early experience. If only I had realized what was going on.

  • Laura March 25th, 2014 at 4:32 AM #46

    I just read this post and now understand so many things about my husband, i’m married with a NS… that’s why i feel there is no true love in him

  • Jenny April 14th, 2014 at 5:27 AM #47

    I am trying to extricate myself from a 5 year relationship with a narcissist. One of the worst experiences I have hever had. He created a persona, a mask, to reel me in. His lies were so outrageous, I just could not believe anyone would behave like that. Eventually, he told me the truth, that he was not an orphan, not from Texas (he is from Scotland) and was not a millionaire. Ugh.. Told me whole sob story and so I forgave him and felt sorry for him. BIG MISTAKE! I helped him invest some money he had, with my connections and family help in America. (we are in the UK). Set up a joint bank account, etc. He never took money from me, just all my dreams and contacts and cconstantly put me under pressure to deliver more opportunities. Meanwhile, aside form all the contacts I used to help him, he could not hold down any job other than a waiter. And he again was the ‘Tex’ character and makes money. Found out he has deceived everyone in my community. he was a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde personality. An ex-army guy with a spent criminal record. What was I thinking? I am intelligent, well educated, respected in my profession. he broke my spirit, and I lost 5 years of my life catering to his whims. My self esteem got lower and lower, he got stronger and I became weaker. Awful. He finally broke up with me, moving on to fresher pastures. I hope I can get over him soon. The stress has been unbelievable, and he messed with my brain. awful.

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