Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse, Part II: The No-Contact RuleJune 18, 2013 • By Andrea Schneider, LCSW, Learning Difficulties Topic Expert Contributor
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.
- Saferelationshipsmagazine.com: Sandra A. Brown, MA’s website and resources related to abuse recovery from unhealthy relationships
- Help! I am in Love with a Narcissist by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol
- Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Narcissists by Sandra L. Brown
- Why is it Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy HotchKiss, LCSW
- 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, California. All Rights Reserved.
Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org. The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. The view 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.
MikeJune 19th, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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 GJune 19th, 2013 at 4:12 AM
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.
PaulJune 19th, 2013 at 12:26 PM
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 SJune 20th, 2013 at 5:08 PM
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
Which is more Crüel I wonder?
Andrea Schneider, LCSWJune 20th, 2013 at 6:53 PM
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 MJune 24th, 2013 at 5:56 PM
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.
KayeJune 25th, 2013 at 1:42 AM
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 LaraJuly 17th, 2013 at 9:29 AM
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.
August 10th, 2013 at
My heart goes out to all who are leaving an abusive relationship …may you heal, be free, and find healthy love.
jenniferAugust 21st, 2013 at 1:03 AM
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 SchneiderAugust 21st, 2013 at 11:40 AM
@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
ToriAugust 21st, 2013 at 3:59 PM
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
TeresaAugust 22nd, 2013 at 8:46 AM
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.
GerriDecember 7th, 2013 at 2:52 AM
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.
manuFebruary 23rd, 2014 at 5:03 AM
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..!
Andrea SchneiderAugust 22nd, 2013 at 12:31 PM
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 SchneiderAugust 22nd, 2013 at 12:37 PM
@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
BethSeptember 7th, 2013 at 8:20 AM
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.’
BenSeptember 14th, 2013 at 7:01 AM
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 SchneiderSeptember 14th, 2013 at 4:51 PM
@Ben– I am so glad my article was validating and supportive…you deserve the empowerment ! Best wishes in your healing journey– Andrea
LenaOctober 4th, 2013 at 9:13 PM
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 SchneiderOctober 5th, 2013 at 5:49 PM
@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.
KatieOctober 7th, 2013 at 4:43 PM
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!
LillyFebruary 8th, 2014 at 5:07 AM
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.
alan robinsonMarch 16th, 2014 at 4:04 AM
Agee 100% they seek validation by targeting those who have attributes non existent in self.
BrandiOctober 7th, 2013 at 4:58 PM
Great article! Many people will see characteristics of past or present abusive relationships here. Good advice!
Phil SOctober 20th, 2013 at 7:38 PM
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.
PamOctober 31st, 2013 at 6:03 PM
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!
GerriDecember 7th, 2013 at 2:44 AM
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.
Mark MitrevFebruary 8th, 2014 at 6:58 AM
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.
kellyFebruary 14th, 2014 at 8:12 AM
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!
Andrea SchneiderNovember 1st, 2013 at 1:18 PM
Hi Pam…yes, a person can have “traits” or a full blown NPD/personality disorder/sociopathy on the other end of the spectrum…
Valerie TodescoNovember 5th, 2013 at 10:47 AM
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
kellyFebruary 13th, 2014 at 12:22 PM
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.
ToniOctober 12th, 2014 at 6:12 PM
Shelter ..start over
FreenowNovember 5th, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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 SchneiderNovember 21st, 2013 at 2:58 PM
Thanks for the feedback all. If you have specific concerns regarding your individual circumstances, please email me directly. Best wishes, Andrea
sarahJuly 25th, 2014 at 2:01 AM
This all rings true for me but it’s even more difficult because the narcissist is my mother and so I do not want no contact at all. Any suggestions?
Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSWJuly 31st, 2014 at 3:53 AM
Perhaps this article and site may be helpful?
DonnaDecember 13th, 2013 at 3:42 AM
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?
ChaseDecember 22nd, 2013 at 11:55 AM
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 SnellingJanuary 26th, 2014 at 7:05 AM
May I use excerpts of this content on my personal Facebook blog, entitled
“Narcissistic Abuse Recovery”?
Such valuable information!
Andrea Schneider, LCSWJanuary 26th, 2014 at 5:43 PM
@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 SnellingJanuary 27th, 2014 at 6:53 AM
Thank you Andrea, and yes your information has helped very much on my own healing path.
joiyceJanuary 27th, 2014 at 10:55 PM
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
LillyFebruary 8th, 2014 at 4:58 AM
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!
kellyFebruary 11th, 2014 at 10:01 PM
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.
Liz BMarch 25th, 2014 at 12:47 AM
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.
LauraMarch 25th, 2014 at 4:32 AM
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
JennyApril 14th, 2014 at 5:27 AM
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.
LeilaMay 3rd, 2014 at 6:55 AM
These types of forums have really saved me. I went through a tragic breakup about a year ago now and I still find myself occasionally reading through commentary to remind myself that the no contact rule was 100 percent the way to go. On my loneliest days sometimes I think back on his false persona and how much I miss that person that never existed then I slap myself back into the reality that he was such a classic case narcissist and being exposed to him was literally like a drug. He was abandoned when he was young by his mother and hates her…that should have been red flag for me enough but I knew from the beginning something instinctively was wrong with him still he literally chased me for months…almost a year really with non stop texts phone calls work messages (he was a client of mine) and made so much effort to be in the same place as me or invite me to things. I became so emotionally attached to him even though he was playing me all along…eventually after months of us becoming what I thought was close friends I caved and started to date him because I was soooo in love or so I thought with the guy id be waiting for…but no….in a few short months I started to realize how effed up he really was. It started with little things like promising to do things or saying these giant bold statements…telling me how much he loved me how much our relationship was different than anything else…but never trying to make me feel secure…he would lie about other girls and how they were interested in him and etc etc just to get a reaction from me…he also had a ex who is now his gf that was “stalking him”. I remember discussing the subject with him and he spoke of her in such a dismissive way I felt like clearly he was done with her and had been. But eventually I found out he had been sleeping with her probably the whole time. It all became obvious in the most terrible way…anyway once I saw his true colors I was so shocked he did a 180 literally overnight I woke up next a man that was different than the person I spent a year cautiously getting to know and falling in love with. The creepiest thing about it is eventually we had a conversation where he essentially and completely umempathetically told me about how he doesn’t know how to be nice/feel bad especially for woman/that he is a bad person and that he shouldn’t have children/ that he just wants to have sex with women to prove to himself that he can/how he gets so angry that he may end up in jail for beating his wife even though he shouldn’t be with someone. Meanwhile never once acknowledging or apologizing for anything he did to me directly. He was a drug addict and alcoholic albeit successful but still I always sensed he was truly a coward which narcissists are. Anyway I know it was a such a blessing that he is out of my life but it took a really long time to accept it is him not me…especially when I found out he immediately got back with his ex when I cut off communication (securing the NS) I totally experienced PTSD afterwards but now I feel so much stronger…just unfortunately a little jaded and a afraid to fall in love again
LisaJune 1st, 2014 at 7:40 PM
We have almost the exact same story!!! It’s so unbelievable to read other stories and identify so well after feeling so alone in the experience. !!!
rpbrooklynJune 24th, 2014 at 7:26 AM
This sounds similar to my situation. I needed to see this. I’m going through relationship ptsd as we speak. I’m currently enforcing the no contact rule with my narcissist. Its hard because I thought there was a person underneath all the crazy. There is just the possibility of catching a disease and more crazy.
Jose G.July 8th, 2014 at 10:36 AM
It’s probably more productive and accurate to use the term personality disorder rather than narcissism. You do yourself no favours by overly diagnosing what is exactly is wrong with them. There’s a lot of variation and overlap. Also being too specific can lead to trouble, they might be a borderline, they might be a sociopath. You just don’t know for sure.
DeniseAugust 17th, 2014 at 6:56 AM
Hi. I said the same exact thing to a friend yesterday. The label really doesn’t matter. Like u said, there is so much overlap in terms of the traits. These individuals systematically aim to destroy the people who love them. Once that is known, the goal should be to remove oneself (if possible) from the situation in order to work on regaining emotional health. Three years later, I am still healing from being a target but so thankful that I divorced him as soon as it was clear he was evil and did not have a child with him. My heart goes out to those who have to maintain contact.
HarmonyJuly 15th, 2014 at 5:02 PM
Thank you! Married over 20 years to a narcassist didnt know it. I have even heard him say his friends were disposable he could get more. Now he is stating he might be polyamourous. My thought was you couldn’t even manage one relationship. He stated if it took 100 people to have as friends & never get close to anyone again that is what he would do. I’m still in shock! He already has a new female interest(took about a week after seperation) she just got out of an abusive marriage and he is projecting and saying they are going through the same things. Lord help her! Thank you again!
medusa moonJuly 24th, 2014 at 9:45 PM
Recovering from a relationship with a Narcissistic personality was a difficult process to understand and very painful. thank you for your article as it really helps to clarify the process.
AshleighJuly 25th, 2014 at 1:44 AM
Thank you so much for this article. I fell for a narcissist hook line and sinker everything mentioned in this article was true to form as a counsellor myself I tried to help and understand in order to save the relationship. He fed from this and continued to “fake love” me for another year even tho he had moved on to someone else, I can honestly say this breakup (was only 6mnth relationship) was the hardest thing I have been through in my life. A year later he is still using me as an ego boost but learning to recognise these patterns or cut contact in order not to be sucked in is the best way to recover. I wish I had of came across an article like this before now and hope others in similar situation can take some advice and comfort from it. Again thank you great read
judyJuly 25th, 2014 at 4:36 AM
Problem is, some have had children with this person. Extremely difficult to maintain zero contact, however this Perrin trends to leave the kid as well as they are unable to be selfless and love that child.
Andrea SchneiderJuly 25th, 2014 at 3:12 PM
Many have asked what to do when a family member has narcissistic qualities (versus a romantic relationship) — without knowing more about the dynamics involved , limited contact with very clear boundaries may be the way to go… Best to consult with a skilled therapist trained in this area…
Joe HAugust 13th, 2014 at 9:37 AM
Andrea: My marriage sounds very much like NPD at the beginning (we were soulmates) and end (I’m devalued and all bad). But we are divorcing after 20 years of marriage. Most of the marriage has been marked by emotional disconnect and conflict.
My wife is having a continuing affair, and her shift in loyalty to her new interest and rapid discarding of her old life, including two teen children and a very comfortable lifestyle, is striking. She has become cheerleader and advocate to her new interest, who is an emotionally troubled alcoholic with multiple DUI and parole-violation convictions over many years.
Are long-term marriages like this possible or likely with an NPD partner? My wife has always displayed some NPD/BPD characteristics, but is undiagnosed. Thanks.
Andrea SchneiderAugust 13th, 2014 at 10:01 AM
@Joe– I am sorry to hear of your emotional pain — to answer your question, it is possible to be in a long term relationship w an individual w these challenges but it is at extreme cost to your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health … I highly recommend getting support for you to honor your needs in your own individual therapy — you deserve the support and awareness that there is always a choice in terms of leaving or staying in a relationship — kind regards, Andrea
MilaAugust 14th, 2014 at 8:57 PM
I’ve read both blogs (numerous times), and journaling my experience to get a handle on what I am experiencing. A former therapist thinks I have NPD confused with alcoholism, and once through an intensive recovery program, he *could possibly* change. I wonder otherwise.
Question is, does he know what he’s doing?
LindaOctober 18th, 2014 at 6:13 AM
Yes. He knows what he’s doing.
B.November 18th, 2014 at 3:04 PM
I’ve thought & wondered the same thing….maybe he doesn’t know what he’s doing. So frustrating he does not get it & thought I could change his behavior & it’d be okay….but I read & re-read the articles & realize I’m wrong. Hopefully I’ll repair.
ChristineAugust 17th, 2014 at 5:37 PM
I am 30 days no contact out of a 7 month relationship with an N. This is the most difficult process (emotional healing) I have ever experienced. I know this is the only way to move on – and I am feeling more and more that it is possible to do with each passing day of NC. I am still sad, mourning pretend-a-guy. I still feel at times that I will never find anyone I like as much as I liked him – when he was acting attentive and loving until the D&D. Anyway, if anyone has a story of finding love or a relationship after the N, I would be grateful to know that I have something to look forward to – your support is greatly appreciated!
KristyOctober 30th, 2014 at 11:44 PM
This sounds like my story! I’m in day 2 of NC and I’m really struggling with it. He has broken me and I feel that I am irreparable! The more I read the more stupid I feel…..I fell in heart over head, but my guard is up and trust shattered. I hate him for this….. Let’s hope we both get there x
B.November 18th, 2014 at 3:02 PM
Support is sent to both of you! I felt so stupid wondering how I got so hooked so fast, now realize he was a pro & knew exactly what he was doing. Mourning and missing a fake guy…it’s so hard.
JudyAugust 26th, 2014 at 7:04 PM
All of this just makes me feel even more stupid than he already made me feel, now that I have read all the stories. I realize that this is what I am dealing with. We have been living together but not married for 3years, and it started like many of you. Thinking he was my soul mate after a couple of months into dating I moved in with him. He eventually talked me into having the fantasy come true sex acts that is evident that it is all about his sick games and he brought me into a lifestyle that I had never dreamed I would be a part of, all because I felt he was my true love and I would do anything for him. Now he won’t even look at me when he is horny he goes straight to his online porn because I refuse to play his games with my body and my mind and heart anymore. He has a porn addiction and alcohol problem (uncontrollably drinks), stupid me!! He cannot have sex with me with out mentioning someone else being involved and will not sexually please me unless to please himself. HELP I don’t know how to approach this and especially because I worked with his mom for 19 years before dating him so I don’t want to blame this on his childhood and bring hurt to her. He makes me feel useless and degrades me and he doesn’t mind letting me know that he is very intelligent and is good at what he does while he works hard to provide for me, like my job isn’t hard and I have no clue what it’s like to work hard. I feel so useless to him but I love him Just the same but I can’t continue to deal with his arrogant egotistical ways. ..please HELP! !!
ToniOctober 12th, 2014 at 5:57 PM
Please find a female therapist you can talk with- ASAP codependant meetings-
You are worth it..my heart goes out to you after reading your post.
Michelle S PAugust 26th, 2014 at 11:21 PM
I feel so much better reading these comments,not because of the pain people have suffered,but that Im not alone.I suffered in the hands of a narcissist.He somehow turned my world upside down.for almost six years.I thought he was the best thing that ever happened. To me.He at first,acted like a gentleman seemingly loving and attentive he said he would never hurt me.Then flipped began distancing himself became verbally and emotionally abusive.He is an alcoholic and smokes weed.Which I believe makes his narcissistic actions worse.He got so bad I would hide in the house with earplugs in so I wouldnt hear him and prayed he wouldnt find me.Once he did and laughed me to scorn in my face and another time yelling and had me in a corner .I was scared out of my mind.He is 6’5 I’m 5’6. He had pulled a gun on me at least3 times.He went to jail once for that but I was to afraid to press charges.I couldnt leave because I felt trapped.And somehow he charmed me into staying as I somehow blamed myself and hoped he would wake up and see he is and has been wrong.a few mo ago he flipped out when I turned a fan the wrong way and ended up punching me in the face blacking my eye and I was dizzy and vomiting the rest of the day.I went to the E.R. for my injuries and they called the police.There is a new state law here and the State picks it up.I left the hosp and grabbed a few things from the house and a lady from work took me in.I lost almost everything.Ive gotten a few things in the divorce,but every time I went to get my stuff he was very intimidating.He even created a disturbance and called the cops on ME.And had the police think it was me who started the disturbance.And I was forced to leave.Ive had a very hard time.Missing the “good part of him” reading all this Im sure Im missing something I never had. And never will have. I feel like a fool missing him despite what he has done to me. I feel a betrayal like Ive never felt before.He invaded my life and used me to feed his sick ego.And now Im sure He never loved me and wasnt even capable of it.And m i st likely will never be sorry for what he has done. Im glad I read this site.I dont feel alone.
sharon millerAugust 29th, 2014 at 10:28 PM
My ex was diagnosed with NPD from our couples counselor. It was a hard, long road. We’ve been divorced for seven years. Despite him being remarried and me sending him a letter from an attorney, he still sends me letters and cards (so far the phone calls have stopped). For many years, he sent me wedding anniversary cards. I now just toss the cards in a drawer without reading them. My attorney has advised me to keep them just in case I want to place a stalking order on him. Once you are a target, you seldom get left alone. For me this is one of the hardest parts as he is unpredictable and often I feel helpless. How do you maintain no contact when the person keeps invading your life and sometimes in weird illogical ways? One year I believe he abandoned a puppy on my door for Christmas.
Very frustrating situation as you never know what they will do next.
StaceySeptember 3rd, 2014 at 6:48 PM
I am just getting out of a NPD relationship and this my second break up with him and I hope I do not slip back into the old routine. I was not sure the first time we broke up he has NPD but not the second time around I am quite certain he’s a piece if work and I am exhausted from only 1 year of being with him. He is not physically abusive at all it all mental/emotional for him. I never when he’s gonna call when he out on his horse racing adventures or if I try him he calms me back at his own convenience but when I was with him I noticed he would pick up and answer most everyone else’s calls. I had even single for many years and very comfortable in my own skin and he used that term to describe me. But soon after we met I quickly starred losing myself and seems so stressed out all the time and even forgave him when I caught him trolling on the internet in fl. How hurt u was at the time and now I wish I had never trusted him again and I dab now say I am on day 3 of ” no contact ” wish me luck everyone I know I am going to need it and hope this site can give me some positive reinforcement .
B.November 18th, 2014 at 2:59 PM
Hang in there! I understand & am on day 10 of no contact. It’s so difficult not to get sucked back in, chasing that person at the beginning I met & had the ‘magical connection’ with.
jenNovember 26th, 2014 at 1:35 AM
Thank you to Toni, Stacey and everyone for writing on this web site. I am onto my 4 th day and I hope you made it Stacey. I have been in an up and down relationship that is exactly like all of yours. My self esteem is horrible. I felt like I was addicted to always trying to get love from him. I am a very loving, giving person and he kept taking. He then would completely ignore me when we would go out as if he were single. The week when I was gone in August it seems he found his next victim. I found out about it and he lied to me. He would just give me a bone and I believe he really loves me however he has no was of reciprocating love for sure. He is exactly as the part 2 acticle describes as he was severly abused from 5 yrs until 14 when he left. He was burned and beaten from a step boyfriend of his mothers. I felt so much empathy for him and compassion. However, he was unable to express it to me at all. He would cause drama, have porn web sites and withdraw his love. Then he would withdraw the love if he felt I was not acting right in public. He would never lift me up only cut me down and I would look like the dramatic person in our friend groups.
jenNovember 26th, 2014 at 1:48 AM
Oops hit the send button on accident. He would give me attention at my house, however unless I ignored him I would get 0 attention when we were out. I have tried to leave 5-10 times in the past year. He always comes back with tons of excuses and love adoration. I believe he is unaware of his deficits. Part of me wants to teach him with these articles. However that would require contact. I know in my heart I never want to be with him again as he does not lift me up but demise my personality. It is so hard to except that I feel like I couldn’t change him. This past statement is so ridiculous because we all know you cannot change a grown man. They must only change and work on themselves. He would probably never reserch or seek counseling. So it is best to bless him and move on. I am working on now just living myself. As tapes of not being good enough are rolling in my head. Thank you to this forum, the comments from others and the this author for this part 3 article. I will survive and I will find love again. I am looking forward to reading some of the books on your resources for I cannot afford any therapy at this point. MAY the universe heal us all!
SandraSeptember 27th, 2014 at 7:33 AM
Thank you so much for this article. One week out from my n boyfriend storming out for a fourth and final time. So painful. From hot to cold literally overnight. I’m so hooked in. I keep questioning what happened. So confusing. Again. The addiction analogy is spot on. This article helps give me the confidence to stop all contact and stay strong in that. Thank you so much.
ToniOctober 12th, 2014 at 6:22 PM
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
JosieNovember 7th, 2014 at 10:33 AM
Very well written poem. It takes a lot to write and compose poems.
LindaNovember 15th, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Very like the Maya Angelou poem.
Andrea SchneiderOctober 14th, 2014 at 11:17 PM
thanks for the feedback all. Andrea
KristyOctober 30th, 2014 at 11:41 PM
I have just been through this (for a second time) with the same person. I am currently at the stage of feeling rejected and betrayed and for no reason. I have bend dropped dramatically and then accused of infidelity! I feel broken! Just finding it all really hard.
The more I read the more stupid I feel for trusting him, he drew me in, did the damage then walked away without warning.
Think this us going to take a hell of a lot to come to terns with x
BetsyNovember 18th, 2014 at 2:52 PM
I can completely relate! The fall is so hard to deal with, but I’ve been sucked back in a few times, convinced it’ll be different & chasing the person he was at the beginning. I just recently realized & stumbled across these articles which fit him to a tee.
Blackbird999October 31st, 2014 at 6:42 AM
Im so tired and sad found this place looking for a place to vent. I have been some sort of relationship if I can call it that , with someone who surely has..personality disorder NPD. He is cruel narcisistic self absorbed.I know all this.
He devalued and discarded me almost 2 years ago last time. I thought he was the one. my soulmate the love of my life bhaaa etc XD
I feel so stupid, he is none of that
After being last discarded, searched support groups, lost friends but taken my life back. Went back to University, made new friends, have someone new in my life too that makes me happy which is rare. for me coming from family with personality disorders
NC was hard, but slowly I started smiling again.
I was in deep depths, he treated me like the last of the last toilet paper trash. I was NOT any of these things !! I am intelligent, litterate, and I used to love people and things. He turned me into shell and took MY personality MY interests MY soul.. that would not be a problem, but this month has come again to “smear” in my town
He knows its the only place where is ME I feel safe. He could go anywhere have his circus, but no he comes here
I have not seen him for 3 years and a half phisically.
I miss him, I do despite the monster that I deeply know he is
I thought I was strong enough to come and go unaffected but apparently I m not. HE knows this, its a cruel thing to do. He came with all the parade his circus “his supply” , on facebook new targets and women.
I know he is not worty, I know he treated me like subhuman and I kept going back to him . I need help, I moved on and am happy with my present life, and I havent looked for him at all..
Now he decides to show his face to trouble me again and “put in my face”
Such a delusional bastard and I loved him SO much! sadist
He took my smile once and many times. I dont wanna let him take it this time, please if any knows free group support with members and stories, please give me something.
I have to stay away from monster, he ruined my life. All over FB he seems like this “charity” fake persona man and eeeevrything is for show. and lately he seems “very much in love” with a woman that also has NPD tendencies
HOW please help me understand, HOW can a man who says he worships you this minute, just a coupple of moments later tell me “GO f*** myself” he doesnt want me all projections
I need help please :(
AnnNovember 7th, 2014 at 7:02 AM
Hi l was married for 35yrs to someone l fell in love with. NPD was something l had never heard of till 3 months ago by this time l had been divorced from my ex for 12 yrs but for the last 25yrs lv been suffering at the hands of my daughter who has NPD so for 13yrs l had 2 of them at me but the last 20 yrs my daughter has been vicious in her treatment of me till lm a mess a total mess l have decided NOW at long last to walk away from my life to start afresh she is now alienating her children from me lm 66 now. Since reading up about narcissistic abuse the hardest thing l read was that that my daughter/husband has no empathy towards me to think l gave my all my life for them but because they have been so successful in their character assassination of me lm left with 2 friends who only now realize what l;v been going through even even after l had a breakdown they dismissed my tales of well they didn’t mean it& oh god here she goes again so then l just lied & didn’t say anything to them or l would have lost them as well BUT I WILL NOT GO DOWN I WILL GET MY STRENGTH BACK I WILL WALK AWAY FROM MY LIFE & START AGAIN how could l have been so stupid to have put up with this for SOOOOOOOO LONGGGGGGG
KathieDecember 2nd, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Ann, it’s crazy. You aren’t alone in your experience but alone in your circumstance right now. I feel like I’m in a bubble and can see what other people can’t see! Mark Twain said, ” it’s easier to deceive people than to convince people they’ve been deceived”
God is the answer for me. Therapy too. Reading books on recovery from sociopaths and the like.
Spend time around the mountains and ocean. Because those things are bigger than we are. It helps.
K ThompsonNovember 17th, 2014 at 9:55 AM
Great article and fits my ex husband. However we have children together and some contact is required. Would you please write on how to manage a narcissistic ex husband that you must maintain contact with because of the children? I would LOVE no contact but it isn’t possible. It can be very difficult handling his manipulation and control while honoring the parenting plan. He continues to believe it’s his right and privilege, believes we are still “a family” and he’s in charge.
SonjaNovember 17th, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Hard time trying to figure out if he is a Narcissist or just EU. Started out great, then I began to realize dates were one-sided (meaning I was the only one having to arrange a sitter). I discussed the issues, to which no changes were made, although he stated he understood. Eventually realized that he needs to feel like he’s a perfect dad and does everything right (strike ego). He makes sure that everyone knows how “happy” he makes his kids. But he also takes advantage if everyone. He feels like normal rules of conduct do not apply to him or his kids. I am sure there is more to it, but I will say that I feel like the moment I suggested that I disagreed with certain aspects his living arrangement because things did not seem approptite, he stopped talking to me completely. He also refuses to discuss the breakup with anyone.
RaquelNovember 30th, 2014 at 5:25 PM
Great, positive, and true article. After being discarded by “my narcissist” for the second time I did so much research about NPD. He was brutally beaten as a child and is 100% NPD. No contact is the best thing to do, and I think the main reason to go no contact is because NPDs can be so vengeful and it’s better for the victims to let go, grieve, find support and move on.
My ex would act like a child, throw tantrums, get upset over nothing and was incredibly concerned about his ego (or egos). His true self is so insecure and distant. There is no way to have a relationship with anyone who is ruled by a superego. He also had his own clique of dudes that were negative douches who worshiped him which is common with NPD. The main thing to ask yourself when trying to figure out if they are NPD is what was their childhood like? And what is their true relationship with their parents like? My ex would say he loves his mom bUT would sometimes talk down to her or treat her like a child as well. And his father abused him as a child while his mom let it happen and no one has been to therapy. Those are all red flags. Hope you find the peace, love and happiness you deserve.
AliceDecember 16th, 2014 at 3:25 AM
I had no idea I was in a relationship with someone who has NPD. He treated me well. There were small issues and he definitely needed a lot of attention. He actually competed with me for compliments and I always found this odd. I was used to dating men who were proud to have a female on their arm that looked good. I had never experienced having a guy need to look better than me. It was one of many red flags I did not pay attention to. We had a small inconsequential fight and I didn’t hear from him for 5 days. I found out the day after our small fight he married his ex in a real wedding. It had been planned for months. He had been with her on and off for 10 years and suddenly decided to marry her. He said he could tell I was growing tired of him and he couldn’t stand the idea of ending up alone. After talking to the wife’s family and reviewing the signs in our 2-year relationship, I see the NPD. It is a terribly hard thing to come to terms with when you realize 2-years was a lie. She decided to stay when she learned about me and I just find that amazing. He has completely manipulated her and she has no self-esteem. The worst part is he and I work together. He has not bothered me for almost a month, but I Feel constant anxiety.
AnastasiaDecember 27th, 2014 at 5:39 PM
My ex b/f competed with me in looks also. Now I know he actually chosed me as a target, because at that time we meet, I had few kilograms more (I wasn’t fat, just a bit more as an ideal weight). He took really good care of his body but didnt want me to take with him to the gym. I found that odd at the time, but as it turned out he didnt want me to get in shape and attract more looks than he (he didnt attract nearly as many looks as he thought he was). So i started to work-out alone, got in shape and bitter remarks came along … “Look how everybody is looking at you”… “Everybody wants you”… with a bitter, resenting tone mixed with looking at ne with disgust…
Monica ADecember 18th, 2014 at 3:47 PM
I read several posts where the relationship with a person with personality disorder are discussed. I too experienced some of these behaviors from my former husband. I had never considered his selfish behavior to be a personality disorder. Nevertheless, I decided to get a divorce after 24 years of marriage. I often think of him, but would never go back to him. I am regaining my self esteem, and love of myself. It is so amazing and wonderful to no longer have to deal with someone who would not speak to me for months at a time while we lived in the same house & shared the same bed. No more put downs and being ignored. It’s a new day. It feels wonderful to be free from experiencing mental abuse.
KirstenJanuary 5th, 2016 at 4:15 AM
9 weeks ago my boyfriend left. I’m not sure if he would’ve if I hadn’t said it. I met him 13 years ago. We were both unhappily married to other people and we started an affair. I fell for him. Even then he would sometimes switch his mobile off for days at a time and only quickly switch it on and straight back off to read my messages, which now I guess was to frustrate me as he never responded. He left his wife and I had already split up with my husband and I had moved villages. My boyfriend had a room in someone’s house but we were very much together. Out of the blue he disappeared off the scene for maybe a month. Wouldn’t return calls or respond to texts. I picked myself up and took my kids on holiday and when we got back there was Xmas presents from him as if nothing was wrong. I ignored them and I eventually got an email over new year basically begging for my forgiveness and how he was rock bottom and couldn’t cope without me. I took him back. He went on antidepressants. We bought a house together with my children. His true colours came out then. Everything had to be his way or no way. He would say how hard he worked, he worked away a little,that he did an 80 hour week but I saw the receipts that he was in the pub at 5pm or having meals out etc. twice I rang him late on an evening because the norm was he would ring me and he hadn’t and he was out in the town drunk and I got a bollocking because I’d caught him out! He blamed everything on the fact we didn’t have a lot of money so we decided to sell up and buy a cheaper house.things got even worse. The way he spoke to me, the put me downs, I couldn’t do anything right. I’m not one for confrontation so I would just leave and stay elsewhere as normally this was on a weekend. Then he decided not to speak to me. 6 weeks he didn’t say a word even though we were living in the same house. I went to see his mum ( who I had only met once) to see if I could get any answers. She just idolised him so got nowhere. I even saw a text he sent to a work colleague saying “still watching the picture with no sound mate” I borrowed money from my dad to offer him and ask him to leave. He just smirked and refused. About 2 days later he asked if we could talk. I said only if he read an article first. It was on “the silent treatment”. He read it and agreed he had a problem but he would change. Things were ok for a while. He drank a lot, switched off to us on an evening, preferred to fall asleep downstairs than come to bed with me. The rare times we had sex it was all about me bigging him up. Sometimes I would cry in the night and he would ignore me even though he knew. We had dogs and would go for a walk. He never walked next to me always infront like a military operation! He had no friends and had fallen out with his father, sister years ago because from what I gather he was jealous ( his sister had announced her pregnancy the same time as his wife and took the limelight off them and the father favouritised the daughters pregnancy). He disliked the majority of people I liked but adored my dad who is well off and would pay for holidays for us and meals out and generally help out financially. He would drop everything if my dad needed a job doing. So….. 9 weeks on and I’m ok now I know that there is a medical term for what is wrong with him. But I don’t understand how he left with not one word since to my children ( who he said he loved like his own), nothing to my dad who did nothing but help him and has left me with our 4 dogs with no regard to their well being. He has no interest.We still share a mortgage but the house is on the market. How do people just switch off? I really have this urge to write to him telling him what is wrong with him do he can google it. I do not want to get back with him. I feel nothing for him but I told him a few times he had a mental problem, that he didn’t think like other people did.
Alan GaleDecember 22nd, 2014 at 12:40 AM
I am now into week 4 of my 6th or 7th D&D ( devalue and discard ). I have been with my N female for 3 years. I have been subjected to psychological warfare, gas lighting , and rages that involved physical violence and on 3 occasions she spat right in my face. Not once did I get an apology for her disgusting behaviour . Why did I keep going back ? I am trying to keep no contact at the moment.. But as it is stated it’s akin to a drug withdrawal . At most times I can’t sleep or even think if anything else other than her. Can somebody please tell me if it’s a common thing for Ns to devalue and discard you on birthdays and Christmas and why is it so. It just seems so cruel and evil.
Nick S.December 22nd, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Hi Alan, I am on day 48 of no contact, I have been living in hell with my Narc, Girl friend / wife for 3 1/2 years. the most painful emotional roller coaster ride Ive ever been on. Every birthday and holiday except the wonderful ones we had in the honeymoon phase have been spent alone due to her abandonment and rage episodes. Then she rids all this Narc / Bpd stuff on the net, morphes into her never ending professional victum role along with gaslighting technechs. She has all her friends and family convinced Im an abusive Narc BPD creep. Ive been to 4 or 5 councelors now, she quits them all by the second visit. I stay the course and work with them alone. Ive been in theropy for three straight years plus I did a voulunteer year in anger management, The more I do, the harder I try, the sicker I am in her opinion. So this morning Im feeling love sick, missing her, wanting to call her, beg, fix it, It cant be fixed. glad I found this site so I can stay sane and not believe the lies my head tell me and contact my Narc. She is the source of my pain. Merry Xmas Brother, I got dumped every month and every week for almost 3 years. Married her a year ago plus, moved out in the first 20 days, been separated begging and dumping cash to try and get back home ever since. Sound familiar? We both deserve much better. Stay strong one minute, day and month at a time. I doing my best to get out and stay out. Thanks for your post brother. Just wanted to share my pain with you, your not alone. Check out shrink4men, youll like it and Id say you probably can find some help at their site. Peace Out, Stay strong.
Nick S.December 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Sorry for the poor typing and spelling!
Nick S.December 22nd, 2014 at 11:09 AM
The therapist and psychologist Ive seen regularly all say I am not a Narc or a BPD and that some one with those personality disorders (my wife) is trying to diagnose and prescribe me with meds and treatment. That will make you crazy, Its really done a number on my life. anyway. Good luck to both brother and sister sufferers with healing and recovery on this site. I know and feel your pain much better than I would care to, Happy Holidays, New Year and Healing to all of you!
August 29th, 2015 at
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jenniferApril 16th, 2015 at 7:31 AM
Hey.. after reading your paragraph I wanted to say hi and say we have a lot in common.
Jon P.December 24th, 2014 at 4:40 AM
gosh not sure how to lay it out here. It’s hard for me as I continue to place a cause and affect scenario on whats happend. So I think I have confused myself, as to identifying where I feed into my bad relationship. WE began dating like most and I was instantly in a daze, I thought she was fantastic. Single mother, just found a new job after being out of work for 2 months. I thought it had to be so scary, as I am a parent as well i could not imagine being at a point that could put you on the street with your child. She seemed very normal. About a week into dating her car was repossessed, I did not even think twice and offered my car as to help(my car was a loner from a friend). Ok lets back up, I had just returned to AZ from MI were I had been recovering from a car accident that broke my neck 4 places and a bunch of other sorta bad injuries. I was going to start a new job myself and a friend was gracious enough to allow me to sty with him(he was in the mix of a bad divorce), we decided to be roommates and got a townhome. Meanwhile I meet “LR” and began dating, I realized that allowing her use of another person car was not right. SO I went and bought a car(that I really did not want to buy but ignored all my gut feelings) so she would be able to get to work and take her child to school. Because if all the running around, I basically was living with her. We were going so well for her birthday I got tickets to Hawaii, and had called and set up a summer vacation for her child with the childs father in “K” state. Giving us a vacation alone. So all this spinning and seemingly good times. We returned form our trip and all seems like a natural thing to move in together for real. So we looked for a place I ended up getting a townhome, very nice in a great neighborhood and allowed her to move her child into a private school. This also gave my child a room when I was able to get him for visitation. So snap up to another trip approaching to Hawaii. I began to make some very bad choices. I am not so clear on just how bad but I will go for the worst. I had not been a drinker, yet I was getting drunk 2-3 times a month. When I tried to drive one night, and “LR” yelled at me about it I had an overwhelming sense of dread and fear. I tried to drive while drunk, leaving a child at the home alone. That caused me to stop drinking, and begin to question my own actions when I did not drink. That took me to a hobbie I had, playing Poker. I had been playing for years and years, low stakes and good people. I treated it like a social thing. Then suddenly I felt like by me playing cards it was placing “LR” and the children at risk. Where I could loose money that may be needed for say food. So I stopped playing poker. I did not miss it, nor the drinking. All this is going on where I am being hyper-focused on my thoughts and actions thinking I am not doing something right or I am messing up somehow. So conveniently work began to get very busy, so at some point I realized I was working 70 hours a week. I began to question that as well, work life balance thing. I know it would not be forever, yet i put allot of effort into trying to be available at home. I made dinner almost each night, even if she never wanted to sit at the table or eat it. I would clean the bathrooms as I know no one likes that. And a bunch of other little things I thought surly would be appreciated as helping. So I was working 70 Hours a week, helping around the home and still I felt wrong somehow. “LR” being a single mother took jobs to pay the bills, there was no career or career path, just bills and a job. So I asked her if she would be interested in quitting her job and being a home mom for a bit, then go to school and get a cert or somthing that would net her a higher rate of pay and maybe a career? At the time I did not pay much attention that I felt like I had to talk her into it. But she quit, I did see brochures for schools one day too. SO we now are on our second trip to Hawaii in two years. Work is still demanding even while on vacation. one day I was on the phone for 4 hours only one day. To me it was a price I pay gladly for the high income I command. I mean I was in Hawaii twice in two years. Leading up to the trip our bedroom folly began to be farther apart. So I thought HAwaii would be a good place to spark it back to life. That was not the case, I truly felt like she was jsut running through a script or waiting for it to be over. Of course I searched for ways to enhance or bring more but that never seems to be reciprocated, even oils, toys, and other actions did not increase our bedroom time.(sorry boy here kinda focus on that a bit). So return form the trip and I return to work. There Is a scene the townhome is too small so I look for something larger. I really did not want to move again, but she really wanted something larger to live in. Funds were becoming tight due to paying off my car accident, and other long term bills so I wanted to make sure we did not overstretch. I found a larger townhome with a garage and small back yard, only in a younger area where collage folks frolic. just after the move I was struck with a gallbladder issue and had it removed. I remember “LR” picking me up at the hospital sitting on the couch and feeling like I was angering her somehow, that I was causing her to deviate from some plan. Remember she is not working all this time. I am still making dinners, and helping where I can. I do get the complaining about leaving a dish in the sink A DISH. Her days seems to be sitting in bed watching TV and coming to pick me up at work later and later. Then I thought my health issues were caused by working so much, and the surgery had some complications main one being I lost ability to gain an erection. Since we were not having bedroom time anyway and hoped it was a temporary health thing I felt I could not talk to her about it. In other words thats when I stopped trying to have bedroom time with her. Let me tell you for a man to loose that suddenly at 40 I was to say very frightened, but slowly everything began to work again. Before I felt I had recovered for the first time I can remember she attempted to have bed room time, this backed me into a corner and I told her about my issues. I felt as though she was upset with me, almost like I was lying to her. So then I looked for another job, to remove the amount of working hours and return to health. I switched jobs, and was excited to change a bit. Oh, in my line of work the average length at a job is 6 months, in the 2+ years we were together I had gone through 4 jobs, this was my 5th. 4 of the jobs were with the same company placement I say this because I was lead to believe by her that me switching jobs is wrong somehow, or that I cant keep jobs. Around this time I began to withdraw for her, I would play with the children allot. I would do hobbies, I never watched TV, Drank, Played Cards, worked excessive hours, went out with friends as I lost or did not make new ones to be home more, I tried to save but came up short each month somehow. OH that car I bought, by now she had crashed it twice, it was missing a front bumper and the door caved in. I never seemed to get enough money going to fix it. Of course both accidents were not her fault. She is still not working and what I can tell just watches TV. Tehn I get laid off 7 months into the new job. It took me 1+month to get another which put us in a very bad situation with money. Borrowing is not want I like to do. So skipping Hawaii this year for sure. Once I started my new job, I began to think that our relationship is in limbo, that we were just roommates. So because of her ability and desire to turn any conversation into a yelling match or argument were fault must be placed I wrote an e-mail outlining all what I assumed were areas that needed to be addressed. That I could not live in limbo and if we don’t fix it I will leave. I also pointed out that even though we were in money issues, she never suggested to go back to work. I asled her to find a job, that its been long enough and she did not take advantage of the opportunity to go to school. Within a month she had a job, then I was layed off again. Just as we got even. I texted her as I was upset about it, standing on the sidewalk next to my work. I asked her to come pick me up, her responds was “I cant breath, I cant leave work” Now she worked for an Insurance company and mother she does is time sensitive, stand up turn to your boss and say. I have a small family emergency Ill be back later this afternoon and keep you posted. Anyone would understand. Instead I’m left to hire a cab to take me home. At home I feel angry when I should be just upset and looking for a job. She returns home after getting her child and tell me we are over and she is moving out in 2 weeks. She tells me that I broke up with her in an e-mail and that we are “broken”. She slept in the same room with me for 2 weeks while I watched her get an apartment have her ex-husband give her money to rent a car, she went and bought 300.00 worth of clothing, and had her child ignore my child over a weekend. and this after 3 years. I asked her not to sleep in my bed anymore as it seems strange and it hurt. She would yell at me sighting that she deserved to sleep were she wanted. Now I don’t have a job, I have to switch all the utilities over, separate the phone, pay rent, and so on. The math did not work, I would be left destitute and without any explanation at all. So she hired moves with I guess money from her ex-husband, and left eh key on the one table left in the townhome. No good buy or good luck, no explanation or discussion. No closure, nothing. when Asked why no goodbye her responds was “I don’t want to go tracking you down to say goodbye” I was upstairs. So head spinning, dog gone, imminent eviction without a job looming, wreaked car, 130,000.00 in income for 2013 and nothing left. No ability for care for my child during visitations, no family, did not make friends. So basicly I made allot of bad choices, some self destructive and some for the sake of another. What im left with is confusion, loneliness, hart ache, loss, fear, and all the emotions that come with grief. At first while she was leaving i really thought it was all my fault, from working so much to getting sick, to being laid off and not having enough money, and thinking she needed space. I was reading about mental issues and how I could have done things differently, I admitted to her all of what I thought I had done wrong. Then it all came crashing down, She just ignored me. I made all of my being just respect that she wanted to be out no matter the reason or my needs for closure so I did not try and contact her. Then my new puppy got sick and I lost it. I felt he was all I had left, and that loosing him somehow tied to all that had happened to me or by me. I was a complete mess, not crying but balling at the potential loss of my dog. Now I know I prolly need to let it all out form the brake, so on one hand it was good to finally just let it out like that. While he was sick and I was confused and crazy with emotion I sent her a text, the first in over a month. “dog name is sick, I don’t know what to do. I need your help” I got no response, so ultimately an old friend came over and helped me. He is so cool about it, guys don’t normally just understand that kind of thing. After my dog recovered I began to search the internet for “why my ex-girlfriend is ignoring me with out closure” I read about how its a type of abuse and give the attacker power, That made me angry. I read how women when leaving someone feel empowered, and contact could interrupt that new found independence. that made me feel happy but confused. I dont think I have ever said or done anything that would warrant completely ignoring. I tried to think about things form her point of view. But realized that without any explanation or her even telling me what she feels is all speculation and really really hard. SO now I am at a point 2 months out I have a job, everyone wants a piece of my first check but it will cover. I sold everything I had to keep the townhome and keep an eviction off my record, and hers as well. I feel broken and alone. I don’t have mush food, xmas will be alone with PB&J. But with all the challenges right now, I just want to know. good or bad, by my hand or hers, how to stop it from happening again. I cant help but think I was abused through the entire relationship maybe slowly, and was twisted to feel and make many choices away from my normal. Well Coming into my second paycheck Ill be hitting a therapist hard to figure this all out. I cant do it by myself. Matter fact, I am so broken suicide seems an option. But I have a child myself, I need to keep that selfish thought at bay until I can get help. Thanks for allowing me to post, may not fit exactly. But I think I needed to get it out there. Maybe this will help with the therapist and Ill be able to be healthy again.
December 26th, 2014 at
Thanks to each of you for sharing your experiences here. This ongoing dialogue is heartwarming, and we encourage you to continue talking about your experiences with mental health issues and therapy with a wider audience via the Share Your Story feature on our blog. Writing your story may be healing for you and encouraging to others. Learn more and submit a piece for review here:http://www.goodtherapy.org/submit-your-story.html
We also wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
The GoodTherapy.org Team
jon pMay 11th, 2015 at 1:12 PM
Some detectives came to my work and asked me about my relationship with “LR”. I am being accused of molesting her daughter. I am under investigation, and may be arrested. I would never ever do anything like that, and she is just using this to hurt and destroy. I have no idea why
DenaJanuary 16th, 2015 at 12:26 PM
How do you deal with a NS when you have a child together? My ex and i haven’t been together for 8 years. My daughter is 11 years old and her dad manipulates her as well, feeding her head full of grand unattainable ideas and lies. It’s sickening. My daughter loves her dad so much that when I tell her the truth about things, she doesn’t believe me. I don’t know what to do. I feel like no matter what I do to right the wrong he’s causing, he keeps getting in my daughter’s head to get back at me. Like we’re all games to him. FYI he’s 38 years old and STILL lives with his mom. She bails him out of trouble and takes care of him. He doesn’t have a job because he claims he has plans of his own business ventures. Everyone owes him something in life and he can talk his way through anything.
Any advice or help would be much appreciated!
ToniJanuary 21st, 2015 at 8:36 PM
Kim Saeed has a great site online..support and encouragement.
No contact –
You are not alone-
You are loved-
Andrea SchneiderJanuary 22nd, 2015 at 8:48 PM
I am glad this article has been helpful. If you are interested in psychotherapy/life coaching/telehealth for narcissistic abuse recovery, please contact me through my profile. Working with a trained clinician in this subspecialty is vital for healing. Kind regards, Andrea
David G.June 21st, 2015 at 4:24 PM
I feel that I could benefit from some of
Your treatments on this matter.
When I hear from You, I will Message
You all the details.
pollyJanuary 25th, 2015 at 5:57 PM
Is it necessary to also cut ties to mutual friends? I “dumped” the narcissist after being discard 3times and I finally saw the truth. I’ve made the stupid mistake to talk with a mutual friend a little bit of the discard/coming back episodes. For our mutual friends he is the greatest man in the world. I’m not going to “expose” him but I see that I’m starting to be seen as the “crazy one”. Should I go no contact with the mutual friends too?
Sandy A.March 1st, 2015 at 10:32 PM
What happens when you cut off a 12 year relationship with a narcissist like not just go no contact but get restraining order on him? What’s he going to do? Is it making him crazy?
jenniferApril 16th, 2015 at 7:34 AM
I am feeling very alone with this topic.
DaveApril 25th, 2015 at 11:53 AM
So, I have been dealing with a N for almost three years now. Its textbook. We are both lawyers and frequent the same courts. I knew her for about a year, then she suddenly threw herself at me out of nowhere with charm and sexual suggestion. I was very suspicious but thought I could handle it because I am older and experienced, with high emotional intelligence and maturity, lots of relationship experience. So I let things happen naturally, and after a couple months I noticed distancing behaviors and avoidance techniques. I thought we could talk it out but after bringing it up to try and communicate, her behavior worsened. Then she withdrew sex from the relationship claiming a desire to go without for one year. I had no problem with that in and of itself, but viewed it as intimacy avoidance. When I confronted her by demanding she tell me, “what is the problem?” she said things were fine and promised to do better. But did she? No. She ignored me on our anniversary, my birthday, and the holidays. So I withdrew from her and we had little contact for months. She re-initiated contact but to ask me to watch her dog while she went on vacation. I was incensed because she made it clear that if I did not watch the dog, she would not be able to go. So I agreed and told her that I refused to be the reason she missed out on a vacation.
After that she planted seeds of intimacy by texting that she wanted to participate in my activities, that I should bring her as a date to a client’s wedding, etc.. So I allowed myself to get lured back in, but noticed that her expressions of interest and affection always were preliminary to some request to watch her dog so that she could go do something she wanted to do (without me of course). Eventually I convinced her to give me the dog (she was neglecting him and I genuinely care about the dog). I thought that would sever us but she moved on to asking me if I wanted to go to parents weekend for her kid’s camp, to a baseball game with her son and son’s friends, an MLS game with her son and friends, etc.. Then she asked me to drive her to a road race under the pretense that she wanted me to be there but it became clear that she only didn’t want to get stuck with another family all day. The pattern was obvious.. Make me think she loves me only to include me in her activities that she knows I would pay for. Part of her background is as a runaway who learned a long time ago how to survive by trading on her looks and charm to get people to pick up her tabs. It’s attachment disorder but she is also a severe narcissist.
When she blew off my birthday and our anniversary a second time, I expressed frustration and her response was, “I don’t have to respond just because you’re upset. You are hurt so you are trying to pick a fight.” Classic gaslighting/projection, avoidance defense mechanism. I said, “Wrong. Nothing about me or us means anything to you, except how you can manipulate and use me. You are trying to intimidate me from telling you how your behavior is hurtful.” I then went no contact. Three months later she acts like nothing ever happened and we are fine, wishing me a happy Valentines on Valentines Day. I ignored her. Then she texts me about how her friend is offering to treat her to another vacation but she thinks she will say no and ask her to help pay for a tutor for her son instead. My thought was, she is trying to manipulate me into offering to pay for either the trip or the tutor, or both, as always preceded by a charade of affection and interest in me.
I won’t even get into my suspicions of infidelity which are quite concrete.
By now I am convinced that she is a malignant narcissist and I am her victim. When she originally threw herself at me there was a mutual acquaintance who wanted to go out with her and many in her clique were lobbying her to do so. Now I see that she only threw herself at me to eliminate that pressure, because she went out of her way to let everyone know that I am her “boyfriend,” and the other guy backed off and her friends stopped pressuring her to go out with him.
I want to free myself from her power to lure me back and try to use me to serve her purposes, go no contact and stick with it. However, I want her to know the reason I am cutting communication and that I want no relationship or acquaintance of any kind with her; to protect myself from the infinite loop of the typical cycle, that I will not be her narcissistic supply, and that I know that she only exploited, manipulated and used me through deception and dishonesty. My fear is that she will retaliate by smearing me in my work circles, by labeling me paranoid, hypersensitive, needy, insecure, and only out for sour grapes vindication, but Its hard for me to respect myself if I go no contact without first telling her these things.
My question is, is it generally appropriate to inform the N of the impending no contact or is it best to just do and suck up the pride for not telling her why?
BarbaraApril 30th, 2015 at 4:52 PM
Dave, for some situations it would not matter but due to your business relations I would highly recommend suck up your pride. :(
EvaMay 11th, 2015 at 10:26 AM
I was able to extricate myself from my 5-year torment in September. Classic case, moved to another country for him, have now moved back to my home country which is great of course for no contact but his mother wanted to keep in touch with me. I did care for her but I think it is best to cut off ALL contact with him, including his family. Have only spoken with him a couple of times in the past 8 months, and that was brief and only business related (our divorce will be final in a month).
This morning my phone rang and his number came up. I’m not exaggerating: my blood ran cold. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. It was very early in the morning, and the only reason I could think of for him to be calling was that something happened to his mother. So I picked up but I guess he had pocket-dialed me. I could hear his voice in the background and the hair literally stood up on the back of my neck. I have NEVER had such a strong physically reaction to something. When I realized he wasn’t really calling I hung up but was very shaken. Then I got very very angry, and realized I really do hate him, and I don’t hate anyone, or didn’t before this. Sorry got off topic a bit…
Anyway, is it ok that I don’t want to have any contact with his mother (or anyone else in his family)? Yesterday was mother’s day and I’m sure she expected a call but I just didn’t WANT to call her. Yes, we were close but I see her as an extension of my ex and I can’t cope with ANY aspect of him. She never did anything to hurt me, and I know my not contacting her is hurting her, but I don’t think I’m wrong…
jenMay 11th, 2015 at 12:27 PM
No it is not wrong. You must protect yourself, your soul and your psyche. This comes from spiritual recovery from narssistic people. The good therapy web site and spiritual recovery from narssism Have helped me beyond belief. Protecting my soul from his psychic soul attacks have helped me become positive and loving.
C.KJune 3rd, 2015 at 3:42 AM
I am only now emerging from a devastating marriage break-up that happened in ’05! I now realize he had every indication of being a N. I am wondering about cross-over personality disorders? Particularly Dissociative Identity Disorder. He would dsecribe a ‘fog’ then ‘wake up’ 6 months later, shocked I had left him, found out he had an ugly g/f, brought a car etc etc. Or is this part of his N manipulation? Then come to me crying saying he had no idea why he had unexplained black outs for weeks and months. He also had violent nausea and vertigo preceding these episodes. I even went with him for his MRI to see if he had a brain tumor. None. He used to see cover all shiny surfaces saying hecould see a demon leering at him. He would talk to himself like a 2nd person. Then for long periods of time he would be ‘normal’ the man our children and I loved.Then in 05 he suddenly became another persona again. Cruel, adulterous, treacherous, simply evil!! Yet before that he was a concientious Christian! I am now finally divorced. I have experienced the aftermath since 05 and wow!!! It sure took me a very, very long time. Its probably not quite over yet in terms of healing because I am on this site still trying to understand the complexity of his personality. Now I am wondering – is he actually a danger to me?? Would he now try shoot me because the divorce Judge just ordered a generous spousal support? Which he must pay or face jail and loss of his drivers license? He once slept with a handgun under our pillow and I only discovered it when I put my hand underneath it while waking. After inquiring, he casually told me he planned to shoot me and my new boyfriend. This happened after awakening from another 6 month blackout.He said waking up and finding out I was now with someone else was intolerable, although he was with someone else during his blackout. I have not heard a peep from him all these years but am wondering if this court order will tip him over the edge into greater insanity. Curiously, he is a good office employee who is very popular and trusted. But the N traits assure that he will always have N supply at the worplace. Only a very few people are aware he is not mentally stable. So back to my original question – is DID and N a clinical possibility?
AnnyJanuary 22nd, 2016 at 7:22 AM
Wow…that is some beyond mind rending stuff you have to deal with right there. He should be institutionalized if what he psychologically goes through is true and if he is lying, he should be in jail…no joke.
I would believe you are in danger. I really hope you are healing from this. Go to the police and tell them everything you have said here and perhaps move to a location he cannot trace you to. I’m sorry you had to go through this. I wish you all the luck love healing and joy in this world.
June 22nd, 2015 at
@David G – please send your question privately to my email through my profile here at goodtherapy.org Thanks, Andrea Schneider, LCSW
DerrickAugust 1st, 2015 at 8:39 PM
What do you do when the narcassists are your sister and father? They attacked me, my wife, and son. I disowned my family over a year ago and still face hard depression.
JessicaOctober 4th, 2015 at 12:38 PM
I was married to a man like this and when I left, he became extremely emotionally abusive, more aggressively so than when we were together. We share two young children so I can’t have no contact. Even though, years later, I have moved on with someone new and have had more children (pregnant with one now) he continues his behavior, though more subtly. The man I am with now sees it and does what he can to support me, but I feel horrible for continuing to allow my ex to get to me, emotionally, when I feel I should be over it now. I’ve never had a chance to have no contact and fully recover from the trauma (though externally, everyone, except my partner, thinks that I have) bc, in a sense, I’m still in a “relationship” with him and still have to endure the abuse. How do I deal with this and recover, fully? I’m happy in every other aspect of my life, but he’s always there, lingering in the background to remind me of how worthless I am, and what a horrible mother I am….
CarmelaJanuary 4th, 2016 at 1:29 AM
Thank you, Andrea, for your fantastic articles about narcissists and how to survive them.
I have been married to a man with narcissistic characteristics for 20 (!) years. Everything you describe in your posts fits us to a T: When I met him, his grandiose swagger, brilliant intellect and apparent confidence (reminiscent of my narcissistic father’s personality!…) swept me off my feet, and after three months we were engaged (even though I had initially told him i needed time to recover from a previous relationship that had ended recently).
Only after we were engaged did I learn of his traumatic childhood, which had left him broken and insecure. In my foolish naivete I thought my love could heal his wounds and eventually help us build a loving, warm relationship. Alas, this was not to be. As soon as we were married, the put-downs, blaming, and coldness began, and have continued for two decades.
Until a few months ago, when I told him I was leaving him.
Unlike the typical scenario you describe of a narcissist discarding their partner, mine has absolutely no intention of letting me go (allegedly, for the good of our teenage children) and is issuing various threats designed to scare me into staying. He alternates these with heart-rending promises that he wants to change and become a loving partner (he acknowledges that he has been cruel and abusive towards me). The thing is, I can no longer believe anything he says and do not trust his promises. I just want out.
Anyway — my question: how can you enforce the “no contact” rule when you have children together and are financially dependent on the narcissist in your life? Also, how can I prevent him from turning the children against me (which he has already threatened to do)?
My heart goes out to everybody who is going through similar relationship trauma — it’s crazy-making stuff!
January 5th, 2016 at
@ Carmela — I am glad this article was helpful….sorry to hear you are going through a rough time… your question is complex and really cannot be adequately addressed in a comment here — I would start by saying your safety and your children’s safety (emotionally and physically) is of paramount importance… beyond that, I would highly recommend looking into psychotherapy to help you address how to potentially safely extricate out of the relationship (if that is your goal)…there is a great article here as well: huffingtonpost.com/terry-gaspard-msw-licsw/is-living-with-a-narcissi_b_4863057.html Please also feel free to contact me directly through my email. Kind regards, Andrea Schneider, LCSW
DanJanuary 20th, 2016 at 6:40 AM
Hello, I wonder if you could help me.
I’ve been suffering Narcissistic abuse for many years during a relationship with my (recently ex) partner. I feel I could benefit from some therapy with someone who specialises in Narc abuse. I spoke with my doctor and he told me I ‘just needed to talk to my boyfriend more’ so I don’t feel I’ll benefit from help unless somebody really understands Narcissism.
I am unable to pay for private therapy at the moment so was wondering if you knew anybody that provided specialised support or counselling for this on the NHS or where I may find that information.
I am in the North West, UK.
Thanks in advance
Sent from my iPhone
January 20th, 2016 at
Thank you for your comment.
GoodTherapy.org is based in the United States, but our therapist directory does list mental health professionals in other countries. Although it is not possible to search for a provider by their insurance, cost, or whether they offer a waived fee, many providers do provide support and counseling at a reduced cost for those who do not have sufficient insurance. Many of these providers will list this information on their profile.
To locate a provider in your area, you can search our directory here:
Please know you are not alone. Help is available, and we wish you the best of luck in your search.
The GoodTherapy.org Team
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