Idealize, Devalue, Discard: The Dizzying Cycle of Narcissism

Man walking on sidewalkThe relationship cycle typical of extreme narcissistic abuse generally follows a pattern. Individuals in emotionally abusive relationships experience a dizzying whirlwind that includes three stages: idealization, devaluing, and discarding. This cycle can repeat numerous times, spinning a merry-go-round of emotional vertigo for those caught in such relationships.

In the beginning of a romantic relationship with a person affected by narcissism, an individual may describe the initial infatuation stage as “otherworldly.” The emotional high can feel like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one noxious dose that lasts a few weeks, months, or in some cases a year or slightly more. Targets of narcissistic abuse report feeling as if they have found their soulmate and can’t believe their good fortune that this seductive courtesan has elevated them to soaring heights upon a pedestal. “Love bombing” is a phrase describing this stage, in which the narcissistic person may smother the target with praise, courting, intense sex, vacations, promises of a future together, and designation, essentially, as the most special person ever.

Soon the relationship proceeds into a more comfortable rhythm. Perhaps the sex continues at a high intensity or it may begin to wane a bit. Gradually, the target begins to see bright red flags that indicate a problem in this fantastical paradise. The person with narcissism often may begin—subtly, insidiously, and covertly—to devalue his or her significant other. This may happen via putdowns, gaslighting, intermittently lacking emotional or physical intimacy, withdrawing affection, seductive withholding, inexplicably disappearing from contact, or blaming the target for the narcissistic person’s issues (projection).

Ultimately, the person with narcissism discards his or her dating partner, who served as a source of narcissistic supply to fuel the ego of the individual with narcissistic issues. When the target asks for compromise, reciprocity, empathy, integrity, honesty, and boundaries (all healthy and valid requests that people with extreme narcissistic qualities generally do not engage in), the person with narcissism may decide that the target has lost his or her luster and is tarnished—no longer the “perfect partner” to fluff the ego feathers. Inevitably, the discarding occurs when the person with narcissism either disappears or orchestrates his or her own abandonment by engaging in some form of egregious emotional abuse. The outcome is often shocking for the survivor, unclear as to how someone that he or she fell so deeply in love with could throw it all away.

In most cases, survivors of narcissism were able to offer empathy, compassion, authenticity, honesty, reciprocity, and compromise during the relationship. People with narcissistic tendencies are drawn to such empathic, deeply feeling people and know that, on some level, they personally are lacking in emotional depth and substance. By being in a relationship with such a nurturing, loving person, the person with narcissism is able to consume that person’s authentic love and extract narcissistic supply. Once fed over the course of days, weeks, or months, the person with narcissism is satiated and may grow bored with his or her partner. He or she must secure the supply of another target, usually in short order.

Survivors can heal and move forward with the help of psychotherapy and support in narrating their story and resolving the trauma of emotional abuse. Understanding the dynamics of abuse empowers survivors to lessen any cognitive dissonance remaining as a result of gaslighting and other emotional abuse. Armed with knowledge, survivors understand the relationship cycle they endured and can move forward with enough protective armor such that they can jump off the merry-go-round of emotional abuse and be just fine.

© Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Andrea Schneider, LCSW, Narcissism Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Matthew c

    March 25th, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    It can be hard to trust your choices again once you have made a mistake like this, albeit probably an honest one, and let someone into your life like this.

  • Talina

    June 8th, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    I can not even begin to describe how accurate this information is. And although I feel even more betrayed after learning so much about this personality type, (the fact all of those actions were intentional towards me…..) but I am somewhat relieved to discover that I am not a completely ungrateful psycho like I was made to feel. I honestly had no earthly idea that people like this existed until my most recent relationship and I have learned more in the past few weeks about this than I’ve known my entire life…………WoW

  • Lu

    August 5th, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    I have just recently linked ‘boyfriend’ to this mental ilness. It is amazing how after reading and finding out more about this disorder that I can literally tick every single box!!! My regret is that I did not relaize this sooner and plot my escape, it happened when I found out about his cheating ways, lashed out and told him about how distraught i was – so I somehow feel that he still has the upper hand.. I miss the ‘illusion’ everyday, yet am infuriated when I think about the deception.. my solace is that he will never find hapiness and I atleast have an opportunity to move on with my life.

  • Vlp

    August 5th, 2016 at 4:10 PM

    So the silent treatment has lasted a month. Ongoing off and on, in 9-year relationship this has happened countless times. The first year of dating I started researching how this could not be normal. I over the 9 years I rationalized it in every way possible. This time, I had it. My suffering in this never ending pattern for the rest of my life will kill my self-worth. No matter how much I love him, I will find what will make me leave for good.
    Being he is incapable of loving me, that is what hits me the hardest. I was trying to prove to myself that he has to love me, but could not stop his irrational ways. I looked and looked a still could not believe he could not love me. But it’s true in his actions. I had to finally accept it. Ultimately, the silent treatment and the projecting everything to be my fault and excepting he can’t love me or emphasise the hurt he was causing me ate what I ended up seeing as a cycle that would never change. I took this last silent treatment and made my choice. For him to not feel empathy for the pain he causes me by going silent, now I now see him unhuman like the devil. My lift of the anxiety and depression has came with realizing when he goes silent. This is the time the God is by my side helping me to see the opportunity, this is my window I’ve been given the love I need from God to leave when he goes silent robbing me from love just like the devil.
    So this is what gives me the strength. Opening my eyes to the opportunity I had been given during the silent treatment that was robbing me of the love I deserved. God is by my side helping me see the opportunity to escape the devil.

  • Mary

    September 16th, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    Talina: I totally agree, I’m 57 yes old, first time out of my birdcage, and never knew anything about love bombing, wow is right! I been had:(

  • Suzette

    June 23rd, 2019 at 12:59 PM

    You just described my life to a T! I am now being discarded after 35 years. He used me to stay here with the kids. Now the last went to college and even the dogs have both passed after 12 years! I saw it coming, but tried to be hopeful, but now I’m devastated and angry at myself for allowing to be used.

  • Carol

    March 25th, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    A person with these tendencies can suck you in and suck you under so fast that many times you may not even know what is going on until you are so far gone that it is too late to extricate yourself without getting hurt. They are masters at deception and finding a way to have their narcissism control you along with the unhealthy relationship. This is what they are good at- not letting you see the cunning and deception until they are ready for you to discover just how much you are being and have been used.

  • Boris

    June 19th, 2016 at 4:04 AM

    So true! I still cannot get my head around the coldness of my despatch. It was cruel, I said to my ex “you are incomplete, the human parts of you are missing.”

  • Dawn

    December 3rd, 2016 at 8:59 PM

    Boris, I said something similar to mine…I told him that “you suck as a man and don’t even qualify as a human being.” The coldness that came with the silent treatment was staggering. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s like he just flipped a switch and bam. I didn’t even exist and he absolutely would not communicate with me. This happened after I attempted to question why his online dating profile said “active within 1 hour.” I was trying to establish boundaries, but apparently you can’t do that with a narcissist. Very painful lesson!

  • Belle

    January 1st, 2017 at 7:36 PM

    This is so similar to what I said too. He sat there whilst we were waiting for the police on Christmas day at 10.30pm after he had abused me the final time… I knew they were going to take him away and I said ‘I am so sorry for you. You’re just an empty shell. Nothing is real for you. You put on behaviours like you’d put on clothes and you have no idea who you are.’
    He just stared at me without blinking. It’s the only time I ever knew he was listening to me…. because he came back with nothing, no accusation or aggression.
    I have found this lady very good… google Melanie Tonia Evans. She has some excellent resources for healing.

  • Ren

    April 22nd, 2017 at 6:54 AM

    I so feel your pain of “coldness” …like it’s a natural normal process without any emotional well. I have recently experienced this blow after a 5year in depth relationship where I saw the characteristics of narcissism but chose to lift this person up; be there for him unconditionally because his mother and children pulled all the strings and i basically brought him to his learned independence and reality; taught him how to interact with his children and be more present. Reality is…he used me; his mother won the battle as she isolated him ; stopped talking to him and made his life a living he’ll…she as granny brainwashed husband children too so that they pull the strings. All because of race. Indian mother and son syndrome! And he’s 45.

  • mali

    February 26th, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    VIp I am just starting to learn now that I have been in a narc relationship for nine years.. I wish I had learned of this sooner . I love your outlook and will take this with me.. I am totally exhausted and honestly cannot remember which number disgard I am on .. I can only remember the ones when he was with other woman that I know of anyway. Posts have made me see im not alone nor am I crazy thank you

  • Jack S.

    April 19th, 2018 at 12:45 AM

    Oh man I dated this chick for a couple months, thought she was different then I read this and now more awakened since it explains exactly what happened. She obviously told me she don’t do LDR so at the start she was sweet and almost clingy like but yea sure I gave in. Then the devaluation begins when she left town. I figured she was doing so since she found herself a new safety net. God how she insulted me after leaving was beyond hades river, no remorse like I’m not a human being. Thing is it gets us by surprise since we pretty much don’t expect it. It’s like getting your head decapitated, then kicked around on the field, then the player just leaves off your head like that on the field. Damn it was so effed it took me months to build courage and confront her of her wicked stunt after reading a few articles like this. I was previously in some relationship and never was treated like that during b/k and post.

  • Jolena

    March 14th, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    This article really has me contemplating if my new boyfriend is a narcissist. We’ve been together for ten months. At the beginning, I was taken in by his immediate warmth and level of attention/commitment. I’ve recently lost my father and the grief was raw when we met. I had met him on a dating site. He was a quite newly divorced(as in ink still wet) educated professional who possessed uncanny similarities and was looking for a serious relationship. (He has an extreme fear of solitude whereas I’ve never been married and have thrived over the years on independence) That seemed our only difference. Within one month of constant communication and dating, he gave me a 3k diamond promise ring and asked for exclusivity. Being a bit taken back, I was also happy to get out of the daunting dating game and begin a long-term relationship. Everything was surreal at first and still is at times. Over-the-top compliments, gifts, dinners, vacations, etc. I felt I could do no wrong. Imagine my surprise last month when he cancelled our weekend plans at the last minute because an old friend needed him to comfort her. I could detect the shakiness and worry in his voice. He told me that declining would offend her and he had to comply. I had no idea who this woman was and asked for more information. He is not only hedging my inquiries and giving seemingly inconsistent information, he gets angry when I bring up the subject which, in turn, keeps leading to heated arguments in which once was the fairy-tale relationship. He tells me she is so fat and ugly(misogynistic comment) that he wouldn’t could get an erection with her and has no kind of attraction whatsoever even though she’s had a crush on him for years(she’s newly widowed). He always states that he is only attracted to thin, high-maintenance looking women. We accidentally ran into her at a local restaurant. She acted as though they had a close bond even though he was trying to downplay it. She then stated that the two of them had made a non-suicide pact over the summer. Wtf. What am I dealing with here?? He had never mentioned any kind of mental illness other than shock when his “stupid, slut ex”(another misogynist comment) of twenty-five years just up and left him one day with his now ex-best friend. The fairy-tale romance has suddenly become quite complicated to say the least. I’m sure the ex had her reasons for leaving after so many years together, but he will not elaborate much other than he was making some mistakes and she had no patience with him. He claims that she called him controlling and financially abusive. He has a good-paying job and was encouraging me to marry him as soon as possible and retire early and move with him. He said he needed me and states that he still does. Now that I’ve made arrangement to marry and move, he’s saying his friends and family are saying we should slow things down due to my “trust issues”. He suddenly needs time stating that the problem is me. He has asked me to move in with him without a marriage license to which I’ve declined(I still own my home and work, thank God) His neighbor, in confidence, told me that he was an abusive ******* with his ex and had to begin anti-depressants when she left him. She warned me of his temper. I had been impressed that he could admit that he made mistakes. I’m now wondering if he has learned from them and has changed. He speaks in glowing terms of his ex at times, then vacillates to criticisms. He speaks in glowing terms of this old friend at times, then acts as though she’s an annoyance he wants to shake. He tells me that, if I leave him, I’ll never find anyone better and will end up all alone forever since I’m getting older. I guess my question in a nutshell is whether narcissists are known to harbor love-hate feelings against females to whom they are close? Also, he called me one day from work literally crying that his co-workers reported him for yelling at them and that he wished to completely change fields due to this incident. He is extremely reactive and sensitive to criticism and frustration. He aims to please everybody. He has a hard time prioritizing his commitment/relationship in this regard since popularity is so important to him. I’m beginning to realize why the ex felt a lack of trust and felt taken for granted as I’m beginning to feel this way. He had admitted at the beginning that he had one affair on her two decades ago, sought marriage counseling and had never repeated it, even though they had both had “emotional affairs” with others over the years. I don’t want to end up in an unhappy, unstable relationship. I gave the ring back last week claiming that I don’t actually know him and wish no intimacy at this time. The courtship had happened too quickly before really growing as a couple. Meeting a potential partner in this age has become too complicated. I’d rather just stay single than deal with this kind of nonsense.

  • Rachel

    April 6th, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    I have no idea what the truth really is; I met someone last year and we dated for a few weeks until I broke up with him; he was always fighting with me. 2 months went by and we tried again, and he seemed so great in the beginning. I was so happy – he was handsome, charming, smart, available – I thought I hit the jackpot! Within a few months his true personality came out. I thought he was going to hit me once, we fought so much. He would spin off into a rage and I really started to worry about myself, and the person I was becoming. AND I was 3 year breast cancer survivor. It didn’t matter to him. With this type of personality, it is best to get out while you can. You can’t rationalize their behavior and they have a specific agenda. Thankfully I got out within 8 months. I found out later that he was already involved with a new person within weeks of our breakup. I feel bad for HER, he will treat her the same. My ex was on and off Welbutrin when we met (“off and on” with meds is NOT a good thing) and shortly before we broke up he started taking a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder. The entire situation was very hurtful and damaging. I trusted him and now I feel polluted. I see a therapist twice a month and it has been very helpful. You will get through it too.

  • Jemima

    April 17th, 2018 at 8:03 PM

    Hi Jolena. This could have been me writing this six years ago! My ex was very open–so I thought–about his ex-wife, his bitter regret that he “hadn’t been there for her”, and how much he had learned since about how to be a good husband. Turns out he was abusive towards her. After treating me as the best thing since sliced bread during our courtship, like he couldn’t believe his luck, he switched completely once we were married. I couldn’t do anything right, he made a mistake marrying me, I was as ugly on the inside as I was on the outside etc etc. He had pushed for a quick commitment, but then acted as if *I* had pressured *him*. My advice is RUN! And implement NO CONTACT!

  • LK

    July 28th, 2018 at 1:53 AM

    wow!! My EX Narc, let me tell ya I really feel like a dumb A**, I have known him since age 19, at age 19 he was always a ladies man sleeping with i cannot tell you how many of my friends, Some 23plus years later thanks to the world of facebook, and line “Ive always had a crush on you” ughhh, we connected, things were awesome, he even flew to see me first, claims he had been alone for 6 years, and I was his first in 6 years. The morning texts, the afternoon texts and calls, the hours spent on the phone, you name it he was perfect,and the long distance relationship was underway. HE was suppose to come to my city for Thanksgiving, yet all of sudden the day he was to leave he was so sick and had “never been so sick in his life” even posted on facebook, “THIS STINKS I AM SUPER SICK AND EVEN RUIN MY TURKEY DAY PLANS” at the time, I felt bad so we made plans for me to come to his city for Christmas. I did and let me tell ya it was amazing. I share custody with my ex and it just so worked out that my youngest was with his dad for the holiday, I truly felt like I was on the top of the world, the ex narc then did come to my city for new year. Then out of no where he would began to fly off the handle about how much time I was spending with my child and their sport, I just chalked this up to us being long distance, then on Valentine Day OMG he sent me the most beautiful roses I had ever seen in my life to literally a week later the MASK began to peel off. As I was driving back on the highway from a event my child was in about 3 hours away from home, he was so mean and inform that my child activity was at an excessive level. when I explain that my kids do not sit around and watch TV or play video games all weekend, the ex narc flew off the handle, putting me down, saying some horrible things to me I ended up blocking him and felt so sick to my stomach. By that next morning he had emailed me the email read ” please call me I do not feel well” I am such a fool I called ( I should have ignored that message) all for him to inform me that he had order some tickets to an event and in error did it twice and he had been charged twice and so on, not once did he apologize for his horrible words. Later that day he had the issue fixed, a drink in hand and let me tell ya he went from sweet, to ugly to nasty ugly to the discarding of me. WOW!! all to turn around and bash me to everyone he knows making me out to be this monster to working it out with me. planned a family type summer get away, OMG that trip was amazing, the spark was there and he decided that he is moving to my city. SERIOUSLY!! gets moved here and a short time later decides I am not paying enough attention to him , to I have excluded him, to leaving.. yep he left.. said he hated my city and I spend to much time with my child activities, I will admit I am pretty dedicated to my child activities, am I excessive about it, more likely than not, but ya know what I am a mother first, last and always. So my Knight and shinning prince charming, left and currently is drinking threes more, living in pretty awful conditions, I have begged him to come home and you know what.. HE gives this false sense of ” I am babe” we get along for an average of 3 weeks then he blames me for “my cycle” and here we go ” I PRONOUNCE YOU BLOCKED AND DELETED” OKAY GREAT.. recently I was diagnosed with a serious condition and he was more concern that he was the last to find out, yell at me and once again ( i believe this most recent discard of me was number 55 or 56) yet it is my cycle, I am the issue, everyone loves him, and I am the bad one.. I am on the healing mend and taking care of me and learning about warning signs and doing all I can to prepare for the BIG CONTACT, this time I plan to give no response and hold my head up high.. I have been depressed, uncertain, even thoughts of ending my life, then I look at my children and know that I am important and I have been dancing with NARC..

  • Shrad A.

    October 28th, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    I am in total aww to your saga……mine could be any different. its to the T
    Thank you for sharing

  • cmcb316

    August 6th, 2019 at 3:28 AM

    I myself have gotten out of the same situation. I met him a couple of months after my brother passed away and was at a vulnerable state. I did not see the patterns of his behaviors at times. It all started with quick short times apart, then it turned into weeks then months then the final blow up. He was claiming that he was depressed and unhappy with his current life and work situation. The relationship went on too fast and he forced me to open up to me sooner than I should. He would usually love bomb me by promising a future together, going on trips together, but not keeping his word. Gaslighting was occuring regularly as well. He told me he loved me a couple of days of us just hanging out then when things have gone wrong, he directed the blame back to me saying that I forced him to commit to me instantly by demanding what his intentions are, etc etc. During the whole “relationship”, deep down in my gut, something is telling me that something is off. Now, I am realizing a lot of things and my head and heart is in a better place now to be more rational and very very observant when it comes to dealing with a narcissist like him. When you say they are an empty shell, they actually are, and are very unpredictable, unreliable and very very deceitful. Set up boundaries, and walls and surround yourself with accountability partners. Do not isolate yourself, have a support group, constantly check and guard your heart so you don’t fall into a trap of romanticizing a fairy tale type of relationship with this broken person.

  • Madhu

    September 25th, 2023 at 9:58 PM

    U have done the right thing! Keep looking, and you will find the right person. Stay away from nonsense.

  • Trish

    January 21st, 2019 at 4:02 AM

    Soooo true !!! Ive been with the devil for 15 years !!! The beginning was a drug , suddenly it all stopped, i blamed myself of course, very stupid thing to do!!! Its not me they are socially, physically, emotionaly inept !!! He totally degraded me to dirt after 15 years because i asked a question about our future, seemed harmless but not to a total liar ,faker total rage and then the degrading silent treatment, im still here due to $$$ but am plotting my escape!!!! While in therapy which totally helps!!!

  • Kristin W.

    March 25th, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    People with narcissistic personality disorder are incurable. They will continue this behavior the rest of their lives. Their long term supply suffer from inexplicable health issues as over the years of going through these phases again and again their life is slowly drained out of them.

  • CaptainObvious

    May 24th, 2016 at 4:31 AM

    I’ve seen severe narcissism turned around by counseling and a safe dose of MDMA.

  • jorge

    August 4th, 2016 at 7:17 PM

    Yes, completely agree with your statement.
    FDA approval is still years away , and I imagine that the community of psychotherapists doing this treatment currently is completely underground.
    Wish I had more information.

  • Nicole

    March 26th, 2015 at 4:30 AM

    If you see this pattern of behavior run fast before you get sucked in.

  • HB

    March 26th, 2015 at 6:10 AM

    This is spot on and I relate. They always say the quiet ones are the worst, and its true. For its not shyness, his problem was inability to connect, be authentic, empathic on any real level. He needed all that I possessed, and still posess. In the end, he never could sustain that and neither will he with the new supply nor anyone.

  • R

    November 3rd, 2016 at 12:07 AM

    Cant say it better. It hurts so much more to know the ugly truth, and the worst of all, still blaming and thinking was an awesome human being

  • Vivian

    March 26th, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    Sadly I believe that the people who are like this will never be satisfied with what they get from others, even though this is always what they are seeking. They use people up and discard them once they have gotten from them what suits their needs at that particular moment in time.

  • Jen

    March 26th, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    How does one tell if the other person is narcissistic?

  • London

    October 29th, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    The sense of humour. Usually we can make a joke with people who trust us and they laugh. If you try this normal affectionate style of humour with a Narc they become defensive, mine accused me taking the p” and got angry when I wasn’t.
    Humour is about empathy with normals.
    narcs are judgemental when they attempt humour it’s only sarcasm or lame puns.
    Mine often made puns but would then explain them to me, just in case I didn’t get it (patronising a key feature)
    A test I did him “what is it you like about me?”
    Me ” well it’s nice to go out with a guy more intelligent”
    Him ‘oh yes”
    Me (not spoken) – are you serious,only an idiot would accept a compliment that.
    Another observation was the topic of conversation, I cannot tell you his views or thoughts on any subject, it was always talk about the goings on in his local friendship group. His lawn mowing, washing machine issues and so on.

  • Madhu

    September 25th, 2023 at 10:02 PM

    They can have sense of humour. They are masters of disguise. Lack of empathy, lying and gaslighting are some ways to identify.

  • Michelle M.

    March 27th, 2015 at 3:04 AM

    Hi there Jen. That is a really good question. The truth is that this can be a very complicated thing to ever know for sure since very few people with this disorder ever seek out treatment for it. So an “official” diagnosis (or confirmation for any survivor that this is what is wrong with the person who has harmed them so terribly) is very, very unlikely. What many survivors of this type of abuse have been able to do is carefully research what Narcissistic abuse looks like from a survivor’s perspective and begin to understand if what they endured is, in fact, Narcissistic abuse. There is a psychotherapist in Ireland named Christine Louis de Canonville and she, much like the outstanding author of this article (Andrea), has written extensively about Narcissistic abuse. I have taken some very important information that I believe really answers your question from Christine’s website, “The Roadshow For Therapists”.

    “If you are to reduce your chances of being re-victimised by yet another narcissist, then you really do need to learn how to recognize narcissistic traits when you see them. Of course, a narcissist does not have to display all of the known traits in order to be dangerous, however, the rational is, the more traits that are present, then the more potentially harmful the relationship is likely to be. No matter how you have been involves with a narcissist, whether it is a parent, a sibling, a lover, a work mate, a friend, etc., you are likely to have experienced emotional and psychological damage to your own being. You are most likely to have suffered the experience of an escalating abuse; from criticism, to name-calling, humiliation, being shamed, degradation, possibly physical violence, and some unfortunates have even been murdered.

    If you are an adult entering into a new relationship, the clues that your charmer is a narcissist is generally there from the start. Whether they are male or female, they will shower you with attention that is way over the top. When they talk to you, you will feel that you are the most important person in the world at that moment. You will be really flattered with the dangerous seduction that will come your way. It will seem like no time at all before they want to spend every moment with you. They will tell you that you are their soul-mate, that you and they are exactly alike, and that you understand them like no other person does. They will want to commit incredibly fast, whether it is romantically, or some other way, like a partnership of one sort or another. They will want to shower you with gifts, flattery and all kinds of promises, and they will whip you up in frenzy. Of course all this behaviour is actually a clue to the shallowness of their emotional attachments, and the fact that you have something that they want (information, skills, knowledge, etc.), you are their next target of Narcissistic Supply for providing them with attention, approval, adoration, admiration etc. Healthy relationships take time to develop, and they are built on a foundation of respect and appreciation, and an ability to communicate honestly, and to have realistic expectations. Once you are hooked, the honeymoon period does not last long with a narcissist, and they are likely to detach from you as quickly as they attached, moving on to their next hot pursuit.

    It won’t be long before you will become privy to your narcissists frightening temper. At first their rage will be indirect, aimed at someone else. This demonstration of their power functions in such a way that it serves to intimidate and control others, including you. You are also likely to witness physical outbursts, like demonstratively putting their fists through a solid wall, breaking or throwing things, hurling abuse; and it won’t be too long after that when you will be on the receiving end of the violence. All of these tactics, along with their scathing criticism of you are designed to erode your self-esteem, your confidence, and give them even more control over you. The more fearful you become, the more they will rule by fear, it is as if their power is an aphrodisiac to them. As a result of the fear you will be subjected to, you will find yourself becoming highly vigilant, nervous and overly sensitive to every threat, walking on eggshells around your captor. The more insecure you become, the more powerful your narcissist becomes.

    Bit by bit you will become isolated from all your supports; your family, friends and colleagues. The isolation is likely to happen without your realizing it; it may be through covert and overt acts of criticism in an attempt to turn you against the people you are closest to. Truth is that your narcissist can feel threatened by outsiders influencing you to see through the illusion they have created, so they need to isolate you. Their behaviour will become so demanding that you will withdraw rather than go through this punishing and tortuous interrogation every time you want to meet up with anybody. Friends and family tend to become tired of all the excuses you make, and they step back from you. Before you know what has happened, you are isolated, and job done for the narcissist.

    Throughout this crazy behaviour, just to confuse things more, your narcissist switches to being a sweetheart. You see the person you fell in love with suddenly emerge once again. You’re beautiful Dr. Jekyll returns, and the evil Mr.(s). Hyde disappears out of sight, and your heart begins to sing once again. Your guards come down; you move close to your beloved once again, this move towards them melts away all the hatred and frustration you were feeling. You are filled with hope and a renewed optimism for the future, and you cling on with all of your might. But this phase does not last for long, and very soon you are back to the downward spiral yet again, and along with the fear comes renewed criticism from an even more enraged Mr(s) Hyde. It is this duality in the human nature of the narcissist (the “pull and push” behaviour) that leads to the Trauma Bonding (Stockholm Syndrome) and co-dependency needs that is so damaging for the victim. Whatever caused the change to the narcissist’s behaviour, you can be sure it will be your fault, because your narcissist never ever takes responsibility for their behaviour. Ultimately you are the blame; somehow you provoked whatever “bad” happens.

    When this madness eventually gets too much for the victim, and they summon up the courage to leave, the narcissists core wound of abandonment is torn open. Unless they want out themselves, your act of rejecting will most likely send them into a panic. They will manipulate everybody into getting you to return to them, they will plead and promise the sun, moon and stars if you will just give them one more chance and you can be sure that for now, the beautiful Dr. Jekyll returns. However, once you are back their grasp around you will become even tighter, and any further attempt to escape will become even more difficult.

    The person you once were seems to be a distant memory, just as Echo became a mere “whisper of herself” in the Myth of Narcissus, you too are becoming a mere shadow of your former self with each day that passes. Your personality begins to change; the interests and activities you once pursued are cast aside in order for you to focus on your narcissist’s needs and wants. You start to avoid company, because the price you have to pay each time is too high a price on your moral. Your narcissist makes sure that they will embarrass you in front of company if you appear to be enjoying yourself too much. In time you find yourself with nothing to say, you are becoming something you despise, a doormat. The worst thing is that you know that your narcissist also hates who you have become, and shows that in their total lack of respect for you. No matter how high you jump, the bar keeps being raised, and you surrender to the fact that you can never be good enough. Your sense of worth and esteem is so eroded that you begin to believe that nobody else would want you, so you die inside. You are now at the mercy of the evil Mr.(s) Hyde. Your only goal in life now is to fulfill your narcissist’s sense of entitlement, to live by their rules and laws, and keep your head down to avoid being punished at a whim. You have been exposed to the psychological been truly gaslighted. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. In effect, being in a relationship with a narcissist is the equivalent of being in a cult.

    If you finally managed to break free from your prison, then very well done to you, because many victims never manage to do so. The thing to look out for now is that you don’t allow yourself become re-victimized by another narcissist. You are conditioned in the narcissist’s convoluted dance, so they will be attracted to you like a “moth to a flame” as a source of new narcissistic supply. But you are a wiser person for your experience, as they say, “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. You really do need to learn what it is about you that make you vulnerable to being snared by a narcissist. Once you work that out you can protect yourself against being hooked again.

    When entering a new relationship, take your time to become an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies the behaviour of the person in their culture in order to understand them. The job is not to change anything, but just observe. When you meet people, just observe the person to find out what kind of personality they have, you don’t have to judge them or change them; just know what you are dealing with. Watch how the person treats others in the course of the time spent with you, because if they act uncaring with others, that is a very good indicator of how they are likely to treat you later on. The honeymoon period is going to be fabulous, that you can be sure of, but it is what follows that you need to worry about. Watch how they behave with neutral people, for example, in the restaurant, in the theater, how they talk to people who serve them in shops, etc., these can act as “red flags” of whom this person truly is. If the person is a narcissist they will be acting out of a False Self, and while they can keep up the pretense for a short time while they win you over, they will not be able to be consistent with the other people around them……. watch for the mask to slip. If they show superiority over others, speaking down to those people they perceive as inferior, then let me warn you, that once they have you in the palm of their hand, you can expect the same treatment. Listen to how others speak of your new friend, especially those who are in more intimate contact with them. What are they saying, do they see them as having integrity, or as being two-faced? Be cautious if they are showing signs of being a Jekyll and Hyde, and watch to see if the Hyde personality is becoming more prominent as time goes on. Watch to see if they encourage your independence, and self interests, or do they tend to dampen your ardor. Do they consider the opinions of others, do they show empathy, do they come across genuine in their exchanges with others. Watch out for any gaslighting behaviour toward others, how they behave toward “their betters”, so they suck up to them and model their ways, or do they discredit them. These are signs of their inferiority and envy. Do they show respect and care for others, or does everything always have to be about them? Lying is a big part of the narcissist’s behaviour, so my advice to you is to watch out for what they are telling you, then sit back and watch to see if what they said stands up to the test of time.

    It is important that you take your time to build any relationship on healthy foundations. Enjoy being treated royally, but watch for any inconsistency with interactions with others before declaring your love. If you recognize the red flags, then you need to heed them. Don’t let your heart rule your gut, let your intuition guide you. If you think this person is really too good to be true, then your spirit is giving you a warning, it may be wise to move on while you can.”

  • misstique

    March 31st, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    wow, this is a very good explanation on how they operate and how to recognuze them. Describes my ex to the last point. Thanks for sharing this, very helpful!

  • VLP

    July 15th, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    Great explanation!!!
    After 7 years of being with my boyfriend and long distance as part of the relationship I in the first year started seeing the signs. I in my gut felt the wrong that was happening, but could never put my finger on it as a whole. I started looking at a situation as a problem and tryed focused on fixing the problem, if is was being uncaring, not following through, or projecting. Finding out when I did that it was at my expense of regreat, because I was in reality exposing his real self and seeing under his mask. The fist year everything was perfect, then the little things I would justify as no relationship is perfect. The first was the unasked for on my part to be in competition with his mother. Know I put all the pieces together 7 years latter and see the dynamic my boyfriend and his mother both of the same cloth of narcissism. It’s the third time we have been engaged. Yes the third time. And I 100% know it’s crazy. I am a victim. His bigges tool is silent treatment. I can say it happens every time I exposed him or he is lacking supply with feeling insecure. I am not one to be walked all over, and every time I paid for it. The problem with me is I keep coming back for more. I learn each time he is lieing to me to the fact he keeps repeating the behaviors that are unhealthy. I know this behavior is wrong. I went through the same stages every time he disrespects me or whatever it my be, then I confront follow is a argument the the silent treatment. During the silent treatment, this is when I was loosing my self worth. Anxiety, overwhelmed hurt, begging him to answer my calls txt. Anything to just talk it over with me. NOTHING sometime weeks months and a 2 year break up. After so long you are willing to forget what that problem was they meant so much to you that you, that blame even though it was not you falt, or just never bring it up. All just to get ride of that pain of the silent treatment. My boyfriend would then come back around when he felt like it. I was at ease he was back that I not dare rock the boat risking that silent treatment happening again. Then the relationship would start up against though nothing happened. I was being primed and a victim to this abuseive behavior over and over and over. It has taken a long time for me to put the pieces together. Your discription is him to a T. I keep reading over the years about narcissistic personality, but I keep getting sucked back in. I don’t want to believe he really does not love me, although he is showing me with his actions of the silent treatment , projecting , lieing that he can’t. I first I though it was immaturity and after thine and time of this he would get that it’s is a huge problem. I am in silent treatment right now with him, and when he will not explain then I turn to the sights about narcissism and it’s a sure action of his. I go through stages of is this him or can I deal with this. Should this be my out. Can I still be with him and change how I deal with his unnormal acts to not trigger a silent treatment. But then I just can’t get over the fact that if he is a true narcissistic that the love is fake and he is incapable. This is the part where I struggle for long term. I gave been trying to get married now 3 1/2 years like I said 3 times we have been engaged. Crazy… He has wasted so much of my time I am to the point I feel he is my only option. I want a family and I am 36 in a half. Time is running out. During our breakups I dated. Each time he came back and I broke it off with the guys I dated in hope he would come through this time on he commitments to me. I dated one great guy for a year and never felt with effects of narcissism. But I am with my boyfriend the narcissistic and engaged again and once again being give the silent treatment. Anxiety dreams as I sleep preoccupied during the day. This is the frist time I wrote on a sight. I am at a loss. I know but I don’t trust I will walk away or can’t . I am conditioned and in my gut know I am setting my self up for failure.

  • Laura

    September 2nd, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    This is almost my exact story. It really sucks :/

  • Dori

    September 14th, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    Just because he CAN’T love doesn’t mean that you aren’t lovable or can’t find love. He is always going to give you the silent treatment when you don’t meet his expectations. Go silent on him now and MEAN it, no exceptions! He cannot get better or be cured. I just got away from one of these types and have been silent for one month. No way I would get back with him.

  • Steve

    November 21st, 2016 at 11:02 AM

    Hello Vlp, god i know what you are talking about.I just got on these sites recently and just found out about Narcs recently and it all came to reality this is what has been happening to me 7 years with this woman she just told me we were thru on friday,i kept seeing red flags for months about possibly cheating on me with different guys i believe and all the lies and saying she never said something or never did something ALL the time even though i had pictures of some of what she said she did not do.My hands are shaking as i write this it has been so crazy for along time,she had told me i was her soulmate,it was a once in a lifetime meeting and i was the love of her life, i felt the same way it was how we met to that was unreal i had been with my partner (girlfriend) for 15 years then she passed away.Shortly later i got out of the house to join a hiking group i met her on the very 1st hike and we had been together ever since,the only reason i ended up going was because it was halloween and i could not stand to answer the door or to listen to the kids because me and my girlfriend had brought up my children and other children since birth and we had left them back in ny we had just moved to a new state,so i went on the hike and i felt like a jolt hit me when i met her and called my daughter when i got home and told her of this incredable meeting.So it seemed like it was a once in a lifetime meeting.We built she had built a new house she has money i do not,and we both moved in we were always together 24 /7 we got along great had 2 lazyboy rockers next to each other we got traveled the country and the world then after 5 years i had to move because of changes in alimony laws,you cant live with the person getting alimony.Ever since3 then it has gone into this crazy world of pain and suffering.I could only see her on the weekends and when we traveled together,which was still alot i guess.Long story short there has been red flags popping up that she could be cheating on me so i would check the house when i came on the weekend for signs of someone in our bed so recently see caught me checking my pillows that no one should be touching and she had the look on her face like the Devil, and caught me i believe she had cameras installed in the rooms to watch me from one of her maybe cheaters that has been there.She was super scary finally she said she wanted me to leave and took my garage door opener and wanted any keys i had and said we are all over.It looked like she could had killed me like she was a hole nother person.Wow…So much for the holidays it was just my birthday i thought maybe she might want to do it on my birthday for maximum pain and suffering but 2 days later and just before the holidays is good enough for her i suppose.Lots of stuff in between things happenning but i have seen her turn into another person on several instances very strange and scary

  • Badlands Babe

    May 18th, 2019 at 10:04 AM

    I can’t even express in words just how vital & how important & imperative it is that you use every ounce single of strength you have & leave this person. You will require therapy for a long time because of all the damage that he’s done & that’s OKAY. Please take a moment & really think about just how horrific it would really be to pro create with this sick person & bring innocent children into this dysfunction & abuse. The same cycle you’ve been living is what your children would be put thru. It doesn’t change just because their his children. Don’t kid yourself. Don’t be that NAIVE he will treat his children the same way. They deserve a loving, caring father. That’s not this self absorbed, self involved, self centered, SELFISH, ABUSIVE man. He NOT only isn’t marriage material, he isn’t father material. Save YOURSELF NOW before anymore time passes. RUN don’t walk & DON’T ever look BACK. God places two kinds of people in our lives… Those who are blessings & those who are lessons.
    This person is definately the latter.
    I believe the lesson has been learned & class is adjourned. YOU certainly WON’T ever forget what YOU’VE been taught or the PAIN he’s caused. Get out NOW & HEAL. YOU deserve far BETTER & so do your future CHILDREN. I’ve wasted 24 years of my life with 2 narcissists I know what I’m talking about. YOU can do THIS. I’m sure you’ve been isolated & have probably given up your family & friends but if there one person who you can reach out to that understands then do it. Any kind of positive support is what you need. If there is nobody, you still have yourself. We come into this world alone & in the end we leave this world alone. You are stronger then you know. Love YOURSELF because YOUR WORTH IT.

  • Jacqueline

    May 18th, 2020 at 8:57 AM

    The longer you stay, the harder it is to walk away. If there is a slight chance, get out and no contact. It’s gonna be the exact opposite of what you want to do at first, because i myself am in the same boat. My guy basically discarded me this last time. We have been in so many fights and took breaks and he would eventually call or text me back. I avoided him and his texts for 8 weeks, but during that time, I didnt cope well with it so it was just easier to go back when he reached out again. Mind you, he had a whole girlfriend the whole time I was with him. I knew it in the beginning and I felt wrong for that. I met him in a really vulnerable place, I had no self worth. I just wanted him to like me. He would say things like “it isnt gonna work out with my gf. I love you. I want us to get married. I want you to be the mother of my kids. I want you to come back to my country with me”
    And then fights would come up. After I ghosted him and we made contact, he would say “why did you leave me. I missed you so much” and I would say “well you have your gf. I dont want to be in the picture if yall are still together. It just hurts my heart too much.” And he would say like “we don’t talk anymore. It isnt gonna work out” and i would kinda believe it. He even took down the pictures of her and him on the wall.
    But getting back into contact, I still didn’t fully trust him. He would tell me he needs me all the time, that he loves me and misses me, but the little things didn’t really happen, like going out in public and doing things. In that year, we might have went out 4 times, 3 of which I invited him and he hesitated to go. Him and his gf do everything together (except sex, if that’s even the truth) he basically only really seemed nice to me when he wanted sex and beer, all the time. The sex wasn’t always loving, sometimes it was pretty rape-ish and when I said stop he wouldn’t listen or hear my cry. I felt really stupid for letting him do this to me.
    He kept telling me him and her dont talk and I’m his woman, but eventually I caught him in the lie. They all went bowling together and HER name was on the board and another friend confirmed they are still together and they hang out all the time, she has a ring and he isnt breaking up with her anytime soon. I don’t understand why lie. His friend snitched on me and told him and now he is mad and wants nothing to do with me. His birthday is Wednesday and I still had a gift for him. Unsure if I should just leave it at the door or if that will make me look needy. I walked away from HIM so many times but never truly healed. Now he is the one discarding me and its like, maybe He had to do it and hurt my pride in order for me to finally heal. He did me a favor. But there could always be a chance of him contacting me again. He probably will and it will probably test me. Honestly though, his lies to get me to come over and sleep with him were beyond me. He even ASKED me to move in! Multiple times. Like, why. Just tell the truth and stop playing games. He was abusive too. Eventaully left marks on my neck. Everything was “always” my fault though. He never took responsibility for how he hurt me and he would always brag of how good of a person he is since he is helping his family in his country. It was getting old. I should have never gave in to contact with him, but now is my chance to heal.

  • MyExWasCray

    July 22nd, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    I just seperated from a narcissistic wife. She did all of those behaviors. The gaslighting was the most annoying because I’m actually more intelligent than she is by far. So I seriously just thought SHE was crazy, lol. Now that I left, she has lost her mind! She started emailing my family threatening them with police charges. She tried to press charges on me that are about to backfire. She brought her whole group of crazies (including her kids…) to the house to try to demand that I move out. (Which I already told her that I would, lol. She had left already. She just made up a story about how I threw them out at 2am. I was working until 6am… lol!) She seriously is insane! She tried to keep it under wraps, but the last 6 months I have been reading up on her behaviors. It had been slowly creating more and more anxiety for her. She was trying to people please, but she would do things that SHE wanted done. I would tell her that I’d appreciate being asked what I thought, and the look on her face was priceless. It was a mix of shock and amazement. It was as if she seriously did not think that others were capable of having thoughts and feelings at all! She would studder when I’d ask her that, and then she’d just say whatever it was that she wanted anyway. That was my first clue as to her crazy, and it was only the tip of the iceberg. As soon as I noticed her selfish behaviors, she started acting even more hostile and even tried to collect blackmail material to prevent me from leaving. I told her to bring it on because I’m tired of supporting a woman who is scared of personal growth! It’s like these grown babies actually enjoy being this way! I should have noticed years back, but she was a very good liar and manipulator. I always wondered why she’d get so offended by me saying that I thought she was selfish or angry. She had daddy issues from hell, but I recently found out that her issues weren’t childhood abuse. They were just childhood spoiling! Her older brother told me that one. What really set it off was when I told her I was going to be honest with the world about how she treated her kids. Ever since then, she’s been in overdrive to protect her reputation and shame me. The only issue for her is that I don’t care what others think of me, lol! Also, people like me because I’m so nice. ;) She can’t say the same. Her few friends and family (that arent on my side because she was a bitch to them!) are all enablers. I doubt she will ever change tbh. I offered to remain friends, but that will only happen with extreme boundaries now. She was such a lunatic when the mask came off. I could tell that me trying to ‘figure her out’ was causing a huge amount of stress to her. Tbh, I still love her black little heart. I know I sound vindictive, but really, I feel sorry for her. It really must be tough to have to keep up such a crazy mask all the time, and the fear of abandonment is definitely there. I just can never be trapped back into a NPD’s manipulative web again. She was always nice for a reason, and once I saw that, there was no unseeing that…

  • John Doe

    August 25th, 2017 at 10:02 AM

    @ MyExWasCray You are clearly testing the waters with this comments section. Get help before you hurt anyone else; you clearly enjoyed hurting your ex.

  • Ebz

    March 15th, 2019 at 8:37 AM

    Thank you, now i can also recognize a Narcissist through his writing..

    My kind regards..

  • Gary

    April 5th, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    Simply put, in the beginning they are everything you want them to be. Then, you become everything they want “you” to be and in the end find an excuse in their brains to coldly cut you free. Little or no warning and then you are left without any closure. They want you to beg for the closure and it validates in their minds that what they did was justified. Not necessarily right by normal minds, but validated to them.

    Sex was used as the drug that overpowered me and in the end that was cut off.
    I was freed by a simple text telling me it was over. The very next day she was on the website that I met her trolling for another sucker.

    I was with her 1.5 years and was left without explanation until someone who knew her texted me and told me this is her pattern and that she was a sociopath and had done this more than once. In my case, a seductive, sex obsessed Narcissistic Sociopath.

  • diana

    July 15th, 2017 at 11:25 PM

    thanks for that. all happened to me. i will observe and watch out in the future. i had no idea how my relationship went from great to no compromise and isolation. lies and selfishness . manipulating. refused to cook or shop or go to doctor when i was sick for over 2 years. i am still a mess and wonder if i can sue him for the distress. who in the world promised a life together then refused to care for their partner when sick? i wonder if he tried to poison me…that is how messed up my mind is. i can’t stop thinking of all the things that are so blatant now that i know what was happening. he claims depression is why he would be silent and not go out with me or do anything to help me. he ignored every letter, every email, would not answer a yes or no question . never asked if i was hungry or needed clothes or shampoo or anything. omg i am a mess. he took all my money then put me in debit. i was so sick i couldn’t think or cook or clean and said i wanted to hire a girl to clean a little and he didn’t want that..said he would do it and never did. i am so bitter and tired and want revenge..but i am so kind i can’t do that. how do i get back at him? who do i talk to in between my therapy sessions? i am so alone in this. people do not understand when i say he is a narc. that he twisted everything and the fake future infuriates me. i lost 8 years of my life. we were to sell the house and move. then he would not let me call the agent. then we did and it didn’t sell and he refused to lower the price. thence dragged on buying me out. he moved to the rental we have next door and i moved all my things to storage. i am supposed to leave and am so weak physically and mentally that i do not even know where to go. i am hIv + and he didn’t care about how sick i was. never go to doctor or buy groceries. how do i stop the record that keeps playing in my head?

  • Badlands Babe

    May 18th, 2019 at 10:31 AM

    Cut your losses. Get a good therapist & get on with your life. That may sound harsh but it’s reality. If you don’t want to do that then lay down & for because those are your choices. This person will NEVER change & doesn’t have one ounce of sympathy so it’s up to YOU. Cut all ties & all business dealings. Have someone else handle any & all communications regarding those things. Wrap any ties up you have together & severe them ALL. By putting energy & thought into him you’re allowing him to have power over you. STOP.

  • survivor34

    March 22nd, 2018 at 3:33 PM

    This is the best description I have ever read. Very thoughtful and well written. I am breaking away from my narcissist, and I have contacted the police after he dropped off a note at my work on how he wants to help me out. I am wondering, should I be in fear for my life that I got the cops to call him to stop contacting me? He has never been physically violent with me, but he has thrown things at me, shaken me. I just want him to forget about me. I need to move on with my life and I don’t want to lie awake at night wondering if he is plotting my demise. Once they know you’ve finally figured them out, do they also lose interest?

  • Jacqueline

    May 18th, 2020 at 9:09 AM

    Yes, in a way I think they do lose interest because you’re on to them. My guy was the same way. When i had a gut feeling he was lying to me, and I would ask him about it, he would be like “i have already told you, why do you bring it up again? You dont listen to me, that’s your problem. You just make up stories” and now he discarded me because I caught him in his lie. He may reach out again. But I hope I’ll have the strength to block him, change my number and just move on.

  • Madhu

    September 25th, 2023 at 10:10 PM

    This is a very good explanation. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen

    March 27th, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    I have been married for 26 years, after being together for 5 before that. We have 2 beautiful daughters in college. Our life really seemed to be good until about a year or so ago. Looking back, of course, I did everything for him and my children. I wanted this as well, and really did enjoy taking care of them. After the girls left, things began to change and then escaladed. He had an affair with a very close family friend (20 yrs), brought her into our family business and purchase rental property with her. Of course, I had inclinations that something was going on but was always told that my thoughts were ridiculous…Until I caught it. We discussed the situation and he was to end that side of the relationship, but I did not try to force anything with the business and the rentals. This was a year ago. Since then, I have caught and tried to forgive 2 more indiscretions with the same person, left the business and went back to my career and began seeing a counselor. Believe me, I understand that this relationship has been unhealthy for me and I question myself on why I have stayed and tried to forgive. He has never been abusive, verbally or physically, but looking back I would definitely say that he was not engaged in our relationship. Now, when I ask for empathy, companionship, understanding, counseling etc. I get the deer in the headlights look and no apologies. Each of our disagreements are thought to be my not being able to relax and leave him alone. Now, there has been physical abuse in an attempt to get me to stop. Now, there is no feeling of companionship, love, friendship, honesty or faith. As I speak, I am trying to find a suitable place to live that I can afford and step out…but I am having a very hard time walking away…How can that be after so much trauma that is not going to be healed?

  • MyExWasCray

    July 22nd, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    You have to be strong. Learn what you’re getting from the NPD that you aren’t giving yourself, and also build up a support group that you can talk to openly. Therapy also helps. I’m a week into a split, and I still feel sad. That’s normal for nonpsychos.

  • Steve

    November 21st, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    Im jut on 3rd day,it still is blowing my mind like something out of a movie.Very very crazy and scary and hurtful to thing that 7 years maybe all just a lie.

  • Dawn

    November 24th, 2016 at 8:30 PM

    I just went through this with a man I met online. He came on very strongly and pursued a relationship with me very quickly. He seemed VERY into me and very intense about his feelings. Initially I questioned his intentions because I saw some red flags. Each time, he deflected back on me. He’s the victim and it was my fault and problem. The relationship continued on though. The “idealization” phase is very intense and I felt like it was real. I did fall in love with him, in spite of those red flags. One thing that concerned me the most was how he talked about his exes…in every case, he was talked very negatively about them and he was the victim. Finally our relationship ended because I found out that he was still visiting the dating website where we met…even though we were “exclusive” and he was telling me he loved me and planning a future for us. When I questioned him, of course, he deflected it back on me. He called me juvenile, said I wasn’t ready for a relationship, and he absolutely did NOT care that my feelings were hurt and that I felt disrespected. It was all about him. After that he shut me out for days and wouldn’t speak to me or respond to my messages. I tried to reach out and when he did respond, he was very angry and hostile. After a week of this BS, I finally sent him one final message blasting him for the way he treated me and then I changed my cell number so he couldn’t contact me. I guess I burned that bridge so I wouldn’t ever cross it again. I will admit that I later regretted doing that because it prevented me from ever getting closure. But a man like this isn’t capable of any decency so I did what I had to do. It’s been 3 months and it still hurts because I was completely in love with him and saw a future with this man. I am still heartbroken and trying to understand what happened and how I got here. Reading this article has really helped! But I will never understand how someone can say they love you, make a commitment, and begin planning a future with you and suddenly flip a switch and skip on about life like nothing ever happened. It is very cruel!

  • Mary

    November 24th, 2016 at 9:39 PM

    Your last sentence fits my situation to a T!!…. I hurt everyday since ….

  • Jordan

    July 15th, 2018 at 1:59 PM

    Totally feel for you. Same thing happened to me. Email me if you want to compare notes.

  • Gwen

    September 25th, 2023 at 10:17 PM

    You did the right thing. Closure will not happen from their side. If it is a dumping, it will be allegations that break you, and then discard. If you leave, then they will show a different face. Believe what you see. It is true. The person is horrible. If you stay, you will see more of the darkness. Closure will happen when you realize what a big piece of s**t you have been with. You just don’t know it as yet, fully.

  • Dawn

    November 27th, 2016 at 3:50 PM

    After reading story after story of the victims of narcissism. I have to say I feel lucky to have gotten out so quickly. My situation was similar to all the other stories, but I did try to establish boundaries and question him and that’s when he did the silent treatment. During this silent treatment time, I reached out to him many times, pleading and telling him how much I cared and loved him, only to be ignored or his return messages were very hostile. After a week of this, I sent him one final text and blasted him for his treatment and overall BS. then I changed my cell number so he couldn’t contact me again. I guess I saved myself from a lot of heartache down the road. I’m just so sorry to hear all these other stories of heartbreak because the narcissist doesn’t care how we feel, they just move on to their next victim. Of course, they gladly blame us for all the went wrong…

  • Mary

    November 28th, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    Lucky u were strong enough to get out when u did. I didn’t. And Beleive I am ruined forever because if it…my life is forever changed. I loved him, and still do, even tho he has shut me out.

  • Blaise

    March 28th, 2015 at 4:55 AM

    I am not sure that I will ever fully understand the appeal that it holds to someone to use someone else like this

  • Gwen

    September 25th, 2023 at 10:21 PM

    Mary, I understand. But they never loved u. They fancied u, and then threw u away. Yes, ur love is true, unfortunately. But fortunately too, because that’s what makes you a human being. When you find the right person, and be very careful of the next person, too, you will find a good human being.

  • Nicole

    March 28th, 2015 at 5:18 AM

    Excellent article that succinctly says so much, and the comments by Jen and Michelle are just as read-worthy.

    Jen, I am so sorry you are dealing with this betrayal. I think you can find some solace and guidance on my site: Holistic Divorce Counseling. (It’s 100% free with nothing for sale and no ads.)

    While a narcissist’s behavior is not about you, but reflects their own issues, it definitely affects you.

    Some really good advice I read years ago said: When people show you who they are believe them.

  • Jen

    March 28th, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    Thank you Nicole. I will go to your website. I appreciate your passing it onto me. Any help or insight that I can get will be very helpful. Jen

  • Miche

    March 28th, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    it’s infuriating but in the end the only thing is to get yourself out of it. They will never see their own faults. They cannot.
    You will never get them looking at their behaviour and understanding it because they are just so self serving and self obsessed. they will, at most, just feel sorry for themselves like ‘poor me, I’ve been dumped’
    At best I had to think he is not capable of a relationship. Can’t consider another person, can’t see you as a separate person apart from
    What you provide for them. Its just an impossible situation. Once you realise the unbelievable level of selfishness then you know your energy is wasted on trying to get them to understand or talk about what is wrong with the relationship. They are already indignant that you are boring them with trying to get them to focus on you or on a problem that they just can’t see.
    So don’t expect any understanding or any need for clarity, they want to get past this as quickly as possible as it is painful for them and unthinkable that they could be at fault.
    It’s insufferable to them that they might have to consider it for more than a few moments. They want to just go forward, next victim ..or next project. All you can do is get yourself out and know that it’s not normal.

  • Jen

    March 29th, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    Hi Miche,

    You really have pointed the exact personality traits that I have been seeing in my husband. I have tried to understand, to get him to explain or even provide some type of insight. There is none given…He says he doesn’t even understand why he has done what he has. There are is no more apologizing, no more empathy and no more understanding. It really is a selfish personality and extremely hurtful. I am working hard to get myself out and separate the part of who he has become from how is makes me feel. I see an empty shell when I look at him now. So sad when we have spent so many good years together. In the long run, by staying I am only hurting myself and providing him with whatever it is that allows him to stay. Thank you for saying all of the things that I am seeing.

  • Nan

    October 14th, 2015 at 3:40 AM

    You are so right … I think we need to be aware though that leaving a relationship with a narc is a process, it comes after recognition that its a bad relationship and no good can come of it …. Getting ourselves mentaly strong enough to deal with the grief …. Because that is what it is!…. And learn to live with it and grow from it!!..Head over heart!!!!….
    It took me a long time, i dont think i will ever get over it completely…. But im wiser for the experience!!! X

  • kirk

    March 29th, 2015 at 5:24 AM

    If/when I finally see that I hold no value to this person, then I am gonna run like h###. I have no room for that in my life.

  • Jen

    March 29th, 2015 at 1:03 PM

    Hey Kirk,

    It is good that you feel that you would be able to run!!! I never thought that this would be my life, as it was not always this way…And I would have said the same thing, but now that time is here it is extremely difficult to cut that tie. I do value myself, my ethics, my values and who I am. I would never tell my children to live through this as I have. I wish I would have run in the beginning of the “decline”, as there would certainly be much less hurt now. I admire your strength and hope you are never in a position to run. I am getting closer to running and part of that is the strength I gain from the strength of others. Thank you for that!

  • Gwen

    September 25th, 2023 at 10:25 PM

    Usually narcs abuse their children too, sometimes sexual abuse in a covert form is involved. It is better to leave before that kind of damage happens.

  • Marie

    March 29th, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    I lived with a person with this disorder and I had no idea until the end how dangerous these people can be emotionally. Neglectful parent to the point she put her target’s (me) needs before theirs and they were little. Red flags started early..lies and compartmentalized stories about our relatiinahip. One for family, one for friends, one for the ex’s, one for work. When confronted she was a crying Damsel is distress and played on my empathy. It progressed to compulsive disorders gambling, eating,spending and finally an affair. This person I idolized became or had always been a monster. The divorce was brutal but I have never been more grateful or less stressed than after she was gone.

  • grace

    March 30th, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    my husband would wake up every morning and swear at the cat and then he would proceed to not wanting to communicate would be on his computer or what asked if he was busy with his checkbook I later found out that he connected with an old sweetheart from high school from 40 some years ago and file for divorce and cancel my car insurance and totally cut off communicationand I lived with hostile silence my househis opinion was all that counted I never could have my opinion or he would make himself out to be the victim in the situation there was constant criticism repeated disapproval and never apologize for anything and he did not want any intimacy sexual or holding hands

  • Teela

    March 31st, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    How is it that we always find a way to idealize and love them so much and all they care to do is devalue and then discard us? What kind of person does that so someone else?

  • Nikki

    April 14th, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    I am so happy to have found this. I have answers finally. It has been so painful. I have been so confused, lost myself, lost in secrets, false promises, false love. This man will never love me, never did. It’s all a game, a bag of tricks, and I am so exhausted. Almost 3 years of silent treatment tactics, withholding affection, refusing to talk about anything, my feelings are invalid, never considered. He promised me the world in the beginning. Expensive Gifts, flowers, said I love you, wanted kids, a future with me, we were soul mates. Now it’s nothing like that. The crazy thing is he totally denies ever promising me these things, making me feel so crazy. I am now just “supply” to feed him. I am so sick right now after reading this. I just had my “lightbulb” moment. A lot to take in all at once, but I can pray that God will stay with me as I try and make sense of all of this. For three years it’s been this cycle, this exact cycle. Maybe I can start to breathe again now. So heartbreaking. I have given my whole heart and soul to this man, it feels like a huge loss of something that never truly existed. I am a sweet, loving person and I didn’t know people like this exist. Now, I know. Heartbreaking and so so sad :(

  • Patrice

    April 15th, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    From my heart to yours, I completely understand What you’ve experience because I’ve recently gone through the exact same thing. Now my ex, has a girlfriend after only two weeks of me breaking up with him. I was told by mutual friends on how she’s already in love and plans on marrying him. I aactually warned her and of course his charming personality has her wrap up in his web of deceit. I’m saying all this because we’re blessed because they’re evil people who don’t have a heart and no self-love; so no matter who they target next to won’t last. I’ll encourage you to stay strong, because you definitely dodged a bullet with that good heartless joker.

  • Nikki

    April 15th, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    Thank you so much for your sweet words :) I am so sorry that you were targeted by one of these jerks. I am so encouraged and grateful to have found that strong women can and will survive this. Even though I still feel a bit in shock, I am so relieved that I found out what he truly is, and now it all makes so much sense.
    Prayers and hugs to you Sweetie! XOXO :) :)

  • Toni

    April 23rd, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Nikki, I’ve finally quit a relationship, after 5.5 yrs of giving my full heart & sole to a man who is definately narcisstic . My heart is broken, just like all of his empty promises. This man has shown a vulnerable side to me three times. He’s told me he loves me, yet his words have been as empty as his lack of actions. He’s lied to me so many times, then retold different versions to me, not recalling that he’d told me something else. When i would call him on it, he would turn it around on me, causing me to think that I was the one at fault. Very manipulative, even in the most subtle ways.

    Everything has always been my fault, never his doing, never being accountable. His moods and personality would change out of nowhere. There was NEVER any follow-through by him. And i was always doing things for him yet would receive nothing in return.
    Most times i felt devalued or dismissed, never valued!

    In the beginning i thought i was going crazy. Something would happen, words would be shared, and later he would completely deny it all. I’ve given & given & given until i couldn’t do it anymore, and became homeless!

    I WAS a care taker..taking care of other’s needs, and never my own. This man made promises about the future, causing me to feel so happy, and then the other shoe would drop each time. I’ve always been very empathetc and compassionate . He’s unable to be! When we met I felt good about who i was, yet over time i began to really doubt myself, my accomplishments, etc., as a result of subtle insults, and put downs.

    Finally, i became very depressed and suicidal. I entered a day treatment program for nine months, followed by two yrs of DBT to become healthier. That was just over 3.5 yrs ago. I learned new skills and once again began to feel better about myself. That was also when i realized that my cold & distant mother is also narcissistic!

    I realized that his behaviors reminded me almost exactly of my mother’s behaviors! I have had to practise ending the relationship with him to actually follow through because he has used manipulation to cause me to change my mind in the past. He’ll never change, and i am soo tired of the constant ups and downs!

    It’s been a long process. I have gotten so much healthier and much less tolerant of his treatment of me. Finally, although I’m a very loyal person, i simply cannot do this any longer! It feels good to finally take care of myself. I’m 50 Yrs old and have never lived alone before, and at first it felt wierd to put my needs first. And now i love takung care of me and not anyone else!

  • chrstine

    April 30th, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Nikki….I am so sorry to hear this. But I completely understand. I just got out of this exact relationship. They empty us completely of who we are. We can never quite put a finger on the abuse but we know it’s there. How can this person just throw us away. I’ve been mourning the loss of everything, him, our future, our time together. But it was all just to fill his narcissistic ego. I’m heart broken to think that there is a loving human being under neath it all. But there isn’t. Not the one we’d like to think there is. Get into counseling, read everything you can to help you understand. When you understand more and read more, it will help you to detach, and start to move in. By the grace of God, I got out and am well on my way to being me again. We deserve so much more and to be loved by a wonderful man. But working on you will be key. Learn about boundaries, learn to put yourself first, get involved with what you love. This is an absolute must. I know exactly how you feel sweetie and my prayers will include you. Be strong. You got this! <3

  • Kami

    December 14th, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    I hope you followed thru with what you discovered and left him.

  • silvis

    April 30th, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    And what to do when children are involved.
    We are not together, going thru custody and we have 2 daughters 5 and 8.
    I feel like I need to take them away from him. But he is the father.

  • Jen

    April 30th, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    I think it would be very difficult where the kids are involved. Our daughters are now 21 and 24. They both love their father and I have not said anything in the way of painting a negative light. I do believe that they feel that their father is not a publicly affectionate person and that he has a temper. I don’t think they have yet to understand or even know what his narcissist tendencies are. We always made fun of his selfishness in a way that eluded to his being the “baby”. Looking bad now, I would do things a bit differently where they and I are concerned. I would always cover for him and say that he just didn’t understand because he wasn’t emotional like we were. He was gone a lot with work, which I also said was for the good of us…Ugh, I would not do that. Now, they are in a different state and they really do not know what is really happening. Since my last post, I have moved out to a new townhome (renting). It has been about 1.5. weeks. We are in the same town. I work from home, he in his office not too far from me. We are still trying to work on finances, including putting 2 girls through college and sharing our dogs. He has literally cut me out of everything in his life. I no longer work in his office, no longer in the house we raised our children in, no longer take care of the finances (both business and personal). The hardest part of the whole thing is that I lived with him for 26 years, devoted my entire life to him and our children, including giving up my career 2 yrs ago and now feel like I have nothing of that life left. With that said, I know that leaving is the healthiest choice for me. I fought it pretty hard but was tired of fighting and crying. We were going to hate each other. Some days are good, some bad. Today not so good. How is it when we know what is best as well as the cheating, lying (still happening) and selfishness, that I feel like I miss him? What is that? Why can’t I just be angry and not want him around me? The hurt is overwhelming sometimes and I just want it to go away.

  • Nancy

    January 7th, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    Jen, where are you now? I just divorced mine after 37 years, my adult kids sound like yours. My son was the chosen child you read about when you read about narcissists and he thinks his dad walks on water, although now all the kids are jokingly talking about when Dad “discovers other people are in the world”. They are a bit bewildered because he went to his high school reunion and sought out his first fiance, within two weeks of connecting with her was telling my girls that it was serious, announced their engagement three weeks after the divorce was final in early November, and is getting married to her in March. She thinks she is getting the version from 40 years ago but boy is she wrong. Apparently my ex is acting like a love sick schoolboy and my kids are giving him grace because they feel this is a stage that will pass, but they have all felt “shafted” in my daughter’s words. I had not been providing enough narcissistic feed for my husband for many years because, darn it, I was expecting things like bills being paid and some emotional connection and all the things that they can’t provide. So my kids, who only saw the fluffy projection of himself that he gave around them, are just now realizing what it feels like to be discarded when he has a better source of feed. But they expect this stage to pass, and it will, when he discards his 2nd wife and comes crawling back to them, but who knows how long it will be and if it will occur in such a way that they realize the dynamic. Part of me wants them to realize what is happening and understand my feelings, and part of me desperately hopes that they don’t get hurt like that. I loved the man I married, although clearly the seeds were sown at that point, and I am NOT what I would consider to be a codependent, but I stuck it out because I refused to believe that he would throw everything away and I could not imagine how he could discard our early life so easily. I’m not a quitter and I just kept thinking he would wake up and smell the coffee but it just got worse. One of the many ironies is that his dad is a raging narcissist, no surprise there, and my husband has despised him for years and yet he has totally become his dad. Go figure.

  • Andrea Schneider

    May 3rd, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    At Jen, what you speak to is the trauma bond inherent in a love relationship with a narcissist…there are some great articles recently posted about this trauma bond, and I will also be writing about it as well…Healing wishes to you, Andrea

  • Jen

    May 8th, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    Thank you for bringing the trauma bond term to me. I have done a lot of reading on it since your response. I hadn’t heard of it before and it certainly explains what I am experiencing. I look forward to more articles written by you, on this and other topics. You have been more helpful that anything I have researched. I was seeing a therapist and due to no fault of hers, I have stopped going. I just was not feeling like I was getting any further along in trying to deal with the situation. I feel for anyone that has to deal with this type of personality and the trauma of what is left for us to deal with. It has been nearly a month now since I moved out. We still have a lot of contact, but mainly due to his financial questions or sharing our dogs. When I see him, he is either in a hurry due to work or ambivilent due to being too tired. What scares me at this point is that I tend to “forget” the hurt that he has caused and the lies that continue and begin to question whether or not it is bad as I know it is. Then the cycle of sadness and hurt starts again. I realize after reading that this is typical of dealing with this personality but that doesn’t make it any easier to move on. Thank you again, and to those that are posting here as well, as all have been extremely enlightening.

  • Sandy

    June 2nd, 2015 at 12:30 AM

    My malignant narcissist taught me well in our 8 years together. I will never forget what I’ve learned. I may fall for another and be swept off my feet, and why not? That’s the good part! But seared in my soul are the memories of a dead, empty stare. A woman never forgets witnessing cold, haughty contempt from one who’d kissed away all her tears. Next time I’ll be vigilant. I’ll be watching. I’ll be the one monitoring him. Next time I’ll listen to my instincts. For those who are wondering, this is what happens-you go from secure togetherness, idyllic contentment and serenity to complete bewilderment, abandonment and confusion, all alone trying to comprehend WHY???
    Next time, I won’t be looking for answers. I’m jus wavin’ good bye…

  • Lucy

    October 13th, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Wow, this hit home for me. Thanks!

    “Next time I’ll listen to my instincts. For those who are wondering, this is what happens-you go from secure togetherness, idyllic contentment and serenity to complete bewilderment, abandonment and confusion, all alone trying to comprehend WHY???”

  • Carrie S.

    June 9th, 2015 at 3:43 AM

    It’s so real and still hurts. I left my narcissistic finance a little over a year ago. I always felt like it was not right…from the beginning. He was an artist and drew my picture multiple times a day. Poetry that was meant for fairy tales. Finally I agreed to date him, as I feared being his muse. 8 months we dated long distance. Communicated all the time..dreamed and fantasized of our future. The day I moved into his home he threw a microwave down the stairs. I was in shock and felt I had made a mistake…instantly, I was on his turf; instantly the life I was promised was dead. I stayed for 6 years…I always challenged him despite the punishment. I cried and lived in confusion, when I asked what I did he put up walls and just left me. When he’d put me down and make me cry he’d disregard me as emotional and stop communicating. Everything good in me he attacked. Days..sometimes weeks in silence, until I apologized for…. nothing / something /everything I didn’t do. Years. The more i needed- the less hed give. I thought the good in me could help him. And we did have a great life…I made so many excuses. My children were stable, he was good to them. We had multiple businesses, and seemed the ideal couple around others. The moment we were alone he would go from hot to cold. Head games. I never pretended, and always called him out. (I think that’s why he kept me around- to date, I am the only person to ever speak up for what’s right. He hurt me but didn’t break my ethics while his ethics seemed respectable…loyalty and sobriety, integrity and work ethic… he seemed at least dependable and worthy in that regard. That was a lie too. I ended up catching him doing lewd things to clients photos online. I stood up to him on behalf of professionalism. We argued and by this time it didn’t hurt as before. (I had also gone to all anon meetings at his enabeling mothers request..which was a life line!) I awoke the next morning with his hands around my throat. Never had he become violent. He had spit on me and name called, but to awake so vulnerable… I begged him to stop. I said he was scaring me and he said “good”. He left me for a week maintaining it was my fault. He said “anything he’d done was a direct result of my actions”.

    The next 4 months were a nightmare. Leaving a narcissist is worse than living with one. He couldn’t make up his mind. To make up or not. We tried and then he kicked me out…said in was not allowed in our home because in was a slobby ni***r. So the kids and I went to my cousins (one of the few members of any support system I had left). Eventually I said no more. He couldnt take that. Blaming, making up, threats to call the cops on me for stealing our vehicle (in his name)if I didn’t come see him. Deadlines. Sometimes I bought it… the second I made up with him he’d attack me again. Crazy crazy stuff. 4 months of absolute insanity. Hardly anyone believed me, thought it was just break up drama. He sabotaged my business, shut off my shops electric, backed the website, turned me into the state board on false allegations to get me to Lose my license. All the while STILL trying to make up and dating another girl I was unaware of…he promised her a future and drew her portrait. I was in shock…I’m still in shock at times. The kicker is he refused to give my kids and I our belongings. We started all over again with nothing, and I left my business because he had caused so much financial damage I couldn’t keep up. Months later he reopened my business… with a photo that says “hostile take over”. He sends me photos of him in my shoes…with my property. Cops can do nothing and I can’t afford a lawyer. A year later he is still harassing me. He has spies…and does legal things. I got hotlined on my birthday for a methlab!! He does things so underhanded that i sound crazy, or petty. I have become so paranoid that I think everyone’s out to get me. He’s lied to everyone saying I cheated and couldn’t stand the guilt…
    A year+ later and he’s still haunting me. Still in my head, and he always will be because its such a warping process. How did it happen? Why did I let it happen? And because he stole all our stuff. My kids still cry at least once a month. My 10 yo son needed therapy (we all prob do). And it is the materials… I hate when some people try to make it out like its OK cause its just materials. It was our whole lives…all we had left after him. Traces of our true selves. We all were so lost. He took it from us to hinder our self discovery, and to always be remembered when we got nostalgic for our personal treasures. I never knew… one day I came across an article on NPD and I cried. Total break down, and a little relief. He possesses almost every trait.

    A year+ later I have reestablished my business. He had been dormant since December and has now resurfaced by sending proxies to intimidate me and slander my reputation. I am searching online for ways to handle this, and what I can expect… I am scared for our lives. Mostly from the legal and harassing standpoint but yes, physically too. So few believe the intensity of his goal of revenge…they dismiss me as paranoid or a broken hearted ex.. I get accusedbof giving him too much space in my head…I just want to scream. Because no one really knows what happened. I dontbeven know what happened…and I lived through it.

    Thanks for listening. I need help.

  • Denise

    July 9th, 2015 at 5:53 PM

    Wow, I understand they do get in your head. I have talked to my daughter, cousin and one of my closest friends. I know they get tire of hearing it but this is the affect they have on you.
    I am looking for a support group. I cannot believe that there are people out here who live just to humiliate you and get a rush from it. Real sick! I will pray you for. The Lord keeps me in peace. I love him!

  • Jane

    August 23rd, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    There’s a great online support group at — the site of author Patrica Evans. Good luck!

  • Lucy

    October 13th, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    A great group is Narcissist Freei on Facebook. Private group. There are more as well.

  • Rachel B

    November 20th, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Please know it will get better!!! My Nar left me after 23 years and said its my fault!! All the truth came out at once and I almost died. Trust God and pray for protection

  • Karmann

    June 20th, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    I accidentally discovered this man was a Sociopath!!

    I had a 5 year online friendship with a MN that turned into a casual dating relationship of 1 1/2 years. My only rule for him was that he stay away from my workplace (I am a massage therapist) and not hit on my friends because they could be coworkers or clients. After turning him down for a date, he waited until I was on vacation to go into my workplace and hit on my boss (who he had pursued online first). I had told my boss that he was not allowed at my workplace and told her why. He had a fetish and no interest in massage at all. He convinced her to fire me when I spoke up. My boss accused me of mixing personal and work issues and that she had every right to date whoever she wanted. The MN convinced my boss to lie to me and say they were not dating. He then convinced me that they were not dating and he continued to (successfully) pursue me. Six months later, I was researching empathy and landed on a site for empaths that had a big section on narcissism. Empathic people like me are good targets for MN. I was shocked!!! Every trait, every action, every abuse listed were things he had done to me! Triangulation! Getting to me by using someone else close to me….by boss. I read close to 50 articles and hundreds of personal accounts from victims. I kept him off guard for a few days and then blocked/canceled him from 11 online accounts without notice or explanation. I went NO CONTACT. It has been 14 days so far. He sent two texts and a letter in the mail saying ‘goodbye’. This is his MN way of giving me the silent treatment even though I am the one who ended it! Turns out, he has been seeing my boss AND me for the last six months! I’m coming clean to ex-coworkers who say my ex-boss is deeply in love and she thinks he is the ‘one’. He has already done the ‘smear campaign’ and convinced my ex-boss that I am crazy. I’m showing my ex-coworkers the proof of his cheating so they will know who he really is. He is a Pathological Liar/MN/Sociopath. I found out just in time….before he could discard me. I was lucky enough to end it on my terms.
    Thank you for sharing your stories.

  • Cindy

    July 4th, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    I think I was married to nr for 14 years . He court wine for about 6 months no sex . Are wedding nite we had sex and he got up and act like no connection no kissing no hugging. Always telling me about his ex. He Thought he was a grate lover buy not . It was like as soon as we had sex he no longer cared about me .would not sleep with me I was blamed for everything that went wrong. He acted like a child. It e never validated me I was a good a wife and and he wanted me to do everything . If I could of shit for him he would have me do that too never said I love you hug me got so he would go months no sex ,I was a Good woman . From day one he never connected with me . Now I am devastated my years was wasted . I have no self a steem. He is 57 can’t keep it up and with a 25 year gril why would she want him and I know he can’t get it up help

  • Denise

    July 9th, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Lol, my husband is 54 yrs old and he is impotent also. I actually have no desire for him.
    Listen, you can live again! I am 52 and we cannot let these lost souls steal our souls.
    I believe in a God that can do anything. He can restore our youth.
    God revealed this man to me. I was searching on Internet and I discovered Personality disorder bingo he has these traits. Real sicko!!!
    Are you still married to him? If so bring closure. Divorce!

  • Denise

    July 9th, 2015 at 5:33 PM

    I have discovered my husband is a Narcissist/Psychopath.
    I have been married for three years and realized something wasn’t right within the three years of being with him.
    I told him I am done with him and he gave me some money. He thought this would change my mind, well I still feel the same, “Done”
    I have moved out of the state. I will be filing for divorce. I have learned a lot from him. I thank God I did not surrender my whole heart to him. So, I don’t feel hurt but anger and frustration. people with this disorder are the worst! If I never see him again it would be a blessing! I can live my life without the roller coaster nonsense!

  • Nan

    August 9th, 2015 at 11:27 PM

    It makes me so sad reading how many decent loving, giving people are hurt , used and messed up by these parasites!! ( myself included!)
    We have no ill will in us just goodness kindness and selflessness and thats exactly what they take advantage of .
    Not much wonder that there is so much evil in the world when you finaly understand how these people operate!
    I wish more of the general public were aware of narsassists and the damage they cause, even to their own children. Con artists, very difficult to see until you personaly are the victim!!
    I still feel sorry for the sad,very damaged child,devoid of any feelings except for himself,trapped in the body of a man.unable to function in a truly adult life.
    And there lies our downfall…. We think by loving them we can give them what they need to be whole…..
    Not possible!!!… We are only making ourselves a sacrafise….they already have a line of other empaths ready happy to sacrafise themselves too. While we are still writhing in agony….
    Save yourselves and your kids and give your love and goodness to somebody that truly loves you back…. The world will be a better place for it!!!! X

  • Gail

    August 16th, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    To find that your human-ness is of absolutely no value to this less than human monster is chilling…

  • Janet

    October 12th, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    You hit the hammer on the nail. I am a victim of abuse many times over including being taken advantage of and/or conned out of money. It is hard to find someone who is truly on your side and truly cares without wanting something from you in return. I have narcissitic tendencies myself. I am a hybrid of sorts between being too generous or too demanding depending on the relationship. I still have issues and so I still struggle to attract the healthy people who would be right for me. It is hard to find people who are truly fully on my side who truly respect my values and also care enough to speak the truth and be faithful. I could go on and on. I am married to someone who fulfills the above yet still has issues similar to mine. Sadly, we have been taken advantage of as a couple too. I am more tactful than my husband. He usually lets me handle the hard interactions and transactions, some of which unfortunately were detrimental to us. There are not very much people around whom we can trust to give us the proper guidance or moral support. I am passionate about making the right decisions yet tend to make bad ones half the time, a lot of them due to the lack of true caring honest guidance or counsel out there. So many people lie and don’t give you the help or hope for that matter that you really need and/or are overly blunt and disrespectful. This leaves my husband and I very confused and discouraged when it comes to making decisions. Better stop now, lest I ramble all night.

  • London

    October 29th, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    my NPD with BP is so cruel it blows my mind. I went no contact after a particularly sadistic rage, he was online within hours and parading his new target on facebook as some perverse revenge. My brother saw this and was appauled by his bltent disrespect.
    I was hollowed out and distraught, I had done everything I could do to please him. He blamed me for his tirade of abuse, apparently I had made a comment, held a view he didn’t like. He was well aware of this view when he initially groomed me.

    I saw three of these psychotic rages, the fist time I recieved an apology before I’d arrived hom, the second one I recieved an apology a week later, the third I was stonewalled & recieved a follow up abusive email. I watched him rage, I was very frightened and remember thinking ‘how did I get here’ and ‘who is here’ I was frozen and hyper vigilant. I’ve never felt so out of my body before.

    His new target and him were very happy as advertised. Then he broke through to me using a new mail. It was a provocative short message. I replied very politely. I felt safe knowing he’s in a fake relationship. These mails grew and grew, I am uncomfortable as it proves his lack of loyalty and looking back I was deceived too. I’ve worked out the new target was being groomed without knowing about me. Now I’m the other woman.

    He is a big user of dating sites, he would pretend he isn’t. So I checked this and sure enough he’s very busy here too. I know that I am being manipulative and avoiding any proper conversation just like him. It’s completely a dead end with me now because I switched off compassion. I am saying ridiculous things as he did, I ignore all direct questions as he did, I don’t react with emotion or care as he does.

    I am literally a mirror just like him very blank, humourless, bland, dull, patronising, without an opinion. If I need to remind myself how vile he is I simply look online at any of the dating sites he predates on.
    Once we understand that that lying is pathological it’s our licence to embrace the concept.
    They WILL return periodically despite stonewalling when they have a new lead. They WILL expect you to believe them and trust their integrity. They ARE cowards who CANNOT love, care, tell the truth. They are jealous if their friends embrace you, they Will copy your jokes and use them non-stop which is annoying. They have no sense of IRONY yet they pretend to understand the joke.
    They are very 2 dimensional. Very charming at first, have a pity play – mine was abs ive childhood etc. Everything is fabricated, literally every single fact they told you from day one is not true.

    This subject should be part of education if I’d had some of this information I would have removed myself much sooner from such a dangerous situation. I felt suicidal, dirty, afraid and horrified with myself.

  • Dawn

    November 10th, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    I honestly a, still in relationship or whatever you would like to call it. I have so may things going on in my life I just honestly cannot believe for the life of me someone could possibly be this way. It’s so scary. It started last July 2014 and I’ve never been so spent off my feet before by anyone. The first date with him was amazing. He’s such a romantic and we had a relationship for 7 months and I actually broke up with him because I was very depressed and did not want his life of happiness that he worked so had at getting through years of therapy and stopped drinking and just being healthy. I saw him one last time before it was over. I went to his house he had no regard for compassion at all. I cried the entire time because I love him. I was depressed and he just didnt care, so weird, I just don’t understand any of this. Anyways, I ended up having passionate sex with him and he was just like no its over. Even when Im depressed and he doesn’t care. Well it ended for 3 weeks and I heard from him and we talked about just a very casual relationship which I was feeling better got back on right antidepressants and felt 100% again. So hi. And I would get together with no kids involved and spend like 4 or 5 hours together and sleep with each other every time. Sometimes he would just come to my house in the morning for am hour but he always wants sex. I guess I’m stupid. Anyways, when he doesn’t want me around or cannot deal with me he blocks me so I can’t reach him. I completely freak out when he does this so I start emailing him and sending hi. Stuff. Like how are u so mean to me. You like have no empathy for me at all do you. You don’t even care about me. How can you be so loving and caring and then completely block me from your world like I’m nothing . I can’t understand this at all. Anyways I started reading stuff on narcissism. Because I would look up lack of or no empathy for others and narcissism came up. I know he told me about his childhood and his mother showed absolutely no signs of love towards him period. She would not even say she loved him. I love him and he treats me horribly but he keeps entering my life again telling me to stop being so negative and to let go of past and your life will be much happier. I get crazy because of him I just am trying to help him and I want him better so he can see that vulnerability and love are amazing . He was in a marriage where his wife cheated on him and he’s been divorced for 8 years I think it totally detroyed him. His daughter has alot of emotional problems which he says stems from the ex wife but I wonder Id he lacks feelings and empathy his daughter must be loosing it. How can u treat your children with no love . If he can’t love that makes him a complete monster rite. Please help me understand i love him so much but I’m so tired all the time I just can’t see, to pull myself together anymore. I want to see him and I look at him like is he going to do this to me again and please don’t because I will never hurt you because I’m so caring and loving . He knows this about me. I empathize with everyone and it actually works against me because I get so upset when I get used. He wants me to be stronger but totally takes any power away from me. Please help me is he a narcissist. Idk what to do anymore.

  • Andrew

    November 20th, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    @Dawn – I’m sorry to tell you this but the cycle will continue to repeat over and over and over again if you allow it to. I know this for a fact because I can relate to your story. I was with a woman that was exactly the same way, lots of traumatic events in her past, narcissistic, over the top otherworldly sex, passion and connection, I mean like insanely better than anything I hav experienced before, then out of the blue they just shut down or distance themselves from you. She made me feel like we were soul mates but no matter how hard I tried to help and try different ways of making the idea of love safe, the empathy just wasn’t there and that cycle will repeat as long as you let it.. In my circumstance , I was the first one to ever make her orgasm through intercourse ( I could tell by her reaction this was in fact true, one of the few things that was true) so needless to say she would keep coming back and back and back if I still allowed it.. Honestly you have to move on because it won’t change. At least, at the very least for awhile.. A year or more, if you happen to reconnect in the future and you can see that they have significantly made a change then great, but be aware it’s very likely that they haven’t, as the only remote chance that they might is through a lot of therapy.. I hope this helps, I just wanted you to know I relate to your situation and honestly I just want to help save someone else from more hurt. I no it’s hard to say no because when they are good to you it feels like your soul mates but just be aware. Please be aware because you’re likely in for more hurt..

  • Tammy

    November 24th, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    Wow…I read this and immediately thought…is this my boyfriend? He sounds eerily similar to the man you are describing. He would often make excuses to leave extra early in the morning and have been told by countless ppl he’s been cheating but he swears he was loyal and ppl are trying to break us apart. I firmly believe my bf is a sociopath…and with him literally anything is possible

  • Gwen

    September 25th, 2023 at 10:57 PM

    The wife cheating on him etc. is all bulls**t. They make up stories and lie all the time. It called projection. They cheat, and then say u did. Or they cheated because they think u cheated. Or it happened only because u never cared. You know its not true then they accuse u of not giving enough. It’s all gaslighting. The daughter is not safe either because sometimes they sexually abuse their children too.

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    November 10th, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    @Dawn — If I am understanding you correctly, possibly you saw that you had the capacity to fall in love with the man you describe as an extreme narcissist, but not the other way around. That true intimacy and depth of emotion is not experienced by a person with extreme narcissism. However, since abusers are seeking the very qualities that they lack, they are often very attracted to targets who have the capacity to fall in love deeply, with compassion and empathy. Because the extreme narcissist lacks those essential qualities. I don’t doubt the sex was amazing and the infatuation stage was otherwordly…however, he wasn’t able to take it to the next level of maturity and depth. Too bad for him. Freedom and healing for you. Under no circumstances is emotional abuse ok. He disrespected you and devalued you. He doesn’t deserve you. You will move on to love again with a healthy person if you do the personal work in healing. Self-care is really important during this process, finding a qualified psychotherapist, and embracing the season. Perhaps it’s time to go bake some holiday cookies…. ;) A

  • cindym

    November 25th, 2015 at 5:31 PM

    i recently played some games with my ex n just because i felt power over him . he is 58 living with a very nieve 27 year old . i would text him ,ask to meet him out when she was working just to see what he would do . i was the old supply the olded ego giver. i have been pucking him . he is not able to give his 27 year old sex . he says she ok with it . she cooks and does every thing for him all she gets is a kiss goodnite and kiss good by . he would not even kiss me but we were married and i was 27. but when he would meet me he wanted to see how far he could go with me . i didt want him , . he would not be able to deliver any way?? all just to show i had power over him . when i was done with him. i told the grilfriend very nicely that he has been reaching out to me for as long as they been together. she seems so nieve. i ran into her mom and told her too about the text, calls pictures he wanted of me and sending me stuff . her mom told me she didt want to hear any more …. her drauther is 27 . what is wrong with people . i told her to check his phone he lives a double life with his phone . soooooooooooooooooo good to be on the other side of this as$ in my life. i would like your feed back on the mom and the little girl he is with.

  • Eboneegirl

    December 1st, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    I was discarded after a whirlwind 3 1/2 month relationship with this Narcissist/Sociopath man. I actually thought this man was my soulmate we used to talk or text day and night. We were doing everything together concerts, movies, shopping. We were even planning on moving in together next year.

    I believe about a month ago the devaluing stage began we started talking less, he even told me that he got tired of talking about the same things. Well fast forward I went to visit him and he was very distant. The next day he told me he needed space and that every thing was moving to fast for him and that he wanted to slow things down. But, he was the one who asked me to be his lady and suggested that we would get married.

    Well, out of the blue I was at his house and once he got off work he told me he needed me to get out of his house and wanted me to go home. I asked him what was going on and if we were still an item and he told me NO we are not.

    This has all left me devastated. How can someone who was so loving and caring be so abruptly COLD and CRUEL. He’s on FB and appears to be happy as if nothing ever happened between us. He’s moved on and I’m here depressed….

  • Sunshine

    August 27th, 2016 at 5:56 AM

    Wauw…..excactly my story.
    I was in shock for several days, nog understanding how someone so loving could turn to cold in just a few days. Kept my self esteem and self respect. And asked him what was going on. He never responded. That was 2 weeks ago. The hurt and dissapointment is still there but i know deep inside this is the best decision he could ever made for me.
    Never compromise your selfesteem, for No One!!!!!

  • Joseph

    October 12th, 2017 at 1:28 PM

    I JUST got out of this- when the Narc dumped me, they claimed it was because dating me and my support helped them face suppressed memories of childhood molestation- and that in order to heal they needed me out of the picture since this was a path they had to walk alone- the narc was crying, hyperventalating- i was left confused sad but mostly just hurting for them as they were going through so much pain… about a week or so later i started seeing the narc in pictures with another guy…. i confronted the narc and asked did i really get dumped because they met someone else?! no way could they have lied about being MOLESTED! They claimed i was crazy and paranoid and everything under the sun…. i started to realize things didnt add up- all of the narc exes were crazy- more andmore picture of the narc and the new guy were popping up…. so i finally reached out to the guy in question and sure enough the narc was starting someothing or began talking to him as we were togther- i can only assume the new bf went ballistic because i recieved an email that had such rage behind it- the narc admitted to not having been molested- claimed i was ugly and only stayed with me because they were afraid had they dumped me i woulda commieted suicide (the funny part is IM NOT EVEN SUICIDAL NOR DO I SUFFER FROM ANY DEPRESSION OR ANYTHING! my self esteem is perfectly fine thank you) and then threatened to get a restaring order on me for reaching out to people he knew and how dare i put the new bf through this (excuse me? how dare YOU put both the new bf and me through this- all i did was shed light onto what was happening behind both of our backs!)

    this all just happened and i truthfully feel shocked, emotionally violated and scared! He also claims we were never together- which is ironic because 4- 5 months prio we both agreed to be exclusive and he would refer to me as the person he is dating and the person he is seeing- i was the first guy he was introducing to his family- repeatedly said how we were such a could match for each other and how he didnt know how he could live without me, im one of the people he cared about he most – HE WAS MOVING TO BE CLOSER WITH ME – i even hooked him up with a job opportunity! i think he was planning his get away from the beginning and because he never uttered the word “boyfriend” he can turn around now and say “look he’s crazy- i never was with him!” if thats the case whyd he feel the need to formerly break up with me? a$sh#le!

  • Boris

    October 15th, 2017 at 3:52 PM

    Just read your comment, same happened to me, are you ok now?

  • Kashan

    December 9th, 2015 at 5:17 PM

    I was told by my therapist that I may be in a relationship with a woman with narcissistic personality disorder in 2014. After 2 years with her cycles, I had to go to a therapist to deal with issues of anger that I had been developing as the relationship went along. It was so bad that I thought I was going to throw here out of a window at some point because if her lies, disrespect, and low class. She actually told me I needed to because I was no longer responding to her behavior as I had in the beginning of the relationship. That was the best thing I ever did. That was when I found out that I was probably in a relationship with one. Thank God I am whole and happy I never gave up on her until it was time. I clearly saw the tree phases in action…. I was a bit fascinated by the madness so I stayed in it a bit to long. However, knowledge is power.

  • Jenny

    December 13th, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    I have read almost all the comments here. I am a year out if a 7 year relationship with a narcissist .
    I was married for 30 years then I met him! The trauma of this relationship has been terrible. Within a year he was cheating and continued with I believe three other women too! He lied constantly. He did suck up to his boss and anyone he thought worthy.
    He finally began showing signs of being interested in transsexuals. God knows where that came from. He only wanted sex with me while he was dressed in women’s underwear. I humoured this but it escalates. Eventually he could not physically have sex with me . He was obsessed with anal with men . I would not do what he wanted. I told him I thought he was a narc and ill . He was furious. I truly believe I made him look at himself. I revealed him to him. That was the end.

  • Susan

    February 22nd, 2016 at 6:48 PM

    Oh, I’m in the middle of trying to extricate myself from this relationship – very complicated, very costly, but luckily no children.

  • Adam

    February 26th, 2016 at 6:49 AM

    My experience was quite subtle. She is a very shy person who seemed to have her life together. She appeared to have great family connections as well as good connections with friends. Looking back, I saw a lot of red flags from the beginning. She would flatter me a lot but I always got the feeling that it wasn’t sincere. The sex was amazing, claiming that she would orgasm within seconds (another flattering maneuver). She was the perfect girlfriend – while I was around. I began to notice over time that her friendships were very shallow and lacked the “stuff” of maturity. I then started to notice that she became a different person when she was around them: going to strip clubs and showing her body, secretly doing drugs, and probably acting in a permiscuous way (also something I always suspected but could never prove).

    Eventually the honeymoon phase ended. She became emotionally vacant and cold. She would still do nice things for me (cook dinner, etc.) But date nights ended, she never wanted to go out, she appeared constantly irritated, she began lying about what she was doing (drugs with friends). Things were also blamed on me, even to the point of screaming at me in front of my friend. I can remember being very confused by her anger, saying to my friends that “the punishment just doesn’t fit the crime.”

    I thought that by being a “good” boyfriend and showing unconditional love would help but it didn’t. She seemed to use that kind of behaviour to validate her irritation. Eventually the relationship ended when I caught her in a lie and put my foot down, so to speak, and create boundaries. She got really angry at these boundaries: refusing to live together until marriage, refraining from unhealthy behaviours like doing drugs, and negative friendships that creates ceaseless drama. All of these were thrown back in my face as being ridiculous, of course.

    After I walked out on her, she became very cold and refused to converse. That’s when I started researching her life. Incidentally, I discovered that her life (her front) wasn’t authentic. She had massive amounts of debt, lawyer fees, and credit card debt. I also discovered that she was borrowing huge amounts of money from people that she wouldn’t have to pay back (her 92 year old grandmother, for example). Not only this, but everything she owned was borrowed or taken while she claimed that it was hers. I’m guessing this is the classic narcissistic “front” described above. I also discovered that no one really knew who she was. I met people who graduated from her high school (a very small town school) and no one remembered her. Not only this, but she had zero friends from high school left (all of which, she said, “probably wouldn’t want to see her). At that point I began to count my blessings. I recognized that she probably wanted me to move in, become common-law, and stick me with half of her bills (which at this point could be upwards of $300,000).

    All of these things were subtle until I began to pull at the thread, so to speak. So, please listen to your gut feeling and investigate the person you are with. If they’re really in love with you, they’ll have nothing to hide.

  • Rita

    March 5th, 2016 at 4:07 PM

    I still can’t believe it happened to me as well. Iohought I had a relationship but actually I had constant nightmares with a narcissist. Very seductive, loving in the beginning but cruel after some time and at some an expected situation. The sex was really good but if he got irritated, which happened all the time, he used to keep distant from me in bed. Sometimes I didn’t even know what I had done wrong… But I never tried to seduce him when he was “punishing” me. Actually his behavior made feel completely dismotivated for sex. One day I told him: you said in the beginning that you LOVED sex but you deny sex because of small issues. Very strange… This used to irritate him…
    But he was much wiser than me most of time. I am romantic, so I tried to bring back the happy moments but he wanted to fight… It took some time for me to realise he was manipulating me. And I was on therapy… But I didn’t realised it was a disorder… It was only a matter of pride in my head… Narcissists don’t have feelings. The only way to get over a relationship with them is going no contact… We deserve more than begging. ..

  • julia

    March 30th, 2016 at 2:54 AM

    my life is a mirror to yours : ( my kids are being hurt by their dad who is “in love” with a new victim and I have to be there for them because they are being discarded like I was after 20 years. I escaped thank God now realizing what I was in and I am trying to recover I cry everyday , I am a mess, but I have to be strong from my babies and I will show him because he will die just like his mean father , all alone. So sad because I never thought he my ex would hurt his kids especially because of the father he had but from all that I am learning I guess this narc condition they can’t help it so it’s a vicious cycle. It’s very painful nevertheless.

  • carolyn

    April 21st, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    What astounds me is how IDENTICAL our experiences seem to be! Do they have a manual for narcissistic behavior that they read and learn to follow? The descriptions of abuse are eerily EXACT! Him telling me I was his “soul mate”, we had so much in common, I was the love of his life, all the promises of what our fabulous future was going to be like, and now, how he’s moved on after a few short weeks. What gives with these jerks and how come they can get away with it? Seems radically unfair to me. I understand they live in constant turmoil and fear. Perhaps that is enough punishment for their evil actions. So sad. So pathetic. So unredeemable. I suppose they deserve our pity more than our ire but still, the treatment was so horribly egregious and reprehensible. Devils incarnate.

  • Dori

    September 14th, 2016 at 10:54 PM

    Yes, my “devil” moved on to his next victim within days of breaking off from me. I figured the whole time he was cheating with someone else and he obviously was.

  • Larry

    April 23rd, 2016 at 8:25 AM

    I married my (soulmate) and went through the cycles and right now I am so scared. I think she is still attacking my soul even though she is 1600 miles away. I feel I need to put tin foil over me to protect me. I have a need to scrub my wall from the blackness leaking from them.
    I know in time I will overcome this but right now I trust nobody and live in great fear.

  • MyExWasCray

    July 23rd, 2016 at 12:06 AM

    What I find the most fascinating about this disorder is the projecting. It is extreme! Once you catch a few of their lies, you start to notice the myriad of lies that they told or probably told. Mine would lie about people telling her mean things to start drama. She would lie about what she told the kids. She never wanted to be in a group when she spoke with people. It’s like she tried to keep everyone apart to tell her insane little lies to them. In the end, she made a big scene when she left and claimed I threw her out when I was at work. I did say get out of the house, but I didn’t MAKE her leave. She left because she wanted my attention, and I was done giving it to her over her own kids… Then the lies to the children started. It was disgusting, and I told her that I was disgusted by her behavior. She immediately went in to self-preservation mode, and she tried to lie to everyone. The funny thing is that only her enablers believed her, and half her family sided with me! They told me they were wanting to say something before, but she was too big a pain in the ass. I found out the web of lies that she told everyone, and it was bordering on insanity! Like all good ‘victimized’ narcs, she tried to press charges, but it will backfire as soon as she realizes what parts she omitted… I feel sorry for her tbh. What kind of person feels so worthless to the point where they cannot accept real love from another? I tried so hard, and the more I tried to connect, the more scared and anxious she became! It’s like they know they’re evil people under all that fake image, but they can’t face it. I have no problem seeing my faults, but narcs literally can’t. They will project onto anyone and everyone. She even told me how she hated her ex’s mom for pressing fake charges on her, but she is the one who has pressed fake charges on others, lol! She told me I was abusing the kids when I told her that I didn’t like her yelling at them. She blamed me for ‘throwing’ her out with her kids, when she actually argued with me for 12 hours while I worked until I said get out at 2am. She left herself, and her kids had no idea what happened. The daughter cried and told me that she was ‘so confused’. I’d be mad at her, but it really is sad. She must feel very damaged underneath all that fake bravado… I can’t help her nor her kids, though. Only she can do that, and she must be very hurt under it all. Of course, she is hurt because her fake image broke on the surface, but underneath she is hurt from her feelings of worthlessness. I had a somewhat narcissistic father, but his alcohol abuse was the source of it. When he got sober, then he changed to a loving soul like I am. My wife just had nothing underneath the narcissism. It was very sad to me until I realized that the ‘good times’ were just her mirroring my best qualities. The qualities that she wanted, but she can never obtain. It really is sad that they cannot ever get help. Trust me, just bore them until they leave themselves. Unless you’re a fighter like me, the other way is going to be a little more than difficult. ;)

  • Narc

    August 9th, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    I am a 40 year old male narcissist. I am not proud of this fact. I have started a blog that will hopefully help explain why narcissists become who they are so you can be sure if you have kids to watch out for these types of behaviors and if you encounter a narcissist you can watch out for the red flags. My aim is to help people and potentially help myself. Feel free to check it out.

  • Michelle

    August 10th, 2016 at 4:34 AM

    Hi there Narc. The action you have undertaken (setting up the website to alert others to what a narcissist is so they can act on the red flags) seems to be one that is not consistent with being a narcissist. I am not sure who diagnosed you but I am wondering if you have given any thought to the possibility that you are actually a victim of narcissistic abuse who has absorbed the projections of their abuser(s) and not a narcissist. My experience with the mental health profession has been that they do not quite fully grasp just how much a survivor’s identity is warped when they are abused by a pathological narcissist to understand that sizeable percentage of survivors actually believe THEY themselves are the narcissist. And far to often mental health professionals will just take the word of the person they are treating when they say they are a narcissist and grant the diagnosis. In my opinion this disorder (and it’s effect on survivors) is one of the most poorly understood throughout the mental health profession worldwide. Obviously, since I do not know you I cannot speak to what your true diagnosis is, but I just want to point out that what you seem to be saying and what you are actually doing seem to fly in the face of pathological narcissism.

  • Narc

    August 10th, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Hi Michelle, thank you for the feedback. I completely understand your viewpoint, as I know what I am doing is not typical of narcissism. Believe me, I was in denial for a long time and I did not see myself as a narcissist. But I am, I fit the stereotype like a glove. I don’t believe that I am a victim of narcissistic abuse because I did not have a narcissist in my life growing up. All of my family and other influences in my life growing up are the exact opposite of narcissists. I just set the blog up recently so there are only a few posts but I encourage you to check it out and follow along with my story. Then maybe we can discuss again if you think some of the things I’ve encountered and experienced in my life that I believe led to my narcissism and the things that I have done to others in my life are typical of a narcissist.

  • allanah

    August 27th, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    I met a guy who came on strong to me, sent me love songs, told me how special I was, wanted to look at settling down, although he was openly seeing other people and pursuing other women for sex, he managed to draw me in and then started to withdraw communication, then all of a sudden I would receive message for 24 hours, then gone again, on and off all the time, then he sent an email and dumped me. I can’t believe that I feel in love with this guy, after all, he slept with anyone, yet still managed to make me feel important and believe me I am a strong confident person. It is heartbreaking. This explanation is certainly going to help me get over it, as I can see that they will never be happy, all they will do is continue to hurt other people, it really is very sad.

  • Mary

    September 16th, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    I identify now, that I was taken, but what to do now is the problem. I hurt so bad.

  • Christine

    January 7th, 2017 at 1:12 PM

    Since my adult step daughter is much older than me and her father who is my husband is old enough to be my grandfather she never did and she still doesn’t live with us she lives in her own house away from us, I was nearly 22 years old when I lived with and married her dad. Me and my husband – her dad got married in summer 2006. I found out during the devalue and discard phases that these people are the Devil Incarnate, demons and devils in human form, they’re psychic vampires sucking normal people dry of their life energy and emotions. I don’t have any children with my husband or with any other man, I’m not pregnant either. She didn’t expect me to fulfil the role of step mother so I couldn’t be called a neglectful step parent or even a neglectful parent. Me and my step daughter had an unspoken and unwritten mutual agreement between the two of us that I would always put my own wants and needs first before hers or anyone else’s and that I would never put her own wants and needs anywhere and she likewise did the same as me and we both have stuck to it ever since. Red flags started popping up at the devalue and discard phases. Abuse, victimization, theft, abuse by proxy, gaslighting, false accusations, slander, etc…, plus, she has committed more evil, heinous, illegal, immoral, dangerous, etc…, things than that to me. She is a dangerous person. She spread lies about and compartmentalized stories about her interactions with me like wildfire. Some for family, some for friends, some for family friends, some for neighbours, neighbourhood, community, some for work, some for her flying monkeys, some for her ex – boyfriends and some for the police. I have never worked, never had a job and never been in employment and it’s been like that ever since then. I confronted her after she had a blazing row with her boyfriend at the time – (her ex – boyfriend now) and she was crying uncontrollably like a big immature and childish adult version of a baby. She was feigning innocence and tried to gain my empathy under false pretences. Her behaviour is getting worse and worse as each day goes by. She is very self destructive, as well as this disorder that she has she also has Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and addictions smoking, alcohol, eating disorder, overspending, gambling, having multiple love affairs with different men simultaneously in every relationship that she has had all behind all of her ex – boyfriends backs, vandalizing and putting graffiti onto her ex – boyfriend’s car. She is extremely jealous of me because I have lots and lots of charisma, I am very, very charming, I am highly intuitive, I am classically beautiful inside and out both in looks and in personality, because I am female and younger than her. She is extremely envious of my personality, she covets all the qualities and traits that I have in my personality, she is insecure and she thinks and she has convinced herself into believing that I’m perfect. She idolized me and she wanted to be me. Then she viewed me as competition and she was in competition with me, she did point – scoring and she did oneupmanship to me. I am an empath, a lightworker, the good samaritan type, I have a healing ability in my hands so I definitely never have been, I’m not and I’ll definitely never be/become a monster or anything like that. She is the Devil Incarnate herself who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Addictions and she also has the Dark Triad/Dark Tetrad Personality so she is much, much more worse than a monster, she has always been like this, she is always like this and she will always continue to be like this but she will get much, much, much more worse as time goes by. Divorce proceedings were set up between me and my husband but then the divorce proceedings were stopped and cancelled because my husband and I both knew that we were still madly, deeply and truly in love with each other, we still cared so very much about each other, we missed each other terribly, we couldn’t stop thinking about each other, we couldn’t and we didn’t want to live without each other, we were making the biggest mistakes of our lives in divorcing each other, and if we had of divorced each other we would regret it every day for the rest of our lives and we wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves because of it and we both didn’t sign or date any divorce papers either. I moved out of our marital home in late 2011 and I started living in other places in different cities all within Hampshire, Southern England away from him and she tried to do everything that she possibly could do within her power and ability to get me out of her dad’s life for good, that’s why she was extremely gleeful that I started living in different places away from him between late 2011 and 31st May 2015 but that was only temporarily because I came back to live with him in our marital home again on 1st June 2015 and we have been living together with each other as husband and wife again in our marital home again since 1st June 2015 and we have been living together with each other ever since then. This is the time that I’m at my most appreciative and less stressed than at any other time that I’m back living with my husband in our marital home again. Me and my husband didn’t get divorced – in the eyes of the law and the legal system we are still legally and lawfully married to each other and we are still husband and wife.

  • AJ

    January 8th, 2017 at 12:17 PM

    Precisely why people like this are attracted to people like us…. Because we choose to look for the better in people, give them benefit of doubt & most of all.. believe whole-heartedly that kindness & right should always win. Do unto others…. & that NO ONE could ever even imagine acting in these ways towards someone else (hell, we wouldn’t) It’s also why SO many of these stories, recaps & the lives we’ve lived seem SO incredibly mirrored. They have lived their lives, gaining experience to become great actors! Showing what they need to…. when they need to…. to get what they want! (like a toddler throwing tantrums who will stop, get up & follow a parent into the other room JUST to throw it in front of them again. Who was, apparently taught.. “UNTIL” & you’ll get it. Even those slightly older, you’ll see in videos where you watch w/ your own jaw on the fllor at the behavior. In a public place, all out kicking, screaming, “I want… you won’t… why can’t we…. ?!?” Having ZERO regard for anyone.. time.. situation.. anything but their own wants!! Tons of comments would say, “OMG, beat that kids ass!!” Ummm.. NO, it’s 100% the parents doing/fault. Those kids/teens etc. were only taught that way.. to get what they want! Never limits, boundaries, accountability OR… consequences, so…… ) Not saying that is THE reason or the only reason, just comparing because it’s how they see things.. how to get what they want & that’s ALL that matters. In the end, those actors…. while the cast may keep alternating roles, participants, leads etc…. Unfortunately, the master script will always remain UNCHANGED! Abuse or neglect in any form, regardless of its title or definition is wrong! Do not accept mistreatment & if you address it but nothing changes…. If ya always TRUST YOUR GUT & your core beliefs of right/wrong, you’ll be OK & do the right things. There will be those who lie, cheat, twist/turn our words, project, take advantage of.. if we allow it. But if we can try not to make excuses for those things or reason them away, again.. trusting our gut instincts TO see those red flags through their “bullshit” fog…… If we learn to characterize people just by their ACTIONS….. we will never….. be fooled.. by their WORDS!! =) Be strong… be well…. be HAPPY!!!

  • Darren

    March 1st, 2017 at 5:04 PM

    I have a question: If narcissists “discard” people, then why do we have the No Contact Rule to expunge them from our lives? I’ve dealt with two people who definitely have narcissistic personality disorder (not just garden-variety narcissists) and it has just about been impossible to get rid of them. They both try to hoover me every six months to a year, like clockwork. Unanswered phone messages/texts/emails on my part don’t seem to faze them. I WISH these narcissists would “discard” me, because they just don’t seem to get the hint!

  • Andrea Schneider

    March 1st, 2017 at 8:49 PM

    @Darren — they are hoovering you…trying to re-engage in another cycle of idealize/devalue/discard to get topped off on narcissistic supply.Probably a more apt cycle would be idealize/devalue/discard/hoover…..they will hoover as long as they think you might reply. Completely block them so that they cannot extract narcissistic supply and so that you do not have to be re-traumatized by their dark shadow. Narcissistic people always return to prior sources of NS, even years later…live your life fully and well. Continue with No Contact on your end, and eventually they will slither away and realize it is too much effort to keep trying to tap a dry well. best to you.

  • Dawn

    March 2nd, 2017 at 6:57 AM

    I met a man on Match several months ago and we began a relationship — things got seriously very quickly because he pushed to be exclusive from the start. I had “red flags” but I cared for him and went ahead in spite of my concerns. He seemed to REALLY want to be in a relationship and made me feel very special (love bombing I think). I questioned his intentions a couple of times because he was a total stranger I met online and felt like I had to be cautious. The first time, he soothed my concerns, but the second time, he deflected it back on me. Made me feel bad for even voicing my concerns. Still the relationship continued…he told me he loved me, we were sleeping together, and he began talking about a future for us. It seemed very serious. One of my biggest concerns about him was how he blamed all his exes for their break ups. He was always the victim. He called one of them “stupid” in front of me, and blamed another one for his expanding waistline. I’m all about being accountable for your own actions so this REALLY bothered me, but I didn’t really say anything because I did care for him and didn’t want to “rock the boat.” Then one evening I went onto the Match website (where we met) to cancel my auto renewal and while I was doing that, I noticed his profile was “online now.” This is a man who made a commitment to me, said he loved me, and was making plans for the future. I was very upset and sent him a message explaining how I felt…hurt, and disrespected and asked for clarification. Maybe I had misunderstood something and I needed to know. If he was “keeping his options open” then I had a right to know so I wouldn’t get hurt. Well his reaction was total narcissist — he got angry, deflected on me, called me “juvenile” and then gave me the silent treatment for days. I reached out to him during that time and tried to talk to him. I told him I cared and loved him and wanted to work things out. Most of my messages were just ignored and if he did respond, he was hostile. After a week of this, I sent him one final message and told him that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way, and that he acted like a 13 year old and that I would gladly take my goodies and share them with a real man who deserves and appreciates me. I changed my cell number the next day. And yes, I did get hurt, but this man absolutely didn’t care about my feelings…it was all about him. I think he couldn’lt handle a strong woman who would question him about things so he quickly discarded me when he realized he couldn’t control me. I found out that 2 months later, he moved a woman into his home with her 4 kids (ages 8,9,11, and 12). This man is 63 years old BTW…I guess he found a weaker target that he can control. Now keep in mind, I’m 51 myself so this isn’t my first rodeo, but I still learned a painful lesson. People like this are TOXIC and you can’t be in a healthy relationship with them. When you see those Narcissist tendencies (idealize, devalue, discard) then you need to RUN!!!

  • Mel

    March 19th, 2017 at 10:04 AM

    I too, have had this cycle of love bombing, devaluing and discard. But it’s not discard is it? They keep on coming back why? I have gone back three times in all but have been away now for twelve weeks no more of this crazy making behaviour. They are mentally ill to keep wanting to play these games. They will never change. They are what they are and it suits them to be like that. Get out and keep your sanity. Mel x

  • Chovabub

    May 12th, 2017 at 7:07 AM

    After many years of physical suffering after a nasty disability took hold i happened in my encounters on a young lovely Christian girl who re-esatablished my Christian faith. The woman, 30 years younger became an outstanding friend and though she had a boyfriend and I was married myself – the feelings of friendship I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before with any individual. It was spectacular.

    And then suddenly I was cast aside but the ruthlessness of this discard principle – was just as devastating to me as my injury yet she had no feeling in any shape or form – it was brutal to see her without even a thought. It actually made me almost have a mental breakdown because i wanted to know what i did “wrong” but she couldn’t even see that. I cried and shook but she had no empathy at all.

    It does – it blows you away when you see stuff like this. And the worst part is no one else around you sees it and they can’t work out what you’re going on about.

    Yes – be careful not to “love” the wrong person – even as friends – it can be gut wrenching when you discover these people simply do not possess the skill set or ability of empathy – they simply don’t even understand it.

    And for me – getting “saved” by someone who doesn’t even understand compassion is a paradox.

    Yes – be careful not to be alone with some people – not until you know their motives.

    God bless you all

  • M

    July 27th, 2017 at 11:41 PM

    I had a really bad experience years ago with someone I thought was my friend.
    What she did still affects me today.
    I grew up with a girl. We would go to each other’s house, sometimes every week, and hang out or have sleepovers. We belonged to the same church, our fathers were in business together, and our families were close. In middle school we also attended the same school together. I didn’t have many friends, but she was the one person I could call my friend. Well, one day in the seventh grade, she told me she was moving to a new school. I was kind of stunned, but I figured I would still see her at church. A few days after she moved, I called her, and I remember her tone had changed. She didn’t seem enthusiastic at all in speaking to me. I thought that was strange. That weekend when I saw her at church, I remember being in the church’s gym and in she walked with a new set of friends. She walked right by me and didn’t even acknowledge me. For years this continued. Year after year, week after week, I watched and witnessed as she paraded around with her new set of friends: the popular girls in church. The clique. It was as if I never even existed. I never got an explanation as to why she suddenly stopped talking to me. I remember one time being at camp and trying to speak to her, and she rolled her eyes at me. Clearly, she felt I was beneath her. It was devastating. Imagine thinking someone was your good friend only to be dropped like a piece of trash in the wastebasket. I struggled for years trying to understand what I did wrong. Why she did what she did and how much it bothered me. People actually came up to ME and asked me why we no longer spoke (her mother, my mother, some people in church). What was I to tell them? I was every bit as clueless as they were.
    After that, I was unable to trust ANYONE and had such a great difficulty making friends. What she did was a shock to my heart. It really hit me hard. After years of wondering why, I finally confronted her over the phone. I explained to her that we used to be friends. I asked her why she did what she did to me. I told her how much her actions hurt me over the years. All she replied was, “I thought we were just acquaintances.” Stunned. I knew that was a lie. Afterwards, she proceeded to tell me how she had a bad experience at her new school once she moved, and then had the nerve to complain to me about the very friends she ditched me for. I couldn’t believe it. How self-centered do you have to be to not even care when somebody tells you that you hurt them?
    There was no empathy from her. There was no remorse.
    She told me over the phone how much she was bothered that her new friends would always ask her to hang out. Wow. I wonder how she would have felt if no one asked her to hang out. Did she know what it was like to be ditched, discarded, and betrayed? After what she did, I didn’t have it in my heart to get close to anyone. When you invest years into a friendship, and they just rip that from you, that has a real effect on you. Looking back, I was robbed of so much because of that.
    Today, older and wiser, I can see her for who she really is. She is a social climber who uses people until someone ‘better’ comes along. Normal people do not just dispose of people or stop talking to them. It indicates that they don’t have a conscience, or they’re extremely bad with something called communication. Both of us grew up in a cult, and I was able to get out. She never did. She continues to stay despite the lies and the obvious corruption because she doesn’t have a conscience. She doesn’t have integrity. She’s living a complete lie. When i shared my pain with her, and she showed NO remorse, it told me all I needed to know about her. Despite the nice girl image she tries to portray, she is far from it. Everything she does, she is doing for her own personal glory.
    Karma will take care of you. What you do to others will ALWAYS come back to you. What I felt and what I experienced will be experienced by you. Maybe then you will understand what a heartless thing you did to me.


    November 21st, 2017 at 1:08 PM

    Married to someone who pretty much fit the bill to a T for 8 years. I moved out 6/30/17 and maintained no contact for about 4 months. I had a weak moment around Halloween and texted him about hooking up since the sex was great, at least. We’ve done that a couple of times. He was texting me a lot, like he did when I was in his good graces once every 6 months or so while we were in a relationship. The past couple of days have seen a significant drop off. I know what it is, however. Idealization has ended, now I’m in devalue. Maybe discard will follow, but I could care less at this point.

  • Still healing

    December 29th, 2017 at 5:17 PM

    It has being over three years since the final discard. Ultimately he said his life was looking up and he could not be in contact anymore. This was after years of hot and cold, push and pull and it got to the stage where he was just hooking up for sex. The realisation of just being a doormat and being used was too much. I ended up being traumatized with an inability to trust loss of all confidence and self esteem. He happily went on to pursue the next Target who he’s now living with. She could give him things that I never could. The only way I could get rid of the anger was to write emails to him calling him out on the things that he did and his behaviour. I actually copied these to some people that he worked with, such was my anger and pain. I am not proud of this but at the time I was in a very bad space. It has taken years for me to get some semblance of functioning in my life. I have resigned from two jobs because the managers were controlling and reminded me too much of him. The second manager played me off against other staff members and tried to hit on me a number of times in the end it was all too much. The narcissist I was involved with pushed sex on me very quickly and, like people mentioned here it was very intense. He also tried to push on me things that I did not want to do but I held my boundaries there. For a time I felt I was the most important person to him and then the distance and coldness started and like everyone mentions you are left shocked confused and questioning what you did wrong. Distance came through illness of a family member and I had to spend more time at home with them. We were still in touch but it was really online and by text. When he came online off and he would want me to strip off and and initiate sex related conversations. I am not a prude but an alarm bell sort of went off as you know this person did not really value me at all. He blamed me for a number of things and embarrassed me in front of people and made me feel like I was nothing. Indeed when I resigned from a high level job because I could not handle it, along with what he was doing to me he just said I’d gone from someone to nothing. Before this stupidly I’d gone back to him after the person after me dumped him. I have lost a number of friends through the years I was with him. I actually wore out friendships because they were tired of hearing about him and tired of me not listening to their advice. As soon as we met up again I knew that the devalue and discard would happen again. I regretted it as soon as I saw him because I had lost all trust of him. I still feel I’m empty, that there’s a big hole in my heart. Trauma bonding makes a lot of sense and I’ve read a lot about this. I was addicted to somebody who was bad for me and I hung on for far too long. He never loved me and he never would. He would not accept me for who I am but turned it around and said I had to accept him. He is now in a committed happy relationship and I just feel there is still something wrong with me. This feeling is with me everyday. I really hope this year is the year I can leave this behind me. Stop looking him up on FB, stop looking up other people that know him because I really don’t want to know anymore. I need to live my life.

  • Gwen

    September 25th, 2023 at 11:33 PM

    They only commit for a while. And if they are in it for life, you can be quite sure that the other person is being devalued too. Only not in front of her, with others. They are always playing a dirty game.

  • carla

    February 11th, 2018 at 6:35 AM

    I have just passed trough by this a relationship with a narcisist person and I could not understand until now how a person can put you from heaven to hell in few weeks! The cycles are exactly like described here! Thank you very much for helping me to understand everything!

  • Andrea Schneider

    February 12th, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    I am so glad the article was helpful for you. Healing wishes ❤️

  • Andrea Schneider

    March 15th, 2018 at 7:22 AM

    @Jolene – I understand that you are confused about this situation – I am not ethically able to diagnose a person I haven’t met but it is clear that your boyfriend has some very concerning abusive behaviors to say the least. To answer your question, individuals who have NPD do have all or nothing thinking which can translate to what you described as a “love hate” type relationship – male narcissists can be misogynists according to literature in the field. It sounds as though you are needing support to determine whether or not this relationship is a go for you. There are many many red flags. I encourage you to reach out for counseling with a trained qualified mental health professional.

  • lk

    July 28th, 2018 at 2:00 AM

    @Andrea, is telling a person daily about how well they can fight and “NO one in this town can whoop me,” saying things and even doing things to make me believe it did not happen that way? when I disagree or call him out on things, he becomes annoyed and angry and tells me ” I PRONOUNCE YOU BLOCKED AND DELETED” I have truly felt like I am the problem and that I have made so many mistakes in our relationship and I need to take medication, did I mention that I have not had a conversation with my ex sober ( him) in 6 or months? he drinks heavy daily. TOLD me that he could have any woman he wants he has had at least 30 throw themselves at him and he refuses, I feel beat down, and like no one will ever be interested in me again, I am scared to death of people now due to this ex, I just want to run from him and hide

  • Lauren

    April 19th, 2018 at 12:15 PM

    Did anyone else read this article & then comments and feel as if there were bricks on top of your chest? I am speechless. I feel like it will help to share my story with a love bombing narcissist.
    Last fall, my group of girlfriends hinted to me of a guy who had been asking around about me. He was well known and well liked from the city I was from. He managed the most popular bar/restaurants in town. We had never officially met but we knew of each other. I knew he had struggled with alcohol in the past and was not a serial dater as he always in long term relationships. Months went by and he was still dropping subtle hints to my friends about introducing us. We finally met at a close friends Birthday party. He showed up completely bombed and somehow I assumed it was because he was nervous to meet me. (??) The night was one of the most fun I had in a long time. By the end of the night we found ourselves playing footsie on the couch. Two days later – he messaged me and had wrote a legit poem. It was so thoughtful; I had never been wrote a poem before. The whirlwind romance had officially started
    I found someone who GOT me. I found someone who thought I was beautiful. I found someone who had asked around about me for months and told me stories of the times he would stare at me in awe when I would come into his restaurant. I was smitten. CONSTANT communication the first week. Even then I felt like most of his stories were about him and how his exes dragged him through it – sob stories. I didn’t feel like he asked much about me and my background- but it was ok. SOMEONE WAS FINALLY INTERESTED IN ME. By day 8 he had bought me tickets to see my favorite band of all time 6 hours away. He told me he had done his research on me by looking back on all my social media accounts & music playlists. Can you believe we liked ALL the same things? It was a DREAM! We were officially dating by week 3. At this time- I was his soulmate. He had spent 37 years walking around the world looking for me. On our 6 hour get away trip – he professed he wanted me & my daughter to move in with him so that we then could start the hunt to purchase our own home. THIS NEVER TURNED ME OFF- EVER. Why? IT WAS CRAZY. Around the same time – he professed he was in love with me & he had never said it this soon to ANYONE. I think I loved him back – I mean, I said it back but deep down I didn’t mean it that soon. How could you? I had been single for the past 7 years since my daughters dad left me pregnant. But this guy, had it all together. He had his own house, a degree and only series past relationships. We simply just wanted all the same things at all the same time. By week 4; my daughter and I were meeting his family and he had bought me an out of country vacation. I was telling my family & friends – I’ve met my ONE. All my loneliness and waiting was for THIS perfect person. He painted a beautiful picture I had always dreamt off.
    By month 2 – I started to notice the drinking a lot and abusing of substances. I questioned it deep down but never questioned him. I mean, 2pm on a random Tuesday afternoon? Time went by over the next couple months where there were cracks but that’s normal? He was insecure. Constantly accusing men as trying to “steal” me away because I was too attractive for him. I laughed it off but now I think about it more… I don’t think he was? But who cares! I WAS IN LOVE. Eventually – he seemed quiet. He seemed to be standoffish days after I mentioned having a conversation with my daughter’s father. My daughter’s father who is remarried with additional children and lived 13 hours away. He mentioned to a close friend he thought I was acting weird since my conversation with him and assumed I still had feelings, huh? The person who abounded my daughter by moving across the country? Leaving me with no financial or physical help? HUH? Anyway, by this time we officially started sleeping together. He wasn’t able to physically before and by the time we had; I was hooked and reeled in. It was official. He loved me and he obviously wasn’t using me – for sex anyway.
    My month 3 – it was done. He seemed to care less about my feelings or when I would be upset. He was very dismissive of me in general. I worked daytime shifts and he worked bar shifts. In the past- he would come and stay with me after work. It eventually ended because I “would be asleep anyway” and he didn’t want to drink & then have to drive across town. He was staying up all night and going to bed at 6am to then lay in bed the next say until evening. It was a problem & I spoke vocally about it. He didn’t like it and by the time I could blink; he was starting fights and accused me of being in love with my Sister’s boyfriend/my nephew’s dad. Another male I had a close relationship with because family? My gut told me it was disgusting and uncalled for and I didn’t deserve to be accused of something so awful. I simply messaged; “don’t ever contact me again.”
    Just like that – he never contacted me again. Never said another word. But me? Oh – I cried every day for 60 days. I called and sent messages every other day begging & professing my love & sadness for the first months… With zero response. Not even a “leave me alone”. HOW? How can this person who loved me and waited his whole life just throw me away? My family & friends thought I was crazy and I WAS. It consumed me. How am I this upset and depressed over someone who I only dated for 3 months? This man spent so much money and energy on trying to make me happy and I pushed him away. I must have given him some reason to think the way he did, RIGHT? I did this. My only chance at happiness. But I still deep down; felt there was something wrong. Something didn’t make sense. I felt like my group of friends would get silent when I brought his name up. Well, 4 months went by – and an outside friend mentioned my ex was OBSESSED with her best friend & tried to ruin her current relationship. He begged her to leave her boyfriend and move her and her children into his house. To prove to his new victim he was “over me” – he said I was SLEEPING with my nephew’s dad. Those were the only things I needed to know. I didn’t ask for any other details or timeline. He was a sociopath. So I googled sociopath and stumbled upon love bombing narcissist. I feel so violated and so hurt. This person did research on me and targeted me. No wonder when I see my “ex” in public he gets uncomfortable and immediately leaves. No wonder I felt crazy for months because I was brain washed. HE NEVER LOVED ME. It’s hard to re-wire your brain; even after you figure it out. I still find myself sometimes thinking of him when I hear certain songs. Or I worry I’ll never feel the same way again as I felt with him—then I remember… it was fake. It’s so hard. I admire each and every one of you for sharing your story. I am glad mine was so short lived. I hope you have the courage to try and le
    love find you again someday.

  • New Life

    April 22nd, 2018 at 10:39 PM

    The article says EVERYTHING…
    I was in a relationship for 6 years and a half..
    I went through ALL the stages..tho I had no idea I was dealing with a narcissist..
    I only thought she was the ONE besides the LOVE bombing and been 15 years older than me..I toughgth she was right..
    Till I started to find info about Why people never apologize? Why people never take responsibility for their actions?
    Sure enough..I found out that she was a narcissists…I was devastated after the fact I was discarded….she would not show empathy at all..
    A week before I was treated as a queen and the next weekend was dumped…’s been now month…
    I am still suffering tho thanks to YouTube narcissists recovery videos being able to survive..

  • Steve

    April 23rd, 2018 at 9:00 AM

    Yes they are very devious in there actions. Always lying,cheating and setting up there next victim or victims. Over and over again and again.

    They say we all have an expiration date when the Narcopaths, will discard us to move on to new prey. It’s just a matter of time in there crazy world. They can’t keep there mask up forever,we start seeing them for who they really are.. Demons…

  • mike

    June 1st, 2018 at 2:56 AM

    The “love bombing” phase happened to me again….I was with my NARC over 2 1/2 years…We were married briefly…Divorce is the ultimate discard…I was depressed but I got through it with self help videos….I got a new phone number and I decided to give it to my Ex NARC…I was feeling forgiving for her….She did the love bombing again…She agreed to be more open,transparent, honest with me and her feelings…It didn’t last long…With my NARC, I feel like she just does not have my back…I told her this..I also explained that I read everything about narcissim and codependency….strangely enough…she thinks she is codependent…not a narcissist….yet she discards…silent treatment etc…..she even explained recently that she took me back mostly for sex….The NARC confesses in her own way that she is a NARC…I took her back because I felt I could help her with her narcissim…I cannot help her….Like with an alcoholic, they have to admit they have a problem first….In her head, she has no problem….But Im more aware of narcissists and their “strange” behaviors..

  • ennie

    November 9th, 2018 at 7:46 PM

    Is it possible for a narcissist to skip the “discard” phase? I was idealized and devalued by a covert narcissist but she wouldn’t discard me because she wanted to keep taking advantage of me and keep doing favors for her to make her life more convenient, like give her a ride when her back hurts, etc.

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 26th, 2018 at 6:48 AM

    @Ennie — yes, it’s possible that the abuser doesn’t do a “final discard” and just circles back to re-engage when they have run low on ego fuel (narcissistic supply) — but there may be long gaps of time when you don’t hear from the abuser.

  • Ian

    November 23rd, 2018 at 5:17 AM

    After just reading the single most positively stated, and in turn most empowering paragraph in the reams of literature ever read on this subject having been victimised most damagingly myself I want to thank you for the last paragraph of the above paper:
    Survivors can heal and move forward with the help of psychotherapy and support in narrating their story and resolving the trauma of emotional abuse. Understanding the dynamics of abuse empowers survivors to lessen any cognitive dissonance remaining as a result of gaslighting and other emotional abuse. Armed with knowledge, survivors understand the relationship cycle they endured and can move forward with enough protective armor such that they can jump off the merry-go-round of emotional abuse and be just fine.

    The image of jumping off and walking away just fine I will carry with me for ever!
    Thank you, that single statement has just given me the hope that I know will carry me on.
    Thank you x

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 24th, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    @Ian — so glad this article continues to be so inspiring for many, years after it was written. Glad it was helpful for you. Yes, getting off the merry-go-round is crucial for survivors…here’s to your peace and moving forward!

  • Ian F

    November 25th, 2018 at 4:56 AM

    Thank you , and for anyone else reading, that end paragraph helped me to conjure up a image of myself literally stepping off a hazy whirlwind of a merry-go-round feeling just as I had been before I was ever sucked into it.. confident, smiling, full of my own joy and love for life and everybody in it , that me that I have missed so much and thought that I’d never see again. And as I sat enjoying and contemplating that image of myself I imagined jumping from where I was sitting right into that image of myself so that I could enjoy being my real self again.
    And as I stayed there I realised that all of what I was I still am , all of that joy , love and light I still am , and as I opened my eyes I deceived in that moment to get off and walk away just as I had seen myself doing feeling just fine.
    Do the same , live your life and have the courage to be as awesome as you are simply by just being who you are is also a piece of recent advice that Im going to keep reminding myself of also, and how effortless can that be ?! :)
    Love and best wishes
    Ian x

  • Ian f

    November 25th, 2018 at 5:16 AM

    Spelling correction : I decided in that moment ….
    Not decieved, although I think that spelling mistake adds something actually,
    Are any of us actually truly deceived? I Like to think not, and that our greatest gift is quite the opposite .
    Thankfully x

  • Andrea Schneider

    November 26th, 2018 at 7:47 PM

    @Ian — well, if you have landed safely with a trauma-informed therapist skilled in dealing with narcissistic abuse recovery/relational trauma, that’s fantastic. Again, glad the article was illuminating and validating for you to help you reclaim your self-worth. Onward! A.

  • Mike

    February 7th, 2019 at 12:44 AM

    I really feel for all the people here who crossed paths and entered into a relationship with these defective human beings. Void of any positive emotions or feelings. Portraying a facade to the world, propping itself up to make itself appear perfect when the fact of the matter is, these people are far from perfect and they know it, hence why they must create the false image because they hate ones real inner self. Fortunately for me, I was able to hone in on my gut instinct and instead of accepting the narcissists emotional abuse as a way in manipulating me into believing any problem, any issue, any argument, is entirely my fault, I wasn’t prepared to accept such harsh criticism and characterization and just knew intuitively and instinctively that when a person that was so rigid and so aggressively in denial of any responsibility, that that’s not normal, and the problem wasn’t with me, it was with them. With that in mind, I went out and searched the internet and found an abundance of information that I could link their behaviors to and it didn’t take very long at all to confirm that instinct, that the problem was with them, not me.
    Armed with a lot of good accurate information, I was able to control my behaviors that was designed to limit the narcissistic supply that she was craving. I was able to settle and compose myself, emotionally detach and take back my heart. Fortunately I only endured 18months of exposure to this toxic person. Nevertheless, some days were extremely hard. Although I am still living with her whilst I prepare my exit plan, it’s a pretend relationship, it’s a facade that I have created that will ultimately result in a covert discard of her when the timing is right.

    So please people, be aware of your relationship dynamics, if something doesn’t feel right, doesn’t seem right, follow it up, do some research. There is a tonne of information out there which could ultimately save your life. It saved mine.

  • Fool Me Once

    March 6th, 2019 at 1:46 AM

    Sigh. Yes, I’m realizing that I’ve been duped by a con. He love bombed me hard in the beginning, and one of my chief complaints from the start was that he always grilled me for personal details, almost demanding them, but would give very little if any personal info on himself. He was extremely guarded, but expected me to spill EVERYTHING. Super personal intimate info. Then he’d use that info I shared later to hurt me. Of course not opening up to me, I didn’t have the same ammo to throw at him. If I ever questioned anything he did, he would attack me by using personal info I’d shared to hurt me. If I ever brought a genuine concern to him, he’d immediately get angry and throw something in my face I’d shared with him to attack me and try to make me feel badly. He was untouchable, even his obviously abusive behavior, but everything I did was wrong. He love bombed hard, then attacked me if I ever brought up real concerns. He gaslighted SO hard! I genuinely thought he just had an awful memory, but quickly caught on he only claimed not to remember things that would hold him accountable, or make him own to things he didn’t want to own up to! He never “forgot” things that put him in a good light! But if something put him in a bad light? He had no memory of it at all. Like being caught in a lie. He would just say, “I don’t remember that. You have a bad memory.” Right!!! As if. I would show him text messages where he said things and he’d say I misunderstood. Blatant lies, were just me “misunderstanding” or not remembering what he really said. Entire conversations and discussions that had gone on for days and weeks, he suddenly had no memory of and tried to tell me I’d made it all up in my head. He was blameless, always. He could never, ever take responsibility for anything, it was always my fault, or he’d find a way to twist it around to attack me when he was to blame. If he ever did apologize, it was manipulative to get back in my good graces, but he’d do that EXACT same behavior over and over and over until the apologies were just an insincere broken record.
    Someone mentioned humor. YES! They have NO sense of normal teasing humor that normal couples enjoy. Playful teasing is NORMAL. If I ever tried to playfully tease him he would FREAK OUT and start verbally abusing me, attacking me, and get very, very angry! THIS IS NOT NORMAL! If I ever tried to set healthy boundaries, he would threaten suicide! This started one year in. It got more and more frequent til he’d blurt it out constantly. If I didn’t want to marry him, “Fine, I’m just gonna go kill myself right now if you don’t want to get married!” And, “Tell me there’s a hope we’re going to get married or I can’t take it and I’m going to kill myself right now!” Obviously these empty suicide threats were just manipulation to keep me around. I see that now. At the time I thought he was genuinely suicidal and was concerned. I was walking on eggshells to keep him from getting upset or sad so he wouldn’t kill himself. Wow. What a fool I was at the time (no fault of my own, this is NOT normal behavior!).
    Finally, after he lashed out and attacked me verbally in a really, really nasty way and got very verbally abusive, I refused to take it and sent him a text so it was in writing (I had resorted to putting everything in text so I had proof and he couldn’t gaslight me and claim the conversation was all in my head, like he always tried to do) and I told him in this text that he had lied to me repeatedly, and I was drawing a line in the sand, and I wasn’t allowing him to treat me like this any more. I said A LOT. It was many long texts, basically making a list of all the big lies I’d caught him in, telling him I wasn’t going to tolerate his abusive behavior any longer, and he needed serious help. That’s when he sent me a very short text (previously he’d sent me pages of texts every time he texted, dozens of times a day) and simply said our relationship wasn’t healthy and he was going to take a break from me. That was it. WOW! So I call him on all his BS, speak it plainly and with proof, tell him he can’t abuse me any more, and he disappears without another word. WHAT? He didn’t answer anything I brought up in my texts, even though he’d JUST told me right before that if I stopped talking to him he’d kill himself, that my DAILY texts and phone calls were what kept him alive, etc. Suddenly being called out for the abusive he is erased his need to talk to me all day, every day. I was baffled at how quickly he flipped this switch. You should see the texts he’d sent me every day before this. Telling me he couldn’t go a day without talking to me, I was the only thing keeping him going, the reason he was still alive, if I ever stopped talking to him it’d kill him literally by suicide, etc. Then when I’m not taking his abuse any more, POOF he disappears without another word. He didn’t even TRY to apologize for all the issues I called him out on. He didn’t even TRY. It was just over like that. Flip a switch it’s done. So I decide fine, he doesn’t want to talk any more, I’m good at this because I’m so pissed off. But I didn’t expect the GRIEF that came. Crushing grief. I missed the daily contact, someone who seemed to care about every little thing I did, and asked me about all the details of my life and seemed to care. Things were so QUIET and lonely without his attention. No one cared any more about the cute things my pet did. No one else cared about my daily whereabouts and what I did each day. The details of my life didn’t matter to anyone any more. I wasn’t prepared for the total shock of going cold turkey from constant attention to none. We miss the affection when it’s jerked away. But I stayed strong!! He did text me shortly after he froze me out, wanting comfort from me because he said something happened in his life that was sad. At least that’s what he claims, it could have been a lie, because he lies constantly and we’re long distance so I have no way to prove if from afar. But I didn’t bite. I didn’t rush in with the care and empathy and support and love I usually did. Then it escalated a few days later, he claimed a family pet died. Also didn’t bite that. Then a few days later he claims a huge family tragedy happened and he needs my support. I still didn’t bite. A relative is dying! Nope, not biting. He tried hard to get me to give him support and comfort, but I wasn’t playing that game with him any more. You want to act like NOTHING happened, like all the BS I called you out on doesn’t matter, you want me to be there for you all the time, supporting you, loving you, comforting you, but you can’t even own up to your own SH*T and apologize to me????? You can’t be there for me, showing me support. It’s always ALL ABOUT YOU. The one time I actually need him to be supportive he ghosted, then has the darn nerve to ask me for comfort!!! NOT HAVING IT! It’s taken me yrs to see him for what he is. And I’m not taking the bait.
    GET OUT while you can. It’s an endless cycle where their needs are the entire focus of the relationship, they will DRAIN YOU of all your love, energy, comfort, support, encouragement, etc. They are a bottomless black hole pit that you can NEVER fill! You will just end up drained and exhausted. They are incapable of truly giving you real emotional support. But will ask everything of you. Don’t do it. Get out!

  • Lee

    November 1st, 2019 at 4:34 PM

    This is oh so familiar , I thought I was wise and the man around town , confident , loyal , generous , loving – this girl even got close to my daughter but never my friends she tried turning me against them all saying they wasn’t real mates ( 25 year soul mates , We had an explosive year I thought she was my soul mate she pushed ne to get engaged talked about kids names !! then she attacked me put me down , cheated and even took me out in front of these people all my pals saw and watched me be changed and mugged off but I didn’t believe them its insane cos I’m normally so perceptive and she made me feel like I was crackers and I went against my gut .. I am glad in a way iv been through it cos I recognise these people now and I can’t actually believe these people are amongst us …. scary thing is 6 months on she’s still trying to make my name s*** to cover her ?! they spend all this energy acting and lying and for what ?!?!? why scares me people believe it …. very fu***** up .. but LOVE and been NICE will always win ( I hope !?!?! ) worst thing is the ex bird and ex wife are suddenly best mates and planning to Destroy me hahah!!!! ‘ yep I need to run ‘ !!!!!

  • budlift

    September 21st, 2020 at 11:14 PM

    My experience was a little dissimilar to those I’ve read in this thread. And for those of you who have suffered, evidently some for decades, you have my deepest sympathy. I suffered, in fact I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, but it all started and ended so quickly, I did not have the lifelong, repetitive, horrifying experiences I am reading here. This was all word based, and none of it was action based, until the end. (The backstory here is COVID . . . and the distancing was a factor here). Bombing began mid-July (oh my god the words . . . I had never heard anything like them). We spent a little time dancing around it, but the The L words first spoken July 28. And it continued to escalate, multiple contacts per day texts, emails, phone calls, (some five or more hours). Mutual serotonin stimulation. The trepidation for the first face meeting, Aug 22, a Sunday. We had a lovely dinner, ended the night making out in the car. We exchanged gifts. And I got one last love note Monday morning. And then down came the cone of silence. We never spoke again. After a few days of typically cheery texts, I got a rather frosty, and somewhat vague email indicating that during “spiritual testing”.she had to limit communication to only what could not be avoided, in her case work. And she said she’d be strengthened when she emerged. But she made no mention of me, “the person she’d been waiting for all her life”. Foolishly, I took the absence of “no” to mean “yes”. . . . how could it not be? So the devaluing and discarding were done in silence. I can look back and say that I was told at the 72 hour mark. But it could have all happened within 2 hours of that last flowery note. I am seeing a therapist I trust for a few short sessions, starting tomorrow, just to negate the cognitive dissonance. The thing is, as on this site, there is a wealth of reputable material to study and absorb. By DSM 5, Judy was not textbook NPD. So a question I have for the therapist is, is, curiosity aside, should her diagnosis even matter to me? . The most difficult thing for me now is that I will be unable to trust. probably ever again. And I was built to trust. I believe in kindness, honesty, empathy, generosity, caring, selflessness . . . . these words have meaning. But the word love sits at the top, and to many has a magic mystical significance that transcends these other traits. To me, that word has lost its meaning, I’m not sure anymore if love is “a thing”. I can say for a fact “closure” is not a thing.

  • Kurt

    October 19th, 2020 at 2:11 PM

    The essential thing to understand is trauma bonding. That’s something most people who haven’t been target themselves don’t comprehend.

  • APM

    October 28th, 2020 at 6:56 PM

    Budlift, your story is intriguing as she left you out to dry on August 22nd, and I met this woman on the 24th. Please tell me you’re not in Colorado! Anyhow, here is my story…
    I met this woman online. She approached me with a “like” and when I saw this I was in awe of how gorgeous she was. Sadly she was two hours away, but I was going to entertain this. I also thought maybe this was a mistake, so I just sent a message that said, “Gorgeous”. To my surprise, within minutes she responded. Long story shorter, we started to text over the phone very quickly and within two days we made a plan to meet at a hotel. I was shocked at this because she is who recommended this. Again, this woman is drop dead gorgeous, so of course I said yes. I figured I would get there and she would not be at all like her pictures. I was way wrong! She is even better looking in person.

    The night was amazing! We talked, we laughed, and we of course had lots of amazing sex! However, a few things she did and said stuck in my head from the evening. She had told me up front that this was just sex, nothing more. I told her I wasn’t interested in that and she said ok. She also told me that I was going to fall in love with her. I just blew that off, but during sex she quietly whispered to me that she loved me. I just pretended I didn’t hear that, and kept on going. The next morning we said our goodbyes, but I was so sad to see her go and told her I would miss her and if she ever wanted to hang out again, call me. And off she went…

    Later that day I thought I hit the lottery, because she called me! She said that she wanted to see me again. Of course I said yes and within a few dates she had met my family, I had met her two kids, and things were almost perfect! She would tell me how much she loved me, that I made her life so much better, that we would be together forever. All these wonderful things, and I believed her. We were almost inseparable. I truly fell in love with this stunning, personable, fun woman. She was everything and guy wanted. I mean, when she walked into a room, all heads would turn to look at her!

    Then things started to fall apart. She started to get very mad over the dumbest things, and she would say horrible insulting things to me, trying to get me angry at her. I had never heard any woman act like this. Again though, she was so damn hot and the sex was amazing, so I took it. However, she never would apologize for what she said, it was always me that was wrong, even though I knew it was her. She often would accuse me of saying things that I never said. I started to wonder if I maybe did say these things. She was very convincing too. I would have to beg her to let it go, apologize for things that I didn’t do, and then she would relax and we would go back to being happy. Like nothing had ever happened. Until the last fight which was about five days ago.

    The day started perfectly, we woke up together, we had sex twice that morning, but then I had to leave to go and work. We texted back and forth until about 5PM talking about Holiday plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She was at work now and then out of the blue she went off her hinges. She started saying that we would’t work out if my son came to live with me. I never had said my son was coming to live with me. This made no sense, so I texted her back and asked her what this was all about? She just went ballistic. Texting me all this odd nonsense about my son and how it was over. She was treating me like crap, and I couldn’t understand. Finally she said I need to make a choice between her and my son living with me. I said, well, my son I suppose. And that was that and she was gone.

    I tried everything I could think of to get her to change her mind. She was not having it. Would not talk to me, she would just text me awful things, but then she hit a cord, she said something that sent me to a bad place and I lost it. I went off on her. I said some horrible things, but I had been reading these horrible texts from her for two days, and every argument before. I do regret what I said, but then she went into hyper mean. What she said just took my breath away and made me feel like no man ever should. I was crushed, she told me she was using me, that I was pathetic, never that she just felt sorry for me, and so on and so on. It was such a blow! I said F this and said a couple more hurtful things.

    This doesn’t end here. I for some reason still wanted her so badly. I loved this woman so much. I tried to apologize for what I had said, but she would not listen. Somehow the whole fight about my son living with me was no longer the issue, it was that I insulted her. It’s all very confusing. I was in tears because I love her so much, but she said that she warned me never to say mean things to her, and I did, so it’s over. I think to myself, why is she allowed to say horrible things, but I am not. Makes no sense.

    Anyway, to cut to the end of this, she told me last night that we would never be together again. She is back on the dating website too. I am so broken down by this entire thing too. Accidently (so she says) texted me today about something going on at her work. I responded and asked that she delete me from her phone. She said she can’t. I told her she had to because it is too difficult to get messages from her. She responded to me saying that I should not text her again because she will no longer receive them…
    The end…

    I fell for a Narcissistic and it hurts like hell!

  • HS

    October 29th, 2020 at 11:55 AM

    Being discarded is a blessing, and not something to vex over for people who’re entangled with these creatures, really. The real kicker is that, if you’ve been with a person with this disorder, you have some issues of your own to deal with. Because, there was probably a million minor offenses and red flags that you just let slide instead of telling this person to eff off or at least distance yourself from them.

    Don’t tolerate someone else to do things to you that you wouldn’t do to others. This is your moral duty to yourself.

  • Kelly

    November 12th, 2020 at 1:56 PM

    This article is old but could have been written about me, today. I’m suffering because he makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. 22 years of this cycle. I need to get off this ride please!!! “Impress me” he says. I’m doing it all. I have no more to give…I made the move to separate and now I’m the bad guy…..

  • budlift

    January 2nd, 2021 at 12:51 PM

    That’s quite a tale. I see some similarities to my experience, and some differences. My wounds are healed. But as HS mentioned, I have issues of my own. Yes, there were red flags, the biggest one was going from zero to soulmate in a few weeks, without having ever sat in the same room. That’s lunacy, but I ignored the obvious. Or I should say what is obvious to me now. Judy found my vulnerabilities and made them her strengths. Was her goal to torment me? I actually do not think so, because that describes a normal person. Does a narc really want to harm you, is that their intent? I do not think it is. I think that’s collateral damage. But I better understand my vulnerabilities and I am mindful of them.
    Did she run my fuel tank dry, and then seek out some new source of energy? I do not have any way of knowing. My guess is yes. Had she done this dozens of times? I have no proof; I can only speculate.
    Our situations are different only in the sense that our vulnerabilities are different. Your narc captivated you with beauty and sex, told you it was only for sex, then said you would fall in live with her, and whispered I love you. What a toolkit. You met her family (that’s subtle). She knew you wanted to love and be loved and accommodated that to control you. Then she dangled permanence in front of you. We have that in common. When she tired of the admiration, rubbish bin for you. And she couldn’t delete you from her phone. Huh? Weird phone.
    So I can’t trust. That’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  • AS

    March 24th, 2021 at 7:59 PM

    I have been married to a narcissist for 15 years and JUST NOW realized what’s he is! I’ve been living the last 14 years in fear and pain. I always thought that he was the way he is because of his first marriage and because of the way he was raised. But the way he put his hands on me last night and then straight up talked trash to our kids!?!? I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m too scared to leave. NOT to mention I don’t have any money to start over with 3 kids on my own and I damn sure won’t leave them with him. I’ve attempted suicide 3 times. I guess that’s why he has stayed with me longer than the average narcissist, because he has fed on my weakness. But knowing this now I still don’t know what to do. My oldest child was pretending to be asleep so she wouldn’t have to get the same treatment as my other 2 children. And when I took them to 🏫 this morning she said that she ended up crying herself to sleep. I can’t let him keep hurting us, emotionally, psychologically, and/ or physically. But like I said I don’t know what to do to escape. I have nothing and nobody. My Dad and Grandma passed away recently they were the only 2 family members I had other than brothers and sisters and I could never go to them because my husband would kill them if they tried to help me or hide me, and they all have kids of there own. And it’s not like I can go out and find me a new man. At this point I’m so broken that I think I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than to ever take a chance at love again. I mean who lives there everyday life like they are stepping on egg shells?
    I have! I cry and cry and cry all the time. I feel like I am a little child in a news article that’s been abused for so long and was too young and helpless and scared to escape and in the end the news article is ultimately displaying the life she endured and then ultimately her untimely death.
    Knowing my luck that S.O.B would somehow get away with it though. My kids are my #1 priority and for there well being it’s best if we left but not only is my husband’s narcissism dangerous but he has described the kids as being “his” and that I would never take them from him or he would find me and kill me. The older my kids get while witnessing the abuse is not healthy for them. I want the cycle of abuse and manipulation and selfishness and just straight up evil to stop with my husband. He can keep it to himself. I believe my good heart can inspire my children to be better than he is.
    I feel like I’m just un-understandably going on and on. So….
    Does anyone know what I should do? Are there any resources out there to help me and my kids escape beyond him ever finding us? Someone please help!
    The email I have put in for commenting is an email address that I can only check every now and then because my regular email is also linked to his phone and I can’t let him know that I am trying to get away.
    Thanks in advance for any help

  • Andrea Schneider

    March 26th, 2021 at 4:24 PM

    Hi / I am the author of this article. I don’t often check the blog posts since a long time has elapsed since I wrote the article but I will share a few hotlines that may be helpful: National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE and the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine : 800-273-8255 If you or your loved ones are experiencing an imminent threat to your health or safety, call 911

  • DJ

    April 2nd, 2021 at 6:34 PM

    I just want you to know that your article, as well as the stories of the respondents, has helped me greatly in understanding what has just occurred in a recent relationship. Thanks so much for this!

  • budlift

    April 3rd, 2021 at 6:57 PM

    @Andrea, I would also like to thank you for checking in, and for your article, which has been valuable to everyone on this page who contributed.

    My remaining comments are directed primarily to the group.

    I have never been an adherent of talk therapy; this incident had me knocking at the therapist’s door within a day. I chose Gary because he had authored a book on marital love. In the book he distinguished “love” from “being in love”. He memorably described the latter as a temporary state of psychosis. I prepared by providing Gary with a synopsis, and my objectives. I was looking for some answers or ideas, I thought I had the right questions, and I was able to meet my objectives in two sessions.

    I won’t marginalize anybody’s experience or commentary, we each had different experiences, of different durations, and we each experienced a different level of psychic damage. I don’t think anyone has suffered less than I did.

    This is a long thread, I read through most of the comments. The sense I get is that we are each describing past experiences that we have emerged from. Anyone who’s still in the quicksand has different needs than most of us do. We’ve shared our stories, it was cathartic. It was tragic to read them all, but there was a sameness to them.

    I think we have this in common. We are sincere, trusting, honest, and loving people. By our nature, we expect the people who we are close with to be sincere, trustworthy, honest, and loving as well.

    Why don’t we just recognize this as group therapy and move to the next phase.
    – We have more finally calibrated radar, or we know where to turn to get it.
    – Your narc knows your secrets, your weaknesses, and is an expert at exploiting them. Use your radar, and detach from those emotions.
    – Other than as necessary (child custody, division of shared assets for example) we know how to deal with our narcs. Don’t.
    – If you feel love for your narc, you are wrong, you are feeling an emotion that you are mistaking for love. Once your narc learns of it, you are sunk.
    – It was essential to tell our stories, and to know we were not alone, but that in itself did not heal us.
    – So let’s heal us. Move on! Look forward. Learn what love is, because you didn’t know.
    – Your need for companionship, the comfort you thought you were getting, the affection you thought you were getting; this sense of warmth did not come from love. It came from false needs.
    – To love, you need to love yourself. Only then can you offer it, and now you know to only offer it to someone who deserves it. And then, you just might get it back. If it’s offered to you for no evident reason, go back to step radar.

    With these comments, and the approval of @Andrea and the others in our group, I’m going to recommend that this thread be closed to further comments.

  • Andrea Schneider

    April 3rd, 2021 at 8:30 PM

    @DJ – I am glad the article was helpful @ budlift – no, the article will remain open for comments.

  • Liz

    August 3rd, 2021 at 2:13 PM

    Cannot believe that at 67 was taken in by love bombing and false promises of a future of undying love. For the past 3 years felt I was the only one gullible enough to not see through his lies and manipulation. Knew what he was but for some reason could not break away. Lost self respect and dignity, confidence and joy. I am a shadow on my former self. So disgusted that I would allow myself to be treated in this way. The verbal abuse the disgusting filthy accusations. Can’t look at myself for the feelings of shame.
    Have read through everything posted here in two evenings and I feel stronger for the fist time. I am not alone and many many people have been duped the same as me. We aren’t weak or stupid or defenceless but people who care and know how to love but someone comes along and crushes every good thing we feel and think. I’m walking away. I’m goi g to be as strong as I know how. I will learn to love myself again and walk with my head held high. And I know that despite everything I am good, kind, loving and enough.

  • I fell for it

    September 16th, 2021 at 9:20 AM

    This article and thread have been really helpful. Since I learned about NPD, I alternate between devouring information on it to refusing to look at it because it’s so upsetting and triggering. My story starts long ago. I met him as a college kid and was instantly smitten. I mean, after our first five minute meeting, I told my friends this was the man I was going to marry. As two broke, busy college kids, I got no love bombing. We didn’t have much in common, but had so much fun and were falling in love. We’d be on dates, and bartenders, waitresses, and other patrons would pull me or us aside and tell me how in love we seemed. In him, however, I found someone I truly connected to. At the time, I wouldn’t have identified anything as narcissistic behavior. I know know that NPD can rear its ugly head in your 20s. Life happened and we went our separate ways. We reconnected decades later. It felt magical to reunite. Our connection was still there. I learned that some very traumatic things had happened to him since we last knew each other. They were true – don’t think I didn’t double check on that once things started to take a turn. Our first year was wonderful. Again, there was no over the top love bombing. It was just picking up where we left off. We actually had a lot more in common now due to being parents and similar careers. I should mention we were at a distance from one another but saw each other often. I never had any reason not to trust him because he was my person. Around the one year mark, however, I caught him in some lies. They were small and silly. I’d think, why would he even lie about that? But, at that point, I hadn’t made the leap to – gee, if he’s lying about small things, what else is he hiding while I’m hours away? Then there were photos of other women on his social media. He’d downplay it and accuse me of being jealous or overreacting. These things alone made me scratch my head and think, who is this person? He’s not the man I thought I knew. Then, once, during a visit, he didn’t greet me when I arrived as he usually does. I walked into the back room and found him standing at an easel. He was painting a portrait of one of the girls he’d posted photos of online. Oh, the look on my face. But I did not react. He knew I was coming over. He orchestrated this whole thing as a means of triangulation. There would be other situations like that. Telling me one girl or another surprised him at work with lunch or they bumped into each other and hung out. I refused to react. While, being friends with members of the opposite sex isn’t necessarily an issue, he was doing this on purpose. I’m hours away. Why tell me unless you want a reaction or to provoke me? Weekly video chats and near daily phone calls ceased. Then, he stopped texting good morning and goodnight. Next, he stopped responding to any of my texts after 5 pm. Then, he wouldn’t respond to pretty much any of my texts. But if he needed me for something, I had to answer right away or be ready to talk on the phone whenever he had to vent or needed a favor. When we did talk, we discussed everyday things and it all seemed so normal. And, while I didn’t believe his excuse of being too busy at work to text or call, I let it go. I figured, I’m being a good partner and giving him space. We’d continue to work out our future. Planning vacations and looking at real estate listings. He continued to tell me how much he loved me, that we were soul mates. But those conversations, nourishing and reassuring in a way, were followed by silent treatment. Flash forward to the end. In a short period of time, crazy stuff happened at work, I was in a car accident, had covid, and learned I needed surgery. He would not return a single text about one of these things. The person who claimed I was the love of his life didn’t care when I was in a car accident. While I was recovering from covid, he accepted one of my calls. It started out normal, but then he angrily blurted out that he was never in love with me, we were never a couple, and he would never marry or live with me. To say I was shocked is the understatement of the century. It’s been months and I am finally accepting the situation. Not that he dumped me, but that I was involved with with a seriously disturbed individual. It was only after, that I started to realize other things. He neglected his pets. He took advantage of friends and coworkers. He abandoned many people at their times of need. He exhibited addictive behaviors. He broke rules and laws. He betrayed people without a second thought. I don’t know if he has NPD, but something is not right with this man. As far as closure goes, I just want answers, I want to know what happened. How and why that switch got flipped. I have to accept, however, that I’ll never get answers. Was there another woman? Most likely. Did he get bored of me? Probably. Is is a sick, damaged person? Definitely. My heart goes out to all of his victims. There would have been a time I’d have been envious of the women who got vacations and date nights with this guy. The things I never got a chance to experience. But, in the end, what he gives is part of this game, as is taking. He steals from every person he comes in contact with. Their souls, their trust, their secrets, their innocence, energy, time, and much more. Looking ahead, everyone’s healing journey is different. I think we build up scar tissue, but it’s right there as a reminder of what we’ve been through.

  • Sly

    December 17th, 2021 at 11:56 AM

    I hear you. Yep , he’s a narcissist! I can NOW recognize one 10 kilometers away. I fell for it too, and it was exactly how you described it, plus the love bombing. When the discard occured, I was in complete shock. I had to research the internet , did a lot of reading and found out about these mental problems. I had no idea people like these existed; I had no idea what had just happened to me. But then everything cleared up: he was a narcissist a-hole, with some elements of BPD.
    To the public he seemed perfect: friendly, charming, well balanced, caring and generous. That was just his MASK. Underneath that lovely facade which made you think he was a dream come true, he was the exact opposite.
    What he said never matched his actions. He never took responsability for anything. It was never his fault and he was always the victim. He was blaming his former partners, his father, his bosses, you name it.
    He was lying, cheating, triangulating, denying, projecting and gaslighting. Everything was about him: his feelings, his needs, his problems, his moods. He had no empathy whatsoever.
    His moods were all over the place, and sometimes I thought he had multiple personalities. He was hot and cold, always pushing and pulling, making me think I was the crazy and insecure one. When I was setting boundaries he would become hostile or passive agressive.

    Some of the things he would say were downright allarming. For some reason, I let it go trying to convince myself that I was exaggerating and everything was ok. But of course it wasn’t.
    These people change in a heart beat. They are unpredictable; they are not only toxic, but dangerous. They can become violent. Now that I think of some of the things he said, I’m amazed I’m still in one piece. God knows what (else) he’s capable of. These are disturbed people and the Best thing you can do is RUN , sever all contact for good, block on all chanels and don’t look back. They are empty inside and crave constant attention and validation, from as many sources as possible. NOTHING and NOBODY can fill that void inside them, and they can’t change. You couldn’t have done anything to make the relationship work, or to make him happy. Nobody can and nobody will. Be glad you’re alive and get going. You lost Nothing.

  • Rotten KU

    December 27th, 2021 at 10:44 PM

    Whirlwind is the right word! On again off again. I didnt get it at all at the start. All the attention, deception, manipulation, love bombing and then nothing but silence and cheating. Fortunately I was able to get out of it without much harm. But it still seems to be like work, getting over it.

  • Peter

    July 13th, 2022 at 4:53 AM

    I have a question if anyone is still reading this thread.
    Having loved and married a sociopath, I recognise a lot of the above behaviour. We seemed to have the perfect life. Then one day I came home, and she was gone, with no explanation. After she left, she wrote to me often, telling me she loved me. The letters only stopped when I found out she had married someone else only months after walking out on me. Anyway, she hurt me in a way I did not think was possible. My question is, after tracking her down years later to get a divorce, I find myself in a position to hurt her. She has continued to commit bigamy (multiple times) and I have the proof, so my question is, should I inform the police or not? At first I thought to be magnanimous, but she cannot resist trying to play her games even now and I am not sure what to do anymore.

  • I fell for it

    July 19th, 2022 at 7:21 PM

    Gosh. I’d say, just do what you need to do to get her out of your hair. Then she’ll be in the rearview mirror and you can move forward.

  • Peter

    July 21st, 2022 at 9:26 AM

    ‘I fell for it’ thank you for your reply. She has been in the rear-view mirror for a very long time. It was some old letters and photographs unexpectantly turned up and convinced me to track her down and get divorced. It was during that journey of discovery that I realised for the first time that she was a sociopath, and that the special relationship I thought I had had with her was nothing more than a charade. What I find infuriating is that she still thinks she can play these mind games with me even after all these years, and a part of me feels she should face the consequences of her actions; she has hurt many people over the years. I know I should be able to feel compassion for her. After all, she is a sociopath and her life has been devoid of love and empathy, but I just can’t.

  • Ruth

    January 15th, 2023 at 11:33 PM

    This is ME too – it took me years to realize that this condition has a name and that the person with whom I’ve been in love is a very damaged and wreck less person. But nonetheless, I’m in it and I’m at the “discard” stage where they decide they the want to abandon everything. I’ve been through it all the “Jekyll /Hyde” acts, the excessively “in love” acts, the over-the-top expressions of love as well as the devastatingly hurtful acts and mean words and evil dispositions – all of it. We’ve been married 19 years and together for nearly 25. My situation took years to unravel, even tho I would see spirts of this up and down behavior, but he would always apologize profusely and then get me roses or some kind of expensive gift. I didn’t realize the gifts were part of the manipulation and control. But i would fall for it each time and forgive him – sometimes I would apologize (for something i didn’t even do) and then have to hear about how I causes the whole situation and how my ways are the cause of the problems in our marriage. This would be all because I asked to spend quality time together or go away on a weekend. In 2021, my sister passed away and his behavior actually go worse. It seems he thinks I have no one to speak up for me and no one to be on my side so he can act as stupid, mean, evil, and nasty as he wants. But of course, I forgive him time after time. He’s cheated and I forgive, he’s criticized and I forgive, he’s devastated and humiliated me and I forgive, He’s gotten physical a couple of times (not hitting, but grabbing me by my arms and shaking me), but he apologizes and I forgive, – on Christmas Day he cursed me out and accused me of taking his supplements, and I forgive. I’m to the point now where I’m trying to do as little talking as possible. I used to force conversations and interactions so we can act like a real married couple instead of living like roommates, but each time it end in disaster – he always manages to pick a fight and it’s all on me. So now fast forward to 2023, we had been struggling – he spends more time at work and at the gym. When he’s home, we hardly talk anymore and if we do, it’s about the weather or something generic. The other day he said that he would hear me out and that I could say what was on my mind and that he would listen. So I thought “finally – he’s actually serious about working things out. WRONG! Boy was I wrong – it was a set up and it ended with him blurting out that he wanted out of this marriage – he’s not happy. BUT just last week he told me how much he loved me and needed me and was making plans for buying us a new house and all these plans. But boom now he wants out of the Marriage. So I called his bluff and said fine – I didn’t react and I said if you want out, then file for divorce. So then he goes back to threatening me to say if I don’t stop this @#(#@*$@ then he’s going to file! I mean one minute it’s one way and the next minute it’s another. So – I’m now to the point where I’m trying to come up with a plan to get away and get out. I’m realizing that this is only going to get worse. He is so full of himself and I;m wondering why did it take me so long to see it for myself. And to add insult to injury, way back in the beginning of our relationship, I was warned. Oh yes I was warned by a few people who told be to stay away from him and that he was not who he portrayed himself to be. But he was so charming and wonderful to me – he made me feel like I was the only woman alive and that I was the best thing since sliced bread. For years he showered me with love and compliments. Then about 7 years into our marriage he started to switch. I thought maybe it was the “7-yr itch” and I needed to ride it out. Well I did and we made it through and things went back to what I thought was normal, but “IT” started happening again then it would die down then it would start up again and it won’t stop. I want to get off this ride so again, I’m in the process of making a plan. Being married I can’t just walk because it would blow up my own life in the process. So I need a plan and once I figure out what to do and where I’m going to land safely, then I’ll make a move. I just pray I can get away and come out still sane. I welcome any suggestions for an exit plan

  • Gwen

    September 25th, 2023 at 11:46 PM

    When u are loved, u can feel that. When u are hated, and treated despicably, but are told that u are loved, but whatever is happening is all your fault, u lose your self confidence when u start believing this. They will find out different things about you and use that against you in a twisted fashion. Better leave now, unless u want to be used for some more years and then thrown away.

  • Greg

    May 18th, 2023 at 3:04 AM

    Just another person chiming in to say this happened to me, too, and I’m frankly shocked to realize it. I never would have guessed that she was as manipulative and narcissistic until after the relationship ended and I’ve been working things out with a therapist. The description of the relationship fits mine like a glove. She was very doting and attentive at first, but 2 or 3 dates in she suddenly mentioned that I was gaslighting her when I asked her how she was feeling. She is a therapist and used that as her position of power to control me and invalidate my perception and experience, projecting that I was gaslighting and projecting at her. I should have trusted my gut because I knew that wasn’t happening. 6 months in, she stops having sex and won’t have a genuine conversation about it. 9 months in she leaves because I asked her how she was feeling again and we break up. She was on dating apps within 24 hours of us breaking up. Obviously, much more happened in the middle, but it’s all very in line with what I’m reading here and I’m so grateful for this understanding that I’m starting to get.
    This relationship has damaged me in terms of self-esteem and self-worth and trusting my own perception. Knowing that this is an established pattern with a type of person can help me reestablish my reality and understanding of how good I am. Thanks to everyone for sharing and I hope everyone finds their resilience.

  • B.Y.

    November 24th, 2023 at 5:41 AM

    I cannot consider myself as a victim, or survivor. It’s very complicated. It’s like two stories in one… 35+ years with a narcissistic young brother and my ex, who betrayed me. My ex is not narcissistic, but dumped me for one of them. And for over a year I’m still trying to regain myself. I don’t know, how to describe my condition. It’s like I became void. I self isolate myself, cannot sleep. I don’t want to leave my apartment (only to the grocery store to buy cigarettes). Like I don’t care about anything or anybody anymore. Except my ex. I love that woman and I’m worried about her. I know that I should not, but she is a kind, loving person. And he, he is real monster. If only I knew, back than, a year and a half ago how would everything turn…There is no hope. I know her, she will stay loyal until her death or discard. Everyday there is a struggle with me. And everyday it becomes more hard to find a reason not to hurt him.

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