Recovering from Narcissistic Abuse, Part III: The Groundhog

Padlock on turquoise backgroundIn my private practice, I provide psychotherapy for mainly women and men who struggle with depression, anxiety, life cycle changes, and grief/loss/trauma. I have found a common theme among many of my clients, in that many individuals have been impacted by individuals with narcissism in love, work, and friendship relationships. In my quest to better understand the unique nature of recovery after the loss of a relationship with someone who is narcissistic, I found the following to be helpful to my clients.

As I wrote in Part I and Part II of this series, individuals with narcissistic traits seek sources of narcissistic supply (NS). Targets of those with narcissism serve as vast reservoirs of ego-enhancing attention, affection, reaction, affirmation, listening ears, shoulders to cry on, and eyes to see the spectacle that he or she presents.

When someone with narcissistic qualities has completed the stage of wooing or romance, he knows when his target has been “hooked.” That individual has clearly fallen for the other with narcissism, who does not reciprocate that emotion. The one with narcissism engaged in the relationship with the target in order to boost very low self-worth at the expense of the target.

When he or she has had his fill of attention/affection/adulation/sex, he detaches (like a leech falling off its host). Without any thought or emotion whatsoever, that person moves on and leaves the target. The leave-taking can look like a sudden disappearance, or a subtle and gradual withdrawal.

Either way, the target is left wondering what happened to the object of their affection. Very clearly, the target fell in love with the narcissistic person. It’s just that he or she did not reciprocate that feeling and was not capable of that depth of emotion to bond in a healthy way with the target.

Individuals who are recovering from the aftermath of a relationship with someone who was narcissistic often require months of therapy, self-reflection, and active self-care to heal from this form of abuse. Maintaining a no-contact policy is vital to the healing and recovery of the target. What sometimes hinders the recovery of the target is that occasionally, the person with narcissism will pop back into the target’s life, like a groundhog, poking his head through the ground after he’s been busy hibernating in his self-involved world.

This sudden reappearance takes many targets by surprise, and they are often easily hooked into another cycle with the narcissistic person. Targets are very vulnerable at that stage because they seek validation from the other person, who abandoned them, and often it feels initially like salve to a wound to re-engage with that individual again—but only for a very short while, because eventually the target is discarded again. And this time, the discard is swifter and usually more painful and abusive.

The narcissistic abuse cycle continues as long as the target allows it. The person with narcissistic tendencies prefers new NS and often gets bored easily, but he will recycle “old” supply if he or she is running low and doesn’t have many streams of NS coming through. Better to have an old source of NS that accepts him or her unconditionally than to go to the extreme work and hassle of cultivating new supply.

What the above illustrates is the need for people in recovery from narcissistic abuse, to not open the door, even a crack, for someone who is circling back like a shark to see if his or her prior source of ego-boosting NS is available. If you are or have been a target, make sure the door is dead-bolted, many times over, and do not have ANY contact with that person.

With time, the other person will understand you have moved on, and your well of NS is permanently dry. You remain vulnerable if you open the door a crack to this selfish, persistent gopher. He or she doesn’t deserve your attention, love, affirmation, energy, or power. Take back your power by closing the door. Permanently.

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Andrea Schneider, LCSW, therapist in Pleasant Hill, California

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

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  • T. W.

    T. W.

    January 29th, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Amazing article(s). You really hit the nail on the head!

  • Laura C

    Laura C

    January 29th, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    I cannot thank you enough for this series of articles and validating what I’ve been trying to recover from. My heart goes out to my fellow survivors – I’ve read my story in many of the comments. I’ve been in therapy for acute depression for many years and as I head into my session tomorrow, I feel educated to be able to get to the roots of the pain that disables me to this day. Over 40 years, I was married to 4 different and yet the same, narcissists. My scars are deep and although I have been “out of prison” for eight years, I have been unable to recover. I began counselling to understand what was wrong with me as I was the common factor in the four relationships. Narcissism actually was the destructive common thread and for the first time I feel empowered and a bit vindicated. God Bless You!

  • Sue

    Sue

    December 25th, 2015 at 5:56 AM

    Congratulations on your escape from your abuser!!! I know that it has been a long journey for you & life now will hopefully begin to give you the freedom to learn to live happily discovering who you were truly meant to blossom & unfold your true self!

    I am friends with someone who is still ‘dancing’ with his abusive narcissistic mom so he must stay away from me so as to protect his mom & I don’t know if my telling him the truth has damaged him so he may NEVER recover

    How should I approach him so he trusts me again as I’m his only source of knowledge in the outside world

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    January 29th, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Thank you, T.W. :)

  • Naomi

    Naomi

    January 30th, 2014 at 4:44 AM

    But it is that permanence of closing that door forever that remains to be the difficult thing.
    When you have been in this cycle of behavior for so long, this becomes the only way that you know how to let others treat you.
    Even though there is a part of you that knows that this is wrong, that knows that real love is not shown and grown in this way, it is one of those things that is so habitual that it feels nect to impossible to break free of.
    I have appreciated these articles a great deal because much of what you write about I have lived and experienced. It doesn’t make it any easier to bear but it does allow me to see that there is hope for recovery and completemess for me that does not involve someone who only wants to take advantage of me.

  • trena

    trena

    January 30th, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Why can’t they just go away and go bother someone else? I don’t need all of those constant reminders in my life. I am the one who has been hurt, who needs the time to ehal, and popping in and out of my life doesn’t at all give me the chance to do that.

  • Psyche

    Psyche

    January 30th, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    I feel that relationship wise I have closed that door with my ex. The problem is that we have children together and this makes it extremely difficult to keep that door closed altogether, the way that I know would be healthiest for all concerned. I have made clear boundaries regarding what is permissible conversation, we only communicate via text so that I can document everything and I have no personal contact whatsoever with him unless it is specific to the children. This has been extremely helpful for my sanity! He attempts to escalate our conversations and feed his narcissistic supply and sometimes…I bite. Most of the time I take a breath, I let it go and I state my point calmly and clearly (for the record, not because I believe he can actually accept anything I have to say). It gets really difficult for me when my children’s behaviors mimic his. I fight to separate them from him and remain objective. This can be quite a feat.

    Any advice for those attempting to co-parent with a narcissist?

  • Psyche

    Psyche

    January 30th, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    I will say that there is hope!

    I spent three years purposely single to work on myself, to understand my part in the sickness of my relationship with my ex and to create a very clear picture of what I needed in order to be in a healthy relationship. I met a man who is strong, compassionate, honest, humble and trustworthy and I have been slowly learning to break the patterns that began in my 20 year relationship with a narcissist.

    It is a battle some days as I feel the pull to sink back into old habits and thinking that helped me survive a relationship like that. Every day I remind myself that I am recovering from a very deeply rooted pattern and I am kind to myself, forgiving of my mistakes and attempts to change who I am in relationship so that I can experience who my partner really is (he really is supportive and true and able to work on himself too and even when things get rough and I fear that some behavior I see will turn him into the narcissist that my ex was, he proves me wrong, he holds my hand, he shows up emotionally and it fills my heart with joy!). There is hope! It takes hard work, It takes self love. It takes forgiveness and yes it takes shutting that door solidly (as much as you can if you have children with the ex)and learning to love the you inside before she/he got all twisted trying to feed an insatiable narcissistic need in the other. Good luck to us all!

  • Laura

    Laura

    January 30th, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    I appreciate these articles, but am increasingly finding women who grew up with what can only be diagnosed as narcissistic mothers. Do you give these daughters the same recommendations to totally cut off any relationship with their mothers?

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    January 30th, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Glad this article is of help to many…@Laura—it depends if the individual who is causing the pain has some insight and “traits” of narcissism v a full blown disorder…if the person continues causing pain after repeated attempts to bring light to this issue , then yes, the answer is no contact. If, however, the individual is open to growing, then limited contact unless/until growth and change is evident on a consistent level.

  • Jai

    Jai

    January 30th, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    The worst part is having children with them and u have no choice but to deal with them:(

  • Jai

    Jai

    January 30th, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    Just to add to my story I just happen to come across a story today about someone in a relationship that ended and it said how being in love with a narcissist changed my life..Immediately after reading it I broke into tears and said this is my story.. I was involved with a guy for 7 years had two children with him and it ended when I found at he had a child 7 months younger than our son who is 3 now and kept it hidden with the help of people in his family.. I have to admit it is still a vicious on and off thing to this very day.. I kno I must help myself first but can’t seem to shake these feelings

  • kelly

    kelly

    February 12th, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Heartache is a horrible pain to over come. Lean on your kids. Read websites on how to move on. Know and tell your self you did not deserve the abuse.

  • Peyton

    Peyton

    January 31st, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    There will always be people in your life who tend to ask for a whole lot more than they are willing to give to you. It is as if they deep down inside have no real love for themselves so they decide that they need to suck others completely dry seeking that love and attention that they feel that they lack. I suppose that we are all seeking affirmations in life but it should never be at the expense of other people. We need to remember that everyone has needs, some more powerful than others, and when you are searching for someone to share this with, it shouldn’t be in a way that is harmful to someone else.

  • LKS

    LKS

    January 31st, 2014 at 4:46 AM

    I fear I am hard wired to be a victim. My parents are NPDs, both husbands were NPDs. Feeding someone’s ego seems to be all I know. I am shocked when someone I care about is grateful or apologizes. I’m not sure what it feels like to be loved.
    I sure know how to devote myself to the well being of others including my children. I am lucky to have them in my life.
    I just wonder if it is even possible for me to bond with a man in a healthy way.

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    January 31st, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I am so glad these series of articles have been helpful to people in recovery…thank you for your feedback. Whether you have been impacted by a narcissist at work, love, home or from family-of-origin, healing can and will take place with qualified licensed mental health professionals who have had experience treating abuse survivors leaving toxic relationships. Interview the therapist you are seeking to get services with to determine if they are a good fit for your needs. Also see the list of resources and websites on my first two articles, which also have on-line support forums listed….best wishes to all. Andrea

  • lisa

    lisa

    February 4th, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    I’m a Social Worker with 30 years of experience and fell into this trap with an emotionally abusive narcissistic therapist listed on this website. The healing is rough however I’m so much better at recognizing when my needs are being unmet or ignored. There are warning signs and now that my eyes are open I see them and walk away! Thanks for a great article.

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    July 31st, 2014 at 3:45 AM

    Lisa, I too am a social worker. I also was emotionally abused by a mental health professional (a psychologist I had taken my two young children to see for counseling). Have you stumbled across TELL (TherapyAbuse.org) or SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com? These two sites were extremely helpful in my own healing after this horribly destructive experience. Perhaps they may be helpful for you, too…

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    February 5th, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Lisa– I sincerely hope you receive the help you need and deserve. It’s awful if you were harmed by a helping professional. I wish you the best.

  • deena

    deena

    February 12th, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    There seems to be an abundance of narcissism, and sociopathic tendencies in individuals within medicine and nursing.

    The co-dependency dance seems to be alive and well in many practices I have been exposed to in healthcare.

    I am actually burnt out on the abuse actually. Engage then disengage when you realize the dynamics at play. You actually loose the drive that once existed for your career.

    I think I am ready for law school to assist others who are victims of such abuse.

    The bottomline for me is: Self love is found internally through self caring not through external validation by the narcissistic coworker, friend or partner.

  • MR

    MR

    February 20th, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Hello

    I am currently in a relationship and it’s come to a point where I am questioning my own sanity – I am also wondering if I might be the narcissist.

    I’m a 27 year old male – I’ve been dating my girlfriend for about 3 years. I can not recall one instance where I have shared my feeling without being told that I have “too many feelings” or that I am always trying to create problems. I don’t think she’s ever actually honoured what I’ve said, nor has she apologized. She asks me to clarify how my feelings were hurt. When I do that she proceeds to hyper analyze what I just told her and then tells me to “think about the big picture” and that I should stop thinking about problems and be more grateful.

    Am I crazy for wanting a little validation? I grew up in a house that scolded me for openly expressing my feelings and I’m aware of the impact that has had on my openness and vulnerability and my desire for validation – but I’m starting to doubt myself and sometimes think that it’s me that is the problem and that it’s no ones responsibility to honour my feelings.

    I’m seriously confused and would love to hear any insights anyone has to offer.
    Thank you

  • Mary

    Mary

    March 25th, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Andrea, I agree with you 100%. I’m in the process of divorcing an abusive narcissist. I’ve been married to him for 20 years. The last 10 have been confusing & horrible. What is complicating things is that we have 2 children 17 & 18. They are older, but many decisions need to be made regarding college, driving, etc. What do I do if I can’t completely rid my life of him due to the children right now? I would never abandon them. My husband is extremely controlling & I desperately need to get away & out of his control. How do I manage this?

  • Sally

    Sally

    June 27th, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    This us my situation too, except my children are only 10 and 12. I want to put as much physical distance between almost ex and myself, but not further disrupt my children’s lives. I have no legal basis at this time to win full custody, so I feel completely trapped. How can I heal if I must continue to interact with him and witness his narcissistic relationship with my kids as well. Plus I am having to suffer the pain and indignity of watching him conquer his next victim by plugging her into the life I thought was ours. I am worried about how my kids will be damaged by what they witness as well. Have you found any relief or options for yourself? I am just waking up to my reality and feel totally lost,

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    March 26th, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    @mary– it sounds as though you may need some legal advice which is clearly out of my scope … I would encourage you also to connect w a therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse recovery to help you regarding LC (limited contact ) hen children are involved… Best wishes to you

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    April 18th, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Andrea,
    In your articles, you hint at the likelihood of a pattern of continued abuse by other Narcissists if victims do not fully heal from the abuse they have endured. I am wondering if you are thinking of writing another article which elaborates more on this.

    I am also finding that most adult victims of Narcissistic abuse, once they have begun to understand the reality of what they have been through, will come to learn that this is not their first “run-in” with a Narcissist. In fact, for many victims, they will slowly come to realize that previous abuse (perhaps by a Narcissistic parent, sibling, grandparent, teacher, etc) primed them to endure later abuse by a Narcissist. I don’t believe this is coincidence. I have concerns that because the typical victim of this type of abuse tends to be honest, compassionate and caring, the previously “failed” relationships with Narcissists leave them hell bent to try harder, listen more carefully, love more unconditionally… All of the things Narcissists look for in a new victim. In fact, I frequently hear victims say they think they are “Narcissist magnets” implying that they don’t think they can break the cycle of what is happening. The reality is that Narcissists seek out these types of people- people who are determined to prove to themselves and others that the previous failed relationship was not for a lack of trying. Narcissists have exactly what they need- someone who is willing to give everything they have to make things work and a ready made scapegoat when the relationship inevitably fails. My concern has to do with what this means for victims- considering so few mental health professionals are adequately trained to recognize, diagnose and effectively treat victims of Narcissistic abuse. In fact, I have even encountered mental health professionals who believe that HSP are Narcissist magnets and that there is very little that can be done to change that.

    World wide there is a tremendous lack of understanding about this type of abuse and the devastating effects it has on the countless victims in the paths of Narcissists. Given the potential this type of abuse has to continue to put victims in harm’s way, you would think more would be written about the likely connection.

    I would also like to ask if you have visited the website: The Roadshow for Therapists by Christine Louis de Canonville. She is a psychotherapist in Ireland who has worked passionately to try and educate other mental health professionals about the effects Narcissistic abuse has on the innocent people who are hurt by Narcissists. This is a link to her site just in case you have not seen it: narcissisticbehavior.net/category/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-a-new-diagnosis/

    I truly hope you continue writing about this important topic. There are countless victims all over the world who are counting on you (and people like you) to advocate for them.

    Thank you for your time,
    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

  • Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

    April 18th, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    Lisa- I am also a social worker and I had been practicing for about 13 years when I fell prey to a Narcissistic psychologist. I had originally taken my two young children to see him for counseling and he told me I needed to see him too. I believed him and did so. Soon after he referred the children out. And he seemed pretty competent for a while. So much so that by the time he began to harm me, I ignored red flags going up because I just couldn’t believe that he would hurt me. The level of devastation this abuse caused to my life was enormous. I didn’t think I would ever recover. The PTSD I went through replaying everything in my head over and over again trying to make sense out of what happened was exhausting. The therapist I finally got up the courage to see after I refused to see the abusive therapist any longer was not familiar with Narcissistic abuse. It took me a very long time and a lot of work to finally find the answers so I could stop reliving everything. One of the most important components to my healing was find TELL (Therapy Exploitation Link Line at therapyabuse.org). I am wondering if you have been in touch with them. I truly do not know where I would be right now without all of the support they provided to me. Another helpful site is survivingtherapistabuse.com/ I have written a few pieces for their site.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to reach out to you to tell you that you are not alone. There are many who understand what you have been through. Perhaps you have gotten to the part of your recovery where you can begin to feel the “gift” in what you have endured? By this I mean the clarity, strength and insight that helps victims to become survivors and thrivers.

    I hope you are still reading this comment board :o)
    Michelle Mallon, MSW, LSW

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    April 18th, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Michelle — thank you for all your helpful comments — I definitely would consider writing another article on the subject as relates to protecting oneself from being involved with a narcissist — great resources you mention as well — thank you :)

  • Rebecca

    Rebecca

    May 8th, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    He took my children now he and his girlfriend are brain washing my children. I’ve had to move out of state twice to get away from his abuse when I moved back near him they would stalk me to call the police on me all the time. what do I do I want to talk to my children I want to see them but I cannot handle their abuse his girlfriend is also a narc. what do I do? I do not want to fight I want my children back. I tried to defend myself in court but he got a huge monetary settlement from a lawsuit hired a big fat attorney and I froze in front of a judge defending myself. PTSD hit me in the face like a brick.

  • Donna McMaster

    Donna McMaster

    June 14th, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    I saw and felt what was happening but it wasn’t definitive, I was immersed. After 10 years we split, he went back home then came back saying he’ll be the loving man I wanted, which never happened, always just enough to get back into the game. The silent treatment was his weapon. I started to see things in him and discussed them with my daughter who was also having the same issues in her marriage. When she left her relationship, my partner started to be nicer to me and I thought oh good it’s over. But he couldn’t do this much longer and when he turned it was with a vengenace, from white to black. Then it was all about taking things from me, sell my car, etc because he had control over everything. I moved but could not take my pets, they were his anyway. I had to return to my old apartment, the one I got after the intial break up, to get the spare tire for the car. I got the keys, he was pleasant enough and let the dog come with me to get my tire from the locker room. Upon returning the key I asked about Odie my old cat, he said she’s gone. I was visibly sad and said you couldn’t call to let me know…the grin on his face made my stomach turn, it was very clear who he was. I felt it physically. The no contact rule is very important and he will never be back in my life. It is like my safe place and when I think he could come back which he did before I know I’m safe. Thank you for your direction because sometimes when you’re drowning you can’t see the surface, I have surfaced.

  • michelle l.

    michelle l.

    July 6th, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Thank you for the time and effort in making this very serious disorder a concern that is getting the proper attention not only for victims but for patients ….likewise….

  • Confident

    Confident

    July 8th, 2014 at 5:00 AM

    I’d love to find links to therapists who work in this space, here, if that’s possible? I’ve been talking to many therapists (5 so far) but haven’t found particular techniques that work for me, yet. Is there a book that can help? I feel like all the people in my life are narcissists, I seem to be a target. Thank you Andrea.

  • Suzan

    Suzan

    March 15th, 2015 at 8:48 PM

    Hi Confident

    I an hearing and feeling everything you say, most Phycologists and Counsillors do not have the Training and experience to work on this deep level of soul work.

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder was going to be deleted and discarded on the books of Psychology many years ago, as there was not enough evidence it existed. When we leave the relationship, 99% of Phycologists cannot help us,as they don’t don’t know how to deal with the after insidious trauma.

    It’s not like any other trauma. It’s complex and we cannot be sitting there going over the same old story.

    As this is interlectualizing and just repeating our old wounds and triggers. I have full on trauma and have severe agoraphobia.Not to mention the addiction i feel with constant panic attacks.

    But I have found a empowering program called” Narcissistic Recovery Program from Melanie Tonia Evans. Look her up. She has gone through Narcissistic relationship herself. I am in my healing process with this energetic course.

    Everything is energy. We attracted this relationship on a vibrational level, so we could heal from the inside out. We unconsciously set up old patterns and conditionings from our childhood so we could eventually heal, let go and through knowing of who we are. That’s why we kept going back to the relationship to get love, support, respect, validation.

    But its an endless pit. The Narcissist was never going to fulfill our “Illusion of Love”
    It was always about us getting and going through enough pain for us to finally be with ourselves.

    I know it seems like this is cruel and not real. But our highest self had set it up all along. So the truth is…. Its about recognizing and loving ourselves. And because most of our past lives, children of abuse, past life conditioning have created our now, we have not been taught that we can heal and with the right knowledge and tools we can finally go within.

    I am an Energetic Healer and I know with all of my being that interlectualizing and speech therapy does not work as quickly as Energetic Healing. As we hold trauma in our bodies on a cellular level.

    This is why we create illness. And i know this would be making sense, as we have all felt pain in our physical body.

    Intellect does not set us free.
    Thankyou for sharing. You are a brave warrior. Sending you light and love. 💜 Suzan O.

  • andrea schneider

    andrea schneider

    July 8th, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Confident…please email me …. also check out my references page in the first article in the series on narcissism…there is a huge bibliography at the end of the article….thanks,Andrea

  • A.L.

    A.L.

    July 26th, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    I’m wondering when the target tries to cut off contact with the narcissist if it is common for the narcissist to see themselves as a victim and claim the target is abandoning them (the narcissist)? Any tips to deal with this when it happens? So easy for targets to believe they are in the wrong. Ideas for dealing with frustration of the narcissist never seeing their behavior as hurtful?

  • Karen

    Karen

    June 28th, 2015 at 3:54 AM

    I am asking those same questions after breaking up 1 week ago.

  • Rachel

    Rachel

    July 26th, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    I met my Narcissistic husband in High School. We had our first child at 18 just after we graduated. We separated when she was a baby due to his abusing me and addiction to pornography. We got back together and got married just before our daughter turned 2. I found out he had multiple affairs including an orgy the night before we got married and even a 17 year old girl we were helping in church. He was so addicted to sex that he even left my daughter in the car alone and didn’t pick her up after school for sometimes hours. He neglected our baby and CPS was called because the neighbor found him out in the gutter with the front door wide open but my husband was closed in with the computer on porn. He was also physically, mentally and sexually abusive to me and even our children. Anyway, the therapists told me to STAY AWAY and not to give him an inch. Fortunately he only got supervised visits and I didn’t have to face him. He no showed for his visits and went through several girlfriends living with him. This last girlfriend has been with him several years now. Do they really change? Also he manipulates our 19 year old over Facebook. He tells everyone I took his children from him. At first I tried to take the kids to visit him but after a psych eval he was not allowed. He only used the visits to manipulate me anyway, I do not know how to protect the kids from his manipulation in the future. I am glad I didn’t allow myself to speak with him. I would have never been able to break free if I allowed him any opportunity to keep up his games.

  • Harriet F.

    Harriet F.

    July 27th, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    I’m recovering from a complete breakdown in August 2013. I now know (through extensive psycotherapy) that my mum has NPD and I am an abuse survivor (physical and emotional).

    I want total no contact with her and my dad. I have to protect myself and my children. I have three brothers, who have children. They were treated very differently by mum and were quickly too big as teenagers for much physical abuse.

    How do I maintain relationships with non-abusive family members? I can set clear boundaries and refuse to discuss my relationship with my parents. I know that those family members will report back to my parents, share photos they have taken etc.

    Tips and survivor experiences welcome please.

  • Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    Andrea Schneider, LCSW

    July 27th, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    A.L….I think you are right-on…yes, the N will most always have a fear of abandonment, coupled with a fear of engulfment…The target needs to understand that the N (if truly extremely ‘challenged’ in this area) will likely have limited insight and take any perceived abandonment or boundary setting as a ‘narcissistic injury’…often the N then completely abandons the target, as if that human connection ceased to exist…best for the target to mourn the loss of the ‘fantasy’ connection with the person and move on…therapy…always … Andrea

  • A.L.

    A.L.

    July 28th, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    Thank you, Andrea. You have really increased my understanding a great deal. I hope you’ll continue your articles on this subject. It seems to be helping so many people! Is there one resource among those you’ve listed on your first article that you would reccomend as a “primer” for those of us who are new to the subject? I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness.

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    July 28th, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    A.L.–so glad the articles are helpful, and I will continue to write about this subject, also on my blog and personal website. Please stay tuned… I think a great primer is The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists:Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Love, Work and Family by Eleanor Payson, MSW…excellent book! Be well and continue in your path of healing…Andrea

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    July 29th, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    A.L….thank you for your comments…in terms of a “primer”, a book that I have found to be very helpful for an overall view of the subject is by Eleanor Payson, MSW called The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists:Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love and Family…excellent read. Andrea

  • Stan

    Stan

    August 5th, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    This is good advice. The key to remember here is that you are in control. Unless you give it up to the narcissist, you own your life. The difficult thing is dealing with the magnetic impulse that you have to go back or have a sexual event. Remember, the narcissist knows you so well, you will be manipulated. They are not swayed by jealousy. In fact, if they can win you over and over again, it’s a rush for then. If they can get you to dump someone in the process, that’s conquest. You are nothing more than a pawn to be used in a know evil and sadistic chess game. The problem is, you cannot see the board or any of the other pawns. While I was with my wife, who is a somatic narcissist, she was having an affair and had 4-5 other guys chasing her, all of then in committed relationships. Hear this; you CANNOT get them to see their errors. Infidelity and attention from other people is like air to them. They must breathe and will rationalize away any explanations, pleadings, or any other persuasions. Your best course of action is to get out and fast. Remember, you control your life. It’s better on this side of the wall. Come on over.

    Stan

  • Dawn

    Dawn

    August 24th, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    This is so helpful in understanding the cycle. Unfortunately I have children with the ex N.. I feel like the cycle will never end and I am not able to close the door and cut off all contact.

  • Mac.

    Mac.

    August 25th, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    I am recovering from a Narsasistic ex wife. After nearly 2 years seperated, and recently divorced.I had been in a relationship for 16 years, she informed me that she got pregnant on purpose and moved into my home as soon as we met. 2 more children later and marriage I thought things might change. She always shouted at me and I would do anything to please her and keep the family together. I used to think that I was a bad father and husband. I believe that my first child is not mine, but have never researched. I believe that she has had many affairs but it is just a thought. She left me in the family home with debts, took all the furniture child benefits and had child maintainence taken out of my wage. She soon established a new relationship and he moved into her home and she got engaged before divorce came through. I have limited contact with children and it is on her terms. The children can see I’m depressed and I feel stuck finding it difficult to move on emotionally and financially.

  • Anne-Marie

    Anne-Marie

    September 29th, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information for those recovering from Narcissistic abuse.

  • sm

    sm

    October 4th, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    This article has definitely helped my healing process. I was involved in a 2 year and 3 months relationship with an emotional abuser and narcissist. He was the perfect guy at first, he would shower me with gifts and love. I was truly in love with him and still am to a certain extent. Things started to get really bad I would say off and on starting last year but they started to become a habit of him controlling me, making himself the center of the topic, every time I would talk about myself he would ignore me and my own accomplishments, he believes that he is GOD to a certain extent. I was constantly yelled at for small things, blamed for everything, he showed 0 affection whenever I would cry. This year from April- July has been hell. Some days and even weeks were perfect and other times every other day was fucking hell. I am in the process of healing and I ended up dumping him in July. I have to say that was the hardest thing I ever had to do. He did not contact me for two months and just the middle of September he popped up like a ground hog. I dont want to have anything to do with him he told me he wanted to be friends but we no that’s a lie he was still trying to win me over and control me again. He lvoes attention. I have cut him out of my life and I honestly do not want him back in my life ever again. I am in the process software forgiving myself and hin and some days are harder then others. Im not over him and still have love for him but I hope one day I will completely earse him from. My life

  • Anna bell

    Anna bell

    October 5th, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I’ve been through the same thing please don’t go back it’s a game they play. Mine discard me like a dirty paper bag and
    married someone else a month later without a word. Now 1 -1/2 later he’s calling me and showed up at my house talking about he’s divorced what a f****** sicko. run run run

  • michael g.

    michael g.

    October 14th, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I believe that I have had a relationship with a narcissist. In the beginning, she was a joy to be around. She had some health issues and it was a pleasure to help her deal with these challenges. I truly came to love this woman.
    Eventually, after seeing her fly into a rage, become unreasonable critical, abusing, demanding and controlling, I ended the relationship.
    The problem is that I see her constantly and she give me the silent treatment. This sends me into an emotional tailspin, almost daily, as I often try to say hello when we pass.

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    October 14th, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    glad the article is helpful…thanks also Stan for your hopeful words for those needing to hold onto some light through the darkness…truly there is light, health and happiness once free from this form of toxic relationship…Andrea

  • Vs

    Vs

    October 21st, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    I have ended (or did he) a 2 years of entense relationship where my children were also magnetised and charmed by this man. I have as good job..not bad looking..worked with difficult people but did not expect nor know the np. he works in my department and must communicate for work and in meetings. I have read my life in all read victim s stories so I will spare you. but the pain, disapointment, confusion, hair pulling anf utmost pain with guilt for exposing my daughter to such evil (against me) is haunting me.
    a vampire sucked the life out if me. I am 51.

    I once thanked God for bringi g such a loving man in our life ..now I pray God for healing and heart repair while I know that he works down the isle and co tinues his revenge by trying to destroy what is left of me. he is a closet abuser and people feel sorry for him ..
    it has been a month and have waivered threat, pleading, guilt name it.
    but I know what he is now. they dont.

    I need to find myself back.
    is there love and happy life after a narcicist?

  • Fidonald

    Fidonald

    October 26th, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    When I was in my mid 30s I met a man who was 15 years older – he was a widower and he just swept me off my feet, promising to look after me and my 2 boys! I felt like I was on a rollercoaster but could not get off and we got married after a few months and that’s when the nightmare began. After a few weeks of marriage the silent started – it was horrendous and his children from his first marriage told me this was “nothing new”. Shortly after this the verbal abuse started – my young son would say, if there was a full moon, that “we had better be very careful – he will be shouting again” – that shouting was along the lines of “I got you out of the gutter, you are a waste of good food, you are a disgusting person” and on it went – one night I thought this is NOT going to continue so I looked this horror out of my room – he threatened to break the door down so I just said I would knife him if she stepped into my room ever again. The horrible apology for a man made the life of my elder son a complete misery and threw him out the minute he reached 16 – I tried in vain to get a mortgage to buy a property (I could not get social housing) but it took me 3 years to persuade the bank manager to give me a mortgage, by which time my elder son had had a complete breakdown and was hospitalised and I had no self esteem whatsoever. I have been away from this creep for nearly 20 years but it still comes back to haunt me. Am I as worthless as he made out? Worse though us the damage the pig inflicted on my son – luckily though he is now settled down and has his own child and is a wonderful Dad – he saw at first hand how not to be. Unfortunately my younger son insists on having contact with my tormentor and it is getting to the stage where I might have to cut all dealings with him as I cannot handle it – how can he be nice to someone who said he got me (and therefore it follows him too) out of the gutter? How can he even give him the time of day. The abuser has won and that is not a nice feeling.

    As long as this apology for a man is still in the land of the living, I cannot get closure – I can but hope that he will rot in hell.

    Thanks for listening (reading)

  • Fidonald

    Fidonald

    October 27th, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    I forgot to mention that my tormentors children from his first marriage all had psychological problems (bed wetting into adulthood) plus he was not invited to his son’s wedding (I was) – he has no meaningful relationship with his sons. The man had a dreadful childhood – my own was not brilliant but I learnt from it – he just perpetuated the bully behaviour. His mother is to blame for much of it was going by his account of things, she had one child when she was 14 then him when she was 15 – the elder was presented as her brother. She then married a man who really did not want her son and the man was horrible to him – just like he was with my boys and his own kids – at least in that he did not discriminate – he was just horrid. I have the feeling he is a misogynist – all sweetness and light to the outside world but a horror behind closed doors.

  • Sadness

    Sadness

    November 7th, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    This site has helped me see the light and understand what has happened to me after 20 years with the man I was so in love with. He had been cheating on me for a year before I caught him. He just dicarded me like a piece of trash. No feelings of sorrow what so ever. He plays cat and mouse with me now. It has only been 3 months since I learned of his infidelity. I never heard of this narcissistic behavior before. I have been beating myself up for years wondering why I did not get any kind of love from him. He always blamed it on me, I was with my family to much, I was fat (140 lbs) I am old, who would want to be intimate with you he would say. But he found someone who he is in love with so he thinks, boy is she in for a rude awakining. She gets what she deserves, she is from China, married with a 12 year old daughter who she plans on leaving with her father in China. Two evil people if you ask me. I thought I had the man of my dreams only to find out he is the devil from hell. I am trying to find the me I lost in his distruction. He is a coworker and I can’t get away from seeing him each day. I just keep my distance. At first I wanted him back but after I learned about Narcissism I want nothing to do with him. I just want to stop hurting. I hope I do find someone to love me some day. I love helping others and I love to be with people.

  • Tl

    Tl

    November 10th, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    I was with one. He had recently left his wife of 24 years, he lied to me and made it all her fault. He said he wanted to see his children but when he had the chance he didn’t. Instead he preferred to enjoy the sympathy it earned, by telling people the same story of woe, over and over again. I was with him for 6 months. It was perfect at the start, him telling my fiends how much he loved me. Then 2 months later he started to ignore me, picked on what I looked like and often took me out dancing but danced with every other girl except me. He said he enjoyed our sex life, then he stopped sleeping with me. Then he told me, proudly, that he was sleeping with his co-worker, because I had stopped sleeping with him. He embarrassed me and took advantage of the fact that I am quiet and didn’t want a scene. He shocked me to the point that I didn’t even know how to react. He sooked all the time and I was there for him, but when I needed him, just once, he said I “carry all my drama around”.He was always rescuing my girlfriends when they had dramas though, so they fell for his shit too and by the time we were over, I got no sympathy, because everyone believed him – that it was all my fault.

  • mimi

    mimi

    November 17th, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    I am an adult “survivor” of child abuse survivor meaning my body is still breathing. I am one of 6 brothers and sisters there was abuse of others but not to the degree I received. I was a child of the 60 ‘ s stay at home mom meant she was waiting for m e to get home to release her wrath. I hated to come home. I was an outcast at school. I had no friends I lived in my own world. My first day of kindergarten I went with her hand print o. The side of my face I had just turned 5 and forgot to turn on the stove for my mother. In the first grade I was scared of everything and every thing and everyone. I couldn’t get up the courage to ask my teacher to go to the bathroom would repeatedly pee my pants in class. She told me I was clumsy as an oX and would never amount to anything. I was locked in closets while she threatened her own suicide by train. I was beaten, got hot sauce poured in my mouth. Hair pulled, made to put my hands down while she slapped me in the face. These were for not getting the hairball out of the dogs fur. I was sent to bed without supper many times because “she couldn’t stand to look at me” I was made to sit in her bedroom one night when I was 10. You see she said she was headed to the kitchen for a knife to “chop me up with”. Thank God my aunt called and she forgot about it. I sat there for a while then quietly snuck out and went upstairs to bed. I tried to kill myself by taking a handful of aSprin when I was 11 my brother woke me up by punching me in the stomach and I through up the asprin. Years went by like that and it just got worse. In I left home at 15 I couldn’t take it anymore. My mother died and I don’t know what to do with that. When I was an adult I once mentioned the abuse and she said “on it wasn’t that bad” I have struggled and fought my entire life to just do the most simple things. I do not know how to have a friend. I was never allowed. I am 54 years old and very ashamed to admit that but I have had to learn everything on my own an unwanted soul. Now what ????

  • Tabatha

    Tabatha

    January 17th, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    No one deserves to have lived as you did. God loves you so much. Please join your self to a bible believing church and let the love of Christ heal you and make you whole.

  • SelfLoveU

    SelfLoveU

    June 12th, 2015 at 9:24 PM

    This is very sad. I know how you feel. I had a mean step father who made my life miserable. I struggle each day for stability and security. It’s like learning backwards. I’m sorry to hear your story. :(

  • ms k

    ms k

    November 18th, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Just by chance came across these articles and its almost as if a light has just switched on inside my head for a long time I have been wondering why my teenage daughter has been emotionally abusing me and I think this might be it. Is it common for a normal loving child to turn into a narcissistic person for no reason? Im only 33 and we used to be so close.

  • Connie Y.

    Connie Y.

    November 19th, 2014 at 5:03 AM

    Amen!! What a great article. It’s the first time I’ve seen the “shut the door and have NO contact with the groundhog” reference. It’s very affirming of what feels right to me. Wish other people understood this affliction-it’s insidious.

  • claire

    claire

    December 5th, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    having moved out of my house after 28 years living with a narcissist * we have two adult children of 25 and 23 / I am trying to ignore barrage of texts and calls from my serial cheating ex partner . Even providing photo evidence of his messages and meeting with a woman he had a relationship with over the course of a year (which he denied until I met and chatted with her ) she was probably number 4 in a line of women he denies having any contact with despite years of phone bills detailing hundreds of calls and messages . I am now struggling with separating finances ( I have always managed all finances as he is a musician and therefore per his narcissistic viewpoint exempt from ever having to be accountable for any paperwork, finances paying of bills etc. Yes I have realized that I enabled and trusted which condoned his behaviour but I am now free from the home . I found him an apartment and he moves out of our house next week and I move back in. he has said he is going to therapy. I realize this condition of his is a lifelong behavioural disorder and wish to free myself from its toxicity but here where I love on a holiday island in Spain I regret that there are few qualified therapists who will recognize this condition as it appears to be wholly acceptable in latin culture and so I will have to seek my therapy on line , my successful career my sport, my yoga and if that does not work I realize I may have to move away from the island altogether. to the outside world this charming couple had everything .. traveled the world, spanish guy and english girl , two gorgeous kids and now I look back and realize this guy with whom I shared my life has been a rat all the way through. any suggestions for self healing techniques for me __??

    angry, embarrassed, somewhat relieved, and sad currently ,,,,

  • Aida B

    Aida B

    December 12th, 2014 at 6:07 AM

    What is it that I am feeling. I feel like crying but I am not sad. I feel anguish and despair.

    I will identify a moment in my childhood when I felt anguish and despair. When my mother would say NO to everything I wished to do, when I felt she did not care about us when she left us inside the car and went shopping, when she did not care if I went to school or not, when she did not care if I had clothes but she had plenty, when she could constantly criticize me in front of others for not being good enough or not helping enough around the house, when she would place unreasonable rules without negotiating, when she and aunt Lydia would be authoritative without compassion, when my mother complained to my dad about me and he would hit me with the strap with coldness, when I saw my dad hit my brother without compassion, when my dad acted as a child, irresponsibly, when my parents fought constantly, when my mom yelled and yelled, when my dad was inconsistent and irresponsible in his behavior.

    The anguish that I feel today is connected to those early memories. Let me talk to myself now.

    Little me, I’m here for you, don’t feel distressed, I am here to comfort you. You are not powerless anymore. I am looking at you and looking after you, I feel your suffering, feel my presence. You do not need outside approval, I love you and support you. That is all you need. Your needs are met, you have everything you need physically and you have love and accept yourself fully. You are whole. Any outside love is welcome but not needed or essential for your happiness. You do not have to give anything in order to receive love and approval. Just be and if love comes to you just welcome it but do not desperately seek for it outside because it is found and resides within you.

    Stop being afraid and anxious. There is no need, those childhood fears are understood and acknowledged but are left in the past where they belong, do not bring them to the present. It is important you leave them where they belong. You hold the power now, you are a capable and learned adult. When your ex narcissist husband mistreated you, you allowed it because it felt as a familiar experience and for you it was normal. IT WAS NOT, IT WAS WRONG. You relived your childhood experiences but with you ex narc they were even worse.

    Your ex narc would rage and cursed at you, he was constantly unhappy and blamed it on you, everything was your fault, he was always angry and dissatisfied, everything was about him, he was the center of the universe, he was God to you but you meant nothing to him, he was superficial, your feelings did not count, you had to be obedient and ask for forgiveness all the time, he was unforgiving, he wanted all of the attention, he was jealous of your children and grandchildren always criticizing them and making fun of them, he did not want you to pay attention to your family, he envied your warm relationship with your children, he did not want to share, he placed all the burden of the decision-making on you and then blamed you for it and criticized the decisions taken, he was always ambivalent, you were walking on eggshells afraid to upset him, no matter how much you tried he was never satisfied.

    Now you have a new partner in your life and sometimes you have feelings of stress, anxiety and anguish with him. His actions may trigger in you the anxiety of reliving the pain of abuse again. You need to identify where these feelings come from, consciously experience them, confront the feelings, don’t be afraid of the pain, consciously determine if you are bringing past painful experiences to your present. Make sure that you do not mix them.

    Identify where the anxiety comes from. Place your presence at the moment when you were abused. Your ex narc abused you much more than your parents. REMEMBER IT!! DO NOT LOVE HIM!! Forgive him but do not love him. He did not betray you, he is ill beyond repair. He cannot perform any better than the way he did, he is just not capable of it. His illness is not obvious to everyone but it was very obvious to you, which is what counts. Do not cherish moments with him. The beautiful moments you lived with him were created by YOU, he just enjoyed them. He was enjoying the narcissistic supply that you unconsciously provided and you provided high quality narcissistic supply because at the time you were receiving his approval and that made you feel even more special and happy. But the truth is you were enjoying yourself, not enjoying him. You are the source of light, not him, he is dark. Love and approve yourself and you will be living those beautiful moments everyday because you are light and you are able to create them without outside approval, your ex narc will never be able to do that by himself.

    It is a strange but sweet phenomenon!!!!

  • Anonyjim

    Anonyjim

    January 23rd, 2015 at 8:23 PM

    This is exactly what I needed to tell myself. Word-for-word, only the gender changed. I spent a year of my life being an object to my narc wife. Objects don’t have feelings. If they need things they should be thrown out bc they are defective. I am not an object anymore. I am a wounded bleeding inner child who was left on the side of the road. I pick myself up though and say “I’m here now, I’ll never leave you. I love you”

  • Samantha

    Samantha

    May 20th, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    I’d like to thank Andrea for taking the time to share these articles with us, and Aida for speaking directly to my soul. I’ve been in and out of a relationship with a N (probably with BPD) for over 14 years and I finally understand why I stayed with someone so abusive and keep letting him back into my life after he drops me like a hot potato every time. I’m trying to end this safely once and for all in the next few days, hope a family member will take him in, but no one wants him. If he feels he is kicked out with no where to go he will either rage and destroy things at home or try the suicide guilt card to get back in. He’s cheated, hurt me physically with the abuse getting worse, break things, attempted suicide, called me hurtful names and blamed me for all of those things. He said that I trigger him, I push his buttons, I don’t give him space, don’t respect him etc. If I didn’t do this, he wouldn’t react that way. He says he can’t walk away because I won’t let him. There’s always the promise of marriage, he even bought a ring but no proposal. He also never seemed satisfied with anything always wanting more, though his work was unstable and he depended on me financially many times. After his last physical attack he said he needed to be alone for a few hours…then came back and said he figured out that I don’t respect him and that everything has to be my way. I work full time, take care of two kids, cook and clean and still massage him after work, make sure he has food, and i can’t remember the last time I even got a half a**ed massage from him.
    I think to myself that this isn’t the kind of person I want to be with for the rest of my life but I believed in his promises and the little changes he did make. Its like he would “over-give” then be resentlful of me that I took so much from him. Everyone warned me that he wouldn’t change and I just couldn’t understand them. These articles and comments have saved my life as I’m sure the abuse would’ve lead to my death. If I didn’t read about this type of abuse I would keep trying to fix us, change my responses, be more thoughtful, empathetic, cater to his every whim…while breaking myself down to nothingness. I feel like a fool and a failure, I hope therapy can help me. I’m sharing in hopes that something will sound familiar to another victim out there and let you know that you’re not alone.

  • Calif 12

    Calif 12

    December 27th, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Just reeling in afermath and emotinal poison left by female narcissist my wiiiife

  • coco

    coco

    January 2nd, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    tiful article!!! I just found out I have been married to a narcissist for the last 25 years. I had never of the word. Since he discarded me and our children for a 22 year old hooker who he now claims to have a child with. I was totally devastated.I ran across the word narcissist and he fit the bill to a tee!!! I also learned that I am codependent and the thought of all of this just terrified me. My children have been affected and it is so hard getting our lives back. I am better now because I constantly educate myself. I am working on changing my personal codependency issues so that I can become healthy and move on with my life. At 45.I am grateful for the articles and comments it truly is a blessing to know I’m not crazy and that there is help.God Bless everyone.

  • Lori

    Lori

    January 9th, 2015 at 5:04 PM

    Any tips for parents of young children who have to work out a co-parenting plan and custody with an ex who is a narcissist? No way to shut the door completely or protect the kids from the self-centeredness…

  • S.M

    S.M

    January 17th, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    I’ve found that it’s impossible to co parent with these monsters. So I found that parallel parenting is the most effective. Good luck!

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    January 10th, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    @Lori — sounds like what you are dealing with is a high-conflict divorce situation, which is much more complicated and in which you really need to do Limited Contact v No Contact…there is much that has been written on this topic if you google it…and perhaps I will also write an article about it…co-parenting becomes very difficult if not impossible…my heart goes out to you. Andrea

  • Linda

    Linda

    January 18th, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    If it weren’t for sharing custody with a dociopath/narcissist, there would be no contact. This individual carefully manipulates the parenting agreement and without regard refuses to let me pick the kids up for my parenting time threatening restraining order if I contact him about picking them up during my time. When he feels I stand up to him, the lies begin about what I do wrong going as far as claiming criminal actions to intimidate and keep me away from the kids. I’ve resorted to consulting my lawyer and sat through mediations which he manipulates his way through as he’s above the law. I want to avoid going back to court but will not be walked on again.
    Please discuss interacting with a narcissistic sociopath when sharing custody as any normal interaction is impossible.

  • Sharon s.

    Sharon s.

    January 19th, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    Well with my former love I broke up with him!!!!! For a year out if the 4 I felt deep in my soul something wasn’t right. By the time I broke up with him I was in a daze. Within a week he was seeing someone else, sending flowers, jewlry, and she was just head over hill. But she slowed him down and set boundaries. But I also tried to but let him cross them. I knew all the lies he was telling to her and others. That I was crazy, etc. but she is definitly in love already but she hasn’t let it go further as she found out she had cancer but if course he stayed cause he’s the “hero”. We had email wars etc but he told her I was emailing and wouldn’t stop. So I got smart and bought a recorder and when he calked one time I recorded the conversation. He said he missed me, that she was nothing no fireworks but he couldn’t hurt her knowing she had cancer. After that phone call I went to the no contact rule on October 3rd. On social media I could tell he was pushing for me to remember him. On December 11 I woke up to an email asking me to forgive him that there were things he looked over that he could have changed. I responded like a dummy. Didn’t hear anything else until Christmas Eve I was headed to church service I got a very long email of him being so nice putting all the blame on him etc. he set me back 6 months by doing this. He started emailing me kind of bringing me down, saying I was pathetic etc. so I am back to the no contact rule. I pray I can do it this time. We do have a dog together which he hasn’t seen in 7 months and he is trying to get over here to see him. I’m going to say no. He didn’t mind going on with his new supply and not care about the dog so he doesn’t deserve it niw.

  • Mina

    Mina

    January 30th, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    Hi Sharon,
    Your situation reminds me a little of my situation with my ex N. We had a dog together and when we broke up, he immediately went to his new supply, he could care less about the dog or seeing the dog or me.. Fast forward a few months and me going no contact, he immediately started writing me telling me that he wants to see the dog, he misses the dog, ect. As if he had an overnight epiphany that he now needs the dog in his life. Do not buy into this, these men will say and do anything in order to get you back into their life or for you to somehow acknowledge their existence even if it is by simply replying to their messages. It doesn’t even have to be positive context that you are replying with, as long as they know that they affect you in some way, they will be happy, that’s why it’s essential to continue no contact. Do not fall for his trap, do not fall for his pity. You are a strong women, by aknowledging his existence you are allowing him to further abuse you and showing him that although he has done cruel things to you, you are still willing to accept him. I understand that people can make mistakes and most narcissists will use this against you in an attempt to get back into your life, they will claim they made a “mistake” and put blame on themselves only to revert back to these “mistakes” once they feel they have trapped you… A person can make a mistake once, and I am a big believer of second chances but when someone repeats the mistake over and over again, it is no longer a mistake but character. Please have the courage to continue no contact and to heal.

  • Gina

    Gina

    January 20th, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Ok big question is can someone that is a Narcissist get help if they truly wants it ??If he is saying he doesn’t want to be the way he is all his life??? He is also saying he doesn’t know why he cheats and lies his whole life. Is there any hope for him in order to keep our marriage of 18 yrs??

  • Mina

    Mina

    January 30th, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Hello, I read your message and this is the same question I’ve asked myself for years hoping that the answer would be that narcissists can change but the truth is that although Im not opposed to the idea that people in general can change for the better, the narcissist is most likely not going to change and it is very painful to go through the process of hoping they will change with therapy only to get disappointed in the end. If you are romantically involved with a narcissist, they will say and do anything that will give you hope that they will change. After many failed attempts of therapy, medication and counseling with my ex N, I can say that they will not change, they will just develop better ways of manipulating you and they might be on their best behavior for a few months but eventually their narcissistic ways that are so deeply engraining in them will emerge. One of two things will eventually happen, either you can accept him for the person that he is and continue in a relationship that you are compromising yourself incredibly or you can accept him for who is he and close the door on him and move on in your life, which I know is easier said and done.. But either way, you will have to accept him for who he truly is.

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    January 22nd, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    I am glad this article has been helpful. Working with a trained clinician skilled in helping people through narcissistic abuse recovery is vital for healing. I offer psychotherapy/life coaching/ and telehealth options…please contact me through my profile if interested in exploring my offerings. Sincerely, Andrea Schneider, LCSW

  • Sharon

    Sharon

    February 2nd, 2015 at 5:10 AM

    Hi all,

    Thank you all for sharing your stories and for the information which I’ve found so very helpful.

    Recently ended a 2 yr relationship with a man I believe to have NPD.

    I can not believe that I have had to endure such an experience and I hope that he will move on quietly and leave me alone. He is currently away for 3 weeks. His response to my ending the relationship was typical of a narc, perhaps one that has already got a new source of supply lined up or one that will deal with me when he gets back…hopefully not the latter.

    We never lived together, I never felt it to be a proper relationship and always had a sense that something was not right. I had a strong physical attraction to him, that was about it really as there was no real depth to the relationship and I was on guard from the start, as a result of the mixed messages I’d get from him, and all the confusion and crazy behaviour. I guess the real red flags didn’t start showing until he had well and truly hooked me in.

    It is still so fresh and hard to accept the type of person I have been in a relationship with could be so callous and uncaring. The rages when I would express my feelings, the belittling and attempts to turn things around on me and he would tell to me I was being childish and toooo sensitive.

    I recall him telling me of an ex that was also too sensitive and always crying. I know why now. Unfortunately for her she has a 2 children with him.

    I tried to be understanding and supportive but always felt my boundaries were being crossed. He didn’t really do much for me. He made sure to let me know in advance that he didn’t celebrate Xmas, valentines etc I realise now that he never really spent anything on me beside the early dating stages to whoo me in. Any gifts from him were used or something he got free from someone else. Never contributed to shopping even though he would would always be hungry and expect dinner, he would ask where I got certain items of food from instead of bringing anything to the table. He would always stand back when I had to pay at the till!

    After observing his lack of spending and pure meaness I confronted him on it politely and asked for him to contribute. His response was not good. He turned it around and made me feel bad for asking. Said I had really hurt him bad! All the things he had done were starting to become clearer. Talking of ex’s, talking to ‘friends’ on dating site we met. Each and every time I would challenge him, I was made to feel like an idiot. He would tell me I was insecure, and I would just be left confused by his response. He would often later say he wasn’t going to do this or that and understood where I was coming from.

    After asking him to contribute recently, I then noticed a change in him pulling away, seeing even less of him than before which wasn’t much anyway. Knowing he would be going abroad I would of expected us to see as much of each other as possible. Though he said we would the opp was true. He made plans for most of the free time he had and when I expressed my disappointment I was belittled and basically told that I just want him all to myself lol what an idiot, normal people in a loving relationship do not behave like that!

    That was enough for me. Very odd behaviour I started to look into by searching on Google and to my horror came across NPD sites and stories that were so similar to what I had experienced it was scary!

    I thank you all for sharing your stories and for all the information out there. I know I have to work through the pain and I’m confident that I will get through it. I just hope that I am strong enough to keep this loser out of my life for good. I also hope that I will be able to see any red flags when I eventually allow myself to love again. I feel like I don’t know who to trust right now. It’s truly awful.

    I know it was not me and all about him. He saw my kind caring nature, he saw I had a good professional job and nice home, all the things he so wishes he had and probably never will, and splurge and simply took advantage for his own need and supply.

    I wish each and every person on here much love and peace on your journeys. I will continue to gain strength in writing and reading and knowing that he was just not a normal person but a wolf in sheeps clothing and will never find true love or happiness, something we all deserve and no less.

  • Karen

    Karen

    June 28th, 2015 at 3:32 AM

    Mine and your story are so similar. Only difference is he had his own house and money and so do I. I was with him for 1.5 years. I always went to his house as 50 minutes to mine was to far. He always wanted to stay home we rarely went ‘out’ during that time He often hinted for me to move closer but I had enough red flags that I never really considered that. Thank God I didnt! His thing was he would not pull his wallet out out at the register at times and let me pay or ask me to leave the tip. When he did pay he would mention it periodically to remind me what a “good boyfriend I am” for having done that for you. I broke up with him a week ago because he had been creating more distance between us and when i did see him would say passive aggressive hurtful things and tell me i was oversensitive, just like ‘Sandy (a coworker)’ that he constantly put down and talked about. Also admitted to flirting with her. He instantly changed his status to single, unfriended me on facebook and tagged a local exgirlfriend with a sexually suggestive post (I looked on a mutual friends phone and saw that). I really think he moved on sometime back and instead of telling me, just gradually picked me apart while inserting the mixed messages of loving me. Because he has had no contact with me in a week I have started questioning if I am the narc. My friends tell me no but this has really messed up my head and self-esteem. He is 52 (I’m 54) and he has never been married and there have been “a LOT of women”. He led me to believe early on that I was different and special and being a recent widow from a challenging marriage…ate that up. Just felt the need to share with you. My best to you!

  • shan

    shan

    February 15th, 2015 at 7:28 PM

    I am in a relationship with what seems like a spot-on example of what npd is described as..I never knew there was one word for this type of personality. I asked him if he knew what that was and he dismisses the idea and wont hear me out. I was originally looking for a therapist for relationship building he said hed go. I planned in addressing his lack of empathy, witholding approval, criticism, and self-centered nature where everything is yes for him and no when it comes to me. Also how there is no emotional support, no affection, refusing to communicate when I talk about how his lack of intimacy, and he expects sex but no emotion or affection. Afterward no conversation just goes right to his phone to read before he falls asleep. No I love yous except mumbling it as a response. He walks 20 feet in front of me everywhere we go. Never holds my hand. We got pregnant within weeks of dating, now we have 2 kids. When I see his relationship w his kids he displays all of the above that he lacks in our relationship. So I know hes capable of it. Is that usual? Im glad hes good w his kids, but does that mean that we could recover from this? Or is it that I am the target and always will be?

  • Marlene D

    Marlene D

    March 1st, 2015 at 4:10 PM

    Hi Shan, From my experience married to my Np partner for 25 + 5 years as we shacked up first. Trust yourself. The strength they project is intended to intimidate you and confuse your mind. My mistake came while I processed some personal stuff out loud. Ten years in with 2 children 1 & 5. My NP took this info he overheard by me and slandered my younger brother with it when I was out of ear shot. The next day my brother committed suicide. My life was then spent with only the NP pushing distortion at me and denying, oppressing, and targeting me. My NP only knew 0 about love and marriage. My NP was raised by a former prisoner of war who was married to a schitzophrenic partner as they had used adoption to obtain their children. Our children are so badly distorted when they have to question the love from mom and dad. Separate yourself. Never believe your NP when speaking about you or your self worth as they are incapable of determining their own self worth. The honeymoon was great but daily life just about killed me. The NP needs everyone to adore them. And will not compliment you to acknowledge any qualities good only bad. As we grow up I think it is way to easy to forget the warmth of our youth. We always seem to want that love from the one person NP who was unable to share any due to their personal lack of it. My NP didn’t take care of health, cared less about connection, and if I did not support the projection put forth I became the next intensely hurtful target set for destruction. Trust yourself . If the NP has lips that are moving I would bet that lies are coming out it.

  • stacey

    stacey

    March 23rd, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    I had been with my narcissist ex for only nine months but that was enough time to get inside my head. I was an independent happy outgoing person when I met him . Now I am a complete and utter mess. Been off work for three months with depression . When I first met him he literally swept me off my feet . There were times that I thought things were wierd and didn’t add up to normal behaviour but I shoved hat aside. This man made me feel so special worshipped and loved. The way he looked at me I really thought I had found the one . gradually though I noticed this that made me think it wasn’t right I felt I was suffocating with the constant texts pushing my friends family and kids aside. One day my family stormed into my house and demanded that he leave. They said he had changed me and they had spoken to his ex girlfriend who had confirmed he had destroyed her life. But it was too late I was under his spell I was addicted. I g told my family we were trying again and that I wanted to give him another chance. I told my boyfriend about the suffocation and he cried said he didn’t realise he made me feel that way . For a while things were good he tried harder with the kids tried woth my family and we had arranged to get married. But his little temper tantrums and outburst and constant jekyl and Hyde and constant attention seeking again got too much . I kept telling myself please stop having feelings for this man then you can leave because deep down in my heart I knew it wasn’t right and I could never spend the rest of my life with this man. I sunk into a depression and I had time off work and my day consisted of having to meet him every lunch time and be home from when he got home to work. He would always say please trust me with your heart please beleive I love you but all the time birthday had what his ex girlfriend had said in the back of my mind. I always used to say I bet you will discard me like you did her I bet you will move on and I will be the next psycho ex to which he would reply I would never do that too you i never knew true love existed untill I met you. He had custody of his son whom he also treated like crap and he would spoil any special occasion . I spent my birthday and xmas day in tears . Then four weeks ago I had had enough I was mentally drained and confused. He had one of his outburst and I told him to leave. He did. But the next day I panicked and called him. I have no idea why I should have felt releived. Anyway he arranged to come over but in the mean time my friend had text saying she had seen him on dating sites . He came over and was telling me he loved me he wasn’t a bad man and he would never cheat to which I produced his dating site profile. I asked him to leave. At first he refused but then he knew I ment it. I didn’t contact him for two days and then yet again I broke. He was horrible for three days then he agreed for me to go over his flat. I went expecting for us to talk. But the evening consisted of me sat on the sofa crying and him being as vile as he could be to me . As I left he ran after me cry if and crying saying he was sorry he was just angry that I had thrown him out. Regardless of the fact why I had and the fact that he had been on dating sites. I agreed to go around there on the Friday stupidly I know and he actually tried to strangle me I thought I was going to die. That was the i had had enough. I didn’t contact him for a whole week although very hard. I was a complete mess. My friends and family were brilliant I didn’t actually realise how many people cared and how many had been waiting on the side lines for me to realise what he was. I felt like I didn’t know myself I felt a complete wreck felt I had nothing without him and constantly had images of him with other girls in my mind. I have spoken with two of his ex girlfriends and to be fair they have really really helped. I also went to hypnotherapy. His ex girlfriends have confirmed that he practically lives the same relationship with every women and it hurt to realise that I was no different I trusted this man with my heart and he just ripped it into pieces. After two weeks I broke and contacted him and all he keeps saying is he hasn’t even with anyone else he will always love me he is getting on with his life and that I chose this by kicking him out. It angers me to think that he blames me he doesn’t care that he hurt me physically cheated and the reasons behind why he kicked me out. I have read so much on narcissist and everything says go no contact but I don’t have the willpower. I have tried to get on and I have good and bad days. I just feel so lonely and I know this is down to the co dependency. My friends are brilliant but they have thier on family and kids and they can’t be there all the time. Most things I have read say narcissist always return and this is what I am confused about. Both his exes say that he kept return it for a year and a half on and off. But I just don’t understand myself. Why do I want him to call. Deep down I think I want him to call with his I can’t live without you head on again like he did before so I can be the one that says bye or ignore him. I don’t know if he has someone else he swears blind he hasn’t but why else would this be so easy. And if he wanted rid of me for good that is all he would need to say and he knows that. I feel I have nothing and I keep telling myself you were not happy. My head is so messed up some days I can’t even function . How can one person make you feel this way . I’m so confused and literally drained. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    March 23rd, 2015 at 12:01 PM

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

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Kate

    Kate

    May 10th, 2015 at 3:48 AM

    This is almost like reading the story of my life. Can I tell you though, the reason you keep taking your partner back is because he has conditioned you into believing it was your fault that things went wrong within the realationship and that you should have done X, Y or Z to make things better. They condition us to believe we have to try harder to meet their needs, and you, being a kind loving normal person who desires a normal loving relationship try your best to have a successful relationship. You are still on the Narcisstic cycle of good-bad-good-bad, each time you get on the cycle again it’s harder to step off. Believe me after 8 years of this I finally broke away but now I’ve ended up still 2 years on afraid to become involved in a realationship. Even with friendships I struggle to trust.

  • Brent

    Brent

    April 3rd, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    Hello, just want to say thank you to all who leave comments. Thanks for the article too. i recently had a two year r/s end. We broke up back in July but completely out of my life now. I deal with a lot the pain of what she would say to me. Honestly I didn’t understand what all of this was until she got completely got out of my life a month ago. When I started reading the article at night it would help me sleep cause I understand it wasn’t me. But It still bothers you when you cared for someone to have certain things said to you. After the first 3 months everything changes. I thought she was just mean didn’t understand that this was the real person all alone…hell I’m deep in now. You know how you wish could take one thing back…this would be my one thing. It’s hard a lot of day just to shake it off and go on with your life but you have too. I never wrote anything before online like this but just felt like I need to say something. This is real it’s a lot of people going thru this stuff.

  • camille

    camille

    April 26th, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    Thank you so much for giving us opportunity to share our stories.
    I was in a relationship with a narcissist for five years. It was often awkward and difficult but there were moments of beauty, intimacy and deep pleasure. The cruel and unexpected way in which he ended the relationship made me realise what he really was.

    I must admit that the process of healing has been extremely challenging. First of all I am mourning the ending of a relationship which gave me energy, life and yes something that felt like love. On another level I am trying to get to terms with the fact that these feelings were never returned, I was exploited and deceived, a mere tool which was conveniently discarded of. Finally, it is the anger I feel against myself for having allowed this to happen. How could I not have seen the deception and exploitation? Can I ever trust my heart again? Sadly his episode has profoundly impacted my willingness to connect with others, in any capacity, as I have lost the ability to trust.
    I hope this is only a phase and that one day I may be able to look on this experience as good lessons. However I have a sense there are wounds that will never heal.

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    May 3rd, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    @Camille…I am glad this has been helpful. You will heal, you are moving through what is called a trauma bond and all the complicated grief associated with it. A qualified therapist to help you is essential. Healing wishes to you, Andrea Schneider, LCSW

  • S

    S

    May 12th, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Please tell me what to do when you have kids and can’t do full no contact. I would LOVE more than anything to just go no contact. I do I fact love myself and know very well any contact with him seems to result in several steps backward in healing and just more pain. However, the courts are what they are and I have to coparent with this guy so I need to find a way to do that, that doesn’t cause me or my children pain. They are very little, my ex is a covert narc. He doesn’t have rages or scream or put me down. He’s passive aggressive and avoidant. He ended our 12 year relationship and 7 year marriage in the most horrific way. Gas lighting me for a year prior, telling me, my friends and family I was mentally ill completely behind my back while pretending it was out of love and concern. Then he went on a business trip, cheated on me ( although I don’t believe this was the first time) denied it and served me divorce papers (in front of my kids) 4 days later. The days that followed were absolute cruelty, he immediately went off to be with the OW, when he wasn’t with her he posted happy photos of himself and our kids together all over Facebook and Instagram minutes after leaving the house and me sitting there sobbing. If I showed any emotion he said I was unstable and to “try not to cry in front of the kids ok?” He sent a Facebook message to all our mutual friends stating “he was leaving me and to trust him when he said it was the best thing for himself and our kids” he also alluded to leaving me being something he had been planning for years. He had a very serious prescription drug problem, so when I asked for drug testing before agreeing to a parenting plan, he responded by filing motions for a psych eval on me and custody eval. This set off a year of utter hell. Determined not to give in and live in fear I called his bluff, filed motions for a psych eval in him and for all medical and therapeutical records to be put on the table. It was a risk but I knew I had nothing to hide. What I discovered was more prescription drug abuse I had no idea was even happening for as far back as 3 years. He completely hid it from me. Suddenly so many things made sense. The crazy drunken episodes that seemingly came out of the blue for years and years. The depression and Shane he felt with, gaslighting, denial…it was eye opening. He spent the last year, blaming me for everything still trying to suggest I was mentally ill, failing drug and alcohol tests and going from the women he cheated on me with to a women 12 years younger than me and spending close to 25,000 dollars on her in 4 months. While he broke automatic orders, tried to prevent me from paying my lawyer, and often left little in our joint account for me to take care of our little girls. Now we are close to settling or trial, we’ll see where it goes. But I too feel all these feeling mentioned many times in the comments before mine. I’m having an extremely hard time trusting men, dating seems impossible. I feel a bitterness in my life I want to let go of but can’t seem to shake. I have to see him every few days as he takes my kids to dinner and has every other weekend. It always is hard. Please someone tell me a positive story. Give me some sort of happy ending. You found lasting love, you let it go for real, you are truly happy, hey even a he completely imploded and did this again to someone else would be helpful. I just feel like I’m in a rut, my wheels are spinning, I’m still grieving a life I thought I’d have and a person I never really knew who never really loved me. It’s so sad to me and so infuriating too.

  • crystal

    crystal

    June 15th, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Just wanted to say thanks for all you do and to all those who comment/share. They often help more than they will ever know
    kindest regards, in gratitude 💜

  • Melissa

    Melissa

    October 24th, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    It really does help to read other people stories and experience Xx

  • kerri

    kerri

    August 9th, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    After leaving my abuser almost 2 years ago, i have found out he is dating my sister. I feel betrayed and abused all over again! Any suggwstions on how to cope with this?

  • Presents Of Mind

    Presents Of Mind

    December 12th, 2015 at 12:14 AM

    Kerri, I am sorry you are experiencing this . I f I can suggest something…please consider what I say. ( I was born to a malignant narcissist mother, the household was the textbook MN run dictatorship. It has taken three decades of praying, researching, connecting the dots , discovery, being repeatedly targeted by trolling MNs , and daily work…self work and continued research.

    It is the knowledge and information which saves us. It is our only recourse and solution.

    Triangulation and abuse by proxy are two terms which come immediately to mind regarding the sister and Narcissistic ex-boyfriend.
    Are you familiar with these 2 phenomena? If not please do research them.

    Throughout my reading and studying I have discovered that it is standard procedure for the MN /N to infiltrate family. Be very careful Kerri. Your sister- might she be his next source of supply, as well as a ” useful idiot” ( another MN related term ) in satiating his unquenchable thirst for creating human misery and pain? Be careful…it seems that he is not finished with you yet, so to speak.

    Many survivor know that the relentless MN WILL manipulate your siblings, relatives, friends….ANYONE who he can…to further torment you by the whole betrayal aspect…plus the unfathomability of it. Please read about smear campaigning, too..OR find YouTube videos on these subjects…you must do the work…it is the only way.

    Please please read and read on…study and research…I KNOW PERSONALLY how exhausting, depleting and traumatic the aftermath and the work of recovery from narcissitic abuse is…but Kerri, the more you can enlighten yourself about it, the clearer and lighter and stronger you get. Now, consider this….if you realize that MNs ARE a brush with death..near death or life and death experience…because some of them have it as a goal to destroy human beings lives…if you recognize that your encounter was and is something so mind bending and damaging, beyond anything you’d ever experienced…take care of yourself by reading as much as you can…to understand what he is doing. Understand a MN is like a virus and it will keep on feeding off its host. You can start protecting yourself – your spirit – by getting a grip on the MNs behavior from a , I guess I can say , clinical(?) perspective.

    Learn to recognize their ” MO’s” ….. You know, it Is a horrifying experience having lived with a monster, but once you see that they are unimaginative, weak, fearful, gross, empty, creepy, shallow bullies…bratty monster kids in adult bodies who have a SET group of predictable behaviors ( the worst, of course) the anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, terror, insomnia…among other things…WILL start to abate. Knowledge IS power.

  • Melissa

    Melissa

    October 24th, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    These articles really do help but it is still so hard to understand. …its been 3months with no contact from my narc ex..i met him two years ago he completely swept me of my feet he was so loving caring my family loved him my 2daughters fell for him too its a very complicated story but everything WAS great, yes there were a few red flags but I just thought he loved me and dismissed them.1year into the relationship i fell pregnant and that’s when eveything changed his demands he was the king pretty much. …when my beautiful daughter was born he became worse he would go out all night party gamble every cent we had he would go into rages for attention constantly threatened to leave me and commit suicide. …one night he told me if i left with his daughter he would come and shoot me in the head ..hed threaten me with his fists…been told how discusting you are once you have had a baby does not make you feel good….i finally managed to end things and of course he was sorry he wanted another chance ive manged to stick out not having any contact with an avo order but now i might have to go to court to keep it on because i have no evidence! …. hes been telling everyone how crazy i am and he did nothing wrong trying to make people feel sorry for him he is very clever people think he is amazing! ! This has been the most physical mentally emotional experience i have ever been through and whats sad is i still love this person but i think its the fake version of him i still love…my daughter is 6months old now he hasnt seen her for 3months and thinks hes going for custody of her…i dont belive any court will allow that but this all still terrifies me

  • Janette

    Janette

    January 22nd, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    Hi Melissa
    Good on you for ending this totally dysfunctional relationship & not continuing the legacy so your lovely daughter thinks this behavior is ‘normal’. You ve given your child the best start in life- however, it will be a long hard road through the court system. Take it from someone who raised 4 children by myself for many years, the narcissist is relentless. They will do & say whatever it takes in court to ‘screw’ you over. I was accused of all kinds of things-having an affair with my best friends husband, abusing our children, being in hospital with a drug overdose & even having one of our children with someone else. None of these allegations were true. The narcissist’s known step-child was mentally & physically abused for years, as was I (this came out in the Family Report) & threats were made continuously to harm me if I disclosed any abuse. I eventually employed a well known lawyer to represent myself & court appointed lawyers for the children. In 3 years I attended over 20 court hearings for family law, IVO S & Victims Of Crime. I had no intention of EVER meeting any other partner, then 5 years after ‘HELL’ I met someone who I thought was the man of my dreams. Charming, caring, understanding, loving who became my soul-mate, or so I thought. He moved into my & my children’s home 3 months after meeting him. We became pregnant & were over the moon. We lost our baby at 12 weeks & the first thing out of his mouth when I asked the gyne when we could try again was ‘What the f… would you want to do thay for?’
    We proceded with IVF, which I was told we could only do if I put his name on my mortgage. He didn t come home the night before the signing of the consent forms, he got drunk at work. He s been gone 7 months now- met someone at AA & left in the middle of the night. After leaving he rang me & abused me verbally to the point where I just said I had to go, texted me happy birthday (our birthdays were on the same day-lol)which I did not respond. He told me I used & abused him for 9 years & he wasnt marrying me because I wouldn t give him what he wanted-his name on my mortgage & house. Ive had 4 months of intense therapy & have realised that I choose these NARCS because that s the environment I was raised in as a child. I was partner number 4 who owned a house. I found a Last Will & Testement in my shed, which my ex had the original, of a former partner’ husband. My ex’s wife stood on my verandah 9 years ago & told me ‘ Dont ever put his name on your home or ANY bills’-thanks Yvonne!
    It’s been a long, hard road & I’ve learnt the hard way that you need to love yourself before putting yourself out there to be victimized by people with NPD. You dont do them any favours what so ever & you can’t save them or change them.
    They habe an amazing way of transferring all their inadequacies onto YOU. I was suddenly the needy, desperate person-I didn t have a new partner before he left & still dont. I have a lot of living to do! I wadn t the one who shouted at the top of my lungs ‘your kids are nothing but f….. m….s,.
    I had a friend once who used the phrase ‘ Good ridence to bad rubbish’ I never really understood it til now.

    Take Care-love yourself & your lovely daughter :)

  • T. F.

    T. F.

    October 31st, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    Pretty much same story, different people, except mine story has a twist. Financially I did not need my now ex-husband, in any way, which I believe was attractive to him when we met. Ultimately, I believe he hated me for my financial independence. In bed, at the end of the day wI found it so odd that his daughter was seven months pregnant when she told him. That his parents would never accept my invitations to visit us or to go out to dinner. Or that I never met any of his friends, ever! On our wedding night he went over to his side of our king size bed. He did not touch me. I could feel the change in him. I cried that night, and many, many more. After about two years of neglect and mental and emotional abuse I became depressed and emotionally drained. Out of the blue he would get hateful to me for no reason that I could come up with. I told him one time that he treated the checker at Walmart better than he treated me. No emotion. I knew the problem was his, but that it was seriously affecting me. He would sit, in dark, down our basement, when he wasn’t working or eating, constantly, and guessed that he had depression along with sleep apnea. I did talk him into going to the doctor and he did allow me to go with him. The doctor wanted to put him on a low doseage antidepressant, which he angrily refused, stating that his grandmother was put on anti-depressants and that they “zombied” her out many years ago. The doctor said this small dosage could possibly change his life for the better and that antidepressants had come along way since his grandmothers days. That was the first time that he revealed mental health issues ran in his family. He did agree to go to a sleep clinic. On the drive home he accused the doctor and I of being in cahoots, trying to get him on drugs! I told him that if he would die tomorrow I wouldn’t even miss him because there was nothing to miss. This did not even remotely affect him. No emotion whatsoever. If he would have said that to me, I would have been devastated and done anything to change things. Not him. Ultimately, he was put on a CPAP which did help with the depression somewhat. At that point he probably threatened divorce two times. I would cry, pray, beg, plead and grovel on my knees for him to not leave. After tormenting me for a few days, he would decide to stay and we would pretend things were OK and the episode never happened. Ugly, out of the blue, episodes of deep hatred would appear periodically, completely devastating me. He broke my heart. Putting one foot in front of the other was excruciating. Fast forward two years. I am a strong, independent person and after years of this abuse I finally said enough is enough. I did not want to be divorced again, putting my son and my family through more embarrassment. Cracks in the veneer of our marriage were finally showing and I started to reveal things to my mom. Five years had since passed and to make a long story short, I decided to endure this loveless, emotionally void marriage. Mentally, I was doing well and had the game somewhat figured out. Now, when he went into a rant or a funk, I continued on with my happy life. This made him even angrier. I was no longer emotionally attached to him and got some pleasure out of this! He stomped the love out of my heart years ago and it didn’t really matter anymore. I thought I could live this way, but I was wrong. Sooner or later, when I was ready, I knew that divorce him. I knew he sensed a change in me. I could just feel it. Over Christmas last year, he accused me of having a boyfriend, which was not true. I just laughed at him. I had this feeling that he was snooping through my things. I set him up and he did in fact go through my purse. When I accused him of this, of course, he denied it. I stated to him that I set him up! In a mocking voice, I asked him if we were getting divorced again. He hatefully said that maybe 2015 was the year that we needed to separate. I told him that he was correct and that I WAS SO DONE WITH HIM! He was so shocked that he did not say another word the whole evening! I was beyond surprised at what came out of my mouth. The decision had been made and I was completely done. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I thought I could but I couldn’t. As I said before, I was financially secure, had my own home and did not need him and he knew it all this. This occurred on January 1, 2015. Our dissolution of marriage was finalized on April 1, 2015. What an appropriate date, as I have been one big fool! He did try to sweet talk me on three different occasions to get back together. My how the tables had turned, as he never tried to get back together before. It was always me doing the begging. The next question in my mind was why did he want to stay we me when he clearly hated me. I believe it was because financially I made his life easy. He was away during the week for work purposes. He was able to contribute to his 401K plan significantly and had financial goal in mind. I now believe when he reached his school he would have unloaded me, but he needed me right now He “wanted to be friends” after our dissolution was done! I told him HELL NO! Why would I ever want to be friends with someone who treated me the way he did! I would not have treated my worst enemy the way he treated me. I was strong enough to know, before I had read it, to have ZERO contact! It wasn’t until five months after our disillolution was finalized that I ran into narcissistic articles and discussions on the internet. I was completely blown away. There was my story! It is now almost November, and I have spent months reflecting on my years of abuse. There were red flags everywhere! Then I was devastated and mad at myself for allowing my ex to treat me the way he did, and for so long. This website has helped me more than I can say. I will be okay, without a doubt. My issue with myself now is trying to get my family to understand who my ex really was. They all know that he had major issues, but not to what extent. For whatever reason, for me, I need them to understand this. I get home from work on Friday and my vehicle does not move until I have to go to work on Monday morning. I realize that this is a typical issue for abused people. In my defense, I am beyond enjoying having the remote to the TV to myself and watching the shows that I want to watch. I do go to events when I must and I know I will get out there and really live again. Life is good! Please forgive me for going on and on. I needed to purge this. I sincerely hope in some way this helps anyone who has been through this. Thank you again for listening to me.

  • DT

    DT

    November 1st, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Thank you…I,am 3months into rebuilding my life and so,much of what you said is the mirror to my last 3year’s. You have given me hope. Thank you and Congratulations.

  • T. Francis

    T. Francis

    November 1st, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    Good luck and best wishes to you. I truly believe my greatest accomplishment in life was surviving this. Others will never understand. You have to have lived it.

  • Michelle

    Michelle

    November 3rd, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    I just wanted to say to T.F.- I am so happy for you!!! And thank you for sharing your story with all of us. It is an incredible reminder of the strength that is within us. It is easy to forget how strong we are when we have endured so much pain. Your story is wonderful reminder to all of us!
    Hugs to you, brave survivor!
    Michelle

  • T. Francis

    T. Francis

    November 7th, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    Hugs back to you also, Michelle. Thank you for your kind words. They mean so much!

  • Deb

    Deb

    February 11th, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    After 10 1/2 years I divorced my husband last October. Reading these articles has made me feel like I do have validation of what happened to me. He swept me off my feet, brought presents every time he came to the door, left notes, cards, e-mails, phone calls; he finally moved in after each time he’d come and say I just need to leave something here so I can stay. And I let him he seemed to love me so very much! Once he moved in (he is also an ex-Assembly of God preacher so I’m thinking I’ll have someone to go to church with, uplift spirtually, etc.) he said we needed to marry because it was hurting him mom just living together. I have been divorced over 20 years from my first abusive relationship so I wanted to be super careful in choosing another partner–and during that time I NEVER lived with anyone. He just moved right in, never offered to help with finances, and I thought it was because he thought I was so independent. We married after a year or more of dating; I noticed a difference the day after I said I do. I called my daughter and spoke to her, she thought it was because I’d been alone so long and just needed to adjust so I let it go. When we got back from our honeymoon from hell, he went back to work, I started my own home based business. The week he went back to work, he came home and told me that he “didn’t mind having sex with me, but he didn’t want anything to do with me on a weekday!” I found that disturbing since I hadn’t really asked anyway. Later on he told me I disgusted him and he had to force himself to have anything to do with me. I was devastated. He also walked out on me after I had taken thousands of $ to start my business. If not for the good Lord, I’d really have died, he sent friends to help me. He came back after 6 months; I felt grateful as I was in my late 50’s that anyone would want to share their life with me. It continued the rest of the years. He became a truck driver after quitting a good job and was gone for the majority of the last 4 years. I found where he had taken his mother’s money, his retirement, everything we were supposedly saving and gambled and who knows what else–that’s not including the money he made. I made the decision to divorce and caught him off guard which helped me save my farm I’d always had and my business. He had made threats through the years that he could take half of everything I had if he wanted. And he could’ve! I found out during this nightmare that a pre-nup is only good IF THE JUDGE DECIDES TO USE IT!!!! My salvation came from where he had taken his elderly mother’s money; my attorney said we could initiate an investigation–I used that as leverage and he agreed to everything. He came back to bring maintenance checks, left his possessions which he’d have to come back for, etc, and I let him. He brought me presents for Christmas, my birthday, told me he loved me, etc. My heart was still soft but I knew better than to believe anything he had to say. I also found out he’d been seeing a ‘family friend’ of his family and that she’d been driving to meet him when he was certain places. I felt like I’d been gutted. After reading these articles, I feel more hopeful than ever as I see in black and white my same story from several others. I’m really appreciated of them.

  • T. Francis

    T. Francis

    February 11th, 2016 at 4:45 PM

    Deb, our stories are so similar! It never ceases to amaze me that this didn’t just happen to me. My best advice to you is to have NO CONTACT. I hope to Jesus I never see my ex again. An added benefit to no contact is that it will drive him mad. How could anyone as worthless as you divorce someone as special (in his mind!) as him! LOSERS! I hope you have someone in your life that believes you and will listen to you any time you need to talk. I am sad to say that I don’t have that. Every day I remember more and more things that happened to me that I would love to tell someone, just to verbalized it. Unless it happens to you I guess you just can’t understand. Stay strong and I will add you to my prayer list!

  • Deb

    Deb

    February 11th, 2016 at 9:26 PM

    I do have some friends who have been amazingly helpful and supportive. I am blessed. I don’t think he will be back as he has someone he is aggressively pursuing and I believe will probably marry before the year is over. She was seeing him before we were divorced I’m sure. He believed I was just not good enough for him and it did hurt my self confidence, my heart and soul. And it is so funny, I did call him at first just thinking that he surly would apologize, ask to make it work, etc. I finally cut contact, but I still read things about him and know I have got to stop that too. I feel hyper vigilant and just want to know what he’s up to so I can be safe although he never said he was going to do anything, I felt it. I ordered some books on this subject and hope I never have another experience like it again. I pray you find a friend that will support you and thank you for your comment.

  • Billye H.

    Billye H.

    May 30th, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Nice blog post , I loved the points ! Does someone know if my assistant can get a sample AK DR-475 form to complete ?

  • Lynn

    Lynn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:17 PM

    What about a narcissistic boss? My boss is an elected official that has come into my realm. This person is full blown text book narcissist. I have been sucked into and used by this person, to the extent I could not function. I realize that i need to stop all contact with this person but, I have 14 years invested in my career and I have a pretty good retirement pension/package. This person has 3 years left in their term. This is their second term. I “managed” the behavior for the first four years, but when I disagreed with this person they lashed out with everything possible including disciplinary action short of firing me, probably because I am the person who is most valuable and experienced in the department. My reputation is valuable to me so trying to tarnish my reputation with lies is personal. My professional career has been perfect before this person. Anyway it was devastation. I thought this write up was describing someone else, someone awful, and all of this happening one week after my mothers death. What timing, fuel for the narcissistic supply. So now how do I recover from this and interact with this person on a daily basis?

  • Mike B.

    Mike B.

    June 6th, 2017 at 10:25 PM

    This blog is dope. Thank You Mike

  • Jennifer

    Jennifer

    June 21st, 2017 at 4:41 PM

    Andrea,
    I am so appreciative of your articles although discouraged to find myself back here. It has been 2 1/2 years since I left a relationship with a narcissist. Even though he said he wanted it to end, the next few months were full of stalking and harassment. I most definitely suffered PTSD symptoms. I worked very hard to heal and move forward and have been doing wonderful. A couple nights ago, I passed him when I was leaving work and many buried emotions have resurfaced. I do see it as an opportunity to work them out for good rather than allow them to remain under the surface, but am unpleasantly surprised to be experiencing PTSD symptoms yet again. I hope to find a good psychotherapist in my area to help me with the rest of this work.

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    October 28th, 2017 at 10:35 AM

    @Jennifer – just saw your comment. Happy to refer you to someone with this practice specialty if you’d like to contact me through my profile. Healing wishes.

  • Gale

    Gale

    October 28th, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    I just found your series of articles, Andrea. Thank you. I left the narcissist years ago, but he recently sent me some old photos of our children and family taken by his now-deceased father twenty years ago or more. .. and that triggered a painful flashback for me. Reading your articles is just what I needed to start breathing freely again. I am touched by the way you responded to your readers over the years. You have created a legacy of healing, Andrea.

  • Andrea Schneider

    Andrea Schneider

    October 28th, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    @Gale – thank you for your kind words. Glad the articles are helpful. I enjoy engaging with my readers – glad you found my work – I also blog for Psych Central and The Mind’s Journal, as well as my own blog From Andrea’s Couch. Thanks again and healing wishes to you.

  • Kate

    Kate

    January 2nd, 2018 at 11:13 PM

    Thank you for these articles. I knew there was something very wrong but couldn’t put my finger to it. It helped to keep my sanity to send text messages to myself describing his actions and my feelings. It helped to remember things as they really happened. He actually ones said “are you keeping a diary!?” Because I remember something differently from what he was claiming. I suppose in a sense I WAS keeping a diary. Reading through two years of messages gives me a better understanding of what happened. Nowadays sending a message is easier than sitting down with and actually write. I can definitely recommend it, if you ever feel there is something not quite right.

  • Kate

    Kate

    January 2nd, 2018 at 11:15 PM

    That should read once…not “ones”

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