The One Thing You Need to Know About Narcissists

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Apr 06
One thing you need to know about narcissists

Or… Do Relationships with Narcissists Last?

I get many ideas for blog posts from search terms that lead people to Let Me Reach.  This particular question always pulls at my heartstrings because I know the place readers are coming from when they ask, “Can a relationship with a Narcissist last?”

First, there is no guarantee that any relationship will last.  A successful relationship endures through dynamics such as mutual trust, respect, compassion, and a degree of emotional maturity.  Even if a partner isn’t a Narcissist, it doesn’t mean they are long-term relationship material.  Establishing a friendship before becoming romantically involved is the best route to take.  Many people get into the dating scene and establish an “instant relationship” with a virtual stranger.  However, it takes a long time to really know someone and determine if they are a good match.

Now, onto relationships with Narcissists.  In general, Narcissists aren’t capable of establishing a relationship based on trust, respect, or compassion; whether it be a romantic relationship or otherwise.  They have a basic understanding of these concepts based on what they’ve observed from society, but they aren’t able to genuinely put them into practice.

The important thing to understand about Narcissists is they don’t comprehend that they have a disorder and that it’s toxic to the people who become romantically involved with them.  That’s why we can never successfully “teach” them required relationship dynamics or emotional maturity.  The Narcissistic personality is engrained within them, just as we may be Empathetic, Sensitive, INFJ, or other similar personality types.  Trying to figure out “how they got that way” is futile, because no matter whether they were born with the disorder, or evolved into their personality through environmental factors, that’s who they are now, just as we are who we are now.

Using myself as an example…I’m an Empath/Sensitive.  I observed my Ex’s behaviors and came to understand how his mind works, but that doesn’t mean I can become like him.  I can use my understanding of Narcissistic behaviors to act like a Narcissist, but that would only be temporary and not coming from who I am inherently.

That’s what Narcissists do when they fool people into thinking they are “normal”.  They temporarily act like us, but their true self eventually comes out; just as ours would if we were to pretend to be someone or something we’re not.

The difference between mainstream society and Narcissists is that we don’t operate entirely from ego.  This is especially the case with Empaths, Sensitives, and other caring/nurturing types.  Our natural tendency is to give, usually to a fault (based on society’s standards).  However, our ego does come into play when we keep giving to the Narcissist and then become frustrated and insulted when they don’t give back.

The Narcissist operates solely from ego and everything they do and say is to protect this very fragile and selfish ego.  What comes across as their using and abusing people is their use of defense and survival mechanisms, albeit very toxic ones.  This explains why they only care about external factors such as money, status, image, and sex, which are the very things they extract from their sources of supply.  In contrast, we are able to derive our happiness through internal factors such as gratitude, compassion towards others, mutual kindness and respect, spirituality, giving, and the like.

Sacred Self vs. Ego

The one critical, internal element that’s missing in Narcissists is the Sacred Self; a spiritual identity.  Following are some comparisons to help clarify how this fact manifests and what makes them different from us:

  • We treat people with respect because we innately believe they are worthy of it.  Narcissists treat those close to them with disrespect.  They only act respectful towards “outsiders” as a way of maintaining their image.
  • We offer love and acceptance to others because we know that’s why we are here and because we enjoy it.  Narcissists only take love and acceptance.  That’s all they know since they operate only from ego.
  • When conflict arises, we are able to let it go and move on.  Narcissists must get revenge.
  • We trust in the good of all people.  Narcissists believe everyone is just like them.
  • We like to help people feel good about themselves and feel relief when a conflict has been resolved.  Narcissists like to fight.
  • We take responsibility when we’ve made a mistake.  Narcissists blame everyone else.
  • We enjoy being compassionate.  Narcissists enjoy being manipulative.
  • We often participate in careers and hobbies that serve.  Narcissists only do what serves them.

Loving people live in a loving world.  Hostile people live in a hostile world.  Same world.” ~ Wayne Dyer

We are all human and we all make mistakes. The above examples aren’t to paint us as perfect.  But the difference is our ability to acknowledge we make mistakes and try to improve upon them, whereas Narcissists won’t change anything about themselves because they don’t see the need to.

So, to answer the question, “Can a relationship with a Narcissist last?”  Only if you are willing to devote yourself to serving them without any expectations that they will reciprocate.  You must accept that they will likely cheat, steal, lie, and talk badly about you.  Even then, it wouldn’t guarantee they would stay with you because they do whatever their ego commands them to do.

Are you willing to take that risk?

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(129) comments

Cheryl July 18, 2016

Kim: For a relationship with a narcissist to last, does the non have to KNOW that the narcissist is a narcissist, how they work, etc.; or could the person just be so insecure and naive and codependent that it just works? While I didn’t know my ex was NPD at the beginning, it didn’t take but a week or two to realize something was terribly wrong; I just let her convince me it was for reasons other than that she was a narcissist (I think that works with most people; but it will not lead to a long-term relationship in my case). Thoughts?

Reply
Nicole Greaney Cavan October 26, 2015

Evil, fake, parasites. Nothing lasts with them because there is nothing there and never was. It was just a show you fell for. They love only themselves. They lie, manipulate and cheat and somehow you or a crazy ex is to blame. Never them. Great articles. I was conned for a few years by John. I see it all now.

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    Kathy February 28, 2017

    Bingo, I went thru this same behavior the way u described it. The show they put on is real & once the hunt is over & they get what they want, they don’t know what to do with u. I never saw any red flags in the beginning, just knew something started slowly changing & wasn’t right after the first year of marriage. My advice is get out while the going is good! They will destroy u if u stay.

    Reply
      Gary April 7, 2017

      I was just released by my narcissistic sociopathic girlfriend after 1.5 years of what I assumed was love. Well, it was a two way love affair; I loved her and so did she.
      The attraction phase was set up with intense sex, her drug to addict me. She was vain, took hours to make herself up and was always taking selfies. She had an alter ego that she called Hollywood and her idol was Marilyn Monroe. She embarrassed me a number of times and once got up on a stage at a burlesque show to do a seductive dance with another girl from the audience.

      Red flags, can anyone say red flags? Laughing out loud
      Anyhow, at the beginning she acted as if she adored and loved me and wrote love letters and even wrote on me with sharpies, drawing hearts, etc. all over me. She went so far as to draw up a list of things that we would do: make love under the stars, visit exotic places, ballroom dancing, you name it. Only problem, she had no money and lived off of daddy. Promised me a cruise. Guess who probably would have paid for that?

      I was carefully cultivated and picked by her. I was older, financially secure and had my own place. I lavished dinners, jewelry and clothing upon her. I was hooked.

      She did the mirroring very well. I was into gardening and birds. All of a sudden, she was buying plants and shrubs, hummingbird feeders; you name it. Not a month later, most of the plants were dead (like my one sided love affair), the feeders were never filled again and discarded. She did the deny and discard even with inanimate objects. She just plain lost interest.

      Fast forward to the past few months. I moved in temporarily to help with her kids and became a houseboy of sorts (I know, you can only allow people to take advantage if you let them).

      Last month, the sex and faux intimacy dried up, but she still needed me to do errands and help out. We had a minor argument that day. Feeling that something was going on, I confronted her and she snapped telling me she was stressed.

      An hour later, I get a text telling me it was over and to please leave. Same afternoon she unfriended me on FB and my friends as well. Next day she was back on the site where I first hooked up with her.

      No doubt she had either been starting to cultivate another fool or began cheating.
      I was torn up inside; no sleep, not much eating and my mind was in turmoil.

      Fortunately, I was contacted by others that she had done this to. She is merely a superficial shell, nothing more. Never accomplished anything that she had to work and sweat for. I am better for this experience. I can move forward and enjoy the fruits of my labor. All she can do is suck the life force from men’s (and women’s souls, since I also found she was bi).

      And she did the D/D discard/deny perfectly. Never responded to me. She is devoid of love, guilt or remorse. Loving people try to work through their issues, narcissists work through their victims!

      Reply
        Lisa Renee August 3, 2017

        I’m sorry you went through this. My current relationship mirrors, only I married the guy. He was broke when we met. Did all the things you could imagine. I was swepted away by his charm. Helped him build his business to a 3 income figure while I slowly discarded my career. The moment we married, everything changed. Forward 2 years I discovered who he was. All the pieces came together in my mind and it felt like my whole being was betrayed, except my soul. I have a very strong relationship with the Lord. He mirrored that well too. So sadistic. Heart wrenching to see this from a spiritual perspective. To know the one you love despices you and that his soul is possibly unreachable. Something I must give to the Lord daily. I just lost my twin sister last month to a 7 week battle with aggressive cancer. So this was an opportune time for him to discard me. I told him I new who he was (his daughter heard this). His daughter supplies him with maximum supply. He loves the idea of making me feel discarded when she is around. Quite sickening to see a grown man act like this. He then left when he discovered I knew who he was. Left with his daughter. They went back to his parents (where I initially found him) and there was no contact for one week. He didn’t this often. Gave me the silent treatment to “punish” me. A week later he served me divorce papers, telling me not to get greedy. Ironic, huh? A week later here I am. He tried to suck me dry, but my faith is too strong. I could not allow myself to worship this massive ego. I despised it. He hated me for that. I only bow to the Lord Jesus. He knows that, says I brought him to Christ. I’ll never know this side of heaven if this is true, but I pray often he will be able to repent. This is the only thing that will save him. I know I must move on. Tomorrow he will be here to gather his clothes and bike. He’s leaving me with the house. Ha, it’s my house!!! That’s all he wants. He is deeply afraid of me, but will never show it. He will manipulate every word I say. My brother will be here. I’m sure he’ll charm him and the game goes on and on. I want now to learn as much as I can about this evil thing that has happened to me so I can help others. My younger sister is going through the same thing, but she doesn’t feel her abusive alcoholic husband is a “narcissist”. She takes all kinds of coping drugs and is sick a lot. My sister is beautiful, smart and caring, and this man has sucked the life out of her for the last 10 years. These lost souls are leaches, and until Christ returns, we will be dealing with them. Hind site is easy, to have had the knowledge I have now would have saved me from the incredible heartache I suffered, but then again, may the Lord use me to reveal His truth to warn others.

        Reply
Ret July 30, 2015

Dear Kim…..Your articles continue to arm me with much needed knowledge. This one is so thorough, and I feel it explains what many of us have experienced in a relationship with a narcissist. They “DO NOT” change…..for anyone! I’m at the point where I am praying for my ex’s new supply. I know she doesn’t deserve what is to come. The damage they can do is enormous! The interesting thing you mentioned is how they are the nicest to others. This is so true. My ex treated his own family (wife & kids) like garbage. His own family enables him. They can see odd behavior but they still see this smart & caring guy. It has always baffled me.

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    Kim Saeed August 4, 2015

    Thank you for stopping by, Ret.

    You know, regarding his family thinking he’s “smart and caring” – that could well be true, but there’s another possibility that’s not often talked about. Many times, the family knows about the narcissist’s dysfunction. In fact, it’s very likely that one of his parents is narcissistic, because that’s typically how a child grows up to have narcissistic traits. They don’t want to accept any accountability or let people know they are aware of the narc’s pathology, so they go on playing the charade of, “Oh, he doesn’t mean it. He’s a good guy at heart”, etc.

    It’s also how they manipulate the narc’s partner(s) into staying with him or her because the family doesn’t want to deal with the narcissist, so they try to shove him or her off on other people by playing the “he’s good at heart” card.

    Reply
      Ret August 7, 2015

      Thanks Kim….I can tell you my ex was adopted, and he’s suffered abuse throughout his childhood. He opened up to me when we first met about sexual abuse. He cried, and my heart broke for him. I was always afraid to leave him, or walk out because I didnt want to hurt him in that way. He’s left several times, and it was a terrible experience, yet I was protecting him from feeling that pain. The very pain he was putting me through over and over.
      His family I believe is aware of his odd behavior as they’ve mentioned it at times….but they don’t have a name for it. It took me about 2 years of researching to finally figure out what was going on in my relationship. I can see addiction, eating disorders, and codependency throughout his family. I’ve known for awhile that I was basically addicted to my ex but could not figure out why. We have children so NC is difficult but I do my best to go as far as I can with NC. It’s the only way. He will try to control and manipulate every encounter we have. It could be the smallest thing…he will try to control it. It’s truly exhausting! Thank you again for educating us!!!!

      Reply
Meridian July 30, 2015

While you’re clearly well informed on the ideas of narcissistic tendencies in a relationship, to say that narcissists are stuck that way is closed minded. Just like any mental disorder, narcissists can learn to change and adapt. Also like other disorders, it may take years of therapy and you cannot force them to help themselves. It’s especially tedious to support a narcissist through their issues because of their blatant disregard for your feelings, so assuming they break up with every person they date, it’s ultimately up to them to grow and change.

I didn’t know there was a phrase for it, but yeah, I’m empath/sensitive too. I’ve spent the better part of the past 5 years analyzing my ex girlfriend’s feelings. All the ins and outs of her anxieties, fears, how they affect her, what the reactions mean, and understand her feelings. Having her leave, as if she never put value in our relationship/friendship has left me at a hollow point in my life, where I’m reading articles about the condition she actively ignores. Again, can’t make somebody do what they don’t want. No matter how much you care.

To the point, your article made me feel better about losing her, but it’s a little jaded and misconstrued. the core of a human can change. They just have to want that change first, and be willing to put in the effort.

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    Kim Saeed August 4, 2015

    Meridian, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I suppose my writing may come across as jaded or close-minded, but that’s probably because I have yet to come across one case where a full-blown narcissist made any long-lasting changes. My conclusions are based on the work of colleagues who are licensed therapists, my own research in the areas of neuroscience and psychology, as well as having worked with victims of narcissistic abuse for over two years.

    For a person to want to change, they must first acknowledge that their behaviors hurt other people, which requires a certain element of empathy and conscientiousness – two things which narcissists don’t possess. They may change for a while if they’ve lost things such as their home, career, and/or family, but typically, the changes are simply to get their creature comforts back, and then they go back to business as usual.

    I do believe in miracles, don’t get me wrong…it’s just I’ve not come across “that one narcissist” who made any real changes to his or her core self.

    Reply
Lisa May 28, 2015

I’ve been married 29 years, and now recognize my husband as a narcissist. Me as an enabler. Not sure what to do next, we still have a teenager in the house. But, I do feel woken up. He is out of town, and things seem to get clearer and clearer with every day he is gone. I have been in therapy for almost 2 years, and am only now seeing, honestly what I am dealing with. One thing, I will no longer do is sit and listen to the verbal abuse, because I too, saw the wounded child in him, and thought he just needs to get this off his chest. Today, with my therapist I spoke about how, just the other day when I was being ridiculed by him, and made to feel if we lose all that we have built (house, money, etc) it somehow is my fault! In that moment, I described how I saw myself step outside myself to see in him the wounded child. Big mistake! Call the abuse as it is happening, says my therapist.

It sounds like the only way out of this is to leave. Big step. I don’t want to do anything too fast.

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    maryleemorgan May 31, 2015

    Lisa, I did what you are doing for nearly fifty years. Yes, he is deeply wounded, but he also never changed. He’d work on his outsides a little bit and I’d take it for more than it was, get hopeful again and stay some more, but in the end he never worked on his insides and could not sustain the improvements he tried to make on his outsides. We each have to work on our own insides. We can’t do that for them, and unfortunately our compassion for them neither elicits compassion from them about what they are doing to us nor motivates them to work on their own stuff, even for their own good. They just don’t see it. What we do out of compassion for them only seems to enable a greater and greater sense of entitlement in them. It is said that their only reality is inside their own heads, and we are not even “real” to them. We are objects to be manipulated to serve their own needs. That is hard for us to swallow.

    After a last-straw event (at 47 years and 9 months), I finally left. I and asked him later, did you think I would never leave no matter what you did? And he acknowledged that yes, that is what he thought! And after all his betrayal and emotional cruelty, he still believes (I checked with him and confirmed this) that if only I had loved him more, honored him more, and encouraged him more, things would be all better. The truth is that he’s a bottomless pit (I said for years that he has a hole in his soul) and did not even recognize it when I did love, honor, and encourage him. There is no “enough” for these people.

    Leaving is a monumental step. I chose to do the leaving–a friend told me that I was very systematic in taking my steps to leave–because I knew (in my case) that if I managed it carefully enough I could prevent him from sabotaging me this time.

    The very hard truth we have to face is that what we have ahead of us is heartbreaking and beyond difficult whether we go or whether we stay. There is no pretty outcome here. It was horribly painful to make myself face his narcissism. I did not want my husband to be a Narcissist. I loved him. I wanted to believe in the image that he tried to present to the world as the “real” him. For a long time, I’d almost rather see myself as the crazy one than to accept that his “Mr. Hyde” is just as much the “real” him as is his “Dr. Jekyll.” Finally accepting that meant accepting that our whole marriage had been a sham, that nothing was going to change, and that my only option for health, sanity, and survival was to leave and take apart all of the material part of my own life as I had known it–the life where I had raised our children and taken care of my family. My heart and my head fought and fought over this. Once we finally see something, though, we can’t “unsee” it and I finally did leave. Now my head and my heart have to come to a unified acceptance, loving him from a distance (emotionally and physically) because I can neither help him nor live with him. If I were to have continued to try to live with him, we would have both continued to lose because I had to struggle with him so hard just to breathe. Now, when he loses, it is of his own doing whether he believes that or not. And I am now free to choose a path where winning is much more of a possibility.

    I needed to be angry at times, and I needed support for that. Eventually, to move on, I need to forgive him–let it all go–and develop an “elevator speech” if you will, so that when I talk about him to others (when I can’t just avoid it altogether) I don’t end up sounding either like a crazy person myself or like a “I’m so wounded please help me” kind of person. If we give off those kinds of vibes and images to others out there in the world, we will attract more stuff into our lives that we do not want.

    So work on your own insides right now. This doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong, but that you need to come to a solid certainty inside yourself about what your situation is and what you are going to do about it. Read up. Educate yourself. Start putting together an exit strategy without telling anyone what you are thinking and planning right now. Be very careful who you share this with. Start stashing cash! Every time you have a change to get an extra $20 cash somehow, add it to your stash. Be sure you put it somewhere where he cannot find it. When you are certain that everything is in place and you are ready to go if and when you decide that is what you must do, you may or may not want to tell him you are leaving. You know him better than anyone else.

    When his last-straw event hit me in the face and I knew I had to leave, the first thing I did was to attend a class in my community called Second Saturday, because that is when they meet. Its purpose is to offer legal and financial information to those entering into a difficult divorce. They recommended a book called “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder” that I highly recommend. It will help you look at your realities and your possible strategies. You don’t need to do anything different on the outside right now–you probably shouldn’t–but you sure can start figuring stuff out inside your head. Proceed carefully. Some of these guys get dangerous when they think they are losing, so don’t let on. Protect yourself.

    Reply
      Lisa May 31, 2015

      Thank you. You paint a scary picture. I know I need to start building a plan. I am fortunate to have established a relationship with a therapist who has been gently leading me. She has given me a brochure for the Second Saturday workshop. I have to watch what I say very carefully as I work on my insides as you say…I have to stay strong. But once woken, it all looks different than it did before. That is a plus. I didn’t have that insight before, I just felt crazy and so sad so much of the time. This last woman he has fallen for, who he tells me, “gets him”. I was so madly curious about her, but now I am not. He does seem confused, and tells me he wants all the secrets to stop. He started seeing a therapist. We’ll see. I came across this essay about the dance between the narcissist and the co-dependent. I saw myself. Every story I read, is the same story. Maybe there are different levels of this disorder, but the rages that confused me before make sense to me now. Everything got worse when he retired. He no longer had the supply from a successful career, that he burned out on. I have two great children, one of out of the house and the other still home. She is my main concern, leaving or staying. Meditating and seeking spirituality is helping too.

      Reply
      Sandy May 31, 2015

      What a helpful response you’ve made here!

      Reply
    Sandy May 31, 2015

    It is a huge step, and I can only imagine how having a marriage and child complicates things. I do know the pain of an 8yr. relationship dissolving into thin air, leaving only the bad memories of despicable treatment and lots of work ahead to figure out why I put up with it so it won’t happen again. I just want to chime in and urge you to keep in mind the countless numbers of other also wounded children—the ones who would never dream of inflicting the pain and trauma reported here and all over the web on pages such as this. Early on, I did pity and hurt inside imagining the wounds my ex must have suffered to leave him so disordered, but the fact he could turn his abusive nature on and off according to his audience spoke volumes as to the reality that his abusive treatment was a CHOICE. Realizing this certainly did away with my early feelings of pity, which had me feeling sorry for him and thinking it wasn’t his fault. Like I said, just wanted to chime in and this may or may not resonate with you. But I do wish you the very best in your determined effort to live the healthy life you are meant to live—good luck and keep looking up!

    Reply
      Lisa May 31, 2015

      Thank you Sandy. This is all very overwhelming. I appreciate your comments.

      Reply
      Sandy May 31, 2015

      You’re welcome, Lisa…keep growing strong and free.

      Reply
      Andrew December 8, 2015

      I think there are definitely genetic components to narcissism and even though they can turn it on-and-off or only do it if they think they can get away with it – that may be genetic too. And the way they were raised plays a part – the interplay between the two. Children can turn it on-and-off too (so can we turn off empathy if we are angry enough) and only do things they think they can get away with. Somehow – whether genetics and/or environment – their development has been arrested. Not that we are responsible for this nor should we allow them to abuse us – not one bit – but I think it helps to keep these things in mind.

      Reply
        Sandy December 8, 2015

        I agree Andrew, and do keep those factors in mind as I make my way further and further away from him and anyone remotely similar to him.

        Reply
Marie May 23, 2015

Hi ladies… I have an 8 month old son and I’ve been with my husband for 13 years (I was 18 and he’s 23 years older than me). Unfortunately (or not – if I’d realised sooner I wouldnt have my boy!), it took having my son to realise that my husband is a raging narcissist and now I’m really panicking about the influence he will have on/the damage he will do to my darling boy. I just dont know what to do… If I leave, he’ll have unsupervised access to him which to me feels much, much worse! I dread to think what he’d do to him without me around. Hubby is textbook (so much so it’s frightening!!) – I just cannot fathom how it’s taken this long for the penny to drop. But then, I think I need to acknowledge that I’m a textbook co-dependent. My boy is my whole world and having had a very abusive childhood myself, I’d do anything to protect him from the same. He is already parading him around like a trophy in public – the doting dad who does absolutely nothing to help me at home and knows nothing about our son and his needs. I’m managing it by gatekeeping at the moment but I obviously cant continue that forever, and it wouldnt be fair on my son anyway. Can I stay in this marriage and co-parent without my son inheriting those traits or being damaged by his fathers illness? Will me being a ‘normal’ parent and trying to protect him be enough?? I am already suffering the effects of being married to a narc (13 years on high alert has left me with constant anxiety, zero self-esteem and a real sense of hopelessness). I cry for the vibrant, kind, optimistic, happy, confident girl I was and I feel so sad that my son wont have the mother I was supposed to be… I just want him to have the happy, loving childhood I never had and I’m terrified he’ll suffer the same fate as me now. I feel so guilty for bringing him into a hostile environment. He’s a beautiful, cheeky little boy and Ilove him more than life itself so I dont care what I’ll need to sacrifice to make things good for him; I just dont know what would be the best thing to do. Everything I’ve read says they’ll never change. Apologies for the poorly written post, I’m incredibly exhausted and my brain is so mushed that I cant even spell anymore! x x x

Reply
    Kim Saeed August 23, 2016

    Hi Marie, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I apologize for not responding sooner as some of my comments got hidden during the transfer of my site to a new host.

    To answer your question, typically children who grow up with a narcissistic parent often grow up to be codependent, or worse, narcissistic themselves – both of which are defense mechanisms. Not only do children of narcissists become nothing more than a pawn to the disordered parent, they collect a staggering amount of traumatic events over the course of their childhood which may possibly affect them for the rest of their lives. This is why I never recommend staying in a relationship “for the children” because they will live what they learn, especially that which they learn during their formative years when they are especially vulnerable. Leaving a dysfunctional situation may not be doable in one day, but it’s worth planning for it and looking for alternative options.

    Reply
Sandy May 13, 2015

I’ll never forget what happened when it finally dawned on me that he was NOT a good-hearted person and a perfect match for me. I suddenly realized he was SO not like me, so opposite in his morality toward others, so unblinking in his unfairness and skewed justice…that’s when I looked directly into his eyes and said “We aren’t alike! We are nothing alike! We aren’t even standing on the same ground!”
The moment I said that, I saw the pupils of his eyes suddenly dilate ENORMOUSLY then immediately return to normal size…they flashed black for just an instant!!! It stunned me so completely that I stepped back and told him his eyes just flashed black. He laughed and said that was ridiculous. It was very creepy and I got the distinct impression that he was actually a very evil person who had just been figured out…

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    SleepingBeauty May 13, 2015

    Oh yes, Sandy, Daisy and maryleemorgan, whether coddled or abused, the sense of entitlement is huge in these people. Skewed justice, for sure. Preferring darkness over truth … a definite preference for the dark side. I think without darkness it is just plain boring for them, and since they are so ‘special’, well, boring is just not on, is it?

    I read somewhere that they can justify their actions by telling themselves they are not evil people, that what they did and do cannot possibly be bad or evil, and that justification actually allows them to repeat their actions over and over because they are not bad people, therefore their actions are not bad. And so on and on in a never-ending loop of magical thinking.

    Reply
      Sandy May 13, 2015

      Get this…he told me (800 times, at least!) that he remembers being in heaven before he was born, that he had 2 teachers who trained him in the way he should live, and as they sent him off they told him he wouldn’t be able to remember the experience or them, but he said he yelled back “Yes I will! I’ll remember you guys!” to which his very last memory was them looking at each other and shaking their heads in exasperation. It is no surprise he counseled me that sex is not a sin between an unmarried man and woman as long as they love each other! Oh, and that after he dies, he will still have a time period to decide which destination he wants to go!! I said if it was true he’d already seen heaven, then why on earth was he not living as the Lord instructed us, so he’d be able to go back someday? It seems like to see such glory, you’d never want to do anything to ruin your chance of returning! He never had an answer to that. He would just sit there and look completely vacant…

      I hope and pray he wakes up in time. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

      Reply
        maryleemorgan May 13, 2015

        Oh, yeah, that vacant stare! And the belief that he is a good man. He started admitting to some of his emotional abuse, telling me it was the wrong thing to do, but still wants me to believe he’s a good man. I listed the things he’s admitted to one day, and asked him if a good man does these things, and he said no. But I have no idea who he is, he tells, me. He’s such a good man!

        Reply
      Andrew December 8, 2015

      Treating someone like the “golden child” that can do no wrong is also a form of child abuse. There are parents who want the spoon or bottle in the baby’s mouth before it cries which never allows the child to ask for what it wants and so it grows up thinking that everyone is just supposed to know. It’s a different kind of child abuse – children that grow up entitled – but abuse all the same. They never develop the honest self-esteem that comes from hard work or how to cooperate and compromise and get along with others. They grow up thinking they’re better than others, that rules don’t apply to them, that others are here to serve them, and so forth. Treating children this way creates a whole host of problems for them and those in their lives.

      Reply
    Andrew December 10, 2015

    Good Sandy and I wish you well in your journey. I just think it’s easier – on us even – to feel sympathy than anger. Not sympathy that makes us feel responsible or allows us to be abused but to me it feels better than anger. After all – they’ll never know the beauty of nature or truly sharing life with another person or have a real sense of humor. As far as ones that have it cush – from what I understand – these “golden” children are often molded by their narcissistic parents to be everything the parent wants instead of being allowed to become their true selves. Their true selves get suppressed while the self that the parent(s) is (are) molding becomes their false self. Therefore they are not integrated so how can they have integrity? If anything threatens their false self – even things that we do inadvertently – they become angry and vengeful. They would rather us admire their false self than love their true self. They want to believe their false self IS their true self. I think they’re completely convinced that their true self is unlovable and unworthy so they disown and deny it. I saw a narcissist’s eyes flash black once too while giving an angry look. His false self had inadvertently been threatened and so he had to project that which he perceived to be undesirable. That’s when his eyes flashed black. I’ve read that not bonding with primary care giver(s) with your true self causes a deep core shame that they are not even conscious of and that projecting is one of the main defense mechanisms for dealing with it. I think learning about these things is helpful as knowledge is power and helps us to heal and deal. It also helps to know that these things affect them with EVERY one – not just with you or me – with EVERY one. That’s why their relationships never last.

    Reply
      Sandy December 10, 2015

      Thanks Andrew! I’m finally free of him and so much better for it. I’m extremely vigilant to avoid any person who even remotely seems similar in nature. I’m finally listening to my God-given intuition, and addressing issues as they arise, instead of ignoring them and hoping they’ll be resolved later. I’ve found immense peace in my new path toward obedience to the Lord. He will never leave me nor forsake me. I may never find a mate, but I’ll never be alone, and knowing that is all I need.

      Reply
        Andrew December 10, 2015

        Your asking about eyes flashing black made me curious again and I found a very long comment section under: “Elisse Stuart Word Press FAQ Can you tell a narcissist by his eyes?” It really does make a person wonder. I’m glad that you stay far away from such types and that you trust God.

        Reply
          Sandy December 10, 2015

          Thanks for pointing that page out to me, Andrew! I went ahead and added my same comment (plus another experience) since they both related to the post. I appreciate your insight and encouragement, thank you!

          Reply
maryleemorgan May 11, 2015

Hi SleepingBeauty, I posted a reply then cancelled it because I wanted to add a couple of things, so I hope they don’t both post. If they do, this is my final version!

I have worked so much on those issues you mention. You are so right that you cannot live the inauthentic life that seems to be required to be with someone like that.

As I struggled to “unshift” the blame for the narcissistic abuse back to where it belonged, my anger sometimes sounded like hate, I think, or contempt. But it wasn’t, it was just the hurt coming out as anger, which is a very normal thing. (Great post on another blog about this here: https://graceformyheart.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/my-anger/)

I also had a huge amount of compassion for him. I knew something of the source of his hurt–the hurt way back in his very early childhood that clearly had something to do with his brokenness, the brokenness that turned into the narcissistic behavior I was living with. It was that compassion that kept me trying to find help, to find healing. Remaining unconvinced that anything needed to change, he resisted, and my efforts turned into nothing more than endless tail-chasing.

Just like my hurt-driven anger may have looked to observers like hate or contempt, my compassion-driven efforts at resolution looked to others like I was trying to “fix him” and brought on accusations of co-dependency.

I won’t deny that in my own healing path I had to deal with these things, but deal with them I did. And while others may offer observations, I cannot allow others to tell me what I have or have not done on my own insides when they seem to have concluded that I am hateful and co-dependent. And I had to stop beating myself up about those kinds of things.

A year after leaving, my heart is beginning to settle down. I am moving away from the anger–and from the ongoing rhetoric on my part that makes me sound so angry to others. I want to talk about this rationally, without the crazy-making stuff that happens while still engaged with these players.

I am still compassionate, but had to finally accept that there was simply nothing more I could do. My efforts were not helping him. In fact, because he misinterpreted me and my efforts so completely, they were even hurting him. Staying with him was going to result in nothing more than continued hurt for both of us, and I came to know that I could no longer survive. It is sad, but eventually my only option was to leave.

I want to tell myself that if he had simply left, that would have been the end of it for me, but he didn’t. Unlike a lot of the players out there who leave and then try to maintain multiple relationships, play the lovers against each other, etc., maintaining his relationship with me was part of the good family man image he wanted to project to the outside world. I don’t know if it’s harder to have them leave (being openly rejected) or to be the one to finally have to make the decision yourself because habitual cheating (being covertly rejected) proves he was never really “in the marriage” at all.

I feel so much compassion for those who get publicly rejected and played in an open campaign to destroy them. I think the last chapter of how this is going to work out with a covert player who wants to maintain his good family man image is still to be written. I fully understand that I have to keep my guard up and not trust any apparent changes that are not proven over a long period of time.

Reply
    SleepingBeauty May 12, 2015

    Just to add quickly that I was replying to your second, corrected, post.

    And I think I was stuck a long time in a ‘poor me’ frame of mind. It felt good, sympathy at last! Also, obviously, I still have trouble giving credibility to my own thoughts and convictions, and to speak these without fear. That is why placing all responsibility for change on myself has been the most fruitful path.

    Reply
      maryleemorgan May 12, 2015

      Hi SleepingBeauty,

      On your first question, I confronted him every time I found out, and I confronted him about the gaslighting and other unkind behaviors as they were delivered and as I understood them. I so much wanted to believe that he was a good man and would ultimately understand my heart and work together with me on the relationship. I was wrong. I think that our two different approaches both failed serves as good testimony to the reality that if one spouse is honest and the other is playing, the behavior of the honest spouse becomes irrelevant. The Play will manipulate all of our behaviors, good or bad, to serve the agenda that only he understands. We literally cannot win. It’s when we keep thinking we can, somehow, that we keep staying and trying. I don’t regret the things I was able to do for my family while I stayed, but ultimately I had to accept defeat as far as the relationship goes and take care of myself before I literally perished.

      As to others, I have a similar story as yours. I know what you mean. Don’t be too hard on yourself for how he played you and made you question your reality. This isn’t normal behavior. It was hard for me to get my head around the reality that one human being would do that to another. It was not unlike anything that would ever have even occurred to me. It was very hard to accept. It’s the information coming out about narcissism over the past 5-6 years that finally got me to accept the truth about this stuff. Not to demonize him, but to realize that my efforts to fix things was futile when one of us is a player.

      We all need a good therapist–perhaps more than one over time–to help us get through this stuff. This is not something we can do alone. And I do have some friends and family who care enough about me to be on my side, for sure. But for those who do not and may not ever understand, I am learning to say very little. Now that I am away, I need to learn to speak “from a distance” I think. I don’t want to go around talking to others for the rest of my life sounding like a victim. That’s not me, never was, and I hated having to cry on people’s shoulders. Nonetheless, this has shaped my view of myself and the world in ways I won’t even realize for awhile–maybe ever. So right now, except for forums like this one, I am trying to get more quiet, more observant, listen to others more, and get a more “normal” view of life.

      Working this out with my two sons is happening, but it is going to take time. Right now, I am concerned that it may forever limit the kind of relationship I can have with them, because they may need to see their father in a certain way that is very different from my own. They will let him play them because they themselves need to see the image he wants to project, not the reality. It may just be too painful for them. I still have to hold to what I know to be true for myself, even if they are never able to fully accept it. I hope to have a better handle on this in a few years than I do now.

      Reply
        SleepingBeauty May 12, 2015

        Hello maryleemorgan –
        This is the first time I have EVER posted anything online of this nature (I don’t do any kind of social media broadcasting), and it’s because I felt that if someone had been in this sort of relationship even longer than me, and sounded as together as you do, then I might be safe telling my story without sounding like someone who was beyond hope for staying this long. I’ve done a lot of work on this, and I’m beyond the OMG! OMG! phase at this point, although I haven’t truly left yet. My heart goes out to those in the omg, and every other, phase of this degrading ‘process’, but at least now it can be identified sooner, thanks to forums like this one, and perhaps some lives can be saved from the utter misery and futility of these sorts of relationships.

        I’m curious to know what you say to your family and friends is the reason you left. Like you, I have no interest in wanting to sound like a victim (tho, as I say, it was ok for a short while because it felt good to get the anger out and to feel some support coming back to me).

        I have been in shock at the amount of trauma his behaviour has caused, reduced to a quivering, uncertain mess about every conceivable thing, like I needed his ok to do or think anything at all, so it is a bit of a learning curve to even begin to know what ‘normal’ might be. But I am getting stronger and more confident in knowing my rights as a human being. I think there was some comfort for me in giving these over, in abdicating responsibility for myself, all in the name of ‘true love.’ That’s why I believe more of our development as persons should be devoted not to looking for love, or for The One, but to understanding and honouring our Selves and to keeping our eyes wide open to reality.

        You have given me an important insight in these simple words: “ …. if one spouse is honest and the other is playing, the behavior of the honest spouse becomes irrelevant” and “ …. efforts to fix things was [are] futile when one of us is a player.” Thanks so much.

        Reply
          maryleemorgan May 12, 2015

          Hi SleepingBeauty,

          I have decided to simply say that I left over a “last straw” event. Even people who don’t know me well nod in understanding and I don’t have to say another word!

          Reply
          SleepingBeauty May 12, 2015

          Nice one! nice and neutral.
          Best wishes to you and your sons and good luck with everything.

          Reply
          maryleemorgan May 12, 2015

          You, too, Hon!

          Reply
Daisy May 10, 2015

SleepingBeauty, as a fellow writer, I enjoyed reading your well written prose. You stated that you struggle understating a Narc’s mental disorder, something they “didn’t ask for.” I too for many years accepted my Narc’s bad behavior as a byproduct of an abusive childhood, UNTIL I considered the actions of his siblings. While they too have their issues (we all have flaws that need improvement), they possess empathy, caring, that their brother lacks! Narcissism is a LEARNT behavior, fed by narcissistic relatives, usually a Mother or Father. Children can become narcissistic from lack of good parenting and from “over indulgence and unfounded praise” from the narcissistic parent(s) who is grooming the child to mirror them! You may ask how lack of good parenting could be a cause, and the answer is that the child grows up un-civilized, lacking situational awareness. In other words, if the only person you can trust to meet your deepest needs is yourself, others become un-reliable, insignificant, not worth bothering with. It is for these reasons, that narcisstic individuals can steal, hurt, and kill others for material items without even batting an eye! Empathy has never been cultivated in them!

The hardest lesson that my middle age self is still learning is this: to love myself and to protect my own interests, especially when someone else is trying to TAKE or KEEP something good from me!!!! Always look at peoples’ actions, instead of their words!

For example… Do you have relatives/”friends” who want you to comment or like their facebook posts, but they seldom or ever respond or like yours? Have you ever given a book, manuscript to your writer friend / family member to edit/critique, but they never found the time to do so, even when they told you that they would?! Have you ever experienced ” two sets of rules/expectations” with a friend or relative? They want you to attend their life celebrations, but they always make excuses when it is your turn. Do they give you thoughtless gifts, that you believe have been re-gifted, or have no thought or consideration put into them? Or how about the “dominate talker” who steers the conversation to things/people that they like discussing, without any regard to your feelings or subjects that interest you!

The difference between a “normal person who occassionaly acts narcissistic”, to a full- fledge one is, that a normal person self-corrects when their flaws and selfishness is pointed out to them! A bonafide narcissist will purposely IGNORE your complaint, or try to shame you or convince you, that you are the one at fault!

I have the “strike 3 rule!” If I tell someone two times how they offended me, and they don’t apologize nor self-correct, when it happens the third time, I put them out of my life! They no longer have a prominent place in my life, but are regulated to an acquaintance status, and have my access to them LIMITED, if not removed!

Reply
    SleepingBeauty May 11, 2015

    Hi Daisy – thanks for your comments. Interesting, your use of ‘un-civilized’ and ‘lacking situational awareness’ to describe these types. How true. What I meant to say, when I said I was grappling with what the disorder means, is that I have trouble ‘hating’ someone who is sick or has a disability. Since it is for all intents and purposes ‘incurable’, do you blame someone for that? If someone is autistic or schizophrenic, you don’t insist that they get over it. I guess the difference is that narcissistic behaviour seems in large part about destroying YOU, and you really cannot let that happen, nor can you live the inauthentic life that seems to be required to be with someone like that.

    Reply
      maryleemorgan May 11, 2015

      Hi SleepingBeauty, I have worked so much on those issues you mention.

      As I struggled to “unshift” the blame for the narcissistic abuse back to where it belonged, my anger sometimes sounded like hate, I think, or contempt. But it wasn’t, it was just the hurt coming out as anger, which is a very normal thing.

      I also had a huge amount of compassion for him. I knew something of the source of his hurt–the hurt way back in his very early childhood that clearly had something to do with his brokenness, the brokenness that turned into the narcissistic behavior I was living with. It was that compassion that kept me trying to find help, to find healing. Remaining unconvinced that anything needed to change, he resisted, and my efforts turned into nothing more than endless tail-chasing.

      Just like my hurt-driven anger may have looked to observers like hate or contempt, my compassion-driven efforts at resolution looked to others like I was trying to “fix him” and brought on accusations of co-dependency.

      I wont’ deny that in my own healing path I had to deal with these things, but deal with them I did. And while others may offer observations, I cannot allow others to tell me what I have or have not done on my own insides when they seem to have concluded that I am hateful and co-dependent. And I had to stop beating myself up about those kinds of things.

      A year after leaving, my heart is beginning to settle down. I am able to move away from the anger. I am still compassionate, but had to finally accept that there was simply nothing more I could do. My efforts were not helping him. In fact, because he misinterpreted me and my efforts so completely, they were even hurting him. Staying with him was going to result in nothing more than continued hurt for both of us, and I came to know that I could no longer survive. It is sad, but eventually my only option was to leave.

      If he had simply left, that would have been the end of it for me, but he didn’t. Unlike a lot of the players out there who leave and then try to maintain multiple relationships, play the lovers against each other, etc., maintaining his relationship with me was part of the good family man image he wanted to project to the outside world. I don’t know if it’s harder to have them leave (being openly rejected) or to be the one to finally have to make the decision yourself because ongoing cheating (being covertly rejected) proves he was never really “in the marriage” at all.

      Reply
        SleepingBeauty May 12, 2015

        Hello maryleemorgan – “….habitual cheating (being covertly rejected) proves he was never really “in the marriage” at all.” You know, I never thought of this this way before, amazingly. Despite the fact that he ‘acts’ as tho he is in the marriage, his behaviour proves the opposite. It’s like I just discovered that 1 + 1 = 2. Or that 0 + 0 = 0.

        Two things from your post: 1. You say he was/is unconvinced that anything needed to change – how did you approach the need for change with him? For me, I chose not to speak about these things because of the evasion, denial and rage that was aimed at me if I did. I worked instead on changing myself, not to be triggered, not to react, just to walk away. And I’ve made great progress on that front. But nothing gets said.

        I wouldn’t confront him when I found evidence partly because, honestly, it was grimly fascinating to find out about the ‘real’ him and I didn’t want to go back to knowing absolutely nothing! Yikes. Also, I suppose I felt the evidence was never ‘enough’ – did I mention I have confidence issues? :~) Finding proof is very difficult and over the last five years I have had access to his email perhaps 3 times at most – his computer is locked tighter than CIA HQ with spyware and ways to detect if someone’s been on it, etc. So, it’s only been when he inadvertently left his email open that I was able to sneak a peek. The rest of the time his secrets are impossible to uncover. But even when they are uncovered, I have not acted, at least not overtly.

        I feel now that the very next ‘evidence’ that crops up will give me the ability to confront him with the fact that his behaviour belies the fantasy he creates of us as being ‘together’ while behaving secretly completely differently. Like you, I’ve benefited from his financial support (especially after I lost my job and now still living very precariously), so I have often felt dishonest, torn, crazy and frozen like a deer in the headlights. I need to become less afraid of simply speaking. What’s the worst that could happen? And, really, what more ‘proof ‘ do I need? It seems I thought I had no rights – while fighting for others’ rights. All I can say is: it is getting better with the work I am doing, and with time and space of my own.

        2. I can relate to your comments about how you are perceived by friends and family. Most sided with me when news of his ‘love affair’ broke, and listened to my tales of woe. I should have seen my chance for freedom then but things did not get less crazy between us as I struggled to understand the extent of what was going on and to think through my next moves. ‘Gaslighting’ and other techniques made me question reality. We never really broke up. So then friends started to get bored with my story, and saw us as working through the problems. I could never talk about narcissism with anyone but my therapist, as to others the concept is so unknown and alien they thought I was just trying really hard to justify my contempt for him while not leaving, so I was probably in their eyes also severely co-dependent. I too have dropped all rhetoric, which is a relief to me and no doubt to them. I am sure most think we have resolved our issues. It doesn’t matter what they think now, it just matters to me how I am growing in consciousness; all decisions remain with me to make.

        Reply
      Daisy May 12, 2015

      SleepingBeauty,
      Narcissists are classified in the DSM as a “personality disorder”, a pattern of deviant and/or abnormal behavior(s), not a disease. Because most diseases can be controlled with medicine/treatment, whereas narcissism cannot. I believe that narcissists are individuals with broken morals who commit “acts of the flesh” described in Galatians 5:19-21. In other words, they have given themselves unlimited permission to wrong others, because it is BENEFICIAL to them. Two of the most famous narcissists that come to mind are “The Innkeeper & His wife (the Thenarders) in the play/movie “Les Miserables.” Lust of the eyes, greed, lies, thievery, & cruelty were evident in them. They were also equal opportunity offenders, for even the young child (Cosette), they exploited. The only “cure” for a narcissist would be a spiritual one. This unfortunately, is highly unlikely, because narcissists are consummate liars, who skillfully insulate themselves and others from the truth! They can be found anywhere….even in positions of high trust and in Church pews and pulpits! Unlike, the Innkeepers, who had disheveled appearances, most narcissists take EXTREME pride and care of their appearance!!! Erroneously thinking that if their outward appearances look good,
      then their little dirty deeds (their
      wicked heart) will be concealed,
      and undetected! The Apostle Timothy tells us to “have nothing to do with them!” 2 Timothy 3, verses 3-5.

      Reply
    maryleemorgan May 12, 2015

    Hi Daisy, I like your last reply to Sleeping Beauty. The facade, the mask, the image–it’s everything to them. I think they spend so much time polishing that image that they actually fail to mature, and one doesn’t have to look too hard to find a three-year-old at the helm behind that mask. Their wounds were dealt at a very early age, hence our compassion. But they are still responsible for their choices as an adult.

    It’s sad but true that people like this hide out in helping places such as our churches, our medical professionals, and our schools. While keeping our own compassion and kindness intact and without demonizing them, we still have to recognize that they are completely deceived by the father of lies and avoid them, as you pointed out. And also as you said, while it is possible for them to repent, it is not likely. We have to leave them to God himself.

    Reply
      Sandy May 12, 2015

      Don’t forget the one’s who had it cush and were doted on as youngsters. Pretty sure that’s what spawned the bad guy I had…

      Reply
      Daisy May 12, 2015

      Maryleemorgan, Sandy is right in that some narcissists weren’t victims of child abuse, but were/are elevated to a pedestal of privilege and power! These types were chosen by a parent (care giver) to REPRESENT the characteristics/attributes that a narcissist wants to reflect vicariously through their “source.” They typically choose a child who is the best looking, most talented, or who resembles them in appearance and mannerisms, thus being annointed “the golden child.” The golden child is made to believe that they are more smarter, gifted, enhanced, beautiful than others, even their own siblings!!! They are brought up by a different set of rules/expectations and are constantly told how special and gifted they are. They also get by with the most outlandish acts of cruelty, that are encouraged and fostered by the narcissistic parent. In Dr. Scott Peck’s book “People of The Lie”, he tells of a case of twins, whose Mother doled out excessive praise/blessings to one, but contempt and curses to the other. The twin that received the cruel (albeit, evil) treatment ended up taking her own life! What is interesting about this case, is that the privilege twin finally realized that her sister’s fate would have happened to her, had she been born second! Her Mother only wanted one child, and resented the second child’s intrusion into her life. The one common denominator in all narcissists is “unrepented sin” that has run amuck! Narcissists STEAL your purity (by sleeping around, infecting you with STD’s), they rob your house of peace, order, protection when they invite unsavory influences into the home and your life. They cause factions and divisions by telling lies and betraying your confidences; they harm your reputation by being hateful, distrustful, suspicious, and jealous of others. They prefer darkness over truth and they secretly loathe your goodness! They NEVER do anything without considering the “cost” to themselves and whether the benefit outweighs their effort! They only give to get, and they keep track of what they PERCEIVE is owed to them, always tipping the scales in their favor! I truly never realized the wisdom of not being “unequally yoked” or “water cannot mix with oil”, until I married/divorced a narcissist! It has been almost 19 years now, since we divorced, and he still behaves in the same devious, secretive, deceptive ways! The only difference now, is that I have my life back and I can now spot a narcissist within the first 15 minutes upon initial interaction!!,

      Reply
        maryleemorgan May 13, 2015

        Daisy and Sandy, everything you’ve both said about these players is true! I’ve seen that flash a couple of times, myself. And yes, there are golden children. In my family of origin, where my father was an N and there was so much abuse, one of my brothers was the golden child. Daughters and imperfect sons were treated with abuse and disrespect and the “perfect” one got away with all kinds of things. Both of our parents participated in this (even though I don’t see my mother as an N), and that brother became a classic narcissist.

        But no matter the origins, they remain unrepentant, just as you said, Daisy. They don’t think they need to change and so they don’t. They believe things that aren’t true, they have a distorted perspective of themselves and others, and they act on those beliefs and from that perspective with all the results we have all described. In the end, we have to take ourselves out of harm’s way and then forgive them so we don’t carry the abuse forward inside ourselves. Then we have to have strategies for dealing with the new ones we encounter as we go forward with our lives. They are out there!

        Reply
SleepingBeauty May 10, 2015

Hi maryleemorgan and Kim – I too have been ‘married’ to a narcissist for several decades – 40 years in fact. Five years ago when I started searching for answers, there was practically nothing on narcissism on the web, but what little there was (usually hysterical) at least helped me identify narcissistic personality disorder and begin to try to deconstruct what was going on in the relationship. It is a relief to find your site, Kim, and to find I’m not the only one who remained in a long-term narcissistic relationship’, maryleemorgan. So, thanks to both! There is hope now, at least, for the younger women and men who struggle with this terrible, debilitating disorder in their lives so that they may make the right decisions to avoid a lifetime of misery.

I’m curious to know if you have successfully exited, maryleemorgan, and what has transpired since. The ‘upside’ of this nightmare is the insight I have gained into my own psyche and soul,and the personal progress I have made in the last five years, for which I am so grateful.

It is disturbing to realize that it has taken so long for me to come to terms with the reality of this relationship, but there has been a slow, marked progression in my own self-awareness that has been life-changing for me over the last five years. This is so important, to gain some understanding of what it is in me that enabled the situation to go on this long and to begin to rectify my own dependency, self-worth and confidence issues. Because, really, you can only fix yourself, and if you can do that you will survive and thrive.

As with everyone who posts here, my life with N has been hell. N is covert, presents as soulful and sweet, sensitive and caring to the outside world. He is so secretive, so adept at hiding everything, that anyone could be fooled into believing the exterior he manifests. Very bizarre behaviour started early on, after the requisite period of intense courtship and ‘love’, but due to my own neediness and childhood damage, I could not see this behaviour for what it was: a serious disorder that seemed to flourish with systematic acts of destruction of all trust and truth between us.

There have been the ‘usual’ kinds of behaviours, like sex-addiction (not involving me, of course), porn, hookers, and who knows what else. I found out these things purely by chance, like when he undressed and there was a condom on his dick after spending Sunday afternoon at his ‘office’, and seeing texts from an ‘escort service’ saying his date, Mary or Bunny or whoever, would meet him at the bar in ten minutes. Emails trolling on sex-for-hire sites. Copious masturbation. There was complete rejection of my own sexual expression early on, but, due to my own seemingly infinite capacity for abuse, I blamed myself, as he did, and willingly accepted all excuses and explanations as ‘enough’.

Life was sufficiently ‘normal’ otherwise (work, holidays and so on), that time just passed; in my thirties I wanted to have a child and that exercise became so fraught and hurtful that it never happened. I became able to put anything I wanted on the back burner. My background allowed me to consider everything he did and said as right, and my own desires as wrong. Gradually, all sex between us stopped completely, and finally, all expressions of intimacy. I have been a longing, unfulfilled body beside him in bed forever. Unbelievably, I really thought it would change and we would find the ‘happiness’ we once knew together. Perhaps this blue-sky thinking was helping me not to have to admit just how twisted and sick my life really was.

If faced with someone like me now, I’d have to restrain myself from grabbing her shoulders and shaking her til her brain rattled.

The clincher came five years ago, after I was forced out of a job I had loved for 18 years by a narcissist president of the board — I was so vulnerable to being made to feel worthless, so fearful of authority that sought to demean me. Yet I was the executive director of a national branch of a well-known international human rights organization, well-respected and successful, traveling the world, lobbying authoritarian governments at the UN and pulling political prisoners out of jails in far-flung regions. A few months after the final settlement (N found a great lawyer to defend me), everything crashed. N had a great job, great remuneration, just filled with self-satisfaction, while I tried to recover from the blow to my own self-esteem and career, suffering from shame and an overwhelming feeling of loss.

Everything N did he did on his own; he started working out, getting fit, going on solo bike rides, quitting smoking, attending dance performances (he ‘loved dance’ all of a sudden). (I know, I know, red flag, you ninny!) He traveled to Ireland and was transformed; the country was the best place in the world. After one such trip, he returned and called me at the house we share in the country to say he wanted to “include another relationship” in ours (tho he had “no-one in mind in particular”). Long story short, he had fallen in love with an Irish married woman who lived in our home city and who traveled often to Ireland. The bottom (if you can call it that) fell out of my world. It took a long time to figure out what he was saying, what had happened, it didn’t just tumble out as I’ve described it, I had to decipher everything myself for months, the pieces of the puzzle slowly falling into place, the narrative slowly emerging. Most of this was done by me spying on him when he inadvertently left his emails open, that sort of thing. Emails to her professing his love, very intimate conversations where he explained how he never had children due to ‘trust’ issues, and how well I was coping with his news (“very well”). He told her he’d “always be there” for me, “in all ways but one.”

DId I run screaming, glad for the opportunity to be free at last? No, although he did move out for several months at my request. Then he was back. I started to spend more and more time at the country house (7 hours away), especially during summers, and began to build life as a journalist and artist (which I had been before moving into the human rights field).

I really didn’t want to write a too-long post, but I see it is stretching out … are you still with me or have you run screaming in frustration and disbelief at my inability to kick him to the curb? I will try and wrap this up now.

There is so much I could say, so many examples of his crazy-making behaviour, his complete lack of empathy, lack of intimacy of any sort, his put-downs, lack of support for my ideas, his denial that he has hurt me and of course never an apology. Recently I saw an email between him and this Irish woman where he said she looked “lovely” when he last saw her; he has never, ever complimented me. I thought perhaps the whole thing had fallen apart, but apparently not; and the porn and whatever else he does continues. Luckily, I had and still have a wonderful therapist who has gently and firmly helped me move forward and grow in consciousness. WIthout this person’s unswerving dedication to help me, I don’t know what I would have done. I’ve read everything on the topic, and written a lot of poetry and that’s been a lifesaver. I’ve gone from being a completely lost mess to someone who doesn’t react to every trigger, who is becoming the assertive, secure person she used to be.

It’s taken me all this time to get that there will be no change with N, that change can only occur in me. I’m carving out a new life, much of it away from him, as a journalist and artist. N and I are tied through finances, but I am working on trying to disentangle that too. I don’t know how things will end, but I know that I will not go down with the ship.

One thing I still grapple with is that these N people have a mental disorder, they didn’t ask for it, they were severely damaged and part of that damage involves denying it while trying to take down those who love them. The heartbreaking thing is they cannot seem to change, no matter how you try to love them back to health. But at the end of the day, is it worth dying so that someone like that may live? Much of me died: sensuality, passion, my very femininity. Your femininity will never be affirmed, it will never develop fully, if your partner is a narcissist. You will truly walk on eggshells as you carefully plan what you can say and do safely, so much so that you cannot be spontaneous, you cannot be yourself.

I would say to younger people involved with N’s, perhaps cynically, that looking for your soulmate is a myth that needs busting; also, marriage is not the magic pill that will turn your life into a fairy tale forever. It’s hard to accept that the fantasy we are spoon-fed in the media and by society, that we will live happily ever after if we can just find the right mate, is a complete waste of time. I know it does happen, but it is rare; more usual is disenchantment and a desire to do anything to escape the numbing realization that you must keep up a facade of bliss despite the reality of your life together. Instead, work on enlarging your mind, become a whole person with a strong sense of self, be independent and pursue your goals; no-one, not even your soulmate, can do that for you. Then you may be ready to meet your equivalent, someone who will be as committed as you are to a life that is honest, caring and mutually rewarding. And if you don’t meet Prince or Princess Charming, well, you’ll still have your Self and the ability to create the life you really want.

Thanks for this forum.Best wishes to everyone in the struggle.

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    maryleemorgan May 10, 2015

    Hi SleepingBeauty, our stories do indeed share many similarities! Like yours, my soon-to-be-ex husband is very covert, and presents very believably as that good family man, that good religious man even, that he uses as his façade. And like Daisy, I am also a child of abuse. Working on my recovery from that, years ago, helped me to cope with the horrid toxicity in my marriage but eventually I knew I could not stay and survive.

    Yes, I did finally leave about a year ago. I have done—and am still in the process of doing—some things I have always wanted to do. I have reconnected with friendships I had failed to nurture in my focus on him. My relationships with my children are improving, too.

    I have also had some very dark hours with my own internal struggles, but the longer I have been away the clearer my thinking has become. The crazy-making in my life is gone because (1) as the necessaries of taking our lives apart get done over time, I am dealing with him less and less, and (2) I am refusing to participate in crazy-making conversations with him.

    Like you, I kept thinking that somehow this was all a big misunderstanding and somehow we would someday work this all out. I am thankful for the information available over the internet for, as you say, about the past five years, and can only wish I had understood sooner what I understand now. On the other hand, I was able to do some things for my family, even in that toxic marriage, that I would not have been able to do as a single woman with a single income. I do not regret any of that.

    He’s in the stage with me right now generally called “love bombing” because he does not like change and would like to have everything back the way it was. You know, back when he thought he could do anything he pleased and I would never leave. (Yes, I verified that! I know, it’s entitlement.) He’s admitted to a number of other very toxic ways of thinking since I left, as well, but I know better than to trust that admitting something and changing his ways are the same thing. I already know better than that.

    Here is the interesting thing: he’s done some romantic things I rarely if ever saw before, things that would have made me melt not long ago, and it’s not working. I am not melting. In fact, it’s pretty opposite of melting!

    I have decided not to call him an N, by the way, because I am not qualified to make a diagnosis. And what difference does the label make, anyway? What matters are the toxic behaviors present in the relationship, and there were plenty. I have decided, instead, to call him a player. That is because while I was honestly trying to work together to resolve our issues and create a healthy marriage, he was dishonestly manipulating and playing games with me and the world around us. This kind of relationship is doomed to fail, every time, for the honest one. And there is nothing we can do about that.

    So yes, I am out, I am starting to heal, and I know that it is going to take some time. I am being patient with myself. I was discounted and demeaned for so long that I need to be my own biggest fan right now. I have come to pretty much the same conclusions that you have in your letter—right on! But even the strongest of us eventually needs respite. And once we have healed and gone through the work of dismantling the once-joined lives, why would we want to risk having that happen to us again? I just don’t think I have the years or the strength left in me.

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      SleepingBeauty May 11, 2015

      Hi maryleemorgan – great to hear from you about the progress you have made. Yes, being apart makes all the difference, it gives you the time and space to find yourself again. And what a discovery that is, after so much time disbelieving your abilities, strengths and sanity, eh?

      I like that you haven’t seen the need to label your husband’s ways as ‘just’ narcissistic (my therapist would approve!) — ‘player’ really says it all. For me, the N label enabled me finally to understand the problem was universal with these types of people, that it was not just mine. Sometimes a ‘diagnosis’ is a relief, but it is also when the real work begins.

      I applaud your courage in severing ties and actually moving out. I am not there yet but at least spend more and more time living and working far away. I realized during our last stint together that I had become nothing more than his loyal servant, doing everything domestic-related, spending huge amounts of time preparing meals and all the rest, every day, pushing my own agenda to the back burner once again.

      Sometimes I long for loving companionship that would involve human touch, but I don’t seek it out. Once I met someone very interesting who was passing through here as a summer visitor, but I kept thinking he seemed to be too enthusiastic about how ‘great’ I was much too quickly, he was married, and I was very wary. I have wonderful friends who are very supportive of my new direction in art and writing, and I have myself to love back into existence! Perhaps not what I wished for as a life for myself, but I have never felt better or more hopeful of a life filled with meaning. To nail what we really want, at this stage of life, to find peace of mind, is the greatest gift.

      Here’s to us, maryleemorgan, and to a toxic-free life!

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Sallie April 23, 2015

After reading this and other articles on narcissist people I have come to the conclusion that my son has married a girl with this disorder. I feel that there were many red flags early on that we could see, but he was, and still is, blind to. In a mere 18 months we have had 3 fairly major ” blow-ups” stemming from her not liking something we asked about the wedding plans/guest list or us asking her a question about something that didn’t suit her at the moment ( inquiring about the repayment of a loan.) Her MO is to then attack my husband and me verbally all the while my son sits/stands by her thinking that this is all OK and normal. This coming from a son who we NEVER had a minute of discord with for the 20 yrs prior to him meeting her. She “claims” to love our large extended family and wants to be a part of it but I have felt all along that she uses us when it suits her or benefits her and that she really wanted to alienate our son from us so that she could have him all to herself. Well, she finally succeeded. We unfortunately have not spoken to him in over three months. It is mind boggling how everyone around him see what is happening except him.

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Anonymous April 21, 2015

That hit the nail on the head, of a situation I went through with a friend three years ago. Left me devastated at first.

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Wendi April 11, 2015

The question I have is this…. Do I tell the Narcissist that I am done and why or do I just not communicate anything to him and let him figure it out? (I have been involved with him for 6 yrs but no longer reside with him.)

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    Kim Saeed April 11, 2015

    Wendi, typically if you reach out to tell them you’re done, they figure out a way to sabotage your decision.

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Mary February 23, 2015

Kim, I think this writing will help me the most in breaking free from the nagging feeling of “what if” that I have, and ant temptation to return if he ever showed up again. No contact 4 months and counting. Thanks again and love to you for publishing this. It helps me from going insane.

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    Kim Saeed February 23, 2015

    Mary, thank you so much for letting me know that. 4 months No Contact! Wow….that’s very impressive 🙂

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Alison Romero - Watanabe February 9, 2015

I was in a horrific and demeaning psychological and physically abusive relationship for 12+ years. Will constantly swore, blamed, threatened, lied, played mind games and punished me when I did not say or do something that met his expectations. In public, he is charismatic, friendly and funny. At home, behind closed doors, it was insidious. Will denied saying or doing something earlier, was secretive, gambled, had porn, never expressed his own thoughts, and got mad if I had an opinion different from his. The few times he bought a gift for me, he demanded it back saying I wasn’t deserving of the gift and because I did not buy him a thank you gift for his gift, he punished me more. He said he kept a calendar of when I complained. I asked him to say ‘please’ as he always commands me to do something and I told him I would still do it, but saying ‘please’ sounds nicer. He said he was too busy to think about saying ‘please’ and because I asked, more so, he wouldn’t. He would make a fist and make like he was going to hit me and tell me ‘I want to punch your face.’ I was walking on glass, having to chose the right approach and words to him. No matter what I did, he was angry and punished me. The thing was he blamed me for causing him to get mad or do and say the things he did. I was believing it was all my fault but it was getting too ridiculous. We use to go to the ‘Y’ to work out, but all of a sudden, he stopped. He told me because I went to the bathroom and didn’t tell him, he had to search for me and as I try to reason with him, more excuses from him. His abuse came more often and worsened with time, and his silent treatment and punishment lasted longer. I guess, it was a normalcy of him kicking me out often and the faulting, the abuse, I just took it as he was breaking me down. He had to make his abuse more to hurt me, to take his control back and punish me. I had still an ounce of self worth and called our local Domestic Violence Center in late 2014 and they did an assessment and confirmed I was a battered woman of psychological and physical abuse, and helped me in the survival process. Luckily, I had his emails documenting his rants and recorded some of his verbal tantrums because I thought I was going crazy with his true self, only with me. To friends at karaoke, he is totally a different person. For me, the longer I stayed in the relationship, Will’s abuse got more severe. I want to share my story. I feel blessed now, as he no longer can control or abuse me. It is a struggle, but I found the peace in my life and not having to be scared going home to someone who was so demonic.

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Wiser February 5, 2015

Hi Kim, thank you for your article. I’d like to ask if you think that all all narcissists are nice at the beginning, then spiteful, etc later on? My ex has narcissistic qualities, but he was pretty horrible to me from after the first date – there wasn’t a long honeymoon period. The lack of conscience at treating me badly, then fighting to stay in my life when I told him to get lost, the no holds barred apologies and promises to commit to me, then breaking promises without remorse asap, seem narcissistic. Definitely not normal. He finally left me to supposedly reconcile with his ex-wife and little son, then contacted me almost 2 months later (I assume it had ended by then, but I ignored him), contacted me again a month after that (again, I ignored him) and next thing I know, he’s in a serious relationship with a much younger woman who was talking about being in love in no time at all (yes, I stalked him on social media – I’m not proud).

Earlier this year, I found that he was cheating on her by being active on a dating site while she thought he’s the love of her life, etc. Clearly, he hasn’t changed much, and if he marries this young girl, I’m not sure that it’ll last any longer than his first marriage, which ended after 3 years or so. He is apparently a great guy to his family, friends and this young girl, but was usually unnecessarily cruel, dishonest, disrespectful and had zero remorse towards me (unless he was trying to get into my underwear) and generally behaved like a spoilt little boy in a hot grown man’s body. Is he just a horrible person or could he be described as narcissistic?

The 3 people that I spoke with separately about him all happened to say that this relationship won’t last because of his history of sleeping around with casual bedroom buddies, professional prostitutes and his trail of broken relationships. He worships money, success and beautiful women, so I’m fairly sure it would take a lot for him to wake up and grow up. I was jealous about why he’d moved on so quickly with this girl and agonised over what she has that I don’t (he’s already ‘in’ with her family and it all seems very cosy), until I realised that his feeling towards her are insincere if he’s cheating on her, knowing she is in love with him. Anyway, I’ve stopped viewing his social media and am making plans to fill my time with enjoyable things. I still think about him though. He doesn’t tick all the boxes of narcissism, sociopaths, etc. So is he a horrible person or enough of a narcissist to be regarded as such?

Thanks for your time.

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    Wiser February 5, 2015

    P.S. When I talk about his brilliant apologies and promises, I mean to say that this guy went to great lengths to get me on-side when I was furious at him. Then his behaviour would get worse. Then he offer even more brilliant apologies and promises, fighting to keep me on-side. This convinced me that he might be sincere, why else would he fight so hard when he could walk away? Then the cruelty would resurface. Just to clarify that although it was stupid of me to ignore the red flags that were popping up almost immediately, he put up a great show when he wanted to. I just couldn’t understand why he would bother as he was a magnet to other women too, so why fight for me if there was clearly no deep feelings for me. Thanks again.

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    Kim Saeed March 13, 2015

    Wiser, thank you for reaching out and sharing your experience.

    One way we often get ourselves into trouble is by thinking if they don’t meet every single trait on the pathological checklist, they are somehow “safer” than one who might possess all the traits. I can tell you that even a few of the traits is enough to destroy the lives of people they are involved with.

    It’s hard to tell if he’s a full-blown NPD or just has the traits, but either way, he certainly doesn’t sound like relationship material as it’s very obvious that he only cares about himself. You’d do well to go full-out No Contact and move on with your life so you can heal.

    Hope that helps.

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miss kitty January 24, 2015

this is very informative, thank you very much…….. makes so much sense.

I really need to ask a question my girlfriend asked me about her boyfriend being obcessed with his dick and loving getting oral sex but never returned the favor and told her it’s because of his ex girlfriend and her bad hygiene. to me this sounds like she has herself a true “N” for a boyfriend. what do you think? and he is very controlling too. Hides her car keys, takes her dog so she’ll let him back in when he runs off for hours and doesn’t say where he was. etc….. The not giving oral but demanding oral daily thing caught my attention and I wanted to run it by all of you experienced people. thanks

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    Kim Saeed January 24, 2015

    Miss Kitty, I wouldn’t necessarily attribute his sexual preferences to Narcissism, but his hiding her keys and taking her dog do sound rather pathological. Combined with those things, his seemingly selfish sexual requests do add up to possible Narcissism.

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I’ve read a lot on this lately. I thought I couldn’t learn anymore on the subject. But today I found this article by searching, “Why doesn’t anyone know about narcissism”?. It seems like so few people even know it exists. I didn’t get it until now and I’m 56 years old. This is the second covert female narcissist I’ve married that has done all they could to utterly destroy me after I naively caused “narcissistic injury” to them by trying to put my foot down. Wow, did I get the surprise of my life. I was married to this “love of my life” for nine years before I finally came out of denial. It’s so hard to believe she really really doesn’t love me afterall. With all the classic signs and tells, I just have been finding it impossible to accept her cruelty and extreme “character assassination” campaign. And to think ,this is the second time I’ve brought this on myself. How I pray I’ve learned my lesson, once and for all.

Narcissism is so insidious; so destructive. I wished I would have known about it sooner and I wished more people did too.

This article has enlightened me even more to the evil basis of the disorder. It is very insightful and well written. Thank you.

Your list under the heading, “Sacred Self vs. Ego”, is just the clarity and reminder I needed to survive the day.

Please keep up the good work.

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Anonymous December 28, 2014

Thanks Kim for your wonderful article. I’ve been in a relationship for almost 20 years. So long that I doubt myself often, even to the level of writing this and expressing my opinion. My wife appears to be what is described as a narcissist, however, she is also very giving to others. I guess that’s what has made me second guess myself all these years. Even though I was made to feel like crap, I thought she must be a good person. She is hyper social and spends hours on Facebook. I finally have seen the light and have stopped trying to please her. The early years of our marriage was verbal fighting nearly every other day and I’m a quiet and don’t like conflict. I told her I didn’t like fighting but she convinced me that it was passion. I’m not talking an occasional fight but almost daily. Over the years it seemed like every complaint I had about what hurt me fell upon deaf ears. I’m just struggling because I’m also an eternal optimist and I always think that someday she will stop getting angry and I can trust her. It just never happens. PS Im not a person without problems (which I’ve always known) but I feel I need some validation. Thanks!!!

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Sandy December 21, 2014

“The important thing to understand about Narcissists is they don’t comprehend that they have a disorder and that it’s toxic to the people who become romantically involved with them.”

I ran across a different opinion on the web the other day, and so with all due respect Kim, I have to say I tend to disagree and therefore would like to share what I read in case it helps or makes any sense to others, concerning the narc’s culpability.

The premise was very simple-the fact that our abusers are able to act normally around outsiders, then revert to abuse once outsiders are out of the picture says that they do indeed know what they are doing is toxic to others, that it is wrong, and that they shouldn’t be doing it. No mater if it is labeled a disorder, a tendency, or just a bad habit, if they didn’t know they were doing it, they wouldn’t be able to STOP doing it in order to influence perceptions. Just as a truly insane person is not capable of altering their behavior in an effort to conceal wrong-doing, neither would an abuser be able to in an effort to make others think he’s a nice guy. After reading that, I’ve come to believe they do indeed know exactly what they are doing, they know good and well how bad it hurts us, but they do it anyway because they just don’t care.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you where I found that viewpoint. I’m just passing it along…

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Mark Melanson December 21, 2014

well it is clear to me now that i will never receive respect and acceptance from the narcissists who were in my life such as my father, brothers and other family members. i used to wonder why so many members of my family were so abusive until i realized there were many members of my family who possessed npd or married someone who was, i even had an ex girlfriend who was an alcoholic and at very advanced stage, that i realized was not going to give it up for me no matter how her choices affected me. i can say im aware npd exists everywhere and is an epidemic today i must be careful not to get drawn into their mentality and the power they seek, they will use and abuse you and try to get you to conform………….dont run away never look back. many people dont understand what its like to have close family members who are narcissistic and often question my choice to completely avoid them. as difficult as that is being a sensitive loving man, it is harmful and draining for me to be exposed to them and their thinking…

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Kdawg August 20, 2014

Okay, I have been the proverbial fly on the wall listening with great interest to all of the heart and hurts that have gone into each and every post. I am amazed at the similarities of my own situation. I have been married for 27 years and up until year number 7 things seemed really good. We managed to get through after about a month of being separated when she told me to find another place to live because she needed some space. I was in my junior year of college and that was tough especially since we had a little girl who has always been the sweetest apple of my eye. I had no idea where it all came from and for the next 5 years I literally lived on pins and needles afraid that I would say or do the wrong thing to invoke the words of heartbreak. We moved to a big city for better opportunities and we both found amazing jobs and for the next 11 years it all seemed to be going smoothly. Then she wanted a bigger house and nicer furniture and nicer cars and wanted to live luxurious lives like the friends she worked with who went on vacations to the Bahamas and drank expensive wine and went hob-nobbing at nightclubs. I was in ministry and drinking was not an accepted form of responsible leadership. She complained that our new house wasn’t getting worked on like I promised (we kept the condo to use as a rental property and I was still trying to finish that project). Then, I lost my job. All hell broke loose and she came unglued. All of the sudden this sweet girl once again became a monster and called me names and couldn’t believe she was having to drive her “crap car” and that she was done, she wanted a divorce. No infidelity on my part. Just a hard working guy who believes in the virtues of family, faith and forgiveness. She moved out of the bedroom to the guest room and has even spent the night in her closet when a guest came and stayed over. The behavior is so odd and unpredictable that I still shake my head. The only thing that gets me through is my faith. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8.
I signed on for better, for worse; For richer, for poorer; In sickness and in health; ’til death do us part. I am not a martyr but I do believe that love can win her over.

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Need Help Moving On June 5, 2014

I think that my ex may be a narcissist. I have spent 2 1/2 years with him on and off. He exhibits all of the traits described on this website. I tried my best to make him happy, I always tried to learn and change when he told me he was breaking up with me for some reason. I finally hit rock bottom today after more manipulation and uncaring behavior. I called him up told him for the first time honestly that he had treated me horribly in our time together and i deserved more and I deserved an apology. He essentially told me that it was my fault, I’m crazy, and he was in the right. I am getting a therapist and trying to move on. Every time i do he draws me back but he claims this time I’m crazy and he would do anything to get away from me and never talk to me. I hope its true because I’m tired of being cheated on, lied to, hidden from friends of his, told I’m not good enough until he needs or wants something. Thats when he loves me. This website makes me get a better understanding and really began to believe i did the right thing.

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    Kim Saeed June 10, 2014

    Need Help, you were indeed doing the right thing when you decided to leave him.

    These people will say and do whatever is necessary to make you believe all the problems in the relationship are your fault when, the fact is, it’s because they are soulless. Nothing you ever do would be enough for them. At the same time, they cannot shoulder one iota of fault. Therefore, they have an innate need to place the burden on your shoulders…

    There is nothing wrong with you. You are a lovely person who deserves to be treated with decency and respect. If you still have some strings attached, get rid of this imposter by going full No Contact. Pardon me for being direct, but this guy’s a real loser and you are way above his league…

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    ginafantsaez June 10, 2014

    I wanted to wish you the best moving on. The No Contact thing is sometimes debilitating and excruciating and I have yet to successfully do it. I’m in the midst of what I hope to be my final No Contact. Until yesterday, I have always left some tiny door open that my ex could squeeze through and suck me back in with promises to change. I’ve blocked her calling me, emailing me, told her I’d call the police if she stepped foot on my property, changed all my passwords to everything online and as far as I know, there is not one tiny crack that she can weasel her way through to come back crying and apologizing, just to start abusing me a week later. – I wanted to tell you that I’m working with Kim, the head of this website – I call her my break-up coach – and that is really helping me so much. She’s been invaluable. I saw that you are looking for a therapist and i wanted to give you a heads up from someone who has been to many therapists, that VERY few therapists truly understand emotional abuse and what it’s like being a partner of a Narcissist. Many therapist always say “relationships are 50/50 responsibility”. Well, sorry to be crass, but bullshit when it comes to someone emotionally abusing you and keeping your head spinning 24/7 with passive aggressive comments and behaviors and NEVER taking responsibility for their lives or behavior. So, be resourceful in finding someone who specializes in emotional abuse for partners of someone with personality disorders. And, I would recommend working with someone like Kim, who has been through this, someone who knows what you’re going to be going through with No Contact. While she’s not a therapist, she has successfully freed herself from an abusive relationship and is so generously extending herself for other people to do the same. For me, that’s what I need right now – not a general therapist who is going to make it all about my childhood – which I do know is important – but I want help in this moment, right now. Talking about my childhood is not going to help me when my ex shows up at my door weeping and begging for my forgiveness. And your ex will… Give it time… I want to let go of this hell I’ve been in once and for all. And for me, it is the biggest comfort to now be working with someone who understands how impossibly hard it is to let go of the up and down and on and off relationship you’ve been conditioned to accept and makes me feel understood and not crazy. So, hang in there. Lets all support each other to let go of these truly, soulless people to live happy healthy joyful lives. All the very best to you, Gina

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      Kim Saeed June 14, 2014

      Gina, thank you so much for your very encouraging input. It means the world to know that I’ve helped you in such a way. Everything you’ve said is true, and I could see you moving on in a similar capacity one day…and helping other people. You’re a very intelligent, insightful person. You are going to get through this and I believe something big is in store for you.

      Hugs ~ Kim

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foolish May 30, 2014

I have left posts on another trail here,but want to say this is the most helpful site I have come across in the 2-3 months of agony I have been going through. Thank you everyone for your very heartfelt posts….my story is not exactly like any of the ones I have read, but there are elements ……I guess I should be grateful that this man is not violent or angry in an overt way ……he simply insisted I immediately make changes in my life if I wanted to continue to see him and I could not do what he asked. ( this has been a long term affair, and suddenly I was told I must divorce my husband now, or never see him again……) I cannot do that at this time for many reasons and so he I moving on…….and is displaying many if not all of the traits of a narcissist…thank you again for this website and a place to share our stories and lift each other up

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More Wiser Now May 1, 2014

Jonathan, it is due to a “cultural shift”, more than anything. The access of easy money (living on credit); the advent of social media and the need to brand/broadcast yourself 24-7; the loss of family identity; un-realistic views of beauty/perfection/aging; and the uprise of materialism have all contributed to this epidemic. After reading this book, it is easy to see how people can develop into narcissists, especially when our culture celebrates them! Today, young people would rather be famous over having a good reputation or being good upstanding citizens. I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe how many school teachers are getting caught doing the most absurd, out-landish things! Women are just as bad now! Today’s mantra seems to be “Look at me, Look at me! See how hot, sexy, and beautiful I am!” Plastic Surgery has increased 400X and middle aged people are turning to it, to keep their edge or to fool themselves into thinking that they are younger than they really are! Grandparents are dressing like their children/grandchildren, so each generation has to do something more drastic (***insert *** full body tattoo’s or ear gauging) just to separate themselves from their elders. Kim’s site and a few others are places where people can learn about this scurge and to educate themselves on knowing the signs and symptoms of narcissistic behaviors and how to protect yourself.

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    jonathan hockey May 2, 2014

    Yes, there are certainly some major cultural problems that need to be addressed in the western world. It is something I am trying to address and engage in my own way, and it is good to see a site like this doing something similar.

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jonathan hockey April 30, 2014

This is a very interesting post, and very well written, I just wanted to say though I think there could be a danger here of type-casting people here. I have heard from my own experiences of counselling that 1% of human beings are of the exploitative, manipulative, socio-pathic kind. And if we have an experience with one of these people we may come to not trust others and see these tendencies in other people when it is not really there. Narcissism crosses over with this to some degree, but then, for most people they are capable of change if we are not too quick to type cast them. For example, we all have some tendencies of this kind I believe, but we learn to control them and not let them control us. It is only for this socio-pathic 1% of people, I think, that they are completely unchangeable in their ways, with the other 99% its often just a matter of finding the right ways to be assertive with them in order to get your point across, so that they may then see it and begin to change their ways to some extent. Though I have not had the kind of personal experiences of a relationship with a narcissist in order to know it in as much detail as many others.

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    Kim Saeed May 1, 2014

    You are onto something here…though I feel the need to point out that the “1%” of diagnosed disorders is now obsolete. There are many more disordered people running amok that will never be diagnosed. Even if they make it into a therapist’s office, they often fool the therapist in order to make their partner look unstable. Most therapists are still sadly inexperienced at dealing with them. That’s part of the reason Narcissism was taken out of the main section of the DSM and slated for further study…

    With that said, yes, we do all possess a degree of Narcissism. In fact, a little of it is healthy. However, as you pointed out, we still need to be cognitive of typical human emotions and not brand everyone a Narcissist. It’s often hard to detect and that’s why we need to listen to our intuition. Once we start to feel manipulated and made to feel less than, it’s time to move on. Those are the two big ones.

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    Mary Lee Morgan May 1, 2014

    Jonathon, you say that its often just a matter of finding the right ways to be assertive with them in order to get your point across, so that they may then see it and begin to change their ways to some extent. That is how the rest of us operate, but not the N. Let me tell you that I have spent the last 49 years trying every way I could find to get my point across and ask for some extent of change. He changed a few surface things, but underneath, whatever drives him to cheat and treat me less than and manipulate me has not changed. He periodically emotionally discards me while expecting every accoutrement of a wonderful relationship to come to him from me. Can he change? It doesn’t matter if we won’t. And he won’t if he thinks he doesn’t need to because he sees himself as a very nice guy. Even when admitting how wrong he was to do all the hurtful things, even when saying he is sorry he hurt me, he cannot comprehend the harm he has caused. He has said he was sorry before, and yet he continued to do the hurtful things. Trying to get “that” point across–the true nature and extent of all the harm done–offends him greatly, and then he resents me for seeing him as not quite that nice guy he thinks he is. You just go around in circles with people like this. Its thinking that there is some way to get a point across that has kept me engaged for far too long. I have no idea what the percentage is of people like this, but like Kim said, there are more of them running around than most therapists recognize. They don’t respond to things and participate in relationships the way other people do. My soon-to-be-ex even knows that very few other people in the world think like he thinks, yet sees no need to change. He refers to living in a “bubble” and talks about what will and will not fit on is “radar” without any realization of what he is saying about himself, that other people do not operate this way, and that those who do go around like bulls in china shops, leaving relational destruction behind them. He can stand there in the middle of the mess shrugging his shoulders as if he has no idea how all this happened. No wait, he does think he knows–he thinks you did it.

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      jonathan hockey May 1, 2014

      I see, this sounds like a very difficult situation, a bit like a relationship with an alcoholic, except with the alcoholic there is at least some hope they may rehabilitate. I find such lack of ability to accept moral responsibility for ones actions as this hard to comprehend. But I guess some people have to have moral blinkers like this when it comes to their own actions, as it is their way of hiding from their weaknesses that they don’t want to face.

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    More Wiser Now May 1, 2014

    Jonathan, narcisissim is on the uprise. A good book to familarize yourself with this fact is: “The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement” by Jean Twenge & Keith Campbell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv2LkAWc7Tk is a quick snippet of this vastly growing problem. Its roots have been sewn from an entitlement mentality, primarily cultivated by parents whose identity comes from their children’s happiness and success. Narc’s don’t care whether their treatment towards others is “fair” or “deserved”. All they care about is getting their way each and every day and if they have to beat you in submission, tell continuous lies, they will, without blinking an eye! They also are great actors and actresses, which why Hollywood is full of them. They can turn on the tears; feign innocence; and MAKE you believe that their actions were not intentional. The key to spotting one early is to COUNT how many times they try to control the situation or make you feel bad for choosing something different! I hope you never get entangled with one, because until you have, you have no idea how quick they can wrap their tennacles around your body and choke the living daylights out of you. You are lucky if you can find the energy to fight and claw your way to freedom and entangle yourself from them.

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      jonathan hockey May 1, 2014

      Alot of this rise of narcissism is down to childishness, and people being less grown up and responsible about relationships I think. People assume others know what they want or need, they think others can read their mind. They just don’t develop the social interaction skills to be clear about what they want and where they stand. Yes, there are the extreme people you are best off avoiding. And I think it is best to view their self-delusions of self-importance as a sign of weakness in them, and they should be pitied rather than feared

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    maryleemorgan May 1, 2014

    Jonathon, yes I believe it is childishness. Perhaps a better description would be arrested emotional development. All the things that More Wiser Now said are true, but I think there is one more reason, and that is very early emotional trauma. This is what I think happened to my spouse, and I believe it had something to do with post-partum depression in his mother. This is from parsing the bits and pieces of the story from him and his family over all these years.

    Perhaps Kim knows something about this, but I’ve read that if a child, during the critical stage of development when they are learning what the world is like, feels abandoned and decides (1) that he is on his own and must take care of himself–and therefore anything he has to do to take care of himself is justified–and (2) not to feel his feelings because they hurt too much, he can get stuck at that emotional age–and with those two very unfortunate decisions–for the rest of his life. When those two things get installed in a person’s operating system in the same place as the sun will come up in the morning, the sky is blue and grass is green, they might never get rid of it. And if that is how they see the world, none of their relationships will be good or healthy ones. They may tell themselves that they are not feeling your feelings, but what is happening is that all of their feelings are experienced as the kind of pain you feel when someone wrongs you. And since that is what they feel, that is what they believe. They don’t have compassion for others because everything has to be about them. They will spend the rest of their days running into walls and wondering why–or more likely, blaming the wall.

    Stuck is the operative word here, because he seems so blind to it that he is helpless to get out of it–he is mystified. Not taking any moral responsibility is incomprehensible to the rest of us. But to the N, he just isn’t “old enough” to even get what that is. If he’s emotionally three years old, he doesn’t know what to do with his sexuality, with himself, with the world around him, and he certainly does not know what to do with an adult woman. So he makes a mask. And woe to the spouse who tries to unmask him. But the truth is, he can’t sustain the mask over the long haul. He lets it slip. You can’t help but see behind it, especially when you are the object of his abuse, and the object of his punishment when he has his “adult” version of a tantrum. We get sucked in and can’t get out when we don’t know or refuse to accept that this person does not operate, does not think, in a “normal” way. He thinks his way, and the rest of us will never fully comprehend how that works. But from the N side of things, he will never comprehend how things work with the rest of us. We are as much a mystery to him as he is to us. I just wish I had understood all of this years and years ago, because for a long time all I could see was the hurt child, and I felt compassion for that because I had a hurt child, too. But I learned how to care for her, how to re-parent her, and to allow her to grow up. The other thing I kept trying to get him to see was that he could do this for himself, as well. But he does not see it to this day. So I have taken as my own a saying I saw in a T-shirt catalog: “I can explain it to you. I can’t understand it for you.” At this point, there has been so much cheating and all the rest of it that I just can’t take it any more and now I have to have some compassion for myself–my adult self.

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      jonathan hockey May 2, 2014

      That sounds like the right attitude to take from your experiences. Thanks for sharing all of that, it is very insightful stuff. You know I think I may have been borderline that kind of kid myself. And I have been learning the hard away I suppose ever since. It is a long tough road to heal emotional damage that goes deep to early childhood like that.

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        maryleemorgan May 2, 2014

        Yes, it is a long tough road, Jonathan. I spent about ten years doing my own work, and during that time my spouse asked me “Why are you doing this to yourself?” And I told him, “Because I won’t survive if I don’t.” Don’t ever give up your path, Jonathan, because you will come out the other side of your hard work. Life is never easy or completely pain-free, but once you have done that internal work and learned to fill in those life skills that so many of us missed learning as kids, learned that your value as a human being does not come from others, you will be in a much better place. Google the 12 promises if you are not already familiar with them. They are true. I wish you all the best in your journey.

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[…] 4)       How can I reach the Narcissist’s real self? […]

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[…] The One Thing You Need to Know About Narcissists […]

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Anonymous April 12, 2014

The hardest council for me to accept is to walk away and have nothing to do with your narcissist. Easier said then done, especially when they are family. I’ve taken a different approach recently. I’ve decided that isolating myself from them only breeds hate and suspicion. Hate really is a triangle of isolation/suspicion/attaching negative intentions. Love is just the opposite. Fellowship/trust/attaching positive intentions. I am not responsible for another person’s actions, only my own. I can speak the truth in love when I have the facts to support my assertion(s). I am not responsible for whether someone accepts the truth or my perspective, but I have the responsiblity to myself to speak against injustice and callous behaviors. I’ve heard it said that conflict is really an opportunity (in disguise) to teach someone a lesson that they need to learn in order to become a better person. I agree however, that you have to take narcissists in small doses and to be mentally prepared for their ambushes; manipulations and bad behavior. A wise person once told me “you can ask anything of anyone, but you better be prepared to accept their answer.” The problem with narcissists is that they don’t accept peoples answers (choices) but are in a constant state of trying to get others to do/think/respond in the way that they want. Remembering that I always have the “right” to exercise my choice is freeing for me when dealing with my narcissist. She/he can ask anything from me, but they must be willing to accept my answer. When they push back; try to shame me; guilt me; or scold me into compliance, I just smile and say “I’ve given you my answer, so please accept it.” If they push harder, I just walk away. I also don’t return like for like, but try to attain to the highest level of love which is unconditional acceptance. I only physically distance myself (totally estrange myself) from a narcissist life, if they repeatedly hurt me and cause irreparable harm. When they do this, they are beyond repair (unless God himself intervenes) and have reached a state of “evil.”

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    Kim Saeed April 13, 2014

    Anonymous,

    I think the most important thing to consider is whether they are still affecting our energy, even in small doses. If we’ve reached a state of being where we are no longer affected by them, then we are truly at peace and it wouldn’t matter if we were forced to encounter them.

    I am all for what you’re talking about, but it depends on the individual. Some people are not at the point where they can share the same space with a toxic personality because they aren’t ready for the energetic/emotional assault. I do agree that Narcissists come into our lives to teach us a lesson. On the other hand, I also believe that if a Narcissist has any hope for change, the most loving thing we can do is not enable them to continue their behaviors, even in small doses. If they have a network of people who accept them the way they are, there is no reason for them to change, and they will continue to harm others in their path. Each scenario is unique and has its own set of dynamics.

    It seems you are on the right path in your reactions to Narcissists. I applaud you for having reached this state, especially that you don’t feel the need to return like for like. That shows true peace. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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      More Wiser Now April 13, 2014

      Kim, the one “caveat” to my previous comments is regarding former significant others and spouses. My comments were directed to family members or people (narcissists) that you feel obligated to see on a “LIMITED” basis. I do subscribe to “no contact” for narcissists that you were once in an intimate relationship with. You have enough information and certainty that this individual won’t change or it would take many years of self-introspection and counseling to change them. Life is too short to walk down that road with them. Once someone has “injured” me with their un-fairness; cruelty; injustice; and selfish behavior, I BELIEVE what I see and walk away feeling sorry for their next unsuspecting source.

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        Kim Saeed April 13, 2014

        Seems like you are in a good place now 🙂

        I’m very happy for you!

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          More Wiser Now April 13, 2014

          Kim, it took many years of self-introspection, counseling, and studying this subject to get where I am. The sad thing that I am witnessing is that “narcissim” is becoming an epidemic. I/4 people are said to be on the road to becoming a narcissist! The book “The Narcissim epidemic, living in a world of self-entitlement” is a must read for people wondering why this is so. Permissive parents are growing narcissistic children by spoiling them with material gifts and by making them feel that they are special princesses and kings worthy of everyone’s adulation; praise; and resources. College deans are saying that in-coming freshman are like “delicate teacups” because when life doesn’t go how the expect it, they crumble. Always look at the family members of any prosepective mate. Look how they treat one another. Are they kind, considerate, welcoming, reciprocal, fair, and uplifting? Or are they petty; jealous; suspicious; critical; blaming; or backstabbing/back biting? All these “clues” should give you an idea what you are dealing with. Bless you Kim on your road to wholeness, recovery, and peace!

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More Wiser Now April 11, 2014

The hardest thing for me in dealing with a narcissist (and I have dealt with a few) is how “fused” other people and family members can be with these individuals. Sadly, if a spouse stays married long enough to their narcissist, they too will start to think/act like them. They will be conditioned to the “right response”, the narcissist’s way or else receive the rage and tongue lashings for non-compliance. No opinion matters except for the narcissists. People who “disagree” are called crazy; mean; brainless; etc. I experienced the “wrath” first hand when I went up against a S-I-L after a Christmas party/gift exchange. She DELIBERTLY gave us re-gifts and I could prove it! One gift was twenty years old! When I made mention of it on FB (without mentioning her name, just the details) I was dogpiled by her family. Her husband and children! I was made to be the bad guy. I did apologize (at the insistence of my husband) to keep peace in the family. But, I hated my actions since then. No one from her family acknowledged our hurt! It was all about them! Narcissists operate by two sets of rules. One for them and for everyone else. EXPECT pushback if you publicly diagree. I have hardned my own heart toward this particular narcissist and really don’t care if she likes me. Why? Narcissists only “like” you when you are doing their bidding; living your life by their “rules” and accepting their bad behaviors. Life is too short to accept this B.S., especially when there are other people who can and will love your freely without any SICK mind games!

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    Kim Saeed April 11, 2014

    I completely understand where you are coming from. As you said, it’s all about conditioning and compliance, but when you point out that “we’re not in Kansas anymore”, that’s when it all goes South.

    As far as families, no one wants to deal with it, so there’s usually a perpetual conspiracy to just cover up the sickness and pretend that all is well. And everyone wants YOU to be the bigger person and pretty much enable the disordered person to continue their path. I normally recommend cutting those types of people out of one’s life because it brings nothing but grief and negative energy.

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    firenice84 April 11, 2014

    I totally agree with More Wiser Now. It does not matter if you’re married to one or have lived with one (or a few) in your biological family. You end up being conditioned to live with a Narcissist. I have moved out of my family home (full of Narcissists) many many years ago, but I still find myself conditioned to responding to narcissists, even when I’m married to a wonderful man and have very wonderful extended family now. It was only during therapy last week that I realised that I’m still constantly seeking approval and wondering if I am doing the right thing and if there were any repercussions. All because of the self-doubt that eventually plagues all who live with narcissists. It’s like I’ve learnt how to behave in a dysfunctional family that I don’t know how to behave in a less dysfunctional one (IMHO all families are dysfunctional to some degree). Being accepted solely for myself without having to “do” anything for anyone is a concept which is very foreign to me because of being conditioned to accept conditional love.

    Kim, I also totally agree with you that everyone wants US to make changes and keep the family together. After 2 years of battling with PTSD, I finally told my dad about it in February this year. He replied that he can understand how much I have been hurt by my sister and my mother and told me that I have to let it go to get better. Then he said that he wanted to get the whole family together. It was like he didn’t read a word of that super lengthy email! I replied giving examples of how either my mother or sister ruin holidays and get togethers. All I got was a succinct “I get your point”. I am still trying to decipher if my dad is a narcissist or if he’s an enabler. It’s not totally clear cut for him. But for letting my dad know that I’m not getting in the midst of all the family trouble at the moment, I’m getting the silent treatment. But that’s perfectly alright with me. No news is good news, I think! 🙂

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Christine hoff April 11, 2014

This is a very strange world to live in……..mine has finally gone into therapy which I found, specializing in police and fire personnel. Love bombing me……..but is not home………begging me to go to marriage counseling………I see this just as a ploy so he can say he went into counseling and make me the bad guy cuz I still want out!! I will play the artiage counseling game for now…….what other choice do I have?

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    Kim Saeed April 13, 2014

    It’s very possible that he is doing that as a cover for ulterior motives. Just be on the alert. You will find out the truth sooner or later. Best of luck!

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Katy April 10, 2014

I really don’t know if my ex is a Narc. I’m sure for a fact though that his dad is, he fits the profile completely. He’s very controlling of my ex’s life and he has been through like 4 marriages, and is a serial cheater. My ex always criticized his behavior and was disgusted by it. Except he did the same to me. I did do make a lot of mistakes in the relationship, i was insecure and jealous, but it was mostly reaching out to him and expecting what i was offering in return. This made me come out as the controlling one, not him. I don’t think there was a need to control my life because i had always bent over backwards for him.
I don’t know if it’s cognitive dissonance, or brainwashing, but he pretty much blamed me for his affair. He said i suffocated him, and while “i was punching holes, she was filling them in”, that’s his exact words. Me and him were long distance, and so are him and her. He painted me as a controlling monster to this woman, nagging about how i make his life hell. After disclosing the affair and discarding me, he said she was everything he wants, she understands him (like i never did), she gave him his pride back. He was so cruel to me, told me to get out of his life, that he doesn’t love me anymore, all that… Noting that, through out the entire relationship, i was “the one for him, his savior, the reason he became a good man, the woman of his dreams…” fast forward a couple of days later, i make it seem like i’m seeing someone, he comes back running to me telling me he made a mistake, that he projects her in me, he likes in her the things that resemble me. In a weird twist of events, i become the other woman (lovely) for a couple of days, then he breaks up with her (while still being hung up on her), and i take him back… after-which i knew further details of the affair and dumped him. He went back to her and he just acted like i don’t exist.
After three weeks, we met when i was on vacation in his country (my brother lives there as well), we met, and he WEEPED for like an hour and said that she’s the biggest regret in his life and went on about how he loves me like no other, said he’s gonna leaver her. He lured me back in with that, only to further go back and forth between us both. In the end, he chose her, because he says she doesn’t expect anything and i expect a lot. I only wanted him to cut ties with her, that’s it. He said he loves me more but doesn’t wanna be with me. He didn’t wanna lose touch with me and would text me all day, never failing to show sexual interest in me. I put an end to that and didn’t talk to him for 2 weeks. And then i contacted him again 🙁 he was friendly and made it clear that he’s a changed man, that this time he wants to do the right thing, that she’s the one, that they’re moving to Australia together (and will get married in a year or so), that he’s happy for me being with someone else, that he no longer has ANY feelings for me, and that he no longer craves me sexually. two days later he texts me that he had a very sexually explicit dream about me where he ended up choking me, and he wanted to check if i’m doing ok and was like “please be careful”… I really don’t know how to make sense of this madness to be honest. Please help 🙁

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    Kim Saeed April 19, 2014

    “He says she doesn’t expect anything and I expect a lot”…I heard those exact words, verbatim.

    Narcissists all have a similar story when they discard one partner for another…”I’m changed. I’m happy now. She loves me for who I am without expecting me to change”, etc., etc. It’s their way of making us feel regret for requesting fidelity and normal relationship dynamics. It’s often also what lures women back into the toxic relationship because they think, “Well, I can do what she’s doing. Maybe if I mold myself into what he wants, he’ll stay”. What we don’t recognize at the time is that we have to essentially give up our whole identity and sense of self to do so.

    The fact that he texted you after making it clear the relationship is over is a form of baiting and hoovering. He’s just checking in to see if he’s still at the forefront of your mind and if he has a chance of sneaking back in when your defenses are down. The best thing to do at this point would be to block him from your cell phone, email, and whatever other avenues he can use to communicate with you. Go cold turkey. After 4-8 weeks of No Contact, you will start to feel the FOG lift and gain some clarity.

    Wishing you the best. Feel free to reach out again if needed.

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    Annie August 22, 2014

    Katie,
    Do not believe any of this, please.
    I have been in your shoes. They will say and do anything to jerk you around.
    That dream he said he had, and warning you to be careful? Was probably in a weird way warning you about him! He will choke you if you let him back in.

    The only way to disengage from these sick ones is to have NO CONTACT. NONE.
    Kim is right.

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Mary Lee Morgan April 8, 2014

I came here from Carrie’s site. Thanks, Carrie, for sharing.

Kim, this is great. Right on. I am an INFJ sensitive in the process of leaving an almost-50-year marriage to a dependent narcissist. I kept hoping that somehow we could make it work for a lifetime for the sake of family, but his serial cheating finally crossed a line that is the last straw. He propositioned my sister during a time that I had been caring for him through a long series of surgeries, and I was still dressing his surgery wounds daily. And I still feel sad for him because he has become old and feeble and needs someone to depend on more than ever. He’s going to end up some day in a nursing home, at the state’s expense and not one of his own choosing, calling out for someone who doesn’t come. And there is nothing I can do about it, nor should I.

But you know what is the saddest? Once again, the ones who will be hurt the most are children–in this case, our grandchildren. He was a better grandfather than he was at anything, and his grandkids are going to be very hurt if he does what his fragile ego wants to do, which is run away and cease all contact with the family from his end when he can no longer maintain the “family man” façade of having a house and wife. He’s threatened to do this all along if the marriage failed, and I finally took that threat off the table by deciding that I will be the one to leave.

I keep coming to sites like this because I keep learning–they are a literal lifeline to sanity when you are still living in the “nothing makes sense” world of the N. You said something here that is a new thought to me: N’s like to fight. If you listen to him, you’d think I was the one who liked to fight and he’s the victim, but it’s yet another thing that he has turned upside down, blaming me for exactly what he himself is doing.

I do think that I know him and his family background well enough to understand how he got this way, but the whole reason for understanding such things is to resolve, to heal, and to move on. As you say, Ns do not do that since they see no need to change, and if the need for change is pointed out to them all it does is insult them and they go off feeling victimized–again, and they will punish–again.

I read on one site where a woman said it took her five years to get free of the N once she decided on the divorce. I don’t think it’s going to take me five years, but I am already 14 months in and still in the house with him–but NOT in the same room! I am making progress, though, on every front, whether others can see much of it yet or not. I will get there! It’s a done deal in my head, so it will be done. And all of my conversations with him while I am still here just serve to verify everything you said in your post.

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    Kim Saeed April 9, 2014

    Mary,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Being a sensitive certainly makes it hard to leave because our whole purpose here is to love and try to help/heal people. However, being with a Narcissist is like throwing all of your love and effort into an abyss because those efforts are never acknowledged or appreciated, which would be okay if it helped the other person to BE a better person, but that’s not the case with Narcissists.

    I’m glad you find my site and the others to be helpful in your situation. Having these resources to fall back on is so important in the process of leaving an abusive partner. I wish I’d known my Ex was a Narcissist when I left, but I knew nothing and unfortunately did everything the hard way. The one good thing that resulted from that is being able to reflect on his behaviors so I can write things that help others who are fighting their own battle.

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      maryleemorgan April 9, 2014

      That is the saddest part, isn’t it–knowing it all went into an abyss? I think knowing that my efforts were in vain is harder, even, than being discarded over and over and all the other abusive relationship things he does. My soon-to-be-ex N, from what I have read, is a dependent narcissist, and even though I cannot tolerate this environment with him any longer, I still feel sad for him. He doesn’t want me to go, of course, because I have always taken care of him and needs that even more than ever now, at his age. But he still doesn’t get it and I just can’t stay.

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        Kim Saeed April 19, 2014

        Mary, I once felt the same way you do right now. I struggled with feeling guilty for the longest time. However, I read somewhere that it’s not our responsibility to fix them. Their lessons are their own to learn, and the most loving thing we can do is leave them because it’s only then that there is the small (less than 1%) chance that they might do some introspection and change. Rarely ever happens, but at least we give them that opportunity when we leave.

        Not to mention we can’t heal until we do so…

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Carrie Reimer April 8, 2014

Reblogged this on Ladywithatruck's Blog and commented:
excellent post by Kim

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armyofangels2013 April 6, 2014

Great read, Kim…In my self discovery, I learned that I am INFJ. Also found myself described as a Highly Sensitive Person. I was so full of hope that narc would change, it only I could show him enough love….Boy was I wrong. Thank you for sharing such great information!

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Lee April 6, 2014

I’d say that it is possible for a narcissist to change, but this is highly unlikely to happen. And no one else, especially including someone in a “romantic” relationship with a narcissist, can bring about that change from the outside.

Real change requires an internal change of mind and heart initiated by the narc. But narcs rarely even reach the point of self-awareness required for that to happen. So the practical answer for those in a relationship with a narc is that s/he will never change, the relationship is doomed, and the best course of action is to leave the relationship and impose a no-contact rule. In this I agree 100% with you, Kim.

I have also come to believe that this is the most loving and caring thing to do for the narc (for those who still care about the narc).

Why?

Because the one very slim ray of hope that the narc may some day reach the level of self-awareness required to see that s/he is a narcissist and make the internal choice to change is to experience rejection from one after another “lover.” If the narc finally runs through the available victims and ends up alone, then there is a remote possibility of looking inward for the causes of the failure. Please understand, this is still very unlikely to happen. But it will never happen as long as there is a victim to suck the life out of. Victims are not contributing to the spiritual wellbeing of narcs by staying with them.

Thanks, Kim, for another great post. I very much appreciate that you’ve not only moved out of victimhood yourself, but have continued beyond your own release to provide good, solid guidance for others still caught in its thrall. My own experience was mild compared to most. But it did give me great respect for those who have climbed out of much deeper pits than I did.

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    ginainaustin June 3, 2014

    Lee and Kim.

    Thank you for the main post and for your post too Lee. I have tried for the past 2 1/2 years to help my undiagnosed NPD girlfriend – she’s had 4 shrinks, 4 sponsors (she’s in AA and relapses frequently) she’s been to retreats, tried DBT, we tried couple’s therapy etc etc etc. She’s convinced every shrink to tell her that she doesn’t have a personality disorder. Meanwhile, I’ve read every book and site on BPD and NPD and how to cure it. I’ve tried absolutely everything and in the end, I get her verbal cruelty and abuse and then, she contacts her ex and she tells her family that I am abusing her. For some reason, the family thing hurts me the most. I really cared about her and her family and I hate that they would believe I would ever abuse someone.

    But – I am at the end of my rope. I don’t give up easily but I don’t think I have a choice now. There’s nothing I haven’t tried. My friends are begging me to finally let go. They want me to “get back out there” and date. But, y’know, this dream I hold onto about us being together and her being kind and loving is like a disease in my head that keeps me stuck and hoping and obsessing and then going back – only for the same pattern to happen all over again and again.

    I wish I could finally face that she has NPD and it’s not going to change. I’ve known her for 6 years, dated her for 2 1/2 and she’s never been kind and loving but the moment’s that she’s trying to get me back. The moment I am back and my heart is open and I’m feeling hopeful, BOOM, the rage and cruelty and verbal abuse start all over.

    I just don’t get it!! Why would someone choose to live like this?

    She did the same thing to her ex (who I spoke to and that was so validating and eye-opening.) Her ex was so kind and open about what happened in their 4 year relationship. Of course, I only got the “evil ex” stories in dating my NPD. Her ex was nothing at all what I expected. Why wouldn’t I leave after knowing what she did to her ex? And the ex tried everything too…

    Why wouldn’t my knowing that 10 years of this woman’s life have been nothing but rage and abuse to other people, using other people and their money, lying and manipulating, losing all of her friends, be enough to make a logical, attractive, successful woman like me stay?? What the heck is wrong with me? This is not who I am!! But I’m frickin stuck. I keep thinking that there’s something I haven’t thought of. She loves me and because she loves me, she’ll change so she won’t lose me. I can’t let her go because what’s going to happen to her? – So thank you Lee for what you said above regarding that.

    How did you finally let go? Did it feel like you were detoxing?

    Thank you again for your posts!

    And thank you Kim for this gift of feeling like I’m not alone or crazy.

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      Kim Saeed June 4, 2014

      Gina, to answer your question, yes…it IS a process of detoxing. Going cold turkey and closing the door. Easier said than done, but it’s the only way to move on with life.

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      Lee June 4, 2014

      Hi Gina,

      Thanks for telling your story. It is amazing how narcs can hold us in their thrall. All rationality and common sense go out the window when it’s a matter of love. Or on the part of the narc, a matter of “love.”

      The simplest answer to your question in my own case is that I finally got it through my thick skull that my ex did not love me, she never had loved me, and she never would love me. I realized at the same time that the two of us had little in common in spiritual outlook or in life goals, and we simply didn’t belong together.

      My ex was rather mild on the narc scale. Mostly, she was just brought up spoiled. Yes, she did use me and then discard me when my life started falling apart and I no longer looked like good support and supply. But I must admit that it was my own stupidity, stubbornness, and naivete that hooked me up with her in the first place, and kept me with her for so long. I was just a kid when I got hooked on her–and I didn’t let go until I had no further choice. That was over thirty years later.

      It took her running off with another man for it to finally sink in that she did not love me, and we did not belong together. But the reality is that for years I had refused to accept what she had told me many times in plain English both before and during our marriage: that she did not love me and never would. The biggest mistake of my life was not letting go of her when she told me that she did not love me. It took over thirty years, over twenty of them married to her, before I finally accepted that–not due to any enlightenment on my part, but because I simply could no longer shut out the reality that was almost literally pounding down my door.

      What I would suggest for you is that you come to understand that the narc you are bound to does not love you and never did. Love does not rage, abuse, lie, manipulate, and grind people down. Narcs are not capable of love. Not unless they stop being a narc–which is massively unlikely ever to happen. They can engage in something that looks like love, but it is not love. It is a use of the appearance of love in order to achieve their goals of power and control over others.

      Please understand that narcissism–which is a focus on and love for oneself above all others–is inextricably linked to a desire to exercise power, dominance, and control over others. For a narcissist, they themselves are the most important thing in the universe. This means they think that everything and everyone else should serve them.

      Despite all appearances and protestations to the contrary, your narc does not love you. She loves herself. And you are only a means of stoking her self-love and exercising power over someone who was born to be her slave.

      This may sound dark.

      It is dark.

      Narcissism is a black hole of human darkness sucking in anything that gets close enough to influence, and crushing and destroying anything that remains nearby.

      My suggestion for you is that you recognize that your narc does not and never did love you. And because love must be mutual, that means you can never have a real, loving relationship with her. The best thing you can do for her is to leave her permanently, and cut off all communication with her.

      That is also the best thing you can do for yourself.

      There is no need to live life the way you’ve been living it. You can move on, as difficult and painful as it may be. And once you have broken free, you can begin to experience your own life as it was meant to be, and as you decide to make it.

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      CrazyCaine June 7, 2015

      I’m really struggling after the last discard, which I did not see coming. 35 year old male targeted by a female socio narc. Together 13 years, married 4. The first several years were amazing, while all along there were red flags that I had ignored. After being married for a year, that’s when I started to connect the dots.

      Honestly, I had no idea what the hell narcissist or sociopath was. I began noticing her change in behavior; the temperament, so quick to snap over the littlest things, holding grudges for days, disappearing for extended periods of time while we were out, and withdrawing emotionally and sexually. When we first started we’d have sex for hours, 3 times a day sometimes. I began noticing we’d go two, three weeks between sexual acts. What got me thinking was when one of my closest friends asked me out of nowhere one night, how often her and I have sex. That was it; I KNEW what was happening.

      She started sleeping on the couch, and sneaking out of the house at 3:00 am, 4:00 am while I was sleeping. When approached with this inappropriate behavior, she’d deny and lie, snap, yell, and intimidate me with the hurtful words, name calling, and throwing things at me until I said, “okay, enough, just stop and come back to bed.” She knew she could get away with whatever she wanted to do. That’s when I began my online search for signs of cheating, and almost every thread had the term “narcissist” in it, and with every article I read, I told myself, “She does that”…”She has said those same words to me”.

      When I FINALLY stood up for myself, and let her know that I will no longer be intimidated and scared of approaching her, as her family and “friends” were, and that I demand an apology and an explanation, all I got were stupid excuses that did not make any sense, lies, and ongoing verbal abuse, which then led to physical abuse. The woman I loved, cared for, comforted, respected, put on a pedestal, spoiled, and sacrificed for, began to put her hands on me, slapping, scratching (I still have scars from over a year ago) and when I’d hold her hands to stop, asking her to calm down, she’d start to bite me on the hands and arms.

      I now know that she is very damaged. I don’t believe a single word that comes out of her mouth. we started counseling, only to hear that she doesn’t like the therapist after the therapist called her out on her shit and diagnosed her with sociopath narcissism. I realize that she has not changed one bit from when we first met, and even from before we met, with her several relationships before me. She has bragged about sexual accomplishments as if they were accomplishments related to education or a career. I;d ask myself, “she thinks she’s cool because of that?”, yet she is still lazy, doesn’t have a clue as to what she wants out of life, and cannot sustain jobs, or healthy friendly relationships with others.

      She has slipped while talking so many times, and I’ve brought up conflicts in her stories only to hear that she never said that and that I’m crazy. I found out that she is cheating, and that one single incident has confirmed so many other suspected and suspicious incidents that I couldn’t quote confirm, but now can confirm. I now know that her entire world is based on lies, and more lies to cover the initial lies, and others lies to cover those second lies. It makes no sense to me that she would behave like this, and continue to manipulate me when I know of her indiscretions and secrets.

      What did she mean when she told me that she cannot live with out me, only weeks ago? What did she mean when she told me that she would die without me and if she saw me with another woman then she’d kill me? What did she mean when she said that unless I trust her , then one day she will kill herself so that i can live with that guilt all of my life? Now, only weeks later, she has moved on with another guy; and I’m left still wondering what the hell just happened, when did it go wrong, what I did to cause this, why she is blame shifting and putting all faults on me, and cannot even muster the strength to keep other women at my house when they come over. I have sex with them and tell them that they have to leave. I don’t know why I feel this paranoia that they will not accept me and will find every fault in me the same way my asshole sociopath narcissist wife has.

      So sorry for this long post, but realize that as of now, I cannot trust my friends because she has slept with them, and she has alienated me from my family. They are actually so supportive and I’m so grateful, but at the same time, I cannot get the thoughts of what we had, and what she did to me, out of my head! I’ve been drinking non-stop and am afraid that I will get out of control. I need to know how to let go of a person who I loved, that never loved me, respected me, and was never loyal and faithful to me.

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        ginafantsaez July 1, 2015

        Hi CrazyCaine,

        I feel your pain. I don’t know of you read above a post of mine from over a year ago. I went through pretty much exactly what you went through and the worst part of the whole thing is the mess it leaves your thoughts and dreams and beliefs in. Prior to my ex, I thought most people were basically good intentioned and that no one would seriously, with intent, hurt another human being they claim to love. And like you, I couldn’t see it or wouldn’t see it and wouldn’t accept that she was actually trying to hurt me, sabotage my friendships, turn her friends and family against me, sabotage my work, cook hi fat food to try and fatten me up – I know it all sounds crazy – but as you know, it’s not…

        I did have what I call a relapse with my ex this past December when I heard she was drinking and driving. She already has 2 DUI’s and I couldn’t bear the thought of her hurting herself or someone else, so I intervened and found her a sponsor and dual diagnosis treatment center and for about 5 minutes, I had hope that she was going to get sober and face her personality disorder….

        She went into Treatment in early January and I haven’t heard from her since. I know she’s out but not one of her friends has heard from her. She’s burned all bridges, has no income, no intimate friendships and she’ll just fine some rich woman to abuse like she did me…

        But – if there’s anything I can tell you – don’t go back. Don’t believe for one minute that she’s going to change – no matter what she says – no matter what you think – THE hardest thing for me to accept was that some people WILL NOT change. A personality disorder is like being born with a mental illness. They can’t change. Their disorder prevents them from ever looking at their own behavior. I could NEVER accept that. But it’s true and now, I have accepted that and once I did accept that there was nothing I could to help her, I was able to really let go. And that has only been very recently. Maybe even a month ago, a sick part of me wanted her to come knock on my door and make all the promises all over again…

        The relationship with a Narc is addictive. She was my drug. My life became managing the chaos she created and when our relationship was over, there was a huge hole in my life that I had learned to fill with chaos and stress – so it was so ingrained, that I wanted it back – even though it sucked…

        But – I am over the worst thanks to my shrink, my dear friends, me getting back in shape with a trainer, me taking dancing lessons, playing the piano and guitar again after many years, reading novels to get out of my head – I’ve stopped researching Narcissism and looking for the magical cure.

        And just recently I even feel my heart open enough to date someone.

        It really took a lot of hard work – but just hang in there. The more you take care of yourself and do stuff that makes you feel good about yourself – but not drinking – but I get it – I did that too – when I was tipsy, it was the only time I could laugh and not feel like my chest was caving in…

        But – join a gym, take a cooking class, get a great shrink who specializes in both love addiction and emotional abuse and start the healing process.

        All the very very best to you!!

        Gina in Austin

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      Anonymous October 14, 2015

      Wow. .. read your posts…and our experience is sooo similar in every detail… known mine 8 years, together for one… until this week… thank you for giving me hope I need to know I will be okay… and to understand all the love I have for her, that she demands from me will never be enough.

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      Veronica January 15, 2016

      You can’t leave because you are codependent. If you read on it & watch videos it will all became very clear. You deserve better! Be strong & look after yourself. I have left my last narcissist after 2 years of trying to heal his pain with my love but getting nowhere. It has been only a week but I feel like I have been born again! This person was killing very essence of me. I would have preferred to have been in relationship with a healthy person but maybe I needed this last shitty one to see root of my problems. I started to question everything because his behaviour reminded me of other people: my father, some friends, couple of bosses,other boyfriends,etc… So I started thorough research & now I know. Set yourself free.

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persiakarema April 6, 2014

Brilliant post. Thanks for this. I know I’m not willing to take the risk ever again!

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bethbyrnes April 6, 2014

A great description and wonderful insights, as usual Kim. I especially like this last paragraph:
“Can a relationship with a Narcissist last?” Only if you are willing to devote yourself to serving them without any expectations that they will reciprocate. You must accept that they will likely cheat, steal, lie, and talk badly about you. Even then, it wouldn’t guarantee they would stay with you because they do whatever their ego commands them to do.”

That was exactly my experience. Better to be rid of this kind of person than to try futilely to make it work. Wish I had this advice or had recognized this guy in advance!

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made58 April 6, 2014

Reblogged this on MadeleineMaya.

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KarinKateriKei April 6, 2014

Once again, the timing of one of your posts is perfect in my life. I too, characterize myself as an Empath/Sensitive with a very strong Guardian component to my personality. My core still feels sad and wonders at times why everything that I did and gave up wasn’t enough. Intellectually, I’m beginning to understand but… All my strengths in RL, were played like a violin by the Narc. His nightmares abated with me, I gave him love he never had from his wife, he needed me to help with his children… who wouldn’t want to know they were helping another being? I know now that even as he told me he’d die without me, could never love another and to never leave, that there was at least one other woman on the hook. More than anything, I still can’t understand why he didn’t just leave me alone. There were/are others, who are blind to his pathological tendencies and I know they provide supply. He destroyed my life utterly and yet, his goes on. All for a game…
This is fruitless thinking, I know. He has no conscience and doesn’t care, this much is a fact but it is a damn bitter pill to have to swallow. It leaves me wary of trusting the instincts that before were a virtue to both me and the people in my life, or of trusting fully the intentions of someone new…

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    Anonymous September 1, 2015

    Hi
    I know it’s an old post now but wondered where you are at on the road to recovery? I too do not understand why I was not left alone so he could pursue his other women at his leisure. But no, my marriage destroyed , my adult children disowned me. Even now years later I reap what I did sow.
    Him? Intact and probably still behaving the same way! How does someone cause such devastation and simply walk away. I hope you are recovered and are happy

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      Hazel October 18, 2015

      Well I believe I am with a narc. have known him off and on for many years. I have always forgiven him and never understood why he was like that. Now reading I have educated my self. If my bloke is not a narc he does have a personality disorder. We decided to live together to see if we work well. We are good at times but he come out with ego traites which are very annoying and childish at times and can be hurtful. I was going to buy into his house later on but he has changed the rules and makes excuses in not now. He doesn’t want money though but talks about it and sex. He thinks I am controlling ( I am a strong person and he hates that) but he is so controlling and he punishes me and torments me.
      When it gets difficult he says do you want me to leave.
      Right now I wish I hated him and had no feelings for him..(he was my first teen love 50 years ago) so those feelings wont go. But I now have a better understanding I just now need to see if I want this kind of life.
      He always comes back….he tells me he is a bastard but has some nice ways..which is true.

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    Anonymous October 12, 2015

    Dear Jesus,this is a mirror image of me – the children! How did you find the strength to get out???
    Lisa

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    Anonymous November 3, 2015

    I agree so much, I’m 40 male and I’m still dealing with the fact that one did such damage in my life and on top of all that all my friends have left because of her it left me sad hurt and alone and I still don’t know how to move on and meet others because I’m afraid that they will be like her wolf in sheep’s clothes the lies no shame not a care in the world joy @ others down falls always stabbing then acting like ur the one bleeding.

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Contortum Designs April 6, 2014

Wonderful article! I am a caregiver/nurturer type and I have always had difficulty understanding narcissists. It’s just difficult for me to wrap my mind around the idea that people can be so selfish and cruel. I have definitely met a few narcissists in my day, not my cup of tea! Thanks for breaking it down and explaining the differences!

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    Kim Saeed April 6, 2014

    You’re quite welcome 🙂 It was hard for me to understand, too, before I learned more about the big scheme of things and why these types of people came into my life. Now I understand it was all part of my journey of understanding and growth 🙂

    So glad you stopped by!

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      karenzipdrive September 2, 2015

      Whenever I feel that dreaded sense of missing my creepy, godless, lying, cheating, sucking abyss of need, Narcissistic ex, I read blogs and sites like this and I am fulfilled for hours. It’s like putting gas in the NC getaway vehicle.

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      Jennifer Coutlee January 18, 2016

      How can I help family and friends understand the levels of abuse I have lives through? He is a covert but malignant narcissist and has fooled a great many people.

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        Kim Saeed January 29, 2016

        Hi Jennifer, it’s really hard to get people to comprehend the depths of abuse because unless someone has been through it themselves, they simply have nothing to relate it to. I would advise confiding in only one friend or family member who is able to remain objective and then finding a therapist or coach who can help guide you to the road to recovery. Trying to share your experiences with people who don’t understand often leads to a secondary form of trauma because they cannot validate you or your experience. Hope that helps!

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          Sandy January 29, 2016

          Boy that’s for sure, Kim. Nothing worse than pouring your heart out to people who just don’t get it. I’ve learned to just save it for those who understand, and can offer good counseling.

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betternotbroken April 6, 2014

I still have a very difficult time “understanding” narcissists. I have come to just accept how they are because post-divorce I see the pattern with there people again and again. I feel for people who want to make it work with a narcissist and caution that everything you “give” may have been given based on lies told to you by the narcissist and so from my “understanding” it is not valued because the narcissist may not truly have been unloved by his wife, may not truly want help with his children, he/she may simply want a source of narcissistic supply. I love the first part of your post Kim, is is ESSENTIAL to take your time with getting to know someone if you want stability and a healthy long term relationship. I dabbled in returning to the dating world but it was like being interviewed for a job vacancy that had to be filled yesterday. That is EXACTLY how you get locked into a relationship with a disordered person, so once again great insight and advice.

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