6 Strong Signs You Have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Oct 12

Like many people who’ve endured Narcissistic and emotional abuse, you probably didn’t realize what was happening to you until you reached a point of near insanity and began searching desperately for reasons why your fairytale romance took a grievous turn for the worse.

Further, the person you love has made you feel you can’t do anything right. The salvation of the relationship always lies on the distant horizon and is entirely dependent upon your changing something about yourself– which is impossible to do (in spite of frantic efforts on your part) – because your self-absorbed partner constantly changes the goal posts.

While these shady behaviors on your partner’s part are indicators of having a destructive personality disorder, there are other very strong signs that your partner may be a Narcissist, which have more to do with how their behavior affects you. If the following signs describe your life, it’s likely that your partner is a Narcissist, which means your relationship problems are undeniably not your fault.

 1.  You almost always feel alone. Down to the core of your soul. While your partner may be living with you, eating meals at your table, and sleeping beside you in bed, you’ve never felt such stark loneliness. You often find yourself curled in the fetal position, envisioning someone coming to put their arms around you to help relieve your feelings of isolation.

The reason you feel this way is because you’re living with a mirage of the person you love. That person doesn’t exist and, meanwhile, you are being abandoned in every way possible. According to Susan Anderson, author of The Journey from Abandonment to Healing,

Abandonment has its own kind of grief – a powerful grief universal to human beings. The grief can be acute – as when we go through the ending of a relationship, or chronic – as when we feel the impact of earlier losses and disconnection. Abandonment’s wound lies deep and invisible. It tugs and pulls, making it hard to let go, always acting beneath the surface, spilling primal fear into moments of disconnection, disappointment, and loss, generating feelings of insecurity and self-doubt that persist into future relationships. Unresolved abandonment is a primary source of self sabotage.

If you feel your partner simply “puts up” with you, only coming around to keep you strung along, it’s because you serve a purpose. If communicating with your partner leaves you feeling unheard, unstable, and frustrated, it’s because they don’t care about you, much less what you have to say. A person who loves you would want to spend time with you, know all about you, and ensure that you feel safe and cared for.

2.  You don’t feel good enough. Although you’ve proven successful in your career, have built a solid foundation for yourself, receive compliments regarding your accomplishments (and even your looks), you’ve begun to feel like an imposter. No matter the Kudos you receive from the outside world, your partner doesn’t seem to notice, and worse, mocks you for them.

Narcissists mock and ridicule for many reasons, including making themselves appear superior, but the main reason they mock their victim’s triumphs is because they aspire to destroy their victim’s self-esteem. What better way to keep you under their rule than to make you believe that no matter what you accomplish, you’re “still a loser underneath it all”. Sadly, this works quite effectively in many cases, resulting in victims of this type of abuse becoming so broken and dysfunctional that they lose everything – careers, children, homes, licenses (such as those required to perform as doctors, attorneys, and therapists), bank accounts, and worst of all, their sense of self.

If you’ve noticed yourself feeling overwhelmingly insignificant inside of your relationship and a failure at life in general – which coincides with the time spent with your partner – this is a sign of narcissistic abuse.

3.  You feel engulfed by the relationship. One of the trademarks of narcissistic individuals is the way they hijack their victim’s world, effectively consuming every moment of the day. This engulfment can be observed in the way they call, text, and email numerous times a day (often well into the hundreds), encourage you to detach from friends and family, dictate how you should dress and/or wear your hair, display excessive jealousy, and, sometimes, even control what you eat.

This engulfment also consists of the “walking on eggshells” feeling and persistent anxiety that you experience. This comes from the fear of not knowing what will upset your volatile partner. Therefore, every action you take must be prefaced with a detailed analysis of whether or not it will upset them and even then, your best thought-out plans may crumble around your feet – leaving you with a gnawing feeling of despair and hopelessness.

Healthy relationships do not make you feel like a prisoner. You should feel free to be yourself and rest easy in your nuclear and extended relationships with friends and family.

4.  You’ve begun to compromise your personal integrity and values. In the past, you stood up for what you believed in, but inside of your relationship you’ve started tolerating (and possibly taking part in) things that make you uncomfortable because, ironically, doing these things is how you’ve come to believe you can show your love to your partner.

You focus all your energies on how to make your partner love you and treat you once again like the soul mate they said you were. Paradoxically, in the “name of love” you may have found yourself watching porn at your partner’s insistence, considering a threesome, or other demeaning sexual activities that make you feel sick to the stomach when you think of them.

In other cases, you may have stopped leaving tips at restaurants, donating time or money, volunteering, and participating in other philanthropic activities because your domineering partner has told you those things are a waste of time and money and/or mocks you for doing them.

Even worse, your children may have taken a back seat to the constant drama.

A caring and trusting partner would never force you to participate in things that make you feel uncomfortable or insecure, nor would they coerce you to stop taking part in charitable activities. If your partner has led you to believe that you can only prove your love by violating your values, then you are in an abusive relationship. There is no loophole in this regard that disqualifies your partner from being abusive, no matter what they would have you believe.

5.  You feel unworthy due to your partner’s name-calling. It’s one thing for your partner to call you pet names or even tease you on occasion, but another entirely to call you “crybaby”, “a moody bi**h” (or “not a man”), “unstable”, “crazy”, or other hurtful names – which are intended to hurt you.

Name-calling is a form of abuse. It is used to belittle you and make you question your worth. It is employed during rage attacks and blame-storms and, alternately, under the guise of joking. Whether your partner is arguing with you or the two of you are having a “good” day, name-calling is never appropriate.

Note that Narcissists and other abusers call their partners names and then pretend that they are kidding (i.e., “You’re too sensitive” or “I was only joking”). This is a trademark of verbal abuse and it’s no different with your partner, regardless of whatever excuses they lob at you. Having a difficult childhood, bad past relationships, or stress at the workplace doesn’t give them the right to embarrass you, humiliate you, put you down, or make you feel guilty.

6.  You are exhausted by the repeated cycles of Hurt and Rescue. This tactic preys on your emotions. Here, the narcissist causes you a great deal of stress and anxiety and then abruptly relieves that stress.  The most common tactic used by the Narcissist in this category is the silent treatment, which evokes your fear of abandonment.  When the Narcissist finally returns, you experience a rush of euphoric relief.

Repeated cycles of hurt and rescue are emotionally exhausting.  This is the same method used in police interrogations to get a person to confess, sometimes even when they are innocent!  When the Narcissist returns after numerous stints of the silent treatment, you are emotionally defenseless and more prone to accepting their offensive behaviors in order to avoid their leaving you again.  Further, this often leads to your pleading, apologizing, and begging the Narcissist to stay, even when you have done no wrong.

Hurt-and-rescue cycles explain why narcissistic abuse victims experience cravings and obsessive thoughts once No Contact has been executed.  According to an experiment inspired by Langer, Blank, and Chanowitz (1978), and recently conducted by Dolinski and Nawrat**, when the event that provokes and justifies one’s experience of fear is suddenly removed (i.e., No Contact with the Narcissist), we may experience a short-lasting state of disorientation. The action produced by fear is no longer functional in the new circumstances (your removal of the silent treatment due to implementing No Contact), and a new program has not yet been instigated. Their assumption is that during this period of disorientation, people function automatically and mindlessly, engaging in automatic, pre-programmed actions.

In other words, even when we’ve gone No Contact, we tend to engage in the same obsessive thoughts and behaviors as when we were still with the Narcissist and endured the Silent Treatment because our subconscious minds cannot tell the difference.

What it all means

If you constantly wonder about the status of your relationship, ruminate about what you could do differently,  believe the problems in your relationship are all your fault, constantly obsess about what your partner is up to, experience mood swings, are constantly fearful and anxious, and/or feel like less of a person than before you met your partner, these are the signs of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and you have been the victim of emotional abuse.

The good news is that you can untangle yourself from the toxic relationship.  However, it’s important to understand that the aftermath of emotional trauma needs to be taken seriously.  Books can help, but the most effective programs for recovery include going No Contact (with the help of a coach, if necessary), finding a licensed therapist who specializes in emotional trauma, incorporating energy healing techniques, and implementing healthy boundaries.

Copyright © 2015 Kim Saeed. All Rights Reserved

Have you tried leaving a toxic relationship yet get discouraged when your plans don’t work out?
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** Dolonski, D., Ciszek, M., Godlewski, K., and Zawadzki, M. (2002)Fear-then-relief, mindlessness, and cognitive deficits. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Leave a Comment:

(60) comments

[…] It takes a lot of internal work on ones self to recover their self esteem, lesson the affects of narcissistic abuse syndrome, and to find their voice again. It can be done, and will only be improved upon with […]

Reply
kirsten May 18, 2017

Very helpful article today, among many others. I have yet to come across one where the Narcissist Ex is also the father of your children and you CANT do ‘no contact’. What then? Thanks.

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    Anonymous June 9, 2017

    Court ordered http://Www.ourfamilywizard.com along with no other contact unless an emergency (specified in a text first). That website is monitor able by the courts:lawyers and will send alerts when emails are sent or requests made. Lifesaver

    Reply
Delicia Spruell May 3, 2017

Dear Kim:

I’ve read a number of your articles on narcissism and I must say they’ve been very useful for me. Everything described in the article above, I experienced to some degree or another, over the last 11 years. I have finally broken away and have implemented No Contact, however, for the damage done to me, as a person, there’s still much work to be done. I am currently seeking a local therapist or therapy group to help me thru this process. Do you know of any in the area of College Park, Maryland? If so, please refer there contact information to me. Again, thank you for helping the many victims that experience this abuse thru your articles.

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[…] 6 Strong Signs You Have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome […]

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Smile and Breathe March 31, 2017

Every single one, and I’ve been out for a while now. Every day is better. So glad it’s over.

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Jen March 24, 2017

This sums up 25 years of my life. I spent 25 years feeling and living just like this article talks about. My husband moved me to Utah away from my loving family and friends in Southern California. Now I am living with the consequences of staying too long. I have divorced and moved on. Although, I am haunted by his actions and my decision to stay for so long. I thought staying for the sake of the children was the right thing to do. BIG MISTAKE Ever made. So, leave as soon as you read this. children deserve to have a happy momma and see her treated right. I got 25 years worth of stories of how I did it all wrong.

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    tess June 16, 2017

    same here. a total of 30 years, confused. i left just before our 25 yr anniversary. The stories i read on this sight help me. even after 1 1/2 years of being divorced, i still can’t let things go. I still don’t get it. Not one of us can figure out a sociopath. Reading this reminds me of everything. I had started to retrain myself to think i was what HE said i was. Now I constantly have to rethink of who I am. in fact, who am I? Walking on eggs shells, feeling like i was on an emotional roller coaster ride, alone without being alone. My ex went out almost everynight after work. He was a waiter. I begged him to please get a day job, waiter is fine, just work the day so you can be with us at night. He promised he would after i told him it was over. He never did. funny thing is when the divorce was final, I still lived in the house and he came home, showered, THEN went out. new change…the shower. I was replaced before i even left the house. He has little contact with his adult children. I feel like he has forgotten his entire past and rather pretend it never existed. His new GF drives his truck, i had my key taken away years ago, and his adult kids were not allowed to drive it. He and his new GF have went on vacation already- “we” couldn’t afford vacation. although he took her to our honeymoon location which would have been on our 25th anniversary. I was happy to read “is he treating his new girlfriend better”? because it really helped my imagination stop-as i know in my heart, he hasn’t changed. He never will. I feel like i never have had an “adult” relationship because my life with him was all about him, and his entertainment. There was always a party,always a side kick. He would pride himself on his fake smile at work and would say, “i just smile and everyone wants to know why i am so happy”….i knew it was fake because we, at home, didn’t get the smile, fake or not. His friends would tell my kids, oh, you have the best dad! The kids and i would just shake our heads….if they only knew. He talked a great”dad” story but actually never participated in any events, if he did it was with a silent treatment because he really didn’t want to be there. Moving on is hard, i am only now thinking i could possibly date someone else. After years of abuse, you are skeptical of anyone who treats you nice. Can you trust them?

    Reply
Desperately seeking peace March 9, 2017

And now Im pregnant and cant tell him… He doesnt want children. Everything points to him being a narc why cant I leave! ?

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brokenheartedand dumb March 2, 2017

my ex of three years treated me the exact same way. we are relatively young, him being 24 and me being 22 so we met at an even younger age. i was the first gf he had since coming out of prison. he definetly love bombed me, coming to my house every single day to the point where he ended up moving in with my family and i.he was so sneaky and blamed every problem on me. at times he would be so cold and distant and then be so loving. ive never met someone so full of themself he would look at himself or his outfit in every mirror we passed by while we were outside. there are really great things about him which caused me to stay. he broke up with me one time after a mutual agreement to have a “breaak” within 3 days!! he started talking to a new girl and then had others and i was so broken. he kept saying he wanted to work on himself and find himself…crap i know… we ended up back together and within a couple of months i ended it with him because i couldnt handle how he was treating me he would say he loved me and i was all he needed but his actions proved otherwise he couldnt keep a job and when he did have one he would only spend his money on clothes and unnecessary things, my parents would ask him to put down some sort of contribution to the house finacially and he would always have an excuse for why he couldnt he blamed me for why he couldnt go back to his grandmothers house because she said he couldnt come back if he left again but i told him to not move back in after we broke up the last time and he did anyway. right after we broke up he was begging me to take him back and saying that he would change and he knows how i deserve to be treated and all these things and we said we were going to work on it and the next day he ignored me and within 2 weeks he had a new gf. posting up pictures of them kissing and all these things. it hurt so much and i was a wereck long story short he ended up cheating on her with me multiple times and felt no remorse i also strongly believe he was talking to other girls at this time too he said he would feel bad if it was someone else but bc its me he didnt. he ended up breaking up with her for me and moved back in (im dumb i know) and he treated e great for a while and even proposed to me. he bought himself a ring to match mine and wore it on his wedding finger and when i asked him why bc men dont wear the ring until ater marriage, he said it was bc he wanted people to think he was married. and me being dumb felt so good bc it means he was really serious about being faithful. he wore the ring all the time everywhere. we ended up breaking up again in November bc he was gone for 3 weeks straight claiming he was spending time with his “cousin” who lives close to me and would get mad at me for asking him to come home or text and call saying that i have a problem with him being with his family which was not the case. i broke up with him and told him to get his stuff and he cursed me out and was so mean. our phone bills are connected and i couldnt get off his phone plan unless he gave me permission to come off and no matter how hard i tried he wouldnt give me permission and every month he would text me to let me know the phone bill was due and that was what he used to get to talk to me, he would say he needed an excuse to text me. we broke up in nov and we slept together every month up until now. i found out that he was cheating on me since august with a girl he worked with and that s why he was gone for those 3 weeks all the lies he told me, staying at work late and working for so long and still asking me for money bc he had none, one time he asked me for money to buy headphones and i said no bc i didnt have it and he was like its ok i know who i can ask..it was her…he told me that he loves her after he was trying so hard to get me back telling me how he misses me and how sorry he is and im the only one for him. ive asked him so many times if he was talking to someone or if he had a gf and he would say no and be soooo angry and say why can ti believe he just wants to be a better man for me, that was his thing, hes working on being a better man for me and he thought he could find happiness somewhere else but he cant and im who hes in love with but he loves her and all these things but shes ur gf tho. after him tellin gme that he was in love with her i found her on fb (fbi status) and i told her everything bc he also told me that she knew he had a fiance and still wanted to talk to him so i felt that she was just as horrible as he was i told her she could have him and let her know that he was still sleeping with and contacting me and she didnt believe me until i showed her screen shots. she broke down and she was the one who told me everything that happened between them he was obviously lying to and playing both of us. she said he talked about me to everyone telling thme horrible things about me and lies about me being horrible to hiom and he was gonna leave me for her when he was begging me not to leave everytime i tried to end it. i told her how he treated me and i even told her i suspected him of being a narcissist and she completey agreed and said she thinks hes a sociopath! she says he hasnt put her on fb or anythiing and i know he says fb is where all his family is so thats why im the only girl hes ever put there. all the things hes done with me he does with her, calling her his wife, talking about going on trips (which i planned for us last year) wearing matching sneakers and stuff and that really hurts but he was still on my phone confessing his undying love for me and how he wants me to let him back in. while were together hes just saying how much he loves me and how he misses the future we were supposed to have and he locves everything about me and it was supposed to be me and him i sent him this long message telling him that i know everyrthing and i was changing my phone number bc it was the only way i could get off his plan and while he was calling me i was changing it so i did not answer. long long story short she eneded p staying with him bc she “loves” him i hate her too.she told him that she forgives him and she wants to put it behind them and move on. i was weak and went back to him twice after seeing him, we slept together and spent the night together andf i cried bc all i could see was him with her and all the things he said and did he held me and apoligized and we kept talking he would talk to me all the time and it was great. he still wears the rings that he got for our engagement , he told her that he just wears them but they were bought for us, she said he never takes them off and she tried taking them off of him one time and put them on but he screamed at her and wouldnt let her. he told me he wont take them off until he feels like im completly gone and were really over. he said he hasnt told his family about her bc she not meant to be permenant buit ive met multiple people in his family im sure she will soon though. when she confronmted him about cheating on her with me he hung up the phone on her and told her if she wants to leave then she can and he was so mean to her but told her that he doesnt love me and doesnt want to be with me. however he told me that hes in love with both of us!!wth?? how are you in love with her so fast and both of us? we spent the night together and in the mornig i brought up the affair again and he got angry i told him i wasnt going to talk to him anymore and maybe he should just be with her and we exchanged the fact that we would always”love” each other he said maybe we just have ot say good bye now to have a better hello and he asked me what i really waant he said he wanted me but he just feels like we could never be how we once were and im like that s not my fault! he ended up blocking me and then called a hour later saying hes in the hospital with her but we will talk a little later. he had me blocked for 3 days! i called him private and he said it was bc she was with him for those days… oh he lives with his cousin now btw and he hates living there and tells her that he left me for her and now he has to deal with his cousin so she owes him smh… and said that he doesnt think we should talk anymore until im over the situation and maybe i will want someone else.. and he 100% wants to be with her bc i cant get over the situation, were good for a while and then i bring it up and i should move on…i am so hurt and broken and i just never thought he would ever tell me to move on bc he wants to be with someone else. we go through these periods of speaking and then we dont speak for 2 weeks and then he texts me but i think hes gone for good this time.. she put up a picture of them on her fb and tagged him in it saying i love you and he said i love you babe you make me so happy and i just think its my fault and hes treating her better now, even though she said he doesnt he does the exact same things if not worse to her but idk maybe bc im gone it better? its crazzy to know ill never hear from him again but also good but im still hurting, he really chose her like what did i do wrong. why did i fall for it again and just get crushed why did i mean nothing was i wrong in not forgiving him like she did and saying ill put it behind me he always said he hated the fact that i brought up his infidelities and i would say he doesnt love me bc of how he would act. this one really hurt a lot and i cant understand why he doesnt see how this is crazy. he didnt expecct me to know so much about the affair and be able to ask all those questions maybe i shouldnt have said anything and see how things played out? but he wouldve just tried to keep both of us again, he was cheating on me for 4 months with her and i had no idea, i could never be with him, but it sucks to know he can be without me and chose her.

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HELENA WOJTCZAK February 18, 2017

When I read this I broke down emotionally and just sobbed and sobbed. You have put into words what he was doing to me, and I didn’t ever see it. I didn’t have words to describe it properly. Until I started reading your blog and other resources, I didn’t realise that what he was doing to me was a “blanket” of interconnected abuse. I thought each problem I had with him was a separate issue. For example, his porn addiction, my having to walk on eggshells, keeping quiet about issues that mattered to me, like feminism and socialism, because I wanted to avoid conflict. I now feel utterly stupid, blind, idiotic, guilty, taken for a fool. I feel that he must be laughing his head off, howling with triumph at how he took me down, peg by peg, and kept me locked in the cycle of abuse for 8 years before discarding me in the cruellest way he possibly could. Jeez I feel so utterly stupid for letting it go on that long. I don’t know if I can live with myself. I should have left years and years before.

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    Kim Saeed February 19, 2017

    Please try to have patience with yourself. How could you possibly have known that these people exist, much less had the wherewithal to guard yourself against what was happening to you? You were doing what we all have done…trying to make the relationship work. The good news is now that you know what you endured, you can begin your healing journey.

    Kim
    XoXo

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Connie February 9, 2017

I’m finally divorcing and leaving. I’ve thrown almost 13 years of my life away. Why did I never leave??? That’s what plagues me. Now I’m grieving the loss of myself and what this means for our 3 yr old. My son does not want to go alone with him so right now he’s visiting 3x a week here and wants joint shared custody. I’m doing mediation and divorce has been filed. Um jut trying to get out, but this spending time with him is killing me and I’m afraid sending the wrong message to my son. But I don’t know what to do. I know he’s not capable of joint shared but I do not want to go to court and give him more of my life or my sons. Right now we are on Tues Thurs and Sun. No overnights, we are working on settlement agreement. I also struggle with what to tell my son. My soul has been raped by this man and his sights are on my son now for supply but I don’t want to alienate my son, I want to empower him to see on his own but he’s so young right now. I can’t continue to allow him in my home but how do I do that and still protect my son??

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    Kim Saeed February 12, 2017

    Hi Connie,

    I am sorry for your struggles and I can definitely relate as I went through a similar situation. I can give you my recommendation, but please know beforehand that I am not an attorney, so the advice I offer is drawn from personal experience, as well as from having worked with others going through a similar scenario.

    I suggest that you don’t go with joint physical custody if you can avoid it. The best arrangement would be for you to have primary physical custody with your soon-to-be Ex having visitation. (you can still do joint legal, but that’s just for decisions regarding education and schooling, etc.) Make sure you are very specific in your court order about which days he can visit, which days/nights and times he can call, and which holidays you’ll have your son. Don’t leave any gray areas.

    Next, I would choose a different place asap for him to have visitation instead of your home. This arrangement will definitely keep you enmeshed in the pain and drama. Of course, your STB Ex may fight against it, but that’s because he’s planning on keeping you strung along indefinitely while he goes out and starts a new life. I would be willing to bet that once you insist on a different place for visitation, he won’t come around as often. (By the way, almost all narcissists want joint shared custody in hopes of avoiding paying child support and claiming the children on their tax returns.) You’ll also want to document his missed visits when they start happening.

    Your son will be better off without having a narcissist in his life 24/7. Divorce is hard, I know, but it’s best that your child have as much stability as possible, and that’s very difficult to pull off with a narcissist in the home. You may not be able to avoid your Ex visiting your son altogether, but you can definitely provide love and a good role model as a buffer.

    Hope that helps!

    Kim

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anonymous two December 26, 2016

I agree with the comment on therapists. Ex inserted himself in my child’s therapy and got therapist to believe I was being silly about only communicating in writing & exchanging the children in a public place. It gave the ex a toe in the door and has undone over a decade of peace and security for me.
I feel like I’m back to square one. Children have been convinced that my safety steps were to alienate from their other parent and abuse them. The child in college I’m not worried about much as the rewards of that path are already showing benefits but the two I have still in high school starting to follow ex’s path….. In the mean time the therapist who started all of this has transferred us to someone else as they got in over their head without a sign of guilt at how my world is shattering.

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    Kim Saeed December 26, 2016

    Hi Anon 2,

    The therapist may believe you’re being silly, but you can still maintain communicating in writing and exchanging your children in a public place. I still do that do that for the most part, and I’ve been divorced from my N-Ex for several years.

    Unless you have a court order requiring you to communicate in a certain way or exchange your children in a specific way, you still have every right to maintain boundaries which are safe for you and your well-being.

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Rae11 December 26, 2016

I believe I have married a narcissist. There was the love bombing, we were married five months into our relationship. He told me, Friday we are getting married, and I said okay.
I feel crazy a lot of the time. He says I’m unstable. He has PTSD from the military, and in the name of PTSD he left me in an abusive rage, sought out another woman ten years older, then came back to me. Then left. Then came back, and left, stole my money, then came back. Then left. Everytime he left I successfully moved on. I found a great job, found strength in myself I didn’t know I had. Him leaving was an amazing catalyst toward my development. Then he came back. He said he had sought help from the VA, had gotten therapy, had no contact with the other woman. He no longer had any suicidal thoughts. I took him back, and now he’s here.
We argue a lot. I feel alone much of the time, I sleep alone. He says I spend too much money, but he barely works, I struggle to pay the bills. He says I’m emotionally unstable, I know I cry a lot, I do indeed feel crazy. Everything is my fault. And recently he began hurting me again. The last time he choked me I thought it would be the end for me, he would kill me this time. And honestly I didn’t care. Afterward he said I am the only one who could make him feel so much as to do that. I stood up for myself. It was wrong.
I miss the woman I was when he was with his mistress. I miss my strength, my bravery, my excitement at facing this strange and wonderful world. With the help of my family, and my work family, I am planning an escape. I will not go down this way, my end will not be at his hands. I will be the victor of my story.

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    Kim Saeed December 26, 2016

    Hi Rae11. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am concerned for you as this guy sounds far beyond the criteria for the garden-variety narcissist.

    I’m sure you probably do feel mentally unhinged, but it’s because of the abuse you’re enduring inside your relationship. Long-term emotional abuse can lead to many of its recipients being misdiagnosed with Bipolar or Borderline symptoms. I wish you all the very best with your escape plan.

    Kim
    XoXo

    Reply
Nura November 27, 2016

I like this. The advice is good. The big problem I see in ‘No Contact’ is for those who have children and court ordered visitation, joint custody, and a judge who is not helpful to the victim and children.
A lot of damage can be done in those circumstances.

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    Kim Saeed November 28, 2016

    Hi Nura, it’s definitely not easy, but it’s doable. I share a son with my Ex. I’ve implemented Extreme Modified Contact. He only contacts me by email or landline. Every time he tries to wedge himself into my personal life, he gets nothing, nada, zilch. His pathetic attempts to flirt with me when we exchange our son go unacknowledged. I don’t have conversations with him unless it has to do with our son. I don’t even answer his, “How are you”s. I stick to the custody arrangement to a t. My son is in therapy so if anything goes awry at his dad’s we will know about it.

    Hope that helps!

    Reply
Invisiblonde November 21, 2016

5. You feel unworthy due to your partner’s name-calling, says the “Dumb Cunt From Queens.”

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Tina November 20, 2016

I lived it, I conquered it. A narcissist will never change his/her spots that’s for sure. My childrens’ father tried all the things you stated. I allowed it for 15 years because I was at such a low point in my life and though he had made me the center of his world in the beginning by the end I was nothing more than a dirt floor for him to walk on and wipe his feet on. The death of his father (suicide) caused him to catapult into such a state of anger and control over me that when I argued with him one time for the childrens’ safety he decided it was time to put a gun to my head. I decided it was time to go with my children even though he threatened that he would take the kids and leave the country so I would never see them again if I tried to take them and leave. He denied it all to the police and even though the judge didn’t believe him and gave me a permanent protection order he still felt he could contact me. I NEVER thought about going back and never had any contact other than through an attorney in court after that. It has been 12 years and all of our children are now adults and for thatI am grateful. I don’t have to talk to him and I have not had any contact with him in the past 12 years because of his violence. I do agree with everything you said. Get out before the narcissist ruins you forever. You are not a worthless person. Nobody deserves to be treated that way. The one thing I have learned in the 12 years I have been away from him, I don’t need anyone to complete me and I am able to be happy without someone. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t accept being with someone, but I didn’t need someone.

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Deidra January 9, 2016

Hi Kim,
Thank you for this article. I am getting over a narcissistic relationship with my soon to be ex-husband of 21 years. I would love to go complete “no contact,” but I just can’t with our two children. You brought up some points about behavior that I hadn’t heard before, but they fully correlate to some issues that I had with him such as feeling alone, not feeling good enough, being told to quit volunteer work, and being asked to devalue my morals. The latter is where I drew the line. He actually wanted me to be okay with him having another woman move in with us and in our bed. What?? I had already been silent about him secretly wire-transferring thousands of dollars to another woman. He had already started the “discard” phase while still keeping me around to meet his needs. I was trying everything I could do to win my husband back especially for the sake of our children. I filed for divorce on him so that he couldn’t hide or send more money away. I was so confused about what happened to our relationship. Who was this stranger? I kept looking to myself to see if I could have changed the situation. I questioned myself if I should have left him. Turns out, it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I can finally be myself now and I no longer have to seek his approval. It took me awhile to get to this point. Thank goodness that my friend told me that I was in a narcissistic relationship. I thought that I was going insane after the separation trying to convince him that he made wrong choices. My ex is “never wrong.” He is obsessed with being right. He will lie about everything, make up stories, and place blame elsewhere so that he isn’t “wrong.” He even plays on the children’s sympathies. He convinced our oldest daughter to move out with him when I wasn’t home. Then, he refused to let me see her. He threatened to take my other daughter away from me too. I had to file a contempt charge on him to see my older daughter. My older daughter and I have mended our relationship after some hard months. Her father had convinced her that the divorce was all of my fault and many other untrue things. The judge found him guilty of contempt and sentenced him to parenting classes. The only thing he learned from those classes is how to go against the judge’s orders on the verdict. Even though he lives with another woman and has a girlfriend too, he still tells the children that he wants me back. Overall, I have learned that narcissists don’t change. It’s best to keep your distance. Don’t waste your time arguing with them. Best wishes to you, Kim, and everyone else.

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    Kim Saeed January 9, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your story, Deidra. It’s good to reinforce that Narcissist won’t change and the best course of action is to just leave. I am glad you have made progress in your recovery. Don’t forget to take very good care of yourself <3

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    Kim Saeed December 23, 2015

    Thank you for linking to my article <3

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xkale October 21, 2015

Wow. Just, wow. This article basically confirms my suspicion (and I always question it because I have been guilt tripped enough times to not trust my judgement, ha).

I’d just like to add that narcissism isn’t always in a partner – my favorite narcissist is my mother. She exhibits obsessive compulsive/superstitious behavior as a sort of denial of her narcissism, justifying this by calling it fear and “panic attacks”. As someone who experiences real panic attacks (I wonder why!) I know this is false, because panic attacks involve a specific physiological reaction that is not really in someones control, which my mother does not experience.

She has also tried to hide her behavior by comparing how she feels to everyone else – e.g, if a family member says they get really upset over a specific movie and avoid watching it (that was a great article too btw!) She will “normalize” her behavior by saying “yes, I do that too”. The fact is her avoidance and distress comes from a completely different motive – avoidance of her own identity as opposed to the family members avoidance due to empathic distress of something beyond their control.

I also believe that for some people it is completely subconscious – my mother does not believe she is a narcissist and would be angry at being identified as such. Of course this further reinforces the probability of her being one, because from my own experience, if someone accused me of narcissism, I would be appalled at myself and be sure to change my behavior because I wouldn’t want to hurt someone. I wouldn’t get angry!

I think it’s horrendous that loads of people might have a narcissistic parent and be conditioned Iinto feeling it’s their fault. It’s insidious, it’s damaging and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Thank goodness for websites like this that help to undo some of the damage. I don’t want anyone to live in fear because of this unnaceptable behavior.

What I’m wondering is, what do we do with all the narcissists!? How can we help them to be better people or at least not hurt everyone else? Can a narcissist ever really change or what? Can these people ever be happy or useful to society?

Thanks for your wonderful work, you are helping so many people 🙂

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Anonymous October 20, 2015

I am almost 4 months out and I am stuck. I know I’m stuck because instead of acknowleging that he was/is a horrible abuser- mentally and emotionally, all that replays in my mind is the day he brought a girl to church when I thought he and I were still dating. My world fell apart that day. All I can think of is that he must have found a girl who was perfect for him, because he could/would never commit to me. He devalued me at the very end and I knew something was going on, but I didn’t think he would do something like that- bring a girl into our church and not even tell me that he was dating somebody else. The things I endured in the past 3 1/2 years with this man shock me that I would stay and allow him to takeover my identity. However, the cycle was we would have wonderful times together and then something would happen and then he wouldn’t talk to me for a week or two and then he would come back and tell me how much he needed me and how much he missed me and I would take him back because I thought each time he was finally coming to his senses that we were supposed to be together. So when I thought we were on one of our “breaks” he had been seeing this girl and then brought her to church. I’m still shocked. I struggle with the fact that if he could commit to this girl and be in a relationship with her for now going on 4 months and however long he was seeing her before, the problems must have been with me. Because he can clearly be in a committed relationship.

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    Kim Saeed October 20, 2015

    Anon, I’m sorry for what you’re going through, but remember that these people don’t suddenly experience a character transplant with a new person. It may seem he is committed, but there may very well be some shady stuff going on behind her back…especially if you think he may have been seeing her while also seeing you. Don’t believe everything you see. It could all be a mirage.

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      Renny November 26, 2016

      Dear Kim Saeed,
      Thank you for these articles. I have a dear friend who is in the deep throes of narcissist stalking/abuse from his wife of six years. It all started in July when he asked me to accompany him to a friend’s funeral after attending his church the first time. I learned that his wife didn’t want to go, and expected him to spend all day with her. Anyway, I accepted his invitation out of empathy over his loss. He returned to his house after the funeral, and told his wife that he’d like her to meet me, and how I went to the funeral. His wife turned furious, didn’t want to meet me, and badgered him to not ever talk to me.

      She then sent a detective in August to see if he’s having affairs at work; when that proved nothing…then the process of stalking began in September. She’d start with phone calls at work and asking his manager if he’s teaching students. She then demanded to have personal audience time with him. Then she started showing up unexpectedly to work, to find if I was there. Once time my friend told me to leave quickly, only to encounter her taking a picture of me from her car. This spooked me much. Her showing up at his work turned from a random time, to three days a week. Our collaborative work stated taking a back burner out of fear she’d just show up at a lark. My manager told me that I should just work from home, since he felt that I was the one causing her behaviour.

      I did leave at the beginning of October, only to find out from my friend later that she told him in no uncertain terms that from morning through night, she will follow him and be outside of his workplace, and attend any charitable or church function with him (things she never cared much about, according to others who know my friend). Basically her goal was to make sure he never talks to me, and it seems to work. He’s frightened to call, write, and our constructive dialogue on writing projects have fallen apart. Sometimes his wife would actually just follow him to see that he is going to church, and not somewhere else.

      I have personally have seen her prowling around the parking lot area, looking to see if I was even in the area. It has affected my outside behaviour as to where to go at what time. Two days ago, I attended a charitable event hosted by a mutual friend, and fritzed out of the function when I mistakenly thought my friend’s wife was there, when in reality wasn’t. The next day, I met up with my friend briefly outside his work to explain my exit, and congratulated him for a good job. Apparently, his wife was hiding somewhere out of view; and when I parted, my friend called me later to say that his wife followed right in to his work and accused him of being a cheater for simply talking to me.

      I learned that his wife acted excessively jealous before I ever met him. I’ve given him resource numbers, and tell him that he doesn’t deserve this treatment. He keeps a strong front to his professional associates, but lets down his terrified, anxious self to me whenever he even tries to talk to me about his life. However the saddest part at the moment is that he really believes his wife loves him, and justifies her actions as being from being hurt from having former ex-husbands leaving her for someone else; and that he loves her for looking out for him in the way she does. Moreover, he depends on her financially, especially since she controls all his finances now, so he won’t consider separation. Plus, he feels that he will lose his standing in the church since they only believe marital infidelity is the only cause for divorce. He feels like he’s to blame because his wife would incessantly harp on him about having asked me to attend the funeral. He couldn’t introduce me beforehand to her, barely just met him two days before the event.

      He really believes in his deepest soul that she’ll miraculously change with earnest prayer. They had been to therapy, but it failed. I’ve now taken the decision to withdraw any email contact to once every two weeks, though it hurts him. I don’t know how to let him see the burning trainwreck he’s riding on and get out of it. Yes, the ball is in his court, but if he’s so blind by the abuse, equating it with love, how can he do anything to save his sanity before it’s too late? I don’t know what to say or do that will get him to start seeing the light, and making small steps. His closest friends have withdrawn after hearing from him about his suicidal thoughts from this situation.

      He left me a message yesterday thanking me for a a small book with verses about the power of faith in dark times, and closed off saying: “I won’t be able to see you for weeks, but the time will come..have faith, be of good cheer..keeping you in prayer.” I’ll know in time if it is a small sign towards his exit from narcissist abuse.

      Please keep him (Renny’s friend) in your prayers, as I’ve had.
      -Renny

      Reply
lynettedavis October 18, 2015

Reblogged this on Memoir Notes.

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[…] Source: 6 Strong Signs You Have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome […]

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Beatriz October 14, 2015

Hi Kim,
Thank you so much for your article. You provide me with wisdom and light.
I feel the point 1 ( You almost always feel alone ) with my narcissistic mother. All my life was like that. I felt I came to the world alone. Without family. Not only because I didn´t feel nobody love me if not I was the rubbish bin where she threw all her evil intention. I could see a little little of serenity on her when I was sick, it was the only thing good for me. I have no contact with her and I feel better. My first boyfriend was a narcissistic man and at the end of the relation I felt abandoned when I was sick with anxiety because of him and my mother. He wasted all my money and all my shiny future at the age of 25, all my possibilities to be happy and live a respectable life. He didn´t want me to wear heel shoes and nice clothes. He wanted to me being unattractive woman. It has been seven years ago and right now I discover all this. I have a son of my second boyfriend. I´m separated now. I don´t think he´s a narcissistics in many ways but he has a personality very strong for me although we have an acceptable relation because of my son. I live alone with my son. I feel free. There´s nothing to be myself in my own home without scary. It´s not my dream to have another partner. Never. I´m a highly sensitive/empathy/INFJ woman and it´s very hard to keep any relation with someone. I´m always hurt. I´m growing with light alone.
My best wishes for you Kim, you are awesome.

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Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

Thank you for your insightful comment, Pauline!

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mbjuliet October 13, 2015

This is the best article ever! I lost my girls, my home, my teaching job, my money, and my dignity!!!! I’m working at getting it all back but it has been nearly impossible. I didn’t hug him the right way, talk the rift way, walk correctly even. He constantly complained about my clothes and shoes. I was so exhausted I lost 15 pounds and looked like a ghost. He sucked the life out of me. Pulled me in and then dumped me repeatedly. Please keep writing! You help me!!!Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhoneOn Oct 12, 2015, 5:10:42 PM, Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed wrote:

Kim Saeed posted: “Like many people who’ve endured Narcissistic and emotional abuse, you probably didn’t realize what was happening to you until you reached a point of near insanity and began searching desperately for reasons why your fairytale romance took a grievous turn “

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cjh55 October 13, 2015

Thank you Kim for your article, you told my world word for word…. I went no contact over 10 months ago now, (with a restraining order). It has been very hard, upsetting and I have experienced all the things you have mentioned. I am still recovering and at present reading many different books and also going through a course of coaching. Little by little I am moving forward and know that I will never go back to where I was this time last year. My story is not only with one narc relationship but two before that and it has been important for me to find out that pattern. Thank god I finally came across your site and you saved my life. To the point that 3 separate incidents with women talking about their relationships and it rang bells like crazy… I politely dropped a few pointers and I hope they are also on their way to finding their answers too. Your continuing articles strengthen my resolve too, keep up the good work. Much love….

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Thank you, cjh55. It’s always motivating to know my articles are helpful, so thank you very much for sharing that with me. Wishing you all the best in your continued recovery <3

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Leonardo October 13, 2015

Dear Kim, Thank so very much for this new article. I am out of the Narc relationship thank God! but always watching for new signs.
I realize that a relationship with a narcissist is not limited to sentimental relationship but with co-workers, kids, and parents. Wondering if you could talk about these.
Thank you again.

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Nichole October 13, 2015

This article is right on. I had a breakdown after nc… My friend wanted to take me to a hospital. I wanted to go to a hospital. It was humiliating. Very informative

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Hi Nichole, I am sorry to know about your breakdown. I hope you’ve recovered and have found a way to begin healing…

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Kay Nicole October 13, 2015

I always end up crying my eyes out when I read your blog. I miss the mess out of my ex guy. I know he’s no good for me but I find hard to get through the day without him. I definitely can relate to a few of your points: “Compromise your personal integrity and values.” Yup. I recently told him he could cheat and see other women just don’t leAve me. It’s stupid and I know better.

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    Kim Saeed October 13, 2015

    Kay, don’t beat yourself up. This is an indicator that you are suffering from Narc Abuse Syndrome, which is really a name for different symptoms of C-PTSD, emotional trauma, psychological conditioning, etc., which all target our childhood wounds. You are not stupid. I once agreed to be my Ex’s second wife. But thank God I woke up from the spell.

    One day you will grow tired of this situation and find the strength to leave. We just have to be ready for it <3

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Catherine Moyet October 13, 2015

These are some of the most accurate assessments I have had the privilege of reading. Thank you for this accurate, point on, well written article. I would love to collaborate with you. 25 years, 2 children and 2 continents with a narcopath. I am writing a book.

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Laurie October 12, 2015

What is really tough about this is there are not many theraptists with experience in helping people heal from this. Or even recognizing it’s real. I was in therapy with a woman who was an excellent theraptist in many ways, I worked with her for many years and made a lot of progress in my life. But then I became involved with a narcissist. I was involved with him for over a year while in therapy. He was blatantly abusive to me and it was obvious I was in a very self destructive relationship. My therapist had no skills for how to respond to this, she ended up dumping me in the middle of one of the crisis’ this narcissist created over and over in my life. It was very impacting to me, because she had been a major sourse of personal support for me.

I have a tendency to become involved with people who are narcissist to some degree and I have sought therapy several times in my life to try to understand myself and change. I’ve never had a therapist who dealt with this specifically or otherwise. The only place I’ve received understanding and recognition is at support groups for battered women.

I see this therapeutic specialization as very, very needed, underavailable, or non existent. We need more people who are skilled at helping survivers of narcissists move on from and out of involvement with them.

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Laurie, thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. I am sorry your therapist wasn’t able to help you with your abusive relationship. Sadly, while there are good counselors out there, many are ill-prepared to help in cases of narcissistic abuse. I am currently considering going back to college to pursue a Psychology degree with the intent of becoming licensed. You are right, we need more therapists who are aware of these destructive relationship dynamics. Wishing you all the very best.

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    Settie December 22, 2015

    Amen. I went back to grad school for this very reason. Pretty soon there will be one more!

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    Settie December 22, 2015

    Amen! I am back in grad school for this very reason. Before too long there will be one more therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse – and advocates and educates other professionals as well. I promise!

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      Kim Saeed December 23, 2015

      That’s awesome, Settie! I’ve thought about doing that myself, and the only thing that’s stopped me so far is that as a therapist, I wouldn’t be able to self-disclose or share my abuse experiences with clients as I’m able to do as a coach. I am so happy for you and I wish you all the very best 🙂 I do always recommend that clients see a therapist though, in addition to coaching. Let me know when you graduate and maybe I can refer people your way 🙂

      Reply
joicelizsabeth October 12, 2015

Thank you so much for this blog. I stopped all contact with my husband and it helps me to read everything and anything I can about my experience. I am have such doubt on whats wrong and what was right . I feel so confused often. I have come to realize that I need professional help. Keep blogging I’m reading and gaining knowledge

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Thank you for your kind praise, joicelizsabeth! What you’re experiencing is the byproduct of psychological conditioning…but, on a lighter note, healing is something I’ve come to believe is life-long. I’m still learning and growing, even at this stage of my recovery <3

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zan56 October 12, 2015

Unless you have kids. And then you can’t go no contact, no matter how much you heal.

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Hi zan56, in the case of shared custody, one would need to implement a very strict method of modified contact. I personally share a child with my Ex, and so can vouch that healing and recovery are very much possible, even in cases of modified contact. 🙂

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Leslie October 12, 2015

This is exactly what happened to me! How is this possible that they all do the same thing, is there some kind of manual that they all read or what?

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    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    Hi Leslie, it would seem so! They’re really just using the basics of psychological manipulation, and sometimes even the process of neurolinguistic programming, which explains why they often try to keep their victims worn out. In this state, the mind is more receptive and, therefore, the mental conditioning tactics are more effective.

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A Northern Observer October 12, 2015

An excellent article which hit an issue I’ve been dealing with for quite some time. Thx!

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    A Northern Observer October 13, 2015

    After cluing in that I was dealing with abandonment issues, I did some searching and found this article which has been a real eye opener, and may benefit your readers as well:
    http://gettinbetter.com/needlove.html

    Reply
      Kostas July 6, 2016

      Thank u for sharing the article

      Reply
    Kim Saeed October 14, 2015

    I’m very happy to know my article helped bring clarification to your issue! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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      Anonymous October 21, 2015

      How do you get a them to accept they have a problem?

      Reply
        Kim Saeed October 21, 2015

        I’m sorry to say that usually doesn’t happen 🙁

        Reply
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