The 8 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Conversation Control Tactics

 

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Do you often engage in conversations, with your narcissist, that leave you feeling like you were talking to a brick wall –or worse, maybe leave you feeling like banging your head against a brick wall? Perhaps, it has even crossed your mind that you would have been better off conversing with a brick wall, because the wall would have more capacity of providing understanding, validation, and empathy, than the narcissist in your life!

Real life conversations with a narcissist are exhausting, dizzying, nerve-racking, and make you feel like you’re going crazy –or at least, drive a compassionate person to question their own reality, and even their sanity at times. The circular conversations leave you feeling worse off, than if you had never had them in the first place. You begin to blame yourself, doubt your instincts, and wonder what the heck is going on?

REVERSE PROJECTION

Before we realize the truth about the narcissist in our lives, we relate to them as if they are normal human beings possessing a conscience, integrity, and some degree of self-awareness. We trust their words because we don’t deceive and manipulate people, and trust that the people who claim to love us, will do the same. We give them the benefit of the doubt because we believe they truly love us, and no one who truly loves us would purposely say or do anything, to hurt our feelings and us. We are, in essence, projecting our good qualities on to them, and when they don’t respond the way we expect a normal person would, we become confused and hurt, question our reality, and believe we must be to blame in some way. The problem is that narcissists don’t think, operate or play by the same rules as us, and our failing to recognize this sets us up for manipulation, and misery by default.

Conversations with a narcissist, especially if you hold opinions about anything that contradict with their opinion of what is the gospel truth, are jam-packed with a barrage of covert manipulation tactics that are intrinsic to the narcissist, and entrenched in their personality. They will make you wish you never disagreed with them in the first place, and regret that you had ever dared to express your point of view. A simple disagreement will often incite a full-fledged attack on you. Somehow, they manage to twist the conservation, so you wind up feeling like the bad guy/girl, while they assume the role of the innocent victim – of you.

CONVERSATIONS ARE NOT CONVERSATIONS, THEY ARE VERBAL COMPETITIONS

When you challenge your narcissist’s lies, discrepancies, and groundless accusations, suggest that they are less than perfect, try to get them to understand your point of view, confront them on their cruel behaviors, or approach them about the lack of reciprocity in the relationship, the discussion will likely decay into a crazy-making, chaotic, drama packed, mind-spinning, migraine induced headache that is intended to wear you down, and punish you for suggesting or exposing a fact that doesn’t support their grandiose view of themselves, or maintain their need to feel superior and all mighty.

Narcissists never enter into conversations. They enter into verbal competitions. Their goal is to win at all costs. They have no interest in seeking understanding, clarification or compromise, or in reaching a meeting of the minds. Their conversations are only meant to manipulate, confuse, control, destabilize, deflect accountability, cast doubt, distort reality and create drama.

ENABLERS AND TONGUE BITERS

Narcissists only surround themselves with people who are either so charmed by them, that they blindly believe every word they say is true, or people who have learned that it’s easier to keep their mouths shut rather than reap the wrath of expressing an opposing opinion.

Anyone in a narcissist’s life that doesn’t fall into one of the two categories of Enablers or Tongue Biters will certainly be given the boot. But first the narcissist will discipline you with their collection of manipulation tactics, so when they do give you the boot, you will be sure to go out believing the reasons for your dismissal were all your fault.

HERE ARE THE 8 MOST COMMON CONVERSATION MANIPULATION TACTICS

1. TOPIC SWITCHEROO

Here’s how this works. You and your narcissist are in the middle of a conversation; it’s going well until you disagree, or present facts, that contradict the narcissist’s point of view. The narcissist knows that your facts are indisputable, and you have the upper-hand, so to gain control of the conversation, and win the argument, the narcissist will deviate into a tangent of verbal vomit, attempting to hoodwink you, and pull the ole’ topic switcheroo. Before you know it, you’re discussing something totally unrelated to the original conversation, and you find yourself in defensive mode about some issue the two of you disagreed on last year.

2. THE BLAME GAME

Blame shifting is usually a tactic used subsequently to the Topic Switcheroo. The narcissist, like a magician, successfully changes the topic, and diverts your attention, by pointing the finger at you, and you suddenly find yourself on the defensive end of the conversation stick. The narcissist will raise questions about any and all of your real or perceived faults, and pummel you. You, in turn, instinctively defend yourself, and the narcissist, just like Houdini, makes the original topic of their bad behavior disappear, and escapes having to take any accountability for their actions. Meanwhile, you’re tricked into taking on the defensive position, and accused and blamed, for creating problems and drama in the relationship.

3. PROJECTION

Hypocrisy is the narcissist’s middle name. What they say and do, when no one is watching, is drastically different from what they say and do in the presence of others. Since they are all about maintaining their false persona, they use projection to rid the unwanted traits in their character. But since they are the emotional equivalent of a five-year-old, they magically disown the parts of themselves that reflect negatively on their personas, and accuse you of the exact things they’re guilty of doing. Did you ever notice how they will accuse the most generous person of being selfish, or having a hidden agenda behind their generosity? The most honest person is accused of being a liar. Their faithful partner is accused of cheating. The narcissist’s projections are really confessions, that reveal what the narcissist is guilty of and/ or believes about himself/herself.

In contrast, emotionally healthy people don’t use projection when they’re on the defensive. When and if they resort to character assignation, their comments more closely resemble the truth, and tend to resemble slander. Not the outright lies that characterize projection.

4. TURNING UP THE VOLUME

When narcissists act with a disproportionate amount of anger or rage by increasing the volume and tempo of their voice, you can bet that they’re trying to shock and bully you. Their actions are an absolute declaration of psychological warfare. Their increased volume is a ploy to get to you to back off. The sudden, shocking, cruel, and disproportionate attack is an offensive maneuver aimed to destabilize, confuse, and intimidate you. When you’re under attack and in a state of shock, your defenses naturally become weakened. The stress of being attacked and yelled at decreases your mental acuity, and leaves you open to suggestion. As a result, your weakened state renders you less of an intellectual threat to the narcissist’s need for control and dominance.

5. PLAYING THE VICTIM

There is much truth in the quote, “Deceit’s favorite role is playing the victim.” It’s no wonder why, when the narcissist isn’t playing the role of the hero, he/she is playing the role of the poor victim. Through garnering pity, narcissists will play the victim, while vilifying the real victim, as a way of concealing their abusive behavior, and avoid taking responsibility for their cruel and deceitful actions. Narcissists capitalize on the compassion of others, and exploit their sympathy in any way they can, depending upon what their goal is at the time. If the narcissist doesn’t want to keep a promise and you become upset, your feelings won’t be validated; there will be no apology or display of empathy. Instead, the narcissist will get angry at you for being upset, and blame you for your lack of empathy in not considering that they may be having a bad week, stress at work or so on.

You will be labeled selfish, or accused of being needy or demanding, for expecting the poor narcissist to honor his/her word. However, if you have a bad week, don’t expect to receive the same treatment. The narcissist will expect you to keep your promise, and will minimize and invalidate your feelings, by portraying themselves as the victim. The narcissist will always one-up you, by reciting a litany of reasons why their week was so much worse than yours, or lecture you on how your life is so much easier than theirs, and so on. Whatever you can do, they can do better. Whatever bad thing happened to you, something worse happened to them.

6. GASLIGHTING

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse, so insidious, that many articles have been written about it.  Narcissists use this tactic in conversations by purposely altering or not sharing information, and replacing it with false information. This tactic is designed to systematically dismantle the victim’s ability to trust their own judgment, and undermine their confidence to the point where they begin to doubt their own memories and judgments, thus rendering them highly suggestible to the narcissist’s opinion.

For example, a narcissist may casually, but consistently, suggest how their memory is superior to yours, especially if you ever admit to being forgetful about anything. They may even go so far as hiding or rearranging your belongings, intentionally tricking you into believing your memory is faulty. Then, when a difference in opinion arises, or you expose a discrepancy in their story, the narcissist, with absolute conviction, will use your faulty memory as evidence to make you doubt what you heard or saw, and second guess yourself, causing you to ultimately accept the narcissist’s rendition of the truth.

7. INTERRUPTING

Narcissists are notorious conversation interrupters. They love to be the center of attention and control the focus of the conversation. They have no interest in having a two-way discussion with you. If you dare attempt to get a word in edge-wise, or make your point of view heard, if it at all contradicts the narcissist’s point of view, your opinion will most likely be ignored or dismissed. While many people with ADHD, and other mental disorders, struggle with problems of poor impulsivity, or poor communication and often interrupt others, the narcissist intentionally interrupts to redirect the focus of the conversation back to themselves, since they believe their opinions are superior and correct, and that whatever they say should be accepted as the gospel truth.

They genuinely have zero interest in hearing other people’s viewpoints or reaching compromises, or win/win solutions to disagreements. They have a “my way or the highway” frame of mind, and interrupting allows them to control the conversation, and manage it in a direction that parallels their point of view and agenda. By monopolizing the conversation, they exert their control, and avoid taking responsibility, or addressing important issues. In their minds, their ability to dominate conversations confirms their superiority.

8. THE SILENT TREATMENT

The silent treatment is probably one of the most common forms of emotional abuse used by narcissists when all the above tactics have been tried and have failed. Narcissists use the silent treatment as a form of punishment for not acquiescing to their point of view or as the way to gain the upper hand and control in their relationships. It’s also a way to avoid discussing important issues in the relationship and avoid taking accountability for their wrong-doings. When a narcissist uses the silent treatment, they will do it in a way that is so out of proportion to the situation. Narcissists will also tend to demand a perfectly delivered apology. If the apology is not said correctly or in the right way, the narcissists will extend the length of the silent treatment. By demanding a perfectly delivered apology, narcissists confirm their dominance and support their exaggerated importance.

The silent treatment is intended to make the victim feel completely unloved, invalidated and insignificant. The use of the silent treatment is usually about control. Sometimes the narcissist will use the silent treatment just to assess the amount of control they have over people. Often, it will be used as a tactic to create distance and free up space to engage in infidelity or pursue new admirers. Victims are left feeling destroyed, as the silent treatment kills any possibility of reconciliation.

THE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS

The many people who’ve been expelled from the narcissist’s life know there is something terribly wrong with the narcissist. However, many of them never bothered or cared enough to connect the dots and define the craziness they were subjected to.

But for those who have had intimate relationships with a narcissist for any length of time, it almost becomes an unsettling necessity to search for answers and put the pieces together to restore their equilibrium and unearth the reality of the absolute insanity that had become their normal existence.

This is what drives most former partners of narcissists to hit the internet and actively Google the WHY DID questions – for example: Why did my partner always think they were right? Why did my mother never apologize? Why did my spouse always give me the silent treatment? Why did my sibling always make me feel like I was to blame? Why did my perfect partner change?

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY ABOVE THE CLOUDS

Their Google search queries lead them to articles about narcissism and narcissistic traits. Survivors voraciously ingest the massive amounts of information permeating the world-wide web. The descriptions are so eerily accurate that if they didn’t know better, they would swear the articles were written about their relationship. The precision in which the articles depict their relationships, from the golden beginnings right down to the horrid end, to the t becomes the indisputable validation that precipitates the cloud of confusion to dissipate, allowing enlightenment to illuminate the truth of their situation with profound clarity. No, narcissism is not limited to vanity or arrogance, as they originally believed. It is so much more pathological and insidious than they could have ever imagined; and even worse, there is no cure.

Gradually, through their research, they realize that the narcissist never really loved them or anyone for that matter, as narcissists are wholly incapable of love and devoid of a conscience. Survivors slowly accept that the person they were in love with was just a façade and never really existed. Finally, this awareness forces them to mourn the loss of three people, only amplifying and adding to their grief. First, they must mourn the loss of the person they loved who never really existed. Second, they must mourn the loss of the person they believed their narcissist had the potential to be. Third, they must mourn the loss of their identity that had been eclipsed under the crushing weight of the imbalance and inequity of their relationship.

THE LENSES OF AWARENESS

Terms they had never heard of before – like love bombing, future faking, false-self, idealization, devaluation, projection, gaslighting, smear campaign, flying monkeys, cognitive dissonance, and triangulation – become part of the survivor’s regular vocabulary. Sadly, they become more adept at explaining the definitions of these terms than most mental health professionals because they are not just terms learned through memorization, but rather words learned through painful, real-life experiences.

Their new-found vocabulary becomes powerfully liberating as they finally offer a palpable term to explain the insanity that once was their reality, but that they were previously at a loss for words to describe. They grow so knowledgeable about the subject of narcissism and traits of NPD; they deserve to earn honorary doctorate degrees in the subject.

The crazy-making conversations of the past start to make more sense through the new lenses of awareness. Survivors begin to finally be able to put the finger on and pinpoint the emotional abuse they suffered but failed to perceive was abuse at the time. The layers of blame, guilt, doubt, confusion and uncertainty of their reality that had tormented them start to erode, as they recognize that the layers were deliberately and deceptively deposited onto them by their narcissist. This is the pivotal point, where recovery from narcissistic abuse begins.

Without awareness and education about narcissistic abuse, the chances that a survivor will end up in another abusive relationship are infinitely higher. Emotional abuse is as devastating as any other kind of abuse. It’s intentional and malicious exploitation and manipulation of the heart, soul, spirit, mind, and often the wallet of another human-being, cloaked in counterfeit expressions of love and concern.

Copyright © 2015 Bree Bonchay.  All Rights Reserved.

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Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a dedicated advocate, educator, and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.

 

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229 thoughts on “The 8 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Conversation Control Tactics

  1. Many of the traits and behaviors you mention were indeed present in my ex psycho boy. Some weren’t at least at the time things were going on.

    Happily, I’ve never had to question my sanity, as years ago, at my own behest, I went to the local mental health center and had sessions with an experienced, qualified psychiatrist and a psychiatric social worker. Those therapy sessions were most enlightening and reassuring!

    To my shock and surprise – both pronounced me to be a sound, normal and sane person. In fact, I was somewhat chided and advised I wasting my time coming there because the center wa a place for sick people and I didn’t quality!

    They told me that if anything I was stronger and healthier than most people! I was told rather than cracking up (I was newly widowed), I was making adjustments and getting on with my life in a normal fashion. No padded room for me! LOL.

    I did have many moments during the LDR, where psycho boy would say things, or act in certain ways, I’d give him that confused, WTH is going on with you look? His behavior was so inconsistent and over the top, I didn’t know what to think!

    For sure, I didn’t understand him or those unexpected sudden rages that he’d break into. My bewilderment was written all over my face I’m sure! Nor did I understand when he’d manage down my expectations. One time he wanted to get married soon and insist that this was what he wanted! Next time we’d talk, he’d say I was trying to trap him into marriage (after 3-4 proposals of his own instigation!).

    Now I’m thankful for the D&D, and if anything I believe I’ve come out at the end of the tunnel, and even stronger, and healthier person. I can see these people coming a mile off and I run like Hell rather than sticking around. I’m not into rescuing, fixing or saving any men! I can and I am quite happy living the single life without all the drama!

    1. That is so funny. Not because it’s funny but becuse it could have been written by me.

      I sought psychiatric help because I thought I was crazy and after a couple sessions, my Dr said “there’s nothing wrong with you that a good divorce won’t cure”. So correct. However, that was 4 years ago and we’re still untangling the web.

        1. I agree with Bree Bonchay June 30, 2015 reply to HeatherV June 30, 2015: I had parents who were Narcissists and detaching and healing, healing and detaching from the emotional wounds of that natural family has been a lifetime quest. It has been well worth it to learn pertinent information, boundaries, my rights and needs, and to develop self-worth, self-esteem and confidence! One of the best lessons learned came when I was stuck and couldn’t grow as I believed I needed to, and wanted to do. That lead me to being gentle with myself and what I later learned was acceptance of being right where I was meant to be. It also forced me to learn to pray because many of my issues required help beyond humans abilities. Prayer and medication later became fixed parts of my daily spiritual practice which keeps this alpha ethical intellectual female emotionally balanced and toxic people out of my life.

  2. As a divorce lawyer, I have seen situations where I believe one narcissist married another. I am not qualified to diagnose the disorder but the pattern of their behavior mostly matches what you are describing. The article is very illuminating. I think most of my clients are more or less narcissistic.

    Lawrence J. Glynn

    1. Larry, I’m sure your profession gives you quite the bird’s eye view! Two narcissists hardly can ever make it last very long, so maybe you are seeing situations where one N married another. But typically two N’s don’t pair up because the competition for dominance and control is too much. Most likely you are seeing the pairing of a narcissist personality disordered individual with a borderline personality disordered individual, as these two disorders frequently pair up and share some of the same traits, but not all.

        1. Dead on… EVERYTHING. Emotions, time, money, attention, and any material item that was acquired together (some times even items that were brought into the relationship, not by the narc).

  3. #4 turning up the volume

    My cousin would do this in a simple conversation. One time instead of backing down, I did the same thing he did: I raised my voice. I did it simply to mock him, to show him how ridiculous he was acting. He responded by quickly lowering his voice and calming down, telling me to lower my voice and to act “civil”. I got up and left without saying another word. I heard him call me “passive aggressive” and “disrespectful” for exiting the inane and stupid conversation in which all his points were illogical.
    That really ticked me off.

    1. Danquality, I have found that when using this tactic back at the N, as you have described, the N will immediately criticize you for “yelling” or raising your voice with no acknowledgement that they have done it themselves. And also like you described, if you walk away and refuse to engage, you will be accused of being disrespectful, not caring, being passive aggressive and the list goes on! it’s a waste of time trying to reason with people who refuse to see their own behavior and are only trying to manipulate and control the conversation!

      1. I live with a narcissist and he does this and everything else in this article and he gets the entire community, including ministers to back him. I will probably not ever be able to love again as it took me so long to figure it out, especially with the entire community supporting him. Narcissists encourage others to beat you down, in my observation by being able to manipulates others to hurt me in with the same disrespect. “civil” is one of his favorite words. The hypocrosy he is able to develope in others makes me gag, and cry as it is apparently so easy to do.

        1. Kristi, they are master manipulators. They start manipulating people against you before you even have a clue anything is wrong. So once their abusive behaviors start, you don’t stand a chance defending yourself because they have already convinced everyone that you are the “bad guy” and they are the victim. Please don’t let him rob you of loving again and being loved in a real way. Now that you know what to look for, it won’t take you long before you spot it in another.

  4. Great! Great! Omgosh every word rings true. The whole self seeking advice and council has brought me to this very moment. Thank you so very much. So well explained from start to finish and every stage between. Thank you.

  5. WOW!! You clearly have experience and first hand knowledge of this crazy making, second guess yourself while sitting around scratching your head wondering what the hell just happened here personality disorder. This was a synopsis of my last 28 years married to the devil. How very true that once you “discover” this condition called NPD, things begin to click into place and the puzzle pieces start raining down from the sky. That moment was absolutely the turning point in my recovery/healing process. I don’t know where I would be had I never heard this term from my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

  6. So I am in the road to healing from all of this….how do I protect my kids. Its app are t they are learning the lack of respect t and so in from there father. I used to feel like I had to “fight for myself” with my ex. Now I feel like I have to fight for myself with my 14yo son. It’s a cycle I don’t want to be in.

    1. Susan, I feel for you, having a teen is quite the challenge in itself. I’m glad you are on the road to healing. Keep your boundaries firm and the lines of communication open with your teen. Seek support for yourself so you have an outlet. Maybe even counseling for you and your son. The teen years are such a difficult time for both the parent and the teen. Thank you sharing and I wish you continued healing and much happiness.

  7. Bree,

    You’re an educated woman, but I am going to have to disagree that “these people cannot change”. Someone that is in your profession tries to seek understanding with people and help them grow and learn. I know this article is aimed at the victim, but let’s say perhaps that the “sadistic-narcissist” is the victim themselves. What I mean is, I was the person you described in this article, and until I read it my eyes were not open to what was hindering my personality and understanding. I did not know why I needed to “win” (or that I even did). It was something that was imprinted into my being from past relationships of having to always be on the defense. I believe this or another article should be written to show the person what they are doing and to encourage change instead of saying that “there is no cure”. People only change if they want to. This article would certainly encourage that. Thank you for opening my eyes.

    Sincerely,

    Maddox

    1. Maddox, you certainly have the right to disagree that narcissists can’t change. However, I was not stating my opinion, but rather a fact based on numerous research studies about the disorder. One of the problems is that those who have NPD do not believe they have a problem, so they rarely seek professional help for their NPD. If they do enter into therapy, they see themselves as the victim and blame their abusive behaviors on everyone else. Thus, their lack of self-awareness prevents any opportunity for change. Just disagreeing with a narcissist is enough to put them on the defensive and the tactics I described are persistent and pervasive patterns of behavior a narcissist reacts with to any suggestion that they are not right or any view that contradicts their opinion. Emotionally healthy people do not respond in this way in a persistent and pervasive manner, nor do they feel the need to “win” and be “right” in every situation. You are right that my article is geared toward the “victim” and to suggest that the narcissist in their life is likely to change when research does not support this is giving the “victim” false hope and more likely will keep them trapped in an emotionally abusive and unhealthy relationship which causes serious depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress.
      If anyone reading my articles recognizes their behavior in them, then I suggest that they seek professional therapy. Thank you for commenting.

      1. Wow. Never thought about it in this way….that to suggest a narc can change would give a victim false hope and stay in an abusive relationship. While I do believe anyone can change we cannot wait for it….best to let go with no contact if possible. In the past year it is incredible what I have come to understand about a handful of family members. This has allowed me to take my power back. Thank you for a great article and equally great responses here. Wendy G Young

    2. sadly, people cannot change unless they want to. a narcissist does not want equality of love or fairness or truth. they want complete domination. A neurotransmitter has failed to develop. they do not feel love or compassion, etc. they don’t. that’s why this information is so important. those of us who think life is about cultivation of love have to be educated that there is a species of creatures in bodies that are not like us. maybe they’re aliens. but I’m going with the nuerotransmitters. which by the way, a nuerotransmitter can be developed with consciousness, but you must want it. And a narcissist never will. My therapist neighbor says the males often kill themselves when they get older and have lost their youth and charm and have already burned everyone in the community. but they cause a lot of damage because the world is just catching up to the understanding of this species of humans.

    3. I can imagine a few pd persons hit “rock bottom” and then they hve to find a cure or at least answers.
      But it is very small number. negligible.
      Its like saying alcoholics dont change.
      They can change.
      Only waiting for them to change so you can be happy may be a very long wait.
      So excuse us when we say sociopaths and their friends do not change.
      Its just means drop them and seek for a healthier person.

    1. Has anyone ever found a way to get through to a NPD person? In my limited experience, they are in denial all the time.

      1. Larry, narcissists do not believe they have a problem and usually only those that know them intimately see their true self. They are great at masking their narcissism in public. So casual acquaintances and the like are never on the receiving end of their abuse or experience them in the same way as the few that are close to them. That is what is most frustrating to the “victims”. Publicly narcissists are generally well liked and charming. They know how to turn their abuse on and off. That is how we know that their behaviors are intentional as they have control over their actions. No one can “get through” to anyone that has NPD. They do not have the capacity for self-reflection and empathy. Of course there is a spectrum of narcissism ranging from mild to severe. A narcissist needs to want to change, yet in all my years professionally and personally, I have never met one that will even acknowledge that they have a problem despite evidence to the contrary, and you can not change what you are not willing to acknowledge.

    2. AfellowINTJ, You will see it the next time for sure. But how should you have seen it? N’s are skillful manipulative liars and emotionally generous people can’t even imagine the stuff they pull, so much so, that we end up thinking we must be at fault or are to blame. Thank you for the re-blog!

  8. Hello Bree, your post was probably the most spot on and well written NPD overview that I’ve read. I am an outsider, the 2nd wife to man that was married to an NPD. The role of an NPD as a mother of two young girls, well, the divorce process was the worse possible place to put an NPD. Talk about extreme victim! They were already divorced when we met and their girls were 10 and 5. The youngest just turned 18 in March and we were STILL dealing with the mother in court up until January of this year. When we first started dating I heard stories but didn’t really believe them – I mean the ex-wife or ex-husband is always made to look bad, right? Well , the more weird emotional encounters that I would hear about or observe from afar had me filling two journals full of notes. Unfortunately those journals didn’t help us in family court. The girls are completely different — the oldest is a Mommie-me (still calls her Mommie at age 22) but the youngest was closer to her data and different in every way. This was a problem. She eventually came to live with us but still would defend her mother and want to spend time with her despite the daily abuse. From the outside, you just shake your head. She is doing well but the scars run deep, PTSD can be had from many things as this is one of them. I was fortunate enough to only have one or two direct conversations with her, but I’ll never forget the main one where it was just her and I , I walked away so terribly confused — what just happened? None of that was true! It was like a conversation you’d have in a dream that didn’t make sense. Then I stumbled across a blog of a person who had NPD parents and reading that — well I felt so much better, it all fell into place perfectly. My husband was almost giddy to finally get some insight. I would love to share the URL with you of this person if that is OK.

    1. Ginger, I don’t think that I could ever even fully describe in words the absolute mind-bending, twisting, crazy-making, absurd, frustrating, make you want to bang your head on a wall conversations with an NPD, but I’m glad my article at least shed some insight that you and others can identify with and relate to. N’s seem so normal until you get to know them well and are emotionally invested in them. Thank you for your comment and definitely feel free to share the URL.

      1. Thanks Bree. Yeah, I even got into it with the NPDs mother (kids grandmother) on my front lawn one time. Everyone else just loves the grandmother “oh she’s so cute” yeah, cute package does not mean a cute person on the inside. It was then it really clicked where a lot of it came from. Now repeating itself in 3rd generation with the older daughter but she is SUPER intelligent and crafty which adds another layer. Anyway, I am fascinated by human psychology….how do they get this way? How can you really be that devoid of empathy and conscious? (they are) So, this is the URL I stumbled across that gave me my “da ha!” moment somewhere around 2007 – 2008 timeframe.

        http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/

  9. I definitely related to this post! I just recently had to break off a relationship with someone who I believe was a narcissist, it is mind boggling to me that I could miss so much and suddenly realize that there is something terribly wrong going on….

    1. AfellowINTJ, Dang, don’t blame yourself missing anything or not noticing it sooner. Good people have a difficult time believing that people can actually be capable of acting like this, especially those that claim to love us. Good on you for breaking it off and releasing yourself from the crazy-making behavior and I appreciate your comment.

      1. It took me 30 years to understand this about my sister. 30 long years. And I see it in my mother and brother.

        Is it because we are just now beginning to understand this?

        Wendy

        1. Wendy, that’s a good question. I’m not sure of the answer. Research suggest narcissism is on the rise and with the advancement in medical technology, more research is being done on the brain. But I believe that social media has also contributed to the spread of awareness of this disorder.

        2. it can take loooong.
          In my family of ten everyone is psycho.
          You can imagine how long it has taken me to loose my own doubt about exactly
          what was going on and why everyone was deliberately creating chaos and confusion.
          Now i have dumped all of them.
          My sanity is coming back

  10. Aloha from Maui, Miss Bree!

    You, my new bestie, are singing my favorite song. Talk about a beautifully written, comprehensive piece.

    Do they give out awards for pieces like this? Oh wait, yes. As a matter of fact they do. It’s called The Nobel Peace Prize for Literature.

    Dangggg, sister. Okay, so…

    1). I reblogged, shared, dusted pinned, tweeted, linked, tumbled, stumbled and “liked” this post. I also wish to memorize every word, and make it my life’s work to scream its truth from mountain tops all over the globe.

    2). Remind me how how how how I am just now finding you?

    I truly look forward to intentionally connecting more in the future.

    With warmest aloha and sincere gratitude,
    Athena

    en.gravatar.com/athenamoberg

    1. Athena! A million mahalos to you, my Maui friend, for your kind words and sharing spree. Let’s scream the truth from every mountain top and spread awareness together! That is truly music to my ears. Peace & Love to you!
      Bree

      1. Aloha Bree, I hope this finds you having a beautiful weekend! I am hosting a virtual event in August. If you’d be interested in sharing some of your awesomesauce wisdom, please reach out to me with your best day to connect. Either way, lets be friends : ) http://facebook.com/DawnAthenaMoberg Mountains of mahalos for your heart to help others. You are such a gift. Alohaaaaaa!

        1. Aloha Athena, I would love to connect and thank you for asking me to be part of your virtual event. I would be delighted to be a part of anything I can to help spread awareness of narcissistic abuse and trauma. Let’s talk soon. Enjoy your weekend… of course you will, you live in Maui. How could you not!

      2. Bree, I am with Athena. I have read so much in the past 3 years having experienced 18 yrs of NPD torture. Everything in your article is true. The glory yrs were on the mainland and as soon as I got isolated on the big island…….I did not know what was going on. I still have spells of suicidal craziness as I am so trapped. It is only by reading over and over and over articles like your own that save me. My NPD has managed to manipulate the entire community and the local minister into abusing me. stunning takes on whole new meanings. but I’m all about screaming these truths from the mountain tops and I ceaselessly post informational articles about sociopaths. I never thought my life could be so awful and suppressed. I am exposed to so much corruption of spirit. Dirty Dirty dirty thoughts and actions. What I am also learning is that it is these people who are frequently in power positions. They are the ones creating war and greed and unhappiness. And I agree with you, there is not a change in hell the person I life with will change, According to him, I’m the one with the issues. And he could probably get you to believe it! Thats what these people are all about. so dangerous. I’ve read that they latch on to psycho babble and learn how to use it in their favor so that therapists can be duped too. he totally did that with several ex’s and lawyers. Yeah I’d like to see anyone win a peace prize for educating the world to this dangerous group of people, that supposedly is so small, but are the cause of massive amounts of corruption and war. A sweet girl like me never should have exposed to the kind of filthy thinking that I have. no one should experience this. It’s awfulness can’t be undermined.

        1. Kristi, Everything you said here is true. “They corrupt your spirit”, it’s leaves you feeling like your soul has been raped, exploited and trashed of it’s innocence. I’m a therapist, and have known NPD’s but not until I was in a relationship with one high on the spectrum, did I have any real sense of the darkness, manipulation and toxicity they possess and spread. Unless you are very close with them most people would never have a clue. That’s part of what makes them so dangerous. They will turn everyone against you, even your own children if they can. It’s hard to live in their world under the same roof and not have it affect your thinking. Either you become like them to survive or you cease to be yourself, lose yourself and sink into depression. or alternate between the two extremes. Keep reading and posting and exposing the truth. <3 Strengthen yourself with the support of those who get it and let them be your strength when you feel too weak to move forward.
          Tell Athena aloha for me and I will be touch in soon.

  11. I agree with all of this, but it has come to the point where I am so confused and enraged( 15 years of this BS, and then I married him!!), I feel the need to defend myself when i recognize his crazy talk, manipulation tactics, antagonistic, etc. I feel the NEED to defend myself because I recognize the feeling of abuse. How do I learn to walk away without pushing him, screaming back, etc?We have tried therapy numerous times, and he always manages to charm them while I look like the crazy bitch because I express my anger. I just feel so walked upon, devalued, unheard, controlled, trapped, and guilty for not reacting better. I am really wanting to understand my role and responsibility so I can save myself before I ruin my life entirely. PS, I think my other my also be a narcissist.

    1. Annie, clearly, the two of you have an unhealthy dynamic and you aren’t feeling validated and loved. Your emotions get the best of you and then you react in anger that results in you feeling worse and guilty. I don’t know enough about the dynamic in your relationship, but I suggest you find a good therapist for yourself to help provide some insight and guidance into yourself and about the dynamic with your husband. You can’t change your husband, but you can change yourself.

    2. Annie – what a narcissist wants: For you to defend yourself. They feed off that.

      I’ve slowly backed away from defending myself. Not easy. I find myself wanting to defend myself one more tine but have not done it..hoping I can stay strong!

      Wendy

  12. Pingback: Sound familiar? | Coping with Estrangement from Adult Children
  13. Even though this article was written more to be about partners my narcissist was my mother. Where it says you morn the loss of their potential, I say screw her potential. I morn the loss of mine. I struggle with self doubt and having confidence in myself. So many people have told me how talented I am but I just do not see it. This is a direct result from her abuse to me as a child. Do I morn her in any way? NO now that I know the truth she no longer deserves any kind of consideration.

    1. Cat, my abuse began with my mother and I literally FEEL what you mean about mourning the loss of my own potential. I was 31 before I learned about narcissism and why she has abused me and allowed me to be abused all those years, which conditioned me to become totally engulfed in a relationship with the most sadistic narcissistic “man child” you could encounter. I’m 35 almost 36 and stuck. Completely financially stuck. I have absolutely no resources (money, family, friends) that allow me the ability to do what needs to be done. Through self education on personality disorders I am able to recognise exactly what is happening as its happening, which has helped keep me sane, yet I realize there is no end to this or no fixing this and that breaks me even more.

  14. Hello, I am in the middle of a estrangement from an adult son who married last year. He would most definitely fit in the role of a narcissist as would his wife. She has borderline personality disorder and he has also been diagnosed as bipolar. We have always had a great relationship (son and I) He married of course, that is lifes progression and I thought things would be great between the new DIL and me. It didn’t take long for it to turn into us not hearing from them, not seeing them. There is so much to describe in this reply that I do not know where to start. She is very very controlling and clingy to him and people who have only met her once see it. They are both recovering alcoholics (matter of fact, that is where they met) She is 6 years younger than he and even though he and I are now calling more and talking, I haven’t seen her in 10 months. She never did want to come to our house (we live in a different city) She doesn’t like my husband, or younger son and especially doesn’t care for my younger sons wife. No reason that I know of except for possible jealousy? I tried really hard to like her and I can think of nothing that I did to make her dislike us and turn our son against us. He has come out with so many outlandish things in the last year about his horrible life and he literally hates his father. He does not want to hear the stories of how his father sacrificed for him and us to put us in a nice area to live (schools, etc.) His father and I paid his full college tuition (private school) We have always been there for him for anything he has ever needed and if anything he has had a very nice life. He now is against his father and hasn’t spoken to him in 9 months. He doesn’t even care if he ever sees him again. He has been lying to others about growing up (husband has never abused him physically, they did have many shouting matches, and we have put him in treatment centers for alcohol abuse, he has been in jail for DUI’s. We were always there to get him out of his issues. Now he hates his Dad. He hates his younger brother and wife due to an outfit that his wife demanded the younger brothers wife not wear to their wedding. She wasn’t in the wedding, and could have worn anything she chose. Since we are now semi talking, my husband and younger son think he is trying to drive a wedge between us and convince me to go on his side. One day in the near future they will have a child and I will be the only one who will be able to be around it, and I refuse to do that to my husband. Not fair at all. One more little tidbit in this situation, 8 weeks after he married, he called to say he was divorcing her. I will admit we were very stunned about this, but as parents would do, my husband gave him advice not to have sex with her if he was sure. The worst thing you could do is have a child if you were about to divorce. He was telling us she was stalking him and going to his place of work and bothering him. So we were worried, told him to get a good attorney to talk to, and be careful. They are still together and all that has been thrown in our faces. She heard every word and I believe has convinced him to hate his Dad, brother and even me in a sense. Again, even though I am semi speaking to him, it is not the same and it will never be the same. I love him, I miss him and I worry about him.

    1. Denise, what a difficult situation you are in. One that unfortunately you have little control over. Keep what contact you have with your son and don’t get dragged into the middle of his relationship with his father. You love them both and that can be your only answer. Sometimes having a common enemy strengthens bonds between between couples. If your son had had treatment for alcohol abuse, I’m sure you are familiar with Al Anon. This is a situation where you have to apply those principles. Stay strong!

  15. This is so wonderfully written. . . It educated me so much about my past- and I’m the one with the NPD dad! Maybe the writer is a survivor of NPD abuse? To first understand it so well, and then to express it in a way that covers all angles- so amazing. Thank you, I can’t really vocalize what my dad did yet, so I will be sending this to anyone doesn’t understand NPD abuse.

    1. Hi M, thank you for your comment. Even though I have been a therapist for 15+ years I never truly understood what is was like to be subjected to the conversation manipulation and abuse tactics until I was in a relationship with an NPD. It’s one of those things where you can have an idea, but unless you experience it first hand, you never really can grasp the severity if it. I unknowingly entered into these verbal competitions which only left me feeling worse off than I started, and worse nothing ever got resolved. Hopefully, this article will shed a little light for those fortunate enough to not understand and most importantly validate anyone who is a survivor.

  16. I feel as though I am still in a state of shock, not wanting to believe my husband is truly a narcissist. He is currently in therapy and I’m holding out hope that there will be some positive changes to his behaviors and ways of thinking. But now I’m afraid after reading that they rarely change. I’ve been married for nearly 18 years, with him for over 20. Through these years, there have been many little things, some bigger, that have caused stresses. I look back now and see how he handled these situations and am able to make the connection based on the definition of NPD. This most recent issue is an affair. I was suspicious for quite some time, but he deflected and it did really make me question my sanity. He actually fostered that by letting me think, as well as telling me, I was crazy. The affair was finally confirmed just this past April and since that time, so much has happened. I do feel I suffered what can only be described as a mild nervous breakdown, but I am better now. Like I said, he is in therapy, and I’m hopeful, but I have a fear that he wants to say married for financial reasons only. I have been a stay at home mother and wife for 15 years. This is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. I love him. I love my family. But I need to look at this from a point of view that is real, and not clouded by what I want and by fear. I did seek legal advice and a divorce would ruin me, him and our children. There are so many factors to consider, including my personality. I’m forgiving and patient, most of the time. I’m filled with love and acceptance. And I keep thinking, if I walk away now, what if? What if he changes? What if he does truly love me? Right how, I am taking things one day at a time and he and I have made some progress, but I’m so afraid of being betrayed again and losing more time. At this time, we are on a four year plan…..meaning our youngest will be 18 in four years. If things are good and we have rebuilt our marriage successfully, we will re-evaluate things at that time and go from there. And to make matters worse….my husband works with the woman he had an affair with. She lives in another state but there is a lot of travel for their jobs and they see each other a minimum of four times a year, so here’s that fear that they are together each time and I would have no way of knowing. Rebuilding trust is not easy.
    Thank you for this article and any advice you can offer.

    1. Rory, you seem to have a balanced outlook. There are a lot of factors to consider in your situation. If he’s in therapy and owning up and taking accountability for his actions then there could be some opportunity for change. In the meantime, don’t let that hold you back from taking control of your life and making changes within. If your not already in therapy, definitely go. Trust is hard to rebuild and it is his job to gain your trust. Not your job to work on trusting him. Take your power back. This way you will be in a better position emotionally and every other way whether or not he changes. Best of luck to you!

    2. You say …. Rebuilding trust is not easy.
      The only thing my dear is that if indeed he is personality disordered , he is not part of your equation in rebuilding that trust.
      But this journey. of self awareness… i think.. is only you that can travel it.
      Its a lonely journey. and can quite painful for many… but as you already appreciate there are children
      and yourself already in the mix.
      Trying to understand what you are in. That is a very good start.
      It may take long.
      But no one should ever underestimate the capacity of a human being who desires truth and freedom.

  17. This is the best & most comprehensive article I have read on narcs. I lived with a narc for 35years, you have hit the nail on the head and yes I thought I was going crazy!
    It’s 4years since he left & now he has a new wife and money supply!
    Unfortunately, our children don’t see him as a narc and I gave up trying to convince them. I was sounding like a nutter, even to myself. Lol!
    I am so proud of the journey I have travelled since the marriage breakup. I am honouring myself everyday.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Cheers, Maree

    1. Maree, you are not a nutter! You should be proud, 35 years of N abuse is like 1000 years. In real life! Luckily, the real nutter is gone! Thank you for commenting and keep journeying on my friend ~Bree

  18. this is my sister to a T I felt like there was something really wrong with her for a long time but she always made me feel like it was something I did so I spent so long trying dif approaches with her and nothing seems to work soo do u have any advice is there any help for her???

    1. Plz help, I am going to be brutally honest, but if this description fits your sister to a T, your sister most likely has NPD and there is no cure. With intensive, long term therapy, there is a possibility of improvement. The problem is people with NPD never feel as if they have a problem, it’s always every one else who has the problem, so they rarely enter in into therapy for their NPD. Now you know it’s nothing you did. To save yourself from the crazy-making, headache inducing, absurd conversations, the best advice I can give is to just refuse to get into them. Walk away. You will never win or get any resolution. You will only end up apologizing for things you didn’t do or getting the silent treatment for your insubordination. Best of luck~ Bree

  19. Pingback: The Narc-Sadistic No Win Situation Traps | RelationshiPedia
  20. Couldn’t be any more accurate!! I wish I could apply the no contact rule but I have to co-parent with my Narc. Kids are having depression and anxiety issues and cant stand being with him (we share custody) and he still has nerve to blame ME! I want to protect them from him, but to most people he’s able to look like the father of the year!! If anyone has advise on how to prove this type of abuse in court please help!

  21. My adult son corrects almost everything I say, “no Mom”, he interrupts regularly to tell me how it really is… & has ‘fits’ if I interrupt him… tells me this and that what to do, how I should live my life… has dumped me because I tried to talk about my feelings like mature adults..says I’m always negative, always finding fault…yet he’s never thankful for anything I do for him..he says we shouldn’t be around each other because I bring him down..not the first time he’s ditched me (2-3 years previously)….I decided he’s right, since he has such a negative attitude about me and he brings me down, leaves me feeling battered…feeling angry I have more energy than feeling hurt…now I’m just trying to get myself back….feel allowed to have my own feelings, my own ideas without criticism and put downs…

  22. Bree, I feel like you were there!! And especially the mention of how we scour the internet trying to find answers, learning the terminology, recognizing the signs. I’ve been made to feel crazy and to blame for years! Now I can immediately identify the tactic and am almost amused by how predictable he has become. But only because I am now aware and informed. And when I try to explain this to the people in my life, I am still perceived as the crazy one!! He’s so charming, and “such a nice/great guy.” It’s so defeating! Especially now, watching him do the same thing to our teenage children I don’t know how to protect them. I have gone completely no contact with him, even relocating to another state. My question is, How does one become this way????? Was he born defective? Was it some trauma? Is this a defense mechanism? Is it a learned behavior? I truly want to know what makes these people behave this way. Especially now because I am seeing my youngest daughter (13) beginning to behave very much like her father, and it terrifies me!! Is there any way to intervene or deprogrammed her before it’s too late?

    1. Christina, I’m glad you have gone no contact! And yes it’s so frustrating how they fool outsiders. But you know the truth and that’s all that matters! From the recent research I have read, narc’s are born with a biological predisposition and their environment either enhances or suppresses this predisposition. Many of them have experienced some type of emotional or physical abuse or neglect as children. Or even over-indulgence can be a contributing factor. As far as your 13 year old daughter, if you are seeing more than the typical degree of narcissism common to that age group, I would find a therapist that specializes in DBT therapy. (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It’s very effective. Given her young age, it will be even more effective since the behaviors are not as engrained. Best~ Bree

  23. This article was really insightful. I only wish that I was educated on narcissism at an early age so that I might have avoided these type of people through out my life.

  24. Rings like bell … true to every last detail. I came to know about this disorder in February by the way you have described. Since then I’ve managed to stand up again, find my self confidence and turned my life around. I’ve had enough after 5 years, I’m leaving her in September with the kids. I need to protect myself and them from her. In these past few months and the remaining 3 months, I’ve learned to survive by mirroring her and thinking like her, pisses the hell out of her and I get the silent treatment most of the time but it gives the kids and me peace. Narcissists target only empaths as empaths feeds their needs. I believe fellow sufferers make the best partners in life. I’ve since documented lots of the past and what’s been happening in my private blog and made great online friends with fellow sufferers. I’ve also made acquaintances with professionals in this field whom have since taught me more on how to spot and test such characters.

  25. This is the best article I have ever read on the narcissistic personality I first learned about it 18 years ago when trying to understand why my husband was acting this way. Once I realized it was not going to change, I couldn’t make it work no matter how I tried I let go of the notion that I could. When I started seeing someone a few weeks ago and noticed the same tendencies it was on the money NPD to the point that I did think he was trying to hide my things (phone, drivers license) to challenge my memory and actually keep me from leaving his house. luckily recognizing the signs also allowed me to leave quickly and without looking back before I got so entangled. thanks for this article I have shared it with many friends. It’s so sad but so real.

    1. Leslie, thank you for sharing your story! I’m glad you noticed the signs early on the next time around. So much better to get out early. Good for you for trusting your instincts too! Thanks for sharing my article, hope it helps others from getting entangled into these loveless torture traps. Best ~ Bree

  26. This is my life right now.. I’m sleeping on the lounge because how dare I disagree with a decision that he’s made. I got screamed at and had abusive names yelled at me, the wedding ring was slammed on the bathroom sink while I was trying to pee.. Then I got the silent treatment, until I spoke up and got further verbal abuse and random rediculous crap was yelled at me.. I could go on for hours, but in a nut shell, these people are only happy when you do exactly what they want, their way, and don’t rock the boat, don’t forget to pump their ego every day either.. All this over a box of chicken nuggets.. 😕

    1. Tracy, what is it with narcs and food!?!? Boy, who knew that food could be the cause of so many pointless arguments! It’s true as long as you are meeting their needs they are semi satisfied, the problem is they will add new needs and continue to raise the bar. Please seek individual therapy, if you aren’t already. I wish you peace & happiness!

  27. Wow. It is uncanny how similar our experiences are. I ache for my ex, for who I thought he was, who I hoped he could be, and for the damaged, hollow, disordered little boy running his sad, crumbling version of Oz.

    1. Wietog, it’s is uncanny how similar everyone’s experiences are. And it’s hard to accept and hear-breaking that they will never be who we thought they were (in the beginning) and had the potential to be. They cause so much damage to the people close to then and have no insight or remorse about doing so.

  28. Thank you. So very comprehensive. Please notify me of new posts via email. I cannot ‘like’ page for confidentiality purposes.

  29. They grow so knowledgeable about subject of narcissism and traits of NPD, they deserve to earn honorary doctorate degrees on the subject……

    no kidding. i should get a phd!

  30. Do you know your post leaves me quite cold, almost shaking. For a long time I’ve suspected my boss to be a Narcissist, several times over the last months I’ve gone to Wikipedia to re read their definition, it’s only within the last few days I’ve worked out he is a confirmed Narcissist, to long to explain what goes on at work enough to say every word you right describes this man, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt hundreds of times and for a long time I’ve thought about moving on, don’t worry your post hasn’t triggered a move it’s many articles and instances that make me say it’s time.

    You just do not know how accurately described this man, it’s almost spooky scary even!

    1. Andrew, thanks for you sharing. I’m happy you are taking action to move on and away from this type of person. They are exhausting and depleting and I could only imagine the dread of having to go to work everyday and having to be subjected to this craziness. Take care~ Bree

  31. Thank you …. This article was a great incite to a sick and demented world !!
    My wife engaged in a 3 month long emotional and physical relationship with a “thought of” family friend …… was caught and fully admitted to me ! But remained involved still (unknowingly again) for another 3 months — and has now come clean to me AGAIN ! And is begging for forgiveness and help to escape her afair and grasp from the “narcissist” (After her own realization of what was happening to herself and unable to escape his grasp)

    Any other help or insite will be appreciated ! I want to help her – she is a far better woman than what she has been mentally beat down to !!!

    1. Anonymously, your situation is a difficult one. I would advise her to find a good therapist. She is the only one that can help herself if any lasting change is going to take place. Read my article, The 11 Tips & Tricks To Move On After Narcissistic Abuse. Please make sure you take care of you in the process. ~Bree

  32. Amazing !!!! I have been with a narcissistic wife of 20 yrs ! And never knew it ! But, i have 2 beautiful children ! Thank God for that !!!!

  33. I moved back into our home with my kids this morning. It’s nearly 8 weeks since we left (escaped). He finally moved out for us (and also leaving for an overseas position in a few weeks).
    I started feeling “normal” at the home of a family member where we stayed, but walking back in here I was hit with a wall of grief.
    I saw a photo of him and the love I felt before wanted to rush back only to be obliterated by my memories.
    I have to realise that I am in mourning because the person I hoped he could be / was in the beginning, is gone.

    1. Hi, I am in the process of getting divorced from a narcopath. I understand your grief since I am also feeling that. I am mourning the loss of a love I thought was true but it never existed. Only in my mind.
      But I believe my life will be better because I was starting to lose the will to live.

  34. I am finally out of a 30 year relationship with a covert abuser who had me trapped. When he left, he tried to distroy me in every way possible. I still can’t believe he found people to help and encourage his evil dirty tricks knowing it would affect our children! He hasn’t contacted them once since he left 3 years ago.

  35. This is my father. Thank you for this post – it has articulated every thing that I have felt as his child and also what my mother experienced during her relationship with him. She would often say after they divorced that she considered their entire marriage “an illusion” and that she had been in love with someone who never existed, so when I reached that section of the article I was even more blown away. I have felt the same way, mourning a non-existent father. Hopefully now that I have no contact with him I can move on with my life.

  36. “But for those who have had intimate relationships with a narcissist for any length of time, it almost becomes an unsettling necessity to search for answers and put the pieces together to restore their equilibrium and unearth the reality of the absolute insanity that had become their normal everyday existence.”

    Absolutely. I knew something was wrong and fortunately even after 15 years of marriage I didn’t doubt my gut feelings completely (tho the gaslighting did have an impact). I had to have answers. It was 6 years after leaving him when he filed a motion in court that I countered with a request for a psychological evaluation, and after 8 longs months of both of us meeting with a psychologist I finally had my answer: narcissistic personality disorder “on the extreme end of the spectrum”. AND affirmation there wasn’t anything wrong with me/my parenting style as he had implied.

    Obviously even now it impacts me as I continue to read and gain affirmation of my own sanity by learning more and more about the personality disorder. But he didn’t break me and I know there isn’t anything I can’t handle now.

  37. i am living this now, pure torture! I cannot get him out of my house. I live in idaho where he falls under “tennant” type laws. You cannot just evict someone for no reason.

    To make matters worse I work with him. I changed careers to please him and I was only able to get this job with his “help”. So if things go badly, I no longer have a job!

    At one point he snapped, put his hands on me and ended up in jail. I was granted a NCO which he ignored (he was arrested for stalking and violating the NCO two more times) and insisted I drop. Which I did, of course, because I had no idea what a monster he is.

    I cannot think of a worse situation! HELP ME!

    1. Becky, please contact your local DV shelter. They have a wealth of resources. Also, on my blog site’s Narcissistic Abuse and Toxic Relationship page under the menu options is a list on National Resources and telephone numbers you can call. ~ xxBree

      1. What if your married to the Narcopath, and don’t have anywhere to escape too? I find myself in a war zone almost every day from the constant manipulation tactics, lies, verbal and mental abuse etc etc.. I desperately want out of this ongoing off and on turmoil for that last 4yrs, I’m a strong person never thought I would become entangled with such evil!!

  38. Thank you for your article! I have been married for 25 years, separated for the last two and half, and I have been living this abuse completely alone the entire time….trying to explain to my husband these exact scenarios, hoping he would understand the impact and care enough to make a change. None of our friends understand how abusive the behavior is, because he makes me out to look like I’m completely intolerant and just can’t be pleased. He has successfully isolated me from everyone. The most important thing to him is public perception, and his public persona as the greatest guy ever is all that matters to him. And because of this, no one can imagine that he is possibly capable of the hurtful behavior that I describe. When they know he has done something particularly hurtful, they defend the behavior and say he just doesn’t get it. Because of this, I just suffer in silence. Reading your article is the first time I feel like someone truly understands what I’ve been dealing with. Thank you!

    1. You are not alone. I lived this nightmare for years as well. Finally got out and lost most of my social and professional network because most people just thought it was a “bad breakup”. They either saw the behavior and bit their tongue or flat enabled him. One time my ex narc beat his mother’s dog in front of a bunch of people then screamed at his mother when she objected. Those people are still his friends. He can sell ice to an Eskimo and downplay any of his completely atrocious behavior. The only path to freedom was to completely cut all contact with anyone connected to him. It was devastating but eventually it set me free.

  39. Our son came to us with his Narcissistic girlfriend asking for our blessing in marriage. We told them we did not approve and the girlfriend’s response and our conversation that ensued contained many elements you mentioned in this article. Should I share your website and articles with my son who is convinced he wants to marry someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder? I feel like an enabler standing by and watching the manipulation and control. Please advise. I believe my son is young enough to still listen to his parents, but at the same time we don’t want to lose him. I feel like we are in a No Win situation. Thank you very much for your incredibly informative and educational articles.

    1. Hi Julie, it’s very hard to walk the line of sharing information about NPD and not pushing your son away. You know your son best, I would mention your concerns and share information in a very supportive way. Let him know you will be there to support him no matter what decision he makes. Narcissists will try to drive a wedge between their partner and family members to isolate them from support. But you can at least plant the seed for now. These relationships are very hard to break free from and see that they are abusive when you are in them. Just keep that in mind when discussing his relationship with him. Hope that helps. ~Bree

      1. Bree,

        Thank you very much for your wonderfully informative answer. I will heed your advice and proceed with caution and support.

        I am curious if the survivors of Narcissistic abuse wish someone would have intervened on their behalf? Do they resent friends and family not telling them directly maybe with even an intervention like you would a child or friend that was on drugs?

        Also, I’m curious if on the other side of the equation, is there anything we can do to encourage the Narcissistic girlfriend to “discard” our son? (She has “discarded” my husband and me, but not our daughter.) We have suggested family counseling to them to improve our relationship and family unit and she seems to take offense. Are there any buttons we can push to help our son? I know it will hurt him tremendously if she breaks up, but I feel she would she would break up with him and discard him too “If….. I just don’t know what “If” is.

        With that said, I am praying every day for guidance and direction. I want to take the HIGH ROAD and exemplify a loving and supportive example to our son. I also feel like I can not in good conscience continue to sit back and watch the abuse. It just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. I feel like an enabler and I feel like I will have regrets if I don’t try to help our 22 year old.

        I have documented 10 pages worth of examples of abuse by her over the course of 3 to 4 years. I am trying to learn everything I can to help our son break free from this terrible one-sided abusive relationship. (He is struggling in all areas of his life including College.) Thankfully he loves his family very much!

        Thanks again for your website and counsel. You provide so much help and support to so many! I hope one day my son is reading your articles too : )
        Julie

        1. Hi Julie, I would say that N abuse survivors don’t wish that someone would have intervened. It is likely to to do more damage and push them away, making them more unlikely to confide in you. There is really no way you can get her to discard your son. If anything, that could backfire as well. Narcissists are out to win and it may prolong the discard if only to show you who is in control.
          Just supportively plant the seed and be there for him. The longer N abuse continues, the worse it gets. He will surely confide in you and then when he does, encourage him to seek individual counseling with a therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse victim syndrome and personality disorders. ~ Bree

  40. I am in the process of leaving a Narc marriage. It is bitter sweet. It is my second marriage and we blended his three kids and my three. I suspect his two daughters are also narcs but I don’t think his son is. He broke my rib and went to jail and I have a NCO on him. That has been my sanctuary but he has quickly moved on to another relationship….the poor woman. I read this article any time I feel guilty or hurt or sad. It helps bring me back to reality. I just want the divorce to be over but I guess it is a journey I need to take. Thanks for the wonderful article. I’d love to share it on FB but I don’t think it would be wise. I’m still FB friends with two of his kids. This article has really given me my sanity back. Thank-you

    1. Christy, I’m glad to hear you are leaving your abuser and have an NCO! My heart goes out to you and the children and wish you all peace and healing. Every time my article resonates with someone, it in an ironic way gives me peace of mind as well. So thank you and thank you for commenting. Xx~ Bree

  41. Great information. It is bringing a lot of clarity to my situation and explains why our relationship broke down. Just having a hard time believing that I was able to be sucked into his reality. You have described him perfectly. He was able to make me believe that I “NEEDED TO BE TAUGHT A LESSON” or his other favorite expression, “I’M NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS!”. Made me believe everything was and still is all my fault. Thanks for more in site to this personality disorder. Looking forward to more articles. I’m still an emotional wreck and reading about this helps.

  42. Reblogged this on Mamaboo's Mayhem and commented:
    It feels like a window to the little girl who suffered so much, the teenager who nearly committed suicide, and the adult trying to figure out why her parents where that way and why thy still tried to abuse her.

  43. I am absolutely speechless. You know my relationship pretty well. Not everything you say has happened but even those things I think to myself “Maybe thats what was coming next”

  44. The more I read the more I realize how purposed he was at every attempt to shred me. The sadistic things he put me through were slowly killing me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically. It’s been 4 years in hell and now I’m left with having to restore faith in myself and the ability to make healthy decisions. Love, compassion, sympathy, honesty, well any true emotions, are not capable of being felt or shared by these types of people. They will even use others to push their continued agenda of abuse. So now as I struggle to rebuild from the destruction he left behind I have to realize my part and learn to make better choices. It’s all up to me to find healing and take back my life, my hopes, my dreams and even my future. Best wishes to you all and may God restore what’s been stolen.

    1. Hi, I am getting divorced from a narcopath after 7 years. I thank god that my eyes opened and that I feel strong enough to get out if this poisonous telationship. Unfortunately my 2 children & I are dependant on him & his mother (who I am starting to expect also has some very serious personality disorders). I have a restraining order against him so at least I am relatively safe. God help me get through this & become completely independant of these two sick individuals. The only good thing that came out of the marriage is my beautiful boy & girl twin of three years.

  45. Pingback: I’m not crazy… | bringingbackjenny
  46. Thank you, look forward to more articles and also empowering myself with more knowledge on this subject that is so close to home.
    I’m not losing my mind and I will find the strength to move forward with my life.

  47. Wonderful article. I was half expecting to see a picture of my mother somewhere on the page. The 8 conversational tricks/manipulations where absolutely spot on. As an only child I endured this abuse for decades. I realize that I am permanently broken from this experience, and will never be able to see the world in a positive light. Just have to accept that. However, it is nice to see the tactics used, articulated so clearly. I can see how I never really had a chance at escape. Oh well, you play the cards your dealt, not much more you can do. Thanks again.

    1. Tom, I can empathize with you. The two years I endured these tactics were excruciatingly exhausting. I’m so sorry you had a childhood filled with them. Glad you managed to maintain your sense of humor. Your comment about half expecting to see your mother’s picture made me lol. Peace & Happiness. ~ Bree

  48. How do our children end up with this type of partner? I think we gave them a loving happy home and childhood but both my son and daughter have married these people. It has disrupted our lives and made family gatherings almost impossible at times. We suffer through and keep our mouths shut and are now seeing the traits in the grandchildren.

  49. This article describes my wife (hopefully to be ex) exactly. It also describes her siblings exactly also. I find it creepy that these Narcissists all have the same toolbox and all go to the same school. The name of a book in the Bible keep coming up in my head and refused to be dismissed. It was the book of Jude. In verse 10, it says “But they destroy themselves in those things that, like unreasoning animals they know by instinct.” and goes through verse 13 where they are described as dead “for whom the gloom of darkness has been kept forever”. The whole thing finally fit together. They are human animals without a soul (conscience) who all do the same things because it is their instinct. It is like most birds. They build nests for their young all over the world. They do no have to go to “nest school”.

  50. This is a close match with the one confirmed narcissist I encountered. It was not in a relationship but I was friends with one. The guy slandered me and turned an ENTIRE group of people against me. Quite an illuminating experience.

  51. I would love to read your article on 11 tips and tricks to move on from the narcissist. I am married to a true narcissist and we have been separated for 8 years. We are finalizing our divorce in the next several weeks. We have 3 children so I know he will always be a part of my life. I just want a little contact as possible.

  52. My mother fits this profile to a tee. All my life I have been manipulated with guilt and fear, it has been torture. The mental and physical abuse she put us though as children, of which she magically doesn’t remember now. She genuinely believes we had such a happy childhood. No wonder I have anxiety issues. It is an awful feeling to want and need your own mother out of your life. Whenever she visits (once per year) I become physically and mentally sick, before, during and after the visit. What really scares me though is that I feel that I have some of these Narcissistic traits as well! I’m truly scared. I genuinely love my husband and my children more than anything and we are a happy family. But I admit that i use some of these manipulating tactics in arguments , although we don’t have many it has always been a natural reaction. I have been working on improving my behavior, recognizing when I am in the wrong and apologizing and trying to avoid giving the silent treatment etc. Please tell me that this could just be learned behavior from a very narcissistic and selfish mother….I don’t want to be like her! Can a narcissist ‘change their stripes?’

    1. Absolutely it can be learned behavior and most of us use some of these tactics at times. Narcissists use them all the time and NEVER admit to it and don’t have any desire to change. You recognize when you’re repeating old patterns and are trying to change. There is a huge difference. Hope that helps! Peace & Happiness! ~ Bree

  53. Your articles are so helpful as I recover from a 20 year marriage t an increasingly narcissistic man. I tried for years to make sense out of non-sense.

  54. Thank you for the knowledge you provide. I was married to a narc for 25 years always believing it was me. I did escape finally but ended up with another for a year. I am educating myself now and healing. Thank you again. 10 months free and staying single till I trust myself not to do this again

  55. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS WORK BREE I THOUGHT I WAS GOING NUTS , WHAT PEACE THIS BLOG HAS GIVEN , sorry cap locks where on . everyone of these articles could explain what ive just spent 3 years to the day even just before my birthday , the pre dump was telling the maid at the hotel we where not really married , crazy crud . just glad its over and one can heal . 30 years sober and this has been the worst choice in 30 years that messes with the head a little , just seek truth and peace for the soul .

  56. Thank you. I absolutley love the way this article explains narc verbal abuse. One of the best I’ve seen yet. Thankyou for pointing out the processes and stages of recovery. I’m nearly there stage 3 getting my ‘mojo’ back 🙂 xx

  57. Can you offer help to victims of severe narcopath mothers? Im 36 cut contact 8 years ago.. Had to cut contact with pretty much my whole KON (kingdom of N)(every family member almost) that my mother owns and operates. So i have zero family only a husband of over five years. My mother even went so far as to make sure to steal my children. Has my ex husband, his new girlfriend, and his older daughter from previous marriage and husband over every xmas all the while keeping my old wedding pictures to this ex on the mantle for the new gurlfriemd to see. Theres no bottom end to the evil this woman has perpetrated in my life. And i want to be set free from the pain. The betrayal, the lies, all if it. Its 25 years of horrible abuse.

    1. Jennifer, you have described me to a tee. My business partner Bobbi, Bree and I help to facilitate online safe communities for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Care and hope are available. Please feel free to reach out to Bree or myself and get plugged in. I am sending you so much love and kindness as you navigate these waters… oh how I know …the pain is so great and I promise it gets better when you are in safe community with others who understand. Love and prayers, Athena

  58. I lived for twelve horrendous years with a man like this. I thought I was the problem throughout those hell years. He took me down to places I had no idea existed. Finally there was nothing left of me and he threw me off the cliff. For years I thought would die because I had no idea how to live without him. My life became a series of poor decisions coupled with crazed life. It took me many more years to begin to mend my lifestyle, all the while believing I was everything that was negative. Then along came the web. Twenty plus years after he left me I began to learn about narcissism. He couldn’t destroy me but my goodness it took a long time for me to realise just how resilient I am; too long to realise the possibilities my life could have been had I believed enough in my own self. Now I understand that I was never his victim. I am no longer even a survivor. He was actually my cruel, devil sent gift to wake me out of my self induced coma.

  59. This nails it to perfection!! I thought I was going insane for the last 3 years!! I’m on my way out of this mess and that day can’t come soon enough… Thank you for this explicit description of a narcissist… 100% correct!

  60. This is my mother. Everything in this article is my experience, and that of my siblings. With regards to the “giving heads up” my mother is currently in the throes of crushing yet another friend we have all grown to love, a pattern I have seen many many times (it is hard not to get attached to these people) and I sent a link to her (she and her husband are currently between homes after selling and not yet having bought, my mother “kindly” took them in to help them out, but now she us bored with them) and I am wondering if I have done the right thing. My position is different from that of an assumed jilted lover.

  61. This is my brother, point on…..the family knows there is something seriously wrong with him and have chosen to cut him off because of his abusive behavior. But my heart and spiritual teaching keeps me trying to understand him and maybe reach him somehow. However, when I show him the slightest affection he starts mud slinging on the rest of the family trying to sway me to his opinions. I think I also indulge him because frankly with his temper, I am afraid of him. I don’t know what to do, I love my brother and don’t want him to feel completely abandoned but I’m not sure how many more of his “episodes” I can take.

    1. Kate, It’s not an easy decision but in the end you have to put yourself first. If his temper scares you that is abuse in itself. No one should tolerate abuse because it is a family member doing the abusing. It’s sad that personality disordered people never think they’re the one with the problem even when their whole family disengages from them. That is why they NEVER change. Instead they will bully and manipulate others into siding with and supporting them by giving them a twisted rendition of the facts with just enough truth to make it seem believable. If they can get supporters, then in their pathological minds, they don’t have to change because they must be right.
      The more you enable the abuse the more you will be abused. Blessings~ Bree

  62. I loved reading this article! I am quite confident that my partner is a narc however I never spoke to anyone professional for confirmation. In terms of keeping promises (just small ones) she expects me to keep them and if I were to break them she goes all out and tells me off about my poor behaviour and disrespect. However when she doesn’t keep her promises and I catch her out and try talking to her about it, she comes up with a million ways to justify and some of them tried to blame me. Only after a lengthy fight she says “ok im sorry then geez” and also adding whats wrong with not keeping a small promise from time to time..i dont want to feel like this relo is like a contract…a small mistake and you get angry and me . Another big issue is that when her behaviour is upsetting and hurtful to me…each time i try to talk to her and express to her how it affects me..the initial response is always “please stop being so uptight all the time and understand for me”. Again only after a lengthy fight all i get is a “ok im sorry then” and if im not happy mood like it never happened her patience will run out. Not until later I find out most of the apologies I get are insincere because she said she has never done any wrong doing. I just simply not on her wavelength to understand her so a simple apology from her should be more then enough but done nothing wrong. I even tried wording it differently by saying, ok its not wrong..but just bad to me..and she said well..bad would mean same thing as wrong to me..I wouldn’t do something that is bad. Every time i point out what she doing is upsetting and hurtful she always play the card “why do you ALWAYS have to be right all the time? and you are just too emotional and sensitive” when all im doing is expressing how I feel based on the way shes treating me. She even said that she always put herself in my shoes and If i were to do the same thing back to her..she be totally cool with it so she doesn’t see any problems with doing them to me. she said shes just too laid back and chilled then me and small stuff doesn’t bother her. I am perfectly ok with apologising and admitting fault if I made one and upsets my partner. She actually said that if she admits fault it makes her a bad person which she is not and theres never a wrong way of doing something..people can just have different perceptions so only one person views it as wrong.

    Another huge problem is the gas lighting. Many times when I question her behaviour or cold attitude towards me, she would use the strangest most contradicting excuse to cover it up which by default to any rational thinker to be angry, upset and confused..only after a day the real truth comes out to explain her actions. Everything would have been fine and manageable and resolved if the real reason was stated at beginning and we work through it. When I question her why use all those excuses at the start and now change and say its because of another reason, I will always get ” well what i really mean now is the most current reason, you can believe what you want if you think I was lying” When she tells people about our problems..she only tells them a portion of it..not the whole story of the things she said to me during, her reasonings and behaviour..so people always view me as the crazy one who makes a deal out of small things

    1. James, I fully relate to this. My wife of half a year and relationship of 3, started out by locking the door to the apartment when my dinner with my mother went over the time I said I should be back by. I saw the red flags. My mother did too of course. For some reason i continued feeding her abuse. Probably because my father was a narc too and I felt it not too out of the ordinary.

  63. My husband is described here to a T. I asked him to move out last year for 3 months as a trial separation. It was liberating to not see him everyday, but he was insane during that time. Constantly messaging and emailing me. Eventually he squrimed his way back in to our home, by presenting me with a promise ring that he would always love and protect me. He did this in front of my children so they could witness his promise! (How’s that for manipulation!!!) If I didn’t take him back my kids would think I was the bad guy. He promised to change. One year later, we are back to the same abuse and he is oblivious to what he is doing to me and my kids. I point it out sometimes, and he goes into a narcissistic rage!
    I feel so trapped. I want to leave, but I don’t want to break my children’s hearts as they don’t want us to get divorced. They love their Dad, even though he uses them as supply too. But they don’t know any different.

    I am trying to save money for the rest of this year, and then make a break for it. I know he won’t pay me child support, but he will have to pay school fees, as he will look bad to others if he doesn’t. I need the savings to cushion me when I leave.
    I have made my decision, but the hardest part is living this lie for the rest of the year. I can’t even hint at my plan as I can’t cope with the reaction, manipulation and verbal abuse that will ensue.
    I loved reading your article because now I have names for all the abuse I have suffered. I am exactly as you descibe, an honourary degree candidate – as I know more about narcissism than probably any other subject! HAHAHA!!!

    Thanks for your great article, and a place to verbalise,,, I love the support we can all find on the internet. it does help to know that we are not alone, but saddens me to see how prevalent this personality disorder is in our society today.

  64. ❤thank you.

    for you to use the term “mourn”.. almost hurt.
    i had two children with this jackass,
    we had the potential …
    being right there at all I’ve ever dreamed,
    gone.
    a lie.
    i realized (eventually) it was “the death ” of all i’d ever dreamed…wanted.

    i know one must get informed…
    you must educate yourself.

  65. I am married coming up to one year to a narcissist, together 10 and we have an 8 year old son.
    My ‘husband’ is a textbook narcassist and this is the first I’ve even wrote that!
    He is sleeping in another room as he has decided we arent speaking now.
    It started tonight, he was his usual grumpy self (after just coming of the phone to a colleague full of joy and chat) so I decided to try and share a story from Work I thought would make him smile. I had just started when he interrupted me for up and said “where’s my polling card?” And walked out of the room. He then said what did u say u can keep talking. I replied it was ok, as it was evident he had zero interest.
    I made no deal about this as I knew he wouldn’t be interested. He then proceeded to tell me it was more important what he was doing and something I was incapable of remembering and it wouldn’t have got done if he hadn’t done it there and then. He started to accuse of being a horrible person and said I always critique and criticise him, at this point I hadn’t said anything, just because he had interrupted me.
    He went on to shout at me and play the victim. Then sleep in the spare room refusing to give me the charger I needed to charge my phone to get up in the morning. After he threw it at me ‘because everything resolves round you’.
    My heart is sore, because this is just a normal day. I am not emotionally connected to him at all and I just want a happy marriage for my son. I am lost.

  66. When I first came across this site I was reading an article that seemed so relatable to me it could have been written by the fly on our wall that has been here listening and watching the drama unfold. I had that ah-ha moment and realized that there were answers to all the craziness, there was an explanation for the behavior and the abuse that continued on and on for 4 years. Exhausted and broken, but hopeful now that I can get out of this toxic relationship for good and start to live my life in peace. This information changed my life.

  67. Hi Bree Bonchay, LCSW,

    WOW! Excellent article. Took me 18 years to actually get out of a relationship with a Narcissistic Monster of a woman. BEST THING I EVER DID.

    Like you mentioned becoming you own advocate, and learning everything you can helps big time.

    It also helps if you learn like in my case I have mental illness to also learn about it and not run and hide from it. But, face it head on and learn to manage and cope with it. ADHD – Bipolar – Depression – Learning Disabilities – High functioning Autism, and level 8 to level ten chronic pain 24/7. So, much I need to be aware of and keep everyone in my life who love me and I love in return in the loop and build and keep trust open and honest.

    Since 1995 I decided to devote my life to helping people learn how to do learn how to become Advocates of their own loves. Health – Consumer – and more. How to be good patience with medical professionals, and how to be aware of health professionals that are not fully paying attention to the the actual patient, and just going on PEER to PEER notes, information while not really listening to the what the patient in front of them is saying… Took just over 12 years to diagnose my back issue… While I made it clear as day what it was that caused it, what I was experiencing, and all those little things Doctors, Therapists – Physical AND Psychological, and Psychiatric medical professionals.

    By the way I really like this WordPress layout you use, I have a WordPress based site http://www.abilitv1.com that is a disability social network… Make that one in progress. But, this Blog/Journal you write is something I would really love to link or feature in my site for people to have more ways to access this fantastic insight you provide.

    Again – WOW you really do know your stuff, and you nail it on the head when you say we need to become EXPERTS or PHD’s or otherwise acknowledged as the people to go to for ACTUAL experience and life experience not just BOOK knowledge memorize in order to pass some equivalency test to show the college they are in they can recite what was found in some books. And, frankly – in my 46 years of life – NOTHING beats the School of Hard Knocks. Nothing.

    I am Jon Holtz-Revels and bring more life experience than I ever imagined to the table, and freely share it.

  68. Great article. I am currently married and dealing with this everyday. He has secluded me from family and any friends I did have. I I’ve no one but him now. I am a stay at home mom, as well as medical problems. So I rely on him for everything. I am stuck. I don’t see a way out of this for me. We have 3 boys, 2 of them are aspergers. Which I suspect myself to be an aspie as well…. So I have my own anxieties and issues of my own as well as what’s my husband puts on me…. Any suggestions for finding help???????

  69. ..when i did not understand what was going in with my long distance relationship with an N..i was confused..drained..frustrated and feeling like on option..i knew and felt something was off..it’s like on a rollercoaster ride not knowing the next loop and turn..and drops..but when i finally stopped reaching out to her..i tried to find answers..and finding all of this information all over the net..it was jaw-dropping..i was thinking if she was reading the same articles and use it to discard me..everything was so exact..word for word..point by point..its right to a T..

  70. Oh Bree. I appreciate your book and article more than you know. I was married to one for ten years. I had no idea. I was making excuses for him all the time and trying to be the “good wife”. I became co-dependent and took his Abuse thinking something was wrong with me. He blamed me for doing better than him in our careers. He had to be the victim of everything. Whenever he went to counseling, once they even touched on the subject of him possibly being a narcissist, he stopped going saying “it isn’t right for me.” Eventually, I saw the light with help of your book and managed to build back my independence. After one last outbreak of violence, I was strong enough to kick him out. He proceeded to threaten me to the point the police became involved. While the police were here, he called to continue threatening me the cop took the phone from me to address him. He proceeded to threaten the officer! Absolute madness. The police were little to no help in the matter.

    After kicking him out in 11/2013, his constant harassment continued. I have so many recorded voicemails, emails, etc I saved and reported to the police. Nothing happened. He found someone new quickly, got remarried, and started his manipulation with the new wife to convince her I was the narcissistic sociopath. It even got to the point they tried to sue me for $1.375 million! For what? Litigation and mediation followed and they didn’t get a dime. I spent over $15k for legal representation for nothing. Even after that, with an agreement never to mention, allude, comment or be within the 500 feet of me, the harassment continued. It seemed I couldn’t get away from this narcissist no matter what I did.

    Within a year of the lawsuit, being the victim he is, he lost his job and blamed me for that, cashed out his retirement, loaded up his credit cards, started to try and use my credit, and continued to bash me online. I lost a promotion at work because of his online torments. I had to change all my numbers three times, work included, all my emails I have used for fifteen years, block him and threw wife everywhere, and shut down all social media accounts. Without any outlet and realizing he had no money left and broke, he hanged himself.

    Now his new wife is convinced I am responsible. She has started a campaign to create a new law to help protect people against online stalking and cyber bullying. I am all for it! But she is using me as the poster child of a narcissistic sociopath when the two of them are really the problem. I am being branded a murderer. She has me listed everywhere now online as such, violating our litigation agreement. But because she is broke, I guess she doesn’t care. She really believed he was the victim. It is so sad.

    Even in his death, I can’t seem to get away from this. I have moved on its my life and our kids but having this hang over my head is upsetting. There is no justice.

    1. I told mine off. It was right out of the blue too. I then told her not to contact me in any way. I ended with, I’m done!

  71. Does anyone know of any Narc survivor abuse groups in the UK that are currently running? Many thanks for any info. In particular I’m dealing with a high level Narc and sadistic FIL and cult like In law family that have tried to ruin me for over 14 years. I would be massively relieved if I could have to real contact with others who struggle daily with this type of issue and give and receive moral support for it.

  72. Is the person I’m suspecting of being a narcissist. really a narcissist? Or am I the narciissist? Is it possible that both people have narcissistic traits… ?

    1. The simple fact that you’re asking that question is proof enough that you’re not a Narcissist. A Narcissist won’t usually view themselves with introspection. They aren’t concerned with right or wrong. They don’t question their own fairness. Their goal is to get everything they want without giving in at all. This includes a very reasonable compromise.

  73. I have read, more than I’d like to admit, articles and such on narsasitic people and I have to give you credit where credit is due. Your work is spot on!!! I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to stop reading and go wake this man up I have been with for over 10 yrs and just punch him in the face. I have a broader vocabulary than most ppl I know. The way i describe things to him and others about the things he does/doesn’t do can range from extremely profound and deep places, sarcastic and hateful, to extremely funny defending on a number of factors. I was astonished at the number of my words as well as theories we’re jumping off the page back at me. My feelings were/still all over the place. It feels good to know that I’m not alone and I was right all along. I’m still in the vicious cycle because years of mental abuse, isolation, degradation, humiliation, shame of myself and inability add well as courage to leave FOR GOOD that is left me like an overdrawn bank account. I had insufficient funds stamped on my forehead like a scarlet letter or so I thought. Anyways I begged, I pleaded, I cried, I laughed, I insulted, I sought from compassion, regret, doubt, anger and hostility all the questions and accusations, you have listed in many of your writings, yet you already know I got nothing but confusion and madness in return. He is/was my second husband we met when my children went to stay with their father and the woman he left us for after 13 years. I was a mess because my children had never been away from me and I was angry but I could never keep them from him no matter what he did. So my current ex husband whom turned into my boyfriend without a day apart from divorce. Yeah that sounds just as messed up as it is. I promise. Lol I won’t give his real name so I’ll call him Dick. Dick was there when I needed someone most. Showered me with any and everything and I loved it even though he got under my skin with his know it all b.s. I figured tge good outweighed the bad. I know now I was SOOO stupid. Anyways after years of abuse I decided to step out of my marriage because he was never home always working or his hobbies came first. No cuddling, no time together I was lonely. It took everything I had to set up an account to talk to tge opposite sex. My daughter laughed abd made fun of me because of how shy and awkward I was. Eventually I got the hang of it and I had fun. I didn’t care if he came home,yet I was still hurting because now I had tasted some freedom and affection yet terrified to leave. I ended up meeting a guy who not only worshipped me but sold drugs. Long story short I did him and drugs TOO well. I lost ALL i loved and valued my children one to the streets and one to their father. So I was even more ashamed. This entire two years dick chased me, stalked me, begged me to come back and I refused I stayed in my new hell cause I was high, numb, and even harder on myself than before. A few times my new man went to jail dick miraculously found out and found me so I actually did go with him. That only lasted until my dude got out then I took off. By the time I was last arrested my new/old dude was locked up again and not getting out soon and I was the drug dealer going to jail. I was relieved at first to be out of the game that was until I was facing 5 yrs prison for violating a 10 yr probation sentence after I’d done 9 1/2 years successfully. WOW!! Also I had new charges of manufacturer and delivery. My daughter is still on the streets but now on the needle. I’m horrified because she’s prostituting as well. CAN YOU IMAGINE MY GUILT? I was the soccer mom. My house was the safe haven other kids were welcomed. I have fought ppl with fists and knives for my children. Now I’m dying inside because I have sobered up, time to think, and know I’ve ruined my children’s lives. By the way my daughter got out of safp for drug charges yesterday so she’s clean and safe! Thank you heavenly father! ! I was sentenced 4 years and God’s grace got the others dropped. Dick stood by me in prison. I changed and found my soft side again

  74. Wow! This was written about my life. I was with her for 26 yrs. I thought she was the love of my life. And she said she was so in love with me. We got married, then I instantly started to see the person she really was. She would start fights over the smallest of things. I didn’t light her cigarette fast enough, I put a quarter in a parking meter instead of using the free parking, I let an elderly lady off the bus before her, and it wasn’t just an eye roll, she would totally explode into fits of rage, hate and discontent. We would go on wonderful vacations and she would always find the most insucnificant little reason to start a fight and the fun was over for the rest of the trip. It was mind boggling. I couldn’t understand this behavior and would try to talk to her about it but she never wanted to discuss it. She would immediately go to defense mode and many times she wouldn’t talk to me for days if you can believe that. Then she’d say I never listened or never wanted to talk. I ALWAYS had to be the one to say let’s not fight anymore or I’d end up saying I’m sorry for the fight she started. In 26 yrs she only apoligized to me twice, and i had to ask for those. They were too ironclad for her to fight her way out of. Then just like that she would go into nice mode again, but it never lasted long. And because of the length of time we were together there were hundreds of these episodes. She would also do mean and cruel things to me (name calling, cursing, and just no appreciation) then turn it around and act like thats what i was doing to her. But I wasn’t ! She was always saying i was controlling. But I let her handle all the finances, and always asked for her opinion or thoughts. A controlling person would not let their partner handle all their money. Right ? I thought I was starting to go crazy. “Why do I keep staying around ?” Id ask myself. Or “how can someone who says they love you treat you like that” I was very confused. I knew I loved her very much and could always see the beautiful person that was inside her but that person never arrived. I put up with her abuse year after year until I could take no more so i filed for divorce. I thought i was finally free but my prison sentance was far from over. I helped her find a very nice new home in the country. I put in a sprinkler system and landscaped it for her. We decided to continue to see each other and try to reconcile. But we still always had trouble communicating and fighting. She would always throw the divorce in my face and how I put her through hell. She could never think of anything she ever did wrong. And she believed it. This lasted for another 5 yrs. I was back under her spell and totally in love with her again. (Why? What is wrong with me?) Then the beginning of the end started. She told me she was moving her sister and her husband from another town into her place to help with money and yard maintenance. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea but this was her decision to make not mine. Three months later her sister came to me crying saying her husband and sis were totally ignoring her and making her feel unwanted. He also in that short of time put over $25,000 into my gals property in permanent structures. A remodeled patio, new fence, new shed and a large metal shop. This guy moved fast and clearly had his sights set on my gal. His wife was understandably upset, and when she voiced her opinion she was immediately attacked by both her husband and my woman. (Who by this time wasnt mine anymore) Then he asked his wife to move out. I asked my gal how he could kick her sister outta her house and her reply was “I’m not getting in the middle of their fight” and just like that the sister was gone and filing for a divorce. My gal said she had a clear conscious because her sister left on her own, she didn’t kick her out. She shows absolutely no remorse or guilt. How could anyone do that to their own sister (and me) not to mention all the rest of our family. Nobody can understand what she is doing. And nobody approves of it either. It was clearly obvious what was going on but my girl kept trying to convince me nothing was going on so she could keep me on the hook. I was crushed and heartbroken. I tried to believe her, but kept catching her in a web of lies and deceit. I finally found my self respect again and told her where to stick it. After 26 yrs it was very difficult and like cutting my right arm off but it was absolutely necessary. I was still uncertain who’s fault it was for our failure. Was it her ? was it me ? Probably both. I except I’m not perfect. Then I started doing alot of reading and I found your article about narcissists. You hit the nail on the head. Now i understand why she acted the way she did and I know she would never have changed. I now know I did everything possible and gave 100% to a relationship that never had a chance and I have no regrets and am thankful that’s it’s over. I am finally starting to heal, I know its going to take time, but it’s worth it. I want to Thank You ! For educating me and saving my mind, spirit and life. Sincerely Bryan

    1. Dear Bryan,

      Your story is much like mine. I was married to NPD for almost 28, if you count the 2 it took to get divorced, during which he adopted a scorched earth policy regarding our family, home and finances so there was nothing left.

      His “Waterloo” was being set up by a business partner who took him (and thus me and the kids) for almost everything in 07. Then he turned his anger and self-loathing on me and began encouraging our daughter to do likewise. She was hospitalized for self-injury in 08. In 09, he began inviting me to kill myself for the good of our family because I was bipolar, unstable and abusive to our daughter. He said he was locking me out of the house at her request. I knew it was bait, an attempt to make me (and her) become hysterical. And there were guns in our home because my ex hunted. I didn’t go back.

      I lost everything overnight–my home, identity, possessions, family and most cruelly, my daughter. This will be my 8th Christmas without her. She has cut off anyone who has supported me, including her brother and my parents, who are now in their mid 80’s and bereft. The damage goes on and on.

      I agree that this is an excellent article. It captures both the behavior and my recovery process. When my life crashed and burned there was almost nothing on the internet about NPD or narcissistic abuse. Though I had many symptoms for PTSD, they were interpreted by a misogynist culture as bipolar disorder. My ex orchestrated it all. Now you can choose from all kinds of sources and blogs and forums about NPD and CPTSD. There are programs for dealing with the trauma. I’ve watched them all materialize the last 6 or 7 years. Find the resources that work for you because there’s no single path out of this hell.

      Above all, please know this: You did nothing to cause or deserve what you got. This is not a 50/50, he said/she said kinda thing. Your ex’s behavior (i.e. the moment she didn’t have you to control anymore, she began narcissistically abusing her sister) shows the level of her disorder. Sadly, it’s also damaging you and your kids by proxy. Do what you can for her sister.

      I think those of us who spent the majority of our first adulthoods (20+ years) on NPD fall into a special category. Our cognitive dissonance and exhaustion is more pronounced. Our CPTSD is more acute. We often lack the resources to rebuild our lives both emotionally and financially. Had my life crashed and burned at 40, there would have been time to start over. But I was 55 at the time of my divorce and had enormous physical complications which resulted in a double hip replacement, so it’s also taken me a lot longer to heal in a variety of ways.

      You probably need to heal in a lot of different ways, too. Give yourself time. Talk to your kids. Get help for you and/or them if necessary, but do so with the knowledge that the therapeutic community is really just coming to terms with the pervasiveness of narcissistic trauma and what to do about it. Take a look at the work of Bessel van der Kolk.

      Good luck in reclaiming your life.

  75. Thank you so much Bree. I have been scouting the Web do answers as to why? And you have given me the most definitive of what I have suffered. I am almost afraid to say and am ashamed that in the end I struck out at my wife after 13 years… I live in regret of this forever. I am a man and I swear this is exactly what happened to me, but I could never explain to anyone. Thank you so much

  76. Thank you so much for your site.
    I literally can’t catch my breath after reading the material.
    Thank you for validating the hell that was my existence trying to love someone
    who embodies every single aspect of what you describe.
    I thought I was crazy…

  77. What if the narcissistic person is the single mother of your grandchildren and keeps the kids from you if you question her about leaving them alone so often? She is all these kids have now and I am so worried about them.

    1. Sam, If you are concerned that the children are being neglected or are in any sort of danger, please report this to your local child protective services agency. An investigation will be done if the agency finds cause, and you can remain anonymous. You might also consult a family-law attorney in your area to find out what your rights may be with regard to seeing your grandchildren, particularly in light of the fact that you suggest that the children’s support system is limited and you are showing such concern for their well-being. I wish you well.

  78. You have put words to my life, thank you. I lived exactly what you describe. When I finally realized through research what the narc was, I grieved for what could have been, and then I moved on. I am 53 now and starting my life over from scratch. I could have done without the last 10 years but I will take the lessons learned and do something with them. I hope to help people out of bad situations. I am working on my psychology degree right now.

    1. I should think so; you are likely a source of supply if your significant other is a narcissist. The narcissist, in my experience, demonstrates the same pattern with all of his/her significant relationships that provide narcissistic supply. In my case, my narcopath ex used, abused, and manipulated both me and his alternate supply — a female acquaintance with whom he became romantically involved. I know this because he disclosed to me lies he’d told her in order to keep her on the hook. As long as you are involved, the narcissist will continue toying with your mind and emotions.

  79. Wow. Thank you. You just described my relationship and the effects of my relationship on my heart and mind. I am stunned how accurate your article is.

    Thank you.

  80. “My” covert narc had a gaslighting technique that was so insidious that it took me 6 years to see it for what it was. I am not even sure I can describe it properly, but I will try. I always wanted to spend time with him, be taken out by him, go places with him – even just mundane things like shopping. Most of the time he’d find excuses not to. Then, every now and then, he’d ring up and invite me to go along somewhere with him, in order to create ‘incidents’ out of thin air. He did this by beginning the outing by treating me with a mixture of courtesy and charm, then act extremely irritable and moody, constantly either offended or annoyed by everything about me. My *every* expression, gesture and comment is cited and leaped upon by him as the wrong thing to say, as a criticism of him or his choices. So the entire outing became a misery, and I always ended up in tears, trying desperately to find some way not to annoy him. If I stayed silent then I was “sulking” and if I said anything then it was the wrong thing to say or the wrong tone of voice, or the wrong look on my face when I said it. Sometimes he’d actually blow up in a rage over nothing, then blame me for ‘provoking’ or ‘baiting’ him and I genuinely had no idea what I had said that fitted that description.
    If I interacted with a waiter or shop assistant, he’d wait until the person was gone and then tell me off for the way I spoke to the person. I would protest and deny it (of course!) and he’d sit back very calmly and say, “My god, you can’t even see it, can you?” He’d say I was “talking down” to a waiter, for example, or giving a “dirty look” to a salesman. Then he’d say he was “embarrassed to be seen with me”, because of the way I was. I would literally sit and sob, because I had displeased him, because we were out of sorts with one another, because he was telling me what a horrible person I was – and I believed him because I would see no reason for him to make up lies. Plus I loved him – adored him, admired him, and so would take heed of what he said about me.
    He would sit and watch me sob in a shop or a restaurant and would not comfort me. I was a strong, successful woman in her mid-50s – a business owner, a published author, and yet, just by his words and his scolds, he reduced me to feeling like a little girl who has been told off by her daddy.
    By the end of the outing he’d drop me off outside my house, shaking with fear, usually still crying, and tell me that I had “ruined his day” and our outing, and no, he did not want to come inside for a cup of tea, as I had “put him in a bad mood”. He’d start our outing all happy, opening the car door for me, kissing me, smiling at me, and by the end he was in a dead strop, refusing to speak to me, letting me open the door myself, then revving up loudly and pulling away with a screech. Sometimes, he would not even say goodbye, just sit in the car staring out of the side window, waiting in silence for me to get out. I would then spend the rest of the day or evening in pieces, sobbing into a cushion, howling with emotional pain, sometimes even phoning the Samaritans. He’d go off and enjoy the rest of his day, which, I later discovered, included watching porn and searching sex contact sites for other women.
    After that, he would always wait for me to phone or email him. If I didn’t, then he didn’t. I have sometimes left it 3 days and he hasn’t contacted me. He made me feel that he was waiting for me to apologise for ruining his day. Then the next time we met up, I would be walking on eggshells *even more* in a desperate attempt NOT to irritate and anger him. So I would be simpering, extremely nervous, nauseatingly sycophantic, letting him have his way instantly over every little thing, and showering him with compliments so that he’d stay in a good mood. I was petrified of saying or doing anything that might piss him off. I would spend the entire time with him terrified of provoking his wrath.

    But I finally realised WHY he created all this angst between us. I think it was for three reasons. (1) to see me struggle to stay on good terms with him (2) to destroy my self confidence in the way I interact in public and (3) to show me that we “just don’t get on” and so it’s better that he did not take me out anywhere.

  81. “My” covert narc had a gaslighting technique that was so insidious that it took me 6 years to see it for what it was. I am not even sure I can describe it properly, but I will try. I always wanted to spend time with him, be taken out by him, go places with him – even just mundane things like shopping. Most of the time he’d find excuses not to. Then, every now and then, he’d ring up and invite me to go along somewhere with him, in order to create ‘incidents’ out of thin air. He did this by beginning the outing by treating me with a mixture of courtesy and charm, then act extremely irritable and moody, constantly either offended or annoyed by everything about me. My *every* expression, gesture and comment is cited and leaped upon by him as the wrong thing to say, as a criticism of him or his choices. So the entire outing became a misery, and I always ended up in tears, trying desperately to find some way not to annoy him. If I stayed silent then I was “sulking” and if I said anything then it was the wrong thing to say or the wrong tone of voice, or the wrong look on my face when I said it. Sometimes he’d actually blow up in a rage over nothing, then blame me for ‘provoking’ or ‘baiting’ him and I genuinely had no idea what I had said that fitted that description.
    If I interacted with a waiter or shop assistant, he’d wait until the person was gone and then tell me off for the way I spoke to the person. I would protest and deny it (of course!) and he’d sit back very calmly and say, “My god, you can’t even see it, can you?” He’d say I was “talking down” to a waiter, for example, or giving a “dirty look” to a salesman. Then he’d say he was “embarrassed to be seen with me”, because of the way I was. I would literally sit and sob, because I had displeased him, because we were out of sorts with one another, because he was telling me what a horrible person I was – and I believed him because I would see no reason for him to make up lies. Plus I loved him – adored him, admired him, and so would take heed of what he said about me.
    He would sit and watch me sob in a shop or a restaurant and would not comfort me. I was a strong, successful woman in her mid-50s – a business owner, a published author, and yet, just by his words and his scolds, he reduced me to feeling like a little girl who has been told off by her daddy.
    By the end of the outing he’d drop me off outside my house, shaking with fear, usually still crying, and tell me that I had “ruined his day” and our outing, and no, he did not want to come inside for a cup of tea, as I had “put him in a bad mood”. He’d start our outing all happy, opening the car door for me, kissing me, smiling at me, and by the end he was in a dead strop, refusing to speak to me, letting me open the door myself, then revving up loudly and pulling away with a screech. Sometimes, he would not even say goodbye, just sit in the car staring out of the side window, waiting in silence for me to get out. I would then spend the rest of the day or evening in pieces, sobbing into a cushion, howling with emotional pain, sometimes even phoning the Samaritans. He’d go off and enjoy the rest of his day, which, I later discovered, included watching porn and searching sex contact sites for other women.
    After that, he would always wait for me to phone or email him. If I didn’t, then he didn’t. I have sometimes left it 3 days and he hasn’t contacted me. He made me feel that he was waiting for me to apologise for ruining his day. Then the next time we met up, I would be walking on eggshells *even more* in a desperate attempt NOT to irritate and anger him. So I would be simpering, extremely nervous, nauseatingly sycophantic, letting him have his way instantly over every little thing, and showering him with compliments so that he’d stay in a good mood. I was petrified of saying or doing anything that might piss him off. I would spend the entire time with him terrified of provoking his wrath.

    But I finally realised WHY he created all this angst between us. I think it was for three reasons. (1) to see me struggle to stay on good terms with him (2) to destroy my self confidence in the way I interact in public and (3) to show me that we “just don’t get on” and so it’s better that he did not take me out anywhere.

  82. Thank you for this.

    Everything from the silent treatment down to you explaining the progression of realization of what’s actually going on and seeing things in a different light is exactly where I am at. As I continued reading your ending my eyes begin to swell up. Because I am a man married to a narcissistic woman who I love dearly yet I see us headed seemingly full throttle down the exact path you explain. I’m sad, but thank you for sharing your and many others understanding of this.

  83. This is the best article on the subject, I have ever read. Thanks so much. I recognise both my mother and son here. I broke with my mother 20 years ago and even at 93, she does not give up, sending me guilt inducing letters for being a bad heartless woman. I get mad and want to reply to defend myself but I know it is a trick to get me back. It happened so many times before, I am now wise.
    My son is harder to bear. I don’t feed his narcissism and so he has given me the boot. On FB he had 600+ adoring friends and he charms them with his intellectual articles every day. For me he has no time.Little do these friends know what a monster he has been to me and some of his best and most honest employees.
    This is a terrible sickness and FB is a great platform for these empty boasters.

  84. 14 months of slavery , mind control haressment by sevan and sali madadian and babys mom jessica kanz ans edwin dergregorian poisned me , set the whole glendale ca , 91206 and made millions kisnapping my dayghter yvette dora kane arzmanians and turned her mom to prostetude nikki nieves

  85. That may be the BEST detailed explanation of what we go thru discovering we are/were in an abusive toxic relationship with a narcissist that I’ve ever read. Really …. Well done. Couldn’t have written it better myself, in fact i know i couldn’t have. Thank you!

  86. Great article. I don’t know for sure but I think my recent ex was a major league narcissist/borderline. Those 8 points all ring true. Now she (being a great projector) would say they describe my behavior. Not true but sometimes after months of crazy making nonsense I would lose my tempter. Sadly my life has been destroyed: i lost my marriage (for better or worse), house, job /career and 30!years of considerable savings. My memoir covers this in accurate detail. I blame myself more
    Than anyone but the factual content speaks volumes I think.

  87. Hi my name is Mike. I had a relationship with a married woman. I met her at the gym. One day she told me all guys should be like me always nice and willing to help others. She was attractive,and it great shape, and started to wear sexy outfits and told me she did this for me. Then she started parking next to me. One night we walked out after the gym and we kissed. She told me that next we will be doing this in my truck and then in a hotel room. That’s exactly what happened. For two mouths she was the love of my life she loved everything about me! I spent thousands of dollars on her anything she wanted. She told me she only married her husband because it just seemed right. She told me it’s like sleeping with her bother, and she only has sex with him because she has to. She wanted to divorce him and be with me and I believe her. Then she started to change she didn’t take about being with me anymore. The she started talking about me to her husband about me. Now he started getting involved. Now she said she has to be with him. I my birthday she discarded me just like that. I’m so hurt and emotional wreck, because why. Here’s some of what I experienced ( she always had to have makeup on lots of it, always had to be told how beautiful she looks, never spend a dime on me, intimacy was cold, this is her third marriage, she always had to be in front of the mirror when working out. I can do this all day . I truly believe she could be a somatic narcissistic. I thought this behavior was because we were having a affair. My Question is will a narcissist treat someone the same in an affair? Please help me!

  88. I feel foolish for allowing my ex to come back. I had learned so much about narcissistic abuse (he has a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder), but I still struggled with self-blame. I was experiencing several major life changes, one that we were both a part of, he came clean with me about past lies, I let him come back and the cycle continued until I was discarded again. There is no point having hope in narcissistic abusers. Whether or not they have the capacity to change, or would if they do does not matter. Every time I allowed him to re-enter my life it was worse. I know that BPD and NPD are two seperate disorders, but the symptoms sometimes overlap, and I saw the same traits in my ex that are mentioned here. Even as I sit here in an emotional shambles I long for answers that I know I will never get. It is very painful. Thank you for this article. Time to start the healing process, again, and stick with it this time.

  89. I have a dilemma. My wife believes that I am a narcissist but I am not. She had a major manic episode and was violent against our children. She was taken from our home by the police but was allowed to go to be picked up by a friend. I didn’t want her in a mental hospital. With the help of her friend she filed for divorce right before the holidays. We didn’t have any problems before this episode since she was diagnosed with a mental illness over five years ago, the last time she did a violent act in front of the children. So now she reads these things as justification for not taking her medication and drinking alcohol (which she hid all over the house, we found so many bottles after she was removed). My family is being torn apart.

    So how do I prove to her that I am not a narcissist? she doesn’t speak to me. I have to care for the emotional well being of the children (10 and 5y/o). She lives with a married couple and is unable to live by herself. But she swears by your articles that I am this even though before her breakdown I was her best friend, she was mine and we were the love of each other’s lives. I’m devastated and don’t know what to do as our family is being destroyed with the help of her friends.

    1. Dear Jorge,

      I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you’re not going to be able to prove to her you aren’t the narcissist. She’s the narcissist and is projecting it onto you. This is just one more thing, in a probably long list of stuff, she has accused you of, blamed you for or used to justify the reality she creates in her mind.

      I am in a very similar situation, only reversed. I believe my ex had a complete mental break when he lost a business in 07. In 08 he began inviting me to kill myself for the good of our family because I was bipolar and abusive. He tried to get me hospitalized in 09 and screamed at me all the way home when they wouldn’t admit me.

      He has also manipulated our daughter into believing his story. She is now 25 and we haven’t spoken in 7 years. The day before a proposed meeting with us over a year ago, her god mom chanced to see a post on her FB page about staying away from narcissists. It was made by the girlfriend her dad acquired almost immediately after filing for divorce. My daughter stood us up. Her god mom said, “I guess you’re the narcissist”.

      This is why living with NPD is like being in a hall of mirrors. It’s hard to know whether you’re looking at your reflection or theirs and everything is distorted. The only thing you can do is walk out and see what it looks like outside.

      Good luck to your and your kids.

  90. My narc is an attorney who isn’t charming or handsome. In fact I would have never pegged him for what he is because I believed the NPD was always attractive, prone to rouguish habits and unreliable. Lord knows I have dated enough of these kind to know my choices were a real part of my problems. However, I’d only say a couple of my many beaus over the years were seriously disordered. Some had mental health issues like addictions, bipolar disorder, adult autism, and an all to obvious need for females willing to enable their Peter Pan syndromes, but I had never had any of the overtly destructive and hostile circumstances that I did with this man.
    There were plenty of red flags from the start. I understood he was sexually screwed up and apparently insecure. At the time we met I was looking for a mature stable man to merge my life with for the sake of my young child whose father was indeed a menace with an antisocial personality. Reeling from the rape that produced our son, his stalking and the system that allowed him to abuse me in the face of POs and his own lengthy record, I was happy to meet this homely single dad who was an attorney, a home owner and a fan of the things I loved most like literature, music, film and law. We had a lot in common but every time I turned around I was blindsided by things he did. We only saw each other once a week if that because we were busy professionals.
    The sex was great for him but not so good for me. Since it wasn’t a long ordeal and my appetite was not very strong it seemed like a small sacrifice. The kid he had and I were close and my son adored him. But I soon realized his friends hated me on sight and I couldn’t understand it. There were many things I wouldn’t understand and I often ended the relationship because it felt as if I was being used which was absolutely true. Still I agreed to remain friends and this ultimately led back to intimacy. He knew how to evoke my empathy and I am prone to being too forgiving and projecting my own good will upon others. I assumed his life of being rejected because of his lack of appeal was the reason he was often so insensitive and selfish.
    Several years into the relationship he moved 700 miles away, came by for sex and afterwards made it fairly clear he wasn’t really interested in maintaining a bond with me much less having me move up there when his son finished high school. For some reason the kid hated me and his father later confessed it was because he told them all the bad things I had done to him. I asked him what bad things, and he pointed out that I had dumped him.
    Well, he’d done some dumping too but I figured it was what it was and went on with my life which was too rich by then to be overly invested in romance anyhow. This man soon came back for visits which I discouraged as romantic for some time. But then he proposed as my professional life was being mobbed and destroyed because I was doing the right thing and blowing the whistle on abuse and corruption.
    I was touched by the proposal but wary. Sure enough he dumped me for no reason in the most cruel and horrible way. My son, who still loves the guy in his way, was devastated and assumed he was to blame. It was enough to cause my nervous breakdown. And the next year was an awful one. He came down many times but I refused to see him, but them my son had become a victims of bullies at school. I was unjustly terminated and our house went into foreclosure.
    I asked the man if we could stay with him awhile until my equity was paid and I could find work in the much more peaceful area 700 miles north of LA. He said okay and I volunteered a statement agreeing to leave whenever he asked so he didn’t worry about the nightmare I had when I took in borders in an effort to save my home. We were not sleeping together and I was no longer very fond of him but this act of generosity was hard to ignore. The first night I was there I went to bed in the boys room but this man came looking for me. I understood that to keep the peace I would have to indulge him. I did so. I then got up and proceeded to spend the mornings in his office sorting files and cleaning up his mess. I began buying and preparing meals that made us diabetes and HBP disappear. His doctors marveled and he lost weight. My son was s happy and the man seemed to be too. I had no space to call my own in a large house. I had no friends, but for the colleagues who were victims of the same unethical machine I was. We were fighting that together and I was deeply immersed in research, blogging, outreach and legal recourse. When the man asked me to marry him, he did so in front of my son. I was already looking at places to rent with the equity on the way but worried about finding employment because I was now blacklisted by the last job and still less than well .
    I decided to accept his offer because life was better and everyone was happier. I was committed to this marriage before there was a wedding and I think the two years that followed were pretty happy. We did things together, I encouraged the man to accept positions that helped him get ahead financially and met his mom, dad and other family. We are not young but when my fiancé decided to put a band together I was supportive. I never felt threatened by his interests or worded about him being faithful. I saw that he ogled young women and made a joke of it. If I caught him looking at a girl while he was with me he owed me a martini, To this day he owes e enough martinis to keep drunk well into the next decade.

    His mother became very ill right around the time we were supposed to have the wedding and I went to Sacramento to look after her as she died. None of her kids were very committed to spending time with her which was sad. She and I became close and she told me all the things she regretted. My future father in law left her to raise 4 kids alone and she worked two jobs to provide for them while he indulged himself with women, booze, drugs and a Disneyland dad’s high esteem. My husband wasn’t always unwilling to see how much his mother gave up for him and his siblings. She was not always patient or generous in the way they expected her to be but one assumes her children would become adults and gain insight into the poor woman’s situation.
    They didn’t.
    Her death was draining for me.
    By the time she was gone my wedding plans were reduced to a rushed courtroom ceremony and a reception that included my son and two of my new husband’s church friends at a diner . I didn’t complain, as it was obviously a rough time for my mate and we had better things to spend time, energy and money on. We were married in late August. I was informed of our honeymoon plans in October. I had no say in what we did which atten a writers retreat so h could find an agent for his novel. With a few days notice and no experience with these things, I went into it completely unprepared to win an agents interest in my project which was much more complex and important than pleasure reading because it was journalism that exposed a corrupt and lawless public system.
    Ever since the wedding my husband seemed to wear a sneer, and he spent his weekends and evenings elsewhere. He had writing groups, band practices, open mics and a freshman poetry class that made no sense because he was widely published and far beyond the place these kids were. An adult workshop would have been more fruitful.
    At the time, I didn’t question any of it. He had told me not to work and as I invested all my equity and a few settlements from my previous employer into our family, he was losing the positions he had won with my encouragement thanks to his bad behavior, sloppy practices and sexism.
    I was no longer working for him and with only a $1000 a month left to contribute I began looking for work. We were married less than two months when the tantrums began. Any thing could send him into a rage. He began making trips without letting me know they were planned, he took off to spend the night in another county where he took cases and my son no longer enjoyed the attention he had before. I assumed it was a midlife crisis which is not unusual after ones mother dies. He was almost 60. He hated being a lawyer and I had suggested we sell the house, get a trailer in a less affluent area and that he tale fewer cases and do research and appearances while I found a full time job. He never told anyone about that, but he did make a lot of my unemployment and lack of money when he was smearing me soon after the wedding.
    When he left in mid march I was numb and miserable but for some stupid reason unable to see that I should be making my own plans to escape which is what he had been doing before we ever said I do. One night he was waiting for any excuse to storm out and when my son refused to wash dishes ( as my husband knew he would) he left. On a hunch I went to his Facebook page for answers. To my horror, I discovered he and his flying monkeys were cruscifying me and had been for weeks.
    The following afternoon he announced our divorce in an update. I was on the house computer and impulsively looked at his email which was open. This is where I found a letter from an agent agreeing to take the mystery and an email exchange between my husband and a girl in his writing group who made it clear she was not interested in him in a response to a love letter he’d written her a few onths after our wedding. I emailed the girl explaining that I was only looking to understand what was going on and had no issues with her. She called me ten minutes later and proceeded to explain what an asshole my husband had been, telling her and the group the marriage was a business arrangement and acting like his hitting on her was not wrong at all. She was 19 and had put up with him for more than a year.
    She believed the FB smear was for her benefit and to some extent she was right. However, when she stood up for me and thwarted his offers to get a restraining order against me so I would leave her alone, she became a target. I couldn’t believe that these middle aged women were condoning what he had pulled on me then jumping on this poor girl and calling her a neurotic tease.
    Later I found the lengthy and lurid exchanges between my husband and my former student. This included them both exposing their private parts and discussing me in very unsettling terms. The relationship went back as longs as a decade and apparently escalated a great deal after the wedding. Because we were not wedded long, my ex tried to put us out on the street. To this day he contends I was evil an lawless for violating his privacy even though I never had in the course of our relationship and the accounts were open when I finally did investigate. What I also found was a lot of betrayal and lies in his messages to others. His journals, which were on the computer and scattered all over the house revealed far more. He had used me to gain access to my female students and for sex. He hated me. He had been engaged to someone else, involved with many other women and actively pursing as many chicks as he could all along.
    He had hoped to drive me to suicide and spent his days serenading baristas, ogling teenagers and indulging himself in fantasies about fame and females who were too upcountry to drink. It’s all he ever thought about. Sometimes he got a great laugh at how hard I was trying . At others he complained that I wasn’t young enough, thin enough or willing to have sex with him without being asked to. He said my job was toserve him and even though it was essentially all I did by then, it wasn’t enough. He decided that his luck with women had improved when he met me– he added seven more to the ten he had after he met me. He assumed that women prefers men who are taken and came to believe that he’d be able to trade up for this girl in the group when his mystery which featured her as its female lead was published. He blamed me for foiling this plan because I contacted her. To date the novel is not published and the girl got the university to ban him from the group meetings because he refused to let her be.
    He coerced me into divorce and got himself a bachelor pad where he entertained street walkers. He saw that his reputation was on the wane and tricked his last few client out of retainers so he could take a job as a public defender in the desert. He had told his band they could do whatever they wanted with me and allowed them to stay at the house. I grew close to one and helped him with his son who is about the same age as mine. Our relationship was always undermined by the ex and it was not exactly romantic. Eventually, we transcended that problem when I pointed out that the ex was always divisive and sneaky when he engaged this guy who is incredibly gifted and suffers from his own unfair share of heartaches.
    Now I am living on nearly nothing and facing homelessness as my slumlord just evicted me from our moldy hovel. My efforts to find work are futile though I have a couple of promising call backs in another county and my writing and art has been selling lately. I’m glad to be free of this man and to know all that I have learned in the course of these last few years. I even fell in love with someone over the summer but we are both too screwed up by our divorces to embark on anything now. Still, it gives me hope to love someone and have the few memories I have of that short time.
    My present circumstances are always haunted by the need to make that ex of mine answer for the terrible things he did to me and my kid. It feels like letting it go is a huge mistake and I am obligated to expose him. This is a great deal of effort for an issue that may never be resolved. I want to clear my name, make sure he never practices law again and have a public record of just how sketchy and evil he is. I know there is no closure . I understand this man is an empty vessel full of self perpetuated misery, but then again… he’s got a great job, money to enjoy and sex partners as well as a new band. I may be sleeping on concrete in the rain next month as my kid hustles job corp to save himself.
    Revenge seems right, but let’s get real, I cannot even afford that unless I do something as crazy and scary as he accuses me of being and I am not up to anything like that. Any suggestions?

  91. Survivors slowly accept that the person they were in love with was just a façade and never really existed. That statement is so true. Thank you Bree, for one of the best articles I have read on Narcissisim and believe me I have read many.

    1. Many thanks for sharing guys, at 65 years old and being married 31 years to the same man I just learned exactly what my problems are, I’m married to a narcissist who’s given me a life of torment and torture. I just won’t take it anymore, I’m ready to fight for my freedom.

  92. This information is so real…having a child with a narc who readily tells jst abt any n everyone of how much he loves me….yet he discreatly destroys my inner being beyond the understanding of many….even my mother is in agreement when he manages to twist conversations directed at his behaviour to how much of a controling, selfish drama queen i am.

    This is such a lonley n tortured place to be, been trying to get out for years but somehow im always roped bck into this cycle of right vs wrong. Now a baby is involved…how do i break free? How do i get me back? what lesson is to be learnt within this storm? Im so tired of being tired…m

  93. Wow, Bree!!! Thank you very much for these articles. All of what you write seems to describe exactly what I lived in this horrible relationship where I was left destroyed in pieces. I understand better now!

  94. Thank you so much for this article. I just got out of a relationship with a narcissist who made me think that I was the bad guy / narcissist / horrible person and I felt like I was going crazy. I actually had to call up ex boyfriends afterward to survey them to make sure I wasn’t the crazy one. I am so upset with myself because my dad was a narcissist so you’d think I’d be able to spot one a mile away. And the kicker is my ex writes a very successful blog on self help and one of the articles was about how to deal with a narcissist. The irony!

  95. So what do i do now that i have taken off these rose colored glasses and can see my life for what it is. For 7 years i have been through all this and more. I was so worn down that i did not want to live anymore i was so tired of the craziness i never understood. Tired of the convos that goes in circles always ending in me defending myself and not knowing why a conversation about the weather led to this. This is when i had no choice but to take off my glasses. I have allowed my narcissist husband to take away my identity, my love of life, and the love i have for myself. I no longer know who i am and who i was is just a faded memory. I realize now all those nice things were just a ploy to seclude me and make me totally dependant upon him. I have no where to go or even a way to get there. He is not the father of my daughters. I just know i dont want this anymore and every time he opens his mouth with words i feel hate instead of trying to understand because i dont care to understand anymore. I want to be the free bird i use to be. I tried to leave once and it was HELL! I have 3 teenage daughters with some needs. I can not just move to my moms small place and i cant afford to start on my own. As he has made sure to cover his tracks or stay a step ahead of me in all possible situations. (In which i never knew he had till i left. He had a lawyer and everything! I mean how did he know i would ever leave?) Plus the belief that he cant live without me. Am i keeping myself in this from being so weak? Am i the one who is crazy? Am i the one who is worthless because i feel pretty worthless. I know i do not want my daughters with a man like this. Yes he pays the bills and gives us a place to live bit i never knew mental torture would be a part of it.

  96. So enlightening. I had a narcissist as a psychotherapist. Things went very well until he hurt my feelings through an inappropriate and aggressive behaviour and I felt the need to discuss it with him. It happened in a therapy training group, and as you described, the whole group watched and kept their mouths shut. Some told me in private, they felt his reaction was inappropriate, some found excuses for him all along, depreciating my feelings and blaming me for being in a victim mode. My attempts to resolve the issue with the therapist in individual therapy led to pretty much all of the behaviours you described above: Telling me it was all my fault, my feelings were wrong and endangering the therapeutic relationship, right up to him diagnosing me with narcissism. It was an exceedingly destructive experience, and it took quite some time – and support – to gain enough clarity to end it. But I did, and I am healing bit by bit. Thank you for this article. It helps to understand.

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