55 thoughts on “Why Unloved Daughters Fall for Narcissists

  • September 29, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Why couldn’t I have found this back in 1992??? I wouldn’t have believed it anyways…and I also wouldn’t have my two beautiful daughter’s either. One is married already, to a really great guy…but he’s got other issues that trouble me greatly.

    My youngest longs for “daddy’s love”. She’s my girl that I fear is going to “marry her father”. She’s my girl that needs to see this…but won’t listen to Mom.

  • September 29, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Here I am 57 years old. I have been through many a narcissist, sad to say. And now it is very hard to imagine a comfortable life with any man. I still want that though. This is such a good article. My mother was already tired and unloved by the time I came into the family. However, my father was the worst of all, no affection to anyone in the family, no kindness. I have always blamed my poor / lack of relationship with my father for my neediness. does your article only apply to mothers?

    • September 30, 2016 at 7:19 am

      Dear Christina, I’m 61 and just realizing all of this. But I’ve been through so many soft term relationships like that. My mother was very jealous and hateful to me. My father molested me at 15 there was no relationship there. I have been mostly single for 23 years. Yet I still have faith that sometime in my life I will have a healthy one.

    • November 6, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Christina, your comment about your mother being already tired and unloved when you came along hit close to home. I was born 7 years after my three siblings were, and my mother had already been through hell with their father. She married my dad and had me, but I’ve always had the feeling that I was born an intruder into my own family. My dad, to make things worse, was also abusive, not only to my mother, but to my brother and sisters. I was the new baby, resented and in the way. When my parents divorced I was 7, and after that I was pretty much left to myself, expected to clean house, get good grades, get into no trouble whatsoever, all without knowing what the hell I was doing. My mom was exhausted and unavailable. She controlled my every move by keeping me under her thumb, and I had no real friends because I always had to be home, where my mother knew where I was. She was strict to the point of smothering, but I never really felt that she even liked me as a person. So when a tall handsome guitar playing wild man seduced me at fourteen, I thought I’d found love, finally. I’m sure you can guess how that story ended: me pregant at 17, choking on the dust he made when he fled to another city, leaving me behind. I was the perfect target for my next true love, who after an eight year courtship finally married me. 9 years later, after putting my child and I though everything Peg wrote about, he threw us out, filed for divorce, forged my name on the papers, and is married again. I was shell shocked for years after that, and the only way I’ve been able to move on is to learn about why all this happened. It’s been illuminating. It’s saved me. Too bad I had to learn this at forty, but I have to believe that there are reasons for what I went through, and that it will make me a better person. Stay strong.

  • September 30, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Thank for you pay Peg. I am 61 been single for 10 Yates because I like you said I always chose narcissistic men. In fact I just left a relationship after a month with a man like that. He was my best friend for 15 years, but never imagined I’d find him a narcissit after becoming intimate. I could only take for 2 weeks and I dumped him. Tells me the whole story. My mother hated me and was jealous. She never took care of me as a baby, my great grandma did. My dad molested me at 15 we had no relationship. My mother found out a you can imagine what I went thru. I married 3 men like that. I went into therapy and learned as much as possible. I’m in the process of wiring my life story. Thank you for you wisdom it has helped me greatly.

  • September 30, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Switch out mother for father. My mother was always there for me, but I still feel the need at 50 to gain my father’s attention and love.
    Trying to break the mold.

    • January 13, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      I agree, switch out mother for father and at almost 47 I am still seeking love and trying to gain my fathers approval. And divorcing a narc is even worse then being in a committed relationship with one.

  • September 30, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Some of us never recover when you find yourself with a covert malignant narcissist. You can’t recover because the abuse goes on long after you split if you have children. Actually–you won’t know the true person until you divorce them–then you will see all their evil in its full glory. They will smear your name, destroy your credibility, damage your children, take your homes, money, health, and life. They will leave you with NOTHING and nobody will help you. Most won’t believe you. Few will understand the PTSD and you will be left alone to deal with your destruction and all the hell that your children endure. They don’t stop until they destroy all you hold dear–and that includes your children. They will take them from you with false accusations and destroy their little hearts and minds or they will do that while you share custody. If your children aren’t grounded–they will fall prey to the money and gaslighting that happens to them. These men are not just annoying–they are extremely dangerous. For some who also are sadists–their number one goal is to destroy you so much that they push you to suicide. THAT is their real objective. Laws need to be enacted and therapsits need much better skills in dealing with this.

    • September 30, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Ronnie, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have written about this elsewhere since I went through a divorce from a narcissist and, no, I did not know he was a narcissist until the divorce. Lawyers especially have to be able to recognize these people for who they are because the normal process of negotiation will not happen. Narcissists adopt what I call a “scorched earth policy.” They do not care about any outcome other than winning, believe their own lies, will smear you, and, alas, may convince others to buy into their so-called “truths.” Your lawyer must understand this going in or it will be a mess of the first order. Judges too buy into it. I am sorry you and your children went through this; in my case, it was only money… Best, Peg

      • October 1, 2016 at 3:52 am

        Peg, I am in the process of trying to divorce my husband who blindsided me by walking out on me 12/26/15 @ 930am & told me he could not come back because he was afraid of me?.. BS, I didn’t even get wished a Merry Christmas or a card…He refused to open my presents until 5 minutes before he left & stated “Why would you buy me this crap”?? I started to cry, & he ran out of temporary home due to him remodeling our marital home. He refused to answer cell,texts, & took my Jeep. The bum took a Restraining Order on me accused me of everything but animal & child cruelty!! Served me 22 days later with divorce papers!! I had a hard time finding an attorney for just family court, I finally found 1 & called him hysterical about being served divorce papers that He would email me stating that I better find a divorce attorney. I found out that the bum tried to have his 2 high $$ lawyers were trying to have me declared mentally incompetent until I showed up with my attorney. We were going to be married 20 yrs on 3/4/16… Now He is dragging out the process, I went to Marital Court on 9/28/16, his 2 attorneys are stalling even having it brought to a judge…I was 27, working as an RN until 5 months before marriage due to Comp injury-back. He is a prominent physician who was 42 when we married. He has legally & publicly slandered my name-alienated me from my family & friends!! Lies constantly & keeps telling all + his 2 high $$ lawyers that “He cares about me”??? The bum is so controlling of me, makes it impossible for me to contact him with legit issues!!! I want to leave Long Island,NY to live in Florida to get away from him & the bum is making this impossible & actually said but I will not see you until January??? He is the most passive aggressive narcissistic person & being away from him for 10 months- woke me up to the emotional abuse I endured & I can’t even get away from him!!! You know what I mean by their selfish, self absorbed ways & they love to start drama, LIE constantly, and get off by playing with your life & always try to make you feel How everything is “your fault”??!! They play the perpetual VICTIM when convient, but They are bullies!!! I am so sorry for this long post- I have been holding this in for 10 months & longer than this as You very well know everyday is emotionally draining with their manipulating ways & emotional mind games….. I wish you luck & hope that you are free of “your vampire”….Just from your post, I knew you were in a relationship with a narcissist. Thanks for listening:)

      • October 10, 2016 at 7:16 pm

        I have a mother who is a Covert Narc to the max. She plays the perpetual victim like the violin, but is a highly skilled manipulator/bully.

        She has turned everyone I care about into her personal “flying monkey”, and they are blind to the reality of the situation.

        Their poisonous venom infects those closest which only magnifies their grandiosity and feeds their maliciousness.

        I used to be her pivotal flying monkey for most of my adult life until I realized what was really going on.

        Wow, quite the Awakening!

        Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, and I Am Sooo incredibly grateful not to be her flying monkey.

        Truly a Liberation!

        One battle won over a lifetime battle with “Mommie Fearest”

      • October 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm

        Good for you Casper! May you continue to grow and thrive. Best, Peg

      • November 9, 2016 at 11:34 am


        I sympathize with you. My stbx is a surgeon we were married 24 years. he left us 6 months ago because I wouldn’t put up with his sh1t anymore. He had been having an affair for 5 years and I covered his dirty little secret for him. This was until I had had enough of his abuse and called him out on it. We now in the process of getting divorced. He is also staling. I am happier than I have ever been. So just hang in there there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

    • October 1, 2016 at 12:32 am

      Ronnie I am truly sorry for all of the pain I hear and feel from you. If it’s any consolation I understand much of what you re feeling, have experienced, I validate your pain and feeling you will never recover. I am lucky not to have had children with the Narcissist who ‘was’ in my life being that I was older 47 when he zeroed in on me. I wish I had anger or resentment to draw on to help in my recovery but I don’t, there was enough of that during the course of the relationship, whilst I was always trying anyway to allow my self to be myself, the compassion, the understanding we try to give, thinking it can be turned around…but it can’t. I was the Daughter of a Mean Mum…Narcissist, Sister to a Narcissist the Monster, Mum created in the youngest child, step daughter when younger and victim other abuses. All the abuses.. I was also scapegoat child who copped the emotional tortures, blame, Gaslighting, explosive temper and abuses. Everything Peg has written makes sense puts into context…I worked out a lot of things just by being in the situations…as like so many am gifted now with many say being an Empath and I could fit that title but am not sure to…certainly my instincts and 6th sense are honed because of the hypervigilance. I heard myself say to ‘him’ the only other person to do this to me was my Mother, the lightbulb went on. I just want you to know you aren’t alone, I think it’s just that we all need to connect in real time to feel supported in the futility and isolation and PTSD we suffer, I was diagnsoed at the beginning of the relationship with C PTSD and he nabbed me whilst I was in unresolved grief and 2years into complicated grief. I missed every red flag even whlst being bashed over the head with them…I am doing an online course which is run by Elisabeth Corey, ‘Beating Trauma’ is her website…perhaps you could go there and read up. Hers is other abuse moreso but her course is designed to help with all trauma and it’s the best thing I am doing for myself. May I send you gentle hugs and <3

    • October 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      you just described my last 3 years exactly . i am still trying to get divorced and even got to the suicide part . I wonder when will it ever stop i am hoping when i finally get my divorce

    • November 2, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Omg…..just leaving a narssasit sociopath & reading your comment it’s so true..ts not even fair that therapist are not educated for this & that courts don’t notice this behavior..ve just lived through 12 years of hell to learn from the Internet what was happening to me…narrsasit need the therapy but instead leave everyone they tough needing therapy while they feel there is nothing wrong..

    • November 2, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      THAT is so true!

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Amen and amen! I got away from mine, finally, after 12+ years of marriage… My kids (3) and I are just now getting together with each other, talking, crying, and attempting to heal from the MEGA-DAMAGE this man inflicted on us… (I’m 53) I have a lot of resentment I still need to work on letting go of, for my own sake, but thank God we all made it out alive! Please pray for us! Thanks for sharing your story/this article!

    • November 5, 2016 at 8:35 am

      You just told my story. Thank you. I could have never said it that well. Now my son married a narcissist. They were married 2 yrs max. Wow, she is the worst i have seen. Went to a women’s shelter and lied. Almost ruined my son. He is still messed up and hates women. Hopefully time will help him. Unreal

  • September 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Im soooo glad my recent round of narcissist predators are across the pond. I have both parents who were narcissistic and i am now aware who i am better. Im 56, been in the music industry for the past few years but i have to end it. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I am just now learning to trust ME. I see myself as a line wolf now rather than a gazelle but I admit to that term for the okd me!! Great blog!

  • October 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

    My daughter was married to a narcissist person. He abused her even after a terrible auto accident that left her disabled. She past away last year from complications from medicines. When she was growing up I was I loving mom, I cared so much for her to make choices in life whereas I couldn’t when I was younger. I allowed her to speak her mind and opinions as long as it wasn’t intensionally harmful to others. I wanted her to find her purpose in life and to love herself. If I was a loving mom., why did she attach to a narcissist husband? She was smart articulate and stood up for herself when something was fair to her. She was a giving person with so much love. To think I denied love to her is very hurtful to me. She was my only child and I gave her unconditional love and attention.

    • October 2, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Doris, I fear you misunderstood the piece which is about why narcissists are often attracted to the insecurely attached. It’s true that secure people are less likely to be taken in by a narcissist but that doesn’t mean they never are. Your daughter’s marriage to a narcissist doesn’t make her unloved by you; it just points to a woman who misunderstood who her spouse really was. Covert narcissists, additionally, are very hard to spot at the outset. Please accept my sincere condolences and understand that unloved daughters aren’t the only ones who get caught in a narcissist’s snare. Best, Peg

      • October 28, 2017 at 4:03 pm

        My daughter also married a narcissist. They met online directly after her boyfriend broke up with her. There was nothing subtle about him. He was a liar, a braggart, rude, with an explosive unaccountable temper, and he drank too much. Friends said it couldn’t last but it has. They married and he’s lived off her ever since. They now have a son. Your article made me wonder about myself. I was a single parent, her father didn’t want to know. I am so sorry about whatever happened that made her accept being used like this. I was not a perfect mother, but I am not a narcissist. I agree with whoever commented that whatever our upbringing, eventually we have to take responsibility for our own lives.

  • October 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    its not only unloved daughters its in attended children ….some men go thru this too

    • October 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      meant to put unattended children

    • October 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Doreen, That’s true but this post was written for a blog about mothers and daughters. That said, there are twice as men as women on the far end of the narcissistic spectrum. Peg

  • October 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Have you written any books on the subject of being ‘a unloved daughter’. I’m in need of guidance. Thank you. Antoinette.

    • October 11, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Antoinette, Yes, I have: it’s called MEAN MOTHERS. I am currently writing a new one which will be out at the beginning of 2017. For more information, visit me on Facebook:. There’s lots of discussion that might be of use. Best, Peg

  • October 12, 2016 at 1:41 am

    OMG, I never really had an aha moment recently until reading the topic & posts. Sadly I never have had a good relationship with my Mother & she has Alzheimer’s now, but she still plays head games when I talk to her & still puts me down verbally, freezes me out & shuts down. I also really related to how much this made me accept & think that is normal with my 24 years with my narcissistic husband and how I feel @ times that I was completely @tfault for him for him to abandon me & our 23 marriage & separated x 10 months. I wish this process would move faster & He is still stalling the process….He controls everything & me still…..I am not accepting the verbal abuse, but it’s hard to not let Him not make me feel like I am at fault for all when I am alone….I am trying to take it 1 day @ a time & only speak to my Mother every 1-2 weeks for my own sanity…I really appreciate the topic & how many of us keep quiet about it & sadly think that this is normal…

  • October 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you Peg, I read mean mothers, my parents were hoarders. I grew up in extreme neglect 3 of 4 children. I left my spouse last year, as I intend to break the chain. Went straight into a friendship w a female narcissist. Got out. But the chain is not broken.it keeps happening. My brother has some of these qualities,I love who I am, but why do I magnetize these people? I learned as a child to be happy daily, with nature and I made a family of my own. Two girls. I am determined my daughters will not feel my pain. I am grateful for your perspective Peg, I need it. Thank you. Perhaps you have a paper on how to discontinue the pattern of toxic relationships for people who have toxic, from the very start. Toxic parental relationships. Yes, I cut them out. Please respond you are helping this soul! -K

    • October 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Kathryn, My new book will be out in 2017 with lots of explanations and strategies. For more, visit my Facebook page. Best, Peg

  • October 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    What a profound piece!! Sadly, like many other women who have read/commented, I too have attracted nothing but a string of narcissistic “bad boys” & ultimately engaged in “relationships” with these men. When you spoke about the anxiety/preoccupied daughter, one so desperately seeking love & attention, yet on high alert of deception &/or abandonment; it fit me, personally, to the T!! My mother gave me up for adoption & my father wanted nothing to do with me, so I’ve always seemed to fear abandonment the most, but because most of my adult relationships with these narcissistic individuals have me leaving first, My last breakup was especially difficult, because he was the one who left me, before I was able to leave him & my attachment was an illusion I created, thinking that he truly loved me, & I him. Up until the last individual, I have left my relationships & never again thought of returning, but this one really seemed to almost have me addicted to him & it wasn’t until the last few weeks, I have felt “normal”. How can a woman of 37 begin to build herself up & start seeing her worth as something to be valued & not used up & discarded like yesterday’s trash??

    • October 25, 2016 at 2:24 am

      Hi JuJu B – I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, you basically described the same patterns I’ve had in my life. I wasn’t adopted, I grew up with a narcissistic father and a mother who I think is a covert narcissist. I am 48 and also working on developing self worth. Even just recognizing your own patterns, and being open to understanding the origins, will help you develop boundaries for relationships, and a sense of self. My childhood had a lot of codependent habits that I continued. Discovering who I am, separate from responding to others, is a big deal. It’s also disturbing to realize I am lacking the basic foundation of being a healthy functioning human. But I am working on it. When you see the ages of other people who’ve commented on this article, it might help you feel like you are not alone, it helped me to see that others are going through the same thing. Congratulations on being fearless enough to look at yourself, your patterns and choices in life! That is a big step, and it shows that at a deep level, you have a sense of self worth, that you deserve better in life. I find that gives me comfort, that a part of me that I didn’t know existed had the strength to pursue this topic, no matter how painful it might be, so that I can lead a healthier more fulfilling life. Good luck on your journey. -Val

  • October 25, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Peg, thank you for this article. It explains patterns in my multiple relationships with narcissists. I don’t know that I’ve dated anyone who wasn’t one, and every longterm relationship and marriage was with one. It’s a harsh reality to look at but it explains so much. Ironically, at one point I recognized the push-pull of my game-playing narcissist was not healthy…and ended up in a marriage that had no passion, no connection, with a covert narcissist. And both of them had addiction issues. Realizing that what you thought was a normal family was actually highly dysfunctional…it’s the path to healing, but it’s trippy. -Val

  • October 29, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you. The last 15 years of my life now make some sort of sense!

  • November 3, 2016 at 2:53 am

    I was married to a narcissist until 15 years into marriage and 2 small children later he dropped me and moved on to his next victim…I am fine now.

    But how do I protect my 6 and 3 year old daughters?

  • November 4, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I could have written some of these posts myself they are so similar.
    I was married to a BPD/ narcissist for 22 years. We had 3 wonderful children. What that man put me through AFTER we separated was like hell on earth. He manipulated the children, alienated my ‘friends’ and dragged me so low in his attempts to destroy me. He was a vexatious litigator, serving writ after writ on me for contempt of court, being an incompetent mother (I was a professional and a University lecturer) claimed I was going to shoot him, fought viciously to get the Domestic Violence Orders removed and on and on. He went bankrupt so that I would get nothing and of course I was left with enormous legal debts trying to defend myself. PTSD meant I couldn’t work for months. He stalked me for years and the police tried to get him convicted but being a lawyer himself he manipulated the system with his influencial cronies. Fast forward to now and we are strong together as a family. The kids are all in their 30s now and although we are all still medicated for depression/ anxiety we have come through. I am a grandmother which is so special 💜💚💙. Sadly I have had relationships since then with narcissists wearing different hats – who would have believed they could present in so many ways? I am single now and very happy after ending the last one after 5 years. True, I never felt loved and valued by my parents. I thought each time that I had found someone who was going to love me forever. Wish I had known back in my early years what I know now.

  • December 7, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Yep that’s me. My ex-husband and mother are covert narcissists. My mother has made me pay for her father’s actions everyday of my life. He discarded her and her family when she was a child by faking a milk run. He left town without a word.

  • January 20, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    So it hit me how weird it is when people write about narc parents they refer mostly to the mothers. When they write about (romantic) relationships, it’s the man who’s the narc, usually.

    How is it that if it’s men who make up the majority of narcissists why is it so common for people to have a narcissist mother?

    In this article, in one breath you write about narcs being mostly men and in the next you write about mother narcs specifically. Daughters who weren’t loved enough by their narcissist mothers fall for narcissist men.

    If the majority of narcs are men, where are all these narc mothers coming from?

    I guess I just find it frustrating when it was my father that was the primary narc. When i was a child, my mother was very codependent I think. But she became more narcissistic when she got older and then it only really shows when under stress among family.

    When the family needs a scapegoat. Guess who gets that role?

    • January 21, 2017 at 7:36 am

      I actually don’t believe that all unloving mothers are narcissists; some are highly self-involved but others are unloving for other reasons. You’re brining in a terminology that I as a layperson don’t use in my work. It’s estimated that 1-6% of the population has NPD but since there’s a spectrum, there are more people who are high in narcissistic traits. But 40-50% of all children are insecurely attached. The mothers can’t all be narcissists; the math doesn’t work. There are other behaviors just as poisonous.

    • February 10, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      HI Aura, First, I don’t write about narcissistic mothers; they are a small piece of the pie for me. I write about unloving mothers in part because I’m not a psychologist and, even if I were, I could not diagnose from afar. Mothers do the lion’s share of caretaking historically and even now. Hence the emphasis on mothers. Most of what matters happens in the first three years.

      I don’t believe it’s “common” for people to have a narcissistic mother. See above. It’s estimated that 40-50% of all children do not get their emotional needs met in childhood. They are “insecurely” attached.

      So, Narc mothers are your deal. Not mine. Best, Peg

  • February 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Sorry, but this is SO off the mark for me! I came from a stable, loving home, unlike him. I am an empath–the one who nurtures and saves and soothes and teaches. That is why I was targeted. And despite that, I am strong. I filed for divorce when the real abusiveness started. He’s a third generation abuser who, as a young man, voiced his objections to such behaviors so convincingly that I believed in his goodness. He used to hide the occasional abusiveness earlier on with humor and love bombing so I would think, “Oh, he couldn’t have meant that!” He’s finally found his new empath, too, on which to feed, and I feel for her. She does not know his family history. like I do now that they are all gone. I told him I would not be his mother and his grandmother who also had been at the end of his father’s and grandfather’s abuse. But, although all the stuff I have read about narcissism fits as though others knew my life, nothing said here fits at all I felt very loved by my parents.

    • February 10, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Dee, “Empath”? Or you empathic? The word “empath” comes out of a science fiction tradition. It’s a bit surprising that you came from such a totally stable and loving environment because those folks usually–and I mean usually–sniff these guys out and fast.” Why would you forgive abusiveness? Just asking. Best, Peg

  • February 10, 2017 at 9:31 am

    So true. I confused the drama and even the jealous rages with passion. I said to a friend that he makes me feel “alive”. I expected and even felt comfortable with the verbal abuse because it was what my Dad did to me.

    I broke out…I empowered myself with knowledge about narcism. I read whatever I could get my hands on, I scoured You Tube. I realised I was drawn to him because he was like my Dad. I’m the one who got away….but it wasn’t easy. I am now in a loving solid relationship going for almost 2 years. The narc still tries to contact me, but he has lost his power.

  • February 10, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Absolutely spot on for me, all the way! Very well written and accurate. Thank you for clarifying some very old mysteries in my life. Knowledge is always helpful… perhaps for someone else I may meet along the way. Too late for me, but I am grateful for the revelations!

  • July 2, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I agree with what you are saying however there is one point I think worth considering. Not all narcacissts think they are great. Narcacissts can have very low self esteem. I know this is counterintuitive. Even people with very low self esteem can be thinking about themselves all the time. They think about how everyone hates them, how they have no luck, how they are victims etc. All their thoughts are about themselves but in a self loathing way. Weather someone only thinks about themselves in glowing or self hating terms they are still only thinking about themsemves.
    Thank you for being here and addressing these issues for us.

    • July 2, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Actually, that isn’t what the research shows and what the experts say.While it’s true that one theory posits that narcissists are, in fact, covering up a deep wound and are very insecure, they do not acknowledge that insecurity.

  • July 23, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Spot on, again. Alas, knowing doesn’t always help… I’ve had five long lasting relationships in my life and four of them were with narcissists. The other one (it was the second) was ‘boring’. Every time I fell for a narcissist, I really believed ‘this one was different’. After the last one, I concluded that I wasn’t good at having relationships (it couldn’t be their fault every single time, could it?) and decided that I would live without a relationship, which, by the way, was the best choice I ever made, because I really like being alone. Maybe – I don’t want to exclude anything – I’ll fall in love sometime in the future, but I suppose I’ll be too cautious to let myself really fall.

  • August 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Hi. I’m trying to figure out if my stbx is a covert narcissist. I was an only child of an alcoholic abuser (verbal, emotional, physical) and a codependent/enabler who was also abusive. I married the man of my dreams 17 years ago and had 2 children with him. He never hit me, yelled at me, drank too much, or called me names, like my father did. However, from the time our first was born, his job took precedence, regardless of weekends, holidays, or my needs. Examples: when my son was a few months old, I spent the entire night vomiting with the flu and ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor. He got up, saw me on the floor and got ready for work. I asked him to please stay home because I was too sick to take care of the baby. He did, but was oddly resentful. Another time, I was taken to the ER and admitted to surgery for a kidney stone. I pleaded with him to take the day off and stay with me. Again, he did, but he resented me for asking. He never said anything cruel, just behaved coldly. The day I turned 40 (and 3 months pregnant with our daughter), he didn’t acknowledge my birthday. He rarely helped clean and never did any household maintenance. Whenever I asked for “help,” he’d become distant and cold. My exhaustion was met with contempt. Expressions of neediness, weakness or emotion were met with condescension and withdrawal. He never had a fixed schedule, and rarely told me when he had scheduled himself to work, which frequently left me frustrated. For instance, when we moved due to his career (away from my mother and my work), he took no time off. It was Easter weekend and our anniversary, but I was left alone to unpack and “celebrate” with the children. Whenever I expressed my anger or frustration, he acted like I was crazy. I was told that I didn’t appreciate how hard he worked “for me,” that I spent too much money which caused us to go into debt, and that I was abusive with the kids because I demanded that they do their chores. Eventually, he began “protecting” them from me so I had very little authority over them at all. Shoetly after we moved, I discovered he was sexting other women, one of whom was my friend. During our last 3 years together he claimed to have ED, which he refused to address, other than to say it was my fault. On 12/26, he told me he was divorcing me and left us. Our kids want nothing to do with him now, and he believes I’ve “poisoned” them against him. When I think of all these things (+more), it seems obvious, but he’s so even-keeled and reserved that it doesn’t look like abuse. Although it feels like it, maybe I was too depressed or too demanding. I don’t know what to believe… Narcissist, workaholic, mid-life crisis? Help!?

  • September 15, 2017 at 1:06 am

    I can’t believe you’re blaming mothers/others for this condition … I studied psychology for four years and my biggest urk was ‘ let’s blame someone’ for our problems. …. MAN … I know a lot of psychologist and most of them are all crazy, like this article … SOMETIMES… A person has to use “common sense” and work through their own problems … Psychologists process and process needless materials of normal childhood growth , then label it damage so that they have purpose and a career … YES .. let’s blame everyone for our short comings…. I think psychologists need a psychologist just so they know that they are a psychologist because basically mostly they have inferiority complexes and that’s why they became psychologist..
    Quiet frankly, Psychologist are all a little demented because they need people to be needy to exist.

    How dare you blame “mothers” for the mental maladies of life … ..The truth is that… there could be a number of factors contributing to this attraction …. genetics, childhood experiences, age and personal preferences…. plus ‘ time and place”( luck of the draw) … Of course some similar lifetime variable will connect, but, let us not be so damaging as to assert a finite blame ….. Let us find some alternative direction to work with the multitude of people who are looking for answers without blame… Let’s find a plausible solution. As a psychologist you have no right to pass judgement and make blame . You have a degree but that does no make you all knowing … I suggest that you use little more diplomatic thought.LISTEN and not talk.

    • September 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Oh, so attachment theory is just a bunch of nothing? As it happens, I’m neither a psychologist nor a therapist but there is a world of difference between “blame” and attribution. I have degrees in English literature, if you’re interested.

  • April 2, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Thanks so much for this story. I have always struggled with having a healthy relationship with my mother, but through therapy, I have been able to better identify the toxicity. With my father being physically and emotionally abusive, I didn’t grow up with a healthy model of a relationship although I was really close with my grandparents (mother’s parents) and they had a healthy relationship.
    I’m a survivor who is learning why I attracted a narcissist or two. I was actually a combination of both the personality types you mentioned. I blamed myself for seeming weak and having my guard down. I was in a seven month relationship with someone who did everything to me you described, and even used his own children, who I loved dearly, as weapons against me. I think the reason he let me go was because I was just figuring out that “something just didn’t seem right,” and when he did something that hurt me, I started to speak up for myself and say hey, “I don’t deserve to be treated like that or spoken to in that way.” Honestly I started to get high blood pressure toward the end of the relationship and it turned out to be caused by him. He’s an LPN so I trusted that he was a good, compassionate person, but all he ever did was lie about his feelings for me and what he wanted with me to garner is control and manipulation only to use it against me. I had opened up to him, felt forced most of the time when I wasn’t ready or didn’t want to talk about it, giving him information, detailed information, about how men mistreated me in my past. He knew that was a weakness of mine. For example, he would say he wanted to make up for all that men in my past did to me and even though I said that wasn’t possible and not his job, he’d come back and say no matter what I do, you’ll never trust me and I can’t deal with that. Well I went above and beyond to prove to him that I loved him and trusted him and went out of my way to show him, feeling like I had to prove myself, like make sure he felt accepted by my friends and family and showed I felt comfortable talking about our future together, etc., etc.
    I went into great detail about a former friendship that crushed me in which I was ghosted by this individual and dumped via text and how that devastated me, he not only dumped me via text once, BUT TWICE! When I told him this friendship/relationship hurt because we got into fights via text and I never felt comfortable communicating in that way and felt closed off, he would start fights via text. I would beg him to talk and then when he called me, if I tried to interject something into the conversation to show him I was listening and trying to understand, he would say I wasn’t respecting him or listening to him and hang up on me. I would call back and leave messages panicking, saying please forgive me, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that, I just wanted you to know I was communicating with you, he’d find some way to say it was my fault. EVERYTHING was my fault and because I needed to FIX ME because of the relationship I had with my mom, and even my dad.
    At the end, he managed to convince a now former friend that everything was all in my head and I just couldn’t accept that the relationship “just didn’t work out.” I was the crazy one. Soon after a friend helped me realize that I had been gaslighted by the ex and that gas lighting was a very real thing. He caused that friendship to dissolve and then approached my best friend and said he’d be willing to have a sexual relationship with her, or something more if so be it and it evolved into something more. When I found that out months after the relationship ended, it made me realize also that he was just trying to destroy me or do whatever it took to kill me emotionally.
    That ladies and gentleman is a monster. And then to my luck, I had another narcissist months later try to enter my life. I kept my guard up but it devastated me because I figured I must be just an A- magnet, that I’m never going to have a meaningful relationship. I’m still scared to death because I don’t think any man will ever be able to accept me or my story. Some, including my therapist think it’s because I don’t accept me. Maybe part of that is true, but it’s my life and I have no choice but to accept what I’ve been through. It is what it is, and I can’t take it back.
    Your article Peg made me realize on a deeper level, although I’ve experienced this before, that I can allow me to forgive myself. I’ve been very angry lately and have been angry about how men in my past have either viewed me as “having a temper” or how I have made myself submissive, like to the narcissist mentioned above and always questioned myself and blamed me, because I didn’t want to be seen as too angry or untrusting. I realize now (because of CEN) I didn’t know how to process my emotions and at least with therapy and self awareness, I can now. But the fact that I couldn’t, or didn’t know better about letting a narcissist into my life (when two Former friends blamed me for not seeing the warning signs and red flags), I can honestly say now wasn’t my fault. I identify with everything here.
    Feeling less Alone but extremely lonely.

    • July 4, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Hey Nicole, we married clones!
      My X is an RN and really milks that as a way to position himself as in control, caring and delivering favors (to those now in debt to him).
      I also could not get one ounce of empathy for some pretty serious medical procedures. It was bewildering, bc prior to putting a ring on it, he displayed elaborate (and public) concern for me…
      He only “cared” on the clock. It was a duty and skill, but not an emotion.
      I was also completely slandered and my “friends” totally manipulated against me. That betrayal was as painful as the divorce. You want to think that women are smarter than that…but these guys are pros, with a lifetime of practice 24/7.

      Mine was also in the closet-more lies on cheating lies-so even now, 10 years later, I am suddenly realizing so many occasions that I believed outrageous lies! It is staggering. That makes it impossible to try to salvage even a few happy memories, because none of it was real, not for one minute.

      How exhausting it must be to be in such constant scheming! No wonder his ‘hobbies’ put him outside of his mind for a few hours.

      As a result (and getting to know his drug-dealing fellow nurses), I am no longer duped by any professional credentials conferring an assumption of a higher level of humane concern. In fact, I am aware of how many use their positions to cover their unsavory opinions of all other humans.

      I just was reading about the debauched priests in ancient Venice, so abuse of professional assumptions is nothing new!

  • June 30, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Telling my whole life in her words…

  • September 2, 2018 at 10:23 am

    I’m 46 and hopelessly calling my mom with no response! Why out of 4 kids am I so unloveable? Anyway I am married to a bully of a nacessist sep the last 10 years…ugh


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