77 thoughts on “What’s a Narcissist’s Punishment?

  • December 13, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I was raised by a malignant narcissist mother and I concur.

    Because they never appear in public without their armor of manipulative bullying behavior they may seem incapable of human feelings. But I got glimpses of her self-hate and fear underneath. She pretty much shrivelled into an angry ball of hate until she died. The only two at her funeral were the two sons in her will.

    Donald Trump, the most famous malignant narcissist in the world, gave a revealing quote to the New York Times about his constant war with the world; “It’s life” he said. They live so within themselves and their needs that they can’t separate the stink they create from what the rest of the world creates. It’s all the same to them

    • December 23, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      “One, you have (legal) power over others. And two, you are perceived as respectable, educated, even caring, so you increase your chances of getting away with your bad behavior.”


  • December 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Excellent insightful and informative article.

    Additionally, since a deep hunger drives relentless seeking of self-selected mirrors to manipulated affirmations, a Narcissist’s ultimate punishment is nonresponse.

    What is the sound of one hand clapping?

    • March 12, 2018 at 9:11 am

      You are absolutely on target. It took me the majority of my life to finally learn that no response was punishment. It’s difficult when one is an ex husband, but after years of no response, it has worked. The other family member still takes her stabs at me. Because of life in a small town, I can’t avoid her in public, but I’ve le as red to walk away from the drama. Wish I had known/understood this 30 years ago.

      • June 19, 2018 at 4:49 am

        Yes, I’m just learning to not respond unless necessary to my recent ex. 30 years is a long time, but I’m thankful for who I am today, because of what I’ve learned through the painful process of discovery

      • February 12, 2020 at 11:05 pm

        Proud of you!! Nobody could ever think someone like this could even exist, but I know they do. I’m truly sorry and I get it. No contact and good riddance is all that’s left. You’re a warrior! Survive and thrive no matter how much it sucks…we have no choice! Go girl!!❤

      • February 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm

        You are so right. Same for me. Narcissistic Brother has isolated our mother, taken from her everything of value including relationship with me and another brother. Was married to one, lied to family about how crazy i was, etc, I got my docs together and after 2 years cleaned his clock in equitable distribution lawsuit. He didn’t see it coming. Pride. .

    • September 19, 2018 at 8:32 am

      Love that. They sure don’t like being ignored or made to feel insignificant.

  • February 15, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    I am so tired of being married to a narcissist. I ve taken a look at my life and I see how awful it is. From physical abuse, mental abuse. Now he has everything in he’s name he says because of business. He’s never admitted to cheating but I am very sure he has. Now I am sick and he can’t even show real compassion. He’s convinced everybody that I’m crazy. My children will not talk to me and treat him like he’s a king. The only time I’ve seen him really cry was when he’s father died. He’s grandson was in nicu never shed a tear. My middle son is the only one who sees who he is. Iam so alone. He often punishes me if I speak up for myself. (Silent treatment)I am so depressed. He always puts my family down. I raised the kids by myself. He was never home claimed he was working. When he was home all he didn’t was eat and went to bed. The abuse was really bad when we first got married. Now it’s more mental abuse. I wish I would’ve left long ago but I feel now it’s too late. Right now iam in silent treatment. I’m used to the silence now.

    • February 15, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      You must plot your escape. You have only two choices with them. Stay or go. There is no convincing. You can’t reason with them any more than you can reason with a poisonous snake. You just try to put as much distance between you and them as you can.

      When you breathe fresher air around people who are even just neutral to you you will feel better and be able to make better decisions. But as long as you are in the same house with him you are breathing poisoned air the screws with your self-esteem and reasoning. They want you to think there is no choice. It’s useful to them.

      This idea is so common that children of narcissists use the same phrase throughout the world for this. We say going “no contact” or even “NC” for short. You are not alone.

      Did you know that vampires sucking the life out of another person so they can live is thought of as a metaphor for these unredeemable people. Vampires don’t care about your wellbeing they just need the blood or they stop living. Do you want to live with that?

      Get away. I know it is terribly unfair and difficult but that is your only choice. It’s not about if, it is when. Get your middle guy to help. Don’t tell anybody except those you trust with your life. Step by step. Get going and good luck.

      • February 15, 2018 at 11:58 pm

        Iam afraid I waited too long. I never noticed how it really was until the children became adults. I was too busy raising them. I was worried about my kids needs. I have no where to go. He has convinced my family and his family that iam crazy. I have no friends. All the friends I had I felt like he was cheating with them or he convinced me not to be friends with them. I don’t trust anyone. I am so angry with myself that I let this go on. I was way too young to see. I think he purposely got me pregnant so I would stay with him at 17. He was 24. Omg I’m going to die with this man and his fake love that he try’s to show. Now it’s just so obvious how fake it is. Of course he will see to it that my children hate me.

      • February 19, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        First step is quieting your own mind.
        It’s not your fault. You were taught as a young child to be with people like him. You did what you were taught. What you were taught just happens to be wrong. It’s not good but it’s not your fault. The skill for picking healthy happy relationships is taught before we could even speak full sentences. So blame them.

        A specific kind of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps in these situations. For example “It’s too late.” “I have nowhere to go.” “I’m going to die with this man.” are all thoughts that came from a dark past. They are not necessarily true anymore. With skilled help, you can challenge how truthful they are and put them in their place. When they are put in their place you get breathing room to plan the next steps. You also feel a lot happier.

        Let’s say you can’t afford Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (That would be most of us.) Begin to engage women from everywhere online. Every day you can. You’ll realize how not alone you are. You’ll learn street proven ways to get out of your situation. You may not be that happy but you’ll get out from under. More people more ideas. If you talk with people everyday your brain will actually change. It will push out the poison you’ve been fed. You are already doing it.

        Depression is a bitch. Do a little each day. Some days don’t do shit. Realize it’s two steps forward and one step back and that’s how a normal mind works. Going through the motions is actually good. So be kind but keep dancing.

        Keep a success journal where you write every positive thing you did each day. On your terms. No judgement. “Did laundry.” counts. The journal has a purpose. It counters every day, day in and day out, the negative way of thinking you were taught as a young child. Again, the brain actually changes after a time.

        Journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step and all that.

      • May 1, 2020 at 5:25 am

        COG group therapy saved my life. Everyday dealing with black and white thinking and plenty of distorted ruminating was too much to bear on top of the recent trauma that found me in great need of support. My peers and therapists challenged my negative self-depracating thoughts with their opposites. When I said I failed my child they challenged it with facts such as that my child was counting the days until our next visit and that she wrote a beautiful mothers day note on the beautiful card she hand made. When I said I would never get on my feet again they reminded me of my confessions of having many times done so during my life. Thought records were a priceless tool and I loved being able to challenge my fellow group mates distorted thoughts as well. It really was what I needed. I am not cured of the depression I have always had but I am able to regulate my responses to the countless triggers that arise tempting me to spiral. I realised that yes it is their (narc fam) fault my child and I suffer great trauma, still. However I can’t do my child, myself or my peers any good in jail. I often think of Sarah Connor working out in her cell. You know all she is thinking of how she was going to keep John safe from the Terminator while herself locked up. It inspires me to remain calm, because it can always get worse. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helped me identify the triggers and the personal emotional de-regulation warning signs. A godsend.

        Thank you for expertise and obvious genuine care.

      • August 27, 2018 at 7:01 pm

        Does it matter, your story sounds so much like mine. I am alone as well, thanks to his smear campaign. I am curious if you are still feeling stuck or have you managed to escape by now? I do hope either way you are well and would love to connect with you, if possible.

      • September 22, 2018 at 9:54 am

        If he’s hit you, you must call the police. To protect yourself and keep him from hurting you again. The police will have a record of his violence so that during the initial separation phase, they know what the situation is if he tries to stalk or hurt you.
        Your children will be proud of you because, I hate to say this, he probably abused or neglected them too. It will also show you ultimayely didn’t choose hom over them. That’s a huge insult to adult kids when parents stay together after the children leave although they swore up and down they were staying in the marriage ‘for the kids’. Now, it sounds bizarre and like child abuse to stay in an abusive marriage for the kids because it sounds like the abused parent would break out if it weren’t for the kids.
        But it will be easier to go now and he won’t be threatening to take the kids from you as many abusive spouses do when there are small children involved.
        Good luck.

    • April 15, 2018 at 1:49 am

      Does it Matter,
      You need to embrace this phrase:
      “Silence (from a Narc) is Golden”. Remembering this Is retaliation against your Narc. Let them think that they are Controlling you, hurting you by not Graceing you with their ‘All knowing, voice of inspiration’, while you Silently Laugh at them for such juvenile behavior.
      Enjoy the silence from your narc, continue going abt your life. Get up & do a Little something everyday. Get dressed, brush your hair, do a small household chore. During this time, start planning your excape & dont let the Narc know. Interact with him as little as possible.
      God Bless you.

      • August 24, 2018 at 10:10 pm


      • December 27, 2018 at 4:36 am

        What do you mean by silence from the narc? Where do I go to find these woman he’s talking about? I’m on disability and even working part time I can’t afford to live on my own with out him… what can I do to cope? He has tricked me into not trusting my sister in laws and his family who can help me…now he has convinced I am a bad person by feeding me a continuous line of bs that I believed and ran with. I alsohave borderline personality disorder…and can’t keep my personal information to myself because of my need for social contact…not to mention believing and repeating the bs he’s fed me…and now I’ve hurt the feelings of those who could help me. I should also mention he was one of 4 siblings so they are well versed on this manipulation game and feeding people s*** to see what their reactions are. So not only do I have to fear him…i have to fear his family…and I’m so sure he hates me enough to turn my son against me he’s 5 years old. My son is everything. I cuddle and hold him everyday and always let him know I love him, but there is no real love from daddy to me that he sees. Daddy takes us out to eat a lot and he’s good at making it look like he’s being nice to me, but my son doesn’t(I don’t think he does…he’s my first and only child) the put downs and the accusations towards me. Today it was he couldn’t hear 10 feet down the hall… BULL S*** yes he could…it was just a reason to yell at me and take his anger out covertly and make it look like my fault…i KNOW he could hear me,but our son doesn’t understand what he just did. When he got up he brings me this glass of cool aid and asks me why it was on MY SIDE of the bed.. I told him I didn’t know anything about it. Of course he just cornered me so I didn’t know what to say (in easily cornered and can’t respond to these types of confrontations…my brain doesn’t work that well here) a second later I said…i think that’s the cool aid our son made. He’s also great at making me jump on the blame he puts on people…making me believe the fault and now I’ve just sharply snapped at tree person…or defended myself which makes me a tattle tale on them…usually my son. Now my son is learning to jump to defend himself with out forethought of how the confrontation will go next…basically handicapped himself just the way I am. He won’t be able to think before he acts…just like I can’t. I didn’t grow up around this sit…i never learned these tactics he uses. I can’t keep up with him. I’ve been trying for decades…and now my son is going to see me as a tattle tale and have that lifelong hatred towards me. How do I keep my son from learning to hate me because of the way his daddy talks to me. My ex yelled at me because he noticed while mowing tree yard that the pool Polaris was stuck…then said”you might want to do something about that…” So I did and when he walkedout I gave him NASTY LOOK… which then he starting b******at me giving me all kinds of s*** about the look he didn’t deserve. HE WAS AWFUL!!! I know he’s going to try to blame me if the pool goes out. He’s already setting me up for it.

        What do I do? I keep wanting and do keep confronting him about all this crap. I just want him to stop! I have to live under the same roof as him and he makes me do EVERY BIT of the child care. I have a bad back and out stresses me out and he won’t help. I keep asking him to take us somewhere fun inn his days off…he just tells me just let him have him for the day and go workor go rest…that defeats the fact I need some recreation time where I’m not being the total disciplinarian and can enjoy the time….our son is also SUPER HYPER, doesn’t listen, and we are being told he’s on the autistic spectrum.

        Well never have a great relationship of his father doesn’t stop hating me so much. My son and ex in-laws are the only family I communicate with because my ex always drug be to visit them a lot and it’s very hard for me to get out of the house… mentally exhausting. We just went trough a divorce last year. It’s been a17 year sexless marriage…we’ve split up and got back together so many times….but every one it was him who left and me who begged him back. I’ve never been alone. I’ve never been able to make more than $20k a year even with several diplomas to my name.

      • January 2, 2020 at 6:09 pm

        Please realize that you staying with this hostility and anger is going to lead to your son learning that this is how women should be treated. I’m sure that you don’t want the vicious cycle to continue with your son having a negative role model. This is a proven fact that children grow up mimicking what they see at home. It is very scary to walk away especially because of the financial aspect of doing so but trust me, I have been there and I am grateful for that hard choice I made. I have two successful daughters now that were very young when I built up my courage to leave and I was hell bent on them or me becoming a statistic for failure. There are so many programs that will help you make ends meet and then maybe you can focus on getting your son the help for autism if that’s the accurate diagnosis made. When children are in stressful and unhealthy homes they have a tendency to act out because they have so much stress inside of their mind that they don’t comprehend. I’m sorry you have been mistreated but remember that there are still good men out there and when you fix the issues and the time is right then you can work on finding the right person for you. You are strong, smart, kind and you are important!

      • January 4, 2020 at 9:27 pm

        Trust me, you can get out and make it. There is help out there from others not just family. And as soon as you can get out u will gain strength 💪 and do the impossible and be so happy. Just ignore him, they hate that so much. Plan ur move without him knowing a thing and then run, file for divorce, 50% is yours and you will probably get even more. For your own good and the good of your child, run and do it as fast as possible. Get restraining order if need be. Put the sob in jail if he doesn’t obey it. You need to think about YOU sooner than later.
        Please don’t go through anymore abuse. They don’t deserve the satisfaction it gives them. Your hurt is his fame. NO ONE DESERVES TO LIVE IN THAT SITUATION EVER. Praying for you. I KNOW u will feel the relief instantly, baby steps after that, but giant steps NOW

    • July 26, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      Don’t abandon yourself! You can still leave, in spite of inner internalized messages that tell you you can’t or your not worth it. Your life is still valuable. Whatever time you have left in this life, you deserve it to be as good as you can make it can be, as you can make it.

      Get the support you need to do what you need to do. Don’t reward his bad behavior by giving up on yourself. Then both your lives will have been wasted. What a tragedy that would be!

      • March 19, 2019 at 2:12 am

        Amen.it took me 20 years but i escaped. Here’s a secret I’ve found. Life is good and there are people who will help. He was a liar and i fell for the lies. It’s all a lie. You can have a beautiful life. Prepare yourself document the things he does wrong. Go to a domestic violence shelter if you have to. You’ll be free and that’s the best feeling in the world. I left with one bag but I’m free. Pray for strength and don’t be afraid. God is with you.

    • July 31, 2018 at 8:30 am

      Thank you for the shares and especially for the informed article. I have suffered for decades. Today we go to our fourth marriage therapist. He manipulates, outsmarts, diminishing each…The rages, the manipulation of our marital goods, the diminishments of my intelligence, have saddened me.

    • September 1, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Wow, it really can undermine how you feel about yourself. It is so hard to know how to deal with this sort of behaviour when you have never been taught how to or have had little experience. If I don’t comply I get taught lessons, I have the silent treatment, I have had the car taken away, once he was walking up the stairs as I was walking down them, I had a coffee in one hand & a jar in the other, he had both of his hands on each side on the banister & walked through me sending me falling on my back down the stairs. No reaction from him what so ever. It feels like it is all about him, his needs, who serves them & how. I have been so confused never knowing what to think or believe. I believe he is controlling in the way he only does what suits him & when my needs don’t matter. I have felt he has a deep anger within, the other day when he didn’t like what I said the look that was in his eyes. I have never known how to distinguish what was mental health issues of depression, pts & borderline bipolar, which is what he said he had, but there felt something more was going on. He was in the army then the police, so I didn’t know how much that had affected him. He has not had long-term relationships, poor family relationships & few close friends. He was drinking 2.5 litres of cask wine per day until he lost his license in Feb, he was into porn, on casual sex sites & I believe he sees all women as an opportunity. He stayed at home in another state when I was over with my family sorting out things when my mum died, instead of support, none, of course, all I had from him was silence & the one conversation we had ended when he asked if I had a girlfriend with the same sexual needs as his. Does anyone think this is inappropriate & uncaring? Am I going crazy or do I just need to run? What is going on here, is this man a narcist, is it mental health issues as mentioned or is it something worse? I have even looked at the psychopath checklist & ticked off most. Am I being paranoid? What am I dealing with?

    • October 31, 2018 at 10:28 am

      You need to get out before he kills your soul. I did and I am so happy now:) 10 years of mental and physical abuse and two kids later I still found the courage to leave and I’m glad I did. Stay strong

    • January 3, 2019 at 8:13 am

      This is depression talking. You have to find the strength to pull yourself up and out of the funk. You are the only one who can save your children from this situation. Find a church or a counselor to help you. All you are seeing is the hell you are living in. This is what he wants. It took me almost 18 years to dig out of the hell hole. I spent many years of being beat down. I am a caring loving person who made excuses for his bad behavior and I kept hoping for change. I was so sheltered growing up that I didn’t realize or understand what I was dealing with. I could go on for hours about the abuse, manipulation, silent treatments, constant threats. The only way to save yourself and children is to leave it all behind. These people suck your soul dry. In the end, they don’t care about you or who you, you are nothing but a tool or object. You have to love yourself more and realize there is light at the end of the tunnel… it’s very hard but walk thru the tunnel, I did and I look back and see that I have freed myself from the dark side. I wish I would have left years ago, I’m 61 and im going to live the rest of my life in happiness….. You can too!

  • February 16, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Thank you. I don’t know how to tell you how grateful I am glad that the Narcissist pays the price in addition to all of the havoc he wreaks. That may sound petty, but just to know that since they refuse to change and learn kindness & true happiness – to treat people decently, they suffer as much or more than their victims. Hello, married to one, out of my career 7 yrs, prenup giving me virtually nothing and I did it all to myself by signing, no one held a gun to my head. I take full responsibility for MY actions, but not for his.

  • February 19, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I was crushed and dragged through hell and back after surviving 18 years of misery / marriage at the hands narc. It took for him to physically assault my oldest daughter and then turn on me when I went into mother bear protection mode to realize this would become the last straw. I took my children, gathered up our few belongings stayed a homeless shelter until I could find suitable housing. He was charged and went to jail. It is now 3 years after, I still have my children and life is not a picnic but it’s better! We don’t live in fear and have not looked back. No contact is the only way to go! You have to decide to make the break for a freedom to have a life and change OR allow them to break you to the point where you just wish to die at their hands and evil minds with a smile on the face/heart. I left because my kids deserved better and I’m slowly realizing so do I. To those wanting to leave please do …it’s necessary and it won’t be easy but it’s totally necessary! If you don’t love yourself please leave for your loved ones and until you can think straight and love yourself again too! Best of luck to you all!

    • September 22, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Good for you. You broke the cycle. I wish my father had done that. Instead, he told me nobody was going to save me. He stayed with my mother until she died in February .
      God I wish he kicked her out.
      But I kicked my husband out when he attacked me and my daughter. So I saved my own daughter the way my father never could.

  • February 27, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    They seem to manage to live a long life despite their misery.

    • February 27, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Even if and when that’s the case, a long life in misery is a big punishment in itself.

      • August 27, 2018 at 3:15 am

        The disturbing thing is, I have read somewhere that covert narcissists ie psychopaths actually ARE happy with themselves and what they do – hence why they are so hard to treat in therapy, because they are happy and see no reason to change themselves. I just recently realised I have been in close association for years with a psychopath, unbeknownst to myself, and I recall him saying several times when asked that he was a basically happy guy. He seemed the part too, not a care in the world! Since psychopaths don’t feel remorse or guilt for hurting others, and are aways manipulating out of self interest, I can see how they’d always end up feeling happy and on top – because they always win (in their eyes). So even though we normal people may see them as unhappy, hate-filled beings, from THEIR point of view, they are actually happy with the chaos they cause and the selfish agendas they fulfill! So I don’t know if we can truly claim any solace with the notion of “they’re unhappy and live unhappy lives and that’s their payback”…can we still claim that if from THEIR view they are happy with what they do and enjoying life?

      • August 27, 2018 at 3:34 am

        Sure, they might think they are happy but it doesn’t change the fact that they are not. Just like a heroin addict might think and feel that they are happy because of all the hormones rushing through their body but from an outside perspective it is clear that they are miserable and in a lot of inner pain. People with strong narcissistic tendencies tend to be highly delusional and in denial so of course they may be convinced that they are genuinely happy.

        I think there’s a big distinction between a momentary pleasurable sensation that I would call joy and a long-term state of overall pleasure and content in being alive (happiness). Most people, however, seem to use joy and pleasure interchangeably without thinking about the differences between the variations of it that can be understood as a spectrum.

        I hope that helps. I might write a separate article or record a video on this topic.

        Thank you for your comment, J!

      • October 12, 2019 at 4:16 pm

        Yes they are unhappy people. They may say and say they are happy but remember that, with them it is all appearance. They don’t like to admit they are not perfect or their lives are not perfect, and they are pathological liars. Lies are what they want you to believe as truth because it is “Their truth.” And they make up their delusional truths to serve their selfish purposes.

        So, yes, they are unhappy inside; they just hide that from the world afraid that anyone would see their “weaknesses.”

    • September 22, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Actually, I was surprised my mother died so early. I thought it would be my dad to go before her.
      I was kind of glad she died so early. I’m probably never going to have a father because he basically chose her over me when he first found out she hit me but then stayed with her. But at least she won’t be stalking me or calling my psychiatrist up to convince her I’m lying about everything
      I finally feel like I can breath and think my own thoughts.

  • March 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I’m 64 years old and the scapegoat of our family all my life. My narc father died last fall at age 93. Three years prior to his death, I finally cut all contact with him despite the fact he lived next door to me. I totally agree with others – the only way to have a chance at a decent life is to cut out these toxic people. I finally came to that conclusion after trying numerous other tactics ranging from blunt confrontation with my father, going to his psychiatrist with him at his insistence where we reached an agreement that whenever tempers flared, that one of us would leave the room (of course, I was the only one to ever leave the room), confirming everything he said or did by email to him and other family members, and tape recording and videotaping him to confront his lying, and finally using pity on him which he hated. The pity strategy consisted of my expressing pity for him, his life, his problems, his attitudes and how glad I didn’t feel like he did. I guess I thought that if he could see himself through my eyes, that he would change. The pity pissed him off royally so I derived some sick vengeful pleasure from that, but his behavior never improved. So, I eventually went no contact. Best thing I ever did and wish I had done it in my late teens.

    He died in a very fitting way – on lockdown in a hospital psych ward after he threatened to get a gun and start shooting up the hospital because the nurses wouldn’t do what he wanted, where he apparently raged himself into a fatal heart attack after several days without being allowed to see his golden children son and daughter. So, he died alone in a psych ward. I wish my mother had lived long enough to see it.

    Like others have said, start making plans now. Start making copies or notes of all financial records, secretly record him with your cell phone or a mini-recorder, start secretly saving money. Get your middle child to help you find an affordable place to live, even if it is just a tiny efficiency apartment. Once you have all your ducks in a row, please walk out the door and talk to an attorney about either divorce with alimony or what is called “separate maintenance” financial support in some states without getting a divorce.

    Try not to let him get to you with the silent treatment. Ignore him totally, increase your level of socialization, talk frequently on the phone with friends and your children, meet a friend for lunch, join some sort of social group, and express JOY in front of him whenever you can even if you are faking it. He’ll start talking to you because he will be jealous and want to sabotage your happiness. Don’t let him do it. Stay strong and focused on your goal of getting away forever.

  • April 3, 2018 at 10:47 am

    This is one of the best informational articles I’ve read in reference to Narcissistic behavior.

  • May 6, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve been looking for answers for a long time…..and now I finally have them in regard to a family member.
    Thanks for the information.

  • May 27, 2018 at 3:43 am

    This is insightful & something I had become to realize as I watched my then husband grow miserable even though he was becoming a high ranking officer & he was able to get nice things. He was always angry, frustrated with most everyone he worked with… & He wanted to work alone, but had to work with others. I felt sorry for him… I finally left when abuse became physical again. I wish I would have left sooner. But I’m happy with my. I like me & that I’m a nice person. I don’t have a be on top of the hill to be happy. Small things make me happy. It’s important that we all work together to have better lives.

  • June 1, 2018 at 1:21 am

    That’s why I feel for them. I know that their life will be a miserable end. No they won’t learn how to be nice or even care to see how truly hurtful they are to the ones they say they love the most. I can’t help feeling horrible for leaving them in their twisted hell. I don’t want to see anybody in that much pain no matter what they’ve done to me. It’s been a lot of abuse and it’s caused some extreme CPTSD and cognitive dissonance in me, it’s my fault for allowing it to go in for so long after the endless amount of red flags and the numerous incidences of physical, mental, spiritual, and sometimes sexual abuse. A part of me hates that person for who they are, then the other side of me wants inky the best for them in life, then again that other part of me says that I don’t think they deserve anything but punishment for all the nightmarish things they’ve done to. It’s really confusing on many levels. It hurts to leave, it hurts to stay. What do you do? If you stay your having to accept being put down so they can feel better than you; you have to accept that the only love they have is ego based and they have no heart; you have to accept that you’ll have to put their needs first and do everything they say do and hope and pray their satisfied so you can have a moment with yourself to feel happy; you have to accept that if their not happy or feel good it’s your fault and your not allowed to feel happy when they don’t (which is rare). The other choice is leave and accept that it’s over and you’ll miss them deeply and be hurt that you gave up on someone you put endless amount of time and effort into loving and caring for, then realizing it was real for you but not them, you start seeing all the things they ever did to you from a clear mind and it shocks you further that someone could be that evil and don’t trust yourself for allowing it to happen to you. It’s such an epic mind screw.
    How are you supposed to feel about them? I don’t want to feel anger toward them but at the same time I want justice to be served, at the same time I don’t want to see that play out. I care about them and want to be with them, but it’s starting to give me serious health conditions and I need to be done for good.
    Very confusing. How are you supposed to feel about it all, and how do you process it without getting stuck on it?

    • June 1, 2018 at 10:17 am

      As an ACON your first step is to separate your behavior from your thoughts and feelings.

      Compared to responding to other parental malignancies an ACON’s choice of behavior is simple, get as far away as you can and never speak with them again. The execution might be difficult but the goal is simple. Without that separation no healing can occur.

      Acceptance is next. They are not to blame for what they did to you in the same way a snake is not to blame for biting you. You can kill a snake but the damage was already done. Therapy and any form of meditation or self reflection can help you here. “That was then, this is now” can be helpful to center yourself right here and right now.

      The next step is to face forward. You have zero control over the past but a lot of control over your future. Plan the rest of your life without them. And I mean plan.

      As an ACON you may struggle with what you want and who you are because you were conceived to serve someone else’s needs. But it is a learnable skill. You are writing the novel of your life and like any good novel there will be many revisions and rewrites and input from editors (therapists / friends.) Also, when you are thinking about the future you can’t be thinking about the past.

      ACONs often ask “Why me?” Answer: You were unlucky. You drew a bad hand. You chose the wrong parents. “Why me?” is a form of self blame. As in “What did I do to deserve this?” You were the child and they were the grownups. Whom do you think is to blame? Repeat as often as necessary. IT’S NOT MY FAULT.

      “Processing” is very necessary for people who were not even allowed to feel when they were children. It’s a neutral word for getting angry, grieving or even laughing. But emotions are a means to an end not an end in itself. They are only a tool to help you understand what you need to do. Sometimes, when the abuser created fog lifts, your goals may appear surprisingly clear and simple.

      A woman I knew told me that when the fog cleared her goals were to have a husband, kids and a dog. She said that she felt her goals were dull and unimaginative but when you come from a broken home they can be everything. I also reminded her of how many breeds of dogs there were.

      Anger especially can be useful. How many movies have used the theme of the protagonist taking abuse after abuse until one day he paints himself blue, rises and yells “FREEDOM!”? Well, only one, but I’m sure you get my drift. A competent therapist will help you try on these new shoes for size and feel.

      Finding a competent therapist is easier said than done. You are not interested in learning about the mind of a narcissist. You are interested in your own life and your own happiness, whatever that may be. The therapist must be well practiced in the specific treatment of adult children of narcissists. Not dabbled in it but well practiced. No Tony Robbins or EMDR or other trendy snake oil is going to help you here. This is advanced stuff for a psychologist, no beginner is going to help you. That means money. No way around it.

      It’s two steps forward, one step back. Even if you fall two steps back you can close your eyes and say “Yes, I may be in the same place I was in yesterday but a different person is standing here.”

      • August 29, 2018 at 9:28 am

        It’s interesting that you throw out “EMDR” as “trendy snake oil” when you’re telling someone how to go about healing from narcissistic abuse. You suggest “therapy and any type of meditation” from a psychologist and not some beginner. Since you’re not specific at all regarding therapy, except to find a psychologist who is well-versed on narcissistic abuse of children, how do you expect that to help someone as confused as Ben is? Someone in Ben’s frame of mind needs to be led by the hand and shown what he needs to do, not told and certainly not dissing an amazing form of therapy that’s known to be extremely beneficial for removing trauma-related symptoms from a person’s life. No, EMDR is not going to get you a job or buy you a car, but neither is cognitive (gag) talk therapy that gets you nowhere when you’ve experienced trauma. And Ben is clearly traumatized! He’s got the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing going on and you tell him to avoid EMDR. Do you want to hear something interesting? My therapist is a psychologist and guess what? She does trendy snakeoil EMDR and it’s actually effective. I think some pigs just flew by. Have you ever done EMDR, Tyler? Or have you just done random old therapy (pick one any one)? Maybe instead of dismissing forms of therapy, suggest something specific like EMDR when Ben’s ready to face the trauma since snakeoil therapies aren’t easy or fun, along with mindfulness in the form of DBT or ACT. Do everyone who reads this blog a favor and educate yourself first and then make suggestions because if I were Ben (and I’ve been where he’s at before), what you said would’ve gone in one ear and out the other. I wonder if he’s left the situation due to your suggestions? Since his case is advanced stuff that only a psychologist can handle. Is “advanced stuff” some new psychology jargon, btw? I’d like to see you go through what I did just yesterday using EMDR. It wasn’t pretty, but I can tell you it was definitely advanced. I no longer have the excessive startle response I’ve had my entire life which made it impossible for me to go see a horror movie in a theater and if anyone came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder? I’ve had to be rushed to the hospital with heart palpitations that were an anxiety response to trauma. That was the first thing to go and that was because of EMDR. But don’t try it because it’s snakeoil and needs advanced stuff. Bleh.

      • August 30, 2018 at 4:56 pm

        Thank you for your much needed post. My ex-husband is a Malignant Narcissist who was unbelievably cruel, at one point he actually told me his goal was to see me homeless, pushing a shopping cart and I came close to that. I described what happened to me this way, I was deleted, erased and installed with software whose purpose was to leave me shattered. I couldn’t remember how to do many things, I didn’t know how do my hair and makeup, I use this example because I’d been doing these the same way for years. I still had the instinct of survival and the thing that saved me was ACT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy that was taught by a kind, dynamic person who really knew how to teach, I went to the class almost every Friday for over two years and I learned and practiced the tools of Act. From my experience, Cognitive Therapy like DBT and ACT, is a must on the road to recovery. I also was treated with EMDR, which is not “snake oil”, it has even been an accepted therapy by the VA for years! By the way, this is the first time I’ve seen ACT referred to! Thanks again for your post!

    • September 19, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Wow, right where you are, Ben. So much time & effort & for what? Feeling bad for them but hating how they treat you. Mindscrew indeed. I feel like I am living with two different people. One minute nice then the next can walk right past you without a word. Just spent a few hours yesterday at the local RSL, half an hour before our mate picked us up he was in my room when asked to leave he wouldn’t, I had to push him out twice. At the RSL he was buying me drinks, a mate who knows of our situation asked me if I was in the good books. The real man was back when we got behind closed doors. I think he is manipulating what people believe & discrediting me in the process. Setting the stage for the final act. No reasoning with them, no getting them to understand your point of view. It is all about them.

  • July 10, 2018 at 8:18 am

    First of all, thank you for this blog and thank you for this great information. I come from a life that has been riddled with abuse. It began with my step-dad beating my mom and refusing to support our family, with basic human needs and financially. My mom had to go to work to support us. This was hard because then she had nothing left for us kids. My eldest sister took up the brunt of motherhood which was not fair to her. As an adult I could not marry well. I was always in an abusive relationship, either between myself and my husband or between husband and protecting my kids. My kids, nor myself did not deserve this treatment so I divorced since I made a promise to myself and my children that for their entire lives I would never tolerate abuse, since my mom tolerated it for years then divorced. The best thing she ever did. There would always be infidelity involved which would be the source of the anger, in my mother’s relationship as well as mine. My step-dad had a relationship outside of his marriage for their entire marriage and for mine as well. You can’t discuss it nor talk about it when their is evidence in front of your face…tactile evidence…clothing left behind doors, clothing left outside in the front yard…catching an ex with porn pulled up on the computer late at night. The comment I want to make though is my last one is a psychopath. He is a manipulative liar. He is a bully, a physical and mental abuser. He was nasty and disgusting and made my stomach turn. While we were worshiping he was so sweet and kind and as soon as we’d leave he’d begin the cold, evil, negative talk about how everyone was bad and life was so bad, a constant complainer. He killed my dog…I had had my dog for about seven plus years, he wanted to dump him where I was moving from, I refused. So about a year later he poisoned him with rat poison. My precious dog died a miserable, painful, sad death that he did not deserve. Then he began to tell all of our associates that there was something wrong with me and no one liked me, then told me to my face that no one liked me. He destroyed my baby pictures with a black marker. He threatened to kill my new dogs and a few horses I had bought and cared for with my own money, because he demanded that I work. He would do this while I was out of town getting things for him. Like a days drive away, he would tell me this on the phone that he was going to kill my animals. Then he threatened my son several times with bodily harm for no reason, just to be a bully and an ass. I stepped between them and refused to allow him to hit him. I saw this too many times with the beatings my mother took. He was severely mentally abusive, as he refused to allow me to talk. I would always have something going in my mind so I could drown out his evil voice. I NEVER spoke to him, or talked to him, all he wanted me to do was work for him, clean house, cook, and earn money secularly. As soon as all of my children was out of the house he tore my clothing and attempted to physically assault me, he had me “horse-collared” in the front of my gown and ripped it, threatening to punch me until I almost lost consciousness. I didn’t know what to do and I thought I could not leave, I was convinced I was trapped there, (the Stockholm Syndrome). I did leave and happened upon a person I knew so we chatted and this person got my brain back on the right track and was concerned about my personal safety. I packed some of my belongings and left. He froze the bank accounts immediately and all assets. He called me about a month later and told me that he had almost killed me three times. Once he was going to have a head-on collision with me, the next time he was going to drag me to death, and the third time he was going to shoot me and modify the gun so no one would be able to trace the bullet. That is what got the authorities’ attention because I had so much evidence that was correct that they told me to seek cover and to get protection that my life was truly in danger. He also said his dad would be happy to shoot me since he was a sharp shooter in the military. He then would walk through restraining orders with no consequence, would try to get the people where I would go to work at turn against me, even visiting surrounding businesses. He called my mother and tried to turn her against me and she called me and told me about it but she knew he was lying and would not believe him. Then I began getting jobs and he would find out where I was working and communicate with them and they would terminate me. It has happened everywhere I have worked for many years. Friends that I made turned against me, people that were my friends for years and not his will not speak to me, but I do say of them, they were not my friends anyway. I do know that he told some friends that came to me that he said I was on some medication and now refuse to take it and I could kill them, and they believed it. Fine. Good riddance. I mentioned it while applying for work at the da’s office and the lady said “it sounds like someone needs to move” and I said “I am not the criminal, he is, I leave him alone, and he just can’t get over it”. I also live in a small town but cannot move since I cannot afford it. I am very social but the rumors and the gossip is very bad in this small town since it seems like that is all they have. I would love to prosecute since I am a very professional person and this has affected my career. I would always say I’d rather die a thousand deaths than to relive a moment that I lived with him.

  • July 12, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    This is one of the better articles written about narcissists. I agree 100% that their existence is their punishment. I was married for 16 years to a covert narc. I did not realize he was a narc until I started going to therapy for myself. Now many months later it’s all so clear. It hasn’t been quite a year but very close. It has been a rude awakening for me as I feel I had been blindsided and the person I married I never really knew. The most devastating is to learn how callous they are and the depth of deception…that I never truly mattered to him, and he never loved me. It’s definitely been shocking and it’s such a process to get past. I still don’t feel completely healed but I’m working my way through. I’m grateful to be free of this person and to realize the truth. Again, thank you for this article. It makes so much sense and confirms what I already realized for myself deep inside.

  • August 24, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Wow…Thank you for writing this article. I have been in a relationship with a covert narcissist for 7 years and I think I am the only 1 who sees his abusive side and sometimes when we argue he claims that I cause him to be depressed and I never believed he really was depressed. I thought he was just being manipulative, but I found some depression meds in his bathroom the other day (2 full bottles so he obviously isn’t taking them) which made me wonder if maybe I did cause him to be depressed or at least made it worse, however after reading this article it all makes sense and even though I am relieved it has nothing to do with me I also feel really sad for him….of course I know my empathy is my weakness lol🤦

    • September 1, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      Feel for you on that one, empathy or trying to understand, is my weakness too. Pathway to hell sometimes

  • September 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks Darius, it’s so, so helpful to be reminded of how our culture “pedestals,” validates and cons us all into thinking power, money, status and celebrity are the ultimate forms of happiness and success, when all too often the opposite is true, as you stated. Sometimes, when I’m my worst self, I feel a sense of self-loathing for what I desire and do not have–the proverbial carrot on a stick or fish on a lure–forgetting in that time the grass is never greener, and wherever you go there you are. I sometimes think, “if only I could stop thinking” I could be happy with what I have: a home, a meaningful job, family and friends, my mental/physical health etc. When I’m weak though, that’s when the “shoulds” of the cultural come for me, like a nightmare”you should be and have this. If you don’t have this you are a failure and you know it.” It’s insidious and never ending, and even now I can hear this voice, “but are they really that unhappy? The George Cloonies of the world seem pretty satisfied, while the Donald Trump’s seem absolutely miserable. Sometimes I’m not sure what to think anymore.E

  • September 14, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Thank you, this is one of the best articles that explains this behavior in simplicity i have been married to a NA /P for 22 years he was my pi lawyer He represented me in a discrimination/Sexual harrassment case i had know idea NA human being like this edited in the world Omg was i naive or unlearned until i met this person i was always a happy ambitious talltent confidant independent individual bie-
    introverted/extroverted love animals and peace of mind Lol wasn’t looking or desperate for attention or a relationship at that time of course me be me i trusted him smh right after whatever settlement that was left after he ripped me off that same company offer me my position back with no retaliation i was so excited but of course the NA convinced me that the company would just find a reason to fire me the second biggest mistake I have ever made in my life the first mistake was getting evolved with him i will try and make this
    Simple and short..we ended up getting married shortly after we got married he gaslighting manipulated mind you at that time i had know clue about this kind of abusive behavior for years i thought it was me ..the empty promises or wait until the next that never came the abuse by proxy backstabbing division instigated arguments between my family and i every time we went out of town i ended alone or coming home the humiliation in front of others the lies the two personalitys i never knew which one i would be dealing with from day to day the subtle backhanded compliments the sarcasm and snarky comments the drama fake tears and more empty lies and promises the anger the rage the disrespect betrayed more stolen money the forgery fraud he’s has been arrested for Domestic Violence he beat me we have divorced twice third biggest mistake was taken him back smh he destroyed my credit kick me out of my home 4 times illegal foreclose swapped signature treats threatened to commit suicide secretive lies and hides go on vacation without me but i love to see he go throw up on the thought of him returning he had been to anger management didn’t do a bit of good but the good news i still have a open divorce with spouse support held orders the judge told me never dismiss my divorce case because this person aka the N isn’t a good person and i deserve better the judge was absolutely correct and guest what im ready to go, thak you

  • September 19, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    I agree with your article and the comments. However, my mother is a narcissist, among other things, and her big joy in life is robbing people of their credit. How far reaching she has been is immeasurable. I can only hope she has inner turmoil but I really doubt it. If I were able to punish her I would have her committed in a room lined with credit cards she couldn’t use. Maybe make her as crazy as she has made my siblings and myself, not to mention a multitude of other people. Same goes for my older brother, who has helped her in her theft. I haven’t had anything to do with her personally for the last 20 years + and when she dies, good riddance. Bitter? absolutely.

  • December 11, 2018 at 1:33 am

    brilliant article, you are helping many to understand the sickness of a serious personality disorder

  • December 25, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    I think this is a really great reminder of the internal struggle of the narcissist. Many times, narcissists appear to walk away unscathed from the damage they cause. The irony is that narcissists can never truly experience happiness or fulfillment, regardless of how successful they may appear by society’s standards. Really insightful article.

  • December 27, 2018 at 4:46 am

    I need to add something I forgot to add to my last message I just submitted… The thing about the Kool-Aid. Right after he asked me about it I said you know I think that belongs to our son. So he ask her son about it and why he put the Kool-Aid on HIS nightstand… NOT MINE and talked to our son about how he could have accidentally knockedthe drink over and ruined his phone and everything on his side of the bed. Which means he just contradicted himself about whose side of bed it was on. It seems like nothing but it proves that he’s being manipulative and lying about how things are really going on because he tried to say it was on my side of the bed when he knew it wasn’t

  • January 6, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    I always knew something was wrong with my mom. She was very abusive mentally, emotionally and physically. I did know that my sister is a Narc. When mom died, I got online to educate myself on how to deal with her my sisters abuse. Wow, was I in for the surprise of my life.

    Not only was my mom also a Narc., I realized that my boyfriend of 6 years is too. In addition to that, I am Bi Polar, the perfect target for a Narc.

    I can see through them now. I left the boyfriend and was able to expose him before he slandered me.

    The only thing I can offer for those of you who haven’t left is this; LEAVE! DO NOT LET THEM KNOW YOU KNOW. DO NOT let them see you cry (much easier said than done). DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY SAY. If you want something done, tell them NOT TO do it. It will be done. Open a bank account with only your name on it. Expose him before he destroys you FURTHER. Seek help. PLEASE.

    I made the mistake of letting my boyfriend know that I figured him out. That’s when he emptied my bank account. I am over that. HOWEVER, he got dangerous.They are very payback oriented with Godlike egos. Some of them don’t even care if they go to prison for their actions as long as they accomplish their mission, which is to suck the life out of you. So PLEASE BE CAREFUL.

  • February 5, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Great article and reminder to the rest of us. Sometimes I wonder why the worst of us are seen as the best of us (especially politicians, athletes and entertainers) when the true heroes are the teachers, social workers, intellectuals and the like (though of course not those who use their positions of power for narcissistic supply, as the article mentions). At the extreme, I definitely see their inner misery as they grow older, isolating more and more, maybe becoming severe alcoholics and repudiating anyone who is capable at shining the light of truth upon their gollum-like existence. And yet, American culture rewards narcissistic behavior, and so what shall we make of those with narcissistic traits, who are self-centered and annoying to the rest of us, but live prosperous lives of family, financial health and creative success? To be real, these are the ones I find myself resenting, even though doing so fuels my own cynicism and is awful for my spirit and my well-being. Because when there’s a medical, legal, child or financial emergency, they appear to be able to pounce on it every time triumphantly, while I, a very introverted, endlessly contemplative, temperamentally artistic person (and barely living paycheck to paycheck because I really just don’t have the ego-strength for the high paying careers that require a high degree of narcissism–lawyers et. al.), find myself without a support system, life partner, retirement plan (I’ve worked my whole life in a nonprofit social services). All the things I see others having which makes me at least perceive them to be sustainably happy or at peace. I wonder, having to accept the system–corporate capitalism–just how much of an inauthentic jerk do I have to be to be “healthy.” I live in a big, rich city and live in an studio for 1500 a month plus utilities. The abject hopelessness I feel for improving my situation is palpable–and trust, I am far from consolidating an identity around being a victim, nor am I passive, a C+ earning dude or lacking in confidence (well, I’ve got atypical confidence, in that I am not aggressive/dominating but can stand my “emotional ground” very, very well). So here is my conundrum: my whole life I’ve said to myself, “those narcissistic jerks will lose in the end.” Meanwhile, I worked in therapy, on extended silent meditation retreats, reading endless spiritual/psychology self-help books, pushing myself to be best self while not falling into the narcissistic trap of, “oh, most enlightened and holier than thou one.” At most, I can say, I’m extremely self-aware and authentic. But what has that gotten me? In this culture? Living alone, barely getting by and watching all the people who are not like me buy houses, start families, retire early and, as far as I can see, are the happiest people ever. For my whole life I’ve been told, “be a good person,” “work hard for social justice,” “the road to happiness is in helping and being of service to others.” So tell me, why are all the people high on the narcissistic spectrum living the American Dream while I am not?

  • February 21, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Do you really believe that Trump, Putin and Erdogan are miserable? Unfortunately those that cause a trail of misery and destruction often win and are rewared with assets and a lifestyel that makes them feel happy, superior and successful. Think of any country that invades another or wins a war. That country is rewarded with extra supplies and the stimulating sense of victory without much reflection or remorse about the lives lost and places crushed. We want to believe that bad people suffer. Only if they lose or are held accountable. Horrible people often prosper. People are too scared or lack the power to challenge them.

    • February 22, 2019 at 2:06 am

      In short, yes, they are definitely miserable. Sure, people like that have way more resources than most people and it makes certain things easier, but the way their psyche is makes it impossible to actually feel genuine happiness in their general existence.

      • July 1, 2019 at 6:15 am

        do they really care? I do not think so!!! Do they know any difference between being miserable and happy? Do they know what happiness is? Apart from watching porn and being unfaithful and cheating? EDo they really know what it is to be human? NOOO they don’t and as far as I am concerned they do Not give a shi…. It is all about THEM

    • July 1, 2019 at 6:09 am

      nor is my husband

  • February 23, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    We had an apt. for 32 yrs. When owner died her daughter moved in, knowinbg little of how to manage an apt,complex. My guy managed the building all those yrs. Due to a plumbing problem, she used it to get us evicted, we are seniors and are outrented in the area now. She told the plumbers to pack three rooms of our things, while we where still paying rent, she had promised if necessary to hire professionals, she didn’t told plumbers to pack out stuff. They just threw everything in cardboard boxes, all my collection of china cups, trashed, my lifetime of jewellery gone! 80% of my things damaged or destroyed!.Medical necessities, my passport which l needed for Mexico for dentistry, packed and it all stacked so high unreachable in a makeshift carport. My guy was given a fee for having been manager, l got nothing her plumbers plundered everything l owned, and 40% of my guys things.. She lied to the plumbers telling them we would be well compensated, we where not. How l will get her, is to SHAME her w/a son who lives far away from her, tell him every single detail of what she did, all done so she could go on a cruise? l will shar w/him my therapists warning that she is a malignant narcissist, which l should not have ignored yrs. before, and perhaps l will send her a copy of the letter after a while, so she will surely know she has been exposed. HA, HA, HA ! payback!

  • March 12, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    I disagree with your statement that a malignant narcissist punishment is their existance; that would mean that they have self-awareness. Many of them don’t have any self-awareness. If they are also psychopaths and criminals; then jail time is their punishment. For some, Having their reputations tarnished is enough punishment for them. For them to be ostracized by society and branded as a criminal and a sex offender is worse than death. I was raised by a narcissitic, psychopathic, pedophile who was highly educated, intelligent, wealthy and who gaslighted his wife and children and emotionally, physically and mentally abused them. He was a pillar of the community, he had friends in high places, he was a member of small cult, a religious man, a teacher, counselor, senior executive director who befriended children and helped many people. Very complex man with many issues. He also was a misogynist and he thought women belonged in the kitchen and not in the boardroom. He had very old-fashion views on women working in the workforce. I wish I could of saw him carted off to prison to experience the horrors behind bars but he was punished by suffering the debilitating effects of ALS. He hurt and ruined the lives of many, many innocent children.

    • March 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Michele,

      You say you disagree but everything you say describes a person who is miserable. It seems it comes down to what is happiness/misery. In my experience and observation, self-awareness is not necessary to be miserable. Most people would probably agree that a drug addict doing heroin is not a happy person, even though they appear happy and even biochemically their bodies have more hormones associated with pleasant sensations (e.g., dopamine). I’ve never seen a person who would have severe dark personality traits and I could call genuinely happy. Unless you see happiness as having money power, social pull, etc., which I do not see it as. People like that are miserable. And since they are miserable and usually they are unable to get better, their miserable existence is their punishment. Sometimes it does involves jail, other times it does not.


      • March 12, 2019 at 7:51 pm

        It’s a toughie. For example, what about those with a few NPD traits but without the full blown disorder? It seems some of these traits (grandiosity, overly confident) become strengths in successfully navigating a culture that both breeds and perpetuates unhealthy narcissism (social media and the entertainment industry comes to mind).

        Happiness is clearly not a permanent state, but in my mind it is “experiencing a good, positive, hopeful mood more often than not.” I wish I could differentiate myself from the corporate capitalism that promotes money above all else, and embody the Dali Lama’s statement: “the purpose of life is to be happy” (that is, released from the endless suffering of ego attachment). But rugged individualism, the american dream, manifest destiny and all the rest are soaked into my very marrow. It’s true all forms of unnecessary emotional suffering comes to life due to our relationship with our inner experience. And yet, a few million, a yacht, some other things, would instill in me a genuine and radiating happiness (not a lasting happiness, I do get that, but perhaps a bread crumb living in an extremely divided culture on the brink of a spiritual “paradigm war” holocaust.

        So what am I getting at? It just seems there is fine line between narcissistic misery and generalized happiness. How can we tell? And some people who’ve done horrible things appear to extremely peaceful and happy. George Bush Jr. is a good example.

  • April 10, 2019 at 9:10 am

    You are truly an artist. Very good, comprehensive piece on the future a narc has to look forward to. Thank you.

  • May 31, 2019 at 7:04 am

    The suggestion that people who beat, rape, shout at, con, hurt others around them are not happy people is difficult for me at accept. The narcissist I know (a brother-in-law) behaves as though his happiness has nothing to do with his actions or his behaviours towards others. He has been abusive towards the very people whom he expects to shower him with adoration, respect, unconditional love, obedience, consideration. I had a front-row seat to the abusive nature of ‘Rick’ towards his mother. Although she had cooked everything under the Sun, he was displeased with her because she hadn’t also cooked the one thing upon which he had his heart set. She made allowances for him constantly. Firstly, he was male and she nurtured the notion that males are superior to females. I’ve never been left with the impression that Rick feels remorseful or regretful about his hurtful and disrespectful treatment of me or anyone else. He seems to constantly be on the lookout for anyone disrespecting him and openly complains about it when detected. The ultimate ingredient to this tragic recipe is that his family protects him by defending him, overlooking his rude, crude, disrespectful behaviour and (in turn) enables him. He is, of course, divorced, estranged from his one child (a daughter, big surprise. Men who value women are less likely to mess up their relationship with their daughters – narcissist or not.), not allowed access to his 3 grandchildren, and kicked to the curb by me (a sister-in-law). His siblings (except my husband) console him with notions that the people who’ve left him were no good in the first place otherwise they wouldn’t have turned their backs on him. His sister, especially, nurtures his conviction that he is wonderful and simply misunderstood and very unlucky. It doesn’t have to be this way. He should be encouraged to have empathy, exercise restraint, develop consideration of others just as one would be coached to filter what they think about saying next. No consequence of actions has ever been impressed upon him. Now he plays the victim. I’m finished with the whole messed-up family. Thank goodness my husband is nothing like that.

  • July 12, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    To Darius the writer of this article,
    Thankyou =] Well Said…

    +for all the fellow commenters♡
    Wow… I’ve never had to scroll down so far to get to (the current moment) end of the comments. ALL THE ABOVE /what each person has said: is just infinite Proof of what a horrible, hurtfull situation it is -during the time of having2B stuck dealing with a Narcissist. … A Nacissist is
    -A VILLAN- in our real life world. And the Best answer/solution >is to go -No Contact!- That’s what I have done with my Dad’s wife. she most un-fortunately & Tragicly came into my life in 1992. =( I’m the only 1 in the family who has figured out what she is, (Thanks to all the reading I’ve been doing in these recent years on PsychCentral!..) +I’m the only 1 insisting that I will Not put my-self in Harm’s way -by joining family activities where she will be, Nothing. going -No Contact!- is the ONLY way to Stop (more continual hurts) from happening. THEN you can *start the journey of Healing within your-self♡.

    You CAN do it! =] you MUST♡
    I’m the-only-1 in the “family” holding my ground right now..
    but man is it worth it.
    Get OUT, get AWAY from that Narc +set Your Protection:
    -No Contact-

    • October 12, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      Not attending family reunions will be labeled as rude by others; don’t let the narc triumph by you showing petty behavior. No contact can be done while the person is a group setting. Be cordial and say hi to everyone but do Not Engage in private conversation with them, only if they are part of a group. The group is your “buffer.” It’s basically a form of almost ignoring the narc (which they will hate) and at the same time, displaying your happiness with them next to you. It’s like a dance where you move around avoiding to be in a closed space with them so they can’t pour their venom on you. IF they did, they’ll be showing Everyone that they are upset, and they would not like to appear weak and affected by your demeanor. You get to enjoy the company of the rest of the family, but they can’t “get to you.” You Win.

  • July 14, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    The narc punishment you describe is woefully insufficient for the crime and harm they bring on good people.

    • May 13, 2020 at 10:07 am

      it takes two to tango to the narcissist’s fiddle: and yes, you see the ‘red flags’, in fact, they might even tell you (with pride) about how ‘toxic’ they are, how “destructive”, how they are always the victim of some vicious ex, or abusive parents, or else. It takes another to forgive the first lie, the second, the first case of abuse, and so on. They will go as far as you allow and slowly erode your bounderies, but only if you let them. Their behavior is highly predictable and follows the same pattern, they don’t bother to be too inventive, it takes some effort. If you fell for this shallowness there was also something in you that needed correction. Often, it is too late and it is too easy to blame it on the “horrible narcissist” who “destroyed you”. Voila, you sound just like them. It is, of course, much harder, if this type of relationship is all you ever knew in your life and you seek, often even not very concsiously, to replicate the same pattern you have been exposed to as a child. It requires a self-reflecting person to understand fairly early on the type of cycle you are entering and then ask yourself, why are you playing this game with him. There are no winners. Narcissists need constant supply, but they are never happy with just one meal. Do you want to be that meal that has to make an effort to appeal each and every time to this eroding individual? Why do you crave his/her attention? The best punishment for them is oblivion. Is you being totally happy without them. You NOT needing to be their supply or provide their validation. The best is when they know you don’t need a validation from them either. Then you can stand up straight and walk away without any toxic bonds or wishing them hell on earth and thereafter. It is when you do not care at all what happens to them, that you are finally back to being yourself and are free. And that’s a process. But it is a worthy one! 🙂

      • May 14, 2020 at 2:17 am

        In part I agree with your comment, however, I feel that turning the tables on the victim of a Narc and asking why are you there when you can see the red flags is offensive. As you point out, it’s hard to see the red flags if you’ve grown up with one, like I did, Narc father and marrying a Narc at age 25. I saw none of the red flags. Why? Because I had been programmed by my co-dependent mother to be overly submissive and I have an empathetic intuitive personality. I was pretty much set up to walk into that relationship. When I made attempts to leave my family withheld their support (except for a short time at the last effort to leave, my father supported me as my ex had endangered my life). Quite hilarious a Narc coming to rescue his daughter from another Narc. But that support from my immediate family was short lived. My extended family live in Europe and my father the clever Narc removed my mother and us early on in our family life to the other side of the world in Australia. My family in Denmark have seen through my father but were at a loss as to how to help. So my mother has remained and is now after 55years an empty shell. I left and moved 2000 kms from my parents 12 years ago, best move ever!! I have very clear strong boundaries and extremely limited contact with them, (and only keep this contact- for my mothers sake).
        So it’s not always straightforward. I’ve done therapy and continue to for the last 28years, the only one in my family strong enough to admit I need support and help. I’m proud of how far I’ve come considering I’ve been abused every way possible for close to 40 years. But my abuse-by date ran out 12 years ago and I will no longer tolerate it. But it’s come at a cost and I’m still paying the price mentally and physically (not that you would know from looking at me on the outside) I will continue to work on my recovery and live the life I love.

  • August 18, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Yes, they can be miserable in their core but such people are so horribly superficial that all it takes is adoration, money and the next audience to keep their supply intact. And that’s all they need. My ex, narcissist extraordinaire, went on to find a job that pays double the 80K salary he was making, with a triple-sized captive audience of 1000 people every week and a newer, younger version of me, in a great city. All that after he destroyed me and the people at his previous job. Given that he values only money, power, adoration and sex, it seems to me that he’s doing quite well.

  • January 4, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I have to totally agree with the answer is death. And then they will burn in hell for all eternity just like I was while in the relationship. I had already seen him going downhill at the end because his Dad kicked him out of the house he rented from him. He quit his job out of anger and with no$$ coming in, he ran out of propane for 2 yrs. Used nothing but cold water for everything. Had electric heaters, but made sure he still had his beer. Picked up odd jobs here and there but blew the money on stupid shit. Never in 6 years did I get a bday card, Xmas present, Valentine’s card, or any gift of any kind. Even when he had money he was a TIGHTWAD. I of course always gave gifts for special occasions because that’s what ur supposed to do when you love someone. Seems when ever a holiday came around he had something to argue about and we fought and never spent one together. I know where he went, with whoever was the other woman at the time. My God, I am just damn lucky I didn’t get a VD of any kind. I did accuse him once, made up a story of having some problem and he of course said it was from my boyfriend and he better get checked out.
    Well, I never got anything thank God because I didn’t know he was really cheating at the Time because he was so jealous of me. But, he disappeared for a couple days w/o any responses to my calls or messages, he made up story after story. He really has NOTHING for being a 55 yr old man, he will die broke, drunk & bills for his kid’s to take care of I’m positive. I am a Christian and believe God will do what he thinks is best at the time of his demise which I can only hope is soon. Or maybe I would like to see him living under a bridge for awhile first. Either way, CARMA will get him in the end. I despise the very thought of him right now. After what he has done w no remorse is just plain sickening.
    I can’t believe how REAL this shit really is. Run for ur life and live like no one else because all who have been there knows how REAL it is and all of a sudden I know I can run like the wind.
    Peace all

  • January 5, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Reading this today helped me understand why my ex of 26 years progressively got worse with lies ,secrets and drinking and in the end I was left homeless and had my child taken from me with no reason except that he said he did it to teach me a lesson for not doing what he needed or wanted. He felt I cheated him out of life he could have had for getting pregnant and not wanting to share him with his secret life style …punish me for calling the police finally , so he used his money and ignorant people to ruin me with rumors and then bam! For Christmas I got served and left penniless and homeless with our oldest who he also blamed for being born and the fact she was on to his manipulation as she caught him in several lies socially.
    Thank you for writing such a great piece as it felt I was reading about my own past situation ,which helped me see I wasnt crazy.


  • February 1, 2020 at 8:34 am

    That was such a fantastic and insightful read. Both my father and my ex-husband (who I’ve had no contact with for 20 years and somehow despite being a very maternal person, I managed to come to the conclusion that having children with him would be dangerous to any children and myself and would have kept me entangled with him, even after I had managed to finally walk away) are pathological narcissists. I moved 2000km away from my parents 12 years ago for my own sanity and keep very little contact with them and when I visit I have things in place to protect myself and have set up strong boundaries which has been about 45 years work in progress. I am proud of what I have achieved despite having been extensively abused throughout my life (in the last several years I have only collected friends who are loving, supportive and healthy and made significant progress in my emotional healing and stopped myself from allowing others to abuse me).
    Now as an old man I see my once “dynamic, charismatic” covertly abusive and manipulative father sick, isolated and very lonely with no friends and receiving very little narcissistic supply. Sadly, my mother has and still continues to suffer (hence the reason I haven’t reached the no contact stage) but many in the family including us kids have reached out many, many times and offered her help and an out. She’s chosen to stay, that’s her decision.
    Yes I totally agrees years of covert manipulation and abuse eats away at a person’s soul, you cannot rake fire into your bosom and hope not to be burnt, you cannot destroy relationships by disrespecting others and hope to be happy. You can live in your own ivory tower in your private dreamworld but it’s a lonely and pathetic existence.

  • May 4, 2020 at 1:20 am

    Pretty dark but spot on. I have been holding out hope of an awakening within my wife. I’ve been telling her for so long that she is going to regret her entire life and all of her choices..and spitefullness. She’s a teacher. She’s addicted to meth. She has alienated me from my 3 children and falsley accused me of battery. Because of her manipulation &accusations I haven’t seen or spoken to them in 5 years now. She still comes around to have sexual relations with me but will not mend the gap between me and my children so I may regain my sense of self and purpose. I’m a Dad. This is cruel. Judges, lawyers, cops… don’t seem to care that kids need a father as much as I need my kids. Not after hearing false accusations and having drawn conclusions about me. Your drawing the line between power and abuse finally just hit me as to why I’ve had no success in pleading innocence to those people. Its hard to just quit my kids. I guess that’s what everyone in my position does these days because I received no compassion and no help in making my case, trying to envoke my right to be a father to my own children. I’ve become angry. And I’m not an angry man. I’ve been made out to be one. And I’ve become one. I loved myself 5 years ago and had very few regrets in my life. Now I hate myself and my entire life.


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