95 thoughts on “Narcissistic Abuse and the Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

  • May 16, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Im 14 months out of my Narc relationship although he and his favourite “flying monkeys” and his codependant on/off partner have dragged my agony out. Ive been contacted by several women all treated the same although i think as i was loudest ive been tortured just that bit harder.

    Im certainly suffering from PTSD and the anxiety i suffered before i met him is now severe.

    The lies. Stories. Gaslighting. Accusations i was a snoop and control freak were constant.

    The moods. 1 to 2 days at a time going deadly silent on me. Refusing to “make up” saying we were over were almost weekly for the 2 years we were together although in his initial 6 month hunting and “grooming” phase prior to this he was 100% charming and consistent.

    Im fortunate enough to have found a lot out about him. Women. Drugs etc so when i finally left (broken) i voiced all this to anyone who would listen.

    AA shut ranks: again! But outsiders seemed to grow suspicious of him as im one of several women to manage to say same things.

    Ive heard hes finally been sacked for sexually harassing women in his workplace but im not sure if its true. Its an ideal hunting ground….

    A few of his friends stayed my friends and went cold on him.

    So the Narc hasnt stayed quite as innocent and polished as after past victims BUT hes still saying it was me hacking his social media to sext women! It was me drinking (hes an AA drop in and outer!) And it was me stopping him see his child with his main “energy source” female. (i arranged solicitors and advice apps. He didnt want to attend or didnt turn up)

    Currently hes sucessfully ruined my life but im pushing for PTSD confirmation and treatment and trying to get good from what has happened. I used to work for charities and ive decided to deliver info sessions on Narcs to help men and woman avoid what so many of us go through.

    • August 6, 2017 at 4:11 am

      You got out, you’ve accepted that you were a victim, and you’re speaking out to help others. He may have given you some extra hurdles but your life was not ruined. You are exactly on the right track and you should be proud of yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve and keep doing what you’re doing.

      • November 4, 2017 at 9:27 pm

        My fiance did this to me, held me against my will, like a bathroom or bedroom and make sure she has my phone so i couldn’t call the cops, and almost insist a physical altercation.

        Then the camera starts rolling after an hour of entrapment.

        She caught me on video acting completely insane.

        Told her i didn’t want her around me or my kids.

        Then she got a restraining order and destroyed me in court with that evidence. And destroyed me. Now I’m homeless, lost my mind, and she took all my possessions. Have to go to civil court.

        She lied about abuse to her when it was me. She’s a narcissist. Took all the money, i couldn’t afford lawyer and got screwed.

        Then came smear campaigns on FB. Took control of my fb and e-mails.

        Yet with no evidence against her i got fucked, and she got everything.

        I’ve never been in any trouble with the law in my life.

        Now any job and/or relationship I’m in for the rest of my life it’ll show a restraining order and domestic battery.

        What can i do? I’m so lost. I know what she did was illegal, and she planned it out so carefully. This was 3 weeks ago. I’m outside looking in now and see this harsh reality.

        She gets to stay in our house and i still have to pay half

      • November 5, 2017 at 7:34 am

        Thanks for commenting Chris1981. What you describe, in the vast majority of cases, is what women experience who are in a domestic violence relationship with a narcissistic/antisocial personality disordered partner. If what you say is true, I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. No person, man or woman should. It takes a professional with experience working with these “disorders” to identify the narcissist/psychopath from the prey (unfortunately the courts, police officers, lawyers, even many therapists can be deceived by skilled con artistry, smear campaigns, word salad, gaslighting etc. of narcissists). Thanks for writing.

      • December 12, 2017 at 3:59 am

        I too was taken by a woman of 27 yrs to the point of complete emotional,physical,finiancial,an social media ruins ,I don’t know what to do either an am lost at how to fix this hell I call a life all I can offer is prayer that some how we can recover

      • September 6, 2018 at 4:52 pm

        I’m so sorry this happened to you. Any updates? How are you managing? Hugsxx.

      • January 11, 2019 at 11:27 pm

        Sheesh, Chris. I’m so sorry to hear what you went through, sadly though I can relate to something as unbelievable as that. Go no contact or if you have to deal with her because of the kids go grey rock. Learn more about narcissism and join one of the support groups on Facebook they’re great for connecting with other people who’ve also experienced the mind numbing trauma. It’s a tough journey but you’ll get there. Take care, brother. My heart is with you!

    • December 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Lucky, I identify with all of the above, spread over four narcissistic relationships: 1. a 35 year marriage to an emotional manipulator/abuser, 2: an 18 month relationship with a sociopath/alcoholic 3: a flatmate (accused me of snooping, pettiness, control etc and yelled at me) 4: An overt/covert narcissist – charming, beautiful and completely toxic and hateful under the mask. I have healed to a point of now seeing myself as a Light-filled being, full of warmth, kindness, compassion – and more importantly even, as VALID, CONSCIOUS, and beautiful. I choose each day to be grateful for every experience in my life, I am AMAZING! and I forgive, love and move forward in my own strengths, talents and passions. I choose happiness for myself and that gives me the joy I never had as a victim. Life is good now, and I have met a real man at last, full of empathy and gentleness.

      • March 7, 2019 at 12:08 am

        Got it. Just pay ultra close attention to this real man cause toxics can fool you perfectly until they’ve hooked you hard with marriage and a child etc before going 180 degrees caustic. Listen to your gut and believe them when they slip and either their words or actions tell you who they really are!
        Nobody would ever get jacked by a narcissist if the love bombing phase and idealization did not occur. You might even get offensive and criticize your real man as a test to observe his reactions to criticism. Many narcissists (in their various forms) will suffer narcissistic injury from that and you might get a major “Ah Ha moment”. Another test, hold them accountable for bad behavior. Can they apologize authentically? And don’t forget… If someone loves you, it should feel like they love you!

    • May 12, 2019 at 7:53 am

      I cannot believe how similar your experience is to mine! The only difference is my narc is a she. I’m also in recovery and go to AA.

  • May 20, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for posting the article, I was in a relationship with a narcissistic woman. It would be nice if you understood both genders can be affected by this. But I do understand most of the time it does happen to the woman in the relationship.

    • August 10, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      I came upon this article when researching recovery for myself from the abuse of my narcissist/sociopath mother. I am glad to find an actual label for the sort of abuse as it will be helpful in researching tools for my recovery, but the misandry of the author is clear in the gender labeling within the article. Scientific literature should be free of such obvious gender bias.

      • August 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm

        Thank you for your comment Tiamet. Based on my educational background and doctoral research on gender and domestic violence, as well as my ongoing experience working with men and women in individual and couples therapy in last two decades, while it is true that all narcissists are not male, it is impossible (in my opinion looking at the evidence) to truly understand the roots of narcissism and codependency, and their attraction to one another, unless these behavior patterns are, first and foremost, examined as highly ingrained, valued and socialized norms for men and women respectively in the socio-cultural milieau in which we live.

        The norms for masculinity harm men and negatively impact relationships at every level of our society. The information on the internet on narcissism is misleading, especially since persons with narcissistic/antisocial personality disorders are highly skilled con artists who strategize 24/7 to blame-shift all responsibility onto others, etc., in particular their female partner, etc.

        And because these norms condone the use of violence, shame, humiliation, and other punitive tactics, as “necessary” means to achieve dominance by those in authority positions, the norms for both narcissism for men, and codependency for women, pose high risks for childhood trauma, as well as risks and harm to both men and women’s emotional and mental health, and their ability to form healthy relations with one another … posing risks for most every mental health disorder listed in the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual).

        I stand by my opinion as it is rooted in research that has been conducted by amazing professionals, both men and women, over the last 40 years.

        Truth be told, both men and women are harmed by these values that attack what it means to be human. The high value our society continues to place on dominance and aggression is what puts men at risk.

        If you’re interested in this topic, there are countless excellent textbooks on the subject. I’ve listed a couple of great resources below. Thanks again for commenting.

        Dying to be Men: Psychosocial, Environmental, and Biobehavioral Directions in Promoting the Health of Men and Boys
        by BY Dr. Will Courtenay

        A Psychology Of Men BY DRS. Ronald Levant and William Pollack

  • May 31, 2017 at 5:37 am

    The aftermath is rough.

  • June 1, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    This was one of the better written articles that I have seen on the subject. I’m now about 16 months out of my relationship with a Narc. We have a child together which definitely complicates my recovery. Everyday I get stronger. I am reclaiming my ability to love myself wholly. Some days I get a glimpse of the confident, fun loving woman I was before him. I know that my daughter is watching so I am careful to show her the strong parts of me that I remember. Thanks for caring about us Survivor and reminding us of the sick cycle that we never again HAVE to be a part of.

    • July 3, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      I’m in the same boat although much less time away. Our daughter just turned one and he has used my past issues with substance abuse to try to take her away from me (after using his abusive tactics to drive me to relapse in the first place… NOT that it was his choice to use back then it was mine but as a man in recocery for 20 years married to a woman newcomer he KNEW what he was doing to me)

      I’ve finally seen the phony man and the fantasy marriage for what they really are and let go emotionally . For everyone here I want to say that I’ve found that working on your codependent issues (if present) as well as emotionally and physically detaching from the narcissist was when I could really begin to heal and find my true self again.

      I have a divorce coming up soon and a custody battle with an evil man who acts like hes this martyr, the “only ” person who is “protecting” our daughter , when in reality, I’m an amazing and sober mother with the support of all of my family and *guess what* his too. So I have confidence that court will rule in my favor or at least simply retain our joint custody.

      It’s so sad to me though how he treats her like this possession. He seems to love her but he wouldn’t even let her visit my family on her first xmas(long story but for first 7 months of her life I didnt have physical custody due to my relapse)

      What kind of loving parent keeps the kid clutched all to themself and doesn’t take the time to make sure all the child’s family who adores her get time with her ? It is like a PROOF to me that he is sick in the head and does not know what love is. I have never wished that someone would just drop dead until this man showed me his true colors .

  • June 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

    The author states:
    “The main difference between an NPD and APD is a line the NPD doesn’t cross. Both exhibit no remorse for exploiting and hurting another, however, unlike a narcissist, a sociopath crosses the line from lawful to unlawful exploitation of the other, i.e., physical abuse, financial exploitation, and so on.”

    The statement is clinically inaccurate. A person with NPD can, and often does, cross into ASPD behavior when the goal or outcome is important enough to the person with NPD especially when the NPD is co-morbid with paranoia or paranoid personality disorder.

    A person with NPD can also engage in behaviors seen in histrionic and borderline personality disorders, i.e. overt drama and splitting, respectively.

    Often in clinical settings, an NPD diagnosis is further noted by other Cluster B traits: “NPD with ASPD traits” or “NPD with borderline traits”. Traits in Cluster B disorders cross and are not exhibited in only one disorder, which is one of the reasons for the personality disorder diagnostic criteria controversy and the discussion to move to a trait spectrum model during the development of the current version of the DSM.

    To the readers: do not believe a person with NPD cannot be violent. They can, and if they feel a loss of control great enough to threaten their false self, they will engage in physical violence. I suggest the author and the readers become knowledgeable about NPD narcissistic rage, delusional fantasy and very specifically “revenge fantasy” and “revenge punishment”.

    • June 12, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Concerned Reader. No need perhaps to be so concerned, as think we’re saying the same thing, in different ways. In my opinion, an NPD and APD behaviors lie on a continuum, and thus, I like to differentiate between an NPD and APD in that an APD is always an NPD, whereas an NPOD is only an APD when he crosses the line to committing actions considered criminal, such as violence, or actions to ruin another financial or career/job standing. Both NPDs and APDs know fully what they are doing, are con artists and lie well (gaslighting is, if anything, is lying with intent to demoralize etc).

      I absolutely agree, however, that a woman in a relationship with an NPD who has not shown signs of violence, etc., should not assume that this will not occur in the future. A narcissist will use narcissistic rage with intent to terrorize, subjugate, silence and dominate, and so on … but there is no guarantee, depending on many variables, i.e., what if the partner challenges them in a different way, does not back down, etc., that the rage can be controlled! When they do, they’ve crossed the line to not only being an NPD but also anti social personality disorder, or APD.

      Thanks again for writing…

      • June 18, 2017 at 4:06 am

        I, myself left one of these toxic relationships. However, I was with a narcissistic sociopath… as if a narcissis or sociopath alone weren’t dangererous enough on their own, when you have a conbo of the 2 everything I read said run don’t walk! He tried to kill me on more than one occasion among too many other violent things to mention and the mind f**k well, that to me as I deal with it, is so much harder to deal with than the physical abuse! You are absolutely right, for the fist few months or a little longer they play out to be the most perfect man or women and that’s how they suck you in. Once they start their satanic ways, they do it slowly and you don’t even realize it’s happening, then when you finally do… it’s too late bc they’ve already got you to the point of trying to do what ever you can to make them happy since you think that it’s actually your fault! And as you mentioned is one of the famous moves one of my exes used and that was cobstantly saying we’re done and not talking to you, answering your calls or texts…. in my experience that was his way to justify cheating. When I was finally able to wake up and get the strength to leave is the when he tried to run me down with his truck as his floored it, the problem was that my jacket was stuck in his window so I was running next to his truck while he was going 45mph! Luckily I got loose fight before he got out of the parking lot and onto he main road! After that I went and file for a restraining order and he tried to file one against me. At about 10 minutes in front of the judge, she said she was dismissing both of them and after she said that THANK GOD I asked her if that meant he was getting his guns back, bc that changed everything! She would ask me my side of a story, then ask him… well, when he would tell his (lies), I would then ask the judge may I ask a question and at this point she had figured out just how evil he really was and that he was at first so convincing with his lies until I would ask questions like “if that’s what I did or he didn’t do then why (insert truth)” and she would turn to him and say yes, please answer that for me! So, in the end she granted mine and dismissed his. She had mentioned to him something about 3 months, so that’s how long it was… that is until 3 months go by and I start getting letters from his attorney and the appellant court, so I went down to the courthouse and the lady looked at it and told me the judge made it permenant as in forever, so he doesn’t have a chance of winning an appeal bc a permenant ro is very very rare, so if the judge felt it was warranted for him to never come near you for the rest of his life, then it will remain that way no matter how many attempts he makes to appeal it! Then I went through it again with another narcissistic sociopath just as I was starting to feel slightly better… however, we were actually friends first and knew what I had gone through. Once again playing the greatest guy in the world act and then after about 6 months did the same mental and emotional abuse! He may not have done the horrific physical abuse to me, but I think he was actually so much worse than the one that did bc he knew what I went through and how damaged I was, then had no problem doing it to me all over again!! I was with the first one over 2 1/2 years and 2 years on the second one. Well, it’s been 7 years since I first started dating the first one and I’m worse now bc I had 2 stress and anxiety related grand mal seizures and was catatonic both time and both times I almost died! Those were the result of the second one. After the second seizure I decided to go to treatment bc I have complex-PTSD, severe anxiety and panic disorder, major depressive disorder, etc. well, the second night I was there I was almost kidnapped, ended up in the ER 3 times and too many other things that happened to me to even write about, so needless to say I came out in such worse shape than I when I went in!! This was just last June-Aug. apparently, C-PTSD could take about 5 years of trauma therapy to start to feel like me again, but I was just in the last few months able to find a trauma therapist…. I believe it took me 8 months from when I was released from treatment to finding one. I literally tried all trauma therapists near me that were women bc I’m not talking about this with me… they either weren’t taking new patients or (and I have great insurance) they didn’t take insurance and charged between $150-$300/hour!!! To me the hardest thing aside from the abuse is that people just don’t get it, especially my family and they are emotionless and stubborn and refuse to educate themselves on what I deal with every minute of every day! When they say stupid things like “get over it!”, “stop being lazy!” or “haven’t you dragged this out long enough!”… even thought it goes in what ear and out the other, I ask them, do you think I want to live like this or I chose this? I’m like NO, I did t choose this, it chose me and I would give anything if it was as simple as snapping my fingers and it’s gone, but unfortunately that’s not how it works! Even before this, if someone came to me about a problem, I wouldn’t judge, I would listen, then research it to get an idea of what they’re going through or how they are feeling. I just don’t understand when it comes to what we have to deal with, people would rather just be ignorant than educate themselves!!

      • June 5, 2018 at 8:39 pm

        Im so sorry you have gone through this. I understand the pain you feel and the lack of understanding and validation from your family. Its a lonely road and it seems so long to recover but at least your in recovery… have faith in the light inside you… it’s beautiful that’s why they picked you. Just research and learn about the early charectoristics like im trying to… so you don’t unknowingly let someone like this into your life ever again.

      • October 18, 2017 at 3:07 am

        “that a woman in a relationship with an NPD who has not shown signs of violence”

        So what happens if a guy is in a relationship with an NPD who has not shown signs of violence?

        The gender bias you repeatedly issue limits the credibility of your statements. If you drop the gender bias and admit that both men and women can be NPD/APD you’d have more credibility and less problems with people picking it apart solely based on gender references.

      • February 1, 2018 at 5:47 pm

        If you do not agree with her definition, that’s fine.
        Its my opinion, she isnt being gender bias, but accurately stating a fact.

      • March 2, 2019 at 4:53 pm

        Statistically npd is significantly more present in men than women, significantly. That doesn’t mean that the abuse of men in this way is any less valid, of course it is, it’s exactly the same. Authors on the subject often speak of a male perpetrator for ease of language. The gender terms that someone uses needn’t invalidate you. Google npd women and just know that everything you read can work both ways.

  • June 20, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I just left my boyfriend of two and a half years who I believe is narcissist this past weekend. It was a very traumatic experience leaving, just like the relationship. om Friday I took the day off, loaded a 6×12 uhaul trailer by myself and drove it the 33 miles to the house I bought for me and my dogs to escape to. He’s known I’ve been planning on moving since Mother’s Day and I had most of my things packed in boxes in the garage waiting for moving day with movers scheduled to move all my big items on Saturday. He got mad at me the night before because I told him I didn’t need him to follow me to my new place and help me unload everything. He told me he had “hurt feelings” because I didn’t want him to know where I lived. So when he got home on Friday and saw I had moved all my boxes he flew through the door in a rage. Yelling at me, asking where my boxes went and telling me I am a “sneaking B*^%!” He then disappeared for 4 hours and came home drunk and high. Yelling and screaming at me to get the f*%! out of his house. He had his phone on the whole time trying to provoke me to do something to make him mad. I was really afraid he was going to get violent, like he had in the past, and had called a friend who heard him ranting and raving in the background she called the cops for me and while I was waiting for them to arrive he put his pot stash in the garbage disposal, discarded his bong and the plastic case he kept his pot in outside in the front yard someplace, brushed his teeth, took the rest of his drug paraphernalia to the back yard and lit it on fire then came inside and started to vacuum. 3 officers arrived and asked me to stay on the front porch. When they were inside he kept vacuuming. They had to yell his name to get him to stop. One of the police officers had to go and put the fire out in the backyard. I heard him tell the cops that “she wants to leave so she is making me out to be the monster” the police advised him I had every right to stay there. I told the cops I was afraid to leave because I was afraid he would trash my stuff, set it on fire or put it on the street. The cops advised me they didn’t think it was safe if I stayed and that I should leave and have them come back the next day when the movers came. Which they did. I am so relieved to be out of that nasty relationship but I find myself being reminded of him every where I go. Wondering if he feel the same hurt I do, knowing that he doesn’t and wondering why I care what a man who was so insensitive in our relationship thinks about the fact that I left him. I hurt so much, but I don’t know how to make it stop. How do I stop caring about a narcissist who never cared about me in the first place?

    • June 21, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Time heals all wounds. He doesn’t feel anything because he is empty inside. Continue to move on with your life and leave him behind. I’ve been married with 2 young children for 8yrs to an alcoholic, narsaccist who is mentally, physically, emotionally and financially abusive and has affairs with other women. I’ve been desperate to leave for a long time but, financially I have not been able to. Life isn’t so bad for you! You will find someone who is stable and loving. Best of luck!

    • June 29, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Mikki, thanks for the comment and sharing your story. If you have not already, meet with a professional therapist with experience in narcissism and codependency as soon as possible. Seek to stay awakened, to understand the hurt you feel, to embrace the strength and grow your courage, and to consciously transfer your caring to yourself and your life, more specifically, where it matters! And never to someone who’s not only incapable of loving, but seeks to stay miserable, and suck love/life out of those around them. Best wishes…

    • August 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Thank you for writing, MIkki, please seek professional help from a trusted therapist who is trained in narcissism and codependency and stay in therapy, focused on doing all you can to heal and restore your sense of self, confidence, and peace of mind. Keep us posted on your progress, best wishes to you.

    • August 6, 2017 at 4:33 am

      That last question got me. I can’t answer it really, I can only tell you how I did it. Once I learned about the narcissistic character and accepted that I fell into his trap and was being manipulated and used, it helped me get past the ‘how did this happen’ and ‘why didn’t I see it’ and start working on moving forward. I realized that the man I fell in love with before he changed never really existed. The monster he became later was the real person. I was holding on to an illusion and acknowledging that made it really easy to let go and move on. It took a few months to figure it out but there’s no rule book on this. As long as you keep working to find what you need inside yourself, time doesn’t matter. Just remember, you are the victim, you got yourself away from it, and you are already on the right track. Best of luck to you.

  • July 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    My son is suffering through a relationship with a narcissist. He is so deep in the struggle he doesn’t even realize it. I would appreciate any recommendations to get him out of the relationship. I fear the backlash from him if I don’t allow him to talk to her or see her. But perhaps that’s the step I need to take?

    • July 7, 2017 at 12:21 pm


      If your son is a minor, then absolutely I would suggest keeping him away from herand don’t worry about backlash, he will recover. Every situation is different for myself, I don’t have the financial ability to break free from my relationship but, my family is there for me whenever needed in addition to counseling. An abusive relationship sucks you in and it is very hard to get out because the victim is broken. Do whatever you feel is necessary, he really needs your help.

      • August 11, 2017 at 12:22 pm

        Thanks Tammy – We worked a lot with my son and he broke off the relationship himself. I can’t believe the positive transformation since he did that. He’s getting back to his old self. But I’m staying vigilant.

  • July 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I feel validated after reading this article and comments. Wish me luck at divorce contempt trial vs. narcicist next Tuesday. Twenty five years of marriage, five years of litigation and I still have not been able to enforce my decreed property settlement. Am I an idiot to hope the family court Judge will recognize the lies?

  • July 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I am 5 months out of an abusive relationship with my narcasstic ex fiance. He has pulled a gun on me 3 times among other things like throwing me against the wall,as well as emotional/mental/emotional abuse I have been having recurring dreams about it since I left him in February. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I’m depressed,I don’t want anything to do with anyone or anything. It won’t go away!

    • August 5, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Dear Firefightergirl5, please seek professional help and assistance as soon as possible, if you have not already, and prioritize healing yourself, restoring your sense of peace of mind and wellbeing. Let us know of your progress, best wishes to you, and thanks for writing.

  • July 25, 2017 at 9:15 am

    First, your articleb like many others is very gender biased. Not all narcissist are men and not all men are narcissist. Granted you never said that but from a readers standpoint, it somewhat implies it.

    I am a 53 year old male and up until 2 years ago I didn’t know what a narcissistic was. I consider myself an empath and very sensitive person. I read people very well and pick up on things other people wouldn’t. I started noticing patterns and catching myself repeating the same argument over and over or repeatedly saying the same thing. Things like feeling as if I was being discarded like a piece of trash, asking her repeatedly why she felt it necessary to talk down to me, why would she say such demeaning things, why would she get so full of Rage. I noticed patterns like breaking up every holiday or birthday. I went along and researched some of these things. This is when I discovered what a narcissist actually was.

    Whether the narcissist be a man or woman, one thing they each are without a doubt and that is human. I don’t believe these people asked for or chose to be the way they are. I also believe if they did know how they are and were aware of the things they do and given a choice, they would choose to not be that way.

    These are sick people not evil people.

    • August 5, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thank you for commenting, Dusty Rhodes. I completely agree that narcissists are sick people, and not “evil,” and that sick behaviors, whether by a man or woman are damaging and harmful not only to their partner, and couple relationship, but also to the person themselves.

      Based on my educational background and doctoral research on gender and domestic violence, and experience doing couples therapy, while all narcissists are not male, it is impossible (in my opinion) to understand narcissism and codependency unless these behavior patterns are, first and foremost, examined as highly ingrained, valued and socialized norms for men and women respectively in the socio-cultural milieau in which we live.

      And because these norms condone the use of violence, shame, humiliation, and other punitive tactics, as “necessary” means to achieve dominance by those in authority positions, the norms for both narcissism for men, and codependency for women, pose high risks for childhood trauma, as well as risks and harm to both male and female couple and family relationships overall,s in the socio-cultural milieu in which we live.

      Thanks again for writing.

  • August 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Very helpful and accuracy article.My best friend is in relationship with narcissistic person.He abuse her on different ways like isolation,use her for money,verbal abuse, physical abuse.She accept everything as something normalI hope she will understand one day.

  • August 6, 2017 at 4:01 am

    I had never heard of any of this until it was too late. I’m not a trusting or easily fooled person but I fell head first into what became a living nightmare that had me homeless and suicidal. It wasn’t really until I read an article about the narcissist that I was able to start healing. Once I let go of the guilt that he laid on me and accepted that I was the victim of the most brutal psychological abuse from a very smart and cunning coin artist, I started putting my life back together. My heart goes out to anyone that is or has gone through this abuse. I let him change me from the strong, independent, survivor I’d always been into a weak, helpless, insecure, basket case and was actually questioning my own sanity. I’m only sharing this because I went through all that and I left him, cut all contact off, and came back stronger than ever. I know I’m a good person and I will never let anyone take my self worth from me again. I look back and yes, it was devastating and nearly ended me, but it also forced me to take a different path that brought me to exactly where I want to be. I can’t be anything but proud of myself for walking away and taking my life back. The road was awful but the destination was worth it. Stay positive and appreciate the good that came from bad and life is as good as you want it to be. I have bad days like everyone else but I am a survivor and proud. Life is a journey so take the wheel and drive away from anything that is less than what you want for yourself. It’s scary and hard as hell but so is the daily abuse. People will come and go and love and stop loving. Love yourself and nobody can take that from you.

  • August 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    This was a well written article up until the very end.

    We need to stop applying the term “codependent” to targets/victims of narcissistic abuse. This is a victim-blaming, perjorative term with roots in alcoholism. Survivors of narcissistic abuse no more cause the abuse than a survivor of domestic physical violence does.

    The long term effects of NA erode an individual’s sense of identity and self. But many had no idea it was happening (covert narcissists are masters at looking good while their target looks bad). From outside the relationship, it may look like targets are somehow responsible, but this is completely untrue. A survivor is never at fault for the abuse inflicted upon them, and the use of the word “codependent” indicates otherwise.

    It’s time to reframe how we think about what makes up “codependency” as what it actually is: symptoms of narcissistic abuse.

    Language matters.

    • February 20, 2018 at 5:19 am

      Thank you for sharing those thoughts!

      I grew up in a healthy nuclear family where dad could do my hair and chop firewood. My mother was the same. Duties were shared and it was teamwork. We all worked together.

      Unbenounced to me having this kind of unbringing was attractive to my covert narcissist spouse who was taught to say what people want to hear, hide true intentions, be charming and feel entitled to reap benefits from others’ labor.

      There is nothing wrong with trusting, loving and supporting your spouse … that isnt codependency. The problem is betrayal of those normal behaviors. I have been blamed for believing my lying spouse. After finding out the lies and confronting my him saying I will not tolerate it the last thing I should have had to do is defend my stance in therapy and be blamed for “allowing” his hidden activities. What happpened to being accountable? (This happened on more than one occasion with more than on therapist.)

      The subtle difference between reactions to pathology and pathology is a major problem in the mental health industry. It is disappointing, makes getting help complicated and retraumatizing. Like having PTSD from assault and then getting labled “mentally ill” then marginalized.

      How do we expect for typical society to get it if those who are “equipped” are ill equipped?Thank you for sharing those thoughts!

      I grew up in a healthy nuclear family where dad could do my hair and chop firewood. My mother was the same. Duties were shared and it was teamwork. We all worked together.

      Unbenounced to me having this kind of unbringing was attractive to my covert narcissist spouse who was taught to say what people want to hear, hide true intentions, be charming and feel entitled to reap benefits from others’ labor.

      There is nothing wrong with trusting, loving and supporting your spouse … that isnt codependency. The problem is betrayal of those behaviors. I have been blamed for believing my lying spouse. After finding out the lies and confronting my spouse saying I will not tolerate them the last thing I should have had to do is defend my stance in therapy and be blamed for “allowing” his hidden activities.

      The subtle difference between reactions to pathology and pathology is a major problem in the mental health industry. It is disappointing, makes getting help complicated and retraumatizing. Like having PTSD from assault and then getting labled “mentally ill” then marginalized.

      How do we expect for typical society to get it if those who are “equipped” are ill equipped?

      No one ever told me not to seek couples counseling despite me telling them the relationship was emotionally abusive. I was encouraged to try amd make it work by mental health professsionals.

      I used to trust the therapeutic process but don’t anymore. I trust close friends who are honest and not pacifying. Moreover, I trust myself and the intuition God gave me; to which, if I had listened to would never have been in this situation.

      • February 25, 2018 at 5:57 am

        Thanks for the message, Kendall, excellent points. Truly sorry to hear your experiences thus far with therapy have caused mistrust in the processes. Whereas there are many stellar therapists, and therapy is highly rated by many overall, most therapists are not prepared to deal with narcissistic abuse syndrome, or couples in which one partner meets the criteria for narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder (NPD or APD respectively). Due to gendered socialization that we’re all affected by (and yet unaware), women are too often mislabeled as the “problem” partner if they complain, etc., and similarly, narcissists are adept at conning therapists into misidentifying the narcissist as the victim. And in general, our society continues to give male partners a pass and less responsibility in making the relationship work, or their partners happy.

        You may find my article on How to Identify a Narcissist in Therapy helpful or interesting.

        If I may, I hope you consider giving therapy another chance in the future, however, with a specific focus! In cases, like yours, where a partner knows she has symptoms of narcissistic victim syndrome, and suspects partner has NPD or APD, etc., be sure to interview the therapists you contact to find one with specific experience in these areas. Best wishes to you .. thanks again for commenting.

    • July 26, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Thank you for this.

      I always hated that term and the survivor groups on Facebook are full of it and victim-blaming. The moment that someone joins, everyone tells that person that she is codependent. I know for a fact that I was NEVER codependent on my ex. I continued to do many things on my own without him. I wish that they would get rid of the term. Loving amd trusting someone doesn’t suddenly become codependency if that person turns out to be bad.

      • July 28, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        Thanks for commenting Golden. I’m not a fan of labels, to be sure, so kudos for not like the term codependency or narcissism. Like any label, it is designed to identify a problem pattern and heal it. Codependency is misinterpreted if one believes it is used to blame the victim. The point is to become aware that socialization of women and girls (and some men too) predisposes them to participating in an NPD’s or APDs traps. (NPDs and APDs are first and foremost chronic abusers; abusing their partner and treating them like a punching bag is their drug of choice.

        The main reason to identify and change a codependent pattern is for the codependent person to heal by learning to love and respect themselves, to the extent that break free of blaming/holding themselves responsible for the narcissist’s happiness (an NPD is addicted to feeling miserable, hating, raging — they lust to hate and be hated — this is why being nice or kind NEVER works!). Also so that they instantly recognize narcissistic abuse for what it is — and refuse to participate in it. To refuse to participate is healthy for self, builds self-respect, self-acceptance, self-love.

        It is cruel, in my book, to socialize any person to believe being “nice” at all costs “should work” to stop abuse; codependents project these “nice feelings” onto their abusers and see them as vulnerable, thus, wrongfully blame themselves when men express anger or unhappiness. In effect, it creates Beauty and the Beast scenarios in couple relations.

        Thanks again for commenting … best wishes.

    • July 28, 2019 at 11:28 am

      I completely agree with you sparkplug. I was a narcissistic abuse victim for all my life, even before I even got the chance to get acquainted with my inner voice. He was my twin brother (I’m a guy myself if that makes any difference to anyone). It hurts so much for me because I could never figure out what was wrong and no online resource I could relate to (for most I have found involved romantic relationship – not to minimise anybody’s pain).

      For all my life, I’ve been reaching out, screaming in pain (literally screaming) and no one listens, not even my parents. Friends were all used as a tool to abuse me further. People would just think I’m exaggerating and that all siblings fight, some even think it’s cute, when I’m dying inside. Long story short, I was severely depressed all my life (without knowing it at all for I have never seen otherwise), until I got healthy for a short moment (and boy did it feel magical), didn’t have the chance to make sense of what that was, all the while being abused again in the background until I completely mentally collapsed (again), of which I’m recovering from right now.

      It hurts even further when professionals refer to/label the victims as codependent, or empaths and have to “change certain ways of living/thinking”. How is it right to blame the victim when the victim themselves were meant to be perfectly healthy beings, if not for the abuse. It’s like saying a rape victim needs to improve on certain ways so as to not be raped in the future.

      Thankfully, I’m getting much better now.

      • July 28, 2019 at 2:27 pm

        Thanks for the message Andrew. If you haven’t already, please seek help for the depression. Human beings, as neuroscience reveals, are wired to live happy, fulfilling lives. Healing is “just a breath away” if you resolve to take the reins of your healing and happiness. (Yes, easier said than done!) Remember however it is not past experiences, i.e., abuse, that has power over us or determines our lives and who we become! It is rather our response to abuse and circumstances that determines and creates who we are, thus shapes our lives and its direction. Please find a therapist with experience in narcissistic abuse; in my experience, it is not gender neutral. It is a common practice, and social conditioning, in the raising of boys for older or tougher or bigger boys to abuse “weaker” ones; later that translates to abusing female partners. Too often we brush this aside as “boys will be boys”; meanwhile there is a “code of silence” that is even more rigid for boys to “prove they are men and not sissies/girls” etc.

        With regard to labeling certain socialized patterns, more typical for girls and women, as codependency, well, there is a lot of misunderstanding. Taking the reins of one’s happiness does not intend to blame the victim; rather to free them from social constructs (beliefs that are disempowering) that narcissists depend on! The point is to hold society and socialization of women, and for women (and men, in this case) to learn to love and respect themselves, so that they instantly recognize narcissistic abuse for what it is! (for example, codependents get caught as they believe being “nice” at all costs “should work” to stop abuse, thus blame themselves when men express anger or unhappiness. Beauty and the Beast is not just a movie, it is a widespread pattern of social conditioning of men to narcissism (the promise of “entitlements” over women once they prove worth and masculinity on basis of abusing/dominating the weak with no remorse); and women to codependency (the “promise” of having to prove your love, by enduring all kinds of abuse, so that, one day, once you do, he’ll become a dashing prince!).

        You may find the following article helpful or interesting. 5 Reasons Violence and Narcissism Are Not Gender Neutral
        Thanks again for commenting! Best wishes,

      • July 29, 2019 at 12:10 am

        Thanks Athena for the reply. It’s really comforting to read the healing bit, really needed that.

  • August 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I was with my children’s father for 15 yrs . Emotional, verbal and financial abuse. Co parenting with him is a nightmare. Well I thought I was safe. I ended with another narc . We were together for the past 3 years I began to see the signs and wanted out. I began to withdraw from him in hopes he would meet someone else and leave me alone. Well I was right about the someone else but wrong about leaving me alone.
    Last Thursday I walked in on him and his new victim, didn’t such mainly just goodbye and good luck. Next day I had to get a no contact order due to the fact he was harassing my children. Thought ok this is good I’m all set. On Saturday my house was broken into and life savings wiped clean. He got me to be the mess he wanted . What I am curious about is he done??

  • August 21, 2017 at 6:53 am

    It is my experience American society is inundated with these personality types. The family is certainly ground zero for narcissism and broadens out into the workplace. There has to be a cause and/or impetus to this. Dealing with active abuse and victimization serves to recognize it but dealing with narcissists and psychopathology as engrained into our culture represents our current political and economic circumstances to which we can only jaw drop. My experience with this abuse caused me to confront it. Attempting to get to the heart of someone I loved through their fog of egotism, drugs, alcoholism, etc. was dangerous. Legal and judicial systems served to sustain male privilege from egotism and excuse behavior. I lost everything, am intensely hated, rumors abound to discredit me, and my past ruined simply for calling out narcissism and pathology within family. Life is better however with compassion and without abuse in terms of preserving my human worth and welfare no matter material cost. Home without heart is a prison.

    • August 23, 2017 at 6:40 am

      Thanks for commenting Michele, much appreciated. I’m sorry you had to go through so much. You freed yourself from the lies and illusions of a dehumanizing pathology, however. You gained far more, I celebrate for you.

      For each, in my opinion, the human experience from the first breath to the last is about learning and growth, healing and transformation. At minimum, the partner of a narcissist knows what it’s like to feel human, to feel love for another, to feel the pain of yearning for connection, and the pleasure (albeit too much!) of giving, caring, bringing happiness and comfort to another … priceless stuff of Life itself.

      In contrast, narcissism has far more crippling life-long effects on the psyche of the partner with narcissistic/antisocial personality disorder. It is a highly disordered way of thinking about life, a might-makes-right worldview that distorts — intentionally seeks to turn on its head — the core truths of what it means to be human, and what it means to be a man, a woman, a couple, etc.

      In order to prove dominance and supremacy over the other, the narcissist/sociopath learns to despise and attack any signs of weakness — in themselves as well as their partner — as signs of “signs of inferiority” , and thus, disassociating self from the most powerful attributes of humanity and life as we know it — compassion, empathy, kindness, collaboration, mutuality, gratitude, creativity — the most powerful and meaningful experiences — gifts of beauty and truth — life offers.

      A narcissist not only takes pleasure from feeling hatred and scorn for such “weakness” in self and other, they want others to hate them, thus instigate rage, hatred, etc.

      (In truth, the narcissist is not the real danger — the real danger is that a partner succumbs to toxic states of hatred and bitterness, as this blocks connection to the best of what it means to be human inside.)

      Whereas mainstream science books have misled us to believe human nature is aggressive, fiercely competitive, hoarding, governed by principle of self-interest, fighting over resources, etc., nothing could be farther from the truth. Findings in neuroscience and neuro-imaging methodology, now provide hard and observable scientific evidence — that sages and prophets have proclaimed from the beginning of recorded history — that the basis for human nature is building mutually caring and compassion-based relationships, cooperation and collaboration — it’s in our DNA.

      In contrast, aggression, dominance, hatred, abuse traumatizes both the traumatiz–er and the traumatized.

      With that said, yes, narcissism is highly organized at top levels of society to prop up oligarchy, dictatorships, totalitarian rule, regardless the label they hide behind.

      Our best hope is that top leaders, and men in particular, awaken from the fog and illusions to see the high cost that a might-makes-right philosophy has had on society — not to mention risk of ending life. The idea that white male supremacy is ordained by gods or biology is in actuality “the lie” upon which all lies that excuse all forms of violence and abuse as “necessary” to maintain the “social order.” Men must be willing to see that this enticing belief system actually baits them into doing what ultimately wounds, harms, dehumanizes them.

      We have mirror neurons in our brain — this means we cannot abuse, enslave, destroy the esteem of others — without producing the exact feelings inside ourselves.

      Neuroscience shows that the Golden Rule, or “treat others as you want to be treated,” is not a mere option or just a “nice” thing to do. It is rather a biological reality of how all human beings are wired — this directive is wired into the human body and is as real as the directive to breathe.

      Human beings are wired to yearn for happiness, and while they can be misled by lies and illusions (quick fix, addictive), the only lasting kind of happiness comes only from building meaningful connections to life around us, and collaborating together to contribute toward an ever better world for all, both self and others.

      Compared to the life-governing power of love, the power to dominate, withhold, limit others’ power is, in comparison, but mere shadow on a brilliant sunlit day.

      • November 3, 2018 at 10:56 am

        Athena very good this comment should be an article or maybe it is somewhere.
        thank you

  • September 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Wow I’m just astounded by how much I can relate to this article.
    Iv been with my partner for half my life (since 15) and he first made a comment a week after we started going out, questioning me why I wore lipstick only when I was with my best friend.
    Iv gone through years of ups and downs with him.
    I’m now in a constant state of anxiety, and he plagues my mind constantly. ‘How can I make him happy’ ‘hope he doesn’t complain’ and always put him before me.
    He can erupt into putting me down at the flick of a switch.
    I’m a shell of who I once was😞
    I have no confidence, believe everyone thinks I’m crazy (as he does) cry all the time. Forget to care for myself.
    I’m just a mess.
    We have 3 children together, and it’s very complicated.
    I don’t know how to recover from this. Iv just turned 30.

    • September 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Just me,

      I feel just like you today. I’ve been with a narc/sociopath for the last four years and just got up the courage to leave him yesterday….my wounds, like yours, are present and fresh. It’s sad when we can see how we have changed–how we’ve lost joy, we don’t experience intimacy, we’ve gone hollow. I know what you’re feeling all too well. Don’t be afraid of that pain that comes from leaving. It’s temporary and I’m trying to tell myself that today. Go find your joy today, your smile. Even if you experience a “good” day with him today, it doesn’t last. Find you again! You can do it. 🙂

    • September 10, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Thanks for commenting Just Me, appreciate your sharing. Know that your feelings matter, and that the confusion and sense of loss of self you may feel, while intended by use of tactics such as gaslighting, is something you need to take the reins of to shake and free yourself, to regain your sense of self, love and value. It starts with taking back your mind, to think thoughts of what YOU want, need and deserve to create in your life. If you’re not seeing a therapist with experience in this area, please seek to do so. Talking with friends, venting, feeling sorry and so on, can FEEL temporarily comforting, but more often make things worse emotionally inside. If you have not already please read my articles on “What a Narcissist Means When He Says I Love You” and “7 Ways to Stop Attracting a Narcissist” Send us an update, and best wishes to you!

  • October 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    This july my husband passed away unexpectedly, all his lies and truth came out with in 2 hours, I have been with this man 33 years married just shy on 27, I am a critical thinker my husband had many faults I did not know what a narcssist was but it is all of the behaviors that My self and our son has experienced , through the years , I would say you cannot conform , there is no I in we and you have single minded man mentality ect. My heart was his hostage but not my mind like most victims, I knew when he asociated with what I called outsiders , his behavior was worse 2 years ago he was unbearible didnt know why , Even me having been diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer didnt change this most devistating behavior that was never that bad found out husband had continued and emotion affair with another most likely another narcissist , I found that out just 2 hour of being notified of his death , it expliained his horrible behavior, the other women was all anout herself and telling me more of his secrets, all my memories good and alot bad mow had new meaning, 33 years of what I knew and thought all changed. The betrayal was devistating. By chance was shown the defination of a narcissist , there it was, if felt that he had had some kind of multipule personality , well with all he was he was a man with all the traits of antisocial personality disorder. But Iam not the classic victim , I always knew there was something mot right, hatedmysrlf for not being able to break free because of my heart and Iam much the care giving type. Never blaming myself for his actions only trying to help him recognise his. He used to tell me” dont psycoanalize me . He was very anused as a child and hated hism mother, I know from what I saw he was the black sheep to her. He treated me with the hatered he had for her especially the last two years. There is much significance in that tome frame the other women wasnt just a phone friend now the ladt two years she worked at the same Co as hubby they where both over the road trick drivers, now she got to see him in the flesh, they storked each others egoes, and my Son and I where the collateral damage, our grieving for him is hard to say the leadt, we did live hom but mot in recent years. Our son 21 has Aspergers and I onow that mysellt to is on the Autism spectrum, I cry for the love I had for him , the man that was in my life for so long , the abuseed human now who could only love others in the smallest capacity. He was definatly broken, he was so toxic so miserable the last two years and spread it on me and our son. He wanted me with him in that truck 3 years ago , his little heart knew what his broken mind was doing. Like my mind onew what my longing heart was stuck in, I had told me and others in the last year and months he wanted to get a job to be home every day but never made it, the last time we spoke he said at on point in a humble voice ” ya I know” that was his heart, this man to admit anything no, but he was houres away from dying, my point on this is some victims are different but we suffer greatly , the deception and neglect was the worse . There was alot if name calling the last two years and I was called the crazy one . I told him many times you are delusional, I tjoight maybe he had a brain tumor , no only his other that was like fertilizer on his damaged antisocial brain

    • October 10, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Hello – I wasn’t legally wed to him, but I had one that went and died too.

      I am also Autistic. Just wanted to wish you well. *waves*

      P.S. Check out #ActuallyAutistic on twitter? Some amazing people there.
      Also #AutChat – biweekly twitter chat with scheduled topic questions.

      You are not alone. x

  • October 12, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    It wasn’t till I had been divorced from him for a couple years I was able to see it all. I used to joke about how most girls marry someone like their dad and I married someone like my mom. In the last couple years my brother and I went NC with our mother, which has isolated us from most of our extended family as well. 9 years after my divorce my kids came home this week to tell me the N Dad and my N mom have been working together on a plan for her to see my kids.
    After 9 years I expected him to be done, but guess as each of our children start to figure him out and stop going to see him, he will just get more and more vengeful.

  • October 25, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I am in my early 50s, gay female. My cluster B person was not so extreme. We were both with others when we met. I however couldn’t stand lying to my partner (who is a very sweet good person). I told her. I trued a little counseling but i left. I was physically hooked. I regret everything now. Thatt was red flag 1- she said She’d NEVER tell her partner of 18 years – but she was going to leave. She left after about a year saying relationship had been ‘horrible ‘ one of her many overly dramatic words describing things.
    So integrity was already a HUGE lack- yet i stayed in it. While she (I found) was really trying to reconcile with long term partner mostly and was saving money to exit. I excused the awful behavior and treatment and imagined maybe the partner really was the bad one.. maybe she’s really upset since it was 18 years (which i was repeatedly reminded by her in circuar conversations of since my preceding relationships didn’t compare to hers in length and thus were devalued. Anyways what set her apart from anyone else I’d ever dated (4years up til just a few weeks of NO CONTACT- recently! ) her set apart- craziness:
    1-lack of respect for her partner of almost 2 decades
    3-alcohol overuse/abuse
    4-lies of omission
    5-vague answers to almost everything. When I’d ask for clarification I’d get attitude. So I stopped asking much. But in conflict I was the one who was a bad communicator.
    6- shallow -hollow feeling – she has no emotional depth
    7-no plans for her life – no future plans just day to day
    8-extremely into her family but never really deep with them on anything – they never probably knew what /who I really was – was i just a friend or ??? She never told anyone much about me
    9-constantly brought up the ex
    10-said things that I said I felt about current relationship-the ex said too
    11-blamed ex (and others) for a lot of things
    12-awful driver – running up on pedestrians, driving too fast in parking lots and blaming other drivers etc- ugh
    13-fired from at least 2 jobs I’m aware of(but blamed others and wanted to sue)
    14-treats “friends” crappy too (calling to do things then being very late or etc) – not contacting when says she will.
    15-doesn’t answer texts or phone messages timely- then will lie about not getting texts or messages- etc etc.
    16- says she’ll call tomorrow- then doesn’t call for 2 days
    17- deflecting conversations
    18- circular mind fucking reasoning and word sald
    19- very good at engaging strangers and then ignoring my presence or not allowing for me to add input without ne having to look like a jerk
    20-triangulation with exes, possible girlfriends and perfect strangers by flirting, not letting them know she’s involved with me- (another lie by omission) an
    21- loves Facebook – its a narcissistic dream- how many and who likes my post???
    22- into local politics- which i see as a ego driven popularity contest
    23-name dropper and snobby as hell when necessary to her to feel she fits in
    24-unnaturally able to sustain energy- seriously amazing/manic energy even after drinking tons- can get up next day and play soccer and bike etc etc at almost 60yrs old
    25-overly competitive
    26-not supportive – surfacy but i felt no genuine depth
    27- made a point to “miss” my birthday plans two years in a-row
    28-showered me with gifts and paid all the time when i am perfectly capable of supporting myself- but arguing at a restaurant or hotel checkout is really not classy
    29- things I bought her as gifts often were not used or tucked away
    30-did a lit of great work and helped fix my house up- but-my heart would start to want more- but there wasn’t ever really ‘more’ to her –
    31-relationship felt like eternal dating- and with the occasional triangulation it was 90% awful
    32-sex was incredible in beginning and there’s still attraction on an animal level but to me it is finally not worth it- emotionally i am way too damaged
    33-she always tried to bring up the sex as a reason we are so great together
    34-overly aggressive advice that if I didn’t follow i was stupid
    35- physically aggressive- 2 times I actually feared for myself in situations where she was mad at me – recently at breakup-backing me up pointing at me and grabbing my chin the other time
    35-unreliabile- Like all the sudden couldn’t pick me up at airports or couldn’t find me at the pick up curb- And of course that was my fault or the airports fault- but it would be stressful
    36-Often barely acknowledged me when I would show up somewhere or what give me a flat expression
    37-Would engage strangers or appointments is in long conversations and then never follow through on what she promises them (handymen, door solicitors etc)
    And more!
    I could go on- but I wanted to vent and get this out.

    Glad to be no contact! I am getting glimmers of my old self back. No pits in my stomach all the time. I am beginning to feel she has no power in dragging me back in. I don’t know if she’ll come back because she knows I see who she is. Are used a few clinical terms while breaking up with her like triangulation and word salad and deception.
    I am now dangerous to her because i can expose truth. Truth is her enemy-


  • December 5, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I feel the repeated gendering of the victim and the abuser is incredibly unhelpful and problematic. Feels like it implies this dynamic requires a man and a woman, and the man can’t be a victim.

  • February 7, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    After 18 years spent coping with the many and varied side effects of my husbands severe depression, we are in marriage counseling and still hope for a future as a family (we have two wonderful children together).

    In our first season, the counselor sent my husband out and told me he was in her opinion a narcissist. After reading this article and several other sources, I have to say that it may be true, though with a couple of caveats. I don’t believe my husband has ever intended to be manipulative. He feels sincerely wronged and reacts as he deems appropriate. The issue is that his perception is always one sided and he is not willing/able to digest my perspective, or understand my intent. This sounds different to me than a person who intentionally gaslights for their own gain. (Although I worry then end result is the same).

    Do you believe someone like this could learn to be less of a narcissist with therapy?

    • February 20, 2018 at 5:55 am

      My husband is like this.

      These are the questions I asked myself … (Presuming you are already asking self reflective ones)

      Have we had this conversation before?

      What was his response?

      Do his actions reflect his words?

      Does he respect anyone’s educated (life/professional) opinion enough to make changes in areas where his do not work?

      Does he take responsibility for misteps and not place blame on circumstances (or people)?

      Does he ask to be held accountable (or have someone he is accountable to – who knows his struggles)?

      Does he take initiative to do therapy assignments?

      I hope it works for you both. I am glad that you found a counselor who recognizes what is happening. Also, hoping that she spent some time alone with him also.

      Good luck!

  • February 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you for letting me know I’m not crazy. I’m at the very beginning stages of very limited contact from my, I assume my narc mother and sister. My sister lives in the apartment above my mother’s. They have been co-dependent for over 30 years.

    I really felt I was the “bad” one. Every vacation I went on with my sister and family she would control every aspect. The first few I kept my mouth shut to keep the peace. But the last two and many years later I had had enough. I had taken time off to have my vacation not my sister’s vacation. My sister is so bad with controlling that we are not allowed to eat until she is hungry. She believes we should all be hungry at the same time. The last vacation was it for me. I wanted to do what I wanted and she has punished me by no longer asking me not that I would want to go anyway. I had thought that finally she saw me as an equal and respected me. I was wrong. I tried talking to her about things that had happened and she told me it didn’t and that I misunderstood. It’s great being gaslighted.

    She excused her behavior by saying that she is very controlling. Basically, that I have to accept that about her. I don’t feel accepted. My feelings are inconsequential and that any of my needs do not matter.

    I also tried talking to mother who told me that I needed to feel sorry for my sister and that she can only stand being around me every other week when we would play cards. They never apologize. They never own anything and when you try to discuss feelings they ignore you or insult you.

    Both my husband and I have tried talking to them. We are the ones who would reach out. Trying to make amends. They have never once reached out to us. It’s only been a few weeks since I began the limited contact but as of today I don’t feel valueless.

    On a side note, my brother has been completely estranged from us for 27 years. He got out much earlier.

  • March 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    This article has helped me to identify that I have been a victim of such abuse for 14 years. I now have three children and I am still married to him. It took me a long time to realize that I was being manipulated. 13 years to be exact. I kept thinking something is wrong with me. I kept asking myself what is wrong w me, I don’t feel right. I couldn’t understand or see it. I look back now and see so many years of abuse so clearly. However, I don’t know how to get out! I don’t have the courage. Culturally, it’s also so frowned upon and this will create such a story for everyone around us.

    • March 2, 2018 at 10:31 am

      Thanks for commenting, Stacy. It’s so important to seek professional help (but make sure it’s from someone experienced in working with narcissism and abuse) to support you to understand what has happened to you, and to break free of the mind-body hold of narcissistic abuse. Unless you’re in physical danger, you don’t have to make a decision to leave right away. The important thing is that you regain your sense of self, value and dignity, self-love and self-respect, your ability to choose what you think and believe about yourself and life, in particular. Send me an email if you wish for a referral… [email protected]. Best wishes to you, and thanks for commenting.

  • April 16, 2018 at 9:22 am

    My N father threatened me with physical violence and sexual intimidation when he couldn’t get his way or if I disagreed with him. I ran away from home at age 19 to avoid him. Then I married a narcissist, no surprise there. My now ex-husband was involuntarily committed to a psych hospital for over a year in his late teens for his narcissistic breaks with reality. No one ever told me about his past before I married him. I learned about his hospitalization from his sister about 3 years into the marriage. He tried to choke me to death one day when I called BS on his lies. Fortunately, I reached behind my back and grabbed a butter knife which I held over his head as he continued to strangle me. When he saw the knife, he released my neck, and I dropped the knife. I made an appointment with a therapist that same day, and eventually divorced him after 11 years of marriage. Good riddance to him and to my father, may they rot in hell.

  • May 8, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Im currently in a relationship with a narcissist. He says im the narcissist. I’m the problem I’m stupid retarded everyone hates me I hate myself. Tells me my feelings and thoughts when he has no idea. I hate him. We are currently in the middle of one of our fights strictly caused by his narcissism. This morning I had to go to my new job to fill out paperwork. My car is broke down so I was driving him to work so I could use the car. 26 miles from home. 65 mph he starts fighting with me, I’m every name in the book etc etc Cause I cant stop myself I start defending myself (when I dont he takes it as im agreeing with him about the things hes saying when I fight back I’m wrong delusional etc etc.) as we’re driving down the road he yanks my glasses off my face rolls down the window threatening to throw them out. I get on my phone try to pull over cant see to call 911. He gives them back. I almost hit another car in the middle of all this. I dont know how to get to his bosses barely paying attention cause he screaming at me insulting me telling me I should be shot beat to death he envies my ex beating me. Who can pay attention. As I pass the road he screams what are you a fucking retard? You passed the road. I slam on the brakes and pull on the road. He tells me stop the car. I do cause if I dont hes going to put it in park while im driving and mess the car up and blame me. I got my hand on the keys still in the ignition. He yanks them out and starts walking down the road. I told him im calling cops he gets back in I start driving hes screaming at me. I accidently pulled into the wrong driveway he screams at me somemore. I turn around pull in his bosses he dumped a full bottle of water on me. I called cops for all the good it did. Now im sitting here at home terrified about going to pick him up. Im making him drive. Hes told me I cant use his car to start my new job so now I cant work. But calls me a piece of shit cause I dont work. Says why bother im going to fail and get fired…hes already setting the plan up to manipulate the situation so I do fail. I have no friends or family he moved me far away from everyone and thing I know. Hes got his friends convinced im the abusive one and they as he says “hate” me. I cant take it anymore I know im not the things he says i am but i feel like the things he says i am. I need help

  • May 15, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Hi i found this looking for self help because I have no time to go to councillors.
    I have been through a narc abusers hell.
    Every day is a struggle for me.
    Unfortunately there is no justice for an emotional abuser who manipulates someone so badly that suicide becomes what appears the only option. Everyday I remind myself what i have achieved and how amazing i became.
    Please keep articles about the devastation of emotional abuse alive to create awareness.
    Intelligent men don’t murder you they get you to do it to yourself because there is no legal fall out, no split of assets, they importantly receive a sympathy vote from others and become a hero. Finally everyone believes them that the victim was crazy

  • May 22, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Why are the articles I read all sexist? It is not always a “man” playing the narcissist…I was a victim of a narcissistic and sociopathic woman who verbally and physically abused me, and I am in the thick of the PTSD…She gaslighted me the last year, is spreading rumors, and trying to ruin me when all I was trying to do was love her…

    It is devastating and the damage it’s done to me is becoming more evident with each passing day

    • May 23, 2018 at 8:05 am

      Thanks for commenting Bill. Yes there are women narcissists that exhibit similar behavior, far fewer, mostly with their children. Overall my writings on this topic are a critique of this socialization of “dominance as norm in couple relationships” because this is valued in the socialization of men. Women who are demanding are often wrongfully labeled, due to this socialization, and since a key pattern of narcissists is to drive their partners crazy, make them doubt themselves, and sanity, narcissists often play victim and label women who don’t conform to their plans “narcissists” or “bipolar” etc. Keep in mind this pattern is not easy to detect as there are persons that collude, out of loyalty, deeply bonded to serve the narcissist. There are also covert narcissists as well as overt. In domestic violence cases it’s relatively rare to find male partners that live in emotional terror as female partners. Also the pattern of blaming their victim and portraying them as the real evil and crazy one is a what NPDs and APDs do, in most every case. That means there many mislabeled women who act crazy because they were driven crazy by a covert narcissist. These norms harm men and their relationships, leaving them with wounded egos, fragile and hyper-vigilant in protecting their masculinity, as if this were a “real thing.” Also both men and women are traumatized by this pattern, as are children, with serious and enduring effects throughout their lives. No healthy person regardless of sex, age, color wants to be dominated; it’s one of the lies that accompanies oligarchic rule. Thanks for commenting!

  • July 18, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Synopsis is rather poorly written. Full of grammatical and structural errors.

    Also, in this day and age, isn’t inclusivity the goal? Are there no female NPD/APD/Sociopaths? What about BPD? Are there no male victims of females with these types of severe disorders?

  • July 19, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Good article but I was distracted by the blatant sexism. He = perpetrator, she = damsel in distress? You know stats on emotional abuse are the same across genders right? This just further prevents men from seeking help. My god.

  • July 19, 2018 at 6:08 am

    I left today. Less than 24 hours and reading everything i have one the subject has me convinced that the love i thought i had for him was merely Stockholm syndrome. My reality is being shattered and I will probably check into a psychiatric facility to help with the overwhelming grief i feel. Three years of complete isolation and torment. Everytime ive gotten away ive been reeled back in so easily. Its like he is the only one that i believe could console me in the past. And i want so much to be held and told that i am loved for a moment of peace. I use to think no one could understand our relationship but it has always been this just jumbled up so that i couldnt see everything clearly. The shame i feel for being his source of love and adoration through all the yrs of trauma suffered is agonising. I only hope one day i will be the person i waS before. Thank you for your article one of many that have cemented this turning point in my life.

    • July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      I felt EXACTLY that for so long. They really should go to jail. Odd to think a guy can slap a girl and go to jail but he can completely destroy her and nothing happens to him. I’m so proud of you. Each day away is a day towards a better life. It takes time but so worth it. Sending you strength and hugs!!!

  • July 22, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Well said. They’re all the same fundamentally. Some inflict worse harm than others. I feel I got a really bad one. I got away but not without a lot of scars. It’s really important to keep these voices going and to work to make this abuse illegal like they did I’m England in 2015. I feel broken but just keep moving forward. There are no bruises to speak for you so we have to speak for ourselves and we are so depleted and just trying to hold it together that we just can’t. So thanks for speaking for us

  • July 27, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Living next door to a narcissist has been bad enough, everything is about them, luckily we eventually got one of his hysterical rages, verbal abuse and death threats on video of which the police have a copy. He likely does not have the ability to plead in court as he just get released on bail. I will need to frighten him enough so he doesnt stay attached to me on any jealously level. He is quiet revengeful and vindictive when he plays his victim card. His delusions and story telling are convincing. He thinks he is going to the Philippines to marry a scammer half his age with two kids, that kicked in his white knight ego, so other males became a threat. He is unable to take any criticism by males which trigger his hysterical rages.
    The police in New Zealand are now more readily prosecuting death threats, maximum of seven years in jail, he sure cant talk himself out of the evidence.

  • September 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I came across this post while doing my normal narcissistic/ptsd fibromyalgia research. My abuser was my father. He has passed on now almost 2 years. I’m an adult female (47), and suffer from fibromyalgia and undiagnosed PTSD. I know I need intense therapy but I keep putting it off. I’ve had 2 failed marriages( both narcissistic) and many failed relationships. I’m terrified of being judged by a therapist even though I know this is irrational. I have pretty severe memory loss. I only remember bits and pieces of things that have happened in my life. I can watch a movie and right after I have no recollection of most of it. I need that push to get some help. Anyone else with memory issues?

  • September 16, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Don’t try this at home:
    Both my best friend and I knew that there was something majorly “wrong” with my husband. Through the years we have talked, read, shared, and watched. We came up with several possibilities of what it “could” be, what it wasn’t or what is was at 4:00p.m. and what it had changed to by 5:00p.m. Schizophrenia? Depression? Just the meanest A-hole I ever met..all of these things “described” him at one point or another, but in 2016 IT HIT ME! Donald Trump was the Republican Nominee for President. Many times I had heard Donald Trump referred to as one of these. As democrats of course we hoped the election would go in the blue direction. While watching a political station one evening, I sat there dumbfounded by the fact that he “my husband”, sat there loudly cursing Trump’s displays of “audacity” and I’m glaring at him thinking…”Dude, YOU do the same thing”! It then became crystal clear…He was a NARCISSIST!
    Not only was my husband (Jo), a narcissist but a textbook one at that! I knew when he was projecting, I knew when/why/how he would devalue. I could point out in real time when he was utilizing what Narc conversation control tactic, when and why. The more I exposed myself to the abuse, the more I learned. My thought process as related to this person was different from “normal” people. Based on what I read, I had reached a point that I knew was coming and I may have even waited for it. Perhaps the final stage in the cycle of abuse. I began to say things I never would have in the past. Things I never would have considered doing in the past…I did! Having my personal Narc lab rat may be the reason why I stumbled upon a path to HEALING, which came as HUGE unmasking, one so sweet, that it resulted in the “unmasking” of a NARC. A devastating injury that had MY Narc go and file for an emergency order of protection! Man how they HATE exposure. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! We all know who things go with a narc. When they discard, it’s always “BAD” and thus far your relationship has done nothing but gotten worse. Just when you thought that your Narc couldn’t hurt you any worse he teaches you a lesson. When you are dealing with a person who has NO BOUNDARIES there is nothing they won’t do to hurt you! I knew that the more contact I had with him, the more I was putting myself at risk! As numb as you think you are from all the pain he inflicted, as prepared as you “think” you may be….A tear falls!
    Every time I sought to see just how bad things really were, I found it! In most cases a Narc will spend the majority of your relationship in search of your replacement. This is the truth, believe not their lying mouths. I was at a point where I had to responsibility for MY own pain. As great as that sounds..I still wasn’t sure how I was going to do that. Then, things took an unusual turn, and this final discard..would be MINE! Finally, some sort of peace of mind! Could it be that the suffering I endured would pay off at last? My determination…:”or hard-headedness” had somehow allowed me a front row seat at Karma doing it’s thing and I knew it was only the beginning.

    • September 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Its how they play their victim card, my narcissist abusive neighbor was unable to process any criticisms by men. He pushed boundaries, he did admit to a few actions he caused but only to make himself as some champion, his normal reaction was denial, being a victim, and a conspiracy against him, he sure could tell some whopper stories.

    • September 30, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Thank you for commenting Tanya Bitoy, sharing interesting insights and your experience of awakening to own and see and hold your own truth. Continue to trust yourself, you have good instincts. If you are not seeing a professional with experience in this area, you may wish to consider. You deserve to continue to grow in this area, learn how to protect your happiness, from within, and take the reins as choice maker and agent of your life and happiness. Thanks again, and best wishes.

      • February 16, 2019 at 11:54 pm

        My 39 yr old son died recently after a 10 year struggle with cancer. He and his wife had two sweet little girls. From the beginning things were not “normal”, there was a level of secrecy, untruths, and possessiveness. She got pregnant before they were married six months later. – the onslaught of control lasted 10 years. She had no interest in her mother-in-law but she had great interest in families assets. Her greatest love was shopping becoming hoarding, and she had very little interest in working. My son died, she never told me, and I never found out what happened to his body. Before he died she drove a wedge between myself and my beloved son. And I never saw my grandkids again after
        that. While my family and I were coming to grips with this, and writing a memorial announcements – she served me with a restraining order. About a month after this I realized she had stolen unreplaceable family heirlooms. I reported to law enforcement – I was told to stay away from her. I fear for my granddaughters safety& well-being. This is an example of a cruel & heartless being. She dangerous. Yes she managed to fool law enforcement. I can’t imagine the abusive behavior my grandkids and my poor dying son endure & endured. She is a monster. This by no means a sexist subject.

  • October 4, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    As a man who is just coming out of a 23 year marriage to a narcissist and who is struggling emotionally, I think it is harder for a man victim in our society because we are not looked at as “real” victims because we are physically stronger. When you suffer years of emotional abuse, and no one knows are cares, the suffering continues. I am an emotional wreck and no one gives a crap because I am the man. The wife turned our friends against me by lying about why I left her. She threatens to take the kids, the money, my career from me. I believe she will somehow succeed. It is very painful.

    • October 5, 2018 at 6:36 am

      Thanks for commenting, Jerry, divorce is tough on all persons, men and women, but it is toughest on your children. I do not agree that society sides with women, and thinks men cannot be the “real” victims due to their physical strength, in most cases the “boys will be boys” effect occurs and society rallies to prop up the male ego, plus our social expectations and the standards of conduct for women in terms of taking care of others needs and wants, and making relationships work, are much higher for women than they are for men.

      It also takes a professional, in many cases, to determine who the “real” narcissistic abuser is because it is always the case that men who physically or emotionally assault their wives, feel entitled to do so, always portray themselves as the victim, and their wife as controlling, narcissist or selfish etc., when they are held accountable.

      Please please seek emotional support from a professional who works with narcissism, and recommend this your estranged wife, so that both agree to put the children’s interests and health first. A professional will help both focus on working together, and avoid the trap of blaming and labeling one another, and determine, if the estranged wife is a narcissist, how to best co-parent in interest of children.

  • October 17, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    One of the most difficult things about being the victim of abuse by a covert narcissist is that friends and family often don’t understand what happened, and why you’re so damaged. “Abuse? No way! he’s such a great guy.” “What exactly did he do that was so bad?” “It wasn’t that bad; he didn’t hit you, right?” “It’s time you let it go.” “You should be over this by now.” These are all comments I have heard more than a few times. I know some of my friends are weary of hearing about my issues. I truly wish it were just a matter of getting over it.

    I have had the benefit of a great therapist who understands narcissistic abuse, PTSD and uses EMDR. I have made great progress, but there are times, though, when I am still triggered by events in the news, movies, etc. Thank you for writing this article. It’s a great source to help others understand better.

  • December 28, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for this great professional post.
    Could you name the differences between victim of narcisist abuse and sexual abuse?
    I would like to see if I have both or just emotionally abused by a narcisist.
    Great wishes for 2019

  • January 25, 2019 at 12:02 am

    I got out of a narcst relationship 6 months ago. I would go up for weekends (as I am a FA) and we would have a great weekend, lots of laughs, and then when I would start my flying week, I would check my texts and they would be mean spirited, and nasty, and finally I would say ‘it’s all my fault…yes I am clueless you got that right’ and he would keep it up for a day or two and then he would send me nice texts, call me up and it would be find for another two or three weeks and then he would start up again. If I stayed over the weekend I would be watching TV and engaged in a program and he would either put on an album and crank up the volume or he would grab the remote from me. I would ignore it and carry on and then he would start slamming doors and swearing and glaring at me. I would go home in tears and then he would be fine and say we would do something fun on the weekend, and I would be all geared up for that and then he would say he changed his mind. For two years then I would come up and he would sleep the days away to the point i wondered why I was coming up at all. I got a lot done actually. In that time I did a lot of craft work, I wrote a book, I raised money for charity but I did nothing with him because he wanted to sleep and then drink. And then amp up the verbal and emotional abuse until he said if I came up without him knowing (as I had to retrieve my lap top one afternoon as I left it up there) he was going to shoot me. So I never came back. I got a new phone number, everything…and for a week i went into melt down overload. It was like the four years I was with this person all kind of melted down at once when I realized my own reality and what kind of turmoil I was going through but didn’t realize it or want to realize it…thinking I could make things better. No I couldn’t. I still have a little bit of flash backs, I get nervous when I go into certain hotels as I remember some of the mean spirited texts that would keep me up nights. I would tell him that I was going out to dinner with my crew. He would say ‘enjoy your meal’ and then when I would call him back he would accuse me of spending money I didn’t have and that I was having some kind of rendevous with the pilots who are 30 years younger than me….and when I go into certain hotels I have flash backs of that. I am getting better but it is a lot of work.

    • January 25, 2019 at 10:41 am

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience Barbara. I appreciate the clarity with which you describe the intentionally demoralizing and terrorizing acts characteristic in the pattern of behaviors we see with persons with narcissistic personality disorder. While all emotional abuse is wrongful, “narcissist abuse” is a horse of a different color so to speak. Best wishes,

  • January 25, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    I have been doing quite a bit of reading about narcissistic partners. First, the more I read, the more I believe he is one. 2. I am attending college for psychology as my dream and calling is to be a counselor. This has been my calling, deep in my soul for 20 some odd years.
    A little background first. My mother’s second husband was incredibly abusive in every way. You name it, he did it. This went on for 10 years. I won’t go into what the last straw was, but it happened when I was 19. A lot of this time growing up is blank. I remember small things, like name calling, the shame. Getting hair pulled. I kept my hair cut very short thinking there wouldn’t be enough for him to grab. But it is only small details like this. I am working on learning my triggers from my childhood. I see a therapist.

    My marriage… I want out. We have been together almost 9 years. Married almost 4. After we were married for a little over a year, he told me he had sex with another female which took me out at my knees. This person was in “our” home. “Friends” with us both. The only reason he told me, and also mentioned why was he and his brother had an incredibly nasty argument. His brother knew, and threatened to tell me. I distanced myself more than usual. 2 months to by, and I found out she had a miscarriage around the timeframe after.
    His replies? It was partly my fault, because i shut him out. I didn’t “let him understand me”. Who cares, it wasn’t a baby. It was a miscarriage.
    I have two teens, don’t bring them around him (that’s another story). I spent too much time going to their ball games, etc. Left him alone. I’m a very involved mom. I’m not putting them to the side.
    I have always worked full time. My kids. I have my associates degree, and started my bachelor’s recently. All class work is online. I kept up with house, laundry, mom, class, work and him. I have let off of some housework as I’m trying to get a diagnosis of lupus. I have excruciating pain in lower back and hips. I push through it quite often. But I can have flares and chronic fatigue that drain me.
    Now it has turned into he doesn’t feel loved.. Or loved enough. He cut all his friends out- something I have never asked an adult i am involved with to do. He supports me and cares, loves me more than anyone. Why do I wear makeup to work? Am I baiting hook? Why has the way I dress changed? It hasnt, same clothing style as long as I remember.
    He has sacrificed so much for me to go to college. Why didn’t I take a year break before starting bachelor’s? I’m 40. I will be getting masters as well. Now he picks and plucks “trying to figure me out.” He must have sex at least every couple of days. If I say no, he gets irritated or pouts. It disgusts me now. I can’t stand it.
    I feel like I walk on egg shells. He asked me if there was 1 thing I would change about him… Well hello truck question. He pi$$ me off because he makes little remarks like oh you’ll make so much money as counselor (which is at the bottom of my list. I am working through a program to be a SANE advocate. Volunteer). I mentioned just the money thing. Well, and if his world. He thought it would be brush his teeth more or something to that effect. I essentially had every flaw, my quiet, my school, my kids, all he sees as bad about me go on for 2 hours.
    He has little respect for women. Very few think logically, are so emotional. Men aren’t like that. I could write a book.
    I want out, yet don’t know how to leave. I want to heal further. I can’t help others if I can’t help myself. I know my path for helping others is my calling from the Lord. I’m not giving that up.
    Thank you for reading

    • January 26, 2019 at 7:56 am

      Thank you for sharing your experience trying to keep your life and family going, and yes, dealing with continual attempts of living with a narcissist who keeps throwing nonsensical things your way to throw you off course, and make conversations about making you feel bad for his misery. If you are not seeing a professional with experience in this area, please consider doing so. One thing I can tell you, is that the more you engage them in “talking” about relationship stuff, the deeper and more traumatizing the effect of the narcissist abuse. As one of my clients called it, these talks are “conversations from hell” and they are intended to be. Seek help to emotionally detach, you may find the following articles helpful:

      (1) What makes it easier for narcissists to get into a woman’s mind:

      (2) What “love” means from a narcissist’s mindset and ideology:

      (3) Some steps and actions to take care of your self: Keep reading, studying, seek professional support, and learn to 100% guard your mind and heart and think of them as precious life lines, they are! It’s a gift to yourself AND to your children and all you love and love you. 🙂

  • February 8, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Hello I was in a relationship with this man for 3years. The first year was great I was the happiest women in the world. Then things changed it seemed out of no where. This man in the end ended up died cause the cops here shot and killed him. Moments before that happened he set my house on fire. I want say that I wish it never ended like that and that I still love him and I’m not even mad at him. I forgive him for everything he did to me and my home cause that is all I can do and I must do in order for me to heal from the most scariest parts of the of the last 2 1/2 years of our relationship. I can tell you this man scared the Hell out of me. He has point a gun at me more times then I can remember and I have even felt the gun up against the back of my head a few times. Well when all said and done two weeks before he died he had taken me out to the words and point his gun at me telling me I want to die. He would point it at himself. I have woke up to him strangling himself with his belt laying bed next to me. He has shot of his gun in my house at least 8 different times and then would point it at me yelling and shaking in rage. He had cameras all over my house inside and out. I had to stay on camera cause if I was off camera at any given time for to long he would say I was off having sex with someone in the yard. He thought I was hiding someone in the house. Keep in mind this is a 16×20 cabin with an upstairs. Open floor plan. He would tell me that he thought I and other people we both know was poisoning him with Mercury… He told me that I was a witch and put a curse on him. He would see people in the cameras that where not there and hear them too. Then he would get mad at me if I told him I didn’t seen or hear them. He would tell me he loved me and at the same time call me the worst names you could ever think of. I was always lying to him in his eyes and I wasn’t. Every time I would try to go to sleep He would wake me back up. And if i didnt stay up with him he would get mad at me. He put an app on my phone so he could watch and hear everything I do 24/7 just in case there was a ever moment we where not together which was hardly ever. I couldn’t go hang out with anyone not even my family without it turning into another scary moment in my life again. People would come over and he wouldn’t let me answer the door most the time cause he didn’t want anyone around him but me he only wanted me all to himself. He hated it when anyone come around except for 3 people. This was my life. I couldn’t even shower by myself. Well in the end he ended up with 10 felonies one being attempted murder bunch of assaults alluding….the last two weeks he was alive was so scary. I thank God that I’m still alive cause if I was home when he showed up at my house that day he set it on fire and then got shot killed by the cops I believe in my heart and soul he would have killed me. I have been dealing with not being able to sleep very well or at all sometimes. I have nightmares and flashbacks all the time. He isn’t even here anymore but he still tortures me… He died last year in June so it’s been 7 months. I still feel like I’m in cloud I’m num and lost most the time I can’t seem to concentrate on anything really. I don’t know what to do. I want to fix me. I want me back. I have moments I don’t want to be around anyone. I noticed that I will all of a sudden out of no where get mad and last out… I don’t know how to control it and it upsets me. I get this feeling sometimes like I need to get in my truck and just drive or go somewhere away from where I’m staying now which is with daughter at her dad’s house. How do I get him to understand what is going on my head and that at times I just need to get in my truck and leave for a while. I feel trapped at times I don’t want to feel like this cause I just got out of the feeling. I was a slave and prisoner in my own home. I don’t want to feel like that here. I want to be able to go when I want to without the questions of where I went or where are you going. I just want to be free. I have these flash backs every time I feel like I’m trapped here. I don’t know what to do. Someone please help me? I need guidance.

  • April 11, 2019 at 12:12 am

    I have read the article and read many of the comments. While I do understand that the author is going on the data recovered in the last 40 years, I seem to think that this isn’t giving the males any real justice. I am a female and I have been in 4 narc relationships, the last one being a narc sociopath. I also grew up with a narc mother. I am very aware of both sides of the gender struggle. My opinion is that growing up and living in a might equals right community has completely hindered everyone from seeing the female abuser as such. Most, not all, therapist are men, who I believe can be mislead to believe that the female is not a narc; per your opinion on the love bombing phase. Females are regarded as the empathic people, society has a very hard time accepting anything but this as possible. I do understand why you used the different male/female to explain the difference between the initial wounding that occurs, and to explain narc and codependency. Even after everything I have been through at the hands of a man I certainly can see the lack of societal understanding and belief to anything a male might bring forward against a female. It is very interesting to me that you bring both genders under an umbrella of humanness, but you refuse to believe that the data you trust so implicitly could be very wrong on this point. Females are capable of doing even more damage to a man because we are able to hide easily behind the judiciary system. It troubles me that as a female yourself you cannot see this and understand where the men are coming from when they comment. In the age of equality it seems undeniable that the data is most likely biased. Or, that men haven’t been as willing or able to come forward until now. I just see too many problems with that line of thinking…the data shows….it’s the data from women about men. Not vice versa. Again this is only my opinion.

    • April 13, 2019 at 6:24 am

      Thank you for sharing your opinion Jennifer. There is much misinformation out there, in part due to narcissistic trolls that strategize to hide offenders and perpetrators of abuse, while smearing victims. Our society has made strides, but is far from reaching “the age of equality” as many believe. The “boys will be boys” club works zealously, often backed by big money, to protect “male entitlements” and “toxic masculinity” values, and back by money, to maintain status quo, and block efforts to achieve equality. Too often the judiciary system is biased in favor of those with money and status, and this leaves too many women and children vulnerable to narcissist smear campaigns. Keep in mind that pathological lying is a key trait, and lifestyle practice of narcissists/psychopaths. They are con artists, masters of disguise, and take pride honing such skills as proof of their “superiority.” Armed with lies, they strategize to attack the truth with misinformation, smear their victims while falsely imaging themselves as “victims,” and too often succeed in getting others to wittingly or unwittingly side with them against the real victims. In effect, they hide in plain sight, so keep your eyes open and remain aware and open to question and think. And thanks again for commenting.

  • July 28, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    I posted previously. There have been some changes; my 15 year old son is living with me. I am currently staying with my mother. She does not help; when I spoke with my Christian Counselor, and getting background and feeling of my family, she highly believes my negative self-image, and destruction patterns stem from her.
    I am not living with my spouse; yet if I don’t call or text, I get a pouty text, or him saying if I don’t call, text. He knows the buttons to push. But I know I need a fresh start, my child does, and I want to live instead of existing.

  • January 29, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    I think I’m married to a narcissist. We’ve been together for 26 years and have school age children. He’s always acknowledged he’s a selfish person, and that’s something we’ve dealt with along the way. Then 2yr ago he started testosterone replacement therapy (long story, but was dr prescribed). But soon he was injecting testosterone he got from his mates at the gym. HeIn hindsight,
    always easy to see that way, he became increasingly short tempered, self obsessed, and his empathy and self awareness became non existent. My son and I took the brunt of it. I was often told exactly what my son has done wrong, what his faults were, and told him often he was lazy, fat, never made an effort etc. My daughter, who treated him like God, could do no wrong. When I asked why he was so angry all the time, it was always something I had, or hadn’t, done. Not enough affection, never initiating sex, always complaining about him not helping etc. It got to the point I took over ALL household responsibilities, was working full time (earning more than twice what he did) and doing as much of the after school activities as I could. My days off were spent cleaning (He never cleaned while I was at work for 12 hours), and cooking meals to freeze so he didn’t have to cook when I worked. Nothing I did was right. I modified my behavior and speech, so he then began getting angry about what he “thought” I’d meant when I said something. Posts on Facebook were apparently targeted at him
    I was near breakdown, and finally, exhausted, went down on my knees in front of him in tears because I wasn’t coping. He looked at me so coldly, and acted as if I was worthless. It was my fault, of course. A few months later I discovered he was having a secret “sexting affair” with his bosses secretary. She’d actually tried to be friends with me. Apparently I overreacted with this. It was my fault for not fulfilling him in the relationship. And why didn’t I maybe think about a threesome? And why did I keep getting upset? It wasn’t a big deal, he said. The next year was hell. I constantly found “clues” that he was in contact with her. When I’d ask him I was told I was hurting our marriage by being suspicious all the time. We had sex less (2-3×/ week, instead of 4-6×/ week). That was because by crying and accusing him of “fake things” I was making myself less attractive. I saw them waking together one night, while I was driving. I couldn’t stop, plus I had the kids, and didn’t want them to see that ugly scene. I got home 5 mins later (yep, it was right near my house), and rang him. He was at the gym, and his mates could confirm that if I was that bad a wife I didn’t trust him! Later he said he was disappointed I felt I didn’t trust him. Then he needed a “break” because all the responsibilities were destroying him. He stayed a week at my parents beach house, and when I’d call her tell me to stop carrying on, and I was destroying his feelings for me. A few months later he was still stressed. I changed my entire roster so he could have a week in Bali with his “mates”. I found a blindfold, but he convinced me I had bought it. A USB fell out of his bag, with stuff on it SHE’D organised for him, but I was just a snoop, and if course she was helping, she worked for his boss!! But it was HIS work, and it was done on a Sunday, and he’d printed it that night. It got to the point I begged him to just tell me the truth. I told him I was losing my mind, that I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and to please just be honest. He was offended that I’d even suggest it. And swore on his life he wasn’t seeing her, and that I was everything to him. A month later her friend threw a party, invited most of my friends, then revealed the affair. With pictures. Of them at my beach house, at the gym, in Bali. Then her and her friends blasted me on Facebook. Then targeted my daughter’s sports club. I was devastated, and also relieved. I wasn’t insane. It was all real. The next month was a blur. My husband begged for forgiveness, sent her a text saying he never wanted anything to do with her again. For a month he did whatever he could to make it up to me. Then he started started change again. When I said something, it was my fault for constantly asking questions. The little coincidences came up, he said he knew why I didn’t trust him, but I was still being hurtful. I finally asked him outright if he was seeing her. I told him if he wanted out of the marriage, then that was fine. I was willing to be amicable for the kids. But I said I could NOT go through i tt again. I told him he’d done too much damage last time, and I couldn’t do it again. I told him that if I was willing to work on the marriage and I found out he was in contact with her again, it would break me. I was very clear that the damage it would cause could actually be to the point I might not be able to work, or care for the kids. Be swore on our kids lives he was not, or ever would, be in contact with her. By this stage he’d lost his job, partly because of the affair actually, so had no reason to see her. He had even deleted snapchat to prove I could trust him. Then came the SMS, from an unknown number. It was a screen shot of his KIK account, with the message “do you know who he’s chatting to?”. I deleted it immediately. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought then it wouldn’t be true? But I searched. And found the account. Downloaded the day he deleted Snapchat. 3 weeks after I had discovered the affair I confronted him. He was chatting to her, but it was ok, cause it was just talk. My fault too, because I hadn’t told him if we’d be together in the future. Plus it was my fault cause I’d gotten all suspicious again, and that hurt him. Then he ignored me for 3 days. Then begged for me back. Then stormed off when I asked how I could possibly believe him again. My kids are shattered, because he’d promised them he’d never speak to her again. My daughter especially, because of what this woman had done spreading rumours at the sports club. He swore he’d talk to them. But his talk with my daughter was about how great the other woman was, and she’d never do anything to hurt his kids. He still hasn’t bothered to talk to my son, it’s been 2 weeks now. My daughter asked me why he doesn’t get how this woman hurts the kids by hurting me. At 8yo she has more insight than he does. He now says he wants to fix things, but actually does nothing to show it. If I talk about the pain he’s caused he gets irritated and angry because I “keep bringing it up”. He says he wants couples therapy, but won’t make an appointment. Says he’ll do what it take so I can trust him, but I’m not allowed access to his phone, or his private email. And often he’s happy to point out my many failings, and tell me how it’s my fault our marriage got to the point where he cheated. I feel like I’m worth nothing, I get no empathy from him. Not once in the 3 months since I found out about the affair, or 2 weeks since i discovered they were chatting, has he asked if I’m ok, or what he could do to help. And in my head I still wonder if I’d been better, did better, looked better, would he have stayed ? The answer of course, is no. But he’s played with my head so much, I literally struggle to do anything that might hurt him, despite what he’s done. I don’t know what to do.

    • February 3, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Thanks for sharing kjm361. You insightfully describe key patterns of abuse. If you’ve not sought professional help from someone with experience working with narcissistic abuse, please consider. You deserve to, at minimum, take back your sense of self and happiness, to include letting go of questioning and doubting or blaming yourself for the intentional cruel acts you’ve experienced. Best wishes to you ..

  • February 10, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Excellent article. But I’m frequently disappointed that the assumption of such discussions is often that the narcissist is male and the victim is female. Female narcissists exist too, and the male victims have sometimes even greater difficulty being heard or understood because of sexist stereotypes that are assumed.

    • February 10, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Thank you for commenting, Nigel Spier, much appreciate the positive feedback. In response to your question about the use of male pronouns, this is supported by decades of research showing that domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, mass shootings, pedophilia, and other acts of “false-power” violence are not gender neutral. These crimes are rooted in rigid adherence to gendered might-makes-right norms that idealize “toxic masculinity” for men (and “toxic femininity” for women). They also idealize violence and intimidation as means of establishing male superiority and dominance (over females and others, i.e., “weak” males). 

      And yes, though comparatively speaking far fewer in number, female narcissists do exist. In my experience, like their male counterparts, female narcissists self-identify with toxic masculinity norms and “false-self” sense of power identified with displays of dominance and superiority. Best wishes, and thanks again for commenting.

      See also post on 5 Reasons Narcissistic Violence Are Not Gender Neutral.


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