Narcissistic behaviour is prevalent in our culture to-day, actually it is reaching epidemic proportions (affecting both males and females), yet not many therapists (Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Coaches, and Supervisors) would be quick to recognise it in the therapy room when clients present with what is now termed as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (NVS). In order to be able to work effectively with narcissistic victim abuse, it is vital that the therapist first understands what narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is, what causes it, and what the insidious behaviours looks like. Failing to understand the highly complex narcissistic behaviour is to also fail to understand the psychological hell that your client has been through. Once understood, however, you will have the clarity of vision to be able to shine a light on the dysfunctional narcissistic behaviour that has baffled and confounded your client for so long. Narcissistic behaviour is so insidious that it keeps the victim living in a nightmarish hell where they are always walking on eggshells to the point that it impairs their ability to be able to function. In order to avoid clumsy repetition of “he/she” and “his/her” in this article, I will use the pronoun “he” when describing NPD.
The following insights are useful for beginning to understand narcissistic behaviour:-
1. Rejection: Because the narcissist is suffering from the core wounds of abandonment, he fears rejection more than anything else in the world. Because of his deep wounds, his antenna is alerted to the slightest hint of any impending danger of rejection (real or imagined), and he will do anything he has to in order to avoid the overriding feeling of shame that it brings. As a result he builds elaborate defence mechanisms all around him, and he will lie, cheat, abuse and manipulate in any conceivable way in order to protect his fragile false-self.
2. False-self: The Narcissist desperately craves love, but at the same time, because of his inordinate fear of abandonment, betrayal, and rejection, he is terrified of intimacy, therefore leaving him deeply lonely within himself. Never having learnt the art of honest communication, he lacks the skills of forming healthy relationships. His first loving and completely controllable object he attaches to is “himself”. Just like the mythical character Narcissus, he has become the object of his own desire, and he projects that idealized image onto the world through a persona that is a False Self, a false self that he sees as being omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (allknowing). Unfortunately, these images are confabulations, merely elaborate works of fiction which have little or nothing to do with reality. From there he turns others into objects so that they pose no emotional risk. These mental representations of meaningful or significant others become the “Sources of Narcissistic Supply”.
3. Narcissistic Supply: Narcissistic Supply really refers to those people who provide a constant source of attention, approval, adoration, admiration etc, for the narcissist. The attention they receive from the “Supply Source” is vital for the survival of the narcissist, without it they would die (either physically or metaphorically), because their weak ego depends on it in order to regulate their unstable self-worth and self-esteem. The narcissist perceives themselves as being very independent. They could not deal with the fact that they need anybody, because needing someone brings with it the threat of being rejected. This would imply some boundary to their power or imply that they are incomplete. Furthermore, they can not tolerate any sign of independence and autonomy from their “supply”, this only serves to enrage them. The narcissistic supply is there to serve them, so they try to cement their source of supply into the role they have made for them, and there they remain under the narcissist’s control. Any attempt by the supply person to not comply sends him into a rage.
4. Rage: His narcissistic behaviour is full of rage. The raging is the narcissist’s way of screaming for attention because it is all about them, their wants, needs and desires. Narcissistic rage is the uncontrollable and unexpected anger that occurs due to a narcissistic injury. Narcissistic injury is a threat to a narcissist’s self-esteem or worth. Rage comes in many forms, but all pertain to the same important thing, “revenge”. It is important to point out here that narcissistic rage should not be confused with anger, (although the two are similar), the narcissist’s rage is not necessarily caused by a situation that would typically provoke anger in an individual. Their rage frightens people, seeing the fear on others face makes the narcissist feel that they have won, so they feel even more powerful and in control of the situation, and this also satisfies their sadistic nature. The rage supports and covers up their cognitive distortions, fragmentation, dissociation, arrested emotional development, their black and white thinking, their false self, their grandiosity, their need for attention (even if negative), their need to be right, and their lack of empathy. In short, the narcissists “rage” houses the actions necessary for the narcissist to defend himself against his hostile world (i.e. splitting, devaluation, projection, projective identification etc), however, these defences, like a double-edged sword, render any closeness or intimacy impossible, whether intentionally or unintentionally. However, the rage makes him feel that he is taking back control whenever in fear of losing it.
5. Power and Control: In his everyday existence he seeks to dominate each individual and group he interacts with, whether that is in the home, the workplace or social events. His power is not “power with”, but rather “power over” all that he surveys. His power and control is his springboard to verbal and emotional abuse. For example, while he enforces financial restrictions over his family, he is free to make decisions regarding expenditure for himself. When it comes to the everyday caretaking of the household he does not partake of the menial tasks, however he undermines and condemns those doing the tasks. His energy is spent on “ideas” as to how things get done, but the doing is left to the “plebs” to carry out the work and ideas for him. As the job gets done, the narcissist criticizes and complains, and he fails to give credit where credit is due. He convinces himself that it is his brains that direct the work, without him nothing would be achieved, and he totally fails to appreciate the work done by others. He is lost in his own grandiosity.
6. Grandiosity: Grandiosity is usually the most outstanding and discriminating feature of individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Grandiosity can be expressed in an unrealistic overvaluation of talents and abilities; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited beauty, power, wealth or success; and a belief in unrealistic superiority and uniqueness. This is usually accompanied by boastful, pretentious, self-centred and self-referential narcissistic behaviour. According to Gunderson and Ronningstam, from “The Diagnostic Interview for Narcissistic Patients” (Archives of General Psychiatry,1990), that the research shows that the grandiose narcissist exaggerates his talents, capacity, and achievements in an unrealistic way. He believes in his invulnerability, or does not recognize his limitations. His grandiose fantasies lead him to believe that he does not need other people. To need others would fill him with immeasurable shame.
7. Shame: Shame would appear to be the ongoing tension between the narcissist’s grandiosity and his desire for perfection. When shame is experienced by the narcissist he feels inadequate, flawed, and inferior. Narcissistically injured himself, he is now likely to fly into a sudden resurgence of rage as he feels conspicuous, exposed, and vulnerable to humiliation. He is overwhelmed by anxiety because he believes that he will lose the imagined love and admiration from other people if he isn’t perfect. So we can say that consciously the narcissist is being driven to do better and better within the rigid frameworks they have created for themselves; however, unconsciously they cannot control their behaviour, so they and anybody who surrounds them have to suffer.
8. Perfectionism: Governed by a False Self, the narcissist’s obsessional behaviour sets unrealistic goals. He then struggles to maintain those goals within the realities of what he perceives as an imperfect world. This pressure that the narcissist puts on himself comes from his unrelenting demand for perfection, which of course is necessary if his grandiosity and illusion of omnipotence is to be maintained. Furthermore, since the narcissist is ruled by his “black and white” or “all right or all wrong” thinking, he can only views his achievements in one of two ways, either they are viewed: as being the greatest accomplishments, or they are viewed as the greatest failures. There is no middle space; therefore there is no room for the emergence of a process for further learning. So he either reaches his positive ego ideal (his Eureka moment), where he experiences an elated self-esteem to his liking, where he can feel a great sense of achievement, and flaunt it to the world with pride. Or he experiences a negative ego ideal, where his omnipotence is threatened; throwing his sense of perfection and uniqueness into question. When the latter is experienced, it leads to feelings of shame, vulnerability and failure for the narcissist; his pride of accomplishment is likely to be devalued, and his commitment and capacity to follow through on this achievement is most likely to be scrapped, because it is too painful not being able to live up to his positive ego ideal. Of course this is going to enrage him, and he is likely to be engulfed by feelings of self doubt, self-loathing, and self-reprimanding behaviour. Shame would appear to be the ongoing tension-generating dialectic between the narcissist’s grandiosity and his desire for perfection. When shame is experienced by the narcissist he feels inadequate, flawed, and inferior. Narcissistically injured himself, he is now likely to fly into a sudden resurgence of rage as he feels conspicuous, exposed, and vulnerable to humiliation.
9. Boredom: Narcissists have an insatiable need for excitement in order to feel good about themselves, and they are forever chasing thrills. Because they are so full of aggression, any excitement helps them to burn off their furious anger that is always bottled inside of them. Of course, their aggression comes in many guises, and one of their favourite disguises is boredom. Faced with boredom, the narcissist plummets into the abyss of despair where he touches old feelings of helplessness, and inadequacy born out of earlier experiences (for example, it may be feelings of inferiority that came from an inability to understanding lessons in school, or as a result of being bullied etc). Boredom creates anxiety for them; it simply devastates their morale, so they won’t tolerate it for very long. It is precisely these feelings of anxiety that lead the individual to search for “narcissistic supply” in the first place. In order to assist him in his never ending quest, he looks for fame.
10. Fame: One of the reasons that the narcissist has an insatiable need for fame is because it leads him to the inexhaustible repository of praise and admiration which he craves in order to fill the “Gap” of his shameful childhood. The intolerable shame experienced as a child leaves the narcissist to experience pervasive feelings of self-contempt and worthlessness. Since the painful effects of shame cannot be regulated, the narcissist develops an effective way not to experience it. He routinely “splits off” from that part of himself that feels the shame, thus allowing him to “bypass” his shameful feelings. To the onlooker, by-passed shame looks like shamelessness, or an absence of conscience. The “shamelessness” works in such a way that it directs the shame outward, away from the Self, where nothing is ever his fault, thus defending the narcissist against the feelings of self-contempt and unworthiness that he feels. His tried and tested way of alleviating the effects of such feelings is by having admiration from his endless menu of narcissistic supply, and this he manages to maintain by assuming an attitude of grandiosity and entitlement, which in turn makes him feel famous and special. The feelings of fame make him feel alive, and the more alive he feels, the more he plays to his audience. His audience reflects his celebrity image and status back to him, and his very existence is affirmed. This affirmation of himself is expressed outwardly in his narcissist hubris and over-confidence. Hubris refers to the exaggerated self confidence or pride displayed by the narcissist, and it often operates within the connotation that retribution will follow if you should dare to cross him.
To conclude: Narcissism is a pathological condition where the individual experiences great difficulties within his relationships as a direct result of deprivation suffered as a child. The narcissistic behaviours are the narcissist’s self-preservative attempts to protect himself from any further painful narcissistic insult as experienced as a child, through his hostile world and dysfunctional school and family system, his internal regulating system so to speak. Because the narcissist does not possess the internal structures necessary to combat their terrifying sense of fragmentation, anxiety and declining self-esteem, they turn to these external behaviours in their attempt to self-soothe. And as you can see, the narcissistic behaviour becomes an endless spiral that keeps looping back on itself in every situation, causing an endless stream of narcissistic victim abuse in its wake.
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my mother is a narcissist and I want to help my family mentally as they are already invalided by a narcissist and losing there true self. this article can save me but still I find it hard to save my family
I have already come to the conclusion that my husband of just a few months is a narcissist and likely is bipolar without medication. I met him about six months after my husband of 15 years passed away following a long illness. I see now that I was hurting, lonely, and confused when he came into my life. He love bombed me for the first six months and I fell for him completely. He moved in after just a couple months and proposed to me a month later. The next three months were amazing…THEN he started acting very jealous and suspicious of me whenever I had to be away from him. Literally making up things in his head and accusing me of being a sneaky liar. I was shocked and hurt of course, but knowing that his ex-wife had cheated on him all I did was try to defend myself and at the same time justify why he was doing this to me. He convinced me to move with him out of state and this was very costly for me. It didnt work out there and we returned separately after about 8 months and I vowed that it was over…..and then married him a couple months later…what the heck is wrong with me? two years ago I was in a good financial position, my house was paid for and I would have been fine for several years without having to work. Somehow managed to go through almost 200,000 in less than 2 years just trying to make him happy. Now I’m flat broke with a new mortgage and not sure how I’m going to make the payment this month. My credit is ruined. I owe the IRS. My step children and other members of his family have dedicated themselves to smearing my reputation in any way possible. And all I have done is try to love and forgive at every turn. But now that I see his true colors I know I can’t live like this.
So why am I still here? Because he LOVES me so much that he said he will commit suicide if I ever leave. My late husband committed suicide by overdosing. I understand now that on his pain meds….I understand now that he could no longer tolerate the pain, but I found him still breathing the morning he died and couldn’t BRING HIM BACK….and I tried so hard. It was a terrible thing to go through because I felt abandoned by him. I felt like if I has only known or done something different he might have made it through that next surgery that was scheduled. SO HE KNOWS THIS and threatens to do the same thing and wants to make me feel responsible.
I am an empath as well as an INFJ on the Briggs-Meyers. I have always been called ‘too sensitive’ my entire life. When someone is hurting emotionally or physically I truly feel and understand what they are going through and all I want is for other to experience peace, love and harmony in their lives and to understand that we have purpose in this life. I know that I have helped others who have come in my life and I don’t understand why I feel so lost and unable to help myself. Part of me says that I made a vow that I should honor no matter what….especially if someone’s life or death is involved….the other part of me says I JUST CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE!
The worst part is knowing the only thing he is in love with is the idea of me loving him and doing everything…and I do mean everything,for him. He has literally made me an extension of himself to do all the things that any normal person would just get up and do for themself. I’M SURPRISED HE DOESN’T ASK ME TO WIPE HIS BUTT, but probably would ask if he thought I would do it. If he needs anything around the house it’s my job to find it and if it can’t be found then somehow it’s my fault. In fact, everything is my fault. I have never been in a relationship like this and I am concerned about the escalating aggression. He actually pushed me down on the couch the other day and balled up his fist….but didn’t hit me. When he rages he has said a few times that he will take us both out. Its very scary when this happens but I feel frozen like a deer in the headlights and I just shut down….then try to make things better.
The truth is I’m afraid to stay or leave…and even though this is really my house that I’ve owned for 15 years, I don’t know how to make him go. The few times that I’ve tried to discuss that maybe we aren’t right for each other the first thing he does is threaten me with suicide. He says I’m the only woman for him and that he would die without me yet he is always talking about how beautiful other women are…excuse me he actually says they are so hot and keeps hinting around at a threesome. Not what I’m into so why doesn’t he just go find someone else and leave me the hell alone! I’ve gone from a size 12 to a size 2 since we’ve been together….so much stress…first too fat, now too thin and if I miss a day of shaving my legs or armpits he makes cruel comments like he expects me to be perfect 24/7. Everyday its something…because I just can’t seem to ever say or do the right thing. If anyone out there has some sage advice, Im all ears and tears.
Your life seems consumed and wasted and nearly nobody understands that. It is sneaky and freaky. Some people are taking this not too serious while it is an serious issue. No remorse, callous. .
I have been subjected to decades of abuse by a narcissistic mother and sister. My other sister and brother are their enablers and the remainder of my siblings are terrified of becoming their next victims, so they dive for cover. I have been constantly lied about, bullied and undermined. When I try to get away my mother draws me back with comments like her age and vulnerability. I have been the one at her beck and call for years as she knows I am soft. She has become, with my sister, even more vindictive since I have pulled back extending her destructive behavior to encompass
my kind loving boys. I had no idea how many people have been subjected to such abuse and is a great comfort to know that I am not alone.
I just divorced a narcissist after 36 years of marriage. We have 2 children. My son is the scapegoat and my daughter is the golden child. My son is doing fine. My daughter has some narcissistic behaviors. Mainly jealousy and intolerance for correction. And need to feel superior. I think she has problems with insecurity because her father has taught her that she is not worth loving unless she is perfect. She has become unteachable, like her father, and impossible to reach. She now considers me a screw-up so I can’t tell her anything. So, I don’t know how to get through to your son except call him to be fair-minded, be honest, don’t be emotional or angry. Be consistent and stay on message. Don’t let your husband’s lies go unopposed. Also, try not to let him keep you on the defensive. It will be a marathon. He will make mistakes. You have the moral high ground. Make self-care a priority. Lean on friends who are truly stalwart. When your son starts losing the debate he will use personal attacks. DON’T TAKE THE BAIT. Keep to your message.
I am in the process of divorcing a narcissist, possibly psychopath I have been married to for 48 years now. The process is approaching taking 1 1/2 years as he is sabotaging all my and my lawyers efforts. I didn’t know what a narcissist was until I went to a women’s shelter and got counseling and starting reading and realized what had happened to me.
My main concern now is my son. So far we have left him out of this and he is trying not to take sides. But my fear is that when it is all over, and I believe that I will win the case, it will leave his father destitute as he has been a financial failure and my son will think it is all my fault. He has already said I am messing with his inheritance. How do I approach him in such a way that I can tell him the truth without turning him against me? It would hurt my soul to lose him.
Also, My husband has been telling his side of the story to everyone and I have not been out talking trash about him. Consequently, I have been very isolated as he has turned everyone against me except for a few good friends who can see the truth. I am going to move out of state after this is over for two reasons: financial mostly and to get away from him. Is there any way for me to tell my side of the story to keep people from believing his side? He will continue to blame me for all of his problems for the rest of his life. My son will also hear this.I feel it is very unfair but maybe it is just what it is. There is no way the truth will “out” by itself.
I hope to spread awareness about narcissism and psychpathy for the rest of my life to keep others from enduring what I have been through
thank you for what you do!
Sigh. I’m cramping while I respond to this but bare with me. The hardest part for any “victim” to accept is that the love was one sided all along. For those who managed 15yrs and beyond. You have alot of love to give. Although you gave and gave in vain, you now have to opportunity to give to yourself. The narcissit was there to lead you to this enlightenment. Recover and heal then use you’re knowledge and love to guide others like us to their truth. The second hardest part for empaths to do is let go. It’s in your nature to leave no one behind. That’s why you fought the long fight. But we can’t save those who are unwilling to save themselves. Or those who see no wrong doing on their part. Accept it. And let them go. When you hold onto negativity and conform yourself to pleasing someone who cannot be satisfied you limit your own growth. You bind yourself to a lifetime of playing parent to a childlike adult. Who will never help you grow.
My husband fits many of the necessary traits of NPD. However he was an only child and I am sure was not abandoned. I dont see any shame in his behavior although I realize it may not be an outward expression . He also possesses what I would call obsessive compulsive behaviors and also struggles with gender identity issues which together has made it impossible to have a healthy marriage. He has no desire to address these things and has therefore forced to go leave and go no contact.
Just wondering if you have any articles or links on how a post relationship breakup victim deals with still being curious or caring what the narcissist is upto in their life and perhaps who they are with even though this knowledge is probably detrimental to the victim anyway, yet the thoughts keep coming….
Check out SANA: Self-healing After Narcissistic Abuse. I have found this to be really helpful. Victims of narcissism are not good at self care but I have already learnt from practising it that self care is the only way to heal oneself. I was brought up in narc family mother narc, father massive enabler :-/ after 20 years of counselling it is only now, now that I understand the narc framework and the need for ongoing proactive self care/ self healing that I am starting to see myself in myself. At 59 I have only just gone no-contact with parents… A huge act of self care! I am also seeing a counsellor who understands narc abuse very regularly.
Thank goodness sites like this, thank you Christine!
Thank You for this information. I had know idea that I was in this type of relationship for 16 years. Only since my daughter started having mental difficulties did everything else spiral out of control. I don’t want to believe I was the victim, but it all seems so much clearer now. I believe the real victim is my daughter and now I have the tools to get her back to stability and hopefully protect her from being a victim any longer.
We both are on our way to recovery, but this information helps me understand so much more and I’m so afraid for us because my husband has been in the rage state for a while. I’m praying that he has found someone else to supply his narcissistic self and will leave us be. He left the home in May and we have so much more peace. My only question is can they change and get help or is it a lost cause? I am concerned that we will be dealing with him for the rest of our lives and that is scary. Thank You again.
I totally understand and appreciate this article. I was married to a N for 20 years. For the first 15 years I couldn’t understand what was happening. I was busy raising children and working many hours. I had to work because he was horrible with money. He did not participate in the family finances. His money was his and my money was his. As the children got older things in our life began to really change. That is when he needed further narcissistic supply. Since the children were older now and had there own opinions and could speak for themselves, they were no longer “good” supply for him. My oldest turned 18 and he told him he had to leave the house. I know now he wanted to isolate me. I had to sneak around to visit my son. He then had his first “known” affair. He triangulated with her. I became the “other woman”. I would see him behind her back. It was a nightmare. He finally came home but the “other women” did not stop. I understand the rages that occurred now. I understand why he acted like he did all these years. He had a very traumatic childhood. He is 10 years younger then me and at times he didn’t have electric or water when growing up. I was raised with a “silver spoon” according to him. I started researching narcissistic personality disorder 2 years ago. It’s amazing the information and you-tube videos on this subject. I was wondering if I was making it up in my head, until I realized everything I read and listened to said the same thing and they were on point about my ex-husband. I was narcissistic supply and so were my children. I no longer am. We are divorced and I am “no contact”. My children do not have contact with him either. I can’t help his new victim. I want to because of “girl power”. But I can’t. She will find out in her own time. I care too much about me and my children. I am sorry it took me these many years to figure things out. I have to come to terms with why it took me so long. I have to come to terms with why I put my children through this nightmare. But I guarantee it will never happen again. I am a strong independent woman!!!
I am trying to figure out where on this spectrum my ex and my husband’s ex fall. We both have had very hurtful relationships. I can’t say that either one of us are perfect but it’s taken us many years to get past the hurt and even today I don’t think we are past it.
My ex was very sneaky even when we were dating. Also very controlling. As time went on I found out he was cheating on me. Going to naked bars and coming home making jokes like I was fat or needed to lose weight. When I did start losing he bought stuff that tempted me like some of my favorite snacks. When I got pregnant with our 2nd son he accused me of cheating on him. After my pregnancy I became very depressed and left to stay with my mom. I didn’t bring the kids because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. He would park his truck outside my mom’s at night and sit there for an hour or more. He called everyone at my work and asked them if they were having sex with me. He threatened that if I stayed away he’d be certain i didn’t see my kids ever again. I ended up going back and later got pregnant with my daughter. I watched him hurt my youngest son and found out he was still going to naked bars when he was away, even after he promised he wouldn’t. At one point he got in my face and pushed me down on the bed. When i tried to get up he pushed me back down. I finallt had enough and did push him. He hit the wall that was 2 ft away from our bed. He managed to bounce down the length of the quee size bed and hit his head. He went to the hospital and when he came hime told me if i hold him all night he wont press charges. Reluctantly i did and when i tried to use the bathroom he grabbed my arm and said no no no you have to hold me! I knew I wasn’t going to be happy so I left. We tried counseling but I knew things were not going to get better. After I moved he continued to stop by or call. He even was dating someone and asked me time and time again to come back. He has called the police on me and now my new husband so many times. Hes accused his own son of sexually abusing our daughter, then he tried to accuse our oldest son and when that didn’t work he accused my BF/husband now. 2 years ago my step son did end up sexually assulting my daughter. My ex got an emergency order and I was not allowed to see my daughter. He doesn’t communicate with me at all. He does everything behind my back. All this even after months of co parenting years ago.
My husband now had a really tough time with his ex. He did at one point drink quite a bit. Thank God he doesn’t much anymore. But he was very depressed. He came from a very stable family but his ex was conceived by rape and had a step dad that she had somewhat a relationship with. She was very controlling and just from what I see today is very manipulative. When my husband even asked for her to support us getting the kids to give us phone#’s of parents of their friends she said no because that’s not right and some people are weird about that. 2 years ago when my step son was with her he got caught stealing and my husband asked her to take his iPod and not give it back. She agreed but then gave it back anyway. That same year she called the police and CY over 4 x’s in a matter of months. If he has any request she doesn’t support him. Seems she wants to be a friend and not a parent. Did I mention she had custody until 2010 when she asked my husband to take them. She ended up moving to Mexico and getting married only to find out the man was a crack addict. She moved in with a man shortly after she met him and got pregnant very soon after. He’s a really nice man and owns his own store and has a couple apts. I would say pretty well off. She traveled to Egypt which she said was for the Hemophilia foundation but her Twitter states otherwise. Post from and about another man and her wearing a scarf around her head. She called the boys and introduced them to the man and said they can ask him one question each. She introduced him as her bodyguard. This seems to be a pattern with her. I don’t get it and while I think she has other issues it’s affecting our lives greatly. My husband’s boys want to now live with her but we recently found out the man she is with is thinking of leaving her because he overheard her talking to someone in the middle of the night and he also has spoken to my husband that she makes him think he is losing his mind and also that she is cutting herself for attention.
Sorry so long, I probably missed a lot but your insite would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Christine, et al,
Thank you so much for your very insightful website & the constructive comments & advice/ shared experiences of all who have contributed.
I am in the final, extremely acrimonious, final stages of Family Law & Divorce Peoceedings, which have lasted over 6.5 yrs in the courts now – horrendous & exhausting, after 20 yrs of marriage to a male N. Initially did not question the strange behaviours, but gut instinct not strong enough to ‘walk away’ before we married, as I was v young & believed all of the falsehoods, the ‘hook’ and ‘the grooming’ – simply v sad.
Finally have received Court Order, blocking him from ANY type of Comms with me – when 3 consecutive Legal Teams failed to get this Court Order, on my behalf?!!!
Now, I am finally looking after me & with great Counselling Service, acutely aware of what I am still dealing with; HOPE, is such an NB word, for the next new chapter of my life, free at last, DV.
Only walked away when he became violent, & needed protection of the Courts – done then & again now, and if he breaches any Order this time, will be incarcerated.
My saddest burden that I carry, is that he manipulated & turned both of our beautiful daughters against me…,after I gave up my career to rear them myself…..and I had a wonderful relationship with both of them, and they never caused an ounce of trouble, or grief. I stayed long enough to ensure they were educated – but had to call a halt, when he eventually became physically violent also. ALL of the characteristics named above, I can tick, over & over again.
All I want is my own life back, freedom from him & looking forward to becoming fully engaged in a life of my own again, at last. I capitulated for nearly 14 years of marriage & then sought Counselling, after I began to challenge his behaviours, when I returned to school at night & finally realized via Counselling, that I was ‘not going mad in the head’ – it was him – total N!
The more successful I became academically, he could not handle it at all & instead of being ‘proud of me’, in the manner in which I had supported his ‘internationally travelling’ (hugely absentee) career, for over 20 yrs, he instead belittled all I achieved ( 3 scholarships, published in peer-review journals), and as he became increasingly aggressive, controlling, and physically threatening, in addition to all of the psychological games, I finally sought and received the protection of the Courts.
I am at the ‘final hurdle’ , and believe in ‘karma’…. that I can & will have a great future without this ‘monster’ in my life, and can only hope that he does not damage our two beautiful sons in the same way – they have had no contact with me in the past five years. DV, in time, they will see through his “N” behaviours also & make their way back to me….I have tried to keep that ‘door of comms’ open with them both, remembering their birthdays & Christmas texts.
Good Luck to all & I will be purchasing your book(s), Christine, as I believe that my ex-husband actually has a whole ‘cluster’ of afore mentioned behaviours.
Thank you for your great website & for everyone’s helpful comments. It feels good, not to feel ‘alone’ as “N” type behaviours are indeed invisible to others not at the epi-centre of the “N”‘s wrath and destructiveness.
Beannacht Dé libh go léir agus go d’téigh sibh slán: the Irish language expression, for: “God Bless you all” & “Be Safe” . The latter is very important, as great vigilance, resilience, energy & ‘groundedness’ needed to ‘get out the other side’ …so ‘self care’ and being ‘safe’ very NB.
Additionally, confiding in family & even 1 or 2 really good friends very supportive and reduces the isolation caused by him.
A savvy Counsellor and, in my case, a Multi-Disciplinary Pain Medicine Team (have ended up with a Chronic Illness) have proven invaluable.
Two very NB things I have learned: (1) the only person’s behaviours I can change are my own, and (2) it is as easy to be kind to others, as it is to be nasty to others, and after all I have endured, and still on-going, is not to be bitter, to be glad to be able to ‘move on’ and to hold to the higher moral ground – be kind to one another, even in the smallest of ways, and you will brighten the day of si many others – as you never know what is going on behind ‘other people’s doors’, and those little kindnesses may encourage others suffering, to seek some help, or confide in you.
NB : Christine, Please do not put my email on the site, as the Family Law Legal Proceedings still not yet completed).
Kind regards to all.
Yea. my mother is a N. 🙁 she has treated me wrong all my life and i never understood why until this website came. thank you!
I am shocked and sorry to hear how much we have all suffered – but take some comfort in the fact that I am not alone. I really thought it was me. I thought I wasn’t good enough no matter how much I helped or tried to bail him out of financial ruin. I let him and his 3 kids move in with me and was the super mom. After 75,000K in debt, 25 lbs heavier, drinking more because of depression… I asked him to move out and gave his ring back. He begged me not to end the relationship and promised we would work this out. We went to counselling and had a plan of action. We would “live apart and stay together.” The deadline for moving out was Jan 1st because I didn’t want to kick him and the kids out during Christmas. They ended up staying until March 3rd because he was unable to afford another place and is now in a motorhome on his friend’s property. We were seeing each other periodically until one day he told me that he didn’t love me, that I was unattractive because I gained weight, and that it was my fault that I gave too much. He then 2 weeks later, after spending the night at my house – reveals to me that he has found someone new. He was already with her.
The poor thing! I looked her up on facebook and she is a total sweetheart with 3 little girls. The next target!!! He always wanted an acreage and she has one… How do I warn her? I can’t. I know he is telling her that I am psycho and have issues. I am sure he showed her the angry text messages and multiple missed calls when I was distraught after being “dumped” when I had been convinced to stay and was lied to. I am made out to be the bad guy in this somehow. He and his children have turned on me and discarded me like used toilet paper. I gave so much of myself to this family. I thought it was him just needing a hand to get out of his chaos, and then we would be happy together. I thought love conquers all – but not if you are the only one really loving. I find it so amazing how someone that you thought you were so close to can look through you like you don’t exist.
It is hard to imagine that people can be so evil. I wonder if he ever loved me. How can people like this live with themselves?
Although some of the accepted literature in psychology claims that there are statistically more male narcissists, than female; it is clear that the reverse is true, and It is a mathematical certainty.
First of all, it is widely acknowledged that narcissists, being narcissists, rarely, almost never in fact; seek counseling or professional psychotherapy. This being the case, how do they get directly diagnosed as being narcissists? The answer is – they don’t – not directly anyway.
The number of people who are accounted for as having narcissistic personality disorder, are determined by their victims who seek therapy. Therapists are told about these people by victims of narcissistic abuse – so these diagnoses are made indirectly – by psychotherapists – of people they have never met.
Furthermore, the number of women who will seek out therapy after having been abused by a narcissist, is vastly greater than the number of abused men who will seek out therapy. In fact, a man who has been abused by a woman – in any form – physical abuse, emotional abuse – virtually NEVER seeks professional counseling. Men lick their wounds, and move on. So the vast number of female narcissists who are out there, are NEVER diagnosed as such, and are NEVER accounted for in these preposterous statistics.
Narcissism has several characteristics, the most important of which is their lack of empathy. But the manifestation of the disorder lies in their creating of a false-image.
This propensity for projecting a false-image of ones-self, is an inherent trait of women. Some men do this, but it is not inherent. Virtually all women use make-up to display an artificially enhanced version of themselves. Men don’t do this. Virtually all women dress in ways the provoke sexual interest — skin-tight leggings, revealingly thin fabrics in their clothing, eye make-up that is deliberately intended to mimic the physical characteristics of a sexually aroused woman. All of this – is the very definition of displaying a false-image.
The notion that narcissism is more prevalent in men than women – is not only counter-intuitive – but it is absolutely absurd.
I’m not a professional clinician, but have had experience with several female narcissists, and have studied the disorder extensively. To answer your question from my perspective – No – not all emotionally neglected and deprived children go on to become Narcissists. The defining characteristic of a Narcissist is a lack of empathy. I believe that the childhood deprivation is the “nurture” part of the disorder, while the lack of empathy is the “nature” part of the disorder. Both must be present in the individual to become a full-blown clinical Narcissist. Many deprived and neglected children develop emotional problems and disorders as a consequence – some even during some parts of their young lives exhibit narcissistic behaviors – but these poeople – as adults – do feel regret, and guilt over the harm that those behaviors do to others – and they stop doing them. This is because those damaged children still have empathy for others. These people usually try to “right the wrongs” they might inflict on others as they try to grow out of their childhood traumas.
A true narcissist never grows out of her or his childhood trauma, and since they are devoid of empathy, NEVER changes. They never feel guilt or remorse over their damaging behaviors, and they NEVER make amends to those they have wronged. It’s their lack of empathy that makes narcissists permanently toxic, and never able to rectify the wrongs they do to others.
NPD in my opinion, is a combination of an in-born congenital character flaw that is hard-wired into this person’s brain – this is the lack of empathy. This is further exacerbated by their childhood traumas and neglect.
There are examples of other disorders related to a lack of empathy. Consider some of history’s psychopathic criminals and serial murderers who came from good families, and might have grown up with wealth and even loving caring parents. Sometimes, even these environments produce psychopaths. These are the people who also were born hard-wired to be devoid of empathy. These people still become defective adults.
The spectrum of these disorders – Narcissism, Sociopathology, and Psychopathology – all have in common this lack of empathy. The magnitude of this condition, along with the “nurture” part of each type’s childhood and experience may be what drives them to one or the other manifestation of character disorder. Nevertheless, Narcissists are not very different from sociopaths in my opinion. They simply go to greater lengths to avoid detection, always giving themselves plausible deniability for their destructive actions to deliberately hurt and damage others while trying to maintain that perfect false image. I think therein is the main difference, I don’t believe a sociopath is focused so much on presenting a false image as is a Narcissist – A sociopath really doesn’t care whether other people see them as a depraved lunatic or not. A Narcissist on the other hand, is very protective of their outward image.
Omg. Exavtly the same gor me. 8 mtbs no contact. He threatened me n smashed my property. Stupufly i met an ec from 30 yrs agp a month after i left. He turned out to be eorse thanr the ladt one i wad with for 13 yrd. 4 mths n had enough of this one. My mother was one n i never met my dad as he left coz of mother. She wdnt tell me anything about hum. Im now iff wirk with ptsd. Thesr ppl ate evil bastsrd coeets.jesloys ebil n cruel .keep strong never go back….i fid 4 times to the ladt one. Stupud move but i sS so mentally n phydi ally. Worn out. I usex to give in. No more gettng a german shepherd from resvue insteafe.wise move ha ha xx
These predators will suck the life from you. I know that when I was with mine nothing that I ever done was right.I didn’t cook properly, or clean properly in fact I didn’t do anything properly.No Contact now for 2months but have had the hoovering it will go on I think till I capitulate hell will freeze over first or he will just get sick of trying to suck me back in.hopefully! Best wishes to all who are suffering at the hands of these arseholes.Mel
You are so right. I have been circulating this article hoping others would begin to see who the president really is. Seems as though many are in some sort of trance or are suffering from brain washing. Or perhaps, they are simply uneducated. Thanks for putting it out there.
After 11 years and numerous affairs my N has left me for a woman he has been cheating with for almost 2 years I am getting horrid emails from him as she has discovered about me and wants him to tell me where to go! Its interesting how she is blinded to his infidelity and despite knowing he has been with me the entire relationship is happy to believe every word he says about me being delusional. The control the N has in unbelievable. Guess she thinks she is the one to change him!! After a horrid rage where he called me deceptive and manipulative he has threatened to call the police if I contact him again. Its all so nasty. 11 years and this final discard has been unbearable and I am left feeling like the scapegoat. How does that happen. He is blocked once and for all.
What a fantastic read. I started reading and I thought someone was describing my son in law. He gets into rages and is very vain and is forever posting articles and pictures of himself on social media. How does one deal with this? Outwardly he appears to be charming but is very covert in his abuse. I just wish there was some way I could help him.
Hi Andre, I do agree with you, and thanks for pointing out that narcissists are both male and female. Actually, I do make that point clear in some of my writings, perhaps you have not seen me mention that as yet. Two of my narcissistic abusers were indeed women (both in the workplace). Christine
Nope. You may NOT write a whole article on NPD and refer to the masculine pronoun “He” throughout. Almost every narcissist who adversely affected my life and my male friends has been a female narcissist. NPD in females presents the same way. They suck the life force out of you and are INCAPABLE of being faithful. They are hypercritical. They gaslight you to insanity. etc.
Thank you for your insight into Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I can understand that someone from an upbringing of emotional neglect and rejection could suffer low self esteem and depression. I can understand also that in order to fit into a be positive world it is necessary to put on a brave face.
Are you saying that emotional neglect and fear of rejection is the origin of NPD? What I am unclear about is whether all
emotionally neglected and deprived children go on to develop NPD? And also whether people with NPD are always consciously aware of the cruelties they inflict on others.
And now they are a president.
Well unfortunately, I advise you not to interfere with this because love is blind.
She won’t believe you no matter what.
I was dating someone narcissistic and left me for someone who is weak, needy and so kind.
I thought the same like you but as I have previous experience of telling people not to fall for the wrong persons I knew, I turned to be the bad girl who is trying to separate people from each other.
So it up to you but if I were you I wouldn’t do it. Just pray for her.
BORDERLINES TEND TO GET BETTER AS THEY GET OLDER AND DBT THERAPY HAS WORKED WONDERS IN HEALING AND TEACHING BORDERLINES
Graeme… hold on.
I know it feels like you will never heal–and in a sense you never truly will.
There will be always hidden self-doubt .
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel–and that’s learning,or more accurate,re-learning to value yourself and all wonderful experiences and friendships that come with it.
This will just ultimately make you stronger.
Believe me,I know.
It’s my seventh year .
John, I think you missed this line in the first paragraph of the article…
In order to avoid clumsy repetition of “he/she” and “his/her” in this article, I will use the pronoun “he” when describing NPD.
I hope that helps!
I am on my 4th month of recovery from a Narcissistic female partner. The damage and pain I have suffered from the abuse is surreal. I would definitely encourage you to get as much help as you can.
Christine, thank you so much for this website. It has been a lifeline for me in this recovery process. Please keep writing.
Here’s the thing.
narcissists are not just ‘lovers’.
They are politicians, bankers, financial advisers, CEO’s, lawyers, and next door neighbors.
And they are becoming far more frequent in our society. And ‘market force economics’ serves them quite well. Favors them, in fact. ‘Bully force economics’, it should be called.
Not sure what Cluster B disorder my ex-had but there were so many instances where her behaviour was “typical” of many of the disorders.
There were signs that I saw but did not process them as at the time but I chose to ignore them as my father was dying. Whilst I was strong enough I would stand up to her and she would “meekley” back down. After dad died and I needed support, the devaluing and passive abuse became horrendous, couldn’t believe what was happening so after 3 months I walked (after I was informed that she did not love me).
That was almost 2 years ago and am now in a much better place. Funny how life has a way of showing you things at the right time, hadn’t seen my ex for months. Couple of months ago I saw her coming towards me in her car whilst I was waiting to turn into the car park, always wondered how I would feel first time I ran into her. I thought “ok” I won’t be a jerk and blank her and I looked into her car, she moved her face forward towards the windscreen of her car as she drove past me so that I could not miss her, and then she blanked me, not sure what I had expected. That said to me “Here look at me ignoring you, I cannot see you”. This far down the line still feels the need to devalue me and maybe even get a kick out of the fact that she thinks she has made me hurt. And she has been in another relationship for a long time too.
That little incident made realise that I have learnt a lot from my experience and am now stable and feeling positive. I felt no anger or irritation just a sense of relief that I am well rid of her and no longer need to pander to the shit behaviour or be the butt of her vitriol and be a psycophant into the bargain
Wow. This is one of the most fantastic reads! It hits it dead on and describes the disorder to a tee. Thank you for publishing it. My entire life due to an N Mom has been devastatingly disrupted due to N and the harm to our entire family has had dire and heartbreaking consequences. She is 84 and gets worse and worse!
If you had read the article correctly you might have noticed Christine points outs:
In order to avoid clumsy repetition of “he/she” and “his/her” in this article, I will use the pronoun “he” when describing NPD
I was the victim of 3 female Narcissists, my mother being a fourth so there’s plenty of females out there too causing havoc in people’s lives!
John, unfair comments. Here is a copy and paste from the beginning of this article.
In order to avoid clumsy repetition of “he/she” and “his/her” in this article, I will use the pronoun “he” when describing NPD.
So right! I am so glad after last time he discared me I could see I was in abusive relationship and I got the power to keep the no contact since 5 months ago, It was painful first weeks, but then I had to work the hate I was feeling for him, but now I can tell my life has been better without him and I am over all this crap he brought me.=)
Yes! I had the same diagnosis and it was wrong. He possibly has major depressive disorder. I didn’t believe I was bipolar ever and I was just given a new diagnosis PTSD, Major depressive disorder and acute stress and anxiety. I would get another opinion!
“Cluster B” personality disorders are on a continuum and include: Histrionic, Borderline, Narcissistic, Psychopath and Antisocial personality disorder. They are called “cluster” as often more than one exist together. These are pervasive behaviors and only worsen over time. There is no treatment nor is there medication or therapy to alter these pervasive behavior. They are permanent disorders of neurological brain dysfunction. These disordered people are known as some of the most dangerous on the planet due to the covert and pathological lying, lack of conscience, guilt & remorse, The psychopath is known to be simply evil. There is only one thing you can do as a partner of these avatars. Run and never look back. They are poison. Knowledge is power.
John, I totally agree with you that narcissists are both male and female. I write about this in other articles, in fact, the research suggests it is 70% male and 30% female………. however that has not been my experience in my practice. I would put it nearer to 50% for males and females. Unfortunately, the women slide under the radar, and they represent wifes, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, bosses, etc. So female narcissists do a lot of damage. Christine
You know, I find validity in your statements on the 10 signs but am disappointed in the assumption or assignation that a narcissist will always be male… I have been involved with a narcissist for three years now who is female and to be fair, she has done just as much damage as any male narcissist that I’ve ever known. How about some help for us males out here that have stuck too long with one and been damaged by the experience? Not too much to ask in the face of equality I think…
Great article. From personal experience, you can’t warn the next supply source. I know, I tried. The narcissist is in top love-bombing form with his new supply and he is smearing you as often as he can.
What was best for me, was to learn about narcissism. I had never been personally involved with a person who acted like him (red flag – recognize when something’s off). At the beginning of our friendship, he couldn’t tell me enough about how wonderful, kind, creative and what a “true” friend I was – not like any of the other “crazy” women he had known before. He often spoke of his last female friend as “bipolar” and “crazy” – it wasn’t true. I met the woman, she was very nice, works as a teacher and volunteers at animal shelters – nothing like the person he had described.
I was dropped as supply when a beauty pageant queen’s mother contacted him to take video of her daughter’s coronation. Looking back now – she was my saving grace, my freedom from this identity sucking man. Watching him completely change everything about himself to mirror his new supply was shocking. The guy I thought I knew became someone I didn’t even recognize in just a few days! Seeing this transformation, I attempted to “warn” her – here’s the thing – he was telling her that I was the “crazy” female friend who was stalking him.
It’s now over a year of no contact and I learned a lot about narcissism. Another former supply source contacted me and we had a good conversation. She shared her story about him and I found out that he discarded her for me – what goes around comes around! She kept describing the whole experience with him as weird and he seemed paranoid.
As for the supply I was discarded for – I spoke with her as well and found out that he had indeed told everyone that I was crazy. He also showed them emails I had sent at the time of my discard asking why he wouldn’t talk to me and why his whole personality changed. Triangulation is a crazy-making tool narcissists use, learn about it and when you see it happening – run.
He’s in the twilight of his current supply source – the pictures of his dead dog have started appearing again on his social media page. It’s always the same hook – he tells the sob-story of his beloved dog and how he had to “give him to the angels” and how losing his dog nearly killed him from a broken heart. His MO – break out the pictures of beloved dog, tear up while telling the story – ask for advice on how to lessen the stress and pain and PRESTO – new supply source.
My advice with regards to warning new supply – don’t – just be available to listen and share your story if they contact you at the end. There will always be an end.
Thank you for this concise and accurate synopsis. As a recovering victim I so appreciate being reminded of the characteristics that raised red flags for me. I listened to my intuition and was only briefly sucked in to the pathology. Still, the trauma is real. No contact is the best solution because any attention is actually a source of supply for the narcissistic predator.
My greatest struggle now is as I observe the narcissist with another innocent woman (truly naive and needy) I want so much to inform her to protect her family , her money and her soul.
This man is a textbook predatory narcissist with a cult following and I am so sad for what she is facing.
Any advice? Do I have any authority to inform her ?
Thank you for all you do on behalf of trauma and emotional health. Your work is exemplary.
Great article! Gives me more understanding of this unhealthy behavior. I can’t stand narcissists anymore and have come to the conclusion of just ignoring them, to not give them anymore space /room for their unhealthy games. Either they have to be real with me or I won’t let them into my life. I’d love to help them if they would give me the chance, open up and realize they are good as they are and that anything less than that is wrong. But until then I won’t be there anymore for them for it’ll tear me apart.
Most insightful breakdown about NPD and detailed analysis of how it evolves and propels within the narcissist. However, it appears to be self perpetuating and likely to affect their offspring. I am looking for more information that can help support break the cycle of damage caused by relationships with narcissists. My son is in love with a woman with NPD and he has raised her two daughters and their two sons while she has had multiple affairs, and managed to destroy his self esteem. He continues to sustain this “abuse” and defend her outlandish behavior by defending her because he feels sorry for her. He sees her as a victum with the fragile self esteem that is “sick” and messed up. That her narcissism is an illness and not her fault. In the mean time he is becoming more and more depressed and damaged himself, as are his children. I am so sad for them. I personally feel nothing but hatred toward her as I see her as abusive and neglectful toward her family and spouse. How do I help? or can I?
I was recently challenged to read the articles on your website. I have now read several articles and I have been reading through them with great interest and profound conviction. From what I have read so far, I identify that I have many if not all (to one degree or another) narcissistic behaviors for the purpose of meeting my own self needs for self preservation/protection etc…. Do you have any articles that address the narcissist and give them some tools to affect a positive change so they can stop harming the people they care for?
Hi Eileen, I would say that your situation sounds a serious one. Eight years older does not make her your boyfriends mother, so forget that. Her brother is her narcissistic supply (i.e. he is her company, her provider, her emotional support, her financial support, etc.). You are a huge threat to all that. If he marries you, then if anything happened to him, you get his assets (i.e. half share in the house they share), she does not want that. When you say he is more like they are married, I would say this is nearer the mark. What you describe is a very enmeshed relationship between these siblings.
You may not be aware that enmeshed people almost always have an “undeveloped self”: it is as if they cannot make up their mind what they want or need, they do not know where they start or where the other person ends. You do not say what he wants regarding his relationship with you, other than the fact that he gets angry at you for wanting him to step up and be a man. Do you think that he feels that he must fit in with his sister’s wishes? If so, this is called “subjugation.” If that is the case, subjected people, rather than feeling closeness often feel resentment and anger. An enmeshed person feels smothered; a subjugated person feels crushed. If he is choosing his sister over you, then there is nothing you can do about that, there is either something wrong in your relationship together, or there is something wrong with his relationship with his sister. You need him to be honest with you, you cannot feel significant if he puts his sister first in serious matters. For you to have a healthy relationship with him, he needs to disentangle himself from his sister ……. only he can do that. Even if he does extract himself out, and set healthy boundaries with his sister, you need to be sure he is not swapping one enmeshment for another (with you)….. otherwise you are likely to become the strong mother figure replacement….. that is not a good position for a loving male/female relationship. I really would suggest that he goes to see a therapist so that he can sort out what is happening for him. He needs to discover who he is, what he wants, and how he is going to get it (without hurting his sister, you or himself). Only then can he develop as a mature man and move into an equal relationship with you. I wish you both the best of luck.
Christine, do you have any ideas for dealing with my situation? My boyfriend’s narcissistic sister has such mind control over him that he broke up with me after a good two year relationship. He did so because our relationship “upsets” her too much. (Jealousy, ‘supply’ threatened, etc.) She admitted that I’ve done nothing bad, but she just “has really bad feelings” about me. I can see exactly what’s going on. I’ve learned after my divorce three years ago that my ex was a narcissist, and I’ve really studied the disorder. She has him convinced that because she is “family” (the only living family he has) he has to be responsible to her as his primary relationship, and responsible for her emotional well-being. She moved in with him five years ago after she was widowed and he divorced a woman who appears to have been narcissistic also. It is almost like he is married to his sister. They bought a house together for financial convenience. We are all retired. She is eight years older than him, so she’s almost like his mother. I have my own house but she is convinced I was trying to move in to “her” house because I often stayed the night with him there. She insisted on limiting how often I could visit. (BTW he pays the whole mortgage despite her having a substantial retirement income.) I keep trying to open his eyes to see that if she loved him she would be happy for him to have a loving relationship with me. She has done everything in her power to isolate him from me, and he has no close friends. This has caused much discord between he and I, and he got angry because I protested more and more about it. He is a good man, and has treated me well. I’m devastated. I have tried to enlighten him about how she uses and takes advantage of him, but he seems incapable of seeing it.
Unfortunately Amy, I am sorry to tell you that most often the only way to save your mental health is to leave the job.
So how should someone deal with a narcissistic boss — short of finding another job?
I have been with a Nars for 18 years. I knew he was abused as a child and felt sorry for him. Even suggest that he see someone. That was a disaster. At that point the psychologist told be he has a anticocial behavior. The last few years was hell. I believed that I was doing something wrong. Infact everything I did was wrong and I got tired of the verbal and emotional abuse. Everything was a issue and he started earning good money. My salary that supported us for all these years was no longer good enough. He became extremely arrogant. Looking back he always was. I suspected something was seriously wrong and started Google this behavior. I was shocked and realized I was with a Nars for so many years. I don’t know how I survived. I became so sick and tried to commit suicide.. I ended up in a mental institution for a month. He made all kind of promises to fix everything. At the time a suspected their was another woman. He was on socialmedia all the time. When I returned home the abuse was worse and I left. I filed for divorce 2014. He has been appossing the divorce since. Changed attorneys. One good thing I managed to have no contact. I found out he has a 5 month old baby with the woman. She moved in our house with him and when I called her she told me I am just a angry woman. He lost his job a month after I left and spent all the money. Our divorce is pending and still a fight. I was wondering why he has not been contacting me. I am about to to claim half of everything. We lost our cars. I suppose she is helping pay the bond. I suppose she is his new supply. At least for now. . He know I will not take him back. I gave him my life and he dropped me and chased me out of our home knowing he made the tramp pregnant while I was in the institution. Well he is about to loose everything soon. If I walk away with nothing, I walk away with dignity, a wonderful, family, loyal friends and a good job. I believe today this woman is not the first and will definitely not be the last. For telling me I am a angry woman, prepare to move in my house, settle for second best, says a lot. For both of you , what goes around comes around.
I’m currently trying to exit a 7 year relationship from my narcissistic partner, having found out recently that she was starting to see another guy from her work behind my back and then more recently, lots of activity on Tinder including connecting with a guy I manage at work!
The last 5 weeks have been a nightmare and she is in complete denial about how her behaviour is affecting everyone. I’m being blamed for being too dramatic, stubborn, unwilling to try again, smothering amongst other and this has been interspersed with emotional calls that I’m everything she wanted and not the current course she is on..
I’m trying to get her to accept a financial offer so that she will leave me and the house but it’s challenging to say the least. Reading and understanding the typical behaviour of someone like this has really helped to put her actions into perspective. Looking back, I’ve always being trying to please her and almost act as a sponge, including explaining at endless length how you should treat other people. We often joked that I was her 4th emergency service but in reality, I was always her first but never really minded that because isn’t that what you do in a loving relationship? However, I now realise I’ve been her narcissistic supply and have been sucked into her own issues, almost without noticing.
Whatever it takes, I need to escape from this toxic merry go round and regain my own identity because after 7 years, she isn’t going to change and I’m exhausted.
Boy, have I learnt….
I recently ended a relationship with my sister because I just couldn’t handle her mood swings any longer. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that she has the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder and had I found information about it sooner, I would have been better equipped to deal with her. Looking back, the abuse began after I lost my newborn daughter to SIDS. I was an emotional wreck and she preyed on my vulnerability. It was subtle in the beginning and I was completely oblivious to it. As the abuse continued, still oblivious to it, I began to question my own sanity. The biggest mistake I made was confiding in her about so many things in my life because she was my sister and I trusted her. Now I realize, she used what I told her against me to keep me on her level of unhappiness and if I ever questioned her, it was an all out blood bath. Since cutting ties with her, my life is actually peaceful and I’m happy, but I still question myself all the time because I don’t know what it’s like to be happy. I’m learning a lot about this disorder so that I will recognize it others while I protect myself from THEIR issues.
I’m not sure if my husband is a narcissis but from what I’ve read it seems so. I left him for 2 years and it felt like the chains were broken . I was free and happy. No more antidepressants no more self mutilation bulimia as or binging.. then an unfortunate circumstance involving my sewer pip leaking sent me back “home” I’m miserable unhappy and coping with his alcoholic rages and belittling tendencies….. the mind games cut deeper than knives.. one minute I am loved and he is buying me a new car then he is telling me I owe him money for it.. it’s a mind trap for the victims….. when to leave and how to leave because regardless the outcome will be a huge rage of explosive behavior…..
Today is my 26 year anniversary with my narcissistic husband. It’s been a living hell every day. When I did try to pull away over three yes ago…he tried to kill me. We were apart over two yes and it became so draining mentally dealing with him because we have two children in this mess that I gave in and went back. I’m 53 and a total wreck! No one understands what living with a person like him has done to me. I look like the crazy one :(.
This is amazing! The most accurate depiction of my (soon to be ex-) husband I have ever seen. I spent 15 years trying to be the “right person” who could “love him” to the point of loving himself. It was mind boggling, how good and blessed our life could be, yet he could find a way to be a victim, and consider himself “poor” and “taken advantage of”. So many great points here!
I’m a narcissist and I don’t like the label at all! But, as I read the 10 items above it’s almost as if i’m looking at my reflection. Only within the past 5 years have I been branded with this label, brought to my attention from the couples therapist my wife and I visited some time ago. Almost like a step by step assembly manual, I’ve found myself charming the therapist in a way that made me the victim in the marriage. Frankly, it’s a theory my wife brought to my attention which I agree with, but god knows I can’t tell her I agree with her because of not being able to give her my disconnected belief that she”ll extort a position of strength over me. And for the record, I believe my wife is so much smarter and an angel for putting up with all my derelict activities.
Fundamentally, I believe I’m a horrible husband, father, co-worker and boss. I’ve made multiple attempts to seek therapy but for whatever the reason, I interrupt the routine scheduled sessions ultimately not rescheduling due to how will the therapist view me now… more of a failure then when I started.
I really don’t know what life looks like without the tendencies for which narcissists wear as their cape. I’m afraid of failing at my interventions which prevent me from taking that first step toward healing….again. I want to be a better father and husband deep down inside and I’ve got to find a way to allow my brain to key me in on triggers that send me into my man cave of misery.
Why I am writing this piece? It’s my attempt to self heal and to make myself accountable to better understand the paths to a better cohabited life with my wife. I’ve put her through too much and I’m starting to recognize what emotional turmoil i’ve put her through. I know it’s going to be the hardest thing i’ll ever do and I know I will fail 10 times over, but I desperately don’t want me children to grow up like me.
Is there such a thing as a narcissists support group or are their therapists out there who specialize in step therapy?
I’ve been married to my spouse for 11 years and together for 14. In October he abandoned myself, our son and 3 children from a previous marriage. He said he was leaving to be with his family and get their support. For 4 months he told me he missed me and was thinking of coming back then all of a sudden he wanted a divorce. I decided to look into his emails and phone records, well he has been having an affair with a woman who has 3 children for over a year and that is why he left. Plus I found out that he has had multiple affairs going at the same time for years. I mean it’s heart breaking and scary to see emails from these woman asking about my child. One even told him she would pay for a divorce and we had not talked about a divorce at that point.
I get blamed for everything no matter what it is. His lies never end. I’m worried about him talking to our son. He hasn’t been back to see him in almost 10 months and keeps telling him that he misses him and wants to come back to visit him. He is also trying to get out of paying child support and has not given me any money since he has been gone. The other 3 leave tomorrow to go visit him for a week and I worry about them also. My 3 step children are old enough to know what he has done and they don’t trust him either.
I find myself missing him still. I know there are people like this out there but it’s still hard for me to believe that he is this kind of person. Are narcissist even capable of love.
When he says he used to love me, could that be true.
I guess my question is how do I deal with him when he talks to our son, which is 10 years old. Our son is used to his father being gone because he is in the guard and wasn’t home much anyway. He would volunteer to go to different schools and go to different countries for stuff, which is how he has met the woman he has had affairs with. I don’t want our son to be influenced by his fathers behavior so I’m not sure how to deal with the divorce. Is there any suggestions on how to deal with this and keep my son from becoming a narcissist.
I think the real answer you are seeking is “is there hope for your husbands recovery from his level of NPD”…… can narcissists recover? As you are researching narcissism, you have probably discovered that most experts agree that there is no cure for NPD, only treatments for the symptoms.
The first step in the process of healing NPD would be for the individual to accept that they have a disorder. Then the second step would be for them to want to rid themselves of the disorder. Unfortunately, the real problem seems to be that the narcissist does not accept responsibility for their behaviours, they fail to accept that there is anything wrong with them, so they are not willing to do the work necessary in therapy. Those that do go into therapy usually go for other reasons, to get validated that there is nothing wrong with them, and to prove that it is their partner that needs fixing. For a while they may even enjoy the attention of the therapist as they try to seduce them with their charm, but this will change as soon as the therapist challenges them.
The job of a therapist is to challenge the narcissists need for a “false self”, and the narcissist is deeply threatened by that. They see their false self as their source of power and control…without it they know they would be reduced to a state of mediocrity….. a strange world where they are no longer “special”. At this point they are likely to flee the therapy room and do a character assignation on the therapist, discrediting them as “useless”. If the narcissist can reach step two, then perhaps there is a possibility of change, and a chance for the relationship.
The narcissist’s therapy will need to include “behavioral modifications.” During the course of their therapy they will be made aware of the abuse they inflict on others. They will be trained not to work on their first instincts, but to think and respond first, rather than react on impulse, thus avoid conflict. This may be indeed what Steve Cooper (the person with narcissism on the website you mention) was willing to do, and work on himself. I cannot comment on his case, because I am not familiar with it.
Whether you decide to stay or leave your husband, you need to accept that you cannot change him, only he can do that. However you can change how you respond to him. I would suggest that you get yourself into therapy and concentrate on doing some work on yourself. You need to find and understand the source of your own co-dependency, and find out why you are willing to dance the narcissists convoluted dance. Once you know that, you can learn how to put down better boundaries in a way that is safe for you, and not so frightening for your husband. You need to start finding out who you are to-day, and work at building back your identity…… afterall there was something strong about you that your husband was attracted to in the first place. Not everything in your life has to be about him, this is your life too. However, I do warn you, when you make these healthy changes, you may not want to stay with your husband if he is not willing to make some necessary changes himself. Or, there is also the likelyhood that if he becomes more dissatisfied with the changes, he may decide that it is time that he finds a new source of narcissistic supply.
I have worked with the victims who want to stay in the relationship, and I have no problem with doing that. I would never ever suggest that a person should leave their narcissistic partnership, that is something that the individual must decide for themselves, because it is them that have to live with the consequences. However, finding out who you are is a wonderful adventure, it gives you back your life, and you may then find a way to have both your relationship with your husband, but also with yourself….. at least at some level.
Warmest regards, Christine.
i have been married to. Narcissist for 5 years and have realised that i am codependent. He has been diagnosed as having the traits but not actual NPD. So currently in turmoil about what to do but determined to get my identity back but still living under the same roof. In your experience, diors being tough and setting boundaries and discipline work. Is there really no hope. Have you been on narcissismcured.com where an NPD husband was cured. I know it would take taking codependency to a new level to do this but is there really just no hope.
Hi Rahat, If your relationship is with a narcissist, then you will never be able to do enough to make it comfortable….. unless you are very willing to lose your identity and live your life for your partner….. their needs, desires, wants, etc. That means losing your own identity, and this is a very high price to pay for any relationship. But even if you are willing to surrender your life to this partner, that is no guarantee that this will satisfy them either. They are only likely to lose all respect for you, and you will be seen as “inferior” by them…….. disaster! Christine
My question is what can one do to make the relationship comfortable and healthy if one partner is a narcissist?
Hi JL, I have had many victims write to me telling me that they had been misdiagnosed, the favourite misdiagnosis seems to be BPD, but of course it is possible they could be diagnosed with other symptoms, such as in the case of your brother. I am not a psychiatrist, therefore I am not in the business of diagnosing anybody. However, I do know that many of the symptoms of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (NVS) are not known by many professions who make these diagnoses, and actually these victims do show similar symptoms to other mental health issues, especially to BPD. I had a lady write to me recently who had the courts turn around her diagnosis of BPD. Apparently the courts provided someone else to reevaluate the diagnosis, and the lady was cleared. This was a huge relief to her, because her undiagnosed pathological narcissistic husband was using the diagnosis to get custody of the children. It may be worth your brothers time and money to get into therapy to deal with his relationship with his wife. If he can find a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse then he may discover that his wife is narcissistic, and that he is traumatized by all her gaslighting and difficult behaviours. He could then go for a revaluation of his own mental health……… but this time he can have a report from a therapist who can say he is being narcissistically abused, and the effect this is having on him are consistent with NVS.
It is unfortunate that this pregnancy has happened just as he was getting ready to leave his wife…. but to my mind, no child is ever a mistake. However, he may be making a mistake to stay for the sake of the child. He could well be suffering from narcissistic victim syndrome, and this is not going to get better living with someone if they are narcissistic…… he will just lose more of himself. Leaving his unhappy environment does not mean that he stops being a Dad. If he loves his children he can still co-parent, but from a distance from the mother. Warmest regards. Christine
I’ve heard that victims of narcissists can start to display narcissistic behaviour and I’m just wondering if they can be diagnosed as bipolar after years of abuse. My brother has been using drugs to deal with his narc wife and I’m pretty sure she planted the seed in his head that he is bipolar. He was off the drugs after meeting someone else as he was about to leave the narc and was happy and could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but then she got pregnant again and he feels he has to stay and he won’t leave his kids. His other kids are 17 and 12 so he felt it was okay to leave, but not now with a new born and he started using (drugs) again. He has lost the person who got him off the drugs and gave him a new lease on life because of all this. He has now been diagnosed as bipolar and is going down the road for medication for this. I’ve never really seen him have full manic episodes like I have with friends with bipolar. Also, he didn’t have any of those symptoms for a good year when he met the other person and before she got pregnant and he didn’t use for that whole time. She has pulled him back in and back down. I just find it sad that he is going to be medicated for something that he wouldn’t have if he wasn’t with her. So could this diagnosis (by a psychiatrist) be incorrect due to the narcissist he lives with and what has gone on?
I have been with my live in boyfriend 3 years. I started to wonder why he changed, as soon as he had moved me in with him. He started doing things like telling me I had to now earn the love that he had given so freely in the beginning. This man is very intelligent and he has a Sociology degree. I never in a million years thought that any one would go to that degree to find and trap his victims. He used the fact that I was physically and emotionally abused in a previous marriage to make sure I did not ever think he was at the bottom of the abuse he has been perpetrating against me.
I still do not know for sure but for over 18 months I have awoke everyday to find that there are marks on me that I could not explain. tiny holes and cuts that make up a smiley faces. I have them over every inch of my body. When I confronted him about the abuse he denies that he even sees his handy work. I was screaming for help so I went to my Dr.
( a woman ). I could not believe it when I should her the marks and the scars he was leaving on me she sent me to a shrink. The shrink put me on antipsychotics meds. I tried three different ones too no avail. I went back my lady Dr. and tried again, also to no avail. I asked what do I have to do come in beaten and bloody. She asked me if I was going to hurt myself……..
Anyway, I am stuck here for now and I must do what ever it takes to placate this man. My days are filled with him because he does not work anymore as he has hep. C. and cirrhosis. He has entered the final stage and he is dieing. I know that he is in pain but he still does not let me have a day with no marks. He has even made it difficult to talk because he cuts my tongue at night after he drugs me I do not know if I will ever get out of this situation. I am not sure what he is using to make me sleep while he does these terrible things to me but I wish I did.
Thank you for helping me put a name to what he is and what he is doing. Wish me luck…..
Have been married 38 years. Only figured out what was happening a couple years ago, and only recently truly understanding. I am trapped. A lot has to do with my faith, and I still struggle with that. I truly wish I listened to the people over the years who saw “something not right” and encourage me to get help. Over the years I opened up to a few therapists and doctors. I would not even scratch the surface of what was going on and they would advise me to get out. I’d make excuses and never see them again, of course. So now I regret. I’m so thankful for these sites. May well be too late for me, but if you’re reading about NPD and ptsd and “get it,” talk to someone. Get out. It will NEVER get better.
I recently found out that I have been living with a Narcissistic Sociopath for 39 years. I am making an effort to get away and discover who I am without this abuse. However, one of the reason this man chose me as his ‘Narcissistic Supply’ is my own guilt complex. It was not a great complex when I met him but after 39 years of being blamed for every physical, mental and emotional abuse tossed my way, that complex has grown out of control. As I plan to take the big step out of this prison I have lived in for most of my adult life, I find myself struggling with that guilt. Should I stay and try to help him? Is it all really my fault after all? If I stay to help, how do I help? I cannot show him articles like this – he would either pretend to accept this diagnosis for a time before reverting or he would fly into a rage which could end my life. Why have I stayed so long? I am not sure… hope? fear? shame? How were my eyes opened and where did I suddenly find the courage to seriously consider this? From our grown daughter – my eyes were recently opened to his mental and emotional abuse of our children – something I have hidden somewhere deep inside of me for a very long time. Our daughter has convinced me that I have been living in a prison for most of my life and that I deserve better. So, to those of you in a relationship like this… don’t fool yourself into thinking the abuser will change. If you are unhappy, confused and hurt now… it will only get worse. Get out while you have time to make a good life for yourself – get out from under your abuser’s thumb.
I can’t thank you enough for this article. I just found out a week ago what my husband’s odd behavior is. I knew something was wrong but i could not put a label to it. On top of being a Narcissistic he his an alcoholic. A friend mentioned it and i looked it up and he fits the bill to a T. It gives me insight on what i am dealing with. I just simple don’t know how to help. If that’s at all possible. Again thank you for caring enough to put this article toeghter!! Blessings!
As a current victim…I appreciate all of your hard work in putting together this valuable information…as I struggle with the question “to run….or not to run…” it actually brought me a sense of understanding almost…its nice to know however….I’m NOT alone…:-( I thank you…(as I move on to another article) Blessings…~Monz~