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The Dangers of a Relationship with a Narcissist

In Greek mythology Narcissus was a handsome, proud man who disdained those who loved him. He fell in love with his own beautiful reflection in a pool, and because he couldn’t stop looking at it, he starved to death.

Narcissists have a great deal of resistance to change, basically because they cannot see a need for changing perfection. Narcissism is the epitome of insight-free self-centeredness. In the modern world the “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” represents the extreme end of the continuum of narcissism… 

Narcissists are often very accomplished, but their inability to empathize with others and to tolerate criticism or setbacks is their downfall. They often have a sense of entitlement and are grandiose in who they think they are. They thrive on admiration and envy from others.

Narcissists can be male or female, but for present purposes I’ll make this narcissist male and call him “Joe.” He’s in his 50s and you meet him at a social gathering. He’s handsome and self-confident and apparently successful. You have been single for a couple of years and are a bit surprised to find Joe is single. How can such a good guy “not be taken?”

Joe seems interested in you and you begin a relationship. You are wowed by his accomplishments and sophistication. And he is lavish in his comments about what a wonderful person you are and how he is so lucky to have found you. Joe tells you his ex was the scum of the earth, but you are a goddess. He wants to be with you forever and he asks you to marry him.

You marry, and when you’re out in public with him, you are the perfect relationship that others admire. But in private he begins to get mean. He had you on a pedestal, but now you are an object of disdain.

Sometimes it’s as if you don’t exist. When you tell him what you need, he doesn’t get it. When you ask him anything personal, he stonewalls or gets angry. He may or may not lose interest in sex, but any real intimacy has evaporated. And the most he can say about any of this is that it’s your fault.

He revels in his public facade, but has zero insight into his deep feelings of shame and inadequacy as a man.

Here are a few clues to spotting a narcissist and protecting yourself. First of all be aware of your own feelings and stay grounded in yourself. Don’t let anyone put you on a pedestal, however flattering. Disagree with him, because narcissists can’t handle disagreement. Narcissists are notorious for short-term, very intense relationships. Typically it’s no more than 3 to 6 months before devaluation–yours. So go Slow.

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Dr. Neill Neill retired his psychology practice at the end of 2013. He maintains an active coaching practice via telephone or Skype with select clients dealing with alcoholic husbands or ex-husbands. Check out his book, Living with a Functioning Alcoholic: A Woman's Survival Guide. http://drneillneill.com

135 comments to The Dangers of a Relationship with a Narcissist

  • Kate

    When a person who has been labelled a narcissist comes across someone who is able to see through their outward behavior into the beautiful being they are underneath all their fear and guilt miracles can happen…just as they can happen with anyone else. Society tends to be less patient with men/women like these who live out the behaviors you describe and more tolerant of those who live as victims on the opposite extreme of behavior, yet both need each other to remain in their comfort zones that they are used to.

    Only by coming to know the Light and Truth of Who they both really are underneath all of their learned thoughts and behaviors can bring them freedom.

  • Carrie

    I agree with you up to a certain point, Kate. I live with a narcissist and we have been married for 22 years…..22 very hard and rocky years at that. Yes, there have been very good times and he can be the sweetest man you could ever meet. But, its that dark side, out of the public view that is what Dr. Neil is talking about. The side that only the one closest to him sees….and this is a very very scary and mean side. They do NOT empathize and on the chance that they do it is for their own benefit to build themselves up cause they need a refill in their ego tank. They are very vain, mean and downright caddy. They are usually unfaithful in relationships and lots of them, although not all, have addictions and hang ups that they brought into the relationship that have nothing to do with the person they are married to or in a relationship with. They can change, however, it is highly unlikely unless God almighty himself wills it into being so. Just thought I would give you a bit to chew on there. Feel free to comment back.

  • Dilly

    Hi Carrie,

    Thank you for sharing your candid thoughts. Of the 21 years of knowing my husband I’m married to him for 2. Naturally his behavior drove me to search for a clue. Indeed you are right about accepting criticism however constructive and in my case its his constant escape into a wine binge.
    How does one deal with this kind of alcoholic and narcissist man ?
    Do I ignore the walls he puts up till he regains his sense or let him ferment in his own **** till the end of time ?

    appreciate your thoughts

  • Kate

    Carrie,
    Thanks so much for sharing some of your own struggles here. I rest only upon the God almighty factor when I speak of miracles occurring. Although it may not seem so, each of us are given opportunity to come into seeing our need to have our eyes opened to our skewed view of ourselves and others. To actually believe that the reality of who we all are lies beyond the five sense world (that we use to put labels upon ourselves and others) is the only hope out of reacting to what our five senses dictate to us.

    We are only responsible for our own eye sight and when we allow it to be corrected by The Almighty, we find ourselves being moved to allow the Spirit to show us how to handle our own personal situations…no human has “the” formula, but with our relationship with a Living God, we are given wisdom, words and actions beyond what our old limited understanding had to deal with our relationships. Everybody has to come to the end of using their own noggin before coming open to need this almighty God and some will never in this lifetime gain their new eyesight. What others do and when is not our right to judge. We have only our own lives to deal with and make our own choices based on opening up to or ignoring this almighty One.

  • Rachel

    Reading this article made me sad. The words are as if they were telling a story about the man I love dearly. He wasn’t always the man in the article, but in the last six months (a year and a half into our relationship…which spouted from a friendship) – he has been taking in three pint glasses a night of gin on the rocks. Suddenly, he is THE BEST. It is at this time that he can’t quit talking. He asks leading questions that are set up for anyone else to look like they don’t know as much as him. He is better than the sports broadcasters, news broadcasters, sport players, politicians, and of course – because I am the only real warm body in the room; he is better than me. At least in his mind. When he isn’t drinking he is off to be “the hero”. He’s the man who is going to open doors for you and stop for you to cross the road – IF he’s being watched. He is the man that will announce he is going to put money in the homeless mans hand, before he does it and then talks about how he did it and the other people around should have and didn’t – for days after. He puts tattoos on his head to show he participates in St. Baldricks. He does very kind things – in public – but if anyone saw him by night, they’d be shocked. He acts as if we are doing just great in front of my family, our neighbors and his family. While this is going on, I’m just falling apart inside.

    He did, however, tell his boss who is going through a divorce – that he’s also going through a similar situation with me. I can only guess that this is so he can pretend to identify with his boss’ problem – and help him heal – while he pretends to share the same situation. He has no idea I know this….none. I’m wondering if he wanted to clue me in. I point blank asked him if he was looking into other options or felt he needed to explore them after I learned of this, and he actually told me he was angry that I thought that of him – and “no”. So, I don’t even know where to begin. I never saw this coming.

    A switch flipped about six months ago – and he became erratically angry with me. Angry in a way that didn’t make sense but I feel responsible for. When I ask if we can talk it out he tells me there is nothing to talk about and he already told me once – what I did. (He has never ever shared exactly what made him angry – or even a cake layer of why… he will say though that he can’t deal with how upset I got after he got angry.) After this fight he started stonewalling me, outside of his God Complex moments. He went from telling me how beautiful I am – almost too much and “I love you’s” – to not saying a word to me outside of those baited arguments I mentioned and lectures about how much I “don’t know.” I can not make sense of this, yet feel as if I have done something wrong. I feel responsible in some way. I lay awake at night wondering what I am supposed to do. Without open dialogue on a real level about real things (his drinking, what has made him upset, changes that have occurred, emotional detachment) – it feels there is not much of a way to help him. It also feels like I have no concrete understanding of what we are experiencing or even a feeling of closure for me – to move in another direction;it is missing.

    I feel stuck like I have never felt before. I love this man. How can I help him and if I can’t – how can I come to terms with not helping someone I love and find the strength to walk away?

  • Hello Rachel,
    Hearing your story reminds me of another woman’s story. She said she fell in love with her knight in shining armor, but when she got through the armor, she was devastated to find there was nothing inside. She couldn’t help him because he could not consider the possibility that there was anything wrong with him; any imperfections were hers, not his. She finally was able to grieve, help herself and move on, when she realized she had fallen in love with the shining armor not a real person.

    Your heartache tells me you are a real person and you will find your strength.

  • Emily

    I have been married for 26 years and I am pretty sure my husband is a narcarisst. His temper and self pity and lack of caring for our kids is sad. My question is regarding his infidelity. There is overwhelming circumstantial evidence of an affair with a women he knows through business. He completely denies this and is furious that I do not believe his lies. Is it possible that men like this actually believe they are correct to be mad that their lies are not believed and not be embarrassed that they are just not believable. I really think that my husband truly thinks that when he lies, he should be believed because of his warped sense of the world and his place in it. He has cheated a long time ago and admitted it after months of denial. At some point he had a porn addiction as well. He has become impossible to live with but the process of divorce with him is very scary with his controlling vindictive personality. Most people see him as a fun hard working man, they do not see the mean, dark controlling depressed man I live with. The sad part of all of this is that when he is happy with his life and he feels appreciated and rewarded for all his good intentions and hard work, he is fun and he fills our home with a great personality. It changes without warning and the storm is awful.
    Thanks for your insight.

  • Emily, the true narcissist believes his own hype. After all, he is the knight in shiny armor.

    The process of divorce is always scary, because at a time of great stress we try desperately to control how it happens just to reduce our fears. But divorce is a change process, so by its very nature it is unpredictable. The thing that anyone contemplating divorce needs to understand and accept is that your part is only to know you want it and to start the process; It is not yours to know how each part will unfold.

  • MoLo

    If one were able to get through to someone with NPD and they got professional help is this something that you can stick by them and give support or do they have to do it all on their own?

  • MoLo,

    The process of treating a personality disorder is usually long and slow (years of therapy). As such, it is very much a solo journey. Furthermore, of the minority who will ever seek therapy, most will drop out as soon as it gets uncomfortable…and it will. Whether or how long a spouse can or will stick by them through the process can`t be predicted; there are so many unknown factors.

  • deb

    I too believe my husband is NPD. My parents tell me right after we got married things changed and he became an ass.

    My husband and I both drink. I feel I drink too much lately because I’m lonely. (Not lonely because my husband is gone, lonely when here is there with me) I drink to numb that loneliness and confusion and crazy making conversations he has with me.

    5 years ago he threw me up against a door frame because I asked him to get out of my personal space while he was yelling at me about why its okay to stay out late with out calling and drink and drive. That was my fault that he physically hurt me.

    He is great in public and puts on show for all to see that he is a great husband and man. Even though he is with me physically, he was not mentally. Always looking for someone to look good in front of, as I am old news and don’t deserve his time or attention. I just need to smile so we look happy.
    He still has moments of intense anger were things are thrown, all because I disagree with him.

    Lately all we do is yell. He tells me what a horrible person I am and redirects everything. I have asked him to help me, us get over the issues he has with me, but he says that’s my problem and to deal with it myself. I want to leave him, but I’m in victim mode and its hard to get out of that way of thinking. As when I try to not be the victim, not drink and be happy that’s still not good enough for him as he’ll find something to say to put me down.
    What the heck am I supposed to do?

    He also smokes pot. He is the most lovely person when he is high. That is what makes me crazy too, its like 2 different people.

  • Deb, I can’t tell you what to do, because I know you already know. Scary and possibly dangerous, yes, hard, yes. Impossible, no.

  • jane

    I just dated and DUMPED a true narcissist…and I was married to one for 28 years so I saw the signs. This man was so overly accomplished and successful but has been single for 20 years! No wonder. He was a classic example and I knew how to read him just after 2 dates. He said that I was not ‘Academic’ enough for him…blaming me for his intimacy issues. He had to blame it on somebody! He had to have the last word on any discussion. He thought he knew everything about everything. He opened conversations about his published novels and gave business cards to every waiter and waitress…so they all had to feel touched by his ‘G-dliness’…. No matter where we went…every person had to know WHO HE WAS. It was so obnoxious that I couldn’t wait to get away from him….All the signs… I am lucky I didn’t have to get lost in his web!

  • MoLo

    Thanks for the reply and I hear that. This is actually a man I never did get to meet in person, part of the disorder or so I have read that they stay away from women who can talk to them on their level and he stood me up more times than I can count.However I really do miss him greatly, miss our talks. Is there any harm in keeping in touch with him as a friend because that is what he is/was first and foremost. Also he does admit that “his head is f*****d up” as he put it but he believes it is from being out at sea for 29 years and if he was telling me the truth he had 3 ex’s cheat on him so major trust issues.He does seem to fit the NPD profile but is it possible that I am wrong and it is what he says?

  • This is a great informative blog which I’m sure will help a lot of people. My father was a narcissist and it was all about being perfect for society, but he was a monster behind closed doors. I hope no one has to go through that. Thank you.

  • Robert

    I also believe I am married to a narcissist. She has extreme visions of fame and wants to use her personal survival story of sexual abuse from her father to further her career.

    She has to tell everyone how she is desired by every woman or man. She believes she is the best thing in the room — to me she is, she’s my wife. However, it gets worse — she cheated on me with another guy before we were married, blamed it on me — that I was to good to be true and wanted to make sure she made the right choice. Throughout the marriage she has been sexually flirtatious with numerous men, and lied or hidden their conversations and contact information.

    A year ago, she started relationships with an ex-behind my back (two to be exact, one as a friend the other to see if anything was still there) and now she is wanting a polyamorous relationship even though she can’t abide within the boundaries of our marriage.

    She gets angry I don’t see her way, and that I have hesitation in again trying something else she wants that will more than likely damage me and further kill our relationship. Yet, I am the one unwilling to change and trust her, even though I have already tried this with her, plus swinging and everything else she has asked. We set boundaries and admits to only thinking of herself in the moment, because its what she wants. In the reverse she is quick to anger and causes a scene if I cross ANY boundary — to which, I stop, apologize and feel horrible for it.

    She lacks empathy and personal/physical boundaries with others. She is very critical. I know I have allowed myself to become a doormat (my own issue with boundaries), and bend my own personal values to hers, which I am not proud of, but at what point do you realize the person you love is a narcissist and just walk away because telling them ends you accused of playing therapist and criticizing them?

  • Butterfly

    I was with my bf for about 10 years, out of those 10 years we lived together for about 2 years, i decided to leave him about a 1.5 months ago, and the more i research about narcissism the more i come to the conclusion that i was living with a narcissist. It is very painful, i find myself trying to be with him again but he has moved on to his other prey the one who he actually kept cheating on me with. He always called me a little girl, immature because i would react to his abuse,the lies and betrayal. He would tell me over and over that a mature woman would shut up or leave and finally after two years i left, he begged for like a day or two and then continued his life without me. The abuse got physical as well. It’s so hard to accept his lack of empathy, that i will never get closure from him. It hurts that he doesnt care, that he doesnt believe he didt anything wrong and can just easily move on. I wish i could erase all this from my mind and heart. I’ve started to see a therapist, and im in the process of attending a co dependency and a domestic violence support group meeting. But i do understand that one of the most imporant things in this process is the no contact rule. I get so angry and impulsive that i keep texting him and calling him. I need to stop or it will never get better!! It’s like an addiction :(

  • PsychReader

    Please bear in mind people:

    A Narcissist is someone without empathy, remorse or love, in short, without a conscience. Devalued you will be, abused you will be. By catering to his every whim you will be devalued, because they love a challenge and they will see you as weak. By not, you will be demonized.

    You need to remember they go into narcissistic rage, and they will look for other narcissistic supply, NR can result in even physical abuse, of you, or of your kids.

    Be careful around Narcissists and Anti-socials, you will not change them, they cannot be fixed. Therapy rarely if ever properly treats them, your love will not save a narcissist, because they do not love.

  • Holly

    After reading about narcissists, I am growing more and more convinced that the guy who just broke my heart must be one.

    We met one weekend and from there started a very intense love affair. It moved VERY quickly even though we were separated by long distance. We talked and texted every single day, sometimes for hours, for about 4 months. There were so many red flags but he literally said everything I wanted and needed to hear and made me feel more loved than ever before. He told me he loved me and would love me forever after just a couple of weeks (huge red flag!). We talked about having babies together, in fact, we would often send extremely sexy texts to each other and often in the middle of these conversations, he would say he wanted me to have his baby. It was so intense. I should have ran far away. He is about 12 years older than me, already has kids, and is separated (not divorced). I caught him in little lies along the way but I ignored them because he always had a way of making me feel amazing.

    He has a lot of money and always talked about all the people and friends he had that are super successful and rich. He also boasted and exaggerated his own successes frequently but was super generous with everyone and I witnessed this on many occasions. I see now that it was just a way of him showing power.

    So, he ended up flying me across the country so we could spend the weekend together. He booked my flight, a hotel room for us, everything. We talked about everything we were going to do and how amazing it was going to be. I was so excited. I arrived and we went to our hotel room. We kissed and took a shower together and had sex and then we were going out for dinner with two of his friends (both girls). Well we get to dinner and are having a good time I thought but then he is on his phone texting a lot and then gets up saying he needs to make a business call. He had some big deal happening apparently. Well, he is gone for a long time and finally we realize that he isn’t coming back.

    He texts me saying that he can’t handle it, it’s too intense, too much going on all at once, and that he just needs to chill out and that I should just stay with his friends for now. He had already paid our dinner bill before he left. Crazy, right? So, I stay with his friends for awhile, then call him and he says he will come out again in a couple hours, but of course he never does. I made my way back to the hotel eventually and my room key wouldn’t work. I knock on the door for ages and try calling him but no answer at all. At this point, I was devastated and balling my eyes out because I knew it was all over, he never loved me. My heart literally broke I felt.

    I finally get a new key from the front desk where I find out that he switched the room into just my name. He had gone back to the hotel while I was still with his friends and packed up all of his stuff from the hotel room. It was one of the worst nights of my life. I texted him and called him and finally at about 6:30am after I had fallen asleep, he texted me back saying that he slept in his car (which I don’t believe for a second) and he would come back to the hotel at 9am so we could talk. Well he did come back and took me out for breakfast and to a few sights in the city but acted as if he didn’t even care how much he hurt me even though he knew how upset I was. In fact, the whole time we were hanging out, he was texting on his phone with someone else who I am pretty sure was this girl he had told me about when I first met him, calling her his stalker, saying she was obsessed with him but he didn’t want her.

    The worst thing was that I had to stay in that city for two more days alone (he took off after that day) not knowing a single person. He paid for my room, gave me $ before saying goodbye, and that was it. He texted me the next day asking if I was okay to which I responded and then didn’t get any response from him. Most bizarre and awful thing I’ve ever felt or experienced.

    Do you think narcissism is his problem? He is so messed up.

  • moonstone

    I have left my marriage of 28 yrs. I did this recently, and I am stronger every day that I don’t see or hear from him. I have known he is an alcoholic for 20 yrs. but the narcissism component was new to me. I have been in therapy for 2 yrs. and this has helped me realize what I have been dealing with for so long, we would fight about usually something with the kids – I would mention how it bothers me that he has no real interest in what our amazing adult children are doing, it was when I found myself trying to convince him that he has amazing kids, that I knew enough was enough. I don’t think he could find one positive thing to say about them or me for that matter. Constant negativity and pessimistic outlook on life, constant critiscm of others, no one could do anything right according to him. It did not seem possible to me that our marriage may not make it after so many years, we have been through so many challenges over the years. After each fight, he had new resolve of trying harder to not be so critical and show more interest in what the kids were doing that was good in their life. Somehow, they never measured up to his expectations and if one of them did have an accomplishment, he would appear jealous and could not bring himself to offer encouragement or support. I have know for a few years now, that I would know when I was strong enough to have the courage to leave. I actually asked him to leave, he refused saying “I’m not leaving, if you have the problem with me, then you leave” so I did. I am gaining my freedom and excited about my new life without him. I am reading alot about divorce and narcissism – this could be the hardest fight of my life, but I am praying I can stay strong and keep my head up through the coming storms of uncertainty of this process of divorce. I don’t believe that I am the” psycho one” anymore, he had me believing it was me that had the problem. After doing my part to try to keep our marriage intact, by joining Al-Anon and working with a therapist, he has not been capable of sticking with a recovery program or therapist. He has a disease and a scary personality disorder, I wish I could have helped him – I gave it all I had and now it’s time to save myself and help myself and children recover from the effects of living with him for so many years.

  • chelsea

    Holly that sounds like my ex. I spent 3 years putting up with that rubbish. You can do better, and leave while you can. Wish you all the best…

  • ALISON

    I was alienated by one and 13 years on, still traumatized, though it has only been 3 since I realized I had been dealing with a narcissist. I lived with one for 9 years. I couldn’t do a thing wrong. I was in his eyes, better looking, better this and that. I was feisty, but quite a gentle character. I looked for the best in people. Gave praise. Last few years I changed career. Doing quite well. Artistic. “Thought” he was proud of me. Realized now I was no longer the underdog and catching up in various way. BTW. He was 9 years older as well.

    I became pregnant. Part of plans to have a child but this timing was not planned. I thought he loved me – nothing different in relationship. When I became pregnant he started an affair with a married woman. At 2.5 months, I was kicked out of our home (he held all the control there). Woman left her husband. He kept everything in home, financial ruined me. I found myself, completely out of the blue, homeless, pregnant and without a job. He never gave me a penny.

    I never was able to get my career off ground due to first not being able to work (though I took another good qualification to prove my worth) but found even then, having to work part time hours I could never get a career off the ground. 13 years on, I am still broke, live in a rented place and still traumatized by the treatment I received at end of the relationship.

    I did suffer a breakdown and remember thinking at the time – He is treating me like I had the affair, like I have done something wrong and that is what people will think. The reality is completely different. I did nothing wrong. I WAS quite gentle back then. I was a looker. I did have skills. But he crucified me. It has been years of struggle. It hasn’t helped that I thought the right thing to do was to let this man be in his sons life. I do believe it has helped my son but it hasn’t helped me on a personal level.

    In a subtle way, he makes me feel worthless. Plus back then, I had a lot of friends. I have over years pushed them all away/plus my son was quite sickly and it was just not possible to keep contact on regular basis and I let them fade away over years. Now, I just don’t trust people period. Love I feel is a total sham. I seem to be a shadow of my former self. I was so vibrant. The woman he made me homeless for while I was pregnant, also seems to of prospered. I was a good person. He made me suffer and continues to make me suffer after all this time :/

  • dallas

    I want to know why there is all this info out there about narcissism, and people still demonize or label you crazy if you try to warn that they are involved with a narcissist?

    Its hard to do the right thing sometimes in that scenario…and yet it feels narcissistic to just say “I’ll just worry about myself” and not say a word. Like if someone was gonna get hit by a bus crossing the street, would you say “Ill just worry about myself”….probably not, unless your a narcissist.

    I wish there was a way to make it common knowledge, I’ve been trying to warn a friend(after seeing the exact same pattern played out as when it happened to me, and knowing how painful it was) and have been called crazy, cut off…and in an ironic twist, trying to help someone avoid disaster, I’ve been labeled a negative person and warned that i would bring others down (by the narcissist to the one i tried to warn).

    It’s discouraging. Makes me a little sad, perhaps I’ve gotten a little too vigilant, but it seems like something people ought to be aware of, but people would rather know who Miley Cirus is dating and bringing up narcissism is tantamount to social self sabotage.

    any suggestions?

  • Tania

    It has become more and more evident how self-absorbed my fiance is – mostly because he never cares emotionally about anyone. It seems as if he as an emotional disconnect. He is always busy with his own things, would suggest the most inhabitable excursions because he likes it, and then he’s mad if the children don’t enjoy it because it’s too rough for them.

    My point is: my brother died four weeks ago. My mom phoned to say that my brother had a heart attack, and that she isn’t sure if they can resuscitate him, but that my sister in law said he is dead. She said she’ll call me back; I must wait by the phone. I started to cry uncontrollably. My brother is only 44 (I’m 41). It was unthinkable. My fiance came to sit with me for about two minutes while I was waiting for either my mom or dad to call me back, and then left while i was crying. I thought he went to make me some tea, but he never returned. I eventually got the confirmation that my brother is dead about ten minutes later – I was devastated. I went searching for my fiance to tell him the news – he was lying on the small of his back watching TV!

    That was when i realized there is a problem – he can’t feel that compassion.

  • Joni

    These stories sound so much like mine. I have just started looking into the idea my husband is narcissistic. It seems he is which makes me very sad. He is coming in so I will continue later.

  • mary

    I have had a relationship with a man for 9 years, he cheated on me when I was most vulnerable and showed total disregard for my feelings. I was left totally distressed and depended on my friends and family to get me through. then he shows up declaring his love for me stating that he cannot live without me. so we get things back on track and everything seems fine, he is very supportive and loving and kind. then we decide to have a baby. What a nightmare, I was so happy to be pregnant, but I could have never imagined the emotional abuse that was inflicted onto me during my whole pregnancy. I had a feeling he was cheating as he was so disrespectful and would drink a lot and not answer his fone when out and on some occasions did not even come home. when my daughter was born he seemed to be happy although he would not take any time of work to collect from hospital or do anything around the house to help, his drinking continued. I had a c section and needed his support, however I was to come to the realisation that he was cheating during my pregnancy and following the birth of our daughter. when I dicovered them together in the pub, he still denied everything. thankfully we broke up, and he has blamed me for everything claiming it was me that had an affair. he currently does not see his daughter this is by choice, but has told people that i am preventing him from seeing his child. he often cries in the pub to get attention and to make his story beliveable. he also moved in with his ex- partner straight away and refuses to pay child support. for a while i was so mad i taught i was going to go crazy, thankfully with the support of family and friends i can honestly say now, im grateful he has done what he has done, cos i am much happier and have a beautiful daughter. although it was extremely tough at the time, i would strongly advise anyone to get out and stay out. and break all communications for your own sanity. dont question what he has done or how you may have contributed to the problem. as it is just a waste of time and energy, the truth is they cannot help themselves and they dont care about you, they need you until they can find someone else to replace you and to fuel their ego.. run run and dont look back..

  • Alena

    What about dangers of a relationship with a person who has obsessive compulsive personality disorder?

  • Anonymous

    Another aspect of getting involved with a narcissist, is if they are abusive. There is such a thing as Traumatic Bonding, which makes it very difficult to break away emotionally from this type of a person. I am learning about peptides and how this effects your brain and entire body. It’s like you get addicted to the person and you can’t break free…… IF you stay involved with a Narcissist, it’s like you are poisoning yourself to death, slowly. If the relationship happens to survive, it is a very rocky one, at the very least, and you just keep getting hurt over and over again in more ways than one!!!

    If you see a Narcissist, RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!!!!!!

    That is the best advice I can give.

    ~Peace~

  • CS

    I was only with my ex for 1 year, but that 1 year was enough. It has been 2 months since we broke up, but I would say I was the lucky one after reading what everyone has gone through. I’m lucky because I could have stayed longer, but realized he was a narcissist.

    Same as what happened here.. my ex was 40, never had a relationship last for more than 1 1/2 yrs- always tumultuous. I was 8 years younger than him. I wondered how could this very confident, “successful”, charming man still be single. He was this hot shot guy who had his own place, knew what his life was all about, bragged about how smart he was, had lots of friends, and was extremely funny. I felt lucky. He pursued me until I was eating out of his hands. This was the idealization phase. During this idealization phase, he would even promise me the future, but always held back in actually doing something about it. He would always dangle the carrot.

    The devaluation phase was subtle. I didn’t realize it was even happening. We would fight constantly about little things. It could be how I said something, or how I didn’t listen properly, or how I had to repeat what I said. Next thing I knew, he was criticizing everything about me from head to foot. My clothes weren’t good enough, I had dandruff, my hair was everywhere, I couldn’t speak English properly, I didn’t work out (oh that was a big one), I didn’t have enough hobbies or hobbies that were worth while, I couldn’t cook, I had too many pimples, the list goes on. He would even tell me he didn’t know what I brought to his life. I would bawl my eyes out and he would not show me empathy. I would try to explain to him what he said and how it made me feel, but he never understood. It was always about him, his time, his life and how I was never good enough. I felt weak. I felt ugly.

    There were so many fights.. every week we would fight. We only saw each other 3 times a week as he said he had too many hobbies and it wasn’t convenient for him. He would also never give me affection and even withheld sex, as he says he didn’t feel like. I even caught him asking another girl out by looking through his phone (the girl rejected him) and one other time flirting with another girl. I felt so undesired. Every time we would fight, it was always my fault and he would always say these hurtful things, but then when I was about to leave, he would say sorry and say he loved me. I thought he was bipolar.

    Discarding phase – all these devaluing comments and the fighting was taking a toll on me. Every time I brought it up, he would discard it and just tell me to move on and forget about it, always putting it under the rug. I was a prisoner in my own misery. One day while he was out, I looked through his email (which I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t trust him as he always flirted with women). I found an email that he wrote his friend saying “he liked his exes better and they were hotter”. I was SO hurt by this, that I confronted him. He turned it around saying that I shouldn’t have looked through his stuff and we were probably fighting at that time. What a piece of work. He blew up on me and started saying how I don’t cook enough, etc and was just so cold. I gave him all my love and he never appreciated it.

    By this time, I actually did leave. The next 2 weeks I begged him to come back, he would come and see me, but after I started to talk about my feelings, he would get angry and leave saying that I was so negative. He wouldn’t hear any of it. So I made a conscious effort to move on.

    Now he’s wanting me back and I do not want him back (as I know he is a Narcissist – he was even diagnosed a Narcissist since he went to therapy after I tried to break up with him last time). But it’s always half the effort as I think he thought I would always be there for him. Now, I know I could never be happy with him. I cannot be with a person who treats me like this. No one should.

    I say I’m the lucky one as I could have stayed. These types of sites helped me realize that it’s NOT me.

    Thank you.

  • Back to me again

    I stumbled upon this site and I’m so grateful to hear everyone’s responses. Like the person stated above (CS), I do feel that am or WAS dating a person with NPD and feel truly blessed that I have decided to leave the relationship after 7 months.

    My heart goes out to all of the people who married a person with this condition, especially with children. I hope the people still in these relationships realize their true self worth and end the abuse if possible. I am 37 years old and he is 47. Over the past 7 months this guy has exhibited behaviors towards me such as: name calling, rage, blaming etc.. I have never experienced before while dating a guy and I never will again. I often found myself asking myself, “Who is this guy?” and “Where do men like this come from?”

    I had to keep reminding myself that I never saw my father, brother, uncles, or male cousins act this way towards me or anybody else in my family. This template or “mold” of this type of man, for lack of a better words, never existed in my life ever growing up. So why am I accepting this behavior from him who I just met 7 months ago?

    We started out moving at a fast pace, but about a month into it, the rage began. I asked him in the beginning, “You haven’t even known me for that long, how could I make you so angry?” That would only cause him to blow up more. He would sometimes say, “Well, where I come from…..” -as if his behavior was normal and I should just accept it because as he put it, “You can’t always get what you want.” It seemed kind of as if he was jealous of me.

    In the beginning I tried to tell him how he made me feel only to be “hushed up” or told it was all in my head or that I just needed to get over it. I found myself resenting him more and refusing to tell him anything about how I was feeling. I also noticed him using personal information that I told him in confidence only to be thrown back in my face when he was upset. Once again, I found myself shutting off my desires to share anything personal with him. He shared some intimate moments with me about his childhood and upbringing that were very traumatic; I never thought a person could be so deeply wounded. His mother had him at 15, which left him to be raised by his grandmother. His father was never truly active in his life until adulthood. He also brushed over some physical abuse that he witnessed by his mother’s husband a bit later in life while living with his half brother and sister. From what I gathered, his mother attempted to get him back and raise him with his siblings, but it sounds as if the husband was a bit harder on him then his own kids. I believe he resents his mother for not protecting him or herself from the abuse. Once he mentioned the husband holding him upside down off of the ground by his ankle and ended up going back to live with the grandmother after family members heard about what was going on. Once he stated he felt as if his brother and sister were his mother’s “real children” and he was just a “starter child”, leaving him to try the whole motherhood thing again in the hopes of doing it right.

    I thought if he was “loved properly” by a woman (me trying to tap into his maternal voids/wounds) he would see he is worth being loved, but the reality is I just met this guy 7 months ago and he has gone through 47 years of pain, so who am I really? He still can’t get over his own parents leaving him, so really who am I to him?
    (I type with a smile because I am now free). I suggested couples counseling because I have really good insurance. By the way he made me feel, I thought we had a future together. We attended several sessions and I must say things were going pretty well….until he blew up in a session. I was actually relieved that he let loose in front of the doctor (a male at that) because now there was actual proof of his behavior and a witness who is also a trained professional who could testify to it. He could no longer pretend he was so great all the while attempting to make the therapist believe I was the aggressor in the relationship. I’ve continued on with individual counseling which gave me a sense of accomplishment. Life still goes on for me without him. As for myself, I never cowered when he was aggressive with me and I found myself frequently going “toe-to-toe” with him which is exhausting. I never wanted a relationship like that anyway. His only wish was for ME to change my behavior and I guess that meant that would make our relationship just fine.

    I was also fortunate to have a support system of family and friends to use as a sounding board in the event I became “out of touch” and they were able to always reel me be back in, reminding me how valuable I am as a person and that I am loved and don’t deserve such treatment. One day I thought, “If a stranger off the street walked up to me using the same mean words, criticism, nasty names etc…I would have them arrested, splash a drink in their face or something. Hell I don’t know what I would do but the point is why take this abuse from him?….your boyfriend?…the guy who says he loves you and no one else?”

    Then I began to look into the future and I couldn’t bare to have my future children have a father like that and I couldn’t bare to think about having a husband like this. My father never yelled, screamed, or called my mother or my brother and I names like that. I grew up in a loving and supportive home with “normal” issues that people go through. Not this kind of stuff. I’m still young and I don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a “well polished” bully and abuser to decide my fate. My decision to cut my loses and move on is new and I anticipate him “laying low” for a while until the dust settles maybe hoping that time has healed any wounds, but no. I was put on this earth for a purpose and that purpose was not to be responsible for a 47 year old man that I didn’t give birth to. He is not my responsibility even though in the beginning he would try and make me feel that way, but that trick got tired real quick. I will need to work on cutting off all communication because honestly when he isn’t acting like an a** hole he is quite delightful. I just know I can NEVER be with him. I can only hope that he gets the help that he needs. I forgot to add that he recently moved to a new place so he has some boxes stored at my place because his is too small. This is I’m sure a plus for him because he sill has a connection with me as long as his things are with me. I will just take things slow and keep my boundaries strong and continue to love myself. Good luck everyone. I hope this helps because you guys truly helped me. Thanks again :0)

  • Leigh

    I lived with a narcissist for some 3 years. He was a big drinker and a womanizer (I didn’t know that for a long time). He had another woman on the side the whole time. I didn’t find out for our 1st year, then of course there were fights, he got rid of her, then she came back on. We were finally together and happy (so I thought), then he met another woman (again I didn’t know – he was a master liar). He had always had 2 women on the go, of course he didn’t tell me.

    He’s 56 years old and never been married (not even to the mother of his only child). He has finally settled down with this last person and married her. She sold her house for him. His only child hates her, has moved in with her mother full time, and refuses to see him. His child was his life and now he has discarded her. I am in shock at the turn around. Could it be true? Could he really be in love or could it still be lies? They added money into his business that was slowly going under. Can they pretend that well? Any thoughts? I think I’m still in shock, too many things for me to take in. Of course, this is the quick version of this story. Thanks. Great forum!

  • Pamda

    Wow, reading all of this has me wondering if I am involved with a narcissist.

    We meant at work, he is a nice looking man and very pleasant to talk with. He is always offering help to every one. He constantly talks about all of his achievements in sports, and so forth. He even blames his relationship break ups on the women; he has children with two different women.

    He treats me like I am his little queen. He comes over and cooks for me on occasion. When we make love, it is very intense and satisfying! He talks about a future with me and it all sounds so amazing! He has got involved with another woman at work and when I asked him he told me not to believe all I hear and not to be such a worrier. But it turned out to be true, and when she told him to choose between herself and me. he chose me.

    He is still living with a woman, whom he says there is nothing between them! He is always giving me excuses to why he can’t leave just yet. This has been going on now for about two years and every time I have tried to leave him, he finds away to get me to come back. How can I end this once and for all? Should I just call him out on this, or should I just tell him I have grown away from him and leave?

  • Larry

    I’m dating a using, crass woman that all my friends are ashamed of. She degrades me behind my back.

  • Dawn

    I have found all of this reading fascinating!! My dad, sister ,and son all exhibit some of these traits…however, for me it has been most helpful in another relationship. Back in high school, which was like 35 years ago, I dated a very good looking, charming, and charismatic guy. We wanted to marry after high school, but it just never worked out. Two years ago I got an email from him, after 32 years. I married a wonderful man 30 years ago and we have a beautiful marriage; 3 great kids and all the trimmings! Anyway, this other man (I found out through a mutual friend) had recently had some issues..one being he tried to hang himself! I was so sad when I heard this that I foolishly answered his email, a month later. Needless to say, we developed a friendship. Although he wanted more, I refused. I did want to help him if I could with his problems, but that was all.

    WOW! Did he turn up the heat: the flattery, how he had always loved me, never got over me, still talked to people from home about me and knew a lot about my life from others. When I went home for a few weeks last summer to help my folks out, 3 weeks into the visit he shows up. I was blown away. He is still very handsome and charming. We talked and visited for a while, looking at pictures of our kids and grand kids (his). He then started telling me about how bad I had hurt him when I didn’t marry him. I apologized and said we were kids back then and that we had both had different goals.

    He has been married and divorced 3 times and is currently living with ex # 2, only because ex #3 kicked him out. His son from #2 begged him and his mom to let him come back. Anyway, over the last year things have gotten bad. He keeps blaming me for his misfortune in life, says I cheated on him back then and ultimately now by being married to someone else. I have tried to reason with him, honestly he kind of scares me. I told him I was blocking him on my phone, but he said if I did he would come to my home (500 miles away) and wreck my life. So, I don’t.

    He acts like we are in a relationship. By this I mean he “breaks up” with me and then a week or so later he comes like nothing has happened. He says he loves me and wants me. I have been trying to figure all this out. He gets so mean and hateful, says the most awful things, then all is good. If I ignore him, he goes to friends we have in common and starts talking to them and asking them to contact me for him!

    Anyway, I stumbled by accident today on this site and many more like it, explaining the mind of these people….FITS TO A “T”! Now I know what I am dealing with and am not afraid to just cut all ties as I know now, he won’t do anything to further pursue this. I know he also has PTSD,so he has plenty of mental issues. I will pray for him and want him to get better, but that’s it! Thank you for having this site! God Bless you!

  • Maria

    Wow! I am just now ending a relationship, now that I know, with narcissistic man. From September 30, 2012 to Nov. 06, 2012, I thought I had found my soul mate. I met his friends he hadn’t seen in years, his mother and dad. Placed on the highest pedestal, I was “his woman” and “his wife to be”. We really did have things in common; outdoors, fishing, camping, everything. He has met my family and everyone just loves him. Everywhere we go, people just adore him.

    On God’s love, a promise was made to me for the rest of our lives. The best part/line was that he could see me in his future for the rest of his life. I started feeling uncomfortable right away. I even tried to get rid of him… oh boy did that work! I tried to be kind and said, “Oh no it’s not you, it’s me. I am just not ready to be in a relationship right now and gee as handsome as you are, you’ll easily find someone”. He just became clingy and tried to eat up every second of my day.

    Not just once, but twice he was caught hot red handed with his hand in the pie. Afterwards, he said that I’ve been planning on breaking it off with him (and by the way yes I have). Every time, he just acts like nothing is happening or has happened. Don’t get me wrong, I started falling for the schmooze, however, not enough to lend myself to his working me until I fell for him totally. And yes, you know that he is only interested in himself. In my gut, I really did know and should’ve trusted it before I got burned.

    The posting on this site lets me know that I am doing the right thing. I just did not know what to call him. By the way, they hate rejection. You need to let them think they are the ones who are ending it and that you do not see through to the back of their neck.

    One more thing; if he finds or thinks that people love you more than him, watch out. They always take you right to the edge, so if feel like you almost arrived, come back to this site, which is awesome.

    Thank you everyone who submitted a comment. You all have just let me know that I am doing the right thing. And one last thing, he said. “You can’t change me.” My reply was, “That is the least of your worries.” That should have been his clue that he was being dropped.

  • Misty

    First off let me say to you ladies who have stayed in these relationships with these men for 20 years, my Lord how in the world have you done it???? I have been with my fiance’ for 4 years as of September and I am seriously thinking about leaving him every single day. He has been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, but I believe it is a lot deeper than that. When I read this article I literally started to cry. Especially after the story of *Joe* because that is exactly how things happened and how they are now.

    That angry/scary side that you speak of, I do not like it. He slashed his throat in front of me with a pocket knife about a year ago and when I tried to call 911, he got on his knees and hugged me begging, “Please don’t. Please don’t.” When I proceeded to try and leave the bedroom, he jumped up like a psycho and blocked the door. He turned off the tears instantly and he looked at me with this demonic look and said, “Go ahead and call them, cause when they come I am going to tell them you did it. You have my blood all over you and that is why they will believe me.” He hugged me on purpose, to intentionally get his blood on me.

    Since that day, our relationship has not been the same. I used to want to stay and try and be there to help him and now all I think about is that day. I am involved with a very ill person. Up til about 30 minutes ago, I did not realize how severe it actually is. My life and him both fit this article; down to the very smallest warning sign. The problem is I am still in love with him and his daughter, whose own mom dumped her. I feel like the right thing to do is to stay and try and work it out. I don’t plan to marry him at this point either. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry to ramble, I just find a little comfort in finding people who know where I am coming from.

  • Colleen

    Everything I have read, confirms my suspicion. I am married to a narcissist. The world wind romance, wedding and 13 years of marriage. I hate myself for falling for it. There were lots of red flags. At 41 years old, he had just bought his own house. He hadn’t had a girlfriend in 6 years (RED FLAG). He had NO friends(RED FLAG).

    After I accepted his proposal, my spirit was broken and my life was not my own. The degrading insults and constant embarrassment in public took its toll on me. My son moved out as soon as he was able. My son once told me that “George” broke my spirit and I know that is true. EVERYTHING is my fault. My doctor has seen how it is effecting me. For 13 years, I have been drained and until a few months ago, I didn’t know why. I started reading about narcissists and cried. I recently found out that his last relationship, they attended counseling. He walked out because the counselor blamed him for everything. I know what I should do, but am scared and so physically drained.

  • Ex N supply

    @ Dallas,

    Whomever is in the idealization phase with an narcissist will not be open to any warnings about him (I know because I went through this). If you do try to warn someone, the narcissist will just convince them that you are the crazy one and you will lose credibility with that person (at least for awhile).

    Unfortunately, people entering a relationship with an narcissist will have to find out the hard way (as we all did on this blog). Some people realize that there is something wrong with their partner and can get out fast, but others take longer (I believe they have self esteem issues of their own). The best we can do is to help them when they are going through the D and D phase (if they tell us about it) or during the inevitable break up.

    I do agree with you that more people should know about this disorder. I am currently helping a woman who I haven’t even met (a friend of a friend) who is just now realizing what went wrong with her marriage to her narcissistic ex-husband.

    If I had children (of dating age), I would definitely educate them about this disorder and help them to look for the narcissistic characteristics of anyone they might want to date. Also, people who are going back into the dating scene would benefit from this information (and would save themselves a lot of heart ache and waste of time).

    Take care of yourself and know thy boundaries!

  • Lynn

    Dr Neill,

    First, thank you for your posts. I find them very helpful in trying to deal with what happened to me during my marriage to an alcoholic who was also a narcissist to boot. I have no doubt in my mind that even if he wasn’t drinking, his narcissism would have proved fatal to our marriage as well.

    I divorced my ex who was a very successful attorney with his own law practice. He would tell everyone this who was willing to listen. He boasted and bragged about himself incessantly and would be enraged at me when I became bored listening about him all of the time. Most of my opinions and needs and wants were left unattended, ignored, or dismissed with him telling me that I was naive, that I was dumb, or that I was trying to pick a fight if I disagreed with his views. He would get mad if I just tried to have a normal conversation about a news item and offered a differing opinion other than his. How dare I think that we could just have a normal conversation about anything. I found myself just shutting up and letting him go on and on just so an argument wouldn’t ensue. I felt like a prisoner inside my own thoughts without a release.

    He was insanely jealous. Even though he knew I wasn’t cheating on him, any man that he thought was giving me too much attention, even in conversation, was a threat and he would rage and verbally assault me about it. This I found particularly disgusting since I found out he was having a long term affair with his office manager; buying her jewelry, and since our divorce, bought her a house for her and her children. He could do all of this, but I couldn’t have a conversation with a man without him flying off the handle. One time he was very drunk and actually physically attacked a man in front of his wife that we had just met 30 minutes prior. The reason: he was too drunk to carry on a conversation with the rest of us and thought the man was flirting with me. He wasn’t. He got up from the dinner table and attacked this man in front of his wife. We were able to wrestle him to the floor, with me getting bruises down my arms and legs from the fall. He accused me of not “repelling” this man and raged at me all night long about how disrespectful I was. I later found out he apologized to our dinner hosts and tried to apologize to the man. He never did apologize to me because it was all my fault and I should have known better and how his feelings would be hurt.

    He would hold on to things that he thought I had done and bring them up over and over again. He would get drunk and come home 3-4 hours late several times a week and start yelling at me. Sometimes I would pretend to be asleep and he would try to wake me up. Other times I would be sleeping and he would wake me up…always to want to pick a fight and tell me I didn’t really want to be married to him, how I did this or I did that, that maybe we shouldn’t be married, that maybe we should get a divorce. I got to know sleep deprivation pretty well. This took a toll on my health, as I worked full time and had to get up at 3:00 am to go to work, which was 50 miles away. When I would complain about this treatment, he would minimize it or deny it, telling me I was exaggerating or making things up. It drove me crazy. I stupidly got him out of one drunk driving arrest that I regret to this day.

    His children, from previous marriages, are also affected by his drinking and narcissism. Both have alcohol substance abuse issues, and one was diagnosed as being Bipolar. Both have anger toward their father, neither of them work and both have been living off of their grandfathers trust fund that he controls. They only come around when they need money and once that is gone, he will no longer give them money, although he bragged about how he controlled them with money. His son is always trying to come up with get rich quick schemes to best his father, as this is what his father has always impressed upon him as important. His son is a sad, devastated soul, but very angry and very dangerous. He has picked numerous physical fights with his father and one day will eventually either kill him or his father will have a heart attack. His daughter is equally pitiful. She is morbidly obese, quit college, gets used by a lot of guys, and has absolutely no direction other than getting more money from her trust fund. Their father never has anything nice to say about them, nor does he offer them any sort of encouragement. To him, they are nothing but disappointments.

    I remember asking him when was the last time you told them you loved them and he replied he doesn’t have to. They aren’t like that and besides he didn’t know if he loved them at all because they were such disappointments. His youngest daughter is beautiful, but has anxiety issues. That ex wife made it so that he needed supervised visitation while going through their divorce because of his drinking. Of course she was villainous, saying that she drank and was doing this to get back at him. Never mind that he is an alcoholic who already had a DUI accident and was on a monitor when they were married. They had been involved with AA and his ex wife is currently a Al-Anon sponsor. I remember when I couldn’t take it anymore, I had gone to Al-Anon and recognized her first name and number as a sponsor. She didn’t get there by herself. She was forced into joining because she needed help too. To this day, he still says that she and I divorced him for other reasons and that we used his drinking as an excuse to get back at him. He will not accept any responsibility that his drinking had any part in the breakup of his marriages. Since our divorce he received back to back DUI’s, lost his drivers license, had his new car immobilized, was in 10 day rehab, has had to pay court fines and costs, has to attend AA and monthly doctors meetings, and his law license is being monitored.

    He still doesn’t see a problem, its everyone elses. He has not bottomed out. After all, he has the money to have people and his office manager drive him to wherever he needs to go and to run his errands. His life has not been affected and the only thing he cares about is money. Since he hasn’t lost his ability to make that, life is grand. Its only the rest of the people in his life that get really hurt or used.

    I know that living with one type or another is bad enough, but both almost totally wrecked my life. It took away my dignity, self respect, zest for life, and took a toll on a lot of other relationships in my life. They are totally selfish people, and you will never measure up to what they want. They don’t want you to..they need to feel better and superior to you and will wear you down till you are almost not even there anymore. They will enjoy while you struggle trying to please them, and when you simply don’t have the energy to do it anymore, they simply will tell you that you don’t make them happy, that you don’t really want them and move on as if you were nothing.

    I don’t know what my life holds, but I lost so much while with him. I don’t want to lose anymore. His lake house, boats, and bank accounts will never make up for what is important to me or anyone else. He leaves nothing but devastation in his path and the best anyone can do for themselves is just get on with your own life and stay out of the path.

  • Christine

    I am stuck as I am in my sixties and have limited time and funds to move on. I actually did leave for two years (a new area), but came back because I was broke. I tried to make friends and a new man, but it didn’t happen. I can’t afford therapy. So, how do I live with this monster who is nice/OK one minute and yelling at me the next? The dogs cower. My daughters say the tension is felt. We have separate rooms, no sex, no intimacy, no friends together. Do I just act like I am living alone (which I try to do, but it is hard)? Only do my own activities?

  • Lynn

    I divorced my ex husband of three years, 2.5 years ago and am still hurting from it all. He was both a narcissist and an alcoholic. The red flags were there, but I ignored them because I thought I was so in love with the man of my dreams and thought he loved me too. I believed everything he told me; hook, line, and sinker. And I was never more happy one minute, and miserable the next.

    He was immediate verbally and emotionally abusive, starting on the night of our wedding. He was very jealous and controlling and everything had to be done to meet his needs and expectations. I wasn’t allowed to have independent thoughts and needs if they did not agree with his or took time away from him. This included trying to spend more time with my aging and sick parents. They didn’t need to see me as much now since I was married and they were to understand this according to him. Since I lived 50 miles away from them and from work, I had to see them during my lunch time or visit for a time after work. I always felt like I had to rush home right afterwards or face the silent treatment. If I wanted to shop or visit during the weekend, I was always made to feel like it was a stupid idea, that I should get everything done during the work week, and be at home on the weekend and spend time with him.

    While I was commuting 100 miles everyday to and from work, his private law practice was 3 miles from home, and he would take naps during the day. But of course his job was more demanding than mine, and more important and I was told this constantly. He made me feel sub par to him, not an equal and he would even say he was superior to him because of his law degree and his accomplishments. Forget the fact that I had my own profession and my own college degree and made a good income prior to meeting him.

    He would drink and drive constantly, having already one DUI accident 3 years prior to our marriage. He started coming home late during the week, due to his drinking at local bars, and would get mad at me if I said anything or complained. He would ignore me, saying I complained about nothing, that my concerns weren’t valid, that I was making up how many times he was drinking, and basically blowing me off and turning it around on me.

    I was the taxi driver. I was the one that if we went out I would have to be the driver home because he was always too drunk to drive. It was embarrassing to be in public with him and I stopped inviting my friends or family over because I was afraid he would get drunk and make a fool of himself. I was relieved when we didn’t go places because he would get drunk, and I dreaded going to events because he would get drunk. I loved this man but it broke my heart seeing him drink down wine like it was milk in a glass. It was embarrassing to see this brilliant mind slur his words and repeat his stories and brag about himself and cases trying to impress people, when all he did was embarrass himself. He would stumble around and people would be looking at him with disgust, rolling their eyes and then look at me with either pity or disdain. He couldn’t understand that this behavior not only made him look bad in front of his peers, but also took a toll on me. He kept saying I exaggerated and that he was still better than they were and in his words “couldn’t carry his jock”. That was something that he always said.

    He was the most jealous man I had ever been with. One time I came home late from work and he was drunk. It was a Friday and I was exhausted at the end of the week and he had invited another older woman who lived next door over. She was also an alcoholic and the two of them had been drinking. I was 1 1/2 hour late due to an issue that came up and he hissed at me, “Where were you?” When I told him I had to take care of something at work he just gave me a long hard look. We conversed for a bit with our older neighbor and she went home. He then loudly asked “Where were you really?” He accused me of going to the bar with men from work. He did not believe me and then went on to tell me that other people could have handled what needed to be done, that I didn’t need to, that I shouldn’t have had to work late. I told him I was the supervisor, and it was a supervisor responsibility and to quit telling me how to do my job. He gave me the silent treatment that night and continued drinking.

    One night he attacked a man that had arrived at a dinner party we had attended just 30 minutes prior. He was there with his wife. My husband was so drunk and couldn’t join in the conversation. He yelled and attacked the man for just talking to me, saying that we were flirting with each other. We were able to pull him off, with him landing on top of me, leaving bruises up and down my arms and legs. All of us were mortified. Thank God he didn’t hurt the man. I felt humiliated and our friends were shocked. To this day he apologized to both couples, but still blames me because I didn’t “repel” this man, and that I had disrespected him! He will say he was drunk, but it was still my fault.

    I can’t count how many times he has yelled and screamed and cursed at me, both sober and drunk. How many times he would wake me up to start a fight, accuse me of not loving him, of not wanting to be married to him or saying I didn’t really want to be married to him or I wouldn’t do what I do. I was being sleep deprived, begging screaming ignoring back at him would not work.

    He was always worried about how people perceived him when it came to me doing anything that he thought would embarrass him. This included not agreeing with him on everything, having my own opinion that was different from his, even if it was to have a different comment on a news report. I was always being told I was trying to pick a fight, why am I trying to instigate him, why am I trying to be difficult. I learned just to keep my mouth shut for peace sake.

    We always had to do what he wanted to do. He couldn’t understand that just because we lived on a lake that I didn’t always want to be on the lake all day on the weekends, that I would like to do some other things as well. He just couldn’t get it through his head that I had other interests as well and would like to act on those interests too. He would not participate but would get mad if I wanted to do something else. If I did i got the “you don’t put me number 1″ routine saying. That I didn’t know what it meant to be married and that we should put each other as number one. What he meant was he should be number one and me any number below that. He was able to do anything he wanted, to get drunk, to come home late all the time and that was okay. When I would try to defend myself against his attacks, he would say I’m deflecting to get away from what the real problems were, and those were the things that i did wrong.

    His children are also train wrecks. The older two, in the early 20′s are both chemically dependent, have arrest records, no jobs and one is morbidly obese as well as being diagnosed as Bipolar. He has no real relationship with them other than to complain about them being so disappointing to him, and to dole out money from their grandfathers trust-fund. He has never been there for them emotionally, as his practice was always more important. He has even bragged that he never changed any of his 3 children’s diapers because it wasn’t his job. When he married his second wife, she was very nice to the kids, but then when they had their daughter, she became distant and cold. My ex told me he knows that his children were treated badly by her, but that he didn’t do anything about it because they had a new baby, and her two children living with them. He said he had his law practice to work on and was really busy with that.

    He would also put on fake crocodile tears while drunk saying that he never would have divorced his first wife knowing what it would have done to his kids. This is such a lie because he divorced the second one too leaving their daughter to the same fate. His second wife made sure he had monitored visitation with their young daughter during their divorce because of his drinking. They had tried AA and Al-anon during their marriage, partially due to a DUI and also as an attempt to save their marriage. It didn’t work. I remember going to Al-Anon also because of what was happening, and I found out that she was a sponsor for Al-anon even after all of this time. What I find disgusting is that he still doesn’t accept any responsibility that his drinking has caused so much devastation to so many people in his family. He says that both she and I use that as an excuse for the divorces to make ourselves feel better, and still says that I just didn’t know what it meant to be married, that I fled because I didn’t want to be married. When I told him that I accept responsibility for things that I may have mishandled or could have handled differently, apologizing, I asked him if there was anything that he thought he could have better handled..his answer…NO. Narcissist or alcoholic..I don’t know which one or both. It doesn’t really matter at this point.

    I became so sick of lies, dishonesty, blame, scapegoating, drunken behavior, raging verbal attacks and so on. I couldn’t take it anymore and we divorced. I found out that he was having an affair while we were married with his office manager and still is, now purchasing her a house for her and her children. Projection was very clear in our marriage and it makes me so angry that he treated me so badly because of jealousy when he was the one cheating on me. He also was recently arrested and convicted for two more DUI’s, had his drivers license revoked, a brand new car immobilized, has to attend mandatory AA meetings, and his law license is being monitored. Even if he was able to stop drinking, I think the other issues would remain anyway, and that is no life to live for anyone.

    I am sad, but its due to what I thought our life could have been instead of what it actually was. I didn’t deserve this and neither did his other wives or his children. The sad truth is he will not change, and soon his office manager and her children will be the next to be writing on a blog such as this.

  • I have a narcissistic private dance instructor, my first experience with a narcissist. He yells, calls me stupid, often says, “I don’t get it.. why did you do that?” when I haven’t learned a step fast enough or don’t warm up to good form or posture right away. He tells me, “Look at you.. you look like a monkey” and mocks me endlessly.

    I used to take it all in. Now I understand the disorder and can laugh about it all, still taking in the good training and not affected by the insults. When he is not in a rage, he is a brilliant teacher and wonderful to dance with. He can be absolutely charming when in a good mood and it is the best part of my week to dance to beautiful music with such an elegant dancer when his mouth is shut. When I perform at my best, it is a perfect moment. No, I really don’t want to change teachers even if he is a bit unsettling. If I am NOT in a relationship with him, just having him as a dance instructor, how should I behave? How do I handle the mood swings? I am not in a relationship, so I don’t have the job of worrying about changing him… just keep reading about the disorder before lessons to stay grounded, but I need to know how to handle him.

    Usually when he shouts angrily at me, I shout back at him. Sometimes I just contain myself long enough to listen to his rant. I walk out of the room for 3 minutes and that works to calm him down. Once I screamed back really loud, “STOP IT! STOP IT!” I ran out of the room crying. Other people in the studio heard me so now he knows not to get me that upset because his reputation was at stake. That worked the best of anything. That trained him not to get me that upset, now he just growls and lot. If I shout back at him all the time, does that give him more narcissistic supply than just pouting and not saying anything? Either way I guess I am affected so he gets supply. Should I acted bored? That puts him in more rage that I am not LOOKING at him and LISTENING.

    This man is known to be a player among women (usually 18 year olds, not 60 year old women like myself), but almost anyone attractive is fair game. I am sure he wants to go to bed with me and finds it interesting that I am a challenge (very married). I want to keep him as a teacher, but I just don’t know how to act. Please help.

  • Annie

    Dr Neill,

    If i haven’t stumbled on this article, I would have thought you knew my husband’s personally from your description of a narcissist. I have been married to my husband for two years and I can wholeheartedly tell you that I have been unhappy through most of it.

    My husband and I dated for a year before we got married and trust me, he was unbelievably sweet and romantic. I fell for this hook, line, and sinker. I think the advantage these narcissists have is that they are smooth, successful, confident, in a nutshell they know how to say and do all the right things to please and win your heart until you marry them! I can assure you the RED flags were there, but I was on the notion that “no one is perfect” and “all relationships have hiccups”. Based on these coupled with the fact that I loved him and he claimed to love me too, I chose to ignore these red flags. HOW WRONG!

    About a month after we got married, he started revealing his ways. NOTHING I did was enough to please him. All of a sudden, I didn’t look that good any more, no idea of mine was good enough, my cooking wasn’t good enough, despite the fact that my parents and friends enjoy my meals. In short, I couldn’t do anything good. Up until now, the situation kept getting from bad to worse!

    He constantly criticizes me and when I try to correct him about something, he gets defensive and upset. He feels whatever he does is right, so long as it is him doing it. He has no conscience, no sensitivity, no empathy whatsoever, no remorse, no feelings, yet he claims he loves me. He smokes both weed and cigarettes, drinks, yet he lies to me about this even when it is so obvious. In fact, lying is second nature to him. Sometimes I feel he believes I am so stupid to fall for his immature, obvious lies. Yet, everyone loves him on the outside and they believe we have the perfect marriage. My family love him like an adopted son. My friends believe I am the luckiest woman alive to be married to him. He is well respected and so hard working at work. Last month, he won the top performer in his department whereas on the inside and in his home, he is the meanest, most ungrateful, emotionless and discontented man I have ever met! He believes he is “God’s gift to women” because he is tall and good looking with an attractive body build, so you know what i mean….! Based on this, he has cheated on me so many times and whenever I confront him, he gives me a weak and arrogant apology with no remorse or repentance whatsoever. In fact he acts like he “did me a favor” by marrying me. Anytime I tell him my feelings, he acts distant almost as if he isn’t there. In his defense, I am “too needy” and “too emotional”.

    He threw intimacy out the window a month after our wedding and now, I practically have to mention before he kisses me! We only have sex when he wants it. Anytime I initiate it, he is either too tired or “not in the mood”!

    I can recon with “Tania” who mentioned that she lost her brother and her partner would rather watch TV rather than being there. Same thing happened to me. I lost my dad 2 months ago. He had been ill for a while and eventually died in the hospital. I got a call from my mum to confirm this and I was do depressed. My husband was the first person I called to break the bad news. I was in tears when I called him to inform him and you know what….? He got irritated because “I was crying about the death of my DAD”! How pathetic could that be? He told me to “man up” because according to him, I was acting weak! I got angry and hung up on him, then he sent me messages to apologize when he realized what he’d said and done. A few weeks later, I was to travel for my dad’s funeral. Instead of “my husband” to support me, he kept nagging about how much expenses I was gonna incur with the traveling, complained about the ticket far being too high and in short, it was totally senseless for me to attend the funeral! He said needed to buy a car (he recently sold his former car and needed a replacement), needed to enroll for a professional course (that he had always wanted to do) etc. I was depressed beyond measure because it was hard to believe that my husband would rather prefer to buy a car or enroll for a course rather than allow me to pay my last respect to my dad by attending his funeral. At that time, I wasn’t working because I was in college, so I was totally dependent on him financially to travel for the funeral. Eventually, i was able to attend the funeral after his mum called him and convinced him to sponsor my trip. In addition to that, my sister sent me some money which covered almost half of the ticket fare! So you can see what I mean when I say he has no remorse, no empathy, and no conscience!

    I have thought about the “D” word so many times, but my Christian background is totally against it. I don’t deserve this treatment and I have been too patient with him. I practically wear a plastic smile in the day and cry to sleep at night. He keeps telling me I am the one to blame for all the wrongs in this marriage and I am the reason he acts the way he does while he is perfect and spotless. I really don’t know what to do at this point. I have been praying, but haven’t seen much changes. He keeps saying he wants to change, but all I see is an empty vessel making a noise, all words and no action. We have no kids, yet and I am really scared to have my kids come to live like this.

  • Anne

    Today I found this article because I went looking for something about the link between narcissism and alcoholism, finally admitting my soon-to-be-former husband is both, combining with it an ability to shift through the victim triangle at lightning speed when it comes to anything to do with me.

    It has been nearly 14 years since we met, just over 12 years since we got married and almost 4 years since we separated. We have a 10 year old son and he has three grown up daughters from his previous marriage.
    I accept we attract situations and experiences into our lives and that I play a part in this scenario, just as our son does. I also accept we see things when we are ready to and not before. This is all an essential part of the journey forward and healing. Though it doesn’t make it any easier.

    After a hellish 13 years, yes 13, the final straw came last night when we went to the school Christmas carol concert at the cathedral. He chose to drink between dropping us off and the service starting. Twice. Smelling of alcohol first and then coming back the second time smelling of mouthwash, speaking and acting in the way I can tell he is alcohol affected, then almost running over two sets of people. I am unsure as to whether this was the last straw because we were at the cathedral, because it was the school function, because I have really pushed forward with regaining my life in the past few weeks and months, because of how my son felt when he realized his Dad had been drinking, because of so many broken promises about not drinking or around looking after his son’s needs more evenly, or a combination of all.

    What I am sure of is that the time has come to stop enabling him to have such a negative impact on us, to stop allowing him to manipulate things to suit him by capitulating when he throws a tantrum – letting him off the hook, me kicking and screaming all the way, yet still letting him off the hook.

    Neither of these conditions is easy to live with and self preservation is so very important. I am an incredibly strong person, yet spent a lot of years believing what he told me about how inadequate I was as a person and feeling trapped under the power of his threats to have me committed and proven to be an unfit mother if I went to leave him, not because I really believed him, but more because I was so exhausted and worn down from the conflict – which suited him just fine on one level. At one point, I believed I would never leave because it seemed easier to stay and manage things from close quarters than to leap into the unknown world of what he may do if we weren’t together. Then I realized that had more to do with my feeling out of control than it had to do with what he would do, so I stayed strong, remembered what was “his stuff” and focused on not putting any energy into it.

    Sounds way too simplistic now and doesn’t reflect the pain, despair, heartbreak, uncertainty, or fear along the way. However, this far down the track I am a stronger person for the journey, as is my son. Ready to tackle the next part of the journey.

    It is so much easier now, eyes open, to acknowledge that getting away from the narcissist and aiming to have no contact – or as little as possible – is the best option.

    With the realities of dealing with an alcoholic also now in the mix, it is harder today to come to terms with whether AlAnon and AlATeen may now become a part of our life for a period of time. I guess that may look different and less confronting tomorrow.

  • Carl

    Hi Dr. Neill,

    Thank you for a very interesting article on a problem that I think will get much more attention over the coming few years.

    I would want to share some thoughts on what I have been through. I am a man, and half a year ago I was through a relationship with a girl that certainly made me raise my eyebrows, I had never experienced anyone like that before.

    The girl I met was an exchange student at a university not that far from the city where I live. In the beginning, our relationship developed as a normal relationship, but then things started to get more and more strange.

    I believe that many narcissists feel a sense of being very special, and that they have rights to abuse other people. The right to abuse other people probably is linked to their lack of feeling what is right. This girl told me widely about other people that she had fooled and let down, and made jokes about it. She had rented a flat together with another girl, asked the other girl to pay the full rent because as she said she did not have any money herself at the moment, and then at the end of the period just moved out secretly one day without telling the other girl and not paying her any money. She had also been working illegally without paying any taxes for an extended period of time and seemed very proud over this.

    She also tried to abuse me, making me pay all of our dinners at restaurants. She also told me to write her papers at the university because she said that she was so busy that she couldn’t do it herself. I did so in the beginning, but when I didn’t even get a thank you in response, I got angry and didn’t continue doing that. When I stopped writing her papers, she told me that was absolutely not a problem, since she had a few other guys in the same situation as me, guys that would help her continue writing her papers. She then told me that she thought that she was smarter than me. This was probably due to the fact that she had managed to fool me for such a long time, making me pay all of her dinners and even trips abroad.

    What is striking about this story is the complete lack of morality and sense of what is right that she displayed. She was also very vain and extremely keen on taking photographs of herself where ever she went, these she later published on Facebook and a large number of other social fora so that everyone could see where she had been.

  • Lucy

    Reading all of your comments has been truly heartbreaking, but also quite inspiring. However, how do you really know whether your partner is a narcissist or not? I am desperate for some advice, this is my story.

    I have been with my partner on and off for a very intense ten years. We do not live together, he still lives with his mom (I am 34 and he is 40) and says that due to lack of money he cannot afford to buy a place and refuses to rent. I have two children with a previous partner and live in a two bedroom house. He also has two children, so we don’t have the room to all live at mine. He offers me the world and promises me things will get sorted, but I’ve heard it so many times, I know longer believe him. Our ten years together have been, to say the least, very rocky, yet when he wants to be nice and we’re getting along, he makes me feel like the most special girl in the world and I absolutely adore him. My problem is that however much I can see some of the same narcissistic traits in him (and I do see them) there is another truly wonderful side to him that I also see. During the past ten years and on quite a regular basis, he has shut me out using silent treatment, almost punishing me if I say or do anything he doesn’t like.

    Before reading any of this, I used to and still do accuse him of lacking both compassion and empathy. He also has awful mood swings where at the flick of a switch he completely changes into someone who’s cold, unemotional, and totally indifferent towards me. He is controlling, possessive, jealous, and hates me spending time with anyone else, yet when were getting along, he’s fine about it. It really is like having a relationship with two different people.

    The problem I have is that I find it so very hard to believe that he doesn’t love me (I know that narcissist’s are unable to love) because of the way he can often be with me. Yet even as I write this, I feel so confused about it all as I’ve often accused him of playing mind games with me and trying to manipulate me with his unpredictable behavior. He has improved dramatically over the years, although he can still be very offensive in the way he speaks to me if we fall out. He is also very indecisive about plans we make together, one minute he’s up for it, then the next, literally 20 minutes later, he’s changed his mind. Is this a power and control thing so that I never truly know where I stand with him (which a lot of the time I don’t)?

    His family knows how moody he is and so do the few friends he has. It’s not like he attempts to cover it up. He’s also (as far as I know) has never been unfaithful, although he always thinks I have (which I haven’t). Our love life is amazing and very intense and he is always very loving afterwards. We have broken up numerous times, for months at a time (the longest being 8 months) and he has never been the one to pursue me. He clearly doesn’t fall into the bracket of the typical narcissistic who pleads to be taken back by their ex partner, however is that because he knows I’ll always come back to him so he never has to (even if it means waiting 8 months)?

    The biggest problem is the fact that we live opposite each other, so even when we have broken up I have always had to see him about(even then he is completely unresponsive and refuses to acknowledge me). I have suggested that he may suffer with bi polar, but I really have no idea what, if anything, is going on. I know he’s very insecure and on an honest day he’ll admit this (I know he never had a stable relationship with his dad). He hates rejection and has too much pride for his own good, but do all these traits constitute narcissism or am I in complete denial, therefore having played right into his hands?

    On a last note, I have just discovered I’m pregnant (failed contraception). I have yet to tell him, but I know he’ll be happy about it as it’s something he’s wanted for a while. I’m so certain (foolishly maybe) that he’ll do the right thing by me in getting married and buying a house (he also buries his head in the sand and will only do something if absolutely made to do it). Underneath his sometimes cold and arrogant exterior there is, I think, someone that just wants to be loved. Any advice is very much appreciated.

  • Anne

    Hello Holly,

    I had the exact same experience. Scary how similar our stories are. What city did you get flown to? Devastating. I know what you are going through and it’s very painful. I consider us lucky to have gotten out early before more emotional damage was inflicted. I too saw the red flags and chose to ignore them because the flattery, fantasy world, promises and sexting were so overwhelming. That’s how they work. You are right that HE is messed up. We must move forward remembering that we have learned a harsh lesson but it will never happen again!!

  • Billie

    Well my story is strange..

    We have found each other after 32 years of being apart. He was the first boy I ever liked, loved. I was 14. We never dated. After 32 years one day, I found him on LinkedIn.

    There was a spark from the beginning. I live in the US and he in Europe. After a five weeks of courtship, mostly through short emails, he decided to see me. He came to the US and we spent a magical week together. Magical. There is no other word to describe it. He was a gentlemen in every way. He made me special in every way possible. I fell in love so quickly. At the airport, we both had teary eyes. WE kissed each other goodbye and I thought that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

    When we both went back home, things did not go as I hoped. He was not as available to me as I thought he would be: limited calls, shorter emails, anger.. But our time together was so wonderful that we wanted to meet again. Within one month, we met in Europe this time. The week in Europe was so different that the one in the US. He was offended about everything. He attacked me for no good reason. We argued about everything all the time. The only place we got along well was in bed. It was only because we did not speak then. When we left each other, I felt tired. He blamed me the whole time about our fights.

    Since then, I received silence treatments, angry conversations…. Finally we ended the relationship (meaning he forced for me to end the relationship). The whole experience lasted 4 months, at the most.

    We only saw each other for 11 days, but we went through the phases pretty quickly.

    I am already discarded! What an affair!

  • Kizza

    I am pregnant with a narcissists baby! He convinced me to have a baby with him–and because I trusted, loved an idolized him I let it happen. I am now 4 months pregnant. He left me 2 months ago, but did the same continuous thing every few days! Would text me something nice, twist things to his advantage, make out like he wants to be with me then completely turn the other way and we’d argue. He’d tell me how selfish I am because I want him around and his support. He tells me I’m going to be a bad mum because I so desperately wanted to be a family.

    He doesn’t care about me, only the baby. Then in the next breath saying he does care about me, and in the future we’ll probably get back together. He’s manipulative, exploitative, puts me down, everything is my fault. He is never wrong and never ever apologizes for anything. He is very eloquent and I’ve never seen him lose a argument with anyone etc…. :( The stories are so long an tiring! Anyway I changed my number now so he can no longer get inside my head and try to convince me that there is something wrong with me. I’ve been so heartbroken and depressed and fearing for the health of my baby. I can’t imagine what the baby feels like when I feel like crap! I’d be happy never to see him again, but I don’t think he’ll let that happen :(

  • Anne

    Wow! Reading this is comforting to me. I have been married to a narc for 3 years and just filed a Protection From Abuse the other day and had him evicted from the home. As many of you have stated the loving caring suave man vs the mean, nasty unhappy one I am oh so familiar with.

    My husband too can turn on the charm to the outside world, but recently doesn’t seem to care who hears the arguments or the way he speaks to me. Thus I felt his behavior was escalating to the point that I had to do something.

    His criticism of me was constant, and once an argument started it could go on for hours. Now he has ruined me financially and thinks nothing of it. My credit went from excellent to poor in just the 3 years I have known him. He feels entitlement to everything I have. Now that I know the signs, they were there all along. Of course the caring man always knew when to show up and smooth things out until the next time.

    I feel a huge relief right now. Now that I am filing for divorce and am doing “no contact.” I too thought I could fix him. The one thing that saved me is that I am a confident woman and knew that all the things he said I was were wrong. I am not a stupid, horrible person as he told me often.

    I am moving on and hope those of you who haven’t yet do so soon. Its a wonderful feeling to be free of him!

  • Kirsty

    My experience with a narcissist drove me to attempted suicide. I was in my early forties and was in an unhappy long term relationship. My partner and I had been together 12 years, but he suffered depression and I felt very lonely and taken for granted. I worked in a media college and was getting known in the city I lived in as a film maker and respected media practitioner with young people.

    A new student, 12 years younger than me, joined my course and immediately started to flirt, compliment, etc. I was happy to get the attention, but tried to keep it under control. He even came to my house and ate with my partner and I. My partner didn’t like him from the start. I saw little fits of petulance at college if his work didn’t receive the most praise. He was always trying to get me to upgrade his work, but hated any type of criticism, however constructive. To cut a long story short, I had a traumatic experience whilst on a shoot with him and I see now that he used his moment to move in. I allowed him to seduce me and immediately ended it with my long term partner who had a complete breakdown. I felt very guilty, but couldn’t show this to my young lover as he became very jealous.

    He poured affection on me as I coped with being homeless, doing my job, etc. It was a very hard year trying to sell my old home so I could move in. We finally moved in together and it lasted three months before he started demanding I pay for weekends away, meals out, drama courses- he was an actor, a very unsuccessful one. It wore me down. Our sex life stopped completely and he said it was my fault, I was boring, yet he demanded I give up my job because he was jealous that I was flirting with men at work.

    He borrowed thousands of pounds to start a business which had no substance as his main income other than my input was him throwing a tantrum at his father until he was given what he wanted. He demanded and was bought a house by his mother as he blamed her divorce from his father for causing him trauma. I thought we were going to live together in the house. Then I found out the reason he’d stayed up all night. He was on dating and contact and pen sites and trying to get back with his ex. I found messages. He left his phone at home and a girl rang for him, prompting me to look at earlier messages to other women. I felt sick. When I challenged him, he tried to take the moral high ground and blame me for spying on him and controlling him. I kept on trying even though the criticism and disdain grew worse daily until I was a complete wreck.

    He sat at my parents table to eat Christmas dinner and told them how much he was looking forward to us not moving into his house. His parents lived in Scotland and I drove him up to Edinburgh for New Year’s Eve. When we got there, he said he was going out with his friends and I should stay in with his mother! I was stunned, the poor woman squirmed for hours before admitting her son had asked her to end the relationship with me and asked me to leave before he came home. I declined. I waited until he returned. He was shocked, but composed and told me very oddly and clinically that he’d never really loved me and he’d been trying to end it, but I just wasn’t getting the message (a week earlier he had accepted a £1600 camera from me).

    I drank a bottle of jack and took some pills three nights later because I felt so used, old, stupid, and dehumanized, so worthless that anyone could disregard me so cruelly. I then drove my car into the sea. I was dragged out if the water by night fishermen and woke up in the hospital. It took two years of therapy to even get anywhere near confident again. I left the city as I couldn’t bear to see him as he’d got together with one of my friends, a single Laurent. I tried to warn her, but she said I was just jealous. I no longer make films, I’m in a crap job…..and I recently got married. You’d think after what I went through I would have recognized the type…no , fooled again. I just threw my husband out as the demeaning stage has started coupled with physical abuse.

    I’m trying hard not to identify as a victim, at least I knew enough to get out early this time. Some people are hungry ghosts, they will literally feed off you, suck you dry and leave you a shadow of your former self. I am still strong enough to see that it’s not me, it’s them and being loving and open is not a weakness, being cold and dishonest is. My love and support to all those who have gone through this crushing pain.

  • Elise

    Help. I have been involved with a narcissist for a decade. I have left him and gone back, been left, etc. (several times). We have been engaged twice, he always loses it when we get too close to the real point of commitment. I do not respect him. He lies easily. This is disturbing. But, here I am. He keeps coming back; contrite, loving with a pocketful of change and then I accept it, go out on a limb, get closer, and it’s the same old thing. Sadly, I’m surprised every time. It’s to the point now that I only see him in secrecy – my friends and children hate him.

    I think I love him. When it’s good, he’s been my best friend, best lover, and at times we have great common ground. But I hate him. Actually, in a lot of ways, but I am stuck and my self esteem has eroded to the point that I at times feel like I can do no better, getting older, should just suck it up and someday we can successfully be together after the kids are raised (at least I’m smart enough to not involve him in my family any longer).

    He has no moral center. He never truly apologized for anything, only long enough to get me sucked back in and start to trust, and then – BAM! I end up apologizing to him just to end the fight when he was the one who behaved badly. I’m the one begging for him not to leave me….. It is so stupid. But, here I am. Any advice is welcome. I’m really starting to fear for my own sanity. Just yesterday, he said (for the thousandth time), “This is who I am. If you don’t like it, then leave me.” Yes, I know this is what I should do, but those words trigger deep abandonment issues within me and then I start apologizing for making demands. Ugh….

  • Jane D.

    Dr. Neill, what was described in your article sounded like you were describing a man I met awhile back in the last two years or so. What probably saved me from having a long term “nightmare” with this man, is that being an older female, very independent and successful in my own avenue of life, I saw many red flags with him. (Although I will confess, I initially chose to ignore the red flags early on.)

    He talked me into moving in with him, while I was trying to say to him that I wanted to take more time to get to know him. He won that battle, and I moved into his home, where I ended up having to rent out my own home to someone else.

    It did not take long living under the same house to see the transformation, of not only how he really was, but how he (attempted) to work on wiping away any of my self-esteem, etc. I literally felt like an “object” not a person with him. I cannot even describe the frustration I felt with the lack of emotional interaction, his complete lack of being romantic, and the list literally goes on and on and on……

    Without him knowing what I was doing, I slowly moved many of my things out of his house, planning to leave all at once when he would not be present. I finally made the move, packing everything in my car. I left him a note about why I left, and that I was done with the relationship.

    In an ending note, not to be too repetitive of others on this blog, I went through the typical discarding/devaluation period with this person after I moved out and it was not a clean break as I had intended it to be.

    It has been very distressing at times, and even though I knew I had to leave, after moving out I actually missed him and wanted to be back with him (I missed the person he PRETENDED to be initally when I had met him).

    Once the discarding/devaluation began though, I did not even recognize him for the person I had actually fallen in love with—he was like a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.

    I have finally come to grips that the person I initially met was a false personality, saying and doing anything that he thought I wanted to hear, just to hook me into the relationship. (well, he succeeded to a certain point—he won the battle in hooking me in—-but he did not win the war, because I left.)

  • Jane

    Hello Holly. Where are you from? I had an identical experience. Scary how the stories all sound so similar.

  • Tina

    My brother is married to a narcissist and refuses to forgive my mom and I for petty things (i.e. spelling her name wrong). It has torn our family apart and I rarely see my brother or my nieces. She will never see my point of view. How can I get him to see it and fix this problem?

  • Rain

    A message for user MOLO…

    This thread is probably really old, but the man you are referring to sounds remarkably similar to the man I was in a relationship with for 8 months! I am sure it is a coincidence, but can you confirm?!

  • Rain

    User MOLO,

    Can you contact me? Or reply to this thread?

  • I have been dating a narcissistic 60 year old man for a year and half. I had no idea till he dumped me a couple days ago, that is what the problem was. I even went on medication cause he said it was me. I was so devastated from the break up and couldn’t find out why. I asked him if there was someone else and he told me over and over, “NO”. I believe this. He isn’t that type of guy, then when I asked him again, he asked if it would make it better if there was and I said, “Yes it would make it easier on me to move on”. So he said there was someone he has been talking to on the phone and texting for a month. I know this isn’t true, I even talked to his ex and she said he would never cheat, that wasn’t his style. She told me by everything I was going through, she felt he did love me, as do I feel he loved me. He was so concerned about my feelings over the break up and so gentle.

    Now after researching, I am worried will he come back. For the last week I haven’t eaten, slept over the upset of the breakup, I even passed out when he broke it off with me. I am 49 years old and never loved anyone as much as I love him, but I worry now he will be back. His ex told me that for a year he called crying to come back, I removed him from Facebook and that upset him. I told him I need time to figure out what I wanted to do, he wants to stay friends. He never admitted we were together, he always called it a friendship, although we got close real close and were intimate with each other.

    So now I am worried what do I do. Will he be back or is there someone else, and my worries are unwarranted?

  • Peter

    Move on Alberta — if that guy at 60 does not know what he wants then why would you want him? Is it co-dependency perhaps?

  • z33

    Neill,

    I’m a twenty year old male, frankly I’ve always known something was different about the way I view the world. However, after years of knowing what narcissism is, I was recently called a narcissist. I’m 98% sure that this is true, especially after reading these accounts of other people’s experiences with narcissists (they are shockingly similar to all my relationships). Simply put, do you believe a narcissist can recognize that he is narcissist? And what is your view on their relationship between narcissism and addition?

  • Anne

    Hi,

    I had a really intense relationship with a narcissist for 18 months (before then we had an extremely intense friendship for 2 years and we spoke on average for around 10 hours per week). When he discarded me without any explanation other than I had a temper lately for questioning him as to when he was going to leave his girlfriend, as they’d split months before and who was apparently only like a sister to him (yep, I believed that bit too). I made the mistake, due to my deep depression at the time, of telling her. Guess what? She said she didn’t want to know, told me she hopes this now brings me closure and and wished me well.

    For months I tried to get my ex to make himself accountable for lying to me and guess what? Both him and his ‘sister’ filed allegations of harassment against me. I am now campaigning to ensure that the police don’t automatically blame the ‘other woman’ and that they are aware of this ‘covert’ abuse. I almost lost my life due to this man, I suffered from PTSD and although I am now on the road to recovery, I feel so sad for his ‘sister’/girlfriend/primary supply….. because she is most probably a really warm person and she is living with someone who lies, cheats and makes derogatory remarks behind her back.

    He wanted me cautioned for harassment when really, he is the one who deserves a caution on his CRB. Fortunately my new partner is wonderful and supportive. I have kept all emails and texts from my ex, should he ever make ‘distortion’ claims again. I now just hope that I haven’t done the wrong thing by telling him this, for fear of more narcissistic rage and injury. Thoughts please?

  • Ali

    Oh, good God. I really hope no one gives any credence to Kate’s comment about the narcissist finding a person who can see beneath their behavior, resulting in miracles. While I agree that codependents are responsible for staying and being victims, it is exactly Kate’s train of thought that keeps them around. People with NPD are abusive and can even be dangerous and ANYONE who becomes romantically involved with such a person is doing them self an injustice. Both codependents and NPDs need therapy. The difference between the two people, and the reason Kate’s comment is completely ridiculous, is because the nature of a narcissist is to think he/she doesn’t need any help or to change at all.

    Quite frankly, miracles certainly do not happen if someone is a true narcissist, unless they receive years of therapy. Even then, they are apt to disbelieving the therapist diagnosing them. Such people are only enabled by people like Kate- people who seem to think, just like the narcissist thinks, that someone else can “bring about a miracle” for the narcissist. This is the last thing that victims who are trying to break away need to hear. Instead, they need to face the reality of the situation, which is that a true narcissist will never be happy with anyone in an intimate relationship- not even someone with the patience and insight of Mother Theresa.

  • Rosie

    To all here:

    What a WONDERFUL RESOURCE and life line this site is. This website was a final support for me today to cut off contact with the narcissist that was affecting my life. Knowing we are NOT ALONE has been the best thing to find out. I was involved with a narcissist, but have escaped.

    Can I leave a message for Annie – the lady who said she was a Christian? I used to pray for my narcissistic ex all the time, and although God hears our prayers, he cannot physically always remove us, we must do that bit. I know divorce is frowned upon in Christianity, but so is emotional and psychological abuse, anxiety and all the things that give the devil a foothold in our lives. Your comment really struck me although I know there are many people of faith in this forum.

    I really wanted to express that don’t let fear hold you back from recuperating your life because it may not be fear of God (and displeasing him by divorcing), but fear of what this man you are with will do or how you will be without him. I suggest you pray to God for yourself, not for him (the man), you need it. I hope God gives you strength.

    Peace to every one here. Some of you really have been through so much more than myself in terms of the time you have endured with these narcissists.

    May more people find out about the reality of this disorder and may more awareness be raised.

    Thank you Dr. Neill.

  • Sera

    I’m 33 and just recently got dumped by my now ex-boyfriend (42) when I confronted him about various rumors that came back to me about him cheating on me with many women in town. He was always charming, flirtatious, and very friendly with everyone. He was our town’s local highly-regarded and very well-decorated war hero. After he retired from the Army, he became a very highly regarded business owner and member of law enforcement.

    Three years ago I miscarried at 11 weeks and the cause became apparent after being diagnosed with Stage 3 Follicular Lymphoma. When I look back now on the situation, I should’ve seen the red flags. He immediately told me not to tell either of our parents, he was never available to help me go to doctors for the D&C after I miscarried, and never once helped me to get to my cancer treatments the last 2 years. I just figured he was like my dad who faints at the sight of needles despite how tough they are.

    My treatments were more maintenance due to my form of Lymphoma being incurable. I was able to drive myself or have my beloved neighbors drive me when I felt too sick. Because I noticed he started being very withdrawn from the relationship, I told him over and over again I would understand if he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me anymore because I was sick, and many times I told him all he had to do was be honest and communicate what he wanted. Every time he would flatly say, “I don’t want to break-up.” But he continued to be entirely unhelpful with doctor appointments and started avoiding the house entirely. Some weeks I would only see him 1-3 hours. On his days off, he made arrangements to play golf all day with his friends. He worked the graveyard shift, including weekends. I worked the day shift and weekends, so we rarely saw each other even though we lived in the same house.

    In the last year I started having random people in town who I didn’t even know suggesting he was seeing other women behind my back. When I confronted him about it, he became extremely defensive and angry that I would even listen to rumors. Then on Facebook, I noticed he was starting to befriend women who had entire photo albums filled with half naked pictures of themselves. It was clear the rumors I was hearing might garner some truth, so I confronted him again. This time he physically shut himself in his room whenever he was home, he refused to communicate at all with me, he wouldn’t even acknowledge my presence in the room. This went on for an entire 2 weeks.

    Around the time of Hurricane Sandy, I started moving my belongings into the office to sleep, all the while leaving notes on the kitchen table each night for him to read asking him to explain what was going on and why he was giving me the silent treatment. I’d had the flu for 3 weeks prior, which had turned into pneumonia and I was being treated with a variety of antibiotics, which he was fully aware of before he started his 2 weeks of stonewalling. Finally after writing my last note that I concluded this was his way of breaking up with me, the least he could do was tell me so. Which he did the next day.

    Turns out, he wanted to break up for 2 years and “hadn’t been committed to the relationship” for that same amount of time, but he still refused to admit he’d been having affairs and was very defensive and angry people around town were spreading these rumors. But now that I look back, it was clear even with the friends he chose to hang out with that if they didn’t put him on a pedestal as the “military war hero” or if they ever even hinted he might not be perfect, or that his actions while on duty at night might be “behavior unbecoming of an officer” such as allowing women to make out with him during his official Saturday night walk-thru’s at bars while on duty- then they were out. Out of the social group and I never saw them visit him at the house again. Many of these friends were also officers on the same shift and the only times I heard about any of these goings on while they were on duty was when these friends came over to socialize and they were gossiping over their beers with each other and sharing stories.

    So I’m glad it’s over, but I do feel like a run over floor mat. I’m living near family now so I always have a ride to get to and from my medical appointments and someone to take care of my dog when I’m in the hospital… But I can’t believe I let him stomp all over me and pull the wool over my eyes for the last 2 years. The writing was on the wall. I didn’t want to see what was inside his shiny armor. Towards the end though, the armor cracked and he was just a ghost, not the knight I thought he was.

    At least now I can move on and spend the rest of my time with the people who really love me- my family. I’m glad I found this site and it helped me just writing my story for anyone else who may be in a similar situation as me after being in a relationship with a narcissistic partner. I found the strength reading everyone elses stories and I hope others find strength reading mine.

    Thanks.

  • Jane

    I was married to a narcissist for 8 years and with him for 12. I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to change a narcissist and that you either put up with it and just become a wobbly shadow of a person, as I had started to become, or you leave as I eventually did.

    The rage,the tsunami of rage, that followed by departure I would not wish on anyone. I still have problems with him even five years on as he still tries to cut my alimony when he feels like it. The children and I are without our own home when he has just sold our former marital home for 2.4 million pounds sterling, having cheated me out of my rightful half. I trustingly, like a fool, gave him full control over the deeds when he told me we wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage if I was on the deeds!

    I don’t believe that a truly narcissistic person can change. Perhaps a near-death experience might do it, but even then I doubt it.

  • Hi there!

    After reading this I am more convinced than ever that my current partner is a narcissist. After I separated from a 12 year marriage, a friend from my grade school contacted me on Facebook. It wasn’t long before he started telling me that I had awakened feelings in him he never thought he would get back again after his divorce and told me he loved me. I was a bit taken aback from this for I never expected to get into another relationship and I clearly told him that, but with his charm, he had wiggled himself into my heart.

    He too, had made me feel feelings I haven’t felt for years and I fell for him hard. I decided to go to my homeland across the ocean and see him just to convince myself that it was real. Soon after, I was making a drastic decision to move back to that country and start another chapter in my life. I started looking for a job and unfortunately I was unemployed for a year and a half.

    Soon after we moved in together, I started noticing that he gets mad over the smallest things. I am not a type of person that judges people, but then he started forwarding that anger onto me and started calling me awful names. He said that I am nothing that I will never have anything because I don’t have a job, that I was taking advantage of him. He started denying all the things he once told me, that he never loved me in the first place, etc…

    I am so hurt by all of this and I continue to stay. We fight almost everyday and I must add that when I am feeling attacked by him with words, I too throw back some unforgiving stuff because I feel mad. It’s like he looks to fight with me on purpose. He blames me for his life, for his actions, never apologizes and seems happy when he hurts me emotionally. I had 2 jobs that I left because I couldn’t concentrate due to my home life and now I am unemployed again. He doesn’t want to help me in any way. He knows I have no one and no where to turn to… I am in a cage in a loveless relationship and don’t know what to do. If anyone has some type of suggestion, please help. Thank you!

  • Debbi

    Dr. Neill,

    Do they become narcissistic because of the alcohol?

  • Julie

    I was married to a passive aggressive narcissist (PAN) for close to 20 years. Believe it or not, I thought that we had a pretty normal marriage. I was tired a lot (mostly because I was doing all the work), but the lies and manipulations had increased so gradually and been inserted so insidiously such that I did not realize how completely lopsided our relationship had become. My Ex-PAN is a world class manipulator and liar. I had drunk the crazy kool-aid and I did not see the situation clearly or objectively.

    In February 2011, I discovered my narcissist had engaged in a series of sexual and fantasy relationships dating back our entire relationship. He also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in his narcissism and his addiction. But even after that, I danced with the idea of trying to “rebuild” our marriage (did I mention that I was seriously out of my mind at this point?).

    A year later, the PAN was still all talk and I regained enough sanity to divorce him. During this time I read a library of materials on sexual addiction and narcissism. I also found several forums which were like lifelines in sharing my story and realizing that although I was living an insane situation- I myself was not the person causing the craziness. I discovered what was happening to me was known as Gas lighting (look it up if you don’t know this phrase). Its a form of crazy making which is the goal of manipulation by many narcissists. They keep you off your game as part of theirs – it’s a truly sick and sad and painful manipulative process.

    Several narcissist recovery sites have recommended NO contact. I initially believed this to be an extreme measure that didn’t apply to my situation. How wrong I was. My amazingly wise and wonderful therapist finally declared a blackout period in the fall of 2011. At the time I was still hypnotized and unable to see this individual as the very dangerous shell of a person that he is. Fortunately I do have an amazing family and wise friends and I stayed away and trusted that I could not see things objectively. As I got through my own denial I began to grieve the marriage that I actually never had and the man that PAN would never be. I am now living my own life and am so much healthier and I am committed to staying aware and out of dangerous and manipulative relationships.

  • Cheryl

    Being married to a narcissist can be very lonely. I married my first boyfriend the month I graduated high school. He was good looking, charming and 7 years my senior. We met at church and appeared to have a lot in common.

    In the beginning, he was kind and willing to help others in need. Early in the relationship I was aware that he was always angry and blamed others for every bad thing that happened in his life. Nothing was ever his fault. Some times our arguments ended with me getting hit.

    Looking back, I realize that none of our arguments had ever been resolved. Only I forgot about it, until the next time. I was very lonely, never being able to say if something bothered me as it would be used against me if he was angry.

    I was one of the lucky ones, to to have only wasted 4 years, and no children with him. I have been married to a wonderful man for 25 years.

  • I was married 20 years to a narcissistic man and alcoholic. I left to live. Stupid me met a female “so called friend” with the same illness. I guess I felt safe in the familiar. You want to believe so much you do. What lies! Not a friend of mine anymore. I was just about destroyed again. The expression if you don’t learn something the first time you will be given it again. I will not let this happen to me again. I want to keep my soul.

  • Jeri

    Hi. I have been dating a man I have been friends with for 13 years. He was married to an old friend of mine. Anyhow, I will get to the point. He is most certainly a narcissist. When we first got together everything happened so quickly and he had a lot going on in his life. He just became separated, his father passed, and he lost his job. I asked him if he was sure he still wanted to be in this. I suggested he take some time for himself. He insisted he loved me and I was the only great thing in his life.

    I helped him through the death of his dad. He acquired a great job quickly. He was about to move out of the house he shared with her and things were actually looking up and good for a while. He asked me to move in with him, which I was actually a bit shocked by. I asked him if he was sure and he said he was. So I agreed. Not too far after we became pregnant. We spoke about it for a few days and he was sure he wanted our baby. So he immediately went about telling everybody he knows. We even told his mother together as well as my son. Soon thereafter we moved him into his apartment.

    We got into an argument that night over something ridiculous. He became mad at me for suggesting we use a different furniture polish. He freaked out about it actually. I left that night saying that I couldn’t take the amount of fighting anymore. He would get crazy over the smallest things. He would scream, throw things, hit things. It was out of control. The next morning I wanted to talk things through and he decided to then tell me he never wanted this child and he wants to break up for good. I was shocked and left alone pregnant with all the plans now changed for me. I cried for 3 weeks. Every single day without fail. I thought I would never make it through the pain. I decided that I couldn’t have the baby on my own. He was also pushing for me to terminate. I never planned on having a baby at my age, but knew I couldn’t possibly do it alone.

    I had no job. I just graduated from school in a career where I would just make paying for my own necessities. He took me to that appointment and was so loving and sweet. And somehow we ended up back together. I still have issues with it. I still can’t believe he would want to tell my son with me. He said he was thinking about it being a mistake for so long. It still shocks me that he would do that. I can’t trust his word. And as I write this I feel so stupid for being with him. Anyhow, I do love this man, because believe me he is not all bad. I can understand how things went WAY to fast for him and I am trying to be understanding and give him a second chance. He is someone I have known for a while and know isn’t this horrible person.

    So we still fight because I can’t trust him. I try to talk to him about where it stems from and he pretends to understand, but he is cold about what he has put me through. He apologizes, but it is not heartfelt. He is still very cold in general. Still can not stand to be wrong, He gets rageful and tries to revert everything back to me as if it is my fault. Says hurtful things that make me feel unloved, but doesn’t understand how I would feel that way. He seems so heartless. I am always questioning if he really loves me or not. He is sexually aggressive. Not in a violent way, but in a persistent way. For example when I was sick, laid up on the couch, he kept trying to pursue me. And when I didn’t respond he became angry.

    He is very conceited and self-centered. He thinks he is the best at everything. He can’t take me standing up for myself and telling him how his words and actions make me feel. He tells me to grow up, get over it, and that I’m being over dramatic. And many times has gone into a rage. Punched a hole through the wall. Pushed me once as well.

    He also lies over the smallest things. He uses the excuse that he lies because I would freak out, yet never tried to tell me the truth and to see what my reaction would really be. It can be over small things and not so small things, but he lies a lot. At the same time, he can be thoughtful and sweet and loving. I used to think the good outweighed the bad and now I’m not so sure. I contemplate breaking up with him all the time. But for some reason can’t do it. He will get me to the point where I just can’t take anymore. We have been both trying to work on ourselves and trying to consider each other more. But lately it seems I’m the one who puts in the effort with everything much more so than he. He is always about himself. I feel like I have to compete with him for his love. That’s the honest truth. I don’t see how that can change. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • Unknown

    I am from India, a place where even a visit to a psychiatrist is considered a big taboo. Forget about NPD, people don’t even know that psychological problems even exist.

    After my 10 years of marriage, I have realized that my husband is a narcissist. Since ours was a love marriage, we have 2 kids, and not I’m financially independent, I can’t even think of breaking my marriage. So what do I do? How do I deal with him?

  • FeeFee

    This is so scary…because I’ve experienced it. Thank God I ONLY wasted four years of my life with this man. I realized shortly after I met him that he had a PD, but I didn’t know what it was, and I was too caught up to really delve into it.

    But his classic behaviors, even from early in the ‘relationship’ (I now know it wasn’t a relationship at all) –he would start silly arguments…find reasons to give me the silent treatment and then I would end up calling to beg and beseech to know what I had done, and why he was behaving this way…I always felt like I did “something wrong”. Even the way he speaks makes no sense, but as I read on another blog, narcissists speak that way to confuse you. He always accused ME of cheating, all the time, out of nowhere (turns out, he is a rampant serial cheater with several kids –all while pretending to have only two kids).

    He would say cruel or inappropriate things (to me, and especially about women),showed no empathy, no matter what I was going through. I could get no comfort from him. If I was hurting over something, in the midst of it, he would point out why its my fault. Now that I think about it, almost ALL of our conversations were about HIM, or things related to him.

    Everybody else was always against him, out to get him. He was secretive, and paranoid. I have even come to the conclusion that he hates women. Being with them is just a means to an end –sex, getting driven around, having them run errands for him, etc……he lied by omission mostly…and if you asked him a question, it would be answered with a question, or some sort of cryptic comment, or there were the times when he would say “I’m not going to answer that”.

    We had a strong sexual connection, but I was never satisfied. It was never about me being pleasured. He would say its “work”…and then the next day text to tell me how sexy I am and how he wanted me.

    I found myself always fulfilling HIS needs, and felt guilty if I didn’t. He would say I said things that I hadn’t said…said I did things that I hadn’t done to the point where at times I wondered if I had done or said such things. He had several mobile phones –which in hindsight, would make sense, since he had so much to hide, and his life was so compartmentalized and complicated….then there were the moments when he would text me to say “I don’t serve any purpose to anyone…my life has no meaning”…and I would rush to his side to “feed him”…basically what he wanted was an ego boost, or could have been just manipulating me to see how I would respond.

    Once he told me, “You deserve better than me. I am like damaged goods”. He would say things like that which made me feel sorry for him, and forgive him all of his nasty ways, then the very next DAY he would be back to being nasty and sour….he was rude, abrasive, full of himself, never thought he was wrong, and extremely critical of me and others.

    And all the while just below the surface was this simmering rage and melancholy. I cannot imagine why I didn’t RUN a long time ago. NOBODY likes him, even at his job. That’s a big red flag. From as early as 3 months he showed his true colors, but then he would always ask me to “forgive” him, and he would “try” to fix his ways. He never once told me he loved me (he did so twice in a text message, but refused to say it) —he actually asked me “Why is love so important to you?”…and STILL I stayed. Sigh.

    And it’s as if he would sense when I was pulling away, without me saying anything. If I didn’t text or call for a few hours, a text would surely come in from him like this “Where are you now and what are you doing?” or “How come I haven’t heard from you? Have you abandoned me?” or “Please don’t abandon me, I hardly have any ‘friends’”.

    The only thing he showed care for in his life were the two kids —and even that is questionable, because now I know this could very well be just a part of his narcissist —he needs people to adore him, and his two small children certainly do. He wanted a key to my house at one point. Thank God I didn’t go that far with him! Although I did get pregnant (after him begging and pleading with me for two years)…and now he has abandoned his daughter (and all the while still trying to get sex), but that’s another story.

    Now I know why he has had a string of broken relationships and said to me, “I don’t consider myself as married, and I don’t operate as such” (when I found out that he was). He actually had a string of women while he was with me, and I only recently found that out. He is a very sick sadistic person.

    I see myself has having ESCAPED from this horrible, horrible man. I don’t even think of him as human anymore. He is an empty shell.

    I actually pity the next woman who gets involved with the facade that he presents….sadly he will do the same again, and again. I wish I could splatter his name across the daily papers and beg every woman to run as far away from this man as possible!

  • Pita

    I am a 67 year old sculptor/painter, in good shape, have a good rep, a caregiver type, cared for my sick wife for a long time till her death, and raised a son solo.

    A year and a half ago, I fell for a younger woman, 51, a Canadian Diva, a voice of an angel and beauty to boot.
    I have been though a lot, two wives with cancer, a single dad, surviving as an artist for 45 years, so I was COMPLETELY shocked at how I got drawn in. I was used and abused by this diva. My story is not the usual story, I kept pulling back, like what is this crap, but she was a professional seducer and time and again I got drawn back in.

    I did clue in early on when she did a borderline rage thing with me, but I thought I could tough it out and see it through. I am surprised at how I was conned over and over. I think I am still hoping she will wake up, but the prognosis is not good; men (and women) fall at her feet and she thrives on the attention without commitment.

    My point here is that I am astonished how women (mostly) hang in with such difficult men, it is a tribute to their large heart and perseverance. It is so difficult to let hope die, walk away from the potential that never got to be.

    Corroboration from a few friends and sites like like this are gold, it confirms that I am not completely crazy.
    It is astonishing how narcissists can really hurt others, their operating system is lethal.

  • greycloud

    I believe my SO is a narcissist. Been with him 6 confusing years. He don’t come home and has multiple affairs. If I ask him ANYTHING he flips his lid and will give the silent treatment for weeks. He does what he wants when he wants, does not do ANYTHING in the house, yet its all my fault when laundry gets backed up. He doesn’t feel he has to answer to anything cause he is “grown ass man”, so he says. He will leave and not come home till the next day and if that upsets me, he says I’m messed up and I need help. He never does anything with our kids. He will lay on the couch while I’m cooking and tending to my mentally challenged sister and tell me, not ask, tell me to go and see what our 3 year old is doing. He’s lazy as all hell. I’m suffocating.

  • Gina

    I was with a narcissist for 7 years and didn’t know it. In the beginning he told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to grow old with me, etc. After 6 1/2 years, now he insults me, belittles and berates me to others, bad mouths me, and criticized me constantly. I kept telling him that if he didn’t stop being so darned nasty to me, insulting and just uncaring, I was going to leave him, but he didn’t heed the warnings.

    So, in September of 2012, I left him for good, and boy was he shocked. He started telling his male friends that he was in total shock and disbelief. What did he expect? For me to continue with him? I will tell you one thing, he taught me what a real narcissist is and how to avoid them. Now that I know some of the “traits” and actions (verbal), I know better than to get involved with them at all…they are nothing but TROUBLE!

  • Meechl

    I was with my ex husband for about 15 years and reading all these postings has made me feel sane. He belittled me to his family and friends and made me feel worthless while shagging anything in a shirt that moved. I paid for everything and now live in a home which I have to buy him out of just for the title of being his wife! The woman he left me for is now suffering!

    Last July I met a man who was too good to be true! He said all the right things, but deep down I knew there was something not quite right about him, then it hit me! He was a narcissist. It was little things at first and I found myself doubting my own gut instincts! Friends told me things and situations they found themselves in with him and I gave him the benefit of the doubt! I tried splitting up with him and he would guilt trip me into taking him back which like a fool I did!

    Reading these comments have been very helpful the only way to deal with a narcissist is to treat them like plaster; rip then off and throw them away for your own sanity! If you don’t, they will thrive on the power they hold over you until they have broken you into a hollow shell!

  • Poor Kate.

    I read her comments above and she sounds like the perfect Martyr to complement her chosen narcissist, whoever he may be.

    If turning to religion is the only solution she can come up with, then I think that says everything one needs to know about these people she refers to as having been “labeled” as narcissists.

    Here’s some quick facts from the non-politically correct side of the story:

    NOT all comfort zones are acceptable.
    NOT all behaviors warrant forgiveness.
    NOT all people with personality disorders can change, or be helped – and there is NOT necessarily a ‘purer’ or ‘more beautiful’ person beneath that distorted personality. Sometimes, that personality IS who they are. I know that’s hard to accept, but as you get older you’ll find that it’s often the truth.

    Unless you’d care to try to convince me that Adolf Hitler or Idi Amin was a glowing, radiant core of light underneath their outer selves. Good luck with that.

    Regardless of the obvious solace you have placed in your particular tradition, the fact is that in the real world, we have real people with real problems and those people with their problems will STOP YOU from achieving your personal growth if you allow them to be a part of your life.

    There may be such a thing as unconditional love. But there is NO such thing as an unconditional relationship.

    Welcome to the real world.

  • Julianne

    I have been in a relationship with a highly intelligent, very successful, narcissist for 25 years. We have been married for 11 of these years and have two children. It has been and still is, a living nightmare.

    My life thus far with him has been devoid of true love. The only love this man has is for himself. He displays absolutely every one of the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He is arrogant, conceited and controlling. He verbal rages at the drop of a hat over anything and nothing. He has undermined my confidence by continually blaming me for everything.

    Without me even realizing, I have allowed him to control me and abuse me. The abuse is nearly always verbal and emotional and typically involves cutting me down in some form or another. All this only ever takes place in private, so that his image is not harmed. In public, he is a confident, well liked, charming individual. He has an overinflated sense of self and sense of entitlement and believes he is the most intelligent and likeable person around.

    After many, many tumultuous years living with him at the expense of my own happiness, I suddenly realized what he was after searching the internet for answers to our completely dysfunctional relationship. That was nearly 12 months ago and since that time, I have been on an emotional roller coaster ride. I then decided to go and see a psychologist with a view on getting help on how to handle him.

    The psychotherapy has taken me on a journey and slowly but surely I feel that I am beginning to get my sense of self back. I feel like I am emerging from a fog that has blinded me for the best part of my life. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I am moving forward in tiny baby steps. I can fully sympathize with anyone caught in a long term relationship with a narcissist. It is a living hell. I can’t see an exit for me at this time in my life, but I am gaining inner strength until such times as I feel it is appropriate and possible for me to leave. Until such times I still have to put up with the crap that he dishes out on a daily basis. He on the other hand will continue on in his self absorbed way, oblivious to everything.

  • Sarah

    I fell madly in love and to some extent still am in love with a man who I fear may well be a narcissist. This man came on to me and on to me and on to me for months, wouldn’t let me out of his sight (we work together) and I have over 2000 emails as a result of very intense and personal discussions with him. I fell in love – BADLY. Thought he was the love of my life and have never felt so strongly for anyone. When I got close to admitting how I felt and dressed myself up (for him) at the company party thinking we were close to starting something, he backed way off and I learned he had a girlfriend already. He lives with her and I’m heartbroken. I don’t know now if everything he said to me was a lie, about my own attractiveness and sexuality.

    When I tried to ask him why he backed off (overnight!) he would NOT give me any explanations other than he was busy and his behavior towards me (he is now my boss) has changed from adoration to almost cruelty and I don’t know why. I learned he has a reputation as being selfish and horrible – but he walks around as the boss now as if he is the “Great I Am”.

    My self esteem is shattered, I feel on occasion suicidal, and have had to enter an OCD therapy program because when the doubts and questions about his behavior enter my mind, they go round and round in circles and will NOT go away. I need to know that there is light at the end of this very dark period (which has now lasted over 3 years) and that his girlfriend isn’t lucky and that I’m not ugly or unlovable and worthless. Because that is how I feel.

  • Mare Mare

    OMG! I am so glad I have discovered this site. I am in angst with the complete alcoholic narcissist that I have been involved with for three years. I didn’t really realize how he is textbook narcissist until reading this. I have broken up with him countless times, but always go back. I can’t take it anymore. He has been drinking again and then doesn’t admit it. I pray pray for the courage and self-love to leave him and never look back. God help me.

  • Simon

    Narcissists will simply destroy you piece by piece. They will play puppet with you and that’s if you’re lucky. Everyone needs to understand that trust is earned. Hand over your emotions on a plate, and they will run you ragged. Be on your guard always and let someone earn your trust.

    There are dangerous people out there, and once your understand that you keep the gates to your emotions closed until trust has been earned.

  • Suzanne

    Hello Doctor,

    I am saddened and it reinforces what I have known for years, being a therapist myself it is hard to realize I have stayed in such a relationship for so long. I feel as though I have lost my self respect.

    I currently do not do any therapy groups because ethically I cannot due to my current emotional status, which is devastating to me both mentally and financially. For the past 14 years I have “seen more in him than he sees in himself” with the illusionary belief he will change. I am at my ropes end.

    The saddest thing about it is we are not married. The house, the cars, everything is in his name and he has had about 2% of the building of my practice. I have nothing to show. I have paid for everything and out of stupidity justify staying because I will “loose everything” but now it has gotten to the point my sanity is on the line too, I need help to figure this out Dr. Please help.

  • Jess

    Hi everyone,

    I am a mother of 2 kids and found out I am almost 3 months pregnant. The father of the child I’m expecting I’ve known for years now, but just this year in January we started a relationship. I’ve been reading all of these true stories and it brings tears to my eyes. To make a long story short, everyone in town loves him and specially the ladies. I thought he could change because like some people say, God has the power to really do so if the person is willing to accept it. I have realized I can’t stay around while this change happens.

    I was on birth control and he said he couldn’t have kids, so even though he wanted another baby, I wasn’t ready just yet. Before the pregnancy test at the doctors about a month ago, I realized he was changing. The minute he knew he had me there, he was sexually and emotionally detached. He said I was crazy, said I was a liar and blamed me for things I haven’t even done.

    I moved out of his house two weeks ago after being verbally abused by him and seeing he didn’t seem to care. Knowing I was pregnant, he said some really mean things, made me feel like the honest sweet guy I thought and wished to be with has never been there. After I left, he began texting me and sending me love songs because he knows I love music. After 3 days of being so cold towards him, he said he wanted to be in the baby’s life and I finally let him see me. Its been exactly one week since we’ve been texting and seeing each other here and there, but he stopped the sweet talking and music dedications once he saw I was there again. He don’t know I am very protective of my feelings now and my kids. I don’t believe him and I think he has cheated on me before.

    Honestly it’s been less than a year for us to be having this pitty arguments and him acting the way he does. I felt I could change him someway, felt he was not that guy who talks to me like I’m nothing next to him. He’s better than me and everyone else. I thought I could change him by being patient, like he said he would change for me. All lies.

    Now he wants me back and he doesn’t realized I read this stories to keep me strong so I don’t end up back because I know every time he has me there, he treats me like I don’t exist. He just needs me when everyone else is not there. I feel lonely even when he’s around and all he cares is to work, work, work and the gym. I’m the last in his book and I was okay with that for a little bit, but I am worth more than just left overs.

    I’m very sad because I love him and every time I try to ignore him, he tries to be around. He is a nice and perfect guy when he wants something. I can’t keep falling for a guy who is always looking at himself at the mirror like he is so perfect. Can someone please tell me if I am wrong for thinking this way??? I feel that way at times. He is 37 years old and has two kids. His oldest is 17, he should know what he wants already, not me telling him what he’s doing is not right.

  • Ricky

    She seemed to have almost no empathy for anyone else. She would break promises, lie to my face and not care, it’s like it didn’t happen or it was my fault. She did what she did.

    Whenever we argued, she would say how beautiful she was and could have any man she wanted. She was a model and was a massive attention seeker using sex and acting like a lesbian on Twitter before I was with her to get attention.

    She got jealous of female members of my family calling them wh**es just because I bought them flowers for their birthdays. She said I should only buy flowers for her and that it was my fault she resented them because I put them first, but I didn’t.

    If I got mad at her because of this behavior she would say I’m an abuser telling all her friends and even her friends boyfriends. I admit I did say mean things, but so did she. She said she wanted to kill me and my family and she hoped they all died because I deserve misery for not treating her like the princess she is.

    She constantly spoke about how she was a princess and how men hit on her and could never get over her. She was a cam girl and used this money to buy things she could never afford. She said she deserved to live like a princess and above her means, not caring about the hurt this job would do to her mum if she found out, not to mention the pain it caused me. She never felt any remorse for her actions and lies. She wouldn’t even discuss them its as though it didn’t happen.

    She would accuse me of not making her feel loved enough. I took her to Paris for the day for her birthday which cost me 600 pounds and she said I was tight. She constantly accused me of looking at other women, which I didn’t dare saying I can only look at her when I’m out not around the room.

    She said she didn’t need to keep promises. She would break them, not apologize or even speak about them. She would be violent towards me. I complained and she said I should be embarrassed because I’m a man and she’s a girl, but if someone hits you with boots or kicks you in the chest, it hurts. By the end, she constantly was telling me how her friends were trying up hook her up with other men and she deserved better, I should treat her better, but nothing was good enough for her. Plus I felt unloved myself I refused to give her this admiration she felt she was entitled to. I became more obsessed with her rather then in love.

    I did something hurtful to her and she just shut me out of her life, didn’t even call to end our 2 year relationship. Everything was via text! Within 2 weeks she had met another men whom owns his own business. Within 2 months she’s engaged to him and acts as though she never knew me. When I found this out, I was deeply upset and she told me she’s so in love, he is the one and when you know, you know. She couldn’t understand why I was so hurt at hearing details about their pending marriage. She said she told me because she thought I was over her, but only 2 days before I was asking for her back. She made me feel worthless without her! We argued and she said she’s embarrassed she’s with me, I’m just at law school whereas he’s a real man who owns his own business and does everything for her like open cars door, he never forgets and that’s she realized what real love is now!

    I feel as though she completely forgot me in 2 weeks. When I met her she told me things like I was the one too and that we had a magical connection she had never felt before! She says, “I can’t understand why you aren’t happy for me???” She just doesn’t understand that I loved her. We were planing our lives together only 2 months ago!

    She said she wouldn’t have married me but she was only settling because I didn’t treat her how she feels she’s deserves to be treated and so she was only settling with me!

    Did she have npd and why did she move on so easily? Does she think this man is better than me or is it just because he does more for her and only sees good in her as he hasn’t seen her other side yet, just like when I first met her I was crazy about her.

  • I didn’t know my husband was a narcissist until today. At first, I thought I was in an abusive marriage, but now I realize it’s much worse than that.

    At first my husband was the best man anyone could ever have. He catered to all my needs and was respectful. Now, three years later, it’s a different person. I see glimpses of the man I married, but I see more ugly than anything else.

    Tonight we were walking and our neighbors were having a party. He looked at me and said, “I wonder what it feels like to have a fun wife?” I asked him why he always insults me and he said, “Awe, why are you going to kill yourself? If you kill yourself, do it in front of me so I can get 10 days off work.” I thought to myself, “This man is worried more about work than my own life. What am I doing with him?”

    The thing is, he is now going to counseling for his anger management and at times we have couples therapy. He started going because I began seeing a therapist, I am 22 years old and seeing a therapist because I was depressed. My husband emotionally abused me, he talks down to me, insults me and everything is my fault. He flaunted how beautiful woman were and how so and so has a better body than I do, keep in mind I am 5 feet and weigh 107 pounds and have a descent size chest (c cup). I consider myself attractive, but nothing for him is good enough.

    He never acknowledges me. When I ask him a question, he ignores me, but Lord forbid I ignore him, he goes off and never let’s me forget it. I don’t know how to handle this man. We have talked about a separation, I told him I couldn’t do this anymore, I couldn’t live this way and be happy, but the truth is he makes me happy. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m hopeful therapy will help. Other times I feel like his therapist only feeds into his ego because he’s the kindest person with others, so she thinks that I’m the one that needs to change and accept him more for who he is, well that’s what he tells me. He always comes home after his session and says, “Well my therapist said you just need to accept this and that.” Either he’s lying or she’s in denial about this man.

    I don’t know what to do. I know that there are worthy men out there and youth is still on my side; I can start a new and better life. The thing is, I don’t want to leave him, but at the same time I feel like I need to. It’s only a matter of time before this man cheats on me I feel it. Am I the bad person for thinking this way? Is this hopeless?

  • Ricky

    Trust me, you should leave him before he does you anymore emotional damage. You seem like a lovely girl and it wouldn’t be hard for you to find someone nice who treats you right. I have come to realize these people never change. They are unwilling to change because they think they’re perfect. Deep inside they’re insecure, but they will never admit that because it terrifies them, that’s what the whole narcissist thing is about.

    Since I have been split up with my narcissist ex girl friend, I have discovered so many lies she had told me. She constantly accused me of talking to women behind her back when in truth she was the one speaking to her exes and I think sleeping with one of them who is married. Also she spoke to loads of other men whom had the hots for her when I was with her for the most of the time. I never thought she would cheat on me even though she lied.

  • Alesia

    I dated a narcissist for a few months last year, five months to be exact. He was very charming and knew just what to say. I was lonely from the passing of my husband to whom I was married to for 30 years. So, after 4 years after the loss of my husband, I thought I was ready to date again. Unbeknownst to me, I never thought a toxic toad would enter my life.

    I truly thought he was my knight and shining armor. However, one day out of the blue he ended the relationship abruptly. I was devastated. My heart was in this, seriously. So me being the curious person I am and re-reading emails we shared, I saw red flags and that was the start of my investigation on this sick individual.

    He wanted to be friends after the breakup, right. Well, I agreed, but never again agreed to meet him in person for coffee, lunch or dinner. I made excuses of always being busy. One thing a narcissist can’t stand is rejection, so I rejected all his invites. Finally after reading and researching this mentally ill man for several months, I exposed him. Yep, he is on mostly every social network for dating. What I did was created a false name and invited him in my social dating sites. One thing, some men are real stupid. This man is bisexual and chases transgenders. He will do oral sex on any body, man and woman. He even has pedophile tendencies. These people are dangerous!

    So after several months of collecting data on him, I exposed all to him in his face, over a cup of coffee, of course. One thing though, I showed him my registered pistol and told him I’ll blow his fricken balls off. He’s been running away from me since. I said all that to say this…..ladies and gentlemen, live your life. If chosen by a narcissist only means that you’re compassionate and have a heart to love. Embrace the fact that you can love. Narcissist are unhappy, miserable people and been most of their lives. Their whole intent is to make your life miserable. Their intent is to destroy you mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. They live with this black dark hole in their heart that even the physician can’t comprehend or a psychiatrist. God bless and strengthen everyone who encountered a narcissist. I pray that your joy return soon and very soon.

  • Marcy

    I dated a narcissist 7 years – broke up so many times due to other women – neglect – you name it… it would make my head spin. I even went on to date two others and become engaged to one. But always went back to the narcissist. I missed the excitement, the youthful “edge”, the great sex, the outgoing personality, the party guy, etc.. He made a great DATE. But relationship material? Not so much. He was the King of seduction, but to maintain? Forget it. But I missed him.

    Finally… after he completed a bankruptcy and I could not detect a woman anywhere – I agreed to marry him against the advice of friends/family. My instincts told me I was throwing the dice and that the odds were not in my favor but could not see a life without this man.

    Fast forward 18 months. We had married 12/31/11. The beginning was great. Then I experienced my first “rage attack”. It came out of nowhere. And the nasty comments, the delusions, accusations, rewriting history, blah blah blah.. We played this game for months – I left so many times (I kept my other house) I thought I should install a revolving door!!!

    Finally.. we go to counseling. I do have BPD tendencies, so it was kind of a dysfunctional dance we were doing, but I wanted SO badly to understand and climb inside his head. I know I can’t fix it, but I’m so desperate to find methods to cope with this. He accepts a lot from me where other guys wouldn’t. And now we are both in our 60′s.

    Most others would go running into the hills.. and I did have an appointment with a divorce attorney as recent as last week. I had had enough. I heard it all from my friends.. “You deserve better.. blah blah”.. I KNOW that, but I am willing to try to learn strategies to cope and protect myself. Not the perfect life we hope to sign up for, but it is the one I know. NO, I will NOT take abuse. I will walk away and come back when he is calm and can LISTEN.

    Have any of you heard of the Monkey Dance referenced on another narcissist site? FASCINATING reading.
    These narcissistic rages are about MONKEY DANCES.. They are virtual temper tantrums. That’s why they feel so good when they are over and they act like nothing ever happened. To them, it didn’t.

    Put up a glass wall….. Let the monkey throw up his arms – scream – jump up and down.. and you do NOT react. Even laugh inside if you have to. They can not break that invisible glass that separates you from him. Detach. Don’t take it personal .. and take care of YOURSELF. Be very self sufficient and maintain your SELF ESTEEM.

    Does this work for everybody? Nope.

    Will I still be with him in l0 years? Don’t know. But I want to try.

    Blessings to you all ~ Peace ~ and thank you to those who know what it’s like to experience that hell behind closed doors that nobody else ever sees. It makes me feel better to know I am not alone, not crazy, and dealing with a mental disordered person.

    Hugs.

  • Run as Fast as You Can

    I don’t know how old this is, but I’m here today so maybe others are as well. I find it frustrating to say the least that anyone is saying you should love them and believe in miracles. I am not judging them, but I wish they would save their advice for the pros because theirs is damaging. I’m in a sensitive place and find it important to remind everyone if you believe, God helps those who help themselves.

    My father is a narcissist. I’m 39, my life is a mess, and our family is falling apart. Well, my family anyway, since I think I’m the only one invested. I grew up in a home with my father and I am still nervous to be alone with him – he is a total stranger to me. We have all loved my father our entire lives, my mother has for over 50 years. What did that do? Nothing. He’s a monster. He plies my mother with alcohol and is cruel to all of us, with a smile and a laugh of course.

    He has told his children they will never be good enough and now, I’m not. Almost every man I’ve dated is a narcissist as well as my boss – we’re like magnets for one another. I believed my father’s lies. I know now, I’m intelligent and hardworking, wasting away in a job I’m completely overqualified for… and my father is telling me to leave it for another job suited for a teenager. He loves to keep us down. My sister is successful and that infuriates him. He is harder on her for being successful and easy on me for failing in my career and relationships. I am somehow the golden child – I love me, but I should not be – my life is a constant struggle.

    After a *simple* argument with my sister he shut her out. They have not spoken in a year. She is the mother of their ONLY grandchildren. My mother cleaves to him so she has also ignored her and the grand-kids with NO explanation of what transpired between my father and sister. I found out this weekend that my father told my mom that she (sister) accused him of molesting her daughter. That is a complete fabrication, but she crossed him and he buried her. How messed up is that? My mom is so under his thumb she wasn’t even concerned enough to call my sister? It does not go unnoticed that I now unfortunately know she’s “that mom” that wouldn’t believe her daughter who was raped or molested and that sickens me to no end. That is who she became by “loving him” for 50 years. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

    I am telling you this because I am losing my family. If you want to wait for a miracle or “love” to fix him, please don’t have any children. I am lost and confused that this is my family. I am embarrassed and angry that I set my personal goals so low because my father told me I was too stupid for college and incapable in every aspect of life JUST SO HE COULD BE BETTER THAN I am. I had dreams, he crushed them. Who wants that for their children? It’s abusive at best, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He beat us and raged at us our entire childhood (well until 18 for me when I hit the MF back) and now I have to figure out how to fix the frightened adult I am today. Why did it take so long? Well unfortunately they can be so good that you just think you’ve been the problem all along. Suicide was always a fantasy I had to escape that house when I was little, but I just wasn’t built that way and I never got any further than the fantasy. It’s a very sneaky disorder. Don’t subject your children to that hell – if you don’t want to fix yourself, fine, but don’t bring a child into this world. My parents shouldn’t have.

    Run. If he’s perfect and sweeps you off your feet – run. No one is perfect and you’re not as special as he says you are, nor do you want to be – he might lock you in a cage, but he’ll never love you. They simply don’t have any to give.

    Lastly, I am sorry for those who are sticking it out. I was there with my boyfriends, fiances, friends, etc. Now I know I was there because my self-worth combined with my family history didn’t give me the power to know I was WORTH walking away. Life is for living, not coping.

  • Kelly

    I am also curious as to how old some of these posts are. I am writing this on September 4th, 2013. I found this site after deciding to arm myself with information on how to deal with my narcissistic partner after deciding I can take no more. Leaving him seems impossible.

    It seems there is a strong need for support of partners of NPD. It can definitely feel like you are all alone and no one can really understand what life is like with this sort of person. So, it’s comforting to know others are going though the exact same thing. I could have written so many of these posts myself.
    One similarity that struck me in so many other posts, is that the partner is always 9 or 10 years older. I was only 20 when I met my man, he was 30. I’m now 29 and the thought of having a relationship with a 20 year old strikes me as bizarre. He totally swept me off my feet and made me feel like I was the most amazing person in the world. Within days of meeting, he was talking about us spending the rest of our lives together and begging me to move in with him. I am terribly ashamed to admit that I fell hard for this. In hindsight, I was already suffering low self esteem when we met and he found me at a vulnerable time. When 3 months into our relationship I found him texting his ex gf (who was also 20 – cough cough), I tried to leave but he said all the right things and I stayed.

    6 months into our relationship, my dad died in a car accident and I was completely and utterly devastated. I was 4000km from home when this happened and he was all I had (he is a complete nomad, never holding down a job and moving from state to state or city to city, never ever settling and always searching for greener grass.) I was young and carefree and of course there were good times. But the bad times were soul destroying. I could not believe that my hero had turned into this monster. I was grieving my dad hard and he couldn’t care less. Everytime I tried to leave he would somehow make me stay.

    3 years into our relationship I got pregnant and I mistakenly believed that being a dad would change him. I feel so stupid writing this, but when I say he was all I had, I am not exaggerating. I thought it would be better to be with this person who is so mean and selfish and arrogant yet he’s also charming, generous, and knows all the right things to say, then to be alone.

    While I was in labor with my son, he was out drinking with mates (did I mention he’s an alcoholic) and I’m so grateful my neighbour was there to help me. When I finally went to hospital, he arrived so off his face, he’d also been taking ecstasy or speed or something. 10 minutes after our son was born, he told me he was tired and was going home for a sleep.

    4 years ago my younger brother asphyxiated during a house fire, he was only 23. The funeral was in another state and I booked plane tickets for myself, him and our son. His was the following day because he just “had” to work. All he seemed to care about was what he was going to wear to funeral and when I arrived at my mums house he was constantly ringing me, asking me to go buy him a suit and get him some shoes. The morning of the funeral, I drove an hour and a half to the airport, arriving at 3:30 am, to pick him up but he’s not there. when I rang him, he told me he was still interstate. He’d slept through his alarm and therefore missed his flight. Even writing this now still brings tears to my eyes.

    And here I am 5 years later. I have only very recently realised, with the help of my psychologist, that he is a narcissist. I have a lot of healing to do. unfortunately, he is still not gone from my life despite me telling him one million times I don’t love him, that he makes me miserable, that my son deserves better and I intend on giving it to him. Despite refusing to even sleep in the same room and cringing visibly at his touch, I actually hope for him to finally get fed up with no sex and go find some other hapless, barely out of her teens girl to destroy. I don’t mean that because I am not a compassionate person and I would never wish another human to go through what I went through with him, but he needs to find a new toy. Surely I’m too old for him by now anyway. The difference between now and then is that I am a hell of a lot wiser and older. Every day since learning that this is who he is, I am feeling more empowered and have a tiny itty bitty of hope that i can be happy and free of this toxic person. I liked the comment a poster made, “staying with this person is like poisoning yourself to death, slowly.” I have been slowly dying for 9 years thinking this is my lot in life and he’s all I ever deserve. Not anymore. These people are sick in the head and nothing gives them more satisfaction then pushing all your buttons to make you look crazy and so that they appear the poor hard done by victim.

    I’m sorry for the life story. It’s been therapeutic to write this out. I may even show him…. (I know already it would have absolute zero impact, but hey, gotta try). He will never ever change and he will never ever admit he is anything less than perfection personified.

    xx

  • First, let me say, I came to this site hoping that I was wrong in thinking I have married a narcissist. Unfortunately, reading through all your posts I see that I was correct in my thoughts. I have married a narcissist. My heart has been broken. I have altered my life and left relationships for a man who pretended to be my knight in shining armor, until the day he said “I DO”. This is not an exaggeration. We haven’t been married a year, only 11 months, and he has completely changed from day one of this marriage. During our courtship he was supportive to me in every way (emotionally). He was a great emotional support to my daughter as well in her struggles with her Father and finding her career path. He was charming, romantic, and loving. But again, that all ended the day we married. The story is long, the story is sad, and I will not go to deeply into the details; but, basically he abandoned me with his children for a week, a month after we were married, for what he said was, “a business trip.” However, he never attended the meetings. I tracked his phone to find he was in another persons hotel room when he was suppose to be attending the conference. I was in the hospital for a week and he NEVER, not once, came to see me. He has completely stopped complimenting me. We have not been on a date or anywhere, other than the grocery store together, since we married. He has zero interest in intimacy and leaves me empty. I attempted to discuss this with him and was told, “I don’t know.” when asked why. If I initiate closeness, I am shut down and rejected. My daughters Father passed away and he never called her to give his condolences nor did he come to the funeral with us. When we visited her shortly after, he never mentioned it or gave his condolences. He has changed completely into someone I do not know. We dated for a couple of years and discussed marriage. He never asked me to marry him until his 15 and 17 year old children decided they wanted to change the order of custody and begin living with him. He always told me I was a great caregiver. I guess that is why he needed to marry me because I am the one that is the emotional support and caregiver for his children. I made the mistake of moving 500 miles from home to be with him. Now I am secluded, alone and unloved by a man that used to take me everywhere with him, with his family, acted adoringly and his eyes shined every time he looked at me. Now, he has dead eyes and has not emotion, compassion, or empathy for me or anyone else. He is boring at home and out all the time when he travels. Who is this man? What do I do? How do I get away? I tried to tell him how I was feeling and he became angry and said, “nothing has changed.” He is not violent, he just begins a lawyer like attack on me and makes me feel ridiculous and needy. I was a very independent woman until him. He spoiled me with love and compassion throughout the courtship. Then, took it all away the day we married leaving me to feel as though I did something to deserve his emotionally leaving me. What type of professional should I look for in addressing this issue specifically related to what appears to be codependency of a narcissist?

  • Sara

    I’m just now realizing that the man I was with for one year is a narcissist. I met him at his ex wife’s house (she and I are/were friends). I wasn’t really interested, but he chased me so hard I finally gave in, and the charm was poured on. He would brush my hair and braid it after my shower, flattered me constantly and he literally swept me off my feet. I didn’t sleep with him until he had officially broken up with his then girlfriend. She was a married woman who’d left her husband for him. He cheated on her constantly, I later found out.

    He moved me in with him within 3 months. When I posted a nice picture of us on fb (we’d gone to the beach with his grown daughters) his ex called him to say how heartbroken she was that I would do that (I posted it on his timeline). This created a huge argument. He said I did it on purpose to hurt his ex. REALLY?? About a month later she texted him and said, “he had f’d up her life and she was taking a bunch of pills.” He phoned her daughter who checked on her, she was okay, but passed out from three Xanax. To make a long story short, we lasted about 7 more months and, then, he suddenly decided I should leave. I’d already given up my apartment when I moved in with him. We (or rather me, in desperation) decided to see each other on weekends, although I couldn’t figure out what it was I’d done wrong. Turns out, he was seeing his married ex again. His relationship status changed on fb and that’s how he dumped me. I went to his place the next morning, and a friend of his was there. This man, I’d been so good to, screamed at me as if I was a stranger walking into his home, called me a thief because his daughter was missing “change” from her car, (but surprisingly, in front of him on the table, was a collector knife that was, just that past weekend, in my sons room – it belonged to my son) I was in such shock because of how he was looking at me like I was trash and calling me horrible name in front of his friend, etc. I cried so hard I couldn’t stop, and he looked right through me.

    Six weeks later he started driving around my new place. You guessed it – we hooked up again, even though his ex was now living with him again. He apparently enjoyed that she used her husbands credit card to buy him a $8,000.00 motor for his Harley Davidson. After 3 weeks, he stopped coming around, saying that I “couldnt handle just being friends.” This has been going on since March and its almost October. He comes back for a few weeks (he threw the girlfriend out after she found out about me the last time) then dumps me all over again. But somehow its always my fault. He says things that make me believe that we are more than just friends (we have a very voracious sexual appetite for each other). This is making me crazy. I can’t seem to pick up my pride (what is that, anyway…its lost) and get on with my life. I feel addicted to him, and he does whatever he wants. What can I do?

    He just dumped me again for the fifth time three days ago. He expressed some feelings of jealousy and I confessed my lingering feelings. I really felt like we’d had a breakthrough. Then, I didn’t hear from him all day or night. I went by his house and another woman was coming out of the door with him. He couldn’t understand why I was upset, and became upset with ME for it. He didn’t answer his phone for two days. When he finally did answer, he said, “I’d misunderstood what he’d said. He was sorry for leading me on, and we probably shouldn’t have sex anymore.” He said, “we needed to sit down and talk,” (I’d been begging for that since I met him, literally) “but that he couldn’t do the talk until the following Monday.” Who does that? I cried on the phone and then he needed to hang up. He’d call me Monday. I put up with this all the time, I can’t stop. What can I do? I have two grown kids who look at me like I’m a nutcase. I have three weeks of bliss, followed by a devastating fallout. Only to start up again a month later. I’m miserable without him, and miserable with him. Help me please.

  • Sara

    I forgot to mention…he’s addicted to porn. He is on every hookup site you can find, he even ran an ad on craigslist looking for hookups. His enjoyment comes from watching BDSM porn. He was even able to convince me to participate, to some degree. He constantly talks about having another person there for sex with us, but I’m not into that at all. He’s enough for me. Why am I not enough for him? I’m still a good looking woman. I could date, but I have no interest for anyone except him. Do I need counseling??

  • Olivia

    Sara,
    Sept 30, 2013
    Yes, of course you need counseling. You believe that you are worth so little as to be treated this way. Please accept his gift of dumping you and run already.
    Liv

  • Beth

    I feel so sad writing this. For all the good people out there who fell in live with a narcissist as I did. I figured out that he was, a few weeks ago. I stupidly thought that if I loved him enough he would change. A narcissist can’t change. I knew that, from my years of volunteer work with a personal effectiveness organisation. Unfortunately, his hold over me was so strong that I was in denial.

    We met and I was hooked by his charged energy field. He is so handsome to me but technically he is not. The second day we had sex for the first time and he made me take my vows to “marry him”. That I would love and obey him forever. I ignored this red flag as just being a quirk!!

    The sex was highly charged and he was an expert lover, but it was never about my pleasure. It was always about me doing things to him. If I happened to have an orgasm in the process, then lucky for me. The next month he made it clear that I was to have no males friends ever again. And, in fact, have no contact with any males whatsoever. He demanded to check my phone every time he saw me. And accused me of many things I did not do. All this first month he was seeing other women and telling me about it. But because I had seen another man the night after we met (I had been celibate for three years so when I went onto a dating website I went a bit crazy) he felt that I was untrustworthy and I deserved it. I bought that lie. Of course, I was never unfaithful to him again. I kept hoping that he would leave the other five Women!!! He eventually did after about two months. At least, that’s what he said. That’s when he started telling me he loved me. He called me his beautiful wife. And he was quite tender at times. But we never actually went out. We had sex at either his place or mine.

    Each time I saw him he made me tell him that I loved him and would never leave him.
    It was about this time that he told me the only way he would let me leave him was if I were dead. And that he would kill me if I left. I thought this was not serious even though he owns 15 guns!!!
    He also started demanding that I go to swingers and have threesomes. Which thankfully I never did. But, it was the cause of many breakups. The pattern was that he would sext me and we would spend a few days of passion together and then he would break up with me. The time with him has been 90% nightmare. But I am addicted to him.

    He demanded that I move in with him but his son, who had never met me, stopped that, thank goodness.
    He works shift work so it is hard to know where he is or if he is sleeping, etc. He became harder to contact the last few weeks. We had a bad breakup and I said I would not see him for a week. But, of course, my questions were at fault as, “I had given him a headache,” he said. But, he texted me through the night each night. With crazy stuff.

    So yesterday was my birthday. He didn’t take me out or buy a card. Nothing! But, he turned up for sex. He told me he loved me and that he would take me out when he wasn’t on night shift. Then, at 3 in the morning, he sent me a text to say he has been seeing prostitutes which us why he has been so hard to contact and that he wanted to break up with me and that he didn’t love me!! I found myself begging him to not leave that we could work it out!!! What a crazy person. Then I found this blog. Thank God. I agreed it was over. But I am waiting at home now for him to return my key. So please pray for me that I can mend my wounded heart. But if you read this and my story connects with you. Please leave the relationship immediately. Don’t look back. Save your heart and your sanity.

  • Teresa Everett

    Oh my GOD, I am married to a narcissist, his mother is a narcissist, my father is a narcissist, and I love them all, me, the great “nurturer”. You deserve better! Don’t let your NPD person change you like mine did or leave you with 2 broken arms…but its YOUR fault. I love you all!!

  • Teresa Everett

    My narcissistic husband won’t “let” me divorce him. If I call and talk about divorcing, he shows up and MAKES me reconsider with a false, “whats wrong, talk to me!”, but when I finally give and start talking, he bails making sure I’m standing where he can slam a door or speed off in my face. I moved out into a hotel and refused to open my hotel room door when his drunk love turned to rage. The other hotel guests called the police when he started yelling and kicked my door open at 2 a.m., it was my fault the police came because “I should have just opened the door”. I could go on….

  • Teresa Everett

    Beth, my husband hasn’t spoken to me for 2 days because I asked for $10, for gas, and he tried to lie and say he didn’t have his wallet. This led to him causing a scene in the 7-11 parking lot. He has NEVER bought me a birthday or anniversary card… nothing, but he WILL show up within a day or so and I BETTER be unable to resist having sex with this WONDERFUL man……not a .50 or dollar card, and I better not remind him…I’ve done him some grand injustice! !!

  • Teresa Everett

    Of the 5.75 years we have been married, we have only lived together for 1 1/2 years . His infidelities are surfacing more and more every year. I have read the communication between these women and its the SAME STORY with each one. Ugh…he has made me angry and bitter….this is what I want help with.

  • deanna

    Living with a narcassist drains the life out of a person. I left the relationship around six months ago. I thought it would be a great idea to remain friends because of how well we get along when he isn’t in his behavior. That worked for awhile, but the behavior has been back, and escalating. The dirty words kill my spirit everytime. If I try to explain how I feel when he puts me down, the price is of more dirty words. I used to be confident with a positive attitude, but now I just feel as though life is just something you get through…..it’s time I do something. Thank you all for your stories. they give much hope….

  • MissUnderstood

    I’ve been separated for 5 years from an alcohol induced bipolar, narcissist. Our child is now 7. I’m still a sufferer since the separation. He has convinced all public services (including courts and police) that I am crazy. As a result, he has manipulated the courts into giving him a good majority the custody of our child. She is damaged and I cry every day because I can’t protect her.

    I’m a victim of both the emotional and physical abuse of a narcissist. He has deflated any credibility I have (socially) to the point where no one believes me or our child. She went to preschool citing child abuse to the school teacher, it was reported to authorities and he talked his way out when authority came knocking. I constantly think about handing over full custody to him simply so he has no control over me anymore, but then I look into the eyes of my beautiful little girl and I can’t bear to leave her, but how do I protect her when I don’t have her full time? I am in constant turmoil.

    I was a successful, 27 yr old, university educated woman, who had everything, owned my own home, (before I met him) a loving close family, and great career. I am trying to rebuild my life, he has found out I’m earning money again and has now got Children’s Services to garnish my wages to give him child support, in addition to me paying for child care, and school fees… essentially half my annual income now goes to him. I’m constantly living on the poverty line, nearing homelessness (again) and possibly bankruptcy all because of his manipulation and abuse.

    I know this forum won’t give me the answers on how to get him away from my child, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to associate and vent with those who understand my pain and suffering. Any ideas to get my child away from him without huge legal bills is what I pray for everyday.

  • Karyn

    It has finally come to light that my father is a narcissist. We always thought he was just a very selfish, self absorbed person, but now that we know what he truly is, it has put many things about our life growing up into perspective. However, since my mother was diagnosed 2 months ago with stage 4 lung cancer, his behavior is out of control. He is pissed because all the attention is not on him. Not to mention, she can no longer work full time in a warehouse at the age of 71, so now they don’t have her income so he can’t buy anymore ‘toys’. He tells her continuously that they will be homeless by Christmas, yet he owns 9 cars and refuses to sell any of them! She should be enjoying her life, yet she sits home all day afraid to do anything because if she spends any money he flips! Note he’s been retired for a few years and buys whatever he wants!

    I heard he’s really been nasty with her as of late so I went to their house to sorta feel him out. He did not acknowledge me or his granddaughter, as usual. He and I do not get along at all as I’m the only one that will ‘challenge’ the narcissist in him. Upon leaving, my nephew, who is staying with them, came out to my car saying that dad has been really, really nasty to my mother lately and she asked him not to tell any of us…. Me especially! My mother goes for her chemo treatment tomorrow and is having a very hard time dealing with her situation and more so since she has lost all her hair. She told me she doesn’t want to spend money on a wig to make her feel better as then she will hear him bitch! Well I’ve had it.

    Although everything I’ve read about narcissism says flipping out on them will get one nowhere, I feel I need to do it for me. This man has ruined many holidays, family functions and pretty much each one of us individually and I need to get it off my chest for my own sanity.

  • Nadia

    I believe I was involved with a narcissist for 8 months and let me say that I am fully glad that those 8 months are been and gone. 2 weeks ago we broke up, on account of my insistence that she contribute properly to the relationship and treat me like her partner or leave. She decide to leave. Rid was narcissist, but she employed some very heavy rationalizing upon herself to soften what were actually self absorbing behavior patterns. When I first met her in a jazz bar, she watched me intently as I danced and I beckoned her over. I thought she was beautiful and even more so she was single. I could not believe my luck. She was also a PhD final year student who had routinely got distinction credits in her qualifications up until then. We kissed and met up the next day. We had a lot in common and she added me on facebook.

    When I got home I saw that she had sent a very romantic picture on my facebook which made me uncomfortable, as I thought it was a bit much. Nevertheless, we started dating long distance. We got closer. She claimed she was polygamous, which I hesitantly accepted. Our relationship started off as polygamous and then she shifted to wanting us to be monogamous. Because we were long distance our affections were limited, but it seemed okay. Meeting up was great, great sex, and sharing stuff. Toward the end however, she started being really back and forward. Not texting me for days, no affection and making excuses. It got worse what with her giving me the cold shoulder if I could not read her mind and give her the right response at the time or the moments where if I really did or said something, she might not have liked, that she not properly talk to me for almost a week. Toward the end I felt I was walking on eggshells. I had no idea what her mood might be the next day and how I should approach her without getting stung. She constantly told me that we were of the wrong dynamic and that she wanted someone who could give her a strong support in the form of her submitting control to them at the end of her work day.

    She had the whole narcissistic vision of ideal and perfect love that I could never compete with. When I confronted her on that and actually dug a bit deeper, she angrily said to me that I don’t own her. Narcissistic rage. I insisted on her making a decision because toward the end she was not being responsive at all and I did not trust her in the slightest. She wanted to remain friends with me immediately after to which I said no. Out of confusion and sadness I tried to get her to see through her decision, but she did not and wrote a very formal emotionless letter to me explaining why she decided not to be with me. She contradicted herself because a couple of months before she had said that she loved me and saw a future with me. All the things she once said I was, I apparently was not at the end. Though I miss our amazing intimacy I have to accept that I was probably dealing with a narcissist. A person who laughed at me during intimacy and who degraded me by not approving what kind of clothes I wore, to crazy making when we had small disagreement. I am very glad the relationship is over. It taught me a lot.

  • I need some advice as well….I’ve been married for 29 years and just recently learned of Narcissism and now understand my husband. Long story short, he is the classic narcissist and everything is always about him. He usually ignores the kids, unless he needs something. I’m always getting the silent treatment when I confront him, and now, his recent escapade is beyond me. We lost about a months pay with the government shutdown. Then, my husband also got into trouble at his work and they suspended him from work for 14 days, no pay mind you. This is the paycheck before Christmas that has been taken from the family, on the heels of not getting paid for the month of government shutdown. I mentioned to him that having him around the house would be a constant remainder of what his stupidity cost the family and his solution was to go back to visit his family for the 2 weeks he would be out of work. On top of that, I’ve noticed that he is looking at jobs that are great for narcissists, yes he actually seems proud of his new label..any suggestions?

  • I have stumbled upon this blog because my Passive Aggressive (now also Narcissist) ex-partner but still, regrettably, business partner called me a narcissist last night. So I thought I’d research it. I’m glad I did as he is projecting himself onto me!

    I have been with this man for just over two years, however, only in a live-in relationship for just over one of those years because the last time he left me (which was almost weekly due to some sort of apparent neglect on my part) I changed the lock and kept him out. During these two years he has managed to manipulate me into a financial corner, which I am now trying to get out of, and despite the fact that getting rid of him will cost me quite a bit of money, I am prepared to cut my losses and get him out of my life for the sake of my future happiness and my sanity.

    Long story short-ish, I met him on a dating site and after dating a number of commitment phobes who ended our connection for no good reason, along came this man promising the world, good looking, cashed up, talked the talk, but it took a while for me to realize he couldn’t walk the walk and that he was basically an egotistical, jealous, possessive, controlling, isolating, abusive, con man.

    After our first date, he declared he wanted to exclusively date me, not waste time on endless liaisons, wanted commitment.. sounded great! We lived a distance apart so he flew me to where he lived, introduced me to his “friends,” did the ground work. He started complaining about the distance, so after a few months, I agreed to move to my home town in the country with him. I was sick of the city anyway.

    Despite being only ever on an average income, I have managed (with no financial assistance from anyone but a bank) to accrue two houses a block of land and had a fully paid for newish car. I was doing OK and feeling proud of myself. We move into one of my houses. Then, the fiasco begins.

    First, he wants me to commit to the relationship fully with marriage on the cards, but I only agree to get engaged (but not officially.. just to shut him up). Then, he wants to have a baby, but I am not maternal (I am 50) and have never wanted kids. Then he wants me to put him on the title of the house we live in, but I get out of that one because this will cost him thousands of dollars in Stamp Duty, so he drops it. Then, he wants me to sell my car so “we” can have a fancy car, but I refuse because he does not agree to have me on the registration papers.

    But the one stupid thing I did do is to agree to buy a building with him, which also housed a business. I simply saw this as a property investment, but unfortunately the lawyer set us up as a married couple on the paper work in a partnership, he has ruined the business and I am liable for the debt 50%. There’s a lot more to this, like I have worked for over a year to manage his screw ups, but now have a lawyer to help me get rid of him because I have seen the light.

    He has tried to turn my family against me with lies and they have all warned me against him (thank goodness for their honesty), my friends who are wonderful and gave him plenty of chances now don’t want to know him, thankfully they know me and are all standing by me as I run for the hills!!!

    Interestingly he has NO friends, he has three children whom only one has anything to do with him (19 YO). The other two children are older and one has cut him off completely. His ex-wife is to blame for everything.. according to him is a drug addict, alcoholic, now s*#t, he has a criminal past he is proud of because he made millions out of it and was a big Porsche driving man.. the extent of his damage to all around him is extreme.

    He comes across as being a sensitive, loving, caring man, but he is so cynical, has no humor, only laughs if there is sarcasm involved, is dour, rarely smiles and is totally rude and arrogant. Runs me down to anyone who will listen, tells me I am mentally disturbed.. ! What the hell did I ever see in him? It’s a toxic spell because I still have to stop myself from feeling attracted to him. I know he is no good for me so I WILL let him go, but it would be so easy to let him back into my life again. He has tried many times to turn things around.

    The one thing he didn’t count, despite his well-honed manipulative con-man tactics, was my support group and my resilience and my intelligence. I am damaged from this relationship and I am still stuck in this business with him, but I have also involved the police because he threatened to kill me and has physically assaulted me, I have involved counselors who have also met him and advised me to leave, and I now have a female lawyer who can see he is a user.

    His days are numbered in my world, and the money I lose is only money. It took me careful saving and a lot of work to acquire what I have and I am disappointed in myself that I let someone so easily damage the future I could have had, but it is more important to have my sanity, freedom and happiness. Money can never buy you that.

    These people are seriously dangerous to your well being. I concur with others that these blogs are very helpful as they help you to see you are not crazy, that your fears are real, and that you can help yourself. Don’t put up with crap like this.. life’s too short to be lived in misery.

  • Kim

    Hello All,

    First, I want to say that my heart goes out to each of you who has been victimized by a narcissist.

    I recently left my 25 year marriage because I finally realized that if I did not, I would become the shell of a person that he is. I want you to know that I harbor no ill feelings towards him. This is due to my strong belief in the healing power of forgiveness. But, I want to address the fact that people of faith, (like myself), are not exempt from using common sense and reading the warning signs. I prayed for my spouse for years upon years. Every now and then, I would see a slight change. However, he would eventually go back to being who he is. Finally, it was as if I understood the scripture that admonishes us to be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves. For those who are waiting for God to “do something”, let me tell you that He already has. He as given you permission to be the sweet person that you are (doves), but also recognize the schemes of those who are not so sweet (serpents). You should not remain in any situation that causes you to lose who you are. For if you do, what good are you to yourself and others? So pay attention to that small voice inside that tells you that something is not right. Use it as a serpent-detector (smile).

    My healing came when I educated myself about the disorder. Being able to wrap my mind around the illness helped heal my heart. When I was first enlightened, I was angry when I realized that I had wasted all of my youth on someone who only viewed me as an apparatus in his life. But eventually, I was able to forgive him and move on.

    I am currently happier than I have ever been. I am still single, but I think that I need to be for a while so that I can understand how I always attract the same type of person. I am an empathetic person, so I am a target. I will use this time to pray for his healing; but, for the first time in my life, I will not neglect to pray for myself too.

    I guess what I am saying is, that it is important to take a holistic approach to overcoming your painful experience with the narcissist. You are body, soul, and spirit. Take time to mend all parts of you. Take time to learn how you allowed the person into your life. If you were like me, you ignored the signs or were simply not aware that they were indicative of NPD. You have been through a lot and deserve better than you have received. So, take a deep breath, give thanks that you survived, and go get your life back!

    Peace and Blessings.

  • Paige

    I have been married to a narcissist for 10 years and it wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I realized what he was. We had a whirlwind romance and I thought he was the sweetest man I had ever met. He put me on a pedestal and was always there for me, loved to talk about deep topics and catered to my every need. There were a few signs, but I overlooked them thinking that maybe he was just uncomfortable and shy in certain situations. He pressured me into marrying him by saying that he really wanted his grandmother to see him get married, although I wanted to wait a year. I caved and we married after 6 months of dating. Looking back I should have questioned the fact that he was 32 and never married before and had not had a long lasting relationship since high school. Some people at work called in an A-hole and I could see that he was not very nice to some people, but in a twisted way it made me feel special that he treated me so nice. I was just coming out of a bad marriage with a lazy and probably narcissistic man and my self esteem was almost zero.

    We married in a beautiful ceremony and flew to the tropics for our honeymoon. The switch flipped the day after we arrived at out destination. I wondered who I married and if I’d made a big mistake. He was cold and distant and didn’t want sex. He was actually fun when he was drinking, and we enjoyed many tropical drinks while we were on our honeymoon so I overlooked the uncomfortable situations. When we arrived home and settled into life with my three kids things got real. I got a phone call that he had thrown something at my six year old. He had an excuse for everything and this was no different. I should have left then, but I believed him. I believed his lies and thought that everything could work out. I became the mediator between my kids and him. I spent so much time and energy playing the middle man so that everyone would be happy that I got sick. I also got pregnant shortly after returning home from our honeymoon and had a beautiful daughter, who he doted on for the first two years and now is mean to her.

    He was rarely there for me when I was sick and left me to go out of town on a boys trip when I was in the hospital. I ended up having to have major surgery and he wasn’t there when I went into surgery. He said he had to get his tires rotated. He never supported me and talked badly about me to the people in the hospital. He made me out to be a drug-addicted person who was playing sick for drugs and attention. I am now on disability because of the surgery I had and have very little income. I went from being a successful career woman to a mess. He always told me that he didn’t like the person I was when I was successful, so I switched jobs for him. Then he would tell me that I didn’t make enough money. I could never make him happy. I tried and tried so hard that it drove me to sickness and near insanity. My credit is even ruined because he “forgot” to pay several of my medical bills. He paid his bills, but left mine out, even though we had the money to pay them. Also, for the past ten years he has rarely spoken two my four children unless he is putting them down. He will buy them things such as cars (but doesn’t want me to take credit for them), but will not hold a positive conversation.

    I figured out what he was recently and it has helped me tremendously. I can see through his lies, accusations and putting us down. I feel trapped though because I don’t have enough income to leave him and I don’t know if I could work. I am about at the point that I am willing to try though, even though I will be in tremendous pain. The physical pain may be nothing compared to the emotional pain I am in now. There is so much more I could say, but it would be enough to fill a book. He is the classical narcissist and I don’t think he will ever change. I am a little bit scared to leave for other reasons too though. He owns several guns, I am afraid he will take my daughter or abuse her. I am afraid of him dragging me in and out of court and accusing me of being a bad mother (his dad did this to his mom and made the sons testify against her-he is also an “N”). I’ve always wondered if they have some internal sensor letting them know when you have opened up to others about him because my “N” seems to know just when to cajole the person I am talking to. I feel like I won’t have that much support because no one believes me. They think I am making it up because he does nice things for the person I have confided in. I’ve often wondered if he is spying on me. I know this might sound paranoid, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Dr. Neill, pleas tell me if I should attempt leaving him. How would I protect myself? I don’t put anything past him.

  • Rolando

    As a man I am embarrassed and humiliated by my ex-girlfriends actions caused by her NPD. Six months later and I am still finding out things past and present. I seek answers, that’s what got me here. I am grateful for all who have shared so much and relate with most. I will take all your stories and advise, and use it to help my healing process. I leave here today feeling more in powered to move on.

    and yes God helps those who help themselves.

  • Paul-ett

    A Letter to My Narcissist Lover:

    “I lie here reflecting over the past year. I think how this time last year, you were in hot pursuit of my affections. (I have the texts to prove it) I think about how I didn’t even know you were interested in me ‘like that’ until you made it quite clear. You know what I mean. It was fun. I loved the attention and soon got used to it. Despite the knowledge that you had multiple lovers and I mean multiple, I figured what the hell, I can do this. As long as I knew you liked me and had a modicum of respect for my feelings, what you did with others just didn’t matter. I jumped in with both feet with full disclosure. Do I have any regrets? Nope, not really.

    You abruptly took the attention away — literally overnight. I often wondered what could have changed between midnight and 6:00 am the following morning! You withdrew the daily “Good Mornings”. Why, I will never know. I tried for weeks to get you to talk about it but you wouldn’t. I gave up on that.

    You were fun and engaging. You’re still fun and engaging when you want to be. When we started, you told me that we could never be mad at each other. What you meant then is I could never be mad at you! I agree. We can’t. I’ve never really been angry with you but I have been sometimes hurt and in wonderment at how you can do some of the things you do with me right here, at your door. But oh well, such is life. You have every right to live your life in your home as you see fit, as you desire. It is your home! I get that!

    I’ve been harassing you all day today — New Year’s Day. One regular lover spent the New Year’s Eve night and is still there at 6:30 this evening. Lucky girl, I guess. Parts of me feel that I am entitled to act up sometimes since you started something that you probably should not have given we’re neighbors, and realizing that I would know when you have company.

    What made me write this ‘letter’? I was just thinking how badly I felt all summer. I watched you drive off with women, knowing that I had never been in your car and probably never will. I remember like it was yesterday the very first time I saw someone get in your car and the two of your drive off. It was the woman who drives the red SUV. I felt as though I had been stabbed in the chest. It nearly suffocated me. Seriously! It was heartbreaking. It was the week of your birthday. This would become commonplace. I would watch you and the Them often throughout the summer. The gold car, the grey car, the red car. It went on all week.

    Then there’s the Saturday afternoon, I was getting ready to walk out my front door when I saw you and your friend in the red car driving off. I ducked back inside my home. It was too late though. I had already saw more than I cared to see. Then the next Saturday, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I watched the two of you driving off yet again. All the while knowing you knew and just seemed to not care.

    I remember the day we made plans for our special dinner. I didn’t realize it was your birthday week when we made the plans. I was stunned when you canceled on me and then had the woman who drives the grey car over that same evening. Wow! I immediately thought it was something wrong with me that you would do such a thing, in my face no less. Then you would do it again and again. I must admit every time you canceled on me and had someone else over the same evening, I became increasingly more immune to it. As I would become more immune, it appeared there was more and more to become immune to.

    I see things without trying. I can see your patio from my bedroom window. At first, I did not realize it was your patio until I saw you entertaining. Needless to say I stopped looking out my bedroom window, at least in that direction. Imagine my reaction when I discovered it was your patio and you and the Them I was looking at. Funny thing is I enjoy looking out windows especially in the summer. I like doors open, open blinds and looking out into the world. This became so uncomfortable that I don’t open my front blinds anymore and now keep the side blinds closed. If you recall, my side blinds used to remain open all the time.

    I hear things I don’t want to hear. People calling your name and knocking on all of your doors late in the evening. She apparently thought she was supposed to be in your bed that evening. I had to close my bedroom window which I like to keep open for fresh air.

    You would avoid and ignore me most of the summer. I thought it was silly, but oh well! I, in turn, would spend a part of the summer in my home, blinds closed and not venturing out unless I absolutely had to. Avoiding seeing you and the Them as much as possible. I would walk out the back. I had to avoid seeing things that I didn’t want to see. Since you were not going to take my feelings into consideration, I had to. I am an emotional being. Always have been and always will be. I like that about me for the most part. But it does have its downside — feelings.

    Broken promises, canceled commitments. I wanted to do dinner. You said yes but never committed. I wanted to go to Vegas, you said yes and again would not commit to a date. I used to think it was me but I realize now it is not me at all. I love you and would do anything for you. That is a fact. You know that! But then again you have so many who would do anything for you that probably does not matter.

    Making and breaking promises is unfair and hurtful. On December 12th, you promised to have dinner with me, PROMISED! Dinner you’ve been saying we were going to do since before the holidays! Today is January 1st and we still have not had dinner. What was so hurtful about December 12th? You sent me a text “NOT TODAY, I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT”. Yelling at me for no reason and less than 24 hours after I had done a favor for you. It was humiliating and hurtful. I did not deserve it!

    2014 will be different for me. I will not think it is something wrong with me, in me that provokes your behavior. I know it is not! I will not feel badly because I think you could treat me better. You know you could. I will treat me better.

    You know or should have known that having a relationship under these circumstances requires communication, other than our usual banter about politics and boys and girls. When the one car parked in front of my home, you should have had the consideration to apologize, to understand why it would be so upsetting. You did not. I knew she and I were involved with the same man. How would I not know she didn’t. How would I not know it was coincidental? You and I would not speak again for two months — not until I broke the ice that had developed between us. You should have broken it. You should have wanted to clear the air if not but for we are neighbors!

    You should be comfortable to tell me anything. Anything at all. Instead you cancel on me and have someone else over with little consideration to me. You have to know I would see. You cannot feel good about making me feel bad. Can you?

    You’re a decent guy with some peculiar behaviors. I get that. I cannot imagine the emotional and physical energies required to entertain so many women, so often. But that is your life and you have a right to live it the way you want! I must admit it is mind boggling.

    I would never embarrass you or me in our community, in our homes, where we live, among our neighbors. Others may. I, however, would not. I take what you dish out and keep moving, hoping you’ll be better and treat me as the friend that I am, that I have been! This has not happened.

    Sometimes you seem to avoid me as if I am always wanting to have a conversation or spend time with you. It is not like that at all. Just like you, this is my home. I like my peace and quiet too. I don’t always feel that you wanna see me and you should not feel that I always wanna converse with you or see you either. When I come home from work, I wanna unwind. I wanna go in my house, and do whatever. I am not always trying to be a part of your life, in your life or in your bed. So please stop ducking and dodging, avoiding me. It really is not necessary. I expect you to say hello when our paths cross, that’s it. That’s just the right thing to do. After all, we are neighbors.

    Am I upset? Nope. Just getting some things out in the open as we enter into a New Year that we should be grateful we were allowed to see. I love New Years. It is a time to start over. A time for reflection and hope. A time to do things differently.

    I love you dearly as a friend and as a lover. I would do nothing to hurt you. I would hope that going forward you give me the same consideration in return by doing what you can to soften the hurt feelings. Be considerate and conscious of our proximity. Don’t make promises that you are unwilling to keep. To put it bluntly, don’t be such a bastard to me. It is unnecessary and unwarranted. I don’t deserve it and can no longer tolerate it. It is but a small favor to ask.

    Today, I am providing you with the opportunity to change the course of the relationship. I am happy being friends and neighbors. In fact, I want us to be friends. That is important to me. I want to share meals, plants and home improvement ideas. You will always be a cherished and dear friend of mine regardless.

    Lastly, I wish you a wonderful and Happy New Year filled with the promise of love, prosperity and hope! It is a wonderful time for new beginnings and new long-lasting friendships.”

    I wrote this New Year’s day. Little did I realize at the time I penned this letter (which I never mailed or had intentions of mailing) was I involve with a full-blown narcissist. I did not stand a chance in this relationship. I was smart enough after six months to get myself into counseling. During the next six months, we would be on and off. It was not until I happened upon a site about narcissism did I realize what was happening to me. This man sleeps with a different woman every night. This weekend we were supposed to do spend the entire weekend together — something we had planned a couple of months ago. After his ignoring me for nearly a week, I finally decided I had had enough. So I canceled.

    So what has he done all weekend. He spent early Friday evening til sometime Saturday morning with one lover. Then early Saturday afternoon til early Sunday afternoon with another lover. Only to have the Friday night lover return early Friday evening!

    I use to wonder what they had that I did not. What were they giving him that I wasn’t. Now I know it is not about me. It is about him. Only him. I no longer blame myself for being hoodwinked by such a lothario.

    I realize now I was addicted. I realize now my co-dependency and lack of self-esteem made me a target for such a man. I am in no contact and will remain so. Regardless of my feelings, this relationship was bad from the start and I must end it!

    Getting better and better,

    Me

  • Sandy

    Hi I have been married to a narcissistic man for 15 years. I can best describe him as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He can be bubbly, laughy, overly romantic and needy for attention and he can also be cold as ice, distant, mean, cruel and emotionally abusive. He lacks any empathy and admits that. For instance, recently I had a friend pass away and was quite sad. We went to her funeral and on the way there he yelled at me for misplacing a glove. While there he kept his arm around me and looked caring to an outside observer, but as soon as we got home, he screamed at me for taking too long to answer him if I had my keys in the driveway, as he was getting cold. He went on for ten minutes. He’s at times told me he wanted a divorce because a dish was chipped or a sweater fell on the floor, citing that I cost him money. When I met him I had a great career and my own home. But after we got married, we had a baby straight away and he had high functioning autism. I gave up my career to raise him and even home schooled him up until last year when he went to school half days. As he had issues with crowds and couldn’t handle school or busy places like malls or parks. When he was small even ants could send him screaming down the street. Some of that time I ran my own business from home and now I’m writing a novel and it’s 3/4 done. He’s even told me in his nice periods that it’s good. I am a good writer. But this year as my son finally was able to go back to school my husband complains all the time about my lack of a career. Points out women with great careers and said he wished he married them he tells me all the time I live in his house with his money. Funny enough we made most of our home equity from flipping homes, most of which I decorated and told him when to flip.

    I am not a wall flower, I correct him right away. I know I’m a catch. I am very attractive, have good taste and keep his home nice, make him great dinners and spend the time I’m not writing advocating for our child, which this year has been almost a full time job. But no matter it’s not good enough. I know my legs are my worst feature and he’ll point out other women’s legs all the time. Athletic ones, which mine are not even if I workout an hour a day.. I am not put down though, I look him straight in the eye and tell him I know what he is doing and I don’t care if I have great legs, I have great skin, great hair and so on and I tell him I’m better looking than him, too which I am. But he tries anyway. If I get a pimple the rare time he goes on and on about it. So he just always tries to push me down rather than lift me up. The only reason he is supportive of my book is to make money which he tells me all the time. “As long as you make me money,” he says.

    All that being said, my son is extremely emotionally sensitive and his success this year at going to school is hanging on a thread. He loves his dad, as my husband likes to get his son on his side and often reserves his best behavior for him (though he has scared him too by yelling, my son is sensation to raised voices). But overall 99% of the time he is a great dad and my son and him are very close. So a divorce would crush him and then school would be out. Things at school that set off a bad day are little things, like forgetting a book, a divorce would destroy him and any progress he made.

    Once I even tried to broach the subject when I was dead set on leaving my husband after a particularly nasty incident and he screamed and cried in such a painful way I had to promise him it wasn’t ever going to happen. (I still feel badly about it and worry I scarred him for life). He just lost it. Said he hated me, said he wished he was dead (autistic kids can have something called catastrophic thinking which he can have) so that was the end of that. We rarely fight in front of him and generally he is a smiley happy, laughy kid. He would not be if we divorced.

    So I feel trapped. In 4 years he’ll be 16 and maybe he could take it better I don’t know..,so I stick it out, I stick out this roller coaster marriage with little joy, but sometimes I worry it will kill me. The stress is not healthy to live with and sometimes I feel depressed too. I hide it from everyone and no one knows, but when I’m alone I just cry. So what do you do when you have an extremely gifted and sensitive autistic child to protect? And I also know my husband would become even more horrible if I ask for a divorce and no longer follow my deal breaker of no yelling in front of our son. He might even do it just to hurt me. What do I do?

    Trapped in a guilded cage

  • Ann

    There’s nothing I’d like more than to walk away from my narcissistic husband of 23 years, but I’m trapped, he holds all the cards! He’s a wealthy well respected business man who has worn away every last bit of any confidence I once had. To the outside world he’s the reserved one and I’m the hot head. At home I’m the weak little mouse who must be obeyed and I should be grateful for our lifestyle! He finally admitted last night that he doesn’t feel anyone else’s pain only his own. How on earth did I not only end up with this man, but stayed with him. I am unrecognizable in every way of the woman I was. I’m not even allowed to grieve the loss of my closest family member because it takes away my attention for him . You cannot discuss any of our problems because he totally 100% sees it as a criticism towards him and how dare I, when he provides me with this wonderful lifestyle. A lifestyle I didn’t want or choose. He wanted it to boost his ever growing ego. I want out, but see no way of getting out. I don’t have the strength to fight him and he knows it.

  • shirley

    My live-in partner of one year is starting to show me that I am in a narcissistic relationship after only 3 months of stay. His mood changes in seconds and every disagreement will lead to at least week of silent treatment. He is also an alcoholic. I am always going bonkers. We just had a fight and he is moving out this Sunday. Alcohol has made me crazy. And he posted himself homeless on Fb. I kept thinking I’m the cause of everything. I feel like I’m a sucker for this. It really is so tough to get out of this bad relationship.

  • Nikki

    Reading all the comments made me very sad, more for the fact that it is only now I realize I was in a relationship with a narcissist. I was with him for 1.5 year. At first he was very nice, kind and loving. He comes across as a friendly person. But things began to change after our first holiday together. He had to have everything his way, would not care about me at all, to the extent that did not even bother to come to the hospital with me after I caught a terrible allergy. He felt happier to talk to strangers than spend time with me. He belittled meand criticized me all the time. He needed attention from his friends, female in particular. He never cut contact with his ex, took her on holiday twice while we were together, flirted with other women in social media, telling me they are just friends and there was nothing wrong with that. He challenged me emotionally like no one has ever before. I became completely insecure and started to believe that I was in the wrong. What on earth was I thinking? The worse part of it all is that he called it off when I challenged him about one of his so called ‘female’ friends. He insisted they are just friends,but I found out only yesterday that he is with this woman now. I felt completely devastated when I found out, but it made me realize that he never deserved me and misused my kindness. I cut off all the contacts with him, removed him from FB, Skype, deleted all our photos and got rid of his presents. Still I can’t come to the terms that I allowed myself to fall in love with him. I feel betrayed and hurt in every sense of the word but I am on my way to recovery and gaining self-confidence back. This site helped me a lot, so thank you all.

  • Lucy

    I did not realize I was in a relationship with narcissistic. He wrote everything, I mean everything, down including how many times we had sex or what we or he did to please me. He became very angry when I couldn’t satisfy him in bed. He started calling me names and then stormed out the bedroom. We argued at least once a week over a small stuff. He accused me of sleeping or meeting someone else when I went out by myself. The list is go on and on. He has 2 kids from different ex-girlfriends and he is 52 years old and still single. He will be alone rest of his life…sad…

  • Stacy W

    It’s been almost 2 years since I left my Narc/BPD relationship. One of the most painful parts was having to physically leave the place that I loved, my home, because I knew after many years that if I stayed physically in the same place as him, I would always be manipulated back into the same bullshit. I’m reading and writing because though I am in a healthy relationship with a wonderful, kind person now, I still feel haunted and often have dreams that make me relive the pain over and over again. I have been perplexed because it’s been so long. I should be over it, right? Well, I’m not and I feel guilty and weak that I’m not over it. Right after I left, he swooped up one of my good friends, she was moved in with him within a month of me leaving. I thought that she was one of my best friends. I just have to remind myself that I also fell victim to his manipulation so many times. I thought it was my fault that I wasn’t good enough and that perhaps she is, but I know now, from lots of therapy, that there is NO good match for a narcissist!! She is now in the same pain I was and although my hurt and anger are still here, ultimately I feel pity on her.

    I just wanted to thank all of you that have commented and to those who wrote the article. Especially all the parts about, sleep, reactive depression, nightmares, etc.. I thought I was crazy and totally lame that I still carry the pain around and dream of him and her so often still. All of this has helped me feel okay about where I’m at and helped me to see how damaging these people and relationships can really be. I don’t have to feel so crazy and weak anymore about still reeling from this experience.

    Research characteristics of “REAL” Narcissistic/Borderline/Anti-social… Personality Disorder!!! It’s not just someone who think’s they’re pretty awesome and likes to look at themselves in the mirror. It’s so much more.

    Our society’s casual idea of what Narcissism is NOT the reality! They will manipulate you every time you try to leave. You feel like you can’t go on without them because they have groomed you to feel that way. That’s not real! Even though you feel physically ill and overly fearful at the thought of leaving, I promise that It will never end! It is impossible for them to change because of the type disorder they have does not allow them to look at themselves the way that we can and they NEVER will be able to.

    So ultimately please hear my advice…(I do realize that kids and marriage make this even more complex and difficult)…

    BUY YOURSELF A PLANE TICKET TO SOMEWHERE SAFE AND AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT….BECAUSE IT DOES!!!….even if it means leaving everything you love and where you want to be.

    ….and STOP BELIEVING THAT YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH, STRONG ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH, SKINNY ENOUGH, ETC…

    IT’S A LIE!

    THEY NEED YOU TO FEEL THAT WAY SO THEY CAN KEEP YOU THERE TO KEEP SUPPLYING THEM WITH WHAT THEIR DISORDER NEEDS TO SURVIVE.

    REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT WELL – THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL….you can’t expect “normal” behavior from them. So STOP TRYING!

    Love yourself and don’t look back.

    Lots of love and kind regards to all of you xoxo

  • Andy

    “He revels in his public facade, but has zero insight into his deep feelings of shame and inadequacy as a man.”

    That is where you took it too far. Would you have written, “She revels in her public facade, but has zero insight into her deep feelings of shame and inadequacy as a woman?”

    I have had 4 narcissistic personality disorder people seriously impact my life in the last 14 years and 3 of them were females.

    As a male expert, I was hoping YOU would at least be one of the lone people out there to make it clear in the body of your text, that there are female narcissists out there.

    As for me, God willing, I wont fall in love with any more narcissistic personality females.

  • Andy

    One more thing, you will often read from people who discover after 15 to 20 years of their relationship that their spouse/partner has “Narcissistic personality disorder”.

    That is a tremendous amount of time to be with someone who has NPD. You obviously got something out of the relationship, i.e. companionship, etc etc. You loved them. They must have loved you…

    Furthermore, NPD people are so toxic it makes me wonder that if someone can manage to stay in a relationship to such a purported vampire for so long that maybe the person didn’t have NPD but was rather just a tremendous jerk.

  • Tracy

    For YEARS I have had nightmares where demonic forces are attacking me by suffocating me, I can’t talk, can’t move a muscle, and can just barely breathe. I’ve been learning over the past year how emotionally abused I have been for the whole 23 years of our marriage and no wonder why I have these nightmares so frequently. They just keep getting worse! I have been working since last fall to get my nursing license back, that I let lapse because of him! I have got to get out of this! I’m only 44, and I don’t want to live like this another 25 years! Life is too short to put up with their messes! Let them sit drunk on their couch of escape by themselves or with someone else!!! I’m at the ANGER stage in my grieving process of the end of this marriage! I guess you could tell… lol!

  • mary mary

    Thank you for this site.

  • Gianni

    My son has been involved with a narcissist for 8 years and I honestly feel that it is the closest thing to being involved with Satan himself. She has created so much unnecessary drama in his life, she is angered when she is not the center of attention, to the point that she has physically abused him, and then had him arrested for abuse. She is a liar, a manipulator and its the scariest thing I have ever seen. She has destroyed all happiness in our family and we don’t know what else to do. He has tried to get away from her but she has lied, had him rearrested and used his son as a weapon. Please help us.

  • MariaElena

    I was with a man, whom I now believe suffers from NPD. He discarded (abandoned) me nine months ago after fourteen years. I keep thinking, it was me. Maybe I am the narcissist and pushed him too far. Then, I read articles such as this one, comments and listen to countless video’s. Every time I start thinking I might be the narcissist, I realize I am so filled with remorse, regret, heartache and such, while he is having the time of his life without me! I can’t be a narcissist, or can I? I keep thinking I didn’t do enough, but I gave as much as I could. I was the one that pushed myself way out of my comfort zone to accommodate his needs. Why do I keep questioning, whether I could be a narcissist and blaming myself for the failure of us… What is wrong with me!?

  • Amy

    With the help of a wonderful therapist, I am finally ending a ten year marriage to a man with NPD. He has never paid for anything despite the fact that the military gives him money for having a wife and child. He has cheated on me repeatedly. When I was pregnant with our son, and through his first year of our child’s life, he was in Korea living with a prostitute. Although he refused to give me any money for medicine for our son, he flew her first class to her home country and they stayed in a five star hotel. He also sent money to her family. I believe my son has a half brother or sister that he will never meet. He has scammed me out of almost every cent I have earned, while repeatedly cheating on me. No matter how much money I earned, it was never enough.

    He now knows that I am done with him and I am scared as to what he might do.

    It was a slippery slope. At first the sun rose and set on me. Gradually, he made me feel like the ugliest most disgusting person alive. I grieve….not for the end of the relationship, but for giving this man ten years of my life. Even my nine year old son, who has high functioning autism, says he, “does not to grow up to be like daddy.”

  • Jewel

    I left my Narc in July of last year. I was so beaten down mentally/emotionally that I wanted to kill myself. He had brow-beaten me into becoming a member of a poly-amorous relationship with a lady he met online. Now, I just realize I was so lonely and starved for attention, I just convinced myself it was okay. I told him numerous times that I was not comfortable with her living with us, he would always rage and yell, telling me if I left he would take the children and tell them how horrible I am. How I am a liar and I broke up the family. I did not want to take my children away from the only home they ever knew nor did I want them to be damaged emotionally, so I stayed, thinking she would NEVER leave her kids to moved in with people she barley knew. Boy was I wrong! She actually moved in! I moved across the hall to the spare room, and he got SO MAD! He got angry and told me I had to leave, and I begged to stay(how messed up is that?!) SO I did, but I hated it and finally could not do it anymore. I knew it was wrong, I felt it to my core. It was destroying my soul. SO one night after a big argument because I hurt his feelings, he told me to leave and I did. The children were not home that night, thank goodness! I got a lawyer, thanks to my family, two days later and told him I was not bringing the children back over there until we went to court. He went nuts! The children and I went into hiding for a few days. It has been drama ever since. The divorce was final in September, and I am so grateful. I did not realize what a messed up situation I was in until I got out. Come to find out, my oldest had hated living there for years and had actually thought about running away! I thought I was STAYING for the kids. Turns out that was the worst thing I could have done! He has moved out of state with his new love and now I have to deal with the horrible thought that I have to send my little one up there in the summer. It just kills me inside! I tried to get sole custody, but unless there is physical abuse, the courts do not care.
    I know I rambled, but it feels so good to know that there are others who have been through the hell I have.

  • Lisa

    OMG, a friend of mine texted me this morning and told me to look up narcissistic relationships, because she saw the signs of this man I’ve been dealing with and I’m just floored.

    I’ve been seeing this man for almost a year and half, he was a co-worker of mine so that’s how the relationship flourished. In the beginning, I was just head over heels. This man would cook for me, bring me lunch and was so attentive to my needs. He ALWAYS dressed so nice and always said kind things to me BUT in the very beginning I saw red flags, and as usual chose to ignore them. I always had an intuition that he was a big liar and would sneaking off with other women, but since I didn’t have the proof, I figured what’s hid in the dark will come to the light, which it did last week. I feel so stupid.

    We had a date, he invited me over to his home, but in route he called saying that he had gotten sick, which I knew then was a big fat lie, so I decided to sneak over to see what was going on with him. Why? I just needed to see for myself and bust him out. Meanwhile, he started ranting and raving saying, “I was stalking him and that I don’t ever believe anything that he says,” and he’s, “so tired of it.” I’m this and I’m that and he’s sick of me. I asked him did he want to end the relationship (just to see what he would say) and of course the answer was, “no, because he LOVES me.” I mean he went to ALL extents to prevent me from coming over to his home, but again I needed to see for myself. After all the hollering, screaming and accusing me of being something that I wasn’t, a female drove up. I approached her, we had a talk in which she told me they were just friends, shortly after he comes walking out, of course shocked to see me. Probably thought that I was at home somewhere crying my eyes out.

    I cussed him out, said a bunch of expletives and he ran up to me and grabbed me in my chest by my jacket, then called me a B**** and said not to ever call him again. Then on top of that, he was trying to break my cell phone, so we were out tussling in the parking lot, with me trying to recover my cell phone, when I dropped it. When I finally got away, I said a few more expletives to mess up his self esteem then, he came charging towards like a wild bull in a net. I shortly after called the police because I don’t agree with any type of violence. When we (the police and I) went in to talk to him, he had the GALL to tell the police, “Yeah I was going to call ya’ll because that woman is crazy.”

    It’s amazing how now I’m crazy when you were clearly lying about being sick and said all those mean things to me on the phone to make me at fault for the relationship problems, Then not to mention you put your hands on me, but I’m at fault because I embarrassed you in front of your neighbors and called the police.

    I have been torn up all week, can’t eat, can’t sleep or anything. I was crying off and on, until I read this blog. He is Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs and this also explains his need to compete with me and say underhanded things to make me feel really bad about myself. This post is a wake up call and although I still hurt, it’s going to be a lot easier to move on now.

  • Wisernow

    Dear Dr. Neill and all others,

    After I was discarded and trashed by my ex-lover a Narc, I felt like a piece of shit and couldn’t get over him. I went in for counselling, which didn’t help much! Then he came back and this time it was even a whirlwind, tsunami!! ! We are both married with kids! I felt he was my soul mate. It started out as a spiritual companionship. This time it ended in less than a month and I was smashed to smithereens, but not broken like before, no shallow counselling this time. What has anchored me back are these blogs and real life experiences that everyone shares. I got the complete picture now and can’t stop counting my blessings. My husband knows as much as I can share and he truly loves and cares for me. He is extremely supportive and I am on with my life in a big way. I Can only thank providence for not destroying my reality.T hat punk is a mirage and I can only feel sorry for him. Although I’m still trying to figure out how I missed looking past his Projection and how I was such a sucker!

    Doctor Neill, or anyone else there is just one glitch the Narc an I shared great chemistry. He successfully took me to dizzying heights while making love. He knew exactly what to do with me and that is interfering with my intimacy moments with my husband. I know I will never reach there again. Can you give any advice to me on how to stop letting those images memories from creeping into my haven?

  • Wisernow

    Dear Sandy,

    Gosh you’re one hell of a strong woman! I really appreciate your ability to stand up to your situation! Yes, you’re terribly trapped. Have you ever considered meeting a psychotherapist/psychiatrist to see if there can be a solution? Obviously, your tolerating junk for your child. We as we Hindus always resolve to think to blame it on Karma and see what happens. Live in the moment. Your son is still going to school and is not so dependent, your writing a book , etc. Be glad if that monster finds another woman who will source his narcissism and relieve you. All the best dear. Pour your feelings out here!

  • Dave

    Amazing posts,

    I have just found out that I have been dating a woman for nearly a year who has NPD and I would advise anyone who is dating someone with this condition to lock up your heart and feelings for these people and protect yourself completely.

    The woman I was dating loved me like no other and made me feel I was the one. Then once I was totally head over heels, she pulled away. Sex was emotionless when we had it and there was no comfort or expressions of love given at all. She asked if we could live together( which I agreed to), got a house for us, and then 2 weeks before moving, she dumped me by text message, started seeing someone else within a week who happens to live near me. So she would drive past my home to go and see him without a second thought. She ended up pregnant, by him who dropped her like a stone. She then got in touch with me and told me she was going to have an abortion, but if they would of been mine she would of kept them!!! My goodness, now she wants to see me as a friend for now and then see how things develop because she CLAIMS she still loves me. Wow run as fast as you can if you come across people suffering from NPD the problem is you end up becoming there supply and if you are a highly sensitive person you just find yourself so in love with them. Very, very difficult but once you know what you are dealing with it seems easier to cope. I still love her, but I have to now back away and survive

    Good luck all involved with a narcissist I wish you all the best.
    Xx

  • Rhiana

    My husband is exactly like “Joe”, except he is also a functioning alcoholic. We have four kids, ages 11, 7, 3, and 15 months. I feel like I am a Married Single Mother. I am exhausted. My kids watch him talk down to me. They see his behavior, his self-centered personality, as well as him abusing alcohol. I am so worried about what this is doing to my children. It’s extremely depressing that “Daddy” is in the home (physically), but he is not HERE with us. He is in his own world, and we are just objects in his way. I am trying to keep my head up, but I am not sure what to do at this point.

  • I am about one quarter through reading these comments. I am moved to tears, for all the suffering and the pain of living with a narcissist, but also because I recognize my own deeply unhappy relationship here as well.

    I’ve known for a long time what the problem is, but to see it written down and ‘confirmed’ has affected me deeply. I have an appointment to view a house later today with the intention of ‘escaping’ and reading through these comments has confirmed to me that I am doing the right thing. Everything written on here could refer to me. I am emotionally and physically drained, my soul is crushed and my spirit destroyed. I hope by moving out as soon as possible I can regain my life and have the zest for living that I once had. Thank you for this site/blog.

  • Hey! This is my first comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?

    Thank you!

  • Devona

    My husband does not think he is an alcoholic, but I do. He drinks on average one to two vodka drinks each day! And that’s for pleasure. Then when he’s mad he drinks excessively! I believe he drinks too much. What do you think?

  • Kelly

    Hi Dr. Neill, I really hope that you respond to this post. I am 42 years old and I have been linked to a narcissist, the same one, since I was 13. I connected with him as a child when my parents were going through a divorce and he became my night and shining armor. But as a teenager he was very controlling and possessive and cheated on me. I ran away and go married to him at 18 and here I am at 42. Our lives have been tainted with much dysfunction. He was in prison twice, for a total of 12 years. When he was incarcerated the second time I divorced him. With two babies that were weeks old, I embarked on a journey to find myself. When he was released from prison 6 years ago, he had God in his life and wanted back with his family. His criminality has stopped, but not the affairs or his poor treatment towards me. I just recently learned of a 1 1/2 year affair that he has been having with his co worker. I threw him out twice. We have been back together for three months. I am angry and resentful and yet the strongest I have ever been. He still tries to manipulate me with occasional texts and I love you birthday cards, but I see through his manipulation. This weekend I have learned that he and the woman he has been having an affair with are in New York. I am very emotional today. Just a week ago he “loved me” in a birthday card, and today he is with her. I know he is sick and needs help, but there are times that I can’t stand that I have aligned myself with this type of character. I have been in counseling, but due to a new job have not returned to counseling in a month. I am an educated woman. I started a PHD program this week, and I am a director of an agency. Despite my intelligence, I am a broken child inside that can’t seem to cope with how I was discarded after being devoted to him for years. How can they manipulate us and have no ounce of remorse or empathy for the pain they cause. How can he just move on like nothing? Last week he was projecting on our 11-year-old son. How sad he was that he doesn’t see his son often and how he misses living with us. Days later he is wining and dining his new supply. I hate that I get angry. I am an educated woman, but I acted like a child and sent his girlfriend a picture of his “I love you,” birthday card. What can I do to not care?

  • Sam

    Has anybody found a way to actually live and cope with these issues rather than break up? My husband displays all of these “qualities,” but I don’t want to give up. We have been together for 4 years and have 2 very young children. He is starting therapy on Thursday and then I am going to join him for couples therapy. After reading all this I feel like my relationship is bound to end in disaster! Is there no other outcomes?

  • Mimi

    I am in the process of a divorce from my narcissist husband. We are still in the same house, as the divorce has just started. We live on a lake and my daughter, her husband and my grandsons want to visit this weekend. My husband has never treated my children with respect and love and thus I asked my husband to go visit his children elsewhere while I have mine this weekend. He blew up when I requested this of him. This is nothing new. Later on in the evening he said, “how much do you want to see your kids this weekend?” I said, “very much.” I didn’t understand this question until I thought about it a little more. He wants a night of sex with me in exchange. I am overwhelmed with this. I am not a whore, I am his wife! Sex to me is about love, but he doesn’t feel that way.

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