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56 thoughts on “What to Expect When you Marry a Narcissist

  • July 20, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    You know, even with the little disclaimer at the end of the list, the continuous use of male pronouns for the narcissist really says that men are narcissists and women are not.

    It really ticks me off to see this happen. US Society already penalizes male victims of abuse and rape by the attitude toward them. It drives the numbers of male victims down in the surveys and records.

    Being in a relationship with a man who has been abused and who couldn’t admit it until this year, I have seen the struggle from his side, which is far worse than from a woman’s side.

    Both genders are abusive. Both genders are narcissists.
    It’s past time to stop the patterns that promote false impressions.

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    • July 20, 2016 at 11:15 pm
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      Yes, that is so true.

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  • July 21, 2016 at 3:15 am
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    So the question should be, now you’ve read the list: WHY BOTHER MARRYING HIM?

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    • July 22, 2016 at 2:08 am
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      Unfortunately, people don’t figure it out until it’s too late…

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  • July 21, 2016 at 5:34 am
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    I unwittingly married a Narcissist, it turned out to be the most miserable 5 years of my entire life. I left broken, distraught & lost 20kgs in 1 month after the separation. Leaving was the best thing I have ever done, & I don’t regret it. I met an old boyfriend back in my home town (dated 15 years before my dismal marriage) he persued me slowly, didnt pressure me for anything, held me with strength & listened intently, dried my tears (there were alot of tears)treated me with dignity & repect. took me on holidays expected nothing from me, I had nothing to give. We flatted together for 6 months in separate rooms, dated for 12 months & got married this past March-this is the marriage & kind of man every woman deserves. I’m so happy & content now this man is what I deserved all along. I will be happy, truely happy for the rest of my life – a narcissist never is.

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    • July 22, 2016 at 2:07 am
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      Wow, that is awesome!!! What a great story!

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  • July 21, 2016 at 2:25 pm
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    Thank you for this list! It is quite eye-opening, as it describes almost every single thing my boyfriend has done to me in the past 14 years of our relationship. At this point, it doesn’t even feel like a relationship any more – it’s closer to a friend/roommate situation. Had all of these red flags presented themselves initially, I never would have gone forward in a relationship with him. Unfortunately, they came out little by little, one by one, over the past several years. To make it worse, he drinks alcohol frequently, and this exacerbates his personality problems. The worst part is, things will go smoothly for quite some time, tricking me into thinking all is well. Then without warning, a simple insignificant event will trigger a massive blow out from him. It feels like an ongoing roller coaster ride & am not sure how much more I can take.

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  • July 23, 2016 at 3:09 am
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    I was married to a narcissist for 31 years. Everything in the checklist applied. But, it was only after he abandoned me, when I had a mental breakdown, that I was told about narcissists. Yes, it all makes sense now, but what about those 31 years? No way to get that back and the harm is cumulative. He’d found another source of narcissistic supply, a woman vulnerable due to a breakup and the death of a friend. I couldn’t give him the admiration and validation he needed, so he found someone who could. After six years, I still struggle, and for him it’s as if I never existed. If I had only known, the signs were there early on.

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  • August 10, 2016 at 11:37 am
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    Thanks for a great and “spot on” article. Being close to a narcissist, I recognize your list of expectations in my friend and could apply every single trait as if tailor made.

    As for the common gripes about the use of the male in these articles, well – if the shoe fits, wear it. It may be that it is easier somehow for males to slip into the role of narcissist because society expects them to be less “feeling” than their female counterparts. The fact remains that more males are recognized with the narcissistic trait, ergo, more is written from that perspective.

    Perhaps the discontents should seek out articles written specifically about female narcissists!

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    • August 10, 2016 at 12:26 pm
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      It seems to me that narcissism can go either way. It is just much easier for me to write using only one gender specifier. Thanks for your comments.

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  • August 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm
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    this is one of the best and most spot on articles I have ever read! This is so accurate. I have married and lived through this and getting out. This is a wonderful article.

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  • August 22, 2016 at 12:34 am
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    Posted this on a FB page, and it got many comments about how the readers were able to tick every number pertaining to their narcissist. Great article. Thanks for writing!

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  • August 22, 2016 at 9:08 am
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    It should also be noted that when you do find the strength to leave, it will be a hugely traumatic and lengthy experience. I’ve been hated and deeply loved countless times since leaving. Staying focused and not becoming confused by it all has been the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced. There are an alarming number of times I’m convinced I was the problem and he was hurt by me.

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  • August 24, 2016 at 11:54 am
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    Jamie wrote, “There are an alarming number of times I’m convinced I was the problem and he was hurt by me.”

    This is where I am right now. I’ve been in an relationship for 4 years and we have co-habitated for the last year. He is moving out in a month because, he says, he can’t live “like this.” Mind you, he has been saying that he is done with the relationship and doesn’t want to live this way for the last 6-9 months and now claims that we don’t have to break up just because he is moving out. I found and read this article because, just like my first marriage, I find myself wondering IF I AM THE PROBLEM because that’s what he keeps telling me. My friends say that is a result of gas lighting.

    Ashley G wrote, “The worst part is, things will go smoothly for quite some time, tricking me into thinking all is well. Then without warning, a simple insignificant event will trigger a massive blow out from him.”

    I’m sure that is exactly how he would describe our relationship the last few months. But, in my defense, it is crazy-making not knowing if someone is staying or going and it is demoralizing to be his scapegoat.

    Just like #39, “If you go to couples counseling it will not work, and will most likely back fire on you.”

    I asked for literally years to go to couples counseling. When he finally agreed and yet still wouldn’t agree to go, he said we each had to have our own counselors first, OBVIOUSLY. This he said was necessary because I have some serious issues that I need to be dealing with. (I’ve actually had my own therapist for years so I’m not adverse to nor unfamiliar with the process of self-reflection and introspection.) Then when we finally went to couples counseling, the very first session he expressed that he was pretty sure he was ready to move on from the relationship. ??? So, why was he there? He said he was there because he didn’t want to make a rash decision about leaving the relationship without working on it. But it didn’t feel like he ever actually worked on the relationship in the sessions. It felt like he used most of the sessions as his own counseling session. After our last session (three months ago) he actually blamed me and the couples counselor for “pressuring” him into making a decision about the relationship. In the session he said that the relationship was over since he had decided to move out. When we got home, he said that I was the one who didn’t want to be in a relationship with him unless we lived together. So, of course, I felt like I was the one who was close-minded and not open to him getting space and the possibilities of the relationship working. But I feel set up and increasingly crazy.

    Anyway, I’m really grateful for this article and am trying to get myself out of my own denial, reminding myself: #2, #3, #4, NUMBER SEVEN!!!, #12, #15, #17, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #27, #29, #30, #34, #35 and as I already mentioned, #39.

    The thing is, he would say (and does) he experiences #3 and #6 but he has such a terrible memory, he does not remember when I apologize – EVEN WHEN I WRITE IT. I asked him once to return to me a card I gave him so I could see it since he claimed I didn’t take responsibility for my actions and he dismissed it and didn’t let me see it. He would say he experiences #14, #15, #16 #17, #18, #25, #26, #28 and #29.

    We have both said we left a Narcissist when we ended our first marriages, which makes it even more confusing for me. Meaning, I’m wondering both how I ended up with someone just like my ex-husband (when I thought I had a done a lot of my own work to be able to do a good job of screening potential partners this time) and if I am the Narcissist in the relationship since he left his ex-wife and seems surrounded by them in his family of origin.

    Anyway, we just have to white-knuckle our way through the next few weeks. Then he will be moved out. I’m hoping that will help a lot of this.

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    • August 24, 2016 at 4:36 pm
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      Everything you said sounds exactly what it’s like to live with a narcissist. It’s complete emotional and mental madness. Everyone I know in a relationship with a narcissist goes through this craziness. I believe that people stay in these relationships because of brainwashing and trauma bonding. Narcissists are addictive and in order to break out of a relationship with one you have to take it on as if you are breaking out of a heroin addiction. It takes HARD WORK. And the grief involved is worse than in “regular” relationship losses because of the psychological abuse involved. It’s like these people tap into your deepest needs, promising to fulfill them all the time, which causes people to wait for the promise and accept the crumbs…

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    • June 21, 2018 at 3:55 am
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      Hi! If you are still trying to deal with/heal from this horrible experience, check out Melanie Tonia Evans on Youtube. Amazingly helpful information on how to heal quickly and become narcissist REPELLANT! I’m notout yet but getting stronger everyday. There is light at the end of the tunnel. God bless!

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  • August 25, 2016 at 1:07 am
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    Check!! 1-40 nailed every single one!! Watch our for number 40!! That one can be dangerous!!!

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  • August 27, 2016 at 4:41 pm
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    My father was a narcissist. I sometimes wonder if my mom was, too; she was very vain and I never felt like either of them ever reallly listened. All the gaslighting and emotional abuse has led me to make poor choices in partners, but I have typically realized it and walked away. I’ve been single now for the last 8 yrs and would like to meet someone else, but frankly don’t trust my instincts. I enjoy my own company, my work, my dogs, feel balanced, and don’t want to be thrown off balance or have my life turn into a daily drama of any kind. So I am proceeding on that front with caution.

    My mom spent many years triangulating with me, once I was an adult, telling me how miserable she was and how she was afraid of what he would do if she left. She was sure he would have made her life a living hell. She never got the courage, and then Alzheimer’s took over, so she never had the opportunity to celebrate when he died.

    The biggest thorn in my side has been my sister who makes my father look like a lamb (oh, yes, there ARE female N’s). We have never been close and it has always felt like her goal in life was to annihilate me. She has never married and seems to have a love/hate relationship with everyone (splitting), including me. The two of us were supposed to be co-POA’s for my mom. It’s been her way or the highway, even though I’m the one who works in the field of aging. There’s a long history of her gaslighting me, and being heavy-handed when I least expect it, if she doesn’t like something I say or do. There’s no conversing with her; it’s a soliloquy of her talking about herself and how great she is to anyone who happens to be within earshot. I have recognized that she is an NP for a long time and tried to set very clear boundaries, but she finally crossed the line for the last time: mom was living at my house with 24 hr caregivers; she decided that she is home more and showed up with a medical transport and took mom to her house while I was at work. She would only tell me that she “had very good reasons” but she wasn’t willing to tell me what they were. I suspect that having caregivers in the house gives her unlimited narcissistic supply. I know my mom is being taken care of because I work for the agency that sees her weekly. Even with the extent of mom’s dementia, my sister would still be trying to get her to affirm her greatness! My mom doesn’t know anyone anymore, so my visits would only create tension for the caregivers and for me. I’ve learned a long time ago, that there’s no getting even with my sister. She’s like Donald Trump; any perceived insult or affront is countered with something 10x more violent. My mom died a long time ago (cognitively); for my own sanity, I have had to completely go no contact, which has meant not seeing my mom again.

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  • August 27, 2016 at 6:43 pm
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    This is exactly what my friend is going through with his soon to be exwife. She was cheating on him with her boss, and now accuses him of cheating on her. She lied about him abusing her, when really she was abusing him, but the cops bought her even there was a witness there saying it never happened! Now this stay at home dad can’t see his kids. Everyone is buying her story, even though she’s been a proven liar several times. It’s like when the cops find out she lied, they don’t care anymore! Now she’s reported me to the board even though I’m just his friend. Projection much? It’s like there’s no way to beat her! Meanwhile, she’s ruined my friends life, she is abusing their kids, and now my livelihood is in jeopardy. How can you make people see this?! It’s so frustrating

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  • September 3, 2016 at 7:20 pm
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    Thank you for the entire post, but especially these two excellent points: 1. A mental illness in one person is NOT the same as a marital problem in the system. Systems theory, in my mind, is too wedded to the idea that we all have a part in everything. This idea, although often true, can urge a co-dependent type to overly work on a relationship in which the other person is uninvested. This terrible imbalance is crazy making. 2. I also like your distinction between expressing frustration and intentional abuse. Your mental clarity is wonderful!

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  • September 7, 2016 at 6:57 am
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    1-40 checked absolutely. It has been 8.5 years since the divorce and I’ve yet to forgive myself for allowing someone to take over my mind, body, and identity so completely. I was so self reliant before meeting him. The transformation seemed gradual, but I went from fiercely independent to a fearful little girl in less than 3 years. I literally thought I wouldn’t be able to survive if I left him or he left me. The fact that I made such a horrifyingly bad choice has left me scared to death to even consider getting close to anyone (other than my adult children). Being alone is a far safer option, as I will NEVER allow that to happen again.

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  • September 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm
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    Why is it “he”? Why is it always referred to as to males? I know a female narcissist who completely destroys the lives of her children. Can’t think of anything worse than a narsissist woman.

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    • September 9, 2016 at 7:21 pm
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      I agree. Did you see my blog called, “When your Mother is a Narcissist”?

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  • December 7, 2016 at 7:40 am
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    I’ve been married to my husband for 32 years. It was only a few days ago that I stumbled across an article on psychcentral about narcissism; I’ve been reading voraciously ever since. So many things that have puzzled me for such a long time make more sense now. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d say he’s a solid 3 with the occasional foray in the upper numbers.. It’s no wonder we were attracted to each other in the beginning. He’s a narcissist and I was codependent. Over the years, I gradually started going numb inside. I’ve been on antidepressants since 1999 and most likely will be for the rest of my life. We have no children and I cannot leave him because of financial reasons.

    While I do not suspect him of physical infidelity I am not at all happy with his emotional infidelity with 2 other women in our little town (he and his sister-in-law have been seen together so much that people thought she was his wife). I’m an introvert so I don’t mind staying at home or even being alone a lot but I resent feeling left out all the time. He volunteers to do things for so many other people but completely ignores my needs and the needs of our home. I understand now that it’s the admiration/validation he’s looking for so that he can feel good about himself for a little while. I blame his fathers’ emotional abuse and/or neglect as the reason he is like this today.

    Meanwhile, I got so good at soothing my own emotions with food, preferably sugar in some form or another, that I’m considerably obese. I am now learning how to get back in touch with my emotions so that I can feel them instead of stuffing them down with food. It’s not easy and I’m still in the beginning stages, but it’s a start. I also decided to join a knitters group that meets once a week. I enjoyed being there when I went yesterday morning. It’s time to focus on me and my needs. For better or worse (preferably NOT), I am staying in the marriage. I just need to figure how to make the best of the situation and be as happy as I can. I appreciate your article and making sense of the roller coaster ride. Thank you!

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  • March 2, 2017 at 11:57 am
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    yeah, i did marry one and we have 2 kids together. i only found out what was going on when she pressured me to go into counselling to work on my issues. since i started seeing a doc she hasnt asked once how the sessions have been. i was more important in the end that she gained a victory by getting me to do something i didnt want to do.

    Now knowing what i know my head is in a spin and know that its not going to be easy to break away. she has kicked me out already but i dont want the kids to suffer at her hands or be used against me.

    any advice?

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  • June 5, 2017 at 1:55 am
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    My husband cheated on me and when I cried and asked him questions about it, he answered with his eyes closed: ” why does it matter? ” I broke down screaming and crying and he wouldn’t open his eyes. He wasn’t sleeping.

    what do I do?

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  • October 29, 2017 at 7:58 pm
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    Great article but seems like you portray Men Solely as the Abuser and Women are Not Narcissists i.e.: Fix it He/She Please

    He will always define the terms.
    You will live by a set of double standards.
    You will not be listened to.
    He will never resolve a conflict.
    He will rarely consider your feelings; and will only do so if it serves him some how.
    He will never apologize.
    What will matter most to him is how he appears to others.
    He will ruin all of your birthdays and holidays (probably because somehow he needs to make everything about him.)
    There will be little to no mutuality, collaboration or cooperation.
    Your expectations will be managed down to mere crumbs; to the point where you will be happy just because he isn’t giving you the silent treatment, yelling at you, or cheating on you.
    You will never win.
    Your value will be diminished to the point of nothingness in his eyes. In fact, mere strangers will hold more weight in his eyes than you will.
    He will tend to make you his scapegoat.
    He will dump his shame and rage on to you.
    Simple conversations will become crazy-making endeavors.
    You will find yourself walking on eggshells.
    You will lose yourself because you will be trained to focus only on his feelings and reactions; never mind yours.
    You will experience the silent treatment.
    You will experience cognitive dissonance, confabulation, and gas lighting.
    You will find yourself telling a grown adult how to have normal interactions with others.
    Your relationship will revolve on a cycle: waiting – hoping – hurting – being angry – forgiving – forgetting – again.
    He will blame you for all of the problems in the relationship.
    You will blame yourself.
    He will use your weaknesses against you.
    You will experience many dramatic exits, followed by a reappearance of the N acting as if nothing unusual had ever happened.
    He will act like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
    He will not do his fair share of household responsibilities.
    He will come and go as he pleases.
    When you try to hold him accountable he will fly into a rage.
    He will not answer questions directly.
    He will never ask you about your day and wish you to “have a good day.” He will never show concern for things that you care about (unless it’s something he cares about.)
    You will feel stuck and unable to leave him.
    You will miss him and wait for him all the time.
    He will project his bad behaviors onto you and you will project your good intentions onto him – neither is accurate.
    When you finally break because of his crazy making behaviors and the insanity of the relationship, he will call you are a lunatic, others will think you are a lunatic, and you, yourself, will believe that you are just as bad as him (realize, there is no moral equivalence between expressing frustration and intentional abuse.)
    No one else will see it (except maybe the kids.) This will cause you to question your reality.
    The entire experience will result in trauma for you because it is interpersonal violence.
    You will begin to feel crazy; then, over time, you will begin to feel numb.
    If you go to couples counseling it will not work, and will most likely back fire on you. (Please realize you do not have a marriage problem, your partner has a mental illness.)
    You will pay a big price should you ever tell your loved one, “No.”

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  • January 19, 2018 at 6:35 am
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    Hello,
    Great article. For those who still reside with a Narc or have recently left a Narc please know that there is life after a Narc. As one poster mention it is like withdrawing from an addiction, because that is what your relationship was, an addiction hence the cycles. It took me almost a year of straight up trauma therapy (EMDR) to get over the affects of the abuse. There is such a thing as crazy making and unfortunately there is Stockholm Syndrome. This is all real. You hate and miss your abuser at the same time. You feel lost, confused, abandoned and incredibly hollow all while they have moved on with someone else as if you never existed. Do NOT worry, these women are just supply, if you escaped be so incredibly grateful. Thank the Universe. Move on at your own speed knowing the rest of your life you can live at peace and be happy without all that crazy making. It is HARD WORK and painful but you can do it, I promise you.

    Namaste’

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    • October 21, 2018 at 7:32 am
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      Thank you for this. I have just come out of 22 years with one. I was 17 when we first got together and the last 8 in particular have been terrible. It is hard for people who have not been with one to understand what you have just written. Some days I feel strong and hopeful and happy to be out and other days I feel my life strectching out ahead of me and it looks like a very empty and lonely road. So ups and downs indeed!

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  • March 15, 2018 at 11:46 am
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    Did I write this article in my sleep? I’m just wondering because it every bizarre, confusing and irrational trait I experience in my relationship. I’m thinking you must be the fly on my wall. Thanks for the great, straightforward article.

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    • March 16, 2018 at 4:00 am
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      It’s amazing how similar these types of relationships are.

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  • March 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm
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    I am in the process of divorcing my narcissist husband after 35 years. My friend sent me Dr. Stine’s article recently and for the first time I actually understood there is a syndrome that explains almost all his behaviors. I don’t know how I’d be getting through this if not for this article and I did a LOT of internet searches over the years to try to find something that helped me understand what was happening to him and to us. To those who wonder how a person stays married to someone with these awful traits, I can only say that in my case it started out so good and the change (demise) was so gradual that I believe I adjusted without realizing I was. I did and still love him tremendously because I’ve seen him at his best as well as his worse. The Jekyll and Hyde aspect is truly devastating because when you split up you have to leave them both. I want to thank Dr. Stine for laying it out so clearly. My best to everyone else who is dealing with this terrible situation.

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  • March 25, 2018 at 12:04 pm
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    The article is SPOT on with characteristics of NPD. (this is not exhaustive but a glimpse of my experiences) I just got out (finally and for good) of a 4 year nightmare relationship. I really wish i had understood what NPD was 4 years ago. My ex pursued me heavily, claimed a soul-mate connection, told me how amazing our relationship was and I believed all of it even though I had the gut feeling something was amiss from the start. He was very good at convincing me we “were meant to be.” (I have a post-masters degree and he has no college education. Understand that oftentimes, these people will pursue those they feel they can get something out of financially or otherwise). What I know now is this is the “grooming” phase of the relationship. These people are very good at seeking out someone (generally an empath) and going out of their way bending over backwards to cinch them. He was separated from his second wife (with two daughters) of 20+ years and told me they were getting divorced. Let me just say that was just the beginning of his lies. I have no doubt he tortured her as well because both of his daughters told my son of all the horrible things he did to all of them. I went through hell emotionally and financially because of this monster. I went from having my own place to basically starting over. all the while he nickeled and dimed me on everything then had the nerve to twist it around (projection) and basically accuse me of trying to “hurt him financially”. He had the nerve to tell me that after I moved out of the house we rented together (the one I paid 2/3 of the monthly rent on, that he no longer trusted me!) At one point in the relationship he moved out of our bedroom and into a spare bedroom and gave me a 3 week silent treatment. I later learned that he has a porn addiction. Part of the reason (at minimum) why our sex life went from pretty regular and satisyfing to almost nothing (he also would look at me and say things like “why do you still have clothes on, put very little effort into foreplay, and began struggling with ED) (all of these are issues of someone with porn addiction). And for the record, I made it known early that I did not have issues with porn in and of itself or if both people in the relationship are on the same page with it, only of it causes a problem with intimacy in the relationship, which it most certainly did in ours. In addition to all of the items on the list you can add that many times they also have addictions. If I looked at him the wrong way or said the wrong thing, didn’t do everything he wanted, I would get the leer and ultimately a silent treatment. The silent treatment is the pillar of these relationships. I got so used to the pattern that I knew if I stood up for myself the ever-loving silent treatment would follow.
    The last time we spoke, I was once again attempting to make my needs known and he became irate and told me “all you do is bitch.” In addition to all of these things, he works all the time (two jobs at the same facility) I realized that he probably has at least one “work-wife” as I had met him for lunch at work and while sitting at the lunch table the one female piped out and said “Gee, so and so, we didn’t know you had a girlfriend.” I sat mortified the remainder of the lunch as the severity of the last 4 years of my life and likelihood of what was taking place sank in. Not only did communication with me decline drastically (I would get a text most nights when he got home from work “home love you night), I realized that me and our relationship were at the bottom of the list of priorities; mere strangers/co workers rated higher on the list then I did. I realized through listening to his never ending complaining about his co workers that this person is a nightmare. These people will always make themselves look like they are the victims (in every situation) and everyone else is the perpetrator. I have no doubt he has spread lies about me just to make himself look the victim and I NO LONGER CARE. This time is different for me. This time I no longer care because I now realize he never did and what he really is. I really feel sorry for his daughters (two are grown, one still in HS) and his ex wife. What I know is that he is a miserable person who will never change and everyone has cast him aside because of his own behavior. I wish more than ever someone would have reached out to me and said something to me at the beginning. I was completely naive’ to this 4 years ago and that is exactly the type of person the monster will seek out. They are emotional vampires. The good thing is I know exactly what to look for if it ever crosses my path again. And through sharing I can help others to understand what NPD is.

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  • May 9, 2018 at 11:01 pm
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    My story exactly except for carrying his share of household chores. Everything else is a match.
    Wow.

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  • June 6, 2018 at 5:59 pm
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    How do you escape? We are engaged. We live together. He’s going through a “nice” phase now. But Who knows how long that will last. smh. I’ve jokingly said I’m leaving and he’s like, nah I’ma trap you. How do I leave?!?!?! Or is there ANY kind of cure???

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    • June 6, 2018 at 7:57 pm
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      Yes, there’s a cure. You have to develop an exit strategy. You can heal by developing healthy intimate relationships with people who are capable of connecting inter-personally. Narcissists are incapable of any form of true intimacy. They are only capable of a barter system – you do what he/she wants and he/she will stick around.

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  • June 8, 2018 at 11:45 pm
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    I am engaged to my n. We have been together for 6 1/2yrs, the first 4 yrs was long distance. It started out beautifully, I was a struggling divorced mother of 4 kids when I met him and he came into my life and he was a dream come true. I was physically abused in my marriage to my ex husband, and he had cheated on me and had gotten another woman pregnant when I decided to leave him. I told my fiance EVERYTHING that my ex had done to me (which was a HUGE mistake, cuz now he uses the info to torture me) and my fiance promised that he would never hurt me and i didn’t have anything to worry about with him. He was ALWAYS there for me when I needed him the most. He told me he wanted to marry me, wanted me to have his baby, and he was gonna buy me a house. 1st red flag I found out he was married, he convinced me that he was separated, but 2 yrs later I found out that they didn’t separate til a yr after me and him was together. 2nd red flag, he had gotten another female pregnant, but he convinced me it happened before he met me, but it happened a month into our relationship. He has custody of that child, and I’m raising him as my own. Things went to STRAIGHT HELL, when he moved here. The only promise he kept was buying a house, which I pay 1/2 the mortgage for, and I paid the down payment, but because my credit was bad I couldn’t go on the loan …..so he tells me this is his house. He treats me like im his slave. He tells me how to feel,think, act etc. He cheated on me and blamed me. And now I feel like im living with a stranger. If I try to tell him how he makes me feel, he flies into a rage telling me i’m lucky to be with him cuz my ex used to beat me and he never laid a hand on me, and he put me in a big house so I should be grateful and shut up. It took him 4 yrs to divorce his ex, and then he strung me along saying he just got divorced so he didnt want to get married no time soon. I was about to leave him recently, and he set a wedding date for this July. I bought my wedding dress, my kids wedding clothes, and he bought his suit, and now he’s saying he wants to postpone the wedding for financial reasons. I feel like a fool for still wanting to marry this man, I can’t let go of hoping that kind, sweet, loving guy will come back. I get physically sick at the thought of losing him, even though he’s cold as ice to me now. There’s no romance, no hugging, kissing, talking. I feel numb now and I dnt know where to go from here. I dont have nobody cuz everyone thinks Im stupid for staying with him. Where do I go from here?

    Reply
    • June 12, 2018 at 1:06 am
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      Maybe you could cancel the engagement.

      Reply
    • September 29, 2018 at 5:37 pm
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      Hi,
      thank you for taking the time to write that all out, Ive never posted before, but felt a strong urge to respond, I identify with pretty much everything, 7yrs in, a female knocked my door,he had been having a work affair, it went on for two years. During the 2yrs i felt i was losing my mind, it was horrific, not the normal kind of lies and stories, it was extreme, somehow, after 3mnths, i agreed to meet, to talk, it led to a decision to try and move past it, shockingly, I did get to a place that i really had moved past it, meaning i was not a detective, checking up on him, i felt relaxed, that it was a huge mistake from a good man, I guess i should say, that when we broke up, Relate counseller did say to me that he was a narcissist, and i studied on the subject, and very seriously considered it, but came to the decision that i just explained, I was not correct, he is unfortunately a narcissist, and for me, I do feel better with the conviction, 100% i am sure, which is really good, I have had another 6/7 years to witness, suffer and experience all of the above list, too many shocking things to write in a short letter, we married, a few months ago i discovered he was married many years ago, so he is also now a bigamist, he even denies any knowledge whatsoever regarding this, he claims he is the victim of identity theft, he will never ever ever be honest, about anything whatsoever, even with his mistress in our house, he stood there denying it, i do not waste time anymore, the truth will never ever be there, impossible, I have sensed cheating again for the last year, and left him four months ago, no need to wait for proof, after so many years of him, i have enough experience to truly listen to my instinct, gut, and it has never been wrong, but he was able to bend my head so far out of shape, and i second guessed so much about myself, it was the darkest years of my life, and i have had some dark times in the past, but mentally i have/had become so unwell, the stress led to a brush with death, a huge PE blood clot, my opinion caused by stress, he has cheated on and off always, has even made up stuff about meeting a model blah blah, then ten years on told me he made it up to make me jealous, has driven my car for years without a license (lied about it) has stalked me, watched the house from bushes nearby, if i went out with girlfriends he would punish me for days, sulking, ignoring, he withheld love and affection the whole 14 years, he would go from complete adoration and putting me on a pedastal, to treating me worse than a dog, I had my voice removed (im known as a very strong, opinionated woman)I had no say in anything, he took over the house, and the kids even though he was a stepdad, he drove my daughter away, I lost all my family because i took him back, friends turned their backs, i became dependant on him because of long term illness, and had no idea the danger that i was really in during that time, i was diagnosed with severe depression, have lost 3 stone, lost my confidence and self esteem, feel like a teenage girl who doesnt have a clue, its a long road of recovery ahead, but i feel so grateful to be on it finally, the abuse was intense, and planned, well ahead at times, a new one this year that really broke me down, was drip feeding me rejection sexually, as he had an affair, this was really cruel and the opposite needed to be happening, rebuilding trust, but he wouldnt let me into bed without a shower, criticise my body shape as i had lost so much weight, would tell me not to make advances on returning home if i went out for a drink, would quickly move his leg or foot if we touched by accident in bed, didnt kiss me or say goodnight, refused to discuss it, or any other marriage problems, complete and utter isolation with no support but daily put downs and attacks to my character, I would urge anyone, that felt their partner suffered with this soul destroying disorder, to literally RUN, my children suffered, he did not show love or care to anyone or anything, apart from me, which he had to do to keep a relationship alive, but it is not real, he does not feel emotion, or remorse or guilt. I had a previous partner, who was extremely violent and i suffered terrible attacks, but i can honestly say, the suffering at the hands of my husband has no comparision to any other abuse i may of suffered, i feel broken and shattered, a million peices, it is a very serious and damaging situation, I wish everyone searching on here for help or guidance, the very best in their journey and my one peice of advice, try and be awake to the people slowly leaving your life, is he encouraging you to repair freindships or family problems, my guess is not, do not allow yourself to be isolated from all the people you are close to, after 13 yrs he finally got me alone, and the behaviour and its evilness stepped up into another gear entirely, once i had no support, i mean none. He put a lot of effort into getting shot of others, so that only he had influence over me. Stay safe everyone….

      Reply
  • July 15, 2018 at 8:47 pm
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    Wow! All but 1 of these applies to my marriage. I am now “numb” from the roller coaster. This explains so much about this crazy relationship. I can’t thank you enough for this. I was a strong, independent woman before I married him. I almost let him break me. By the grace of God, he won’t. Thank you again.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm
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    I married one, and what is described above in the article is EXACTLY what he was like. I used the phrase Jekyl and Hyde myself regarding him long before I read this article. You will doubt yourself, you won’t remember what it is like to be in a normal relationship. You will get angry and frustrated because he can’t have a normal conversation about any problem that comes up.

    Some of the expressions mentioned by other people’s comments above are the same for me such as these:

    “claimed a soul-mate connection”

    “I was a strong, independent woman before I married him”
    “He was separated from his second wife”
    “At one point in the relationship he moved out of our bedroom and into a spare bedroom and gave me a 3 week silent treatment”

    “You feel lost, confused, abandoned and incredibly hollow all while they have moved on with someone else as if you never existed”

    “Narcissists are addictive and in order to break out of a relationship with one you have to take it on as if you are breaking out of a heroin addiction. It takes HARD WORK. And the grief involved is worse than in “regular” relationship losses because of the psychological abuse involved.”

    “The worst part is, things will go smoothly for quite some time, tricking me into thinking all is well. Then without warning, a simple insignificant event will trigger a massive blow out from him. It feels like an ongoing roller coaster ride & am not sure how much more I can take.”

    I have a long, long story of emotional and extreme verbal abuse. Even some physical abuse, where he hit me, my head hit the wall, I saw stars, fell down, and he continued to verbally abuse me. I had done nothing worthy of that.

    There was one time when he had me locked in the bedroom, and told me that if I didn’t kill myself, he would do it for me. His son was a mirror image of him, and when he wasn’t home, his son would treat me the same way that my husband did (except for the physical abuse that is).

    I am still married to my husband, but I just couldn’t take it any more, and left him after 17 years of marriage. It took him less than 2 months to find someone else. I love him and I hate him all at once. After I left, I begged him to take me back, and he kept blaming me for everything.

    I was a broken lost and suicidal wreck for 3 months. I am starting my 4th month now, and I am lost and alone, but I am hopeful

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  • August 24, 2018 at 12:24 pm
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    I’ve been searching the internet trying to understand what happened to me. This article was so accurate and spot on. Thanks for helping me feel understood and not alone. There were so many poignant points but the one that stuck out the most was ” No matter how strong you think you are, its only denial ” I was a very confident successful physician I found myself lost trying to fix my marriage. It was hopeless.We cycled just like the article says. Back and forth. Each time I lost a little more of myself. I kept trying and trying all the while losing myself slowly. I kept giving in and compromising myself for our marriage. All the while she did nothing except take more and more. We went to couples counseling only to find she was using my attempts and efforts as my failures in our marriage. Never taking responsibility .Blaming me for everything. She was so jealous and untrusting of me and I walked on egg shells. I loved her dearly and would never jeopardize our marriage. But it was never enough. She constantly checked my phone emails FB etc. I lost friends and family due to her jealousy. In the end she cheated on me and broke my heart. I felt so used , so hurt so stupid. For compromising myself and only to be cheated on. It was a blessing in disguise . Because after that I never went back. I freed myself. Im so much happier now. My advice to people. Find someone who loves you for you and trust your gut. Trust respect and communication are hallmarks of a loving relationship .

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  • October 21, 2018 at 7:26 am
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    This is a great list. A very good list. I do not normally leave comments either but feel I have to after reading this. Especially number 21, that was definitely me in the last few years.He was always difficult, I put I put it down to having trouble expressing his emotions , being sensitive, having a rough childhood, being stubborn etc. He was in the army and I would get frustrated that we would move all the time even when we didnt have to and he never fought not to move even though it meant so much disruption. Then came a new job with the potential to move around the country and promotion chase but he promised that wasn’t for him anymore. Then we had children and bought a house. Then we started moving and promotion chasing. He got promoted and got a very big head. Then I was accused of not supporting him, not being a good enough mother, being over sensitive, being weak, being pathetic and the physical abuse started. I was always wrong, he “reacted” to me, I made him do it, he never apologised, I got the silent treatment, I got depressed but that just meant gaslighting me to family and using it against me. He never apologised, would just leave in the middle of the night and come back and give me the silent treatment only to have it happen all over again. He would kick me out of the house in the middle of the night and say I was useless and didn’t contribute, it was his house, I was a burden. Never apologised just “Don’t you think I feel bad?” like it was my fault. I found out later he would stage these fights so he could leave so he could meet other woman. He would be rude or insensitive to people and I would have to apologise for him. I realised after reading this he never asked me about my day. If I said I love him he would say “Do you?, do you really?” I recently had a baby and got a blood clot in my leg that broke off and went into my lungs, he showed not emotion whatsoever. He did not bring flowers when the baby was born or a card or a present, in fact he hardly visited. It was my bday two days later same thing and when I asked him about this he told me I was ungrateful, that I got a baby wasn’t that enough, I was always looking to spoil things and he could never do enough to make me happy. So it was my fault. He would remember every little slight real or imagined and was very good at holding a grudge. When the baby was 3 mnths old I got a fb message from a woman who had been having an affair with him since before I got pregnant. He had been on Ashley Madison for three years at least, before her it was a young girl with a baby. He was so angry he had been caught. It was my fault, her fault, the police got involved so it was their fault. He was cunning and manipulative and a compulsive liar. He kept screaming I got away with it and do you think I love you? and the only thing I regret is not breaking up with you first because now I look like a bastard and I shouldnt because I dont love you. Actually concerned with image should be another point on the list. So there you go, no remorse, no guilt. He had a secret app on his phone that had an instant messenging app, he was stashing money from our joint accounts, he was meeting her in motels during the day at work time, he was having her come to work which requires high levels of public safety and go away with him on business trips. He would have her right next to him when I would phone him and liked to have sex with her while talking to me. Why she put up with that I don’t know, yes I do, she was taken in by him. It took that woman contacting me to make me see him for what he was. I am suprised it took me so long. 22 years but the last 8 were steadily growing worse, that was when the physical abuse and cheating was occuring. Our eldest children were 4 and 2 at the time. I stood up to him on issues and you know how they hate to be wrong but because I ended up fighting back I felt responsible that it was both of us. In fact he has written violence and abuse is mutual in court documents. When he would gaslight me or I would try and hold him accountable or ask him something he would fly into a rage, towards the end he was choking me. I had tried to get help but he would say he would lose his job and as he needed a fit and proper persons security clearance I would not say anything to anyone. We went to counselling he had the first session by himself and the second was together. The counsellor turned around and said you sound like you should be an anti depressants in a hostile way. I was so suprised. I think he was always a narcissist but I din’t know what one was and it wasn’t as apparent until we had children and our own home (no more army accommodation) he did not like reponsibility, he did not like household chores, he would not do the lawns or the rubbish or take care of the cars but he would have a bit to say on how I did the washing. I said I would do it, he said no you don’t do it in a timely fashion, I said lets divide the chores, he said not I don’t want to live my life in boxes, I said you do your washing, I will do the rest, he said no I do not want to ask when to do the washing in my own home. Another time he had mowed the lawns and I found the clippings in his car a week later. I had noticed because the windows were full of condensation. He did cook dinner every night and I would always thank him but if I said I didnt like something when I had morning sickness he would not forget it. It didnt matter how many times I said good things he would remember those few bad ones and hang on to them and bring them up. Also he did not like the children, in his own way he loves them more than anything else but he did not like his lose of freedom, the responsibility, the money, the time and the work and the taking up of my attention. He would always complain that they loved me more and they shouldn’t as I was not a nice person. He didn’t have any friends, he didn’t like his family and he said he hated people. In fact he told all this to the other woman including how he had a horrible family and a very abusive wife who would physically abuse him and throw things. He accused me of breaking his hand but he forgets that he had heard me talking about him on the phone, took umbrage “how dare I talk about him to other people” and then proceeded to take every phone in the house as he paid for them. When he got to the last one I threatened to call the police as he was being a bully and controlling. The last phone had a long cord, I pulled it and tug of war ensued and I twisted the phone cord to wrench it off him, as I did so we heard an audible crack which was his little finger which I instantly felt guilt for and ran and got an icepack and insisted he go to hospital. I didn’t see any of that. I did not see the physical abuse and the mental abuse and the constant trying to justify my thoughts and feelings because it had become my normal. It was the affair that made me see. #38. The day he got dobbed in by the other woman he never came home and I was devalued and discarded and so were the kids. He already had someone else lined up and had told the other woman that too. He had done the whole narcissist thing with her, love bombing, pity play, dropped and discarded and then hoovering a year later. He treated her coldly when they met up again. They had made porn together and he would show her in video chats that he was watching it. She had had enough and decided to tell me. So now three months later I am experincing #37, #35 and most of #33. Noone understands #33 and rereading this I can’t explain it either and it hurts so much, that 22 years and three children mean nothing. He has a protection order on him but says it just protects him from me. He wont get a lawyer as he doesn’t want to waste the money and he doesn’t want supervised visits with the kids so he doesn’t see them. He will not communicate with the kids or I at all. So that is that. Now that I’m away from him I swing constantly, thinking it wasn’t that bad, thinking about the good times and how nice and charming and witty he could be. But I have to firmly say to myself No, remember this and remember that and all the things I have just written here and of course there is more. Then I question myself that maybe I am just as much to blame and it takes two etc etc I am not easy to live with, I get grumpy, I push for things I want and then I have to say it is ok to do those things and mainly they came from love or for enhancing the family, its okay to want to have holidays or celebrate or have a nice house and family. It is not ok to cheat, it is not ok to be abusive and unfeeling. Everyone says I will be better off and to put one foot in front of the other and time will be a healer. Let’s hope so!

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  • October 27, 2018 at 8:08 am
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    They do apologize if it benefits them and to keep you confused. Also, mine would go through the fake ‘how are you and how was your day,’ and then use the information to point out how I could have done better. He would initially support me if I was having an issue at work or with prickly people, and then 5 min later start explaining what I did wrong, even if someone had blatantly wronged me. It was mind bending. We once went to a beach where there were only 5 or so families and I noticed that one family had rambunctious kids and I actually said to make sure we didn’t get close to them. When I came out of the bathroom, he had set up our family right next to that family. And then was asking what was wrong with me for being mad, trying to make me feel high maintenance, when he truly was the high maintenance one. This was my life for almost 30 years, living with a spouse who never quite gave me what I asked for, because he always knew better. Treated me like a child, yet refused to do adult things and left me exhausted and doing everything at home. He is about to remarry and I feel sorry for her. She thinks she has found her dream man. Wait till they are married and he doesn’t feel the need to be pleasant behind closed doors. I am so thankful to have escaped at 46. Better late than never!

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    • October 31, 2018 at 10:43 am
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      Hi Dee,

      Any advice for how you navigated getting out or how you healed from the trauma? Thx

      Karen

      Reply
  • October 31, 2018 at 4:00 pm
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    I think my ex husband was a Narcissist – but did not have all of the traits.
    He discarded me after 40 years, for a woman 25 years younger. He married her soon after our divorce, and they seem very happy together. They are “ on the same page” – something he repeatedly said we weren’t. We went to couples counselling, but he just listed all my faults, and every mistake I had ever made.
    I still care about him, wish him well, but am left broken hearted, financially struggling and believing what he said about it being all my fault. I am not a very overtly affectionate person, although I do show caring in many other ways, but he said she was his soulmate. I regret that I didn’t make him feel special, but I was working full time, doing everything in the house and garden, and taking the children to their various hobbies. He was critical and controlling, often name calling others and talked about himself and how clever he is. I had my own career and friends, so I dismissed it all, accepted it was who he was, and laughed off the jibes. Now I see that he never really loved me. I have had counselling, have lovely children ( who are fair, and still meet up with him and his new wife), great friends, and have taken up many hobbies – but still obsessed with him, and still shell shocked after 4+ years. How long will it take to recover from this?

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    • November 1, 2018 at 1:37 am
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      I think maybe you need to work on the underlying issues and the trauma he caused in your life in order to fully move on.

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      • November 1, 2018 at 3:08 am
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        Do you mean my underlying issues? Was I truly to blame for not understanding him and making him feel special? His new wife doesn’t have children or a full time job, so puts him first, tells him how wonderful he is. Did I fail him? Still have many regrets, even after counselling. I have filled my life but just trying to fill the void he left.

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      • November 2, 2018 at 10:11 pm
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        By underlying issues I mean, the fact that perhaps his rejections and crazy making behaviors have triggered something in you from an earlier time in life. Not victim blaming, just something to consider.

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    • November 3, 2018 at 12:07 am
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      Dear Broken,

      I’m finally getting out of a narcissistic relationship and your post reminds me of a period of time I really struggled. Counseling wasn’t helpful for this particular issue because the counselor accepted my blame. One thing helped me move past this issue developed from the years of accepting the blame and every problem is my responsibility to fix for him. I had the realization that responsibility for the success of a relationship is equally shared.

      So I had to ask myself:

      What was his responsiblility? Doesn’t he have responsibilities and obligations to cooperate, negotiate, to discuss in an equal way things that cause him discontent, to look for a solution for his own needs? Why didn’t he work towards improvements that helped his happiness factor. Why did I have all the responsibilty in making him happy or unhappy. This, I believe, is part of the entitled factor of narcissism. He got to sit back, make little to no effort to create ‘happiness’ in his life and simply complained that I wasn’t doing enough. “What about me?” he would ask. “What about my happiness, don’t you ever think about my happiness?”

      We can cause someone to be unhappy or happy within a moment but we can’t make someone happy or unhappy. It’s their responsibility to speak up, action, adjust their thinking to gain their own happiness.

      I hope this helps you in some way.

      P.S. Just because he tells you she is his soulmate does not mean he tells her the same thing. I imagine he is just as critical and controlling with her as he was with you. Keeping you hooked and feeling inadequate is a side benefit.

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      • November 3, 2018 at 12:56 pm
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        Thank you, Charlie for taking the time to reply.
        He constantly told me, throughout our marriage, that I should change – but I didn’t. I berate myself for not being overtly affectionate towards him – but this was a legacy from my upbringing
        ( as Sharie points out – underlying issues). His new wife is very affectionate towards him. He blamed me for the stagnation of our marriage, and I do believe it was mostly my fault. When he was leaving, I asked him why he didn’t tell me that he needed me to show more affection, and he said that would be a weak thing for a man to do. So, he left me for someone who told him he is “ her oxygen, she can’t breathe without him” – not my style of expressing myself.
        I have had no contact with him for nearly two years, since our divorce ( he divorced me for “ unreasonable behaviour “, with the explanation that I was too busy with work, meeting my daughter once every few weeks, minding our grandkids once a week on my own , meeting friends, keeping fit, doing housework , food shopping and gardening – and none of these included him), so he left for someone who didn’t do most of those things. He said as he left “ I want to wake up every morning, and everything will be about me”. I couldn’t do that, because of family.
        He is now moving to a huge house in a beautiful area, with a new car and fantastic holidays, while I am just about making ends meet. I feel so rejected and discarded, and let down by the man I loved for 40 years. How do I come back from that?

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      • November 4, 2018 at 11:43 am
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        Dear Broken,

        I’m struggling to even know where to start. So first, let me reiterated Sharie’s advice for counseling regarding underlying issues which may not be the underlying issue you are so very efficiently accepting all the blame.

        Secondly, there is a belief system endemic to the recipients of narcissistic wants, needs and desires that develops from living within the narcissistic world that takes a lot of work to unravel. This is due to the complete entitlement, superiority, victim status, lack of empathy, and lack of conscience coupled with the confidence of the narcissistic individual. Part of that endemic belief system is everything is our fault and our responsibility and there is only one viewpoint in the relationship, the narcissist’s viewpoint. It is the lens in which everything is examined from.

        So, I have questions more than answers for you. In my experience, what worked best for me was unraveling the ‘reality’ created by the narcissistic individual in order to move into actual reality.

        How do you define affection? How does he define affection? Did you not hug him enough? His comment about her statement he is her oxygen, she can’t breathe without him is not about affection, hugs or even sex. That’s a comment about enmeshment. How many people do you know prefer to be emeshed or one person with their spouse? They can’t exist, function or even take in air without him or her. Does this sound like a healthy, functional way to live in a long term relationship? What mental health person would have advised you to become this dependent and helpless? That’s not your style of expressing yourself? I don’t believe that’s a style any healthy, functional person uses to express themselves.

        He constantly told you that you should change. What did he want you to change? Stop cooking, cleaning and working? What did he change? How did he try to join in your activities, ask you to join his activities, or suggest activities that you could do together? Did you tell him, ‘Nope, sorry my life is way too awesome to do things with you? ‘ What household responsibilities were his? Sounds like you worked outside of the home, took care of all the housework, food shopping and gardening. I’m assuming gardening is about lawn and landscape maintence. I’m assuming you did the laundry and cooked as well. The new wife doesn’t do any of that? They live in a dirty house, in dirty clothes, and starve because there is no food preparation?

        How weak is it when a person can’t say, I don’t like things about our marriage or relationship and this is a problem we need to resolve? Sounds like a position of strength and confidence to me. Any time I hear any person say standing up for what they want and need for themselves is a weakness, I see a professional victim. What, you were supposed to read his mind? Oh, that’s right, you were supposed to be enmeshed with him and you blame yourself for not ‘adopting’ that style of expressing yourself. (Sarcasm is completely intended.)

        Remember, he said he wants to wake up every morning and everything will be about me? Does this actually sound like something a healthy functional person would say they want every day? Wouldn’t most people feel selfish and guilty about wanting the world to revolve around them? Wouldn’t most people have pangs of conscience about people sacrificing their wants and needs for them and the harm it can or will cause the other person? And let’s face it, wouldn’t most people feel smothered by receiving that kind of servitude on a daily basis?

        On the surface, you sound like a strong, independent, busy person but it’s starting to sound like if we scratch a little below the surface you took care of him really well. You work outside of the home, take care of the kids, take care of the grandkids, do the household chores, the outside home chores, keep fit so you look nice for him and have the energy to complete all these responsibilities and meet friends so you don’t need to make demands on him to do things with you. I’m left wondering, how low are your expectations? Why aren’t you complaining he didn’t go grocery shopping, or watch the grandkids, or shoulder his share of household obligations and responsibilities? These are normal conflicts in healthy relationships. I haven’t seen one complaint except he left and even that you’ve accepted the blame.

        I don’t know how anyone else views this, but walking out on a 40 year marriage because you’re not getting enough affection sounds like a rather lame reason. Did you refuse to go to marital counseling with him?

        Truthfully, and I’m not sure if I’ve mischaracterized since I know so little about you and your 40 year relationship, but isn’t it possible that he had an affair and left you for another woman and blamed you for his behavior? And, since you accepted the blame, you didn’t fight the unreasonable behavior label applied to you in your divorce further reinforcing your belief that you’re at fault for his behavior?

        Reply
  • November 5, 2018 at 11:06 am
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    Dear Broken,

    You sound as if you’ve not yet been able to accept the reality of the ‘relationship’ you had with him. I would like to reiterate Sharie’s suggestion to go back to counseling. Counseling for this type of problem is not the situational, one and done, I’m able to move on type of counseling. Dealing with personalities that are narcissistic is a process that changes your outlook on everything. It is really a struggle that we all stuffer through so know you’re not alone.

    You asked how do you come back from that? The only way is too stop blaming yourself, stop denying his accountability, stop accepting his definition of terms, stop allowing him to define reality, resolving the loop of cognitive dysfunction, and healing the trauma this has caused you.

    Here are some observations I’ve had from your posts and I’m going to be blunt so I hope you’re at a point that you can handle some plain speaking:

    1. For someone who has no contact, you seem to know a lot about what he’s doing, where he’s going and how is relationship is progressing. Are your kids keeping you informed? Why are they doing that if they know it hurts you? Narcissists are famous for the manipulation tactic of triangulation so is he using the kids to keep hurting you? Why are the kids being so fair to him? They must know what he’s like? How are they not angry at him for dumping their mother and leaving her financially struggling?

    2. How do you define affectionate? In order to repair the damage caused by narcissism we need to relearn everything, every word definition, reassess normal and healthy, relearn ourselves, our motives and our thought processes. Narcissists define reality to suit their needs with their uniquely selfish, low conscience, low empathy viewpoint. We accept and adapt to their perspective because it is a healthy thing to do in a healthy relationship. You did not have a healthy relationship, that is very obvious.

    3. He is seeming to define affection as ‘he is her oxygen and she needs him to breathe, they’re soul mates .’ He’s what… 60 years old and at best talking like a teenager? Seriously, that’s just messed up. This is enmeshment and there is nothing healthy nor functional about that. You state that’s not your style of expression, stop normalizing such a childish, disfunctional and unhealthy behavior. It’s not normal for grown adults.

    4. He stayed with you for 40 years. You must have done lots of good things for him or he wouldn’t have stayed so long. He must not have minded ‘your lack of affection’ that much or he would have left long ago. He is not a victim as he would have you and everyone believe. He is not a martyr as he most likely portrays himself to be. It appears to me that he’s exploiting a trait you are vulnerable to and that’s the only complaint he can really work. It sounds like you took good care of almost everything for him. Good job, you satisfied him for 40 years. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    5. Whether you have proof or recognize it, realize if he married her shortly after your divorce he was probably having an affair with her during your marriage. So he had an affair and left you for another woman and didn’t have the guts or the conscience to admit it. He re-married someone 25 years his junior? Chances are the only thing you did to deserve being discarded in such a way is age and that’s certainly outside of your control.

    6. Realize, he didn’t change his ways, his habits of 40 years due to his re-marriage. He’s still the hypercritical, controlling, complaining guy he always has been. Don’t kid yourself that if you could have only…..it would have resolved the mental health issues and poor character issues he is afflicted with. If she needs him to breathe, believe me he’s complaining and putting her down for being too needy and probably holding you up as the shining example of how she should be. It’s how they work. Triangulation is really an effective way for them to manipulate and control. Remember he thinks of himself as clever.

    And,

    7. Only weak, lazy, insecure, and manipulative men use the excuse that it’s weak for men to talk about their feelings or thoughts. He certainly doesn’t consider complaining, bitching, whining, and being a victim of you to be weak, which by the way, actually defines being weak. Strong, confident people look to resolve their issues, problems, conflicts and complaints. They do not depend and rely on other people to ‘fix’ things so their helpless ass can be satisfied.

    I’ve found the healing process must start by unraveling the crazy making, down the rabbit hole into Wonderland world defined by the narcissist and work to move ourselves back into actual reality. Again, I hope this helps you in some way perhaps by providing some stabilizing realistic food for thought.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2018 at 8:25 pm
      Permalink

      Charlie, thank you. I am fine with hearing the advice you offer. I agree with what you say, but want to pose some questions….
      Am I weak for trying to understand the underlying illness of Narcissism? ( still unsure if he is, or just a product of a difficult childhood ) Surely, if it is due to childhood trauma, wouldn’t the love and understanding of the right person help his issues? I wasn’t that person because I was busy with other aspects of my life, and so possibly added to his feelings of inadequacy. If his new wife makes him feel secure and appreciated, isn’t he with the right person?
      Yes, I know that he must have been seeing her during our marriage, and I agree that he should have had the courage to leave sooner, but although he was outwardly showing confidence and bravado, he was scared to make the break and leap into the unknown – particularly as she has had a number of relationships, and he hasn’t ( we met at the age of 19, both of us not having had many past relationships)
      I just see him as a vulnerable, childlike, individual, who is beguiled by adoration, which I did not show him. I know that is a trait of Narcissists, but what a sad existence. Shouldn’t I then pity that existence?
      I have encouraged my children to remain fair with him, and accept his new wife ( even though she is the same age as them). My son was his best man, and my daughter attended their wedding. He is their Father, why shouldn’t he have the life he wants, even if it is not with me? I am the strong one, surviving in a life that is not what I envisaged in my 60’s. I have filled my life with work, volunteering and hobbies, meeting wonderful people – I am not dependent on anyone.
      I was totally agreeable through the divorce – even to the point of sending them congratulations cards on their engagement and wedding. I wanted my children to have the least stress and upset by it all.
      They do tell me about him, sometimes I ask ( if his actions have a direct effect on them), sometimes they mention him in passing. Unfortunately, he has said some terrible things to them, and I can’t reconcile with that, but they must make up their own minds. Both of them have called him a Narcissist and Sociopath – that saddens me for them to have to come to terms with that. They have, at least, turned out to be good, well balanced, individuals.
      I have had a lot of counselling – tried different types including CBT – and I have researched Narcissism at great length. I am aware of Trauma Bonding, Stockholm Syndrome, Co- dependency, Cognitive dissonance etc, but still come to the same conclusion – I still care about him, miss him, and wish I had understood him enough to have made him feel secure and loved. That is where I feel I failed.
      I work with children who have additional needs, and give them care, patience and support – so why didn’t I do that for the person closest to me? A person said to me once “ A happy man never leaves”. That summed it up for me – maybe he will never know what true happiness is, but I wish him well. I just get through every day the best I can without him. Maybe I am a victim, pathetic and a fool, but that is where I am at present. Hopefully, it will get easier with time. Once he has moved districts, I will have “closure” of sorts, as he will be out of my vicinity, and I will probably never see him again. At present, I could find myself in the same company as them, so have to avoid some social situations.
      I am aware that all this has opened up some of my childhood issues – my Mother was like me, too busy to show affection – my ex actually said my behaviour ( such as never crying in front of him, always sorting out my own problems, never admitting vulnerability etc), would lead to a self fulfilling prophecy, that I would push him away eventually – and I did. So maybe it wasn’t his Narcissism that led to the demise of the marriage?
      Thank you for your interest and thoughts about my situation. I believe I just have to get on with my “ different” life as it is.

      Reply
 

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