I have received a few variations of the same question from readers, “Are Narcissists really aware of their behavior considering they have a personality disorder? Do they know what they are doing is wrong?”
Most people don’t put too much thought into their everyday behaviors. Think about how you behave on a regular basis. You usually don’t stop and think about what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it. You just act or react. Our behavior is generally driven by an accumulation of our emotional state at the time, our self-esteem and our past experiences.
As I illustrated in my blog Seeking Revenge Against a Narcissist, their general default setting consists of emotions such as, anger, smugness, frustration, boredom, obsession and contempt. When these feelings are part of your everyday experience, your brain creates neural pathways, so that when new stimuli comes in through your senses, your brain filters it through these pathways. The more we think a certain way, the stronger the neural pathway becomes.
So when your Narcissist is interpreting his environment, he is interpreting it through those filters. When you do something and he reacts in a rage, it’s because that neural pathway that leads to anger is well traveled and he is constantly interpreting other people’s intentions as negative and threatening to his sense of self. A Narcissist is extremely concerned with how others perceive him. Because he needs to be admired and considered superior, any slight real or imagined, will travel down the anger neural pathway and insight his fury. So in this manner his behavior has become his habitual way of thinking, it’s his natural reaction and is not something he thinks about consciously. He’s not thinking that he’s over reacted or acted badly, he’s just looking at how your behavior was offensive to him.
A Narcissist’s life is filled with anxiety. The need to alleviate these anxieties is what drives much of his behavior. He is a walking contradiction with desires to have emotional security and a need to be alone at the same time. On top of the need to rid himself of his anxiety, his actions are also self-esteem driven. Because he derives his sense of self-worth from the people and things in his environment, the choices he makes and the things he does reflect that. Most of the time he isn’t thinking of anyone else. He’s thinking, ‘how does this make me look,’ hurting you is usually an unfortunate repercussion he often never even considered. So in these two respects he is not really aware of his behavior.
However, we all know that if we want X to happen we must do Y to achieve the desired result. For instance, if you want a paycheck you must get up and go to work every day. If we are looking at the manipulative aspect of a Narcissist, abso-freakin-lutly he is aware that he is manipulating you. Some Narcissists are more manipulative than others, but believe me when he wants something from you, he’s going to tell you what you want hear, or do what he needs to, to get it, knowing full well, he has no intention of delivering on his promises. He wants everything on his terms and he doesn’t concern himself with how you will feel about it.
Consider the behavior of a drug addict. They will lie, steal and manipulate to get their next fix. Certainly they know what they are doing is wrong, but they don’t care. This not caring has been going on so long that every time they find themselves in a moral conundrum, it gets easier and easier to justify their behavior. All they concern themselves with is getting their next hit, regardless of the consequences to anyone else. In a similar fashion, all a Narcissist concerns himself with is obtaining his much needed supply. His needs outweigh all other considerations.
There is another aspect to this. Not everyone perceives right and wrong the same way. We’ve all been in situations where someone has thought that our behavior was wrong, even though upsetting someone was never our intention. What do we do in this situation? We will probably think they are over reacting and we won’t get too upset about it, or put too much thought into it. This is what a Narcissist does, they just do it on a grander scale.
Most people are guided by their conscience. They govern their actions based on their feelings and their ability to put themselves in another’s shoes. But what happens when you have no moral compass? When you lack empathy? When you remove those abilities – what’s left?
To answer your question we need to know exactly what you are dealing with and the level of their emotional impairment. Here is a very simplistic break down of how I tend to look at it:
There are 3 bad ass brothers – Emotionally Unavailable, Narcissist and Psychopath. They’re all cut from the same cloth, but there are distinct differences in their abilities to feel, relate to others and form attachment bonds and they are all missing various shades and colors from their emotional color pallet.
Emotionally Unavailable Narcissist Psychopath
Emotional Unavailability is a component of Narcissism, Narcissism is a component of Psychopathy.
Emotionally Unavailable people tend to exhibit a lot of the same behavior as Narcissists. They blow hot and cold in their relationships, they’re self-centered, they have the entitlement mentality and they don’t take responsibility for their actions ect… They have a great difficulty forming attachment bonds with others and tend to have huge emotional walls built up, that don’t allow others to get close.
For example, think about what it would be like if you were involved with someone that was in love with someone else. How would they treat you? You wouldn’t get their full attention or full commitment. They might have just one toe in their relationship with you and you’d be treated like an option. I tend to think that Emotionally Unavailable people have all of the colors on the emotional color pallet, but they are shades off of the true colors. Being Emotionally Unavailable is not a personality disorder, so usually those inflicted are capable of overcoming their impairment with the right amount of self-work and the desire to heal and change.
The major differences for me between an EU person and a Narcissist are that Narcissists have a weak, fragile self-esteem and depend on others for validation and their sense of self-worth. Not to say that EU don’t, but the degree is vastly different. Narcissists need to feed off of the admiration and esteem of others, like people need oxygen to breath. Without it they withdraw and spiral into depression. This need makes them predator-like and oh so willing to say and do whatever’s necessary to obtain another’s affections.
Narcissists also lack empathy. Those emotional colors are either nonexistent, or so far off the emotional shade chart that they don’t even resemble the original color.
While some Narcissists do engage in long term relationships, one of the most prevalent things that are missing is a sincere emotional bond. Many partners of Narcissists have said that they never really could get close to them and therefore never really knew them at all. Narcissists are also not nostalgic about any person, place or thing. Nothing seems to hold any deep sentimentality or emotional attachment for them.
Narcissism is a component of Anti-Social Personality Disorder, also known as Psychopathy. A Psychopath exhibits the same egomaniacal, predatory behaviors. They lie, manipulate, con and lack the ability to feel empathy or remorse. Psychopaths do not form attachment bonds. They have poor impulse control and engage in high risk behavior. Narcissists and Psychopaths share the same sense of entitlement and the same smug demeanor.
They also share a desire for attention and admiration, but the major difference between a Narcissist and a Psychopath is that a Psychopath does not depend on others for their self-esteem. They use others for self-gratification, or for their own amusement, but not because they have fragile egos that require constant reassurance. They despise humanity and really couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of them.
So the distinction between whether or not someone is Emotionally Unavailable, a Narcissist or a Psychopath is necessary in determining a person’s level of emotional impairment, because a behavior resonates as wrong to us, only when we believe or acknowledge that it’s wrong. If you don’t feel bad after you’ve done something, is it still wrong if you don’t feel it?
Does a Psychopath know that killing is wrong? Cognitively he does absolutely, but when those underlying feeling of empathy and morality aren’t present, right and wrong doesn’t really hold much meaning.
In the same way, absolutely a Narcissist knows that he’s hurting you. He knows that cheating is wrong, lying is wrong, manipulation is wrong, but only because society says it’s wrong. Not because he feels bad about it. I’ve said in previous blogs that it’s impossible to gage someone else’s emotions based on your morals and what you would or wouldn’t do. To a Narcissist everyone thinks and feels the same way he does. He’s missing pieces in his emotional color pallet. He just doesn’t know he’s missing them.
How can you know you don’t have the emotional color of empathy if you’ve never experienced it before? How do you know it even exists? Because it doesn’t exist for him, he tends to think that when you express it – your behavior is put on and false. Your behavior is just as much of a mystery to him as his is to you. The only difference is he isn’t sitting around thinking about your behavior – he’s thinking about him. Often they are quite surprised that their behavior has offended you, because your reaction and how it would affect you, never even crossed their mind.
So is a Narcissist aware of his behavior and that what he’s doing is wrong? Yes and no. Some of their behaviors are so ingrained in their neural pathways that they’ve become habitual and they usually don’t give it much thought. But when a Narcissist is stalking prey and trying to get what he wants in the moment, for sure he is aware of what he’s doing. He has perfected his attack. He knows he’s misleading you, he just doesn’t care.
All of us are able to rationalize and justify our actions to some degree, a Narcissist just does it on a grander scale. Mainly because they are missing integral emotional components that impairs their ability to consider the feelings of others. Because they don’t consider how their actions will affect you, there isn’t really a right or wrong component in their decision making process and since your feelings were never even a consideration to him, when he hurts them he can easily absolve himself of any wrong doing, because hurting you wasn’t something he necessarily intended to do. You were just collateral damage.
The bottom line is, whether or not a Narcissist is aware his behavior is wrong is really irrelevant. The question you should be asking yourself is, ‘Why am I still involved with a person who displays Narcissistic behavior? What am I getting out of this?’
It’s as if we are looking for a reason to continue to be invested. When you’re involved with a Narcissist you have likely become an expert at minimizing and rationalizing their bad behavior. And if somehow we can excuse his behavior and say that he just didn’t know better, then we can continue to justify engaging with them.
I’m the first person that always jumps up and says it’s all about intention. When I’m confronted with a situation – intention is always the first thing I look at. But with people who are only capable of having hurtful, self-serving intentions, whether or not they are aware that they’re hurting you doesn’t matter. You can’t say, “He treated me like gum on the bottom of his shoe, but it’s ok because he didn’t mean to do it – he’s a Narcissist.” There is no court on this planet that accepts Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Anti-Social Personality Disorder as a defense, so neither should you. “Sorry your honor, I killed those people, but I have a personality disorder, so it wasn’t my fault,” that just doesn’t float. We are all responsible for and need to be accountable for our actions, regardless of our impulses, or drives.
The only questions you should be asking are – Is this relationship good for me? Does this person add value to my life? Does he make me happy? Am I consistently being treated in a loving, respectful manner?
If the answer is no then, ‘What the hell am I still doing in this relationship?’ And, ‘Where’s the door?’ – are the only questions you should be asking. Stop looking for reasons to justify his behavior. Take the focus off of him and put it where it always should be on – you.
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I have been married for 30 years to an extreme narcissist after dating him for 5 years prior. I had no idea he was so disordered until we were married. Dating him was an absolute dream. Now I understand how they love-bomb their new victim until after they “have” them. I never knew that
while being married to me, the last year he had joined 3 single websites with his profile on them. He ended up cheating on me with a new “perfect” girlfriend, and dumped me in a day!! I was left
hurt, bewildered and couldn’t figure out why, even though our marriage was always in trouble, he caused fights constantly, and put me down and belittled me nonstop. I think I stayed hoping I
could change him by being nice, which never worked. I also think I am codependent because now that I’m alone I’m having a tough time. BUT I also realize that I should be grateful that he’s done
with me. I wish I would have never met him, or at least ran for my life when I realized how disordered he was. Now I’m 70+ years old, but at least my life is very peaceful now. He hated my children, my friends, etc., and made life very very hard. And I truly pity his current victim, as he
will treat her the same way in time.
Thank you for the article. Beautifully written. Best part was reminding me that I need to stop justifying his actions. You’re right I’m a person too and I matter. Thank you again.❤️
Thank you for this article.
It was informative & very well written.
But what happens if you notice your actions are narcissistic like and your partner has left and doesn’t think you will ever be determined to change?
Wow. This whole article opens my eyes about my narcissist girlfriend. Everything is about her. She is often hurt by my actions but I’m always considerate about her needs and wants. I always buy her the best gifts and the most loving written cards for her birthday, Valentine’s Day and Christmas but twice in our three year relationship she bought me a gift but never a card. She’s never happy. My treatment of her always falls short. She hurts me but can’t seem to see that what she does is hurtful. I’ve left her several times but she always begs for me to take her back and I do. Not this time. The door is open and I’m not coming back. Her last flirting incident with our waiter pushed me away for good. I’m done. The article described her exactly.
Well just recently I was diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder…
Well can you tell me ? I’ve been thru complete HELL growing up my mother fits this Bil also, I was a victim of a horrific home invasion back in the 80’s there was no counciling or any such thing as PSTD.. I am a very empathetic person and I feel very misunderstood.. no one can diagnos someone with in a 10 mins session…….i have spent most of my life working with challenge individuals…infact I advocate on their behalf….
I suggest a 1 minute consultation if proper questions where answered truthfully.
Eg. My stepson bought a drum set and set it up in our garage. He banged away on it for 30-40 min a day. Police showed up and drums went in basement His mother and him were speaking viciously about mystery neighbor that called cops.
My wife is lesser malignant NPD.
Neither wife or stepson saw the obvious fact he was bothering anyone
This article is a keeper. I’ve read alot about narcissism and this summerizes my experience to a tee. When my ex would say or do very hurtful things i would withdraw – as in literally go home. The look of confusion on his face was genuine, he just didnt seem to understand how injurious his words were. At least at the bwginning of the relationship when i still meant something to him. By the end of the relationship i was worthless to him and treated as such. At this point i saw a perverse deliberate cruelty in his actions amd words, although in his mind i probably deserved it and therefore he had done no wrong. A very twisted mind and as one friend told me, which you have also suggested here, he wasn’t ‘wired’ properly. I always knew i couldnt live with him, as i wouldnt wish that on anybody. I just wish i had had the sense to walk away with some dignity and pride in tact, instead of being wiped off the bottom of his shoe as i surely was. Many lessons learnt, about my poor boundaries and how messed up some people are.
I just read the reply from Jules and that is my position exactly. Excellent article. I too wish I had left much earlier with some pride still intact. Almost 10 years I stayed in this very unhealthy relationship. From all that I have read, I have been trying to put the focus on healing myself of the wounds that led me to him in the first place. I am very grateful there are people out there who understand what happened to me was real.
I have been with a man for 6 yrs i have to constantly do thing’s for him if i complain he says i like to argue why do i have to start. I get up and hour early just to drive him to work even on my days off. I fuss over him but nothing is ever enough. I have cuaght him flirting he apologizes if i question him becuase of past behaviours im bipolar . On and on i can go he uses my car makes no payments on it if i want it back he blows up. Im such a fool i still want to see good in him. This articule is him he wont change and when im up crying wondering if he feels bad he doesnt.. i really loved him and he fooled me for years.
My situation is that my Narc Father is also my boss?? Something which brings a whole additional layer of control and power to the relationship.
I worked for the family business in my younger years, but after almost four years of hell…..I left and ventured into the big scary corporate world all by myself……..and I flourished….successful and respected…..and very happy.
But 10 years later my father invited me back to the company and suggested that within a couple of years he would retire and I could take over.
I figured it would be different this time around, so I accepted the offer……..but of course I was wrong!!!
I have been back running the family multi-million dollar company now for 8 years. Record profits……blah blah blah…. runs like a Swiss watch, we bank multiple millions each year…..yet I struggle to survive financially each week? I earn less now than I did 10 years ago? I’m a single parent with two young kids, no money in the bank, and every year or so when I try to discuss it I get shut down and told I don’t know what struggling is? Having no money and being very much a dedicated family person, it is very difficult to just leave and get another job. My mother is a manic depressant and has been mentally ridden into the ground by my father over the years, my younger brother has been recruited by father and they have a text-book co-dependant relationship.
I came across this blog….which I must say is very good, because I have decided that I am finally going to tell him enough is enough….and for the last time too, and I was looking for articles on Narcissism that might help me get my message across clearly….without the rest of my family seeing me as the bad guy for leaving?
I plan on writing him a letter so he cannot over-talk or abuse me, and must listen/hear all of what I have to say. I plan on telling him that I know why he is the way he is, explaining that he treats me the way he does because I intimidate him, because he is a Narc and I have achieved more than he has, both in business (which doesn’t really even matter), but also in life….because I am real, I am mindful and I’m a good person….which is why he fears me and must belittle and punish me…..something that is not normal behaviour!
I plan on telling him that he will never see me again, nor will he see my children again because I don’t want them to experience what I have.
And if he chooses to make it difficult for me then I will make sure that everyone will know the truth as to why I have left…..which is something nobody else will find acceptable, which is something that he will really struggle with.
I know that by doing so, I will walk away with nothing…..and I will end up with nothing…..but I will have my kids and my pride and at least I will always know that I tried.
There’s no cure? I am my pathology and I’m going to hell? I’ve constantly been hurting people as collateral. I don’t know how to empathise. Fifty more years of this.
If you werent raised with a great childhood yet you are a “devout christian” yet still abuse, lie and slander your adult daughters KNOWING full well Jehovah Gods view and hatred for lies and slander and the consequences for your behaviour then YOU ARE accountable for your actions. If you lack a moral compass but are a worshipper of God you will know his view on this and if you truly love God and fear him you would stop the abuse. My mother does neither.
I suppose you are a Jehovah’s witness. And if that is true, then I will wellcome you into the group of brothers in the faith that are presently suffering at the hands of dangerous people who are extremely influential(negatively) in the way that sincere and honest hearted people see their world. If parents who claim to worship Jehovah but have double standards, are near you contantly, they can pass through your empathy their bad traits. Almost no contact is advisable as suggested by God’s word.
Thank you so much for this article that explains my ex’s behavior!! I’ve read so many and this is by far the most helpful. I only wish I read it last week, before all my anger came out at him, because now I feel somewhat guilty, and am feeling so very sorry for him, that he will never get better. My question is if in the beginning he is genuinely interested in finding a love relationship. I think my ex is inherently a very sensitive person, and did feel he cared, and can’t imagine he was stalking his prey. Thanks again!
Never feel sorry for a covert narc! They will plan their next attack on you only next time it will be worse. There is really only one option, pack your most important things and get as far away from that person that you can. Run, run, RUN!
Can anybody believe that at the age of 70 you can suddenly realize your daughter of 49 is narcisstic – triggered by a family business upset – apart from me she has totally cut herself off from all my side of her family – do they do things like this – I wonder if she was born like this or the upset triggered it – its actually like she has got amnesia and in our company we are total strangers
Interesting article. Read quite a lot on narcissist and the point I would always come back to is. Why am I in this relationship? What draw me or them to one another? Why do I tolerant their behaviour when I knew it does not benefit me?
Thank you for your article!
I often wondered if my mother knew she was lying — that is, decided to lie before she opened her mouth — or if she believed what she was saying. She uses every kind of way to lie — flat-out lying, lying by omission, gaslighting, twisting the truth, lying about insignificant things when there was no reason to lie, continuing to lie when you catch her in her lies and give her proof that she’s lying. I think some people have this behavior so ingrained in them, that they can’t function any other way.
I’d mention something that she said a week earlier, and she’d say that she never said it, and would never say anything like that, and tell my siblings I was making things up about her. Several years ago she lied in order to manipulate me into doing what she wanted. I knew she was lying, I knew she knew she was lying. She looked straight at me when she lied. A family member confirmed to me later that she was lying.
This behavior has been going on all my life. The reason I’m still involved is because now she’s elderly and needs help and of course, my siblings aren’t doing anything. What am I supposed to do? I have cut back somewhat, but she’s constantly pushing at me. I wish I could walk away.
Great article and well written. I just wish it would have been less gender specific. I believe there are three kinds of people in our life. There are those that add to it, those that are neutral, and those that are toxic. It is imperative that we eliminate narcissists from our lives. When it turns out that these narcissists are coworkers or family members then sometimes all we can do is limit our interactions with them.
I married a narcissist 5 yrs ago after dating him off/on for 5. I suspected what he was but thought I could handle him having been raised by a dysfunctional/narc Father. Kept my house ( worked an hour away and just worked out that way), our finances were totally separate, and I thought we could be one of those couples who were married but lived apart. Of course, we fought a lot – saw a counselor who told me to get out. He would not change. He turned his family against me with his lies/triangulation & destroyed any chance I ever had of being a part of that family. They hate me & my husband does zero to try to fix it. He loves the power. Then he moved his autistic brother in ( 59 yrs old) without any discussion. Just shoved aside but expected to accept it all. I am his 3rd wife – the first filed on the grounds of physical/mental abuse. He is the worst with the silent treatments, twisting reality, BLAME, ( he had the nerve to blame ME for making HIS sweatshirt dirty??) told his Mother I was a THIEF for taking 4 quarters out of his penny jar for a sandwich? NO, he gives me ZERO. I am a tough person — learned how to be as a child – and this man/boy has really given me a run for my money.
I am 67 yrs old = self employed with no pension. Why am I still involved with this person? Health benefits and a pension ( IF I can last that long and he dies before me).
I try to set boundaries – and any discussions we have are shortlived. He has a very short fuse – starts screaming – becomes defensive and forgets everything we agreed to in order to improve this relationship.
Like the counselor told me – he cannot be fixed. You may not want to divorce him now – but you may later. He is a narcissist.
They lie. Steal. Cheat. Disrespect you. Neglect you. And the longer you accept it – it only gives a narc permission to keep doing it – only worse every single time. Most of you are probably not as mentally tough as I am and blame yourselves for THEIR behavior. NEVER NEVER NEVER let a narcissist define who you are. They are dumping their nastiness/negativity/hatred onto YOU. DO NOT ACCEPT IT. When they are nasty – leave the room. On the phone? Hang up. Silent treatment? Ignore it. They WILL be back if they think you have something they want.
Money, sex, companionship, status, respectability, food, a house, etc.
They are vampires. Predators. KNOW who you are dealing with and DETACH.
And those of you with children? DO NOT EVER THINK that you are protecting them by staying with a narc. They are being abused.. JUST LIKE YOU. You are teaching them they are not worthy/valued and deserving of love. GET OUT.
This article has truly helped me understand what the F was going on, stuff i couldn’t explain but I KNEW it was happening. It’s a hard truth but I take it wholeheartedly. THANK YOU for this.
This is really a great article. I’ve been reading about this behavior since I got involved with a guy that after reading your definitions of emotionally unavailable, narcissist and psychopath I now think is a psychopath. We must all be careful not to enable this behavior and instead try to guide these people to help by not standing for it.
do they Love? Does Narcs really Love
So grateful I stumbled on this article. I am a week out from a two year relationship with a emotionally unavailable / narcissist man. The pain is dreadful, as it is all so new and quite devastating. I meet this man on an on line dating site, and we corresponded then met. It seemed that all my answers for a partner had come true. For the next two years were all the dreams and plans for when we would be together. Two years later, when it was time to commit the hot became icy cold, and I was told that I had female ego problems and the final good bye by text read. Thank you for being you but I have my own journey. Logic tells me I am better off, heart still needs to catch up. Lesson maybe is don’t take words ask for action. He never took responsibility for any of his behaviors. Never was available for me, never accepted my invitations to meet family. High days like birthdays were ignored and no good wishes given. I made excuse after excuse for him. His heavy work schedule – his consumption of alcohol, of course a first class Irish whiskey was enormous – yes this article has given me something to go on, and now I must pick up my pieces and be wary that this will not happen to me again.
Sounds exactly my ex Also, like you I met him on a dating site and also like you my head knows I’m better off without him but my heart has taken a battering. Also he would not meet my father after two years of being together. I feel so foolish now because when I look back and put the pieces together there were so many red flags. Going off for days supposedly for work but never seemed to get paid for this work. Porn. Lying. Uncontactable at times. Always trying to make me jealous. Sneaky putdowns disguised as humour. And no one else saw this, he always comes across as so nice and sensitive. A month now of no contact initiated by me and I am still not even halfway to healing. Good luck to you and anyone else who has had the misfortune to have one of these mind fuck people in their lives.
Like you I met this lady on a dating site after my wife passed. She was 6& and a beauty. After a couple of months I saw the red flags but ignored them. I regret that. Now I’ve left her and I’m healing. The woman I thought was perfect for me turned out to be a total narcisisst. She couldn’t love and she couldn’t feel love. She was devoid of any feelings of remorse or empathy. Sad. Good luck.
I just got out of a relationship with a narcissist and my biological father was also one. The hardest part in letting go is that they can make you think you’re the problem or that you’re crazy. After three years of drama now he is acting like he wants nothing to do with me and I think that’s because once the other person starts seeing the narcissist for who he really is, they can’t handle it. That’s when they no longer want the relationship. That was exactly why my father ended the relationship with me too, it was because I knew things about him that threatened the facade he put out to the rest of the world. It’s been a very hard road but I came across your blog and I hope it can help me finally end the cycle. Thank you for it.
In the past month I have just dodged a bullet with a scarily smart and charming narcissist. I met him in NY on holiday and we dated a few times. We fell in love. Well, I did and he should get an Oscar for his role. He dropped off the face of the earth a week after I returned home, I was sad and shocked. I texted him and it all came out. He was so distressed when he thought id gone forever he spiralled into a funk, drinking, taking time off work etc. So I suggested he come visit me in my wonderful country. But he said he couldn’t afford it, so sad. So I paid. And for a month he stayed during which time we had a ball. But I felt strangely empty every time he said I love you.
There were many other signs I explained away. Disappearing bottles of wine, rum gone and a vodka bottle mysteriously filled with water. Promises to do repairs as he wiled away the days when I was at work but he never did.
His urgent need for me to loan him money to pay rent in NY because his tax return was delayed. Then A call came in the night. His father critically ill and he has to go back to NY (that part was true). Could I buy his fare home and his mom would fix me up later no worries? Of course I did. And days after he left, a $3000 bill to me from Avis for the hire car I booked that he returned for me after a weekend away. He had smashed the side panel in a scrape with another car and didn’t tell me.
Then nothing. A few texts, a few random declarations of love and an I’ll be back soon.
Then I asked him about the car damage and repaying the rent and airfare? After days of silence I asked again and this is what I got:
He had never borrowed money! I must be totally losing my mind! Please leave me alone and get on with your life. That’s it.
So I will. And I’ll be glad I got away from him as fatefully and quickly as I did. Imagine the damage if he had stayed or if I had married him or let him into my business or finances.
God help the next poor sap he hunts down.
Hi, I don’t think my friend is a Narcissist, I was hoping to find answers to why she cannot accept responsibility for actions, her business is failing, because she will not change to what her customers want and have asked for. For her the town is missing out by not buying what she is selling, the people are ignorant in their tastes, the universe pointed her in this directions, so why is it letting her down now, these are some of her comments. others like regarding a cat that doesn’t like people is a dud, I am concerned for her and my continued relationship with her. Recently I used her as a reference for a position I was going for, and she misrepresented our relationship, I am just not sure weather is was deliberate. Its ok I did get the job, as they called my other references,and I am not angry with her now, though I was at the time. I am trying to decide if this is a healthy relationship or not?? any comments would be appreciated.
Thank God I finally ended it with a Narcissist I’ve as dating saw it right from the start but the compliments kept me going non stop attention became suficating it beca me impossible to end it each time he treated he would hurt himself finally lie number 999 I couldn’t take anymore life is so much more peacefully
I must say I am very aware of what I say do and how I react. This I suppose comes and goes for people, it did as i was growing up this is self awareness . However in my opinion I would say it’s maturity that takes the control. In another aspect of this notion I would also consider that it is viewed to be a disgusting characature to impose on people the way they do. And more importantly I feel sorry for their children. The poor things .
this is the best article. I have been out of ,y relationship fir one year & it has been very traumatic. He jumped into a new relationship a week or two later after a massive rage.
The creepy part is that he keeps sending me things now, by post as I blocked him.
He is with his new girlfriend, she has transformed herself to suit his requirements which makes me very sad. Once you find out what the relationship was and you watch the latest victim jumping through hoops it is truly horrific and very creepy.
I’m posting a lot right now as my way to cope. A month NC is not much time. What I’m dealing with is the relief has worn off. At first you are so grateful. I’d wake up everyday feeling so free and at peace. Now I’m dealing with me and my part in this. My low self esteem, my inability to take action, to take control of my life. This is some scary sh*t.
I can honestly say i feel no love toward him. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. And i believe that when they move on to the next one nothing changes. He would tell me the things his ex wife would say about their marriage and now I’m saying the same things. He’s a sick individual. King of justification. This article struck a cord as he used to tell me no one understands him. He believes he lives “outside of the box”. He was so proud of this. It made him special, different.
After i left he begged me to reconcile. I always had an intuitive feeling it was because i was one of the few women who said no to him and he couldn’t stand it. Not because i was the love of his life as he claimed. After reading this article i understand why he had his breakdown after i left. Although he had plenty of supply i was the one that made him feel somewhat normal. His world was upside down. Not from having lost love but losing his most reliable supply.
Thanks to this Web site i will never be anyones supply again
After 17 years in a roller coaster marriage, I have decided i cannot live with a man who consistently shows no respect for me. He is often verbally and emotionally abusive even in front of people friends and family. He manipulates me and demands my attention. Always wanting to know what i am doing and where i am going. Eg Even if i am sitting next to him on the couch while he is watching tv, he gets upset if i am doing something else like crocheting reading on my tablet or doing soduku.
He has a strong dislike (mild description for family) and hates me having contact with them. He comes across extremely jealous. My mom passed away 5 weeks ago at age 88. She lived 900 km from us and as he was not speaking to her he bas not to this day showed or told me he is sorry i lost my mother. For the 4th time this year i have had to make a 13 hour bus trip, this time to her memorial service. In the last year my health has deteriorated. He shows minimal interest.
I have always placed his interests above mine and have assisted in putting him in a strong financial position.
I am 64 and although older than him i have kept myself fit and consider myself attractive. We have so much in common but the last 5 years has become extremely difficult. I “stumbled” on your blog about narcissistic behaviour last night and discovered that 80% at least is applicable to my husband. I previously read up by chance on Intermittent Explosive Disorder and he definitely falls into tbat group though he has never physically harmed me only himself.
I have always defended his behaviour and because i hate conflict i am always the peacemaker even when i know i have done nothing wrong just to get him over his sulking.
I have tried every route to make this marriage work even seeing a physcologist and counsellor. I write encouraging messages to him constantly and have prayed for a change in his attitude.
I found a letter i wrote in 2010 asking him to see a GP as i was concerned he had a health problem also to show me and my family respect and lastly to take on the spiritual head of the home that he was when he begged me to marry him. To this day even after re reading my letter he has not replied to me. All he says to me is that i may be ready for this divorce but I must remember he is not.
So after pouring my heart out on this blog i am feeling extremely guilty that I have taken the decision to divorce. Although i have asked him if we can make this an amicable divorce he is angry sulking and gone on a “hunger strike”. I am so scared i am going to give up and continue with this abusive marriage. I feel very sorry for my husband. Your blog has give me renewed encouragement to carry on with my decision BUT it is not easy.
There are no children from the marriage but a dog child who is loved by both of us and extremely se sensitive to unhappy vibes in the home.
i am so amazed by the number of people affected by narcissists. We have recently realised that our son may be a narcississt, there are also other probems but for about 8 years we have been in a living hell with him. Trying to figure out why he does the things he does and gets into so much trouble. We are unable to live with him now as the violence has escalated so badly, he has also had these same issues with other people. I have spent a large sum of our retirement savings supporting him because he is constantly out of work and accommodation! You try and try to get through to him how he is not only hurting others but hurting himself with his behaviour and its consequences on his future. We are bullied manipulated and threatened on a constant basis so much so that we barely acknowledge the level of abuse. Even though we do know what is going on and the motives, we are still trying to set him on the good path but i think we now must disconnect from him. I would appreciate any advice on how to help our son.
At least you now see him for what he is, please get out if you can and live in peace, had 28 years of it and now have my strength back and got to know who I’am on a different level, there is life after these people try to destroy us, wishing you all the best Susan
Hi mish, all narcissists will try to make you stay when you want to leave, not because they love or care about you, but because they will lose narcissistic supply. They need someone to look up to them and to use and abuse. If they are able to find someone else, they will discard without a second thought. Even if you go no contact, once they lose interest in their new victim, which means the new victim might have challenged him in some small way, he will try to keep in control of one or usually more sources of narcissistic supply.
You will find, being a codependent, you were probably brought up by a narcissist, therefore conditioned from day one and subconsciously looking for another narcissist in your life, over and over again, till you get it, till you get narcissism, but even more so, till you get you.
All these excuses you make for him you are really making for you, you need him, even if he does not need you, you being just means to an end for him.
You will never be able to change a narcissist, or beat him in his sick game, you were brought up a codependent, that’s why he chose you, but even more so, that is why you chose him.
Once you realize that, it becomes so much easier to let him go adn set yourself free.
After 28 years, my NPD left me. Although we had our share of issues over the years, I was in it for the long haul. Ironically, when I tried to leave after he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute 10 years ago, HE WOULD NOT LET ME LEAVE. He begged and pleaded (insisted he was “framed” and innocent),threatened to call everyone in the middle of night because I wouldn’t answer my cell, used the children as a weapon, made all kinds of empty promises, bought me lavish gifts and vacations, and even threatened suicide if I left. He insisted that I was the “love of his life” and that “he could not live without me”. I believed it all even though we were not getting along and had sexual issues at the time ( I believe he is a sex-addict) but the very worse part– I TOOK ALL THE BLAME. In therapy, I said that maybe I needed to be nicer, more attentive, cater to his needs more–and then this wouldn’t have happened. The therapist agreed and that was the end of the marriage counseling. I REALLY believed I could FIX the situation. But the moodiness continued along with him treating other women better than me ( he hadn’t given me a compliment in years–yet would tell other women in front of me at a party that they looked beautiful) and the trips to the strip clubs and lap dances and porn caches continued also. When he left I was in shock–if anyone should leave it was ME. Since all his crimes ( he was arrested 2 times for DWI) were hidden from our “new” group of friends,they think he is “the cat’s ass”. On FB people post things like -“Thank you for your help today–you are an amazing man!” and NPD is “such a great friend to us”. So now they see ME as the “bad guy” — Why else would such a great man leave me if I wasn’t a bitch incarnate? To top it all off, he bought a house RIGHT DOWN THE ROAD FROM ME and his GF ( who incidentally he dated in high school) and was in regular contact with our last year of marriage. To watch their affair unfold right before my eyes is at times pure torture. Funny thing is– he acts like “Wow? HOW do you know what’s going on in my life? “Like he didn’t think I would even notice as I HAVE to drive that way to and from work! INSANE!
I am HAPPY to have found this site because I have a lot of work to do on myself.
I’ve been reading a lot of material on the topic in the last years. What interests me the most in these last days is how to draw the line between normal people and narcissist people (that is, between healthy and unhealthy narcissism). It is not easy, but I’m finding good suggestions on the web.
For what I understood, the deangerous narcissist is the person who gains any sort of gratification from hurting, belittling and damaging others (and not simply by affirming him/herself. For instance, an athlet who really wants to win a competition is not a narcissist, as long as he follows a “normal” and coherent goal-reaching plan, like exercising very hard).
Plus, it is a person who behaves this way constantly along years. Everybody has met persons who acted poorly sometimes, everybody has acted poorly sometimes. Especially under stress-losses-traumas etc. The difference is that the narcissist behaves that way ALL THE TIME and even more so, when you treat them nicely. A “normal person” may reply to insults, with insults. The narcissist replies with overt or covert insults, much more so, when you show them care and tenderness, because he/she perceives them as a weakness. Do you think this distinction is exact? Thanks
My husband is obsessed with being well built, dont trust women, mock fat women, come from a dysfunctional family life where he was neglected by his mother, has zero tolerance towards anyone who would challenge him in the slightest way. He is very responsible financially. Very consistant in his believes, we have been married for 8 years and he had two long relationships before that. He very homely, does not enjoy going out with friends and very good at his job. He treated my son from my previous marriage with the utmost contempt. Never shouting but would just ignore him. I got the feeling that he could not understand our loving relationship. Everything has to be done on his terms. Never ever would he go for a meal or even watch a movie if he is not in the mood. He will be sure to spend money on boats, cars and savings just to complain that he has nothing for himself. There has not been a person in my family or friendship circle who he has not had a problem with. He has always bad mouthed me to everyone and even shouted fu..k you to my mom when she challenged him on this at a family dinner. He told me afterwards that he will not apologise as she disrespected him. Everyone is scared of him. Even the few friends he has have told me that he has a problem. He is the kindest person if you obey him. I found out that he had one night stand with a 91kg women two months ago (I weigh 56 and still feel fat). He appologised and since then I am not allowed to discuss it. I understand that it was a miatake but cannot deal with his attitude that it is in the past. Every little thing I say angers him and he accuse me of giving him trouble. He is completely emotionally unavailable and has admitted this. I am now wondering if he is just mean or is he a narcissist? His personality test have shown very high eq. This is what confuse me? I feel so addicted to him but the years of crying is effecting me now after the latest incident.
Thank you for this article. Because narcissism infects the male side of my family I have studied the concept for the last 20 yrs. Your’s is the most cogent explanation I have read.I found the analogy of the three brothers particularly helpful in simplifying a very complicated condition. Thank you again.
Well, to me, it IS an excuse, if its actually genetic. It is an excuse to hurt people.
Rosy I’m confused by your comment. I don’t see how this post is in any way making excuses for bad behavior.
Me. I need to get out & I am making excuses….
My mother is a psychologically abusive narcissist who won’t stop trying to “gaslight” because I finally cut ties. She was mentally abusing my son, and then accused him of lying!! Long long story, exhausting, but I really feel that we should have Victims of Narcissist Abuse ribbons to put on our cars!! I as well appreciate all comments and advice on this website!!!! My heart goes out to all of you. Stay strong. Mean people suck.
I unknowingly fell in love with a narcisist. He was a baby abandoned and put into one foster family after another. I don’t think anyone would choose being a narcisist and for that reason I can’t seem to turn off my love no matter how cold and nasty he is at times, I just keep thinking of the sweet little boy nobody wanted. Life is not fair. He has never acknowledged he has a problem or is a narcisist, its me, I’m crazy, wrong, etc. Yet his behavior and reactions scream narcism.an example, During our relationship he said flirting was normal and everybody does it. (He constantly flirted) but the minute someone flirted with me he flew into a rage and made ugly comments about me. So what he really meant was it was normal for him to flirt but not ok for anyone to do with me or for me to do. I tested this and again he flew into a rage for me doing something he did and does all the time. And agin the same reaction from him, he said anything he could to make me feel dirty and wrong but he denies it, he tells me I am crazy. How do I stop loving the abandoned little boy in him as he is no better a friend than he was a partner. How do I stop feeling sorry for a narcist that didn’t choose to be one as I see it. I can’t believe anyone would choose to be one?
your blogs are a gift to humanity, and you are helping people. well done! I came across your site just 2 days ago as I have started dating a man who told me he has anxiety and is on medication. So now I am seeing problems I googled dating and anxiety and I read your words and I am shocked. I have never heard of this disorder, but do relate to it as I was with an abusive man in the past, who I now see was an N. I dont think I will ever fully heal from that relationship. Now to this new man. We are mid 50s and he is delightful. Im so attracted to him, we share interests, and seem to be compatible. We have not had sex and he has never pressed me in this. He is very affectionate and it seems all we do is kiss and hug. I am in the early stages of knowing him- only 6 meetings, and I cannot identify if he is an N or not. On the first meet he didnt turn up. When we did meet he said you tick all the boxes for me, which I found surprising after 45 minutes over coffee. On our dates he didnt ask anything about me, or a very few things. When I was telling him of my sister and her tragic life he just cut me off, and interrupted. I have a chronic pain illness and really suffer in life but I dont whine or go on about it. On the third meeting I thought I better tell him about my health as it is something that would affect a relationship. We were sitting in a park quietly talking and I told him, and after a few minutes he said come on we better go before they lock the gates. It was 3.40pm not evening!He didnt ask one thing about my problem, or how it affects me. He just said as we walked off, yeah Im in pain too you know. He constantly tells me he has a bad back, or needs another massage. I said to him, I dont want to hear about it – I dont focus on my pain I just get on with my life, I dont want continual invitations to your pity party. He was totally taken aback. He goes to the gym every second day, and at every phone call tells me he is off to the gym or a massage. He is a full time carer – on a pension, for his aged mum, and lives at her home. He is neat and clean, and wears nice clothes. I went to his home and there is no signs of anything that reflect his personality. It looked impeccable, like a display home ready for sale. Not a book or a nic nac. In his room there was a small blue teddy. I said whats this? He said this was the first toy I gave my son when he was born.
last time i was with him he said are we in a relationship? WHAT! no I said we are just dating. it will take me a long time to get to know someone before I enter a relationship. He is perplexed and continually anxious that I am dating online. Im upfront but dont tell him what Im doing. He doesnt like it and says I dont know where I am with you. After 6 dates I guess he is right, but I dont know where to go from here. I cant keep him hanging on forever with no sex and things not moving forward, yet I dont even feel we have covered the basics. He has stood me up for a second time, because his anxiety got to him so he couldnt make it. I have not seen him for a week, but now am talking to him. Last night online he asked me for a date to dinner. I said no but I will meet to talk only, but where to go from here? I like your posts and it is useful information, yet Im not able to work out should I invest more time with him to find out if this could work. Yes he seems to have NARC tendencies, but how do I know for sure? I dont get a YES to all 3 questions in your list. Would you write some topics for the very early stages of meeting someone, and how to identify traits? thanks x
Wiseowl in my very first blog entitled What Walks Among Us – I list the symptoms of NPD and the criteria listed in the DSM 1V that psychologists use for diagnosis. You submitted a similar question on my blog The Importance of Having and Enforcing Boundaries and I responded with exactly what I think of this guy.
One thing I picked up from my father, being that he was EU/NPD was this. They can be easily caught out. Mainly because, rather ironically, they are not at all focused on you but more importantly, not focused on what YOU are doing. Hence, you can easily play detective around them and suss things out fairly easily without them having the slightest knowledge you’re doing so.
I had not contacted my ex NPD for almost 3 months after he gleefully informed me he’d slept with another woman. But then he invited me for coffee by text and I was stupid enough to reply with a venting of my anger and dislike of him. He responded which has brought me right back to where I was before I left him. My advice, no my plea to all those brave women who have left, to NEVER respond to their exes.
Can you tell me please why this destructive personality disorder is not discussed more openly? It’s almost kept a secret. It seems we don’t know about it until it’s too late. We’re not supposed to warn the next one. Marian Keyes wrote a very readable novel called “This Charming Man” which rings very true but why isn’t it more talked about as it is so common?
…just another victim of a female narcissist but I won’t discuss the details that everyone knows about the 3 stage process…someone wrote in one of the comments “why is this stuff hidden?” You could try a little experiment and ask all your friends/family/associates what they understand by the terms narcissist/psychopath/sociopath/bi-polar/splitting/co-dependent/overt/covert etc. and I bet at least 60% will be incapable of properly defining one of these terms, never mind be able/willing to describe a friend/associate/family member as struggling with one or more of these conditions. Unless a family member or partner or someone you’ve encountered is one of these “aberrations” you’re unlikely to be aware of how they affect those who surround them. We’re still uncomfortable about discussing this stuff to – still a taboo. Think how long it took the church/sex abuse thing to blow and we can’t get our heads round that either! …all this then is a product of our reluctance to take mental health seriously – like our psyches are not somehow part of us. But hey, we’ve only been evolving for 6,000 years (!)
Thank You for this info! It has answered alot of questions.
“The only questions you should be asking are – Is this relationship good for me? Does this person add value to my life? Does he make me happy? Am I consistently being treated in a loving, respectful manner?
If the answer is no then, ‘What the hell am I still doing in this relationship?’ And, ‘Where’s the door?’ – are the only questions you should be asking. Stop looking for reasons to justify his behavior. Take the focus off of him and put on you where it always should be – you.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing these words. Exactly what I needed to hear. I’m going to break things off with my Narcissistic partner ASAP. Time to move on with MY life.
my last Narc relationship was passive aggressive, never speaking up then blowing up when he’d had enough. Told me I was “ass grinding” him when I pointed out his verbal inconsistencies (lies). He refused to be accountable and more than once went into a rage (because I called him on on his lies!). Then he had the nerve to declare that I was psycho and needed therapy! Crazymaking, gaslighting, projecting, deflecting,lying, etc. all of it! I’m done with Narcissists! These people should be locked up!
My utmost thanks for this article and for those who responded. Everything Savannah said was reflected on my 8 page letter to my ex narcissist. I am not crazy! We must make people more aware of this disorder so victims can get out of their relationships faster so they have a better chance of healing. I will never go back either; I’m not a masochist. Good luck everyone!!!
Hi JLo this message is for you. How brave you are, it must be so difficult for you at the moment. I do hope you are able to make the break without too much drama on his part. Keep yourself safe above all things and be prepared for anything. My post was about our son, he is quite violent and we cant see him anymore unless in public. Anyway what I’m trying to say is be careful and probably best to leave or get him to leave as soon as you can once the divorce is in process. Best of luck to you, everyone should have a life with joy and happiness.
My narcisstic father convinced me to buy the home farm at full cost so he could go on the pension and then had me sign a contract where I re-leased the farm back to him at a dollar a year. It was in my best interests he said as then if I meet a partner she couldn’t lease and take half the farm. He made my brother do the same, however my brother wanted to move into town and sold his property. So because he didn’t follow my fathers wishes my father sued him for breach of contract for a ridiculous sum which left my brother with nothing to show for all those years he paid the loans. My father then used the money to renovate his house. How do I get out of this situation… if I want to retire and move into town I too will be sued by my own father.
I really like the information in this article. I have written down the questions that I need to ask myself when I am ready for another relationship. For now, I am educating myself about narcissists so I “see” them.
I am so grateful for these blogs on narcissism and other related mental illness: today, is the first day in a few years that i find myself alone again, with the quietude of my own mind…even when he was sleeping the chaos of his mind, roamed the house in the dark hours…life is but a dream, change can come swiftly…he never expected to be forced to leave with a police escort…i did the right thing…but i feel no victory, a we both lost something we held dear…company in our older years…but the strength to go on alone with faith in the future and the courage to be, simply be is the quality i have!
I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to understand my EU / Narc….is he “just” an EU or full blown Narc, how can I get closer to him, etc. But after reading this article I’m realizing it all boils down to what you wrote at the end.
“The only questions you should be asking are – Is this relationship good for me? Does this person add value to my life? Does he make me happy? Am I consistently being treated in a loving, respectful manner?”
But scary thought is to think … this is true unless you believe trying to get validated by him makes your life exciting as sick as it may sound…!?
Coco: The problem with the notion that it feels good when he does validate you is, that this validation is always short lived. If you are involved with someone who suffers from NPD no matter what you do – it will never be enough and you will spend all your time jumping through hoops, to try to please and entice him. Does spending all your time trying to convince someone that they should want you, sound like it would make you happy or does it sound like something that would drain you and crush your self-esteem? Don’t mistake tiny, fleeting moments when he makes you feel good, for someone who consistently adds value to your life. There’s a huge difference.
I am only realising that I have been living with a narcissist for past 22 years – I’m now in the middle of the ugly part of separation and sorting out finances – but wow, reading about narcissists has revealed a lot of what is so familiar to me regarding my ex-partner – this is helping me to understand a lot about the relationship that we had and also helping me to move on.
I recently discovered that I’m married to a Narc…through my journey of trying to understand this and come to terms with it, i realize i have also developed some of these Narc characteristics. Is this common? Also, is it possible, in your opinion that a Narc can “change” if they claim to really want it? I have told my husband I want a divorce and he’s begging and pleading with me to stay. This seems uncommon for a Narc to do. He claims he will change and will get the help necessary. I do not feel anything towards this man anymore, but he is telling me that I should be fighting for our marriage…fighting for him. That he can’t understand, why after 17 years, and two beautiful daughters, i can just “throw it all away” I don’t have any other answer other than I have tried for the last 17 years and how much longer should I give up myself waiting. Any thoughts or advice?
Thankyou so much for your truly inspiring blog. I felt that I needed closure from my Narcissist. I needed an explanation of why he hurt me so much and a genuine apology. I couldn’t fathom the idea of why he would treat me so bad especially when I am the mother of his only child. But you have opened my eyes and have brought me closure. I am happy to say I have left the relationship 4 months ago and I am happier than ever.
I usually never write comments on blogs but this site is such a delight that I feel compelled to write.
You are a great writer, Savannah : you manage to write about difficult topics in a light but serious manner, in a way that is extremely uplifting and empowering.
The feeling I get is that you manage to share with your readers from the place of empowerment you’re in. In this sense, you are a great role-model.
I’m 66 days free from a relationship with an EU with narcissistic tendencies and in withdrawal.
Reading you is like a breath of fresh air.
I even manage to laugh from time to time. Who would have thought ?
Thank you thank you thank you !
so can a cheater really love his wife??
this stuff also applies to us men. Thanks for the awesome site! you are a blessing! I will tell everyone i know about this site.
“Because it doesn’t exist for him, he tends to think that when you express it – your behavior is put on and false.”
Yes and yes. My favorite was when he would say (angrily of course) “Oh, would you stop crying already!!”
Clarissa I think what the author means is that Psychopaths can’t use their disorder as a defense in court. I don’t think she is saying all people with all personality disorders are bad. I think she is saying it’s not an excuse for bad behavior and to hurt people.
I have a problem with this comment about ‘Anti-Social Personality Disorder as not being a defense’ this suggests that people with personality disorders are bad and this is stigmatizing. I have avoidant personality disorder, it develops mainly from doomestic violence and bullying at school. I DON’T use it as an EXCUSE for my life, i go to university and i volunteer, but i just have a hard time relating to people, low-self esteem and very self conscious – it doesn’t make me a bad person like the author seems to suggest.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Again, perfect words just at the right time. Question, When they move on to their next supply….do they EVER change? I am wondering if he is treating her better? same? It seems the “new supply’s” personality is more aggressive then I am. I know I should not care but I am curious.
I am in the exact same situation as Butterfly and would love some insights into this out of intrigue. I know I should be focussing on my own esteem building however I have never experienced something so soul destroying in my life and feel like I need to know answers as well as taking the self learning. Any insights that can be shared would be kindly appreciated.
This is so interesting because for me it’s the same but the other way around…My Narc was married for 28 years. We have been in a relationship for 8 years and I wonder if he was abusive towards his first wife? I am a strong character and don’t take fools lightly…He had known her since they were both 17 and I beleive he slowly chipped away at her self Esteem and wore her down over time moulding her and shaping her just the way he wanted.She was so dependant on him and he knew she would never leave him….but I don’t really know because he never really bad mouthed her only saying that she was depressed and that she didn’t want to get help..
We, he and I reconnected after knowing each other when we were kids, he was the boy across the road, 5 years older than me and I thought he was adorable…38 years later we reconnected…
He left his wife, I left my husband and we worked on being together.
I had an image of what I thought he was and carried that for 8 years, finally coming to terms with who he really was, a narcissistic abuser.
I always felt like something wasn’t quiet right. I believe he adored me adoring HIM!
Any time I had a grievance the sh#t would hit the fan, then came the stonwalling, talking over me, raising his voice, anything to get me to back off…There was never a resolution to any argument, he was always right,becoming verbally abusive and eventually physically abusive. I fought back, I stood up to him and I gave him a few whacks myself, I was not going to be a door mat…But I kept going back! Like a dog with a bone.I kept trying to fix it or to at least work out what was going on…He could fight with me for a half hour and then walk over to me calmly and say, here have this, toasted cheese and a cup of tea,”you need to eat”or where do you want to go for dinner…
He would abuse me verbally, emotionally and then the next day say, oh I’ve ordered such and such for you on EBay!
And in your mind, what the??Crazy making stuff…I became a great detective and I was on a mission to get to the TRUTH one way or another…
So I changed my ” dance” I stopped giving and I watched and waited and nothing came my way, nothing that was selfless and not connected to him in anyway..I became the silent witness and I withdrew emotionally and became analytical and used my head, I finally detached after the last time he hit me and declared that ” it was my fault”
I said to him, “oh really well why not hit me again then, come oh hit me again.”
It was almost like surreal and I wanted another whack to make this really final, although it already was…he didn’t hit me again but threw furniture and iPads and made demands…( I decided then that I was done and really needed to go into survival mode, which is what I did, leaving 3 weeks later)
What and eye opener when the penny finally dropped, he doesn’t love me he loves me loving him, no wonder I feel like I’m always ” waiting” for a scrap here of a scrap there…But generous with money, here buy what you want…he was trying to BUY me,
Had I met this man for the first time for a coffee, he wouldn’t even have gotten to the end of the cup before I would have got up and walked off….But I held this memory in my heart of a boy I once knew who I fell in love with all those years ago…
Realising after 8 years that he was a very damaged soul.
I left a week ago and am still licking my wounds, but know he can’t be healed and so decided to love him and let him go, never to return!
My fairy tale of my Prince Charming coming back into my life and sweeping me off my feet turned out to be the wolf in Grandmas clothing!
Now he gets to be old and alone and I move on with my life…it still hurts though, but I know I’ll be okay cause I’m tough!
wow…thanks Savannah for this article…this is a question i have always wanted answers to..despite reading several books and articles
I am so glad I found this site….thank you I didnt realize it was this common! Explains a lot of the questions I had racing around my head and I feel confident that I wont go back!