We’ve all had break-up moments that we aren’t particularly proud of. You know, those scenes where we left the house, but forgot to take our dignity with us, those cringe-worthy moments where our behavior was, well….less than stellar.
Getting dumped hurts and if you’ve been unceremoniously tossed out on your backside, without a how do you do, and the person that ripped your heart out, trots off with someone else, it can stir up a lot of emotions.
You’re dealing with heartbreak, fear, abandonment, jealousy, betrayal, anger, outrage, indignation and all of these feelings are causing the ‘I’m not good enough monster’ to tear up your town in a Godzilla like fashion.
When my relationship ended with my long-term Narcissist I was devastated. My mom had just been killed, I was recovering my health from the car accident, I had lost my job, my car and my house and my little Narcissist waltzes up and says, “I’m not happy, I think we should break-up.” I started crying. I was in a state of shock, which turned into a state of denial and I was thinking everything would go back to normal eventually.
I had no idea what was really going on and he spent that time telling everyone that he just wasn’t happy and everyone seemed to accept that. I remember hearing, “Well if a person isn’t happy, what are you going to do?” And it sounded so insane to me. I remember thinking, “Why is this the first time I’m hearing of this unhappiness?” “How do you make a commitment to build a life with someone, buy a house together, merge your lives together for years and then just out of the blue, “Yeah you know what I’m not happy I’m just gonna go.” There was no discussion about it, no chance of trying to work it out. I was just tossed out like yesterday’s newspaper. How was this ok –just because he was feeling a little unhappiness?
I found out the whole story a few months later, that he had been sleeping with his married boss at work and he was trying to keep it a secret and once enough time had passed and she had split from her husband and the optics looked a lot better he would introduce her to everyone as his new girlfriend. Well that didn’t exactly happen.
Before I knew there was another woman and thought that he was just unhappy, I tried for months to get him to change his mind. I begged, I pleaded, I cried, I tried to reason, I tried to please him. I called his brother and his mom, I called his friends, I wrapped myself in his clothes, just so I could smell him, I wallowed and could barely function in my everyday life and I fell into a deep depression, because nothing I did worked.
When I found out about his affair – well let’s just say it wasn’t one of my best moments. I told his family all about it. I told his friends. I emailed their boss and told him all about what his employees were up to. I threw out everything he owned – everything. He had a studio full of musical and recording equipment – and well let’s just say, he didn’t have one after that.
I was hurting. I felt utterly betrayed and abandoned. I was furious and I felt completely justified in everything that I had done and I’m sure that many people would agree with me but, and it’s a big but, my behavior was all he needed to vindicate himself. My behavior said, “Look how nuts she is, she’s a psycho, totally unhealthy, no wonder he left her.”
Sure he abused me. He slowly and methodically eroded my self-esteem, until I was a shell of a person. He isolated me from my family and friends, so I had no one. Everything was always all about him and he treated me like I didn’t matter. He left me when I needed him the most and tossed me aside like I was nothing. Sure he was guilty of all of it. But what was more disconcerting than his abandoning me, was me abandoning myself.
I was never a drama queen. That kind of behavior was so foreign to me and I didn’t even recognize myself. My emotions had completely taken over. All I wanted to do was stand on the top of a mountain and scream and point down at him and say, “Look what he has done. Look at what kind of person he is. He is evil. He’s a bad, bad man and he should be punished and branded as such, forever.”
But the truth is no one really cares. His family and close friends might care a little for a while, but they will get over it and it will pass, but while the memory of his misdeeds fade, the memory of my crazy episodes won’t.
The bottom line is that no matter how someone behaves or mistreats us, it doesn’t justify and it will never justify our bad behavior. You can’t control how someone else behaves. The only thing that you can control is how you behave and you owe it to yourself to walk out holding your head high and with dignity.
When you are in a lot of pain and overcome with rage or fear, you aren’t thinking clearly and your behavior will reflect that if you don’t get a grip on it. I have compiled a list of common post break-up behaviors and what we think they mean and what they actually mean.
Post Break-Up Behaviors
Begging and pleading for them to come back.
What we think it says: I really love you. I’m sorry. Let’s fix this. I’m in so much pain. I care about you so much. Come back.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: You are desperate. You clearly don’t respect yourself at all to be throwing yourself at someone that doesn’t want you. This behavior makes me feel important and gives me Narcissistic supply.
What it really says: I am overcome with pain and fear. I don’t love myself enough to know that I should walk away from someone that doesn’t treat me with love and respect.
If someone cared so little about hurting you in the first place, no amount of tears is going to change that. Respect yourself enough, to not give them the satisfaction of knowing they hurt you.
Accidentally-on-purpose running into them at their usual hangouts.
What we think it says: Oh look I’m out on the town looking fine, not thinking about you. I’m having a good time and I’m ready to go out and move on. Yeah look how good I look. I wonder if I’m going to get a number tonight.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: Look at you still trying to get my attention. That’s just sad. But it’s good to know I can have you whenever I want. This behavior makes me feel important and gives me Narcissistic supply.
What it really says: I want you to see me and realize that you still want me and that you miss me. I’m trying to make you jealous.
There are lots of other places to hang out. If you were really just looking to go out and have fun, do it somewhere where you know they won’t be.
When you decide to return everything they ever gave you, weeks after not hearing from them.
What we think it says: This relationship is over and I want nothing from you. Take all this back and see how little I care about you.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: Look at you still trying to get my attention. That’s just sad. But it’s good to know I can have you whenever I want. I wonder if I can give this to the girl I’m seeing now. This behavior makes me feel important and gives me Narcissistic supply.
What it really says: I still want you back. I’m looking for any reason to stay invested in this relationship. I’m hoping that you will see me and want me back.
There’s no need to re-engage with a person that has mistreated you. If you don’t want their gifts give them away, donate them or throw them out, but do not contact them to return presents they gave you that says the exact opposite of what you’re trying to convey.
Someone in their family has died/gotten married/had a baby and you were somewhat friendly with that person and you want to show up at the event.
What we think it says: I’m paying my respects, or congratulating someone I care about.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: You still want me or else you wouldn’t have shown up – this is my family. This behavior makes me feel important and gives me Narcissistic supply.
What it really says: I’m looking for any reason to stay invested in this. I’m testing the waters wondering if I made a mistake or if you’ve changed. But bottom line I miss you, I want to see you, but more importantly I want you to see me.
If you had to go no contact with someone, it’s because they were highly abusive and it was the only way out. Re-engaging for any reason – no matter how well you can justify it, is not a good idea. You are reaching now for any reason to be in contact. You can pay your respects, or congratulate someone, in other ways – send flowers, a gift…..
Telling someone you’re pregnant after they break up with you, even though you aren’t.
What you think it says: I am having your baby and you need to rethink this break up situation, because I’m going to be in your life forever. I’ll magically tell him I lost it once we’re back together, but in the meantime he’ll start thinking of me as wife material, or at least I will freak him out a little.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: Damn that girl is trying to trap me. Oh she better not be pregnant. Please God don’t let her be pregnant. I’ll make her get rid of it. Oh man how far is it to Mexico?
What it really says: I am unstable and will go to great lengths to hang on to a man.
Telling everyone about what they have done, how abusive they’ve been and what a monster they are.
What you think it says: Look at what a horrible person they are. I’m right and everything I’m doing is justified. I’ve been massively wronged and you should all be on my side. Everyone needs to be warned what an evil person they are.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: You need to stop, because I’ll get you back ten times worse. You’re nuts, that’s why I left you and I’m going to tell everyone about you. Look how you’re acting. I am completely justified in everything I do.
What it really says: I’m out of control. I can’t get past my feelings. I have to be right. I need to show everyone that I am the victim here.
You know the truth and if you were thinking with a healthy mind you would realize that the break-up is the best thing that could ever have happened to you. You don’t need to have everyone be on your side. You know the truth and that’s enough. If this is a major problem for you, you should consider talking to a therapist or a counselor.
You are physically or cyber stalking them.
What you think it says: I’m just curious about what they are up to. I need to prove that I was right.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: You still want me and you are nuts following me around like that, you need to get some help. This behavior makes me feel important and gives me Narcissistic supply.
What it really says: I’m not over this by a long shot. I like to keep torturing myself.
Social media is not a depiction of reality. Sure people post pictures of themselves looking so happy and being so successful. It’s not the truth. I repeat it’s not the truth. It’s an image that that person wants to portray and image is everything to a Narcissist.
Destroying their property.
What you think it says: I am so angry and you are such an a**hole, that I am completely justified in everything I do.
What a Narcissist or a highly insensitive person perceives: You are crazy and I’m going to do worse to you.
What it really says: Your emotions are way out of control and you need to talk to a therapist, or a counselor. Destroying someone’s property can get you in a whole lot of trouble, especially when you are dealing with vengeful types.
This is never the answer, don’t do things when you are in a fit of rage. Calm down and think things through. Get a message to them that they need to pick up their things by Thursday and if they don’t then their things will be on the front porch by Friday and if they are still there by Saturday you will assume that they don’t want them and you will throw them away.
I had a lot of these issues come up in emails I received this week. The bottom line is that anytime someone says to us, or shows us that they don’t care about us, or our feelings, we need to respect ourselves enough to know that this is not somewhere we should be putting our focus, or our attention. If someone truly doesn’t want to be with you, there is really nothing you can do, but accept it.
It’s ok to feel sad and hurt and it will take time to grieve the relationship, but do not spend your energy trying to convince someone they should want you. Instead show them no emotion, that’s what your friends are for. Remember that all you do is feed their attention monster, either by positive or negative emotions – so give them nothing, do nothing , don’t give them the satisfaction of letting them know they hurt you.
If you really want to rock their boat, then agree with them. Tell them that you aren’t happy either. Thank them for bringing it up and that you’ve been looking for the right time to mention it. As improbable as it may seem, it’s the best way to retain your dignity and it will mess with their head. If I could do my break-up scene over again – that’s exactly what I would do.
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Great article but regardless of how true it is, I still feel terrible and have no options to escape sharing the same bed with them while they live it up in front of me.
I’ve been feeling so low these past months. Before I met my ex, I was in an impossible situation. It was only after I met my ex that I felt happiness again after 3 yrs. He was a delight the first few months. In fact, it was the first time my family ever welcomed a guy. My dad was known to be pretty strict and scary, and people couldn’t believe he’d even allow someone like him to date me, but my ex proved he loved me then by going to my house. My mom and grandmother were happy too. They even thought he was God-given because the “old me” came back.
I knew that this was just too good to be true. Everything I wanted a guy to look like, how a guy would surprise me and gifts to me, and say things I’ve always wanted to hear, he’d done them. But deep inside I always had this fear that he was the type to let go if he found someone who could make him happier. We were different people after all. Personally though, I’m the type of person who wouldn’t trust easily but when I do trust someone, I give my whole heart and soul (no joke) and do everything and anything to save the relationship. I believe in promises so much that I find it so hard to let go. He made big promises about our future and made me believe he could give me all the love and world to me.
This lockdown due to the corona virus, though, something weird had happened. We were seeing each other even after the break up. We had gone on dates and he made big promises about the future again, call me old-fashioned but I refused to be in an official relationship unless he’d ask my parents all over again. He promised he was ready and he went to my house one night prior to the lockdown announcement. After two days, he just let go and blocked me in all social media. I found out he replaced me with the girl he’d always tell me not to worry about.
What I don’t understand is how he would do that to me. It’s been over a month since he cut off contact and it still bugs me that he isn’t the least affected because he has someone else. He’s forgotten that even if he was toxic and emotionally manipulative (he’d come when he needed me and leave if he didn’t, or he’d get mad at me for staying because he’d claim he never asked for it), I was there right beside him, ready to listen when he was lost and when he needed someone.
At present, I find myself rebellious against my family. They have been supportive to me and furious with him, but I don’t know why I feel more disconnected with them. The disconnection with them feels like I can afford to lose them. I’m furious that I can’t still let go of him. I’m falling behind in school. Even getting up and showering is hard for me to do. I have no sense of worth and motivation anymore. It’s hard for me to move forward when the person you trusted and loved the most leaves you suddenly without an explanation for someone who makes him happier. He’s forgotten about genuineness and takes advantage of people who are truly patient and understanding. I know there won’t be a chance of seeing or contacting him ever again, but all I want is for him to have the decency and respect I deserve. I don’t know how to trust again, and it feels like a thousand stab wounds to my heart. The person you trusted and imagined the future with left you when you needed them the most. And the cliché advice right? Accept. Move on. Let go. Even if it kills you inside and shows how unfair the world is. I hate this thought, honestly.
Just to play devils advocate here, but have you considered that perhaps this man isn’t a narcissist and was genuinely unhappy? Unless you are medically trained to diagnose someone with a mental health condition I think you shouldn’t use such terms. I get that you feel hurt/betrayed/upset etc. however he deserves to be happy as much as you do and breaking up with you sounds like it was the right thing for him to do. He seems to show some level of consideration for your feelings given he didn’t tell you straight up he had met someone else. In any relationship at any point the other person is allowed to end it if they want to regardless of property/money/children etc. You can’t think that badly of him given the level of reaction and emotion you have demonstrated in response to the break up. I think it’s really important to see everyone’s perspective from a place of non judgement. I know this sounds harsh and I’m not meaning to be, I really hope you find peace and move forward with love and respect for yourself and for him also. Wish him well if you love him, you will find your person in good time xx
I know exactly how you feel, I was furious at myself for still wanting him so badly, too. All you can do is give yourself the patience and understanding you are looking for, respect and be decent to yourself!
Thanks for this article. I recognised myself in it as the ‘wronged party’ and it makes me feel so much better that other people feel this way too. So maybe the following will help someone.
My ex boyfriend was a borderline narcissist. When we broke up a few weeks ago we had been arguing regularly for a long while, and I knew it needed to end, but i came back from work one day and he told me that he had told all our friends (and flatmates) that it was over before we had even decided ourselves to pack it in.
I felt so betrayed that he hadn’t even given me that final conversation. He then completely refused to talk with me about what to do next. He’d come home and go straight to his room or to watch TV, having been out drinking or working late, he’d ignore my messages and got on with his life as if nothing had happened. I thought i was going mad. I cried myself to sleep each night wondering how can he behave like this and not even give me the time of day to discuss what happens next? On top of this all my so called friends decided to ‘not take sides’ so i ended up dealing with it completely alone. He refused to acknowledge that someone should move out, which left me alone to deal with either living in this post break-up misery or the huge upheaval of leaving my home that I’d built for 4 years.
I ended up moving out and putting everything in storage at very short notice after a couple of weeks of being completely shut down and ignored. I’ve been living on friends’ couches and occasionally with my parents whilst i looked for a new place. All the while he refused to give me that final conversation, ignoring my questions, treating our relationship like it was nothing to him. It was torture. I felt completely worthless.
I felt slightly better taking that control over my life and moving out, i had blocked him and our mutual friends and tried getting on with things, out of sight out of mind does help to an extent, but after a month passed since i left and with zero contact, i felt maybe i was ready to ask him again for the answer to the questions I had, and I reached out to him to ask to meet for this ‘closure’ conversation.
Can i just say, if you are in this situation and you’re wondering if you’re ready for contact with someone who has shown you zero respect so far, DON’T DO IT. STAY STRONG, DON’T GIVE IN.
Of course, he ignored my message, within 24 hours I was seething again. How can he ignore me like this? Why does he get to treat me this way? I NEED ANSWERS.
So i send him a barrage of angry messages, which he replied to with something along the lines of ‘i was just considering what to say’ , ‘this is why i didn’t want contact’ , ‘i knew it would descend into this’
Of course this hurts so much – he was going to reply! If only I’d kept my temper under control maybe we could have met up! So we argue over text and he ends up blocking me.
So then I email, I’m livid. STOP IGNORING ME! It’s like I’ll die if i don’t get his attention. I send him 3 emails, the next one more angry and incredulous about his shittiness than the last, listing everything that he’s done to me, how he’s ruined my life, all the shit things that have happened to me since. I tell him I’ll show up at his work, at our house, I’ll get my closure whether he likes it or not!
It’s been 5 days and believe me I spent those days in a very low, sad, weepy, completely inconsolable, shameful place.
What if he’s shown anyone else those messages. I’ll never live it down. Yes I’ve had to block all of those friends for my own peace of mind that I won’t see them living it up in our old house without me, but really I’d like to be friends with them again eventually.
Also I’m so annoyed at myself for behaving that way. I’m not an irrational person, i’m not a jealous person. I have low self esteem cos I spent 2 years of my life with a man who told me ‘I’m not special’ but I’d say that’s fixable. I don’t like putting others down, and yet, I’ve unleashed this barrage of insults on this guy who apparently 2 months ago I was in love with.
It will have confirmed his decision that what he did (and more importantly – how he did it) was correct. He’ll be thinking i’m insane, that he had a lucky escape, that our friends were right to pick him cos look how crazy I am!
So anyway, I’ve decided to try and let it go. I’ve said my piece. It came from a place of hurt, because I cared so deeply. I’m trying to forgive myself for losing control, and learn from this episode so that I don’t do it again. I’ve made a pact with myself that I’ll never contact him again because one thing is for sure – any contact with him makes me feel 100 times worse.
Things can only get better from here.
I have read your post at length. You are a good heart. I also broke up with someone I loved dearly but I could not give her closure, although I wanted to and made efforts, because;
1) The situation I was in, I myself needed to be heard completely before making any judgment about me.
2) She erupted in anger, insults, curing me and wishing me ill will she could. It shattered me, and killed my remaining efforts to give her a closure since I believe, when one loves someone, one cannot wish that person ANYTHING ill. I loved her, I let her go and never said anything ill about her and never even nurtured any ill-will about her and always wished that she be happy. She blamed me for everything and I kept quite, because I was in love with her and I was a man without a heart in the eyes of this world, expected to behave like man and stay quite in front of a woman.
3) All I wanted was a sane mind, who could listen to me FIRST to make a determination if I deserved any anger, insult or hate or something else.
4) I had developed this feeling that she will not even acknowledge my love.
In any breakup; there are always two sides of a coin and we must always consider that the other person going through a breakup might also be going through hell (I am saying it from my own perspective, I know you were cheated in your case, which is different). We must also consider our own mistakes that might have lead to the death of a relationship and not put the blame entirely on the other person.
So here I am after 8-9 years, a man without a heart in the eyes of the world, who mistreated a woman (by not giving a closure, reasons given above), treated her so bad, the worst ever, who needs to be punished by all the world for as long as he has his last breath.
So weird how I’ve stumbled across this blog. I think I’ve definitely gone mad. I was with my partner for 4 years, stepfather to her child, she had mental health issues she informed me prior to getting into a relationship with her. Me being a fixer, I always wanted to help her..done everything for her. Brought up her lovely daughter and treated her as my own…2 months after my little sister dies she now informs me that she no longer has feelings for me. Nobody can understand how much that will literally kill you inside when someone you gave up your entire life for suddenly drops on you…Enough to drive you absolutely mental.
Wow, I dont feel crazy anymore…this was an eye opener. I had humiliated myself by calling my ex for closure because he just suddly didnt want me anymore, but a week ago was telling me how in-love he was with me. He supposedly as PTSD from the Army…dont think I even believe that story. Ther is so much more to this break up and honestly I dont want to relive it right now. But thank you so much! I dont feel alone anymore. God Bless.
Thank you for writing this article. it is helping me to see things in a different light.
I never saw it coming that from one day to the next that my life would be turned upside down.
A week previously we had buried a loved family member and emotions and breathing already was so difficult to handle and then this bomb was thrown at me.
I kept on wondering how it was possible for a human being to be able to be so beastly to another human being. That concept blew my mind as I never could imagine this person turning into this monster without a shred of feeling or compassion or humanity.
Your article however really hit the spot. One has to be a complete N to be able to act so inhumanely. I was so blind to N character. When I now look at this person over the past decade after reading this article and I throw the light on the thousands of instances where my wishes had to be pushed to the side for N wishes the blindness is disappearing. . I should have recognized the N much earlier and now I don’t quite understand how I could possibly have loved N to begin with…….. actually that’s quite incomprehensible. 🙂 🙂
N never wanted us to have friends and always wanted family kept at a distance “just us” doing what N wanted to do…. I was so incredibly blind and stupid to allow this all the time. 5 years ago we moved to a new city so N could have a job, I have never struggled to get work anywhere. After a year N set up a business and is now not only “the boss” but making lots of money. Can you imagine how that’s contributing to the Narcissistic supply! I know I will still struggle with my feelings for some time. So many years of my life have been wasted on this monster I really still have to forgive myself for this. Now I must go and educate myself how to recognize a N from day one and how not to fall victim to their charms. I actually can smile again for the first time and I can feel a gladness creeping into me that N is out of my life. So yes thank you for this article, you are helping many people.
Uh, yeah, I’ve become the crazy lady.
After 10 years of abstinence and being in a unique relationship, I made a choice to get to know a man at my job that my co-workers, unbeknownst to me, had set in motion.
Our time together only spanned 2 months, but I experienced a lot with him in a short amount of time. The major thing was choosing to lay down with him after a decade. And by doing so I created that soul-tie that is killing me right now.
During those 2 months it was one excuse and disappointment after another. He wouldn’t text when he said he would, he wouldn’t call when he said he would. Despite telling a coworker that he was interested in me and didn’t want to lose me. And for whatever reason, this coworker would always make excuses for him. I ended it with him at one point, but he called me a week later wanting me back and like an idiot I gave in. Nothing changed.
Plans were often made and never followed through with. The last straw for me was when he had made plans to spend the night on Thanksgiving eve. And when I texted him that morning asking if he still was, he claimed he had to go pick up his daughter after work.
I was so disappointed. And I had feeling something wasn’t right. So I did some vetting and contacted his most recent ex under a different facebook profile. I needed to know how their relationship ended and needed to know if his actions with me were the same with her. Needless to say, I was shocked at the info I learned.
I then contacted the mother of his daughter. I used my real facebook profile. She wound up calling me and we had a nice long chat. And just as I thought, he didn’t pick up his daughter on Thanksgiving eve. There were never any plans made for him to. He used his daughter as an excuse to lie to me on 3 separate occasions. And lied about a lot of other things as well. Yes, what I did is also considered crazy lady behavior, but I new something wasn’t right and feel my actions were justified.
When I called him out on his lies in some texts I sent him and let him know I was through with him, he wound up turning it around on me saying what I’d done by contacting his ex and baby mother was pathetic and he didn’t have time for drama like that and he wanted nothing more to do with me. And just like I figured he would do, come Monday at work, he was telling his co-workers what I’d done just to make me look bad.
I’ve been extremely hurt and heartbroken by all of this and I’m not handling it well. Outside of one man, he is the second worst man I’ve ever gotten involved with and I just don’t understand why, after a decade, he was who I got. I thought he was so different. All the guys at work just love him and he’s a very well liked guy by many people, so it kills me that he treated me the way that he did. He never apologized for lying to me. I want so badly for him to feel the hurt that I feel. I want him to feel bad for hurting me. I did nothing to him to deserve it.
And because I’m not handling it well, the crazy lady finally made an appearance last night. I’d been drinking and dwelling on the entire situation. I found a song on youtube that fits with what I’m going through. We were never friends on facebook because I didn’t want to be, but I chose to post the song to facebook, made the post public and then tagged him in it.
Once sober, I realized how stupid that was and deleted the post. I went to go block him because I had him blocked but unblocked him because I just had to see if he had any new public posts. So when I clicked on his name to see his profile, I got a message telling me the content wasn’t available. That’s when I knew that he had blocked me. Just as the article states, he’s not seeing me as a woman he’s hurt, he’s seeing me as a crazy lady and that’s exactly how I looked. I feel like an idiot and I realize now I need to get my emotions in check. He’s doing just fine and all I’m doing is torturing myself. I mean, it’s for the best that he blocked me. That way I can’t keep blocking and unblocking him. I just effing hate that I still have to see him at work and come Monday, I know he’ll run his mouth about my crazy lady behavior. * sigh * But I’m going to go in there with my head held high and a smile on my face. Despite what I did, he is still a user and a disgusting person to use his precious daughter as an excuse to lie to me. I’m a good person with a good heart and deserve so much better.
I completely understand what you’re going through and the truly crazy thing is that I went through almost the exact same thing except he wasn’t a coworker. It’s been 2 years since my last interaction with the idiot, but he put me through a year of he’ll and the second year I was “crazy lady”. Just shy of the second year of hell I met someone (we just broke up ) but I’m not sad nor do I regret this second relationship. My experience with the second man healed me when I had lost faith in men and my ability to connect again. Like you, prior to the first guy, I was celibate and single for a decade before I had the god awful experience. Please don’t shut down or close yourself off and keep yourself open to the right relationship. I stumbled alot but I kept trying to move forward and that’s how my second relationship happened. That’s the relationship that not only healed me but has brought me a step closer to the right one. Keep your chin up and don’t take responsibility for that asshole. Eventually his asshole colours will reveal themselves and karma will roll about to him for all that he’s put put there.
I feel your pain and being honest about how you felt and what you did is cathartic. My husband of 8 years stared divore proceedings 18 months ago and decided to darg it out and torture me rejecting and blaming me over and over, all the while planning to get remarried. I cut him off sveral times only for him to weedle his way back in and give me hope again. When I looked at the last texts I sent him I look like an abusive psycho which in isolation would be seen as such. Then I looked through the 43 email correspondence he’d sent me a few months earlier begging forgiveness and missing me, which I’d ignored so he turned up at my door and I capitulated again. I was just too exhausted and vulnerable to fight and hey presto he hooked me back in, gave me false hope and got a real kick out of the ego boost me still wanting him gave him before dumping me agian. so guess what? It’s little wonder I flipped out! It leaves you in a fog f confusion and self-doubt. You start believing their twisted version of reality. It helps to put a time line of facts together. I was proud of myself for how I kicked him into touch the few times. These type of people push decent people to extremes so don’t be too hard on yourself and at least we tried to make it work and eventually recognised the abuse we experienced and are working on freeing ourselves.
I have done many of the things mentioned here. My brother (who I now suspect as a narc) came to my house for the first time and threatened to kill himself because I wouldn’t let him get hysterical in my home. I went into shock. A week later my ex announced he had been severely depressed for a few months in a rage, created a fight and left. Four days later he came and broke up with me, no discussion. He was cold and cruel and distant, someone I had never seen before.
It was shocking to me. A few weeks later I found out I was 9 weeks pregnant, quite a shock as I had taken multiple negative tests. I told my ex, he came with me and `supported me` by hitting himself when I tried to talk about the breakup and telling me the pregnancy was a penance for the way he broke up with me.
After the very difficult termination I told him seeing him and sleeping together was too hard for me and for him not to contact me unless he wanted to be with me.
I was very hurt and confused and did not realise what I was dealing with. I thought he was just confused and hurting because I knew he had bipolar 2 disorder and he’d told me he was depressed.
He called me a week later. We talked about getting back together then a week later he cut me off again. This was too much for me and I cracked.
I went to his house drunk to confront him and to try to understand why. I messaged him begging to understand. He replied asking me not to contact him for a few months. I was desperate. I had violence happen in my family initiated by my brother that on top of everything else caused me to spiral down. I thought I was crazy and that my ex was on the verge of a breakdown and I broke down, running to.his house, breaking down when he refused to even see me, wouldn’t leave his porch until his housemate had called the police on me and they had called an ambulance because I had started hitting my head against their porch railing and I realised I wanted to kill myself because I thought I was going insane. I sent him a long apology letter two weeks later and occasionally tried to contact him over the next 5 months so we could reconcile the bad blood. After finally getting him to answer a phone call three months after my breakdown he was awful, tried to make me think I had thought we were getting back together for no reason. He hung up by screaming at me. I got angry for the first time and sent him some very hateful messages calling him gutless and soulless. He blocked my number. A week later I sent him an email telling him he wasn’t welcome in my life unless he apologised and saw me. I got triggered recently and recontacted him using an anonymous messaging service. I gave him a 24 hour window to.fix things with me or I would blacklist him from my life. You would.have thought I’d got the message by then but I truly thought he was just incapable of talking to me because he was hurting. I also tried to contact his housemate.
I am very ashamed of the way I acted. I was always very level_headed and positive. This broke my soul and I was very lost and depressed for a long time. I am just now trying to move forward and leave this man I will learn to pity behind me. It was very hurtful everything he did but what hurt me the most was my faith in him and my refusal to let go of it even when it cut at my core self and made me think I was insane.
I am very sorry for how I acted and am looking forward to moving on and caring for myself so I will never be put in such a position again.
You saved my life. Thank you for showing me the light. This was so spot on minus the pregnancy part. Thank you. I too lost my mom found out my kidney was failing again. Did chemo alone and he bailed on our house. Had to buy it alone. Wow you were so spot on with my thoughts and giving a clear picture of what he is really thinking. He is so shut down. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! God bless -Teresa
I cannot thank you enough, Savannah for this blog and I am grateful for all these replies and personal stories. I have been reading through everything as I am a newbie with dealing with a N. I find myself reading through as much as I can – as daily affirmation as I am in the post break-up stage and find myself wanting to reconcile- which absolutely appalls me.
I came out of a 26 year marriage with a non-N and it was an amicable breakup. I was on my own for about 2 years and then went online dating – I wish I would have read your blog first, especially where you referred to online sites as where unhealthy people use them as “playgrounds” – so true. Then, I met the N – six days before Christmas. Ohmigosh, the love-bombing that went on. I was lonely, vulnerable and he hit me in all the right places. We didn’t really date, as much as cohabitate together immediately due to him almost being homeless (he rented a room from someone). He moved in with me after 4 months, the next month lost his job. I took care of everything for six months. I have/had a good job at a well-respected hospital. I say have because I resigned a few months ago. In hindsight, I think home life and turmoil in the relationship had something to do with it. We moved from my apartment 2/15 and he proceeded to get us kicked out of the new place after 10 months. We moved again in 11/15 and I only stayed until the middle of 12/15. I moved out. My N always blamed me for things being bad because of my drinking, but that is the only place he took me – Happy Hours almost evening. It never made sense to my family and still doesn’t make sense to me. I never thought I would be in this position – going from having my own lovely apartment and furnishings, to living in my mom’s basement with almost nothing, jobless and single. But, I will rebuild and I am strong. I just need to make myself happy and not take care and worry about my N’s needs/wants anymore. I will get there. Thanks, again for this site.
Thank you for referring to the narcissist as that and not a he or she. Its better to name them as wht they are and not by gender. Love the article as it will help me cope through this difficult time
I need to write this — to find solace and absolution, to say thank you, and … to apologize.
He was so many of the things on this site. Not completely, but eerily, so. And the breakup was so similar. Other, (past) girlfriends and female friends told me it was just his “bad behaviour”. Then the messy breakup, then it was done. I got past it, I found myself again and I was happy.
2 years passed. There was No and then minimal contact – an hour a year.
I made new friends in a new place and built a life — and learned a name for my mother’s lifetime abuse. Narcissistic Mother. I found support and learned and forgave – and she wouldn’t let me see her before she died.
Fast-forward a couple of years and he came back. I only remembered someone I had once loved, someone with “bad behaviour”. Out of a perverse sense of loyalty (or compassion?), and rather than see them sleeping in their car in the cold and rain, I invited him to stay in the spare room for a few days while he got done what he’d come to do. I thought I could be comfortable with a few days.
Well, a few days turned into a few weeks and it wasn’t awful. Then he left to work and returned for another few weeks. He left again for Christmas vowing to return for New Year’s.
You know he didn’t, don’t you? 😉
He did turn up — happier and more content than he’d been when he left. He started to talk about his most recent relationship. He said she’d called him a Narcissist — an here’s where I must apologize.
I’m sorry — I didn’t see it. I was too sure he was just a poor, lonely inner child who had some bad behaviour issues, desperate for love. I said he wasn’t as bad as all that — and for that, I apologize to the next woman and the ones before.
For that’s exactly what N is.
In my defense, it comes out differently (they call it “manifests”) in different relationships — but the main, distinctive traits are the same, if you know to look for them and once you realize that there are more of these people out there than just your mother. 😉
Anyway, push came to shove and we had an argument. He said something untrue about our past relationship and I called him on it. He flew into his familiar rage. I remembered the feelings from the last time and this time I told him he knew where the door was.
He took it. And the texts blamed me.
And I went to Google (too late) to see if what she had called him were true. I found this site. And found that it is. He hasn’t changed — apparently he still lies, still cheats, still blames everyone else, allows “things” to just “happen” to him, has no remorse, huge empathy, and has compassion only for himself — or another abuser. He is also everything AOL (above) said so eloquently.
I’m not sorry I kicked him out. I wish it hadn’t happened this way but I also see this is the only way it could have happened. I don’t want this in my life — won’t have this in my life anymore.
I’m just sorry I didn’t vindicate you, past-girlfriend-who-called-him-a-Narc. You were right. I hope one day you read this site and can forgive me, and yourself.
One thing I learned from the lifetime trying to deal with my mother — nothing we can do will change them. It will never be enough. We can’t fill that hole in them – no one can. They have a mental illness — and we didn’t create it. It isn’t our fault. If there is a therapy that can help them, I hope they find it. All we can do is forgive ourselves. And keep distance.
Thank you for listening to me. May we all learn to have healthy and functional relationships with all the people in our lives — for that is a joy not to be missed. 🙂
I too went through something similar in the space of 5 months I had a brain haemorrhage (and could very easily have died) I then had to relearn how to walk, get to the end of a sentence without forgetting what I was saying. Come to terms with the fact it may happen again. I got made redundant, and was unable to go back to work (without pay off) then my boyfriend of 2.5 years who I lived with said “somethings missing, I’m not happy” this was November and I am still homeless(staying on sofas) and looking for a job. I managed to leave, albeit in tears without making too much of a scene. Went to Australia for a month to give space. I handled myself so well in his eyes (though I cried non stop for a month to anyone that would listen) I was proud. Until recently we ended up in the same place…I could see him flirting and staring lovingly at a mutual friend who’d been hanging out with him a lot. I had been drinking, and so asked him whether he had feelings for this girl, he said “yes I do now get the f*** out of my life!!” I slapped him. I’m mortified for how I acted. But i felt doubly betrayed and dumped all over again. Utterly shocking, but I’ve seen him in a new light now and that was the final ounce of emotion I’ll waste on him! Needless to say my doctors say I shouldn’t be under any stress at all incase I haemorrhage again, my friends are in sheer disbelief at him for putting me through this!
I’m not alone….I’m not crazy….yeah!!!!
Thank you so much for your posts. They are a big help to me. I have done the yelling , begging and crying scenarios every time my ex husband and I would argue during our marriage and after each time re would try to reconcile after our divorce.
The final discard came over a year and a half ago. Minus seeing him once as he dropped my things off, I haven’t seen him in 6 mos. he is with a new girlfriend and is doing all the things he did when we first started dating.
What I am so upset about is he discarded me when I really needed him. My mother had suffered a major stroke leaving her on a feeding tube and paralyzed on one side. We almost lost her. My siblings and I were exhausted being at the hospital and nursing home on a regular basis. He chose this time to tell me he wasn’t happy and deserved to be. It left me completed depleted. He was gone and then my Mom had another severe stroke 11 months later, but hung on to life for 5 more months. It was the hardest time in my life emotionally , mentally and physically. No word from him about anything , he was busy ” being happy” with his new girlfriend.
Three weeks ago my Mom died. He found out through a friend. He then called me to give his condolences . He sent flowers and then showed up with his mother to the funeral home and the at the service the next day alone and proceeded to go to the wake and sit with mutual friends and act like the caring concerned person he wanted everyone to think he was. I am still reeling from this. I am hurt by this gesture of fakeness. I don’t even know what to think. He left me alone for so long and then showed up. As if dealing with the grief over my Mother wasn’t enough, I now had old wounds reopened. I’m trying to work through this, I am just so angry and hurt and sick of his facade…..I feel like I’m going crazy…kindness and consideration and support was not there during our brief time together……but now it’s OK to pretend…I hate him.
Thank you for this site Savannah. I have realised that after nearly a year, although I haven’t totally moved on I am getting there. I am so pleased that it was me that made the decision to end my relationship, it was the hardest thing I ever did, and so painful, but I walked away with my head held high. I knew what I had to do. I had given everything and had little left. I had got together for a cup of tea with a friend and one would think I had committed a massive crime. I didn’t hear the last of it and about six weeks after the event and lots of suffering in between he walked out and I closed the door behind him knowing he wasn’t coming back. Once again he left me to think about what I had done, I returned his things to his home, wrote a nice note and made the decision to burn all bridges so there was no going back. He then tried to get back with me. He told me he was willing to make a commitment to me, I knew it would be good for a while but I would be even more tied and isolated and the madness in my head was getting bad, so I laughed at him and told him he bullied me and I had lost all respect for him. I continued to tell him this until he said told me he was with someone else and stopped contacting me. I miss the good times so much but it has been such a catalyst for change as I have always felt that it would be wonderful to have someone to complete me. Craziness, I now realise no one can complete me, I just have to work on feeling complete myself.
Savannah…my situation was very similar to yours…although .I suspected cheating the day she abruptly said she was leaving me (of course there was no one else….yeah right)….not because I had been suspicious..I just KNEW that she did not have the inner strength to strike out on her own.
Initially I was in shock anyway…I had no proof and I deeply loved this woman so I was distraught, confused and in deep, deep emotional pain.
I did the begging etc…but in a 24hour period this woman had turned into this cold, vindictive cruel person…(she normally had not been like that to “me” during our 5-year live in relationship. It was gut wrenching for me.
I did cut off contact though…(I just knew that something was not kosher), and made arrangements for her to move her things out etc. and conducted myself like an adult…it almost killed me….but I did it. She left me 2 weeks before X-mas and left me shell shocked in our home packing her belongings, feeding her cats and putting up a X-mad tree by myself. I guess that the fire in her pants was so intense that she initially move out with just a bag of clothes.
My question is not about my behavior but “theirs”.
Now she KNOWS she devastated me (and I am proud of the way that I behaved, all things considered..the was nothing I did that made “me” look unstable, etc.), …so why do these two go out of their way repeatedly to act out in front of me in public…I am usually alone and not in a place where I would expect to see them…I did nothing vindictive or hurtful…etc…totally minding my own business. Once I was out with friends at a sidewalk cafe (no…was never there with her and did not expect to see them),and the sat on the same side of an adjoining table and just stared me down…clearly enjoying their cruelty???
What does this say about them beside the fact that they are 7th graders?
BB to get a reaction from you, good or bad, is supply for them. If they get to see you hurt – that is supply. If they can be envied – supply. It makes them feel good to see others suffer. We are not dealing with normal, healthy individuals – they really are sick people.
I keep my rage at him for online posts like this one (and I never post anything that could identify him) my therapist and friends of mine who only know him by sight. I have not tried to speak to his friends – I don’t trust them. Or, God forbid, his family! No – awful people. I have posted on Facebook about him, on groups or my page, but he is not on FB and my page is set so that only Friends (none of whom know him) can see it. (Also his paranoia keeps him off social media).
I am extremely meticulous about this. Not being over it, I need to let these feelings out. But I am pretty sure he’ll be telling nasty stories about me (even under the guise of “Poor woman, she’s so disturbed, she can’t help… “) and I do not want to be part of that viciousness.
I am still ill and entrapped by my feelings. I still get the urge to send him texts (as I did on previous times when he left) either kindly or vicious. I do not. Recently I saw a news story of a suicide that could easily have been him. I almost contacted him to say, “If ever you feel desperate… ” I didn’t. I reasoned: It’d hurt me. And I’m the last person he should be turning to.
This is an illness, this grief and rage over him. I wish it would end.
WOW. I wish I had seen this site months ago. At first I thought it was just for women who have been wronged. I was in a relationship for 17 years, we lived apart the past 8 years but we’re still a couple. On average, she threatened to leave at least twice per year. I would beg her to stay and eventually she would. But it was always like walking on eggshells, I had to be very careful what I said. I helped support her financially, the relationship was emotionally abusive, but I took it all, I was in love!!! 5 years ago she cheated on me, I flrgave her.
6 months ago, she borrowed $500 from me, 2 days later she sent me a dear John email saying the relationship was over, she had found someone else and moved on. To my credit, I did not beg this time, I emailed her back and wished her well. Inside, I was torn apart, my world was shattered, I was filled with so much hurt and anger, but I never contacted her. I stayed away from places she might go.
A few months ago I met another woman and we have started a serious relationship. At first, I couldn’t make love to her because it felt like I was cheating (how sick is that) my new lady is very pretty, much prettier than my ex, she treats me very well and I love our time together. It actually made me forget about my ex. But the last month, my ex began creeping back into my thoughts. Mostly anger at what she did and how she did it. My ex has a daughter who I helped raise and we were quite close. I hadn’t heard anything from her since the break up, so I opened up her Facebook page. She had pictures of her mother posted, and she looked awful, kind of looks like she is on Meth!! I hate to admit it, but I still had feelings, but I also wanted to put the knife into her a little bit. I posted pictures of my new love, made sure that they were smokin hot. Then I contccted her daughter, offering my friendship to her. I knew full well that she would see the pictures, and I am quite certain my ex would also view them. So that is my attempt at revenge, am
And also, with my ex knowing now that I have someone in my life, there is no chance of a reconciliation down the road.
If I had read this site before, I think it would have stopped me from doing what I did. I sincerely hope that, that is my last attempt at being an Ass
Dear Savannah, you’re the best.
I went through your same situation. I found out the other woman after we break up.From her instagram. She has an open profile and he was all over the place.
For the first time in our 4 years relation I did NOT react. I did what you suggested to do , I’ve shown no interest. Except with my friends I’ve cried all my eyes out.
After 10 months I’m still dreaming of him with her, I tab him on FB and seeing how she’s a devoted , 10 years younger then me. He’s 49 years old never merrier. No children. I’m 42 with ex husband and a son of 10.
He ‘s a terrible narcisist and the only thing he seems to care is his family. his parents 85 years old want him to be married and settle down, and she is the perfect one. But since I tab him he’s having the same behavior already: leaving her with his old parents while he went on vacation with his buddies! (I ‘d never have done it of course)..
But still I’m still missing him like hell. Just would like to get close to him, and I left his apartment which I’ve found for him , and decorated for him, with all my stuff, ready to go back -10 months ago.
It never happened.
I can’t think now the OW is in my place, using my linens , my towels , the stuff I left but most of all HIM.
Somentimes I think this is temporary and we belong each other. somentimes I hate him, and I want my revenge.
I can’t think he could marry her. No announcement yet, but she ‘ll move in soon.Now those question to you.
Is your ex narcc still with the same woman he left you for? Don’t you think they might be happy? You said you moved on with your life and I appreciate all the technique and suggestion you’re giving on this blog, BUT did you find another man that you really like?
I see around and I feel I’ll never be able to have any feeling for anybody else. The only thing today can give me pleasure is somenthing bad happen to him at his work, with his family with her.
I can’t think is the end of it. After 10 months.. How long does it take??
Thank you for being so helpful Savannah
Ortensia as far as I know he is still with the OT but the dynamics were a little different. She got herself good and pregnant 2 months after I moved out of our house. So they have a child. He is also now a step-parent to her 2 young boys. I can just see it now there’s nothing a Narcissist likes more than to share supply (not). I don’t worry about him and his life. I doubt he’s a different person. He was an awful, hate filled human being then and I’m sure he’s still an awful hate filled person now. The only difference is everything is now all her fault and not mine.
How long does it take? That depends entirely on you. If you take the focus off of him and put it towards you and your goals and you get moving to make your life better then it happens faster obviously. If you sit and dwell and wallow and don’t do anything to get yourself out of it – it could take years. Don’t wish something bad on other people. Do your best to wish him well – remember what you send out to the universe comes back to you, so make sure you only send positive stuff.
Thank you Savannah. Only one thing: They’re the first ones to send terrible stuff into the universe and this stuff should go back straight to them.
I’m not sitting and wallow believe me but I never experience this feeling of revenge for anybody else. I think you felt the same. I’m trying to let go, but it’s not enough. I want to see him punished from life. I’ll never give up. I’ll be happy again I’m sure, but will never forgive him. I’m sure life will punish him
you know the letter, that they say you should write.. to get it all out… well i wrote it… it was full of the most awfull insults.. every physical thing i could attatch to him.. he has bad teeth,.. not an attractive guy, resembles a clown.. bad dreads.. and i called him on being a p. i told him that he should get a vasectomy.. that i was glad we never had kids.. (we had been trying for 4 years..) i realy sank to the bottom of the barrel.. i never cared about looks really.. i just wanted to hurt him.. he had attacked me in this way verbally, and now it goes round in my head.. along with the other “worthless feelings…) i just wanted to hurt him,. now i feel like i am him… how would he react to this communication do you think?
oh yeah, forgot to say.. i sent it to him.. he had sent me some really off hand emails minimizing my feelings etc.. i reacted… 🙁
I have also been visiting your site for some time now and for me it is the best site on the internet on dealing with narcissist relationships and the aftermath of it. Thanks so much! When I read your post about post break-up behavior I really had to cringe. I acted in almost precisely the same way. The problem was that I still thought I was dealing with a “normal” person. So I tried to make him understand my pain – only to make things worse. But I just didn’t see it! I had managed to hold my emotions back for a while but when I got to the angry stage I couldn’t hold my anger and wrote a raging letter. I also returned jewelry to him, thinking it was a clever move… Now I feel stupid. With the level of awareness I have now, it feels like a heavy fog has been lifted – I could have acted differently. But it wasn’t possible at the time…
Destroying their property…
I’m bent on revenge. I sometimes miss him, but then when I wake up I get angry. When I get angry I want to puncture his tires, break into her place, etc. I am so mad. I want to break them up. And yet there is a part of me that still thinks he is not a psychopath. He is not an N. What is wrong with me?
I am really seeking revenge. I want him to hurt as much as he hurt me.
If you met me, you’d never know this side of me. I haven’t acted like this ever. Of course, I am not sure I’ve been duped by anyone like this ever before as well. I am seeing a side to me that I did not know existed. I just want to see him hurt. :((
I am working not to act on these thoughts, but trust me, it’s really hard not to. I haven’t seen him in months. I have been NC for only about a week or so, as I did a drive by just before xmas. We haven’t spoken in 5 months and he’s still with his new girl.
What the heck is wrong with me? I am really acting out of character, but I know that seeing him hurt too seems like a good idea. I’m sure I’m wrong.
On revenge and destroying property: I, too, have felt the rage of wanting to dump everything he owned in the ocean-but knew that it was childish behaviour. I did do one small thing though–I put one tiny, but deep scratch right down a CD from a musical group that I know they have a connection with ( he left it behind–like most all of his belongings) It was enough to take care of the RARGE and destructive feelings–yet not enough to feel like lunatic.Chances are–he will never return for it anyway. However, it did make me feel better. Kinda like having just a bite of chocolate–instead of eating whole bar!
I absolutely LOVE this blog. After a five-year hell on earth relationship with a narcissist, I’m happy to say that I finally have him out of my life. That relationship consumed me. I was completely obsessed about fixing it, winning his love and being the one woman who finally changed him. I came out ruined. I was so heavily focused on this incredibly abusive relationship that I let my business fall apart, my finances and, most of all, my self esteem.
I finally kicked him out. He moved in with me and it took me over 6 months to get him out because he wanted to be the one to reject me. I’m broke and heartbroken, but finally have my dignity and sense of peace back.
I’m glad I read this blog. I would have likely fallen into the trap of telling people the horrible effect he’s had on my life because I’m so hurt about it. I realize that I’d just end up looking like a lunatic. If see that by sharing my experience I would simply allow him to control me even though I’ve kicked him out of my home… he’d be controlling me from afar.
great blog. what i notice about myself is how crappy of a person i was. it took a marriage to a N to actually see all my self hatred and my bad choices i made. i left my first husband when i met my N. I LEFT HIM high and dry. i was unhappy.. i was selfish and i didnt do the right thing. instead i met my N and he convinced me to stay. he broke beer bottles over his head and told me he needed me .. i had to not go back to my husband ..that we were meant to be. i believed it all. we tattood our names on eachothers chest then he told me i had to stay.. that my Husband would never want me back now. 17 yrs later and massive therapy.. i am realizing that it took psychological abuse from another to see that i needed change. i needed to be a better person. if nothing but my children came from this..i also got to see myself, the icky self and work on fixing it. i will say that im addicted to my N. the push and pull is from both of us. we are oil and water.. i just miss what it felt like when we met. the passion was out of this world. the love making was fantasy like. god i miss that. 🙁
I am blown away at how I can relate so much to everything on this subject and page. I never would have known I was in love with a narcissist if I hadn’t chosen to research my ex’s symptoms. It now helps explain so much including why his ex wife refuses to allow him to see his 3 kids for over 2 years. It’s crazy how much pain and suffering he brought into my life while still being my favorite road trip captain. I was becoming a monster because of the rise he’d bring out in me. What a mind fuck. He destroyed my financial stability, my peace of mind, my health has suffered. … I could go on and on for weeks!!!. What a roller coaster. He’d lie and deny lying. He’d become physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive, even put my and his own friends down. I even had him under Mr. Hyde on my contact list. He is relentless. Reminds me of a cockroach. Egh.
I don’t know when this was written but when you said cockroach I knew exactly what you meant. I had one of those. A fuckin cockroach
Yes Marked!I have just left my female N and I feel like I cannot even breathe for myself. Every waking moment revolves about thinking about going back for more emotional and physical torture. I loved the way I didn’t know what to expect every morning. I loved the way she alienated me from my family and friends. I loved the way she twisted my words to make me question my sanity, And I especially loved the way I knew she was out to destroy me and I had to leave but couldn’t not do it for 5 years. Although I became addicted to these evil traits it was the deadly silence treatments that still effect me deeply. The fog is still thick with me…but I’m still walking through it too the end and I’m finally free. I have have been wounded but I will live.
My therapist recommended that I find a sight about leaving a narcissist. …. I’m reeling in shock at reading all of this. It’s me! My life and my relationship being played out by others. I feel so dumb. I’ve known he was but I didn’t understand how bad it really was
I am 63. He left me for a 27 year old when we were 55. Told me that living with me was like living with his grandmother. (And that was the lesser of the insults.) I saw them out one night and chased them, came to a stop light and was banging on the widow, saying do you realize he’s married, that’s my husband, over and over again.
Yes, you are right the embarrassment the next day just made me sick. I didn’t think I could make it on my own…though I had done quite well on my own while he was gone. He came back home, but after two years, I realized him for what he was. I contribute $5,000 income to the house every month. And yet, I wouldn’t have any of what I had if it weren’t for him.
Well, he is gone. He is now gone. The thing that puzzles me is that when I told him I was leaving, that I would buy a house or rent an apartment and he could have this new place. He told me this place didn’t mean anything to him, he wasn’t concerned about material things, then why the hell did you build it? …I have the house (for now) I will take my time and decide what my future will be. I want to make sure that I don’t make a mistake. Jump before thinking.
But I do have a question. I was told not to call him and he never called me. He has been gone for two days…and today, he called to see if I wanted to bring me something from a fast food place, then called back to make sure I didn’t change my mind, then called me to see what brand swiffer he should buy his mom, when my opinion on ANYTHING never mattered before. He wanted to leave (I wanted him to leave more) Why is he calling me now after 2 years of not calling me? (By the way, NO. both times to food and use your own judgement on the swiffer thing. I am very wary of everything he does. Yesterday, when I mentioned divorce, he said why do you want a divorce, we are separated, isn’t that enough?
First let me say how thankful I am for this website. I have been visiting nearly every day since my N discarded me about a month ago. It has been a huge help to me in understanding what happened in my relationship as well as encouraging me to take the right steps to move on and heal. That being said, I have a question to pose to Savannah based on the unique circumstances that happened to me.
My N had been cheating for quite some time before he discarded me. I learned last week that I had contracted a serious STD from him. Once the diagnosis was confirmed, I contacted him and encouraged him to seek medical treatment and to inform his new girlfriend/supply that she may need to be tested as well. He basically told me to leave him alone & cut off all communication. After talking with friends and praying about it for a few days, I decided to reach out to her via email to inform her about the situation. I know we are supposed to go no contact, but I felt this was a threat to her health, so I decided to take action. My message was very short and to the point (informing her of the facts – no emotional outbursts or name calling). She has not responded. Of course my N went ballistic and has been trying to reach me to scold me for doing this (I am vindictive, dark, unstable, etc.). I have ignored him and will continue to do so. But I’m wondering if you believe I did the right thing. My guess is he will try to paint me as the unstable one and say that I infected him (which is absolutely NOT true). Anyway, I’m wondering if others have had a similar experiences and how we can best handle it. Thank you again for this wonderful site!
Unfortunately what happened to you is not unique and I’ve heard from many readers, who were left with a little gift, from their wayward Narcs. I can understand why you would want to reach out and warn his new target, especially if you are of the kind hearted type, but the problem with that are, some of which you’ve mentioned – he will spin a tale and make it so that you’re the bad guy – you gave it to him – you are to blame for everything and when you put yourself in between a Narc and his supply, you don’t know what you’re going to get. As for the STD – If I was a gambler I would bet that he was fully aware that he had it and just didn’t care who he infected. I’ve come to the place in my life where I realize that people need to learn their own lessons and you can’t and shouldn’t interfere with that. The only exception to that rule would be if it was HIV he was spreading around – then I would go to the police.
So I had the exact same thing happen to me. Except I decided to publicly shame him on facebook. While I was going crazy I realized that I was also throwing myself under the bus. I went to therapy and we deleted everything together but I still had to deal with the aftermath of things. My decision to rebel was wrong. I should have never let him know I cared. Why the fuck should I if he didn’t give a shit about me.
Thank You Universe for guiding me here. Was involved with a narcissist for three years. I’ve tapped danced around whether he is or not, because he didn’t seem to fully fit the bill of certain site’s definitions. After “stumbling” onto this site yesterday, I now know Oh yes he is. Since day one, the “issue” and reason he could never fully commit to me was that he had a non-negotiable, intense need to have a biological child. No other option need apply. Mind you, I was 46 and he was 50 when we first got involved. I also have a chronic illness requiring medication that is non-conducive to pregnancy. I know, right? He said he was conflicted between choosing me or the baby so hope never left that he’d pick me. But always he was “godsmacked” back to the baby. And if he didn’t try, he’d end up a bitter old man who’d resent and hate me. But he did throw himself in that statement too. I know, right? I held it as gospel. I believed for a long, long time that if only I was a viable choice to have his baby that all his disrespectful, distrustful, shady, lying, evasive [fill in the blank] behaviors would go away. And the other women too, though he constantly denied he was “baby mama” hunting. Then there were the “exes” he was still quite involved with and wined and dined but insisted were just friends. But not me. I was freaking crazy for three years questioning my sanity because my intuition was screaming and he would deny, deny, deny. In response, I would attack with words, which were lethal and went for the jugular and kill every time. Naturally once the fog of rage lifted, I would feel horrible that I was so cruel and mean, completely forgetting/dismissing his actions that precipitated my reaction.
We’re now 49 and 53. He has to “jump off the cliff” and try and have a baby, and to please not contact him because it’s too hard to stay away from me and he has to do this. He’s telling me this as we’re laying in bed post-coital Saturday, April 19. We are now in the “final” break-up stage. He’s serious. On Tuesday April 22, the night of my girlfriend’s funeral, he came over and actually spent the night. We had sex that night and first thing Wednesday morning. This is definitely it he says. I had a 7:00 a.m. appointment so he left. I’m still texting & calling & he’s responding. He even comes over on Thursday, April 24 for a final “hash it out” session. On Friday, April 25 he’s screaming at me to quit texting, emailing, calling & leave him alone. He doesn’t want to hate me or have to block me but he will if I make him. On Saturday April 26, his sister, my BFF (Our relationship has suffered tremendously due to my involvement with her brother.), tells me that at Easter dinner (April 20) he and one of his “ex’s” announced they were moving in together. In fact, they were having a BBQ that day to celebrate. He had moved in Wednesday night after leaving my bed that morning. I blew up his phone, threatened to come over (I know where they live.), threatened to tell the other woman, yada, yada, yada. Not one response. So “jumping off the cliff” meant waiting till his safety net was securely in place and he was moved in before completely walking away from me and cutting off contact. He’s self-employed and works at home. Period. That’s the extent of it. I’m not sure he even pays taxes. He’s a scammer. She’s 41 or 42, chunky to heavy (always said he didn’t like heavier women; I am petite & in good shape) owns her own home, has a steady, full-time job, has medical insurance and her sister is an OB-GYN. We’ve got a winner. Needless to say, I am running the gamut of emotions and want him to be flayed and flogged for all to see.
I am so thankful that I just read this post, because I really thought that I was starting to lose it. Long story short, I broke up with my Narc about a month ago. Everything is still very raw for me and I have a lot of bad “moments” that just seem to hit at the oddest of times. I’ve also started having nightmares. The final contact I had with him was on April 17 and that was to tell him that his belongings had been donated to goodwill because he had failed to come get them in the timeframe I gave him. Judging by his response “thanks a lot, now you have closure”, I believe that he never had any intention of giving me any kind of closure or coming to get his things and was planning on just popping up whenever he felt like it. Since then I have had no contact with him, which is now 13 days. While we were only together for five months, I was sucked in really, really quickly and then he just upped and moved to another state without telling me. There had been some red flags there from the beginning, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt…..I should have listened to my gut. In any case, what I’ve found out since, is that he had been planning this move since the beginning, yet telling me that he wanted to move in together, etc. I am extremely hurt but everyday gets a little easier, and I know that while I will eventually get past this, it may take some time. I am so thankful for my wonderful support system, my sister, and my wonderful friends who have listened to me talk about it, never judging me, and been there as a shoulder to cry on. I don’t doubt that he will eventually show up again, which I am extremely nervous about. I just hope I’m in a stronger place than what I am now.
We never listen to our gut and we always say next time I will and we never do. I’m on a path in finding my self worth. I need to realize that I’m awesome and no piece of shit is ever gonna make me feel “crazy” ever again
I just got off the phone with one of my support persons, a cousin who has been great. I mentioned to him my plans for avoiding contact with my ex-husband, and he suggested that he hopes I can get to the point where I don’t need to avoid him. Well, maybe, but I’m not there yet. I’ve made a lot of progress, I see no sense in putting myself in harm’s way. What do I have to prove to anyone that would have me NOT avoid him? If I could have let him not bother me, I would not have had to get divorced. I couldn’t. He was a narcissist. My cousin has never been married to a narcissist; he doesn’t understand, though he has worked with narcissists.
Kathy- I 100% agree with you- I think you should maintain NC for life. Why would you put yourself in harms way again? These are some ways narcs respond to seeing their exes (all have happened to me, when I was indifferent to a narc, and they served the purpose of getting under my skin and convincing me that simply not caring about this person did not make me immune to their bad behavior):
-they assume that because you are not unfriendly/you are nice to them and you are willing to be in their presence that you are still desperately in love with them;
-they tell other people this and are inspired by the encounter to begin fabricating and sharing other disparaging lies about you (like you are crazy- narcs love to call their exes crazy);
-they are irritated by your indifference so they say or do something incredibly insulting or manipulative to try to throw you off balance and get a reaction, anything to prove they still have power to impact you.
-They are always spinning a web of manipulation, lies and control and if you get too close you become a target. It sounds over the top but I’ve experienced this with several narcs (friends, partners and a co worker) and the pattern of behavior is so eerily consistent.
Why would anyone willingly put themselves through this?
Narcs. There should be a law to punish them. They’re such evil fcukers. Destroying perfectly good people so that they can feel important.
I agree and I wish we could lock them up. I’m starting to view them as dangerous and a public health hazard.
I wonder how many Narcs are actual criminals or have the propensity to be one. Hear about the Australian girl who hit a bicyclist with her car (and injured the victim), and said that she “Like, just doesn’t care” (actual quote) and was more concerned about the state of her car?
I did most things after my 5th (and FINAL)break-up with my Narc. He’s in a Long distance relationship with someone else now, someone he just met personally for 2 weeks, and suddenly when she had to go back to the States, they’re engaged and planning their life together, while he tells me, he just needs somethings from her but it’s me he really loves.
I know what I was up to, and it was so hard for me to let go. When I could not take it anymore, he let me new supply listen to our conversation of him “discarding” me after I exposed him to the new supply that we still have a “life” together. I did that because it was the only way I know that would really make him angry and break up with me for good.
The thing is, in my pain, I did the things you mentioned about here. Is there any way I could still regain my “dignity”? Is there any way I could do to make him know it’s really over?
And oh, I have started writing about my experience with him in my blog. I know people will never understand because this was never a normal relationship and break-up. Do u think it’s a good idea? Or should I wait for a little more time to write about it? I badly need to write and it’s therapy for me.
If it makes you feel good then definitely do it.
Savannah, another spot-on, well written article. Wish that I could find the right standing ovation gif to post!
Here’s my two cents:
Breakups and divorces are hard for everyone. Even normal, otherwise healthy people don’t quite act like themselves when they happen (and science will back this up!) We’ve all done things we’re not proud of during and after a break up. They NEVER end the way that we would want them to, like how relationships in shows like “Sex and The City” and popular rom-coms have ended.
I think everyone is guilty of sending their ex that drunk text message they regret the next morning, looking up an ex on Facebook or calling them during the denial and negotiation phases of a breakup. And I’m not talking about 20-somethings doing this, I see many people in their 30s and 40s doing the same things. To me, this isn’t too abnormal.
But there’s one thing you posted here that I think is unique to breaking up/being left by a narcissist: That urge to “out” them and tell everyone what a monster they are. I’ve ONLY felt that urge once in my whole life, and that was when leaving my N.
I think that if you feel this way during a breakup and haven’t asserted yet if your ex is an N, feeling this way (wanting retribution and to “out” them) is a HUGE SIGN that they probably are.
That urge never came over me even when I was cheated on in a previous relationship. Of course I was devastated and hurt and told my friends what had really happened, but I had no desire to get on a loudspeaker about it. He cheated and admitted it. I chose to end it. We were done. That’s it.
However, with my N, I caught myself wanting to do the same shiz you mentioned in this post, and broadcast to the whole community that he is a jerk and an alcoholic who needs help. And I’m not clear as to why yet.
Did I think if his friends and family knew this “revelation” that he has NPD, that they would see him in a different light? Maybe I thought this would be a consequence for his actions?
I don’t know why I initially had the urge to let everyone know that I’m a victim. That really will do me NO good. I am not a victim. I’m an effing survivor.
But like your post says, his family and friends aren’t really going to care. They’re going to stick by him no matter what. I’m convinced Ns don’t treat their families and friends the way that they treat us — and their families could be the reason WHY they are an N, anyway — so there’s really no freaking point.
You are so right. We don’t need anyone on our “side” from their camp. Our friends and families will BELIEVE and support us, and that is all we need.
He is going to tell his friends and family a huge lie about you anyway, in the end. It’s been 3 weeks, and my N ex invented a story that I cheated on him (not true, of course) and he is telling everyone that he left me, not that I kicked him out.
He is 34-years-old and posting this on Facebook. How mature.
Hearing about this from a trusted friend, who let me know the tale my N is spinning, fueled me wanting to set the record straight. Then I found this post.
After reading it, now my reaction is “Oh Well.” It reasserts that I should just be happy that I don’t have to deal with my ex’s bullshit anymore.
Thank you Savannah for this post. I read it JUST in the nick of time.
“But there’s one thing you posted here that I think is unique to breaking up/being left by a narcissist: That urge to “out” them and tell everyone what a monster they are. I’ve ONLY felt that urge once in my whole life, and that was when leaving my N.”
OMGOSH YES. That assertion could not have rang any truer for me.
Of course, I have been in other relationships that ended – and no ending is fun or easy. But the final (it really is final for me, this time) break-up with my N has been so difficult for me because in other relationships, I never had to question whether my ex ever had any real feelings, ever loved me, or if any moment was genuine. I never had to realize that the man I was parting ways with possessed NO positive human qualities. (And when I had seen any briefly, it was all a ruse.)
The feeling of wanting to expose this shell of a person was an urge that I had never had in previous break-ups. (I’ve stopped myself from being the “crazy” ex-girlfriend who sends warning emails to the people in his life (the few acquaintances he has at the moment and his in-denial-parents), but yes, it’s definitely an urge that I don’t remember from past endings.
I’ve been able to stop myself because I know I’d never get the reaction from anyone that I want, and I just have to move on. Like I told my best friend the other night, the only response that would make me temporarily pleased with myself would be a text from The Universe that said, “[Your N] has turned into dirt because everything you said was so true, and he isn’t fit to be a human. Thank you, Leah, for your intervention!”. … If only.
My friend’s stand-by reply/reminder that always helps: “You know darn well that he is deeply miserable. And always will be.”
I think indifference is the best response to the narcissist. Anger or love towards them communicate they have some power over us and we feel diminished as a result. Even if we are teary during the breakup, which is honest at least, we should cultivate indifference towards them afterwards (with caution = no contact).
I think cultivating indifference entails first accepting our feelings as okay and really feeling them in kindness towards ourselves. Then, challenging the false thoughts and unrealities that cause negative feelings to multiply and stay stuck in our hearts and replacing them with accurate thoughts. When we have processed it, letting go of anger and bitterness. Long term anger is of no use to us anyway- it is not a good feeling and it keeps us tethered to the narc. Letting go of fear because they really can’t hurt us now. Only our thoughts about them can hurt us and our hurt feelings will naturally fade if we let them. And most important- letting go of the false belief that our narc loved us, we had a special connection, he was broken but deep down a good person- that’s all a load of BS. When we start thinking good thoughts about him we replace them with the truth: He is unable to love, we were only there to boost his ego and he is ultimately a disordered, often cruel person whom we cannot help. It’s not our problem, it’s his. We are capable of appreciating love and empathy and giving love and empathy in a healthy relationship and this is an amazing gift to have. It’s of greater value than being attractive, charming, successful or brilliant. Take joy in this, look for it in your next partner and pity the narc who will never experience this.
A beautiful response and wonderful advice. I actually copied and emailed it to myself so that I can look at it when I’m not feeling great. Thanks for sharing.
Contrary to popular belief, narcissism is not about loving yourself. It is based on self-loathing of such magnitude that delusion takes over to cope with the world. So, no matter how much hurt and humiliation we’ve experienced having been involved with a narcissist, it will never compare with the hate narcs have towards themselves. Rather than feeling vengeful and unworthy, you should feel sorry for them, ecstatic that they dumped you and sorry for their next victim, who will experience similar hurt and frustration. They will never be able to love and exist in healthy relationships with other people. They are mentally disturbed people, who have very little chance of ever recovering. As with many personality disorders, narcissism is meant to be caused by a variety of factors. It is not a choice but an inherent imbalance in the human psyche like schizophrenia for example. Narcs are not evil people, they are slaves to a coping mechanism that inflicts utter pain to those around them.
So, do yourselves a favour and forgive them. They cannot help themselves and while they may have some idea of the aftermath of their behaviour, they have no way of understanding it. The real mystery is why we all allow this to happen to us without taking action and moving away from the situation. No matter the diagnosis it is us who allow narcs to happen to us. No matter how hard, we have to accept that what we had was not love, and by understanding that, we can move on more easily. They will never understand what they have done, so don’t waste your time or energy. Focus on finding out why you got involved with this kind of person, because chances are that you will again. Same man, different face syndrome. Also, it is estimated that 6 % of the population have a narcissistic personality order, only proving that the chances of meeting one is very slim. For the same reason, it might be worth considering whether you’ve ‘just’ been involved with a real piece of lowlife, which is more likely to be the case. Diagnosing someone as being narcissistic based on their self-serving behaviour, lack of attention to you and your feelings as well as overall manipulation could be wrong. They might just be men with very little respect for women.
I have been with a narcissistic man, who is beyond help. When I try to explain concepts like empathy to him, he was at an utter loss. He was unable to grasp how his actions influenced and hurt me. I hated him for a long time. Now I feel sorry for him. He will never be able to function with someone else and experience love. He is damaged and unable to feel like normal people. It was me who told him that I suspected narcissistic traits in him. At first, I used it to insult him, but after a while, I presented it to him in a more friendly and non-accusatory manner, and he began to understand that he was not like everyone else. I love him, but I don’t expect him to love me back. I only wish for him that his self-loathing will fade somehow and make him a happier person.
I think that “Marked” hit the nail on the head. Narcs are not capable of “normal” relationships. They are really good during the “falling in love” stage, but who isn’t? Falling in love is effortless, there is no work involved. A psychologist named Mary Aisnworth did a study on attachment. She found that mothers form specific types of attachment styles with their infants. she found that some infants were securely attached (had a healthy bond), some were anxious avoidant (they cycled through wanting to bond, and rejecting the mother), and some were avoidant (they did not care at all about bonding with her). The behavior of a narc did not happen overnight. This is a developmental behavior pattern that was created almost at birth. It is futile to try and teach them bonding or expect them to learn it at this late stage in life.
You are sighting only one aspect of attachment here – the mother’s attachment style and making the assumption that this is entirely a nurture disorder. What about the babies that come straight out of the womb not wanting the attachment – there is a biologic component as well that is not fully understood. But, thank you for your input.
I have been with a classic narcissist for 4 years now. Our pattern is to break up and go back together every few months.
We tried living together several times and I always left after a few months. But would allow myself my addiction and stay connected to him even when we were broken up. I haven’t dated anyone since I’ve met him. But thanks to your story and invaluable advice I truly am moving on.
Here is my dilemma. Every time we break up he says I owe him money and I have to pay him back. I have paid him every dime I’ve ever borrowed and a whole lot more. But this is his way of keeping control over me. My moral compass is his go to button to push whenever he crosses the line. I do not feel I owe him anything but like a fool I agreed to pay him for a bed $2000 just to get him to leave me alone.I have been making payments to him for a few months now. And all that has done is give him an excuse to contact me. He sends flowers and buys gifts and wants to make plans for future trips. Slowly drawing me back in. I want all of this to stop. I want no contact because when I get with in 10 feet of his amazingly gorgeous body I’m his again and he knows it. I don’t feel like I owe him any money and I don’t want to give him any more excuses to talk to me. But I said I would pay him and he still has some of my things at his house. I want those things back but that will require contact again. Should I try and get my stuff or continue to pay him? Or walk away and consider my losses a good lesson. Whatever I do he will contact me again and be very angry. Mostly because he has lost control. I thought the most dignified way to leave him was to take the high road pay him even though I don’t owe him. And leave him feeling petty and small for taking advantage of me. Its not working out that way. What should I do?
You have already said that every time you are near him you lose your resolve, so the logical thing to do would be to cut your loses and stay away from him. And do you keep paying him money that you don’t owe him? – Hell No!!!!!!!!!!!! Go completely no contact – that means no contact – no responding to texts, emails, phone calls….. all he gets is silence, because you know the moment you break that silence that he will worm his way back into your emotions, so just don’t do it.
Wow, so true again. I went through this cycle once–of him having another woman and my running after him. After about 4 months of that, I decided to take care of myself and got counseling, realized I was co-dependent, and decided I was healthier without him. Of course, since then he has pursued me. I finally got away and we have been divorced all of 2 weeks. We still live on opposite halves of the farm that we divided. And he is still pursuing me. Every little thing that I think might be OK, such as talking with him about planting crops gives him hope that I need him and that I will stay with him. So I have to take deliberate steps to continue my life without interaction with him. It is possible, but I really have to accept that fact that we CANNOT JUST BE “FRIENDS” There are 6 more weeks before the finality of his needing to remove his stuff from my property or it becomes mine goes into effect. I have a choice. Shall I entangle myself with him and try to help him? No. Shall I let the time pass and then claim all his stuff? Tempting.
I think I’ll mention the approaching deadine one week prior as Savannah’s suggestion of a couple of days (he has LOTS of stuff)–and then if it’s not gone, it’s mine. That’s what the contract that he signed says. It doesn’t even say I have to haul them out; I just do need to give him reasonable access.
Good morning Savannah! I’m so glad I found your website. Reading your insights into the mind of a Narcissist and the postings of your readers has given me support and hope. I am 56 years old and have been involved in multiple destructive relationships that have drained me physically and emotionally. Sometimes I wonder if I am the Narcissist as well, though I’m told I’m not because I have empathy and love deeply. Narcissism is like smoke and mirrors and the Narcissist makes you feel like you are the one who needs to change and the one who is crazy. I have been on both sides. I will continue to look forward to your emails as each one opens up another path to my journey in recovering from Narcissistic relationships and behavior.
This hit the nail on the head for me. After 30 yrs (28 married) it hurts like my soul has been raped. My heart and soul are utterly devastated. I’ve done a few of these things and have wanted to do more. It’s just so hard to think of your own dignity when I want her to feel as bad as I do. The only thing I keep telling myself is that it’s useless. She CANNOT feel the way normal people feel. She has no conscience or soul. She is pure evil. Thank you so much for your writings. Some men, like me, go through the exact same emotions. Men and women may not be as different as people think.