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Narcissistic Abuse

emotional abuse

NARCiSSiSTiC ABUSE doesn’t have to spoil your life

Not sure if he or she is a narcissist or just a jerk?

THE JOY OF EX: Freedom from relationship tyranny, control and manipulation.

When you are manipulated or treated badly, labels are less important than knowing that something needs to change.  However, you can’t change anyone else but changing your thoughts and actions is under your control and something you can do.

You have options, but turning a jerk, sociopath, psychopath, or narcissist into prince charming isn’t one of them.

If the abuse is wearing you down, plan your exit. If you aren’t certain you can do so, pat yourself on the back for getting this far.  The future may be bumpy, but if you think things through and keep emotions under control, don’t rush or make rash decisions, you can do it.

TIP:  When leaving, don’t enrage and don’t engage.  Stay calm; now is not the time to push buttons or get  revenge.

All the things you wanted to know and need to know, because it’s time to take care of yourself:

Let’s Talk About Narcissism (Because I’m Tired of You and It’s Time for ME!)

Ann Bradley, M.A University of Pennsylvania, Antioch College, Stanford University 

How You Got Here and How To Not Make the Same Mistake

You do not have to be the victim of narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) forever.  You don’t have to lose your confidence, hope and passion for life because you are in a relationship with a narcissist. This experience can be a catalyst for growth and self respect and learning how to cope with difficult events and circumstances.  You can learn the skills to move beyond.

If you aren’t sure why you picked an abuser or how you got yourself in this position, you will feel better if you learn why.  Understanding this can be a relief, and help you now and in the future.

Knowing the characteristics can help you so you never are involved, ever again, in a toxic relationship.  Find out what the research says and how this can help you. When you understand you will find this will help you become happier, more self assured and you will not blame yourself, but will make good decisions and have good relationships.

TIPDon’t enrage the narcissist in your life. He or she will make you pay.  Stay calm and plan your exit.  Don’t give in to ‘letting it all out’.  Narcissists don’t forget and they like revenge. Your ‘outing’ of him or her adds to his narcissistic injury.  A narcissist needs to look good in front of others and you gain nothing by proving he is not the best, smartest, wealthiest, most capable person he wants tobe seen as. 

You have a right to a life without fear, anger, betrayal and put downs. The part of what makes someone a victim of narcissistic abuse is not cast in stone. Flexibility is at the core of human life and the ability to reinvent one’s self can be tapped into to leave the abusive situation.

Life isn’t always fair, but it can be good.  I wrote this guide for women who want a good life and who want to make peace with their past so the future will be good, and want to laugh again. Embrace the joy, it’s yours for the taking:

Power Guide for Women

Ann Bradley

31 Comments

  1. I’m living with what I just truly diagnosed it as a narcissistic husband and need to find a good therapy group in Westchester,NY. What a NIGHTMARE!!!!

  2. I am living with a narcissistic husband and it has been a true nightmare. I finally through reading realize exactly the title for what he is. Thank you God. I now need to go to therapy. Please advise any good groups in Westchester,NY. Thank you.

  3. They are a nightmare to live with…..how one person can cause so much misery is amazing to me. After years of ‘dealing’ with this infantile, temper-throwing, jack-ass of a man, I finally was able to leave. Living with them does not get better over time, I wish you much encouragement on getting the help that you need to separate and get your life back. The crazy-making is on purpose.

  4. I also agree with the article and would say do not reveal to the abuser that you are aware of what’s going on and definitely be careful with who you discuss things with especially family and mutual friends, as the article said, don’t “out” them. Some people may think that they are “helping” and may go and try and talk with him in an effort to get him to change, in their own attempt to help salvage your relationship and if that happens, now he knows that you know, and then it could get worse on many levels.

    Once the lightbulb came on for me and I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with, I continued to let him think that I was the same “victim” that I always had been, all the while I was planning my exit from his home. If you throw the word narcissist out into the air, he now knows you have a certain awareness and will not like that one bit, even if he does not know what a narcissist is himself. Knowledge is power and narcissist never want you to have any power of any kind but especially in the form of knowledge. I was amazed at how fast I changed the course of my life once I understood narcissism, I felt armed with power and I realized that I had to take my power back because he had it all and I had none. Luckily he was hellbent on doing everything humanly possible to continue to destroy the relationship so I used this as my reason for leaving. In one of his divo tantrums he told me to leave with our child and silently I said “You don’t have to tell me twice” and left and never went back and that was in 2010 but because of our child, he still has contact with me, but I am planning on leaving the area all together.

    My only reason for staying so long was our child, and I decided to remove myself from their relationship and let him be the father that he wants to be, never demanding or expecting more, and his selfishness is now obvious to our child and our child is now starting to see who Dear Old Dad is for on their own, without any influence fom me, as I had always tried to present Dad in a good light and offer excuses for his behavior to our child, but no more. I realized I was protecting his poor behavior and he did not deserve my protection, so I am now letting the chips fall where they may when it comes to him and our child, and I am there for our child always and especially when he disappoints our child. Our child is actually more mature than he is. I know longer feel any obligation whatsoever to foster their relationship and am planning to leave the state because his participation and influence in our child’s life is not a positive one at all, so I no longer feel bound to stay. When I close the door I will close it for good for me, if my child wants to resume a relationship with their father once they turn 18, then they have that right and can seek him out, but I know for a fact that we cannot coexist and I will no longer try because of our child because neither one of us benefits in any way from having him in our lives. Some people may not agree with how I feel, but I am sorry I just don’t believe my child will be missing anything. He does the absolute bare minimum for and with our child and I believe the ONLY reason he has not abandoned our child altogether, is because without our child he would not be able to still interfere in my life and have contact with me. I am planning on the day when I will be free of him because until I am free of him, I will never have complete and total peace.

    • I thought I was alone. Thank God Kristy Brinkly is able to tell people to google “divorcing a narcisist”. Thats how I found this. How did you stay away? When I divorced him he stalked me and made my life miserable until I came back. He will never leave me alone. My counselor said thats part of his narcisism. Its not that he loves me sooo much; but how could I possibly leave him? He doesn’t understand that he’s not worth forgiving for everything he’s done. Nobody is worth forgiving for that much emotional pain.

      • Shannon, I totally understand what you are going through and I left and went back many many times before I finally left for good, but I did that because I did not know I was dealing with a person with narcissistic personality disorder, I was totally unaware of his mental condition, I simply thought he was a major A-hole.

        I also stayed because we have a child together and I was one to think about keeping the family unit together but I do not think like that anymore, damn that. The family unit cannot be held together if I’m falling apart and he was the reason for that.

        It really was like an awakening for me and once I learned of NPD, I let go of “trying” anymore, because for one, I had already saw that NOTHING and I mean NOTHING could ever please this man, and I simply got tired. I began to mentally remove him from my life, making him happy was no longer my focus and I began to think about making myself happy. I began to think about who I was before I met him and remembered that I like that me, I was happier and I really wanted to feel that way again. Of course I am a different person now and cannot be that me again, but I did remember and realized that I did exist before I met him, and I was going to continue to exist without him. I stayed away because I knew I was happier when he was not around, even if I was bored and didn’t have anywhere to go or nothing to do, if he wasn’t around, I was happier and I LOVED how that feeling of happiness felt, so while he tried to get me back and STILL continues to, two years later, all I have to do is think about how happy I feel when he is not in my presence and when I don’t hear his voice, truth is, he makes it totally easy for me stay away because he his such a major tool. See that man for who he truly is and not for who you want him to be, who you wish to be, and especially not for who he USED to be, see him for who he really is now and it should make it easier to stay away. That makes me stay away and also the fact that I don’t love him at all, I’m not going to love someone who treats me the way he did. I love me and I already know he couldn’t treat me right so now I’m going to treat me right and 100% of that, is not going back to him. What would I look like treating myself right but going back to someone who treats me like crap, it doesn’t make sense. I believe in loving hard, but guess what I am also going to start to love smart now as well. There is nothing that he can buy me, no place he can take me, no promise he can make me (I’ve been offered everything at this point) that is going to change how I feel about him and none of that crap is going to change how I feel about me and I refuse to give up the feeling I have about me now. Shannon, I feel like a rock star without him an I’m not giving that feeling up, not for him and not to him.

  5. I just learned this evening that this is exactly the man I have been dealing with. I learned along the way to leave alone, when I walked out a year ago, I went with out discussions, I ignored text after Text after voice mails etc. I knew enough not to engage him. He knew why I left, but yet still today he points fingers and finds other reason.. made up ridiculous reasons that I am sure as I am sitting here he has everyone around him believing. My problem with dealing with him is… we have kids. We share 50/50 custody and visitation. My question is HOW???? I can avoid relationship conversations, but we have to talk about the children and how to raise them. Soon we have to attend a Co-Parenting counseling session. I fear he will make me become en-ragged, look like an ass while he is calm cool and collected as he always does until we are alone.

    • Practice, practice, practice….enlist the help of a friend and get her to bait you as he might. Practice responding with no emotion, no drama. You can pause a moment to collect yourself as if you are considering what he said and then carefully choose your reply. It might be, “I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for bringing it up so we can consider it.” This is a template you can use for anything he might say. Be prepared. It really helps if you can think of what he might say, have your friend throw it at you and practice responding. Think of it as acting classes. I do this with my clients for court, evaluators, etc. It works because it takes away your fear and replaces it with real words that make you look good. Best, Ann

  6. My ex left his current live-in girlfriend and contacted me to let me know. I forgot he was just looking for narcissist supply and mistook it oddly enough for lost love. I say oddly enough because I have spent 8 years back and forth with this man. He claims that I have always been the one and only, yet never commits to a real relationship with me. This time when he contacted me.. I was cordial and didnt fall all over myself and now he is punishing me with his “silent abuse”. I really dont care how HE feels, what bothers me is that these narcissists can suck you back in time after time and then you find yourself apologizing for their behavior. He told me this morning “I thought you would be excited to hear I left her…” Im numb.. how could I possibly be excited? As the day wears on today, I find most of my recovery from this man gone and he has spun me back into his poisonous web… I’ve been trying to get him to walk in my shoes so for once he may be able to understand why I dont get excited when he comes prowling around, but he has no empathy of course and is giving me the silent treatment. Its the worse abuse of all. I am always seeking closure with him.. so I can walk away and feel good about myself. I know they are really good at manipulation, but I have to take responsibility if I ever want to be fully recover and to not respond! Do I have detachment issues? My life is so great when there is no contact and so awful when he comes back around. I try to be his friend, but even that is abusive. Please just tell me its not me! I need more affirmation! Narcissists always leave you feeling like you’ve one something wrong!

    • Try saying something in response to him that makes you feel powerful. You are going to have provide your own closure here – no one else can do it for you. You could respond to his thinking you should be excited by saying, “That’s an interesting concept. But no, I am not.” – and leave it at that. Less is more in your situation. Reframe, don’t ruminate. You can do this, you really can. Don’t try. Just do! Best, Ann

    • I would ask you, why is it important to be his friend? Are you going to have his friendship or is he simply going to have yours because we already know a relationship with a narcissist is completely one-sided as you are the one doing all of the giving and they are the ones doing all of the taking and being abusive as well. What has he done to deserve your friendship? You should remember how you feel without him and never forget that. You do not owe him anything ever, and whatever he does need let him get it from somewhere or somebody else. He is just coming back into your life and already starting trouble, there is no way in the world I would allow him to come back into my life and disrupt what degree of peace, I have worked hard to build in his absence. I hope you do not allow yourself to get pulled back into his “web” and realize you do not owe him anything.

    • Kim – don’t do it. Don’t talk, text, email, anything with this man. Your heart and your head are not yet in agreement. I tried to ‘befriend’ my NPD ex, and like all narcissists do, he used and humiliated me, and with great relish. It was actually more cruel than anything he did when I was with him, but he was getting his revenge for me ever leaving the ‘romantic’ relationship we had. Be strong, you know what to do to protect yourself. He WILL NOT change.

  7. Don’t let him back into your life! I learned the hard way.

    After 3 months of no contact, my ex narc. sent me an email asking how I was and if I could return a possession of his that he had loaned to me months before. Long story short – we went on a few dates, he held my hand and flirted with me like we had never divorced. I am embarrassed to say that I actually fell for it. I thought he wanted to reconcile. He said that his brief relationship with another woman was over – she broke it off and I foolishly thought that he realized what he had lost when he divorced me. I felt the old romantic feelings again. One night, when he took me out for dinner, he acted like he did years before – sweet, romantic, caring, supportive and seductive as hell. Do not, and I repeat, do not fall for this! Narcs. will come back to you just so they can kick you in the face again! I later found out that on that very day, as I was sitting with him at dinner, the other woman had moved into what used to be our marital home. He had reconciled with HER and he did not even tell me!!! He had asked her to move in with him. When we left the restaurant, he put his arm around me and rubbed my back like he used to and smiled like he was in heaven. He was. Heaven for a narc. is abusing you and humiliating you all over again!

    I initiated the second no contact and it has been 3 months now. He has sent several texts and tried to call me once. I refused to respond to any of his attempts to contact me. These men are the lowest of the low. Because they have no empathy, they will hurt you again and again and again. Because they are pathological liars, you will never be able to trust what they say to you. And, you can’t trust what they are not telling you! They are masters of deception. How could you be friends with a monster like that? He wanted to be friends with me. Sure, he did! That way he could continue to abuse, humiliate and hurt me while he was living with another woman. I was his “supply” on the side. ( I am so thankful to God that I did not sleep with him during this “false reconciliation”. He actually is the kid of narc. that enjoys teasing and tormenting women by flirting and being seductive and then frustrating them by refusing to be physically intimate.) He actually would get a “high” from doing this with me. Honestly, my narc. ex-husband is one of the most handsome and stunning looking men I have ever seen (and been with) my entire life. I still ache for him on a physical level, but ladies, I would rather be alone, as hard as that is for me, than to be with a monster.

    I REFUSE TO BE DISRESPECTED AND DISHONORED BY ANY MAN, ESPECIALLY ONE THAT IS MENTALLY DISORDERED, HATEFUL AND SELFISH.

    Ladies, we can do this. Trust me. I’m 58 and starting my life over after I was used, abused and discarded after a ten-year relationship/marriage. I would rather live under a bridge, alone, than to be with a man like this.

    I live one day at a time as I look for real, genuine love and I am cultivating a life of peace, joy and contentment. I cry when the memories come back to me, then I get up, do something positive or help someone, and push forward to the goal! Ladies, if all of us stood up to these abusive men, just think, they wouldn’t have anyone to run to, live with, play evil games with, abuse and discard. Blessings on all of us, ladies!!

    • I have been married for 10 years to a man who has devalued me and brought me down from a confident happy woman to at times a raging banshee, a sobbing depressed wreak thinking of suicide. I know as he has so often said nobody makes you do anything. I know there is truth to this but God its hard to walk the road of life alone with roadblocks constantly set up and with no love or support through sickness and sorrow. HE IS PACKED TO GO ON ANOTHER trip to his sons 800 km away the second in 2 months leaving me in the worse months of the year with no assistance in snow removal etc (we live in the north) last year he did this when I was seriously ill . Even so I am looking forward to him leaving and maybe he will stay gone as I have withdrawn all narcisstic supply seperate rooms and no emotional support. He must be the one to leave as this is my home he has only contributed to the monthly budjet in all the time we have been together any suggestions on how to go about making this a permanent seperation , him not me gone

      • Hi – My suggestion is to begin as if you were preparing for divorce. Just pretend at this point. With someone like your husband this means understanding the psychology and pathology of this man. Take a look at books like Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing A Borderline or Narcissist
        who is both a therapist and an attorney. This is only a beginning. Also take a look at all the information on what it means to leave a high conflict partner. You are going to need strength – think of yourself as training for a marathon and get in good physical and emotional shape. This is critical to being able to cope with a separation and learning how to do it so it sticks. You can do this, you just need to get some of your confidence and happiness back and start believing in yourself again. Best, Ann

  8. A lot of wonderful posts here. They fuel my belief that one day my girls and I will be free. We left for good September 5th and haven’t looked back. Since leaving, his true ugly self has reared it’s head. I am asking for help everywhere, and getting it. I know that the road will not be easy, but staying would have eventually killed me, and turned my girls into women I could never imagine them to be. Our family dog escaped to a good home before we did… when he could no longer beat the dog, he turned to us. My 11 years with him are not a waste. I am stronger than ever and a momma tiger will not let her cubs be harmed. Ever again.

  9. I am SO encouraged by Ann and everyone else’s posts. Thank you for taking the time to share. I am married to a man( x27 yrs) who is a textbook NPD!! He has publically humiliated me, eroded my confidence & self esteem, contributed to my social isolation and not worked x 3 yrs after providing us (2 children) an upper middle class lifestyle. I find myself on the verge of filing bankruptcy and with all 401K monies spent. Due to the many yrs of emotional abuse, my immune system is taxed and I am ill much of the time. We met in college and have my RN. I keep planning to find work, which he is not supportive of, but have much self doubt and physical ailments. I need encouragement to ‘just get a job, take the kids and get out’ but find my once close friends are not there. Need an attorney who can see thru his facade. I can no longer suffer thru perpetuating his narcissistic illusion created for for others for I am spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially broken. I live in Indianapolis,IN.

  10. So, I have one of these. I’ve kinda known it for a while but feel stuck. The funny thing is I didn’t even really like him that much when we first met. I could tell he was pushy and a bit annoying. I was completely independent at that time and had a great sense of self worth.

    From word “go” I was curious as to why I was so attracted to him. At first I couldn’t wait to get away, viewing it as a fling. But he got his hooks in me somehow. Demanded I buy him a plane ticket over the phone when I was in another state to join me because he was unhappy with the friend he was staying with. I had only known him for a week. I told him I was doing something for the next few days and the timing wasn’t right. But he insisted and I did it. I proceeded to travel with this guy, again thinking to myself, “I can’t wait until you go”, but I stayed. I feel so stupid, Clearly the old me was trying to tell me something, but I ignored it. He would point out my faults and constantly accuse me of cheating on him even though I wasn’t. Having friends or smiling at another guy would infuriate him. For some reason I felt like I had to prove myself to him that I wasn’t that type of person.

    We got married and I moved overseas with him because that’s what he wanted. I gave up my career, my house was foreclosed, and I became completely dependent on him. I have about 10 more years of education than him, but apparently I don’t know anything. Whenever I try to speak in public he grimaces at me, kicks me under the table or undermines me. He makes sure we do EVERYTHING together, work, eat, sleep, shop.. everything. He watches everything I do and always has a complaint about how I act. He has a problem with everyone and demands that I ignore or be mean to people he doesn’t like, which is pretty much everyone.
    5 years later, we have started a business together, but it is “his” of course. Actually I am the only reason why this business is operating, but he is the hero. He lies on the couch barking orders at me, and nothing I do is ever good enough. Our only conversations are about what he wants done, and it’s the same things over and over. Instead of doing something about it he just bitches until I do it. I see classic signs of projection all the time, but if I try to talk to him about any problems he just blames everything on me and screams and yells. I’ve stopped responding to his tantrums because I hate fighting. However, it doesn’t stop him. He will wander around the house screaming and yelling and calling me a bitch and a cunt and useless even though I am silent. This will last for hours sometimes.

    I went back to my home country last year and told him “you better be careful how you treat me because I might not come back”. I was actually having a good time away from him and reconnecting with my friends. I thought maybe I wouldn’t go back. Then my Mom suddenly passed away. After the funeral, all I wanted to do was go back to him. I feel like that trauma really stuffed it up for me. When I got back things were even worse. He told me he was glad my Mom died and he wished I would die too. He was jealous that other people were comforting me while I was overseas and didn’t want to hear about it.

    That was 1 yr ago, and I still don’t have the funds to get back to my country. I wake up every day and think about how much I hate my life before I even get out of bed. Stuck overseas, no $ to go home and massive debt to go back to. I can’t believe I did this to myself. I used to be so smart and on top of life. I hope I can get back there someday.

    • Stuck: You will get back your life. Hope is always around, look for it. When you find it, use the time to make a plan, a goal. Stick it away for a while if you have to, but refer often and refine and think of strategies. Over time you will find yourself more energized and with that comes more and your vision will open up to see a good future for yourself. Right now you are stuck as you signed yourself. He’s at the controls. I want you to look up the term “learned helplessness” and see what you learn. You can unlearn the helplessness and stuck feeling and it isn’t that difficult once you realize it. Find something YOU have control over and engage it, do it, use it. I did this in my divorce – I realized I could file a bar complaint against opposing counsel and that’s what I did. It changed the course of my stuck feelings and despair at my situation. It was like firecrackers to my brain. I went on to study learned optimism. Look that up after you look up learned helplessness.

      You haven’t lost your spark – he’s just slowly building a wall over it. But what can be built can be taken down. Take care, Ann

  11. Hi Ann,
    Thank you for your comment. I looked up learned helplessness and this seems to make sense now. I think I used to suffer from this when I was growing up as well. I had alcoholic parents and was shy and depressed. I moved from the state I grew up in after college and changed my life for the better. I was doing quite well for several years. I’m upset with myself even more now though, that I have come to realize I have allowed this to happen again. I do have a “plan” and that makes me feel a little bit better. It’s just a waiting game for me at the moment. I certainly feel as if I have lost control of my life. Hopefully my “plan” pans out and I can rediscover who I once was. Considering It took me 20 years to become the person that I liked, I hope it doesn’t take another 20 to get back there.

    • Even experienced pilots lose control at times due to unexpected forces. Consider your partner one of those forces, but it is only a blip on the radar. You will not lose what you gained, it is there waiting for you to set it free. You are healthy and normal and once you are in touch with that part of you again you will discover the energy it unleashes for you to use. 20 years? No way – 6 months max. Best, Ann

  12. The main issue and circumstance for NPD seems to revolve around marriage and romantic relationships (partners, spouses, etc.). I wanted to bring up something a bit different. I think I may have narcissistic parents and siblings with some narcissistic qualities. I don’t know if I’m using the word entirely correctly. I’ve read some of the articles on this site and read about narcissism…as it’s modernly being defined I guess, on a woman’s website who leads a victim’s help group. Based on what I’ve read it seems like my parents may have this. It’s weird though – my parents’ narcissism only seems to show up from time to time…but that may just be an illusion I have in my head.

    I’ll just share a little bit of my experience (I know I can get help/find resources other places/ through therapy etc.) here as others may find a connection to my experiences too.

    My parents have a lot of the characteristics listed in the article ‘Characteristics of the Narcassist,’ such as they’re always right, and never wrong, they don’t discuss things, they refuse to discuss things, everything they do is “for show”, they don’t want to look bad in front of others and never admit to any faults in who they are – but this is not all the time, that is why I find it a bit weird. It seems to mostly revolve around their parenting and in particular their parenting of me. I found a lot of problems with them, even them as people, especially when I hit high school – and I tried to talk to them about it and I tried to live my own life as a teenager, but I never was allowed to. A lot of my needs as a young person were never addressed, and still aren’t being addressed.

    Their style of parenting me was basically, “I am always right, my parenting you is a just a show for my friends and for society, I don’t actually care about you as an individual, your opinions, self-expression and ideas are all meaningless to me, I won’t actually listen to you when you’re talking-I will only boss you around and be authoritarian in my approach to any “discussion” we’re having. I will ignore you but when it comes to you being my personal property, I will control your very life through your dependency on me and threaten you with withholding money and opportunities when you do not do things my/our way. And THAT is the RIGHT way to parent. Period.”

    As a result of growing up with this as a teenager…I became very needy and slightly (but not entirely, thank goodness) less mature than my peers. I also developed a sense that I was never good enough, I was a perfectionist and had intense anxiety disorders – intense just because of how young I was at the time. I also had very low self-esteem compared to my other classmates and I was suicidal and depressed a lot. I could transcend some of their narcissim, or what I think was narcissim, because I worked very hard at a very good private school, and had learned how to think myself and how to question, and could understand more complicated/complex subjects and theories/concepts, I could understand some psychological concepts. Maybe this is easy for every high school-aged kid though, too, not just me haha. I was constantly expected to be responsible for my problems and things…but my parents never shared with me how to be responsible. I was just expected to. Or when I went to them for help, they would say “my way or the highway” rather than being open to discussing things with me if I chose a different “route” than they had told me about.

    My parents threatened to kick me out of their house a lot. They threatened to kick me out (which, is this a form of child abuse or neglict? looking back on it makes me wonder sometimes). They threatened also to disown me. Simply because I disagreed with them and because I was a different person – with different passions, forms of expression, way of thinking/being, with a different soul than theirs.

    My mom uses every chance she can get (as does my father) to attack me verbally, psychologically and emotionally. My father is very easily angered (about 30 seconds into a conversation – any conversation, at any time of day, about ANYthing! totally nuts right?) is enough to set him off in a rage. He, my mother, my siblings too when they act like my parents do, are never EVER responsible for their problems – and they all make excuses for each other’s behavior and gang up on me a lot because I’m the only one who seems to see through all of their b.s. Maybe I’m a threat to their narcissistic “thrones” or something? They all used priviledged information to attack, abuse and threaten me – such as information I give them about myself, like thoughts I have on who I am as I try to construct my own identity in the world – they’re all very abusive toward me about who I am, because I’m very different from them and I don’t think they understand me a lot and what I do – like I do music and art and am more advanced in philosophy/hist/literature than them because of my schooling, and am good at math, science and languages – and they literally attack me for it, which makes me feel scared and too intimidated sometimes to do the things I like to do and just feel natural to me.

    I don’t want to be a braggart-ever. I just want to be at the level I am at – whether it’s philosophy, math, music or whatever. But they don’t acknowledge -ever my level or skills. I’ve learned, through them, and some other abusive relationships I’ve been in over my young adulthood, to completely devalue myself and my talents, gifts, skills, and skill-level in things. My view of my self-worth at this point is pretty much zero. Though, I have hit a change where I can for the first time in a long time, see a little light off in the distance, and have had the question pop into my mind, “Am I really that awful?”

    This has hurt me in many ways in my life. It has kept me from applying to better schools that I definitly could have gotten into, that would have put me a good path in life, and helped me develop my skills, talents and level of ability in several areas/subjects that had already begun studying/working on. It has kept me basically from living my life. I asked myself the question the other day, “Why can’t I be happy?” Then I had a total breakthrough and realized, oh my goodness, I can be happy! All these years and I thought I wasn’t supposed to be (b/c parent’s & sibling abuse).

    I am now very similar, if not one, to a co-dependent person. I give myself entirely to others (hence not applying to good colleges, not allowing myself to parttake in normal societal functions like prom/school dances, undergraduate school (for several years I abandoned the idea of going to college, which was basically just a statement that I was not going to better myself, value myself or my needs, and take care of myself…I wasn’t going to allow myself to advance in my education and in subjects I was studying), romantic relationships and others. I also am questionning whether I have narcissistic qualities myself. I really hope not, but if I do, I hope I can eliminate them.

    I think I have some behavioral problems because as a child/growing up, I was often ignored, and my problems weren’t dealt with, needs weren’t taken care of by my parents or family. I often tried to find places outside of the family in which those needs could be taken care of – like in school, in friendships, in romantic relationships – and it never ever worked. My friends weren’t capable of loving me like my parents and siblings should have been. My partners weren’t capable of giving me the self-esteem I needed to allow myself to get better at my activities (sports etc.)…and so I often fell without friends, romantic partners, or acheiving the goals I had – and most of all, I always felt bad about myself, my wants, my needs. I didn’t like myself – I maybe even hated myself. And I could never engage in positive things that would help promote me. At the end of high school I completely fell a part – I started to always engage in self-destructive activities, relationships, behavior etc. over positive ones (up until 9th/10th grade I had had piano, yoga, lacross, poetry, and a few other activities that were positive) b/c I didn’t value myself anymore.

    I am scared now. I’ve had some even more abusive experiences in undergraduate school. One of which forced me to move back to my parent’s house. Now they are being even more abusive to me than ever – because they think they are now suddenly “warranted” to be extremely abusive to me (verbally, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically) because I am 22 rather than a minor.

    Unfortunately, this attitude they have and their actions that go with it, has traumatized me in very violent ways. I am scared and I don’t have any connections to my old friends any more and I don’t have any resources/ know what to do. This is my situation. My heart bleeds for anyone else who is in a similar or the same. It isn’t a spouse/partner narcissist circumstance, but as you can tell by now, it hurts just the same.

  13. shame that there is no gender neutral word in english only he/she. A good note; but I have been held hostage by many female narcissists at work and have had to use these strategies to get out. The trouble is that in todays society feminism is used by women with a narcissistic personality disorders as right to triumph over you, regardless to the consequences to you or your family.

  14. I am a former amatuer boxer as well a veteran. I almost feel as thought I have no businsness leaving a comment as all of the above comments are women. The fact is that with some substantial circumstances, I have been the victim of “Etreteme Emotional and Mental Cuelty”. My wife of 14 yrs. baled on me after she realized that her high maintenace lifestyle was in jeopardy. Men can be victims as well. There is not enough space here to give all the particululars but the fact remains that I am not living either of my two homes. Instead, I am staying at my little sister’s home and feel that after 5 mos. that I am wearing out my welcomel.
    I am screwed!!!! I Pay for everything at my former residence and I pay rent here. I am self-emplyed and holding on to that for dear life. I am by all means a “Good man” and a devoted father. I lead by example and constantly am fighting to keep my 10y.o. son HONEST. He has developed a “Jesus complex” and never hears anything positive about me from any of my wife’s family much less my wife. There is alot to our story that I would be willing to share if asked. The sad fact is that my wife shows all the signs of an “emotional bully” and in my HUMBLE opinion is in fact a narcisist. MEN CAN BE VICTIMS TOO!! This is true especially if there are children or a child involved.
    I made an appointment with an attourney for tomorrow evening. I hired a female lawyer with the notion that women understand women better than men do. It has gotten so bad that I actually considered suicide. At the afformentioned moment I realized that there was a little more than something amiss… I truly consider this life a gift and let this woman who claimed to love me beat the living emotional hell out of me.
    I do keep a journal and am quite comforted by this as I can just open to any page written in the last three years and feel vindicated. I would be glad to share my story if any one can be helped by it.
    I don’t know what lies ahead but I do know that I am now in “Survival Mode”. No one shoud be any body’s emotional punching bag. I have retained a lawyer and money is an issue. However my son only gets to grow up once and I can only lead by example.

    • Women can definitely be narcissists. You have our sympathy in what you are experiencing. It may not be helpful to label her a narcissist in the legal system as you divorce. Describe her as controlling, verbally abusive, manipulative or whatever she is. I say this because the legal system doesn’t want litigants to diagnose a personality disorder and most times you will be listened to more and better if you use other words to describe her behavior. This is not case in concrete – use your discretion. You might want to phrase it, “I suspect she might be narcissistic and could be diagnosed with NPD is she were to see a therapist.”

      No one is worth killing yourself over. It sounds like you figured that out. It’s a tough journey but you can make it. Keep reaching out for support – it does help. If you want to share any more, please feel free to write again. These posts are well read, and you may help someone. Best, Ann

  15. Man I thought I had a lot to tell u about but everything I just read tells my story too!

    Empathy seems to be a big problem. And want to take a bullet! Been there too except mine got hooked on meth! Talk bout betrayls, lies , deception! OMG! Where do I begin! This has been a five year thing. Now that he’s off the drugs and got a job that he wouldn’t of got if it wasn’t for me puttin hi out there!

    Now he’s really the king shit, I hear every job he gets .which by the way i put him out there every time! U think I learn! Yea when he calls me stupid, yup! I’m stupid! I hear the same story on every job! Yea the boss loves him, the company wld die without him. Do u know what it’s like to live with a narcissist that now makes 1000$-1800 a wk! He really doesn’t need me now! What I can’t stand is everybody thinks he’s this great guy! It makes me sic! He makes my life unbearable! Before I didn’t have away out, now I do and it should b nthe next wk r to! I can’t wait to get m freedom back! I feel like I’ve been living in a POW camp. T. Chisolm

  16. It took me a long time to figure out what was really going on and that I was not the crazy one. I got to a point where I just could not take it anymore and decided that I had a responsibility to my daughters. I did not want them to grow up in that type of an environment and I certainly did not want them to think that it was okay for a man to be disrespectful, and/or abusive. I decided to cut my losses and believe me it has been extremely painful but I have managed to escape. He literally tried to destroy my life even though he knows that I have to finish raising my twin daughters. He is still very abusive and I am extremely concerned for my twin daughters because they have to deal with some of his passive aggressive, mean, nasty, vindictive, crazy making over the top bad behavior due to visitation. They are innocent and he does not care one bit. He tells them that he cannot pay his child support and then he will take them out shopping with him while he buys himself expensive items, like the latest new iPhone and he just purchased a new car. They come home to me with questions and I have to try to avoid bad mouthing. I have to be honest, I have let him have it a few times and then I have to apologize to them because they are caught in the middle and it is not fair. I tell them and apologize to them many times over that it is my fault that this whole thing has happened. I take responsibility for what has happened. I have to own it. I am out now and working on getting healthy again. I do have a very long way to go.

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