Signs That You’ve Been Abused by a Narcissist


Self-Doubt

1. YOU DOUBT YOURSELF

Do you recognize that you’re doubting yourself more than you ever have before?

Victims of narcissistic abuse often appear uncertain of themselves, constantly seeking clarification that they haven’t made a mistake or misheard something.

This reactive adaptation to narcissistic abuse is because the narcissist is ALWAYS finger pointing and shifting blame to YOU for ALL of the ups & downs both in the relationship AND in the narcissist’s personal psyche.
Because this relationship has NON EXISTENT boundaries, you will find YOURSELF constantly PUT UPON and FORCED to accept responsibility for things you didn’t do or say. This borrowed humiliation and shame is exactly what the narcissist intends for the victim to take from the narcissist. Their own unfelt core of shame.

2. CONFUSION

confusion

Just refer to the above explanation of self doubt and boundary transgression if you want to understand the CONFUSION that is part and parcel of narcissistic abuse.

Daily boundary transgression and criss crossing of responsibility starts to wear on even the clearest minded of targets.
Suddenly you wake up and realize that all the realities and borders between yourself and others is not only BLURRED but MISSING.

It’s confusing to KNOW that you aren’t responsible for someone else’s behavior, thinking and feeling but to be CONSTANTLY SCOLDED for behaving, thinking and feeling as if you ARE.

It’s crazy-making and a narcissist purposefully causes this confusion. They know that a divided and conquered mind is their most vulnerable and susceptible target who won’t be able to identify that their confusion is caused by an abusive technique called ‘gaslighting’.

Gaslighting is a technique of psychological abuse used by narcissists to instill confusion and anxiety in their target to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment.  With gas lighting, the target initially notices that something happens that is odd, but they don’t believe it.  The target attempts to fight the manipulation, but are confused further by being called names or told that they’re: ‘Just Too sensitive’, ‘Crazy’, ‘Imagining things’ or the narcissist  flat out DENIES ever saying anything hurtful. Gradually, the target learns not to trust their own perceptions and begins doubting themselves.  Broken and unable to trust themselves, they isolate further. The target now doubts everything about themselves: their thoughts and opinions, their ideas and ideals. They become dependent on the narcissist for their reality.

For it is in your CONFUSION and acceptance of responsibility that belongs to the narcissist, that a narcissist is able to successfully CONTROL YOU and USE YOU as a scapegoat for their problems.

3. FEELING CRAZY


Every minute of every hour of every day of every year, a Narcissist, who has a DSM classifiable personality DISORDER (ie: not playing with a full deck) is PROJECTING their disorder onto those around them. If you don’t think that having a crazy person constantly blaming you for being “crazy” will make you crazy, I’d like to introduce you to a narcissist that will convince you otherwise.

This disorder isn’t a relationship gone wrong. This disorder isn’t kid stuff. It’s MALEVOLENT. It’s a transference of malevolence and MENTAL DISORDER from the person who has it to the person who DOESN’T.LOVE QUOTES (39)

Frankly, before a narcissist, I’ve not once in my life, FELT CRAZY. Neither have I ever been told by a psychologist and I’ve seen lots of them – that I had anything WRONG with MY own MENTAL HEALTH. Personally, I always had it “together”. I was resilient, mentally tough, and withstood many events in my life that would make others crumble.

Yet, when I unwittingly dated someone with this serious mental health malady, I wanted to slam an entire set of broken porcelain down his throat sideways and every obtuse moron that believes the garbage that comes out of his mouth. No, it’s not that I suddenly became a person interested in physical violence, I suddenly became a person who was witnessing a DSM category all wrapped up into a physical being – who turned his mental health problems ON Me. I became a target of a person with a problem. They say, “Hurt people, HURT people”. I say, “Narcissistic People DESTROY PEOPLE”.

4. EMERGING CLUSTER OF SYMPTOMS THAT HAVE NO OTHER EXPLANATION

1inexplicable

All I could muster to the narcissist in my dear john letter when I broke up with him that wonderful New Year’s Eve, was “I DONT KNOW what’s WRONG!! But I just don’t feel like myself. Something feels EXTREMELY TOXIC and I don’t know why”…..This should be the alert when a victim of narcissistic abuse presents themselves to therapists. The inexplicable “complaint”.

My first visit to my therapist were those words exactly. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but It’s SERIOUS!” I felt it. I did – I felt BEWILDERED inside, but I could not articulate what it was. (another red flag for someone usually able to articulate every feeling and explanation about myself in-depth).How was it that after 43 years of explaining, analyzing and discussing my own deficiencies quite well, I could NOT for the life of me explain to my therapist what was so “wrong” with me that it was palpable. His answer, set me free, it really did. 

“YOU HAVE BEEN IN A DOMESTICALLY VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST “

My therapist had some background with this person. He’d WITNESSED the narcissist calling me, berating me during sessions. I held the phone away during one session, so that my therapist could hear the narcissist on the other end questioning me about cheating, “Accusing me of having an affair with the therapist”.  Grilling me about what the therapist looked like and would speak to me like. He even accused the therapist of wanting me sexually and that was the reason the therapist spoke so lowly of the narcissist. (of course it couldn’t just be that the narcissist had a bad reputation and the community was on to him)

Sufferers report that their spark has gone out and, even years later, find they just cannot get motivated about anything.

Unaware that we’ve been living in a war zone with a tyrannical narcissist, we can’t quite grasp the words to articulate the abuse, yet at the same time, we VERY MUCH FEEL IT. We present ourselves to the mental health community, incapable of speaking about an abuse we yet know nothing about. Until that word, “NARCISSISTIC ABUSE” is given to us, we have NO IDEA that is what’s causing our pain. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to get the word out there, what narcissists look like, their modus operandi, the words and phrases they use, so that when a victim of their abuse begins looking for answers, they quickly will be able to identify that they are involved with a narcissist.

In Narcissistic Victim Syndrome you are looking for a cluster of symptoms to emerge many are the symptoms of trauma (avoidance, loss of interest, feeling detached, sense of a limited future, sleeping or eating difficulties and nightmares, irritability, hyper-vigilance, easily startled, flashbacks, hopelessness, psychosomatic illnesses, self-harming, thoughts of suicide etc).Some victims develop Stockholm Syndrome and want to support, defend, and love the abuser despite what they have gone through.

5. DISSOCIATION

Victims tend to ‘dissociate’ or detach from their emotions, body, or surroundings. Living in a war zone where all forms of power and control are used against you (intimidation; emotional, physical and mental abuse; isolation, economic abuse, sexual abuse, coercion, control etc), the threat of abuse is always present. Dissociation is an automatic coping mechanism against overwhelming stress.

dissociation 3

Symptoms of dissociation resulting from trauma may include depersonalization, (disconnecting your body awareness from your physical self) psychological numbing, disengaged from life and passions, or amnesia regarding the events of the abuse.

It has been hypothesized that dissociation may provide a temporarily effective defense mechanism in cases of severe trauma; however, in the long-term, dissociation is associated with decreased psychological functioning and adjustment.

Other symptoms sometimes found along with dissociation in victims of traumatic abuse (often referred to as “sequelae to abuse”) include anxiety, PTSD, low self-esteem, somatization, depression, chronic pain, interpersonal dysfunction, substance abuse, self-mutilation and suicidal ideation or actions. These symptoms may lead the victim to erroneously present the symptoms as the source of the problem.

6. PTSD

Let’s face it. If I didn’t mention PTSD, or Complex PTSD, I would NOT be doing the topic of narcissistic abuse syndrome ANY justice.

Ptsd, in layman’s terms? From a fellow sufferer? A Cerebral anxiety attack that makes your whole body come alive with PALPABLE FEAR. The rapid heart beat, the intrusive and spinning thoughts and fears – just like the abuse is CURRENTLY HAPPENING SEQUENTIALLY ALL OVER AGAIN. This is called RE-LIVING.  It’s as if the traumatic abuse event is occurring in the present tense. All the emotions of fear, shame, shrinking, wincing, looking over your shoulder & walking on eggshells waiting to be attacked ruthlessly AGAIN.     ptsd

Physical numbness –

(toes, fingertips, lips) is common, as is emotional numbness (especially inability to feel joy).

Avoidance –

of places, sounds, tastes, and songs that remind them of their abuser or the abuse. Intense feelings of anxiety even in anticipation of having to revisit the memories.

Memory Loss – Almost all targets report impaired memory. Partially due to conscious avoidance as well as from the damage done to the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to learning and memory.

Need for solitude / tendency to isolate
We’re EXHAUSTED after narcissistic abuse. Feelings of withdrawal and isolation are common; we just want to be in our own head for a while, find our own answers; thus, solitude is sought.

Lack of Joy and Hope
Inability to feel joy (anhedonia) and deadening of loving feelings towards others are commonly reported. One fears never being able to feel love or trust again.

The target becomes very gloomy and senses a foreshortened future sometimes with justification. Many targets ultimately have severe psychiatric injury, severely impaired health and/or stress related illnesses.

Sleeplessness-
Melatonin became my new best friend after narcissistic abuse. The nightmares and night terrors can be overwhelming that good restorative sleep becomes impossible.  Napping became my new favorite passion.

Sleep becomes almost impossible, despite the constant fatigue; such sleep as is obtained tends to be unsatisfying, unrefreshing and non-restorative. On waking, the person often feels more tired than when they went to bed. Depressive feelings arrive very early in the morning, making falling back to sleep an impossibility.  Feelings of vulnerability and loneliness may be heightened overnight.

Anxiousness, Guilt & Disturbing thoughts – 

Targets have an extremely short fuse and are easily irritated. The person frequently experiences obsessive visions of violence happening to the narcissist  hoping for an accident for, or murdering the narcissist; the resultant feelings of guilt further limit progress in healing.

Fight or Flight Response – 

With your system on alert for ever-present danger in the environment it’s easy to react sensitively to sudden changes – causing the startle response.

Awareness of symptoms – 

It’s very harrowing to realize that you are different from you were before the narcissist; FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT. When you are very aware that PTSD has replaced the narcissist, it emotionally drains the target of any hope for being PERMANENTLY NARCISSISTIC FREE. We don’t want to be constantly reminded and aware of the person we escaped. We want to live freely, however symptoms, are a constant reminder that we DON’T.

Posted on December 1, 2013, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 1,079 Comments.

  1. I was married to my ex husband for five years and we have a fifteen year old daughter together. We divorced when she was four. Living with him was Hell. Constant “constructive” criticism belittling of me and my friends and family my self esteem was utterly Zero. I didn’t know until after we were divorced that he had been diagnosed as a narcissist while married to his first wife. Even though we have been divorced for many years we both have remarried he still has ALWAYS tried to control my household as well constantly threatening to take my daughter from me because he was such a pillar of our community and had friends in high places. I feel as if I have what I would be something like PTSD I always second guess myself in decisions with my daughter boundaries were always crossed my daughter grew to be just like her Dad that breaks my heart I am now at a point where I feel like I have lost my mind and I can no longer battle him or his wife. My daughter is very strong willed and is very demeaning and disrespectful to me. My husband and I have recently moved out of our home state due to being relocated with my husbands job. My daughter decided to stay with her father. For years I feel like I have battled her Dad watched my daughter cry her eyes out to me about how she felt like her dad wouldn’t allow her to be herself and he made her feel like a possession. Now she is so angry with me and I look back and realize I also walk on eggshells with my daughter and nothing I have ever done has been right and I stay in fear of upsetting her. I am lucky if she returns messages and calls. Now I know she talks about me to her dad the same way she talked about them to me. I feel used and lied to and manipulated and thrown away. I feel as her Dad has successfully turned her against me and my heart is truly broken. I’m left confused wondering what I did or didn’t do. I feel as if I’m hanging on by my fingernails.

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  2. I always thought something was wrong, but could not put my finger on it. The Lord finally revealed things to me and I realized that I did not know this man who I had known for over 30 years. The years of lies and emotional abuse are over. I love myself too much to be treated so badly.

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    • This is almost too much to bear. I am exactly what this article describes, and I’m so sad and so broken from constant emotional abuse, gas lighting, cruel dismissal and neglect. I’ve stopped wondering and being confused about how I got here, because I finally learned how cold and uncaring that another human being can truly be. It took me a while, because I love him so much that I didn’t want have accept and to believe how little my husband cares for me. I honestly believed that we were in love together. I did. And I tried so hard, not to actually as degraded and humiliated as this man has made me be. I didn’t allow it, I didn’t expect it, and I’m so tired of being dismissed and controlled by him, even in the midst of my early attempts to be respectfully and lovingly allowed to speak up and try to convey to him, how his thoughtless and hurtful behaviour was destroying our bond and our future together. My efforts landed nowhere in his heart or in his mind. The shocking pain and realization of this sneaky and undermining abuse from a man who still says that he loves me, has caused me to know the truth, but because of my true intentions to love and be loved by my husband, I won’t give in and run from him. I’m in a constant hell of loving what and who he pretended to be, and what he truly is, and how I have suffered his soul crushing cruelty. I know the cycle well. And I’m hurt and I’m angry because I can’t find me anymore! And because as long as I’m here with this stranger, it appears that I must condone al if his evil. But I don’t!!!! I’m so lost and alone, but I can’t see how to go forward with leaving yet. I am a Christian and I pray for guidance and help and for peace and restored joy. Trust me, God answers prayers, because He has shown me the truth and has opppened my eyes to the hopeless life I’m stuck in right now. And little by little, I am realizing that I am not as helpless as I have been, for the past 11 years with my husband. I will pray for all if you too.

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  3. I cried through all of this because it represents exactly how I feel. I’m suffering right now from one of his moments of torment. Sad…I will be ok I always get over it. It just seems that it is getting longer and harder to do. I love him in spite of the pain he puts me through, thought if I loved him enough it could change. I know now coming to except that he needs help.

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  4. Thank you for writing this. It puts into words what I cannot yet… big yet…express for myself. Someday I will. My mom was 22 of 23 tabs on donn website describing narcissism and I lived closely with her abuse for 45 years not knowing what it was, had 5 years of freedom and then 5 more with a narc a user I am 3 months no contact. Have the info now but need time to recover. Info like this helps tremendously. Ty ty ty

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  5. I was in two emotionally abusive relationships. The first was 5 years (married at 17/divorced at 22) and was the worst, but it set me up to be blindsided by the next one, thinking he was a better person. Not really, but that took 20 years for me to figure out. Now, 12 years later, I reckon I will be alone and die alone rather than go through any type of relationship again and it’s sad because I was a really good wife to both…..

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  6. 27yr he had a heart attack. Free I’m free !! But what do I do now. Will I get myself back or am I lost

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  7. How do I get out if this safely?? For 6 years he basically had me depend on him. Through my breast cancer and double mastectomy. I should have left then when he dumped me off at the hospital and then called 11 hours later to accuse me of sleeping with my doctor. I’m ready to give up. Please help

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  8. I am just about to walk away from this relationship. This Sunday. I have no friends, I have nothing. No one to even talk to. Starting from zero – that is my destiny now. I can’t believe I committed to a man who almost destroyed me psychologically.I am a ghost, a shadow of what I was 4 and half years ago. I go from highs – being ecstatic cos I will get my life back again, to darkest downs – being worried how he will feel after I tell him, torturing myself it is actually my fault and so on, you know the story. I can’t believe these are actually my own thoughts. It is so hard to be all alone, no one to talk, except therapist, who doesn’t even understand what’s going on.

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    • I know exactly how you feel! I understand your words, and I am so deeply sorry for you. You do not deserve the abuse or the distinct pain that your partner has forced on you! I’m so glad that you are leaving! I’m so happy for you. Please trust in Jesus and you will find a way to be strong and joyful again. I’m trying to get braves and hopeful as I used to be. You inspire me.

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  9. Gosh, I am glad to hear I am not the only one. I have another 3 people in my relationship, the abuse is so scary and like some above I keep getting sucked right back in. I have left 3 times before but was always confused as I was being told by his mother, father and he that I was too emotional and that I needed help. I did suggest we go to marriage counselling but the councillor said she couldn’t help him because he lied to her. I on my 4th attempt of leaving but are still quite weak, I am been away for 6 weeks on long service leave so had a bit of time to get stronger but I seem to keep going back for me. So very hurtful as all I did was long the 3 of them, I have stayed longer than I should for my daughters sake but she is off to University next year so this is my opportunity. Please give me the strength to go through with it. His father is coming up to sort our problems out so we can move forward, I wonder how that is going to go!

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  10. My husband left had an affair was on the verge of divorcing me then came back only to tell me that his not the problem I just have to work on the marriage,used me and when I asked for financial help he left,his back with his lover moved in and filing for divorce and I am once again then problem

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  11. I am 60, and am becoming aware that I grew up under a narcissistic mother. Everything makes sense now.

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  12. Barbara J Conchos

    I have lived this for 32 years and never knew there was a name for it.
    I just knew it didn’t feel just right.
    In the beginning I thought I could change him.
    After leaving a few times I wanted to believe this time was going to be different.
    Every time was the same thing..I have been gone for another month and my kids don’t believe this is it for me.But like others I’m tired and exhausted.
    I want a divorce.
    I want to be free, I want to be whole and happy.

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  13. I have lived/loved a narcissistic person for 60 yrs. I didn’t know it until three yrs ago. Things have escalated since then. I’m afraid to get help because all I read is about men, men, men. What chance have I got to have anyone believe me that my wife has this behavior. She is a master / a professional lier, manipulated, & can turn the blame around to me without me even knowing. Things of mine dissappear & when I confront her she says I must have put it somewhere & forgot. The next words out of her mouth is I’m going crazy. When I die I know I’m not going to hell, I’m already there.

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    • You’re not alone Robert. I’m a man and have lived (well, kind of lived) through a 15 yr relationship with someone who was always trying to ‘get me to pull my socks up’ and be a better person. I jumped through hoops to comply, but there was always another hoop – another hurdle to jump. She stole money from me, denied anything I would suggest as to why she was behaving this way towards me. But somehow, she managed to swivel these ‘observations’ around onto me – criticizing me for the very things I cited about her.
      I’m now in recovery with my therapy and trying to sift through the hurt and confusion that was heaped upon me. I wish myself (and you ) success.

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  14. I have been in a relationship with a Narcissist for almost 4 years, and yes, I was starting to believe that I was crazy, constantly. After finally learning about this personality disorder, I could put a name to the insanity which was inflicted upon me. Everything that is stated here, happened to me. I always felt, from the minute I met this man, that he was doing things behind my back. I just didn’t listen to my inner voice. I wish I had. I would have saved myself so much pain and suffering. I always wondered why I was never given any flowers or a gift for my birthday or a remembrance for Valentine’s Day. I suffered so greatly behind being ignored, I can’t even begin to tell you. I haven’t seen him in approximately two weeks. I changed everything…my phone…my email…but…these people monitor your every move and get the information one way or another. I have changed my phone and phone number at least six times in the past, and he has gotten all of them. Hopefully I will finally be at peace. I pray a lot and I am alone a lot. But I would rather be in my own space than being with life’s greatest pretender.

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I have always thought something,I didn’t know what,but something was wrong with me even though therapists would never tell me something was wrong with me. No one would tell me what I wanted to hear that I was the crazy one. It was easier for me to believe that then to believe someone that I loved and cherished could possibly hurt me so deeply leaving me with scars and wounds so deep. Thank you for bringing awareness and helping victims to understand that it’s not them that nothing is wrong with them. We are victims,we are survivors we live some days hour to hour but one day we overcome.

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  16. Donna margarita Sandoval

    I try to imagine myself before the abuse took place and I look at one thing I can’t understand my self …no body can understand my confusion my sense of direction loss.unaware of my surroundings.I only know there’s these things happening to me have become and are hitting me just as hard as I was hit emotionally physically mentally.I walk outside sometimes and just keep waking till either I find a way out from where iam lost or I learn how to remember point a to b and b to a.just recently I was stranded in the city the abuse took place I experienced these symptoms often in the city I can not focus function or speak correctly .I find myself in un known world that I only exist in messing with my thinking hearing speaking takes me down I hate it I left and was relocated partially because of this I tried to get past it I tried to over come it but in the beginning I didn’t quite understand that this was happening to me and why

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    • Finally, people are aware of these things but sadly, only the victims and predators who come to places like this to hunt and twist the situation into their favor with projection and gaslighting. Legal, medical and mental health professionals are hardly educated on these issues wwhich only lends more pain and doubt to the victims ordeal.

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  17. I just can’t believe what I just read!!! Wow blown away because I just read every symptom that I put in the search bar in one place. The only thing I don’t have is the disturbing thoughts!! Thank goodness! For the last 15 years I’ve been trying to figure out “What The Hell is Wrong with Me!”. And believe it or not I have mostly worked in the Mental Health field. From children to serious “Closed Unit adults! Where do I go from here?

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  18. OMG!!! This article just hit it right on the spot. I’ve known about narcissist abuse syndrome but thought, I’m not that bad off, until I read this. All the symptoms have manifested in me, the self doubt, wondering if I’ve really lost my mind this time to damage to the hippocampus. I no longer live with my husband but can’t seem to just “let go” from the fear that it will never end even if I do let go. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago and I’m not seeing 10 more years before it goes away. I’m in a transition phase so I will keep moving forward because I have to but this article gave me hope that there is help out there and I’m not “making all this up” as he states to me all the time. Thank you for giving me such insight.

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  19. This article hits the nail right on the head. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain my feelings to the people that care about me, with little to no success. You have spoken for me and others like me. Thank you

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  20. The meme under #3 is all most word for word what I wrote in my journal a few days before deciding to leave my husband. It’s been two years and I’m in such a better place than I was in every way. But seeing that meme today gave me such validation – which I guess I really needed to have. Thank you.

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  21. 20 years after meeting the narcissist, my life is still controlled and manipulated by her. There is no way out.

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  22. Where to start.

    My life hasn’t been the same since 1997, when I met the worst narcissist I’ve ever met. Then throw in depression, bipolar, and borderline personality disorder.

    I fell for her anyway.

    Got engaged, got married, and then had my only son.

    Then divorce, custody, e.d., bankruptcy for her, custody over and over and over and over.

    A 2nd marriage, a wonderful wife, and then a wonderful daughter.

    But the narcissist is legally attached to me for another 5 years, because of my truly amazing, yet truly troubled, son.

    My family, son, wife, daughter, and extended family, has been through the ringer time and time again, all because I chose to become involved with this woman 20 years ago. And I must pay for that decision for another 5 years in a legal sense, and for the rest of my poor sons life in a much more personal sense.

    The communication with the narc is kept to a bare minimum for sanity, safety, and to avoid the next time she wishes to lie and fight me for more custody, or more money, or whatever her latest whim is.

    Yet my family and I are now bound by a court order not to move, to keep up communication with the “co-parent”, and to share financial and other personal life information with the narcissist who has drained my bank accounts, created false credit card accounts in my name and maxed them out, caused my home to be foreclosed, and my truck to be reposessed, and yet I’m to send friendly email reminders of my son’s school and social events, and welcome her to my families home for custody exchanges?

    Stuck for another 5 years.

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  23. Reality has just hit me head on. I’m not crazy.

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  24. After years of manipulation and abuse to the point were i had an out of body experience watching myself brush my teeth trying to get ready for work after an attempted strangulation and punching of my side and groin .I eventually had to call the police .My life feel apart I was nearly hospitalized .Then to find out that after he insisted in going into mental health hospital all the things hed done to me he listed as me doing to him .Game over ! Taken me years to recover flashbacks and few pannick attacks but anything is easier than dealing with living in continuous anxiety . Whatever it takes get out have no and i mean no contact and pull your life together .It will take strength you never thought you had but lets face it you had to be pretty amazing to start with because those type of people only choose strong beautiful hearted people its part of the game ! Build yourself up again you will never be the same but you can comeback stronger and wiser than before . Thankfully I had God through it all and I know Hes been my rock . I pray that you will find the door of escape and learn to live again .

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  25. I was raised by narcissists. It has taken me a long time to even recognize this happened to me. I still feel like I’m living in an alternate reality. My mind wants to go back to when I thought my family was dysfunctional but that was normal somehow. The good news is I am beginning to come out of it. I have so much damage built up from living in that fucked up state. But it’s beginning to get better. So it can get better, just trust and love yourself and find a badass therapist. Good luck to all those who suffered these attacks.

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  26. My husband stood by his mother during attack after attack. It took me 42 years to realize that he was as narcissistic as she. When my father-in-law died I knew I would no longer allow the charade to continue. I have divorced myself from my husbands family with the exception of my FIL’s sister. I live for the day when I can walk away from this man. Our youngest daughter is to marry late next fall. She doesn’t live at home any longer, but I simply refuse to cause her a concern during a year that will culminate into a dream come true for her. I no longer feel any guilt for not attending family functions, if anything, I feel lighter. I confide in my good friends and see a therapist. We have to talk about our hell, it is a survival mechanism. One day I will leave, and even though I am 65, I refuse to believe that true love does not exist. Sister’s, we have to believe in our dreams, we must learn that we can, and will survive.

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  27. He was everything, and I mean everything, I had always dreamed of. The first 4 or 5 months were unforgettable. That’s my problem now, I keep remembering the first 4 or 5 months. I want that back! I struggle daily trying to convince myself that it wasn’t real. Well it was real for me. For 3-1/2 years I accepted everything he pointed out that was wrong with me. The meals I cooked, the clothes I wore, comments I made, my unimportant job, my lack of planning, my asking questions when he was trying to watch TV, the way I drove, the way I walked, talked . . . Nothing was ever quiet good enough. Even when he would throw out a compliment, there was always that “but”. I could never do enough. I honestly tried. I left several times, and he would always talk me into coming back. Usually by pointing out the fact that I just gave up instead of working thru the hard times. I should understand when he gets mad he says hurtful and mean things.
    I never knew who I was going to be with, when the last guest left. Would it be the man I feel in love with, or that imposter that had taken over his body? Sad that I have that last statement backwards! But it’s true.
    Yes, I gave up! But I too, am still praying for a miracle. If not for me, for the next woman.
    My focus now is on healing. Trying to think positive thoughts while hearing his voice in my head telling me he was embarrassed by something I had done. It’s the hardest thing I have ever tried to overcome. I don’t want to talk to anyone about it, because I’m so ashamed of what I allowed in my life.
    I keep asking myself; how did this happen? Why didn’t I see it?

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    • Crackheads say the first hit was orgasmic. They keep wanting to take that first hit and after 5 million hits they still hope to hit it again. Your situation is much like theirs. The NPD may even concede to a little taste now and again to keep you hooked. He’ll flatter you, give you affection or take you out. But he’s just grooming you because if he doesn’t you may sober up and leave him.

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    • I understand what you are saying. I feel exactly as you have felt. I’m so sorry that you and I, and all of these people here have suffered at the will and evil abuse of monsters, who are emotionally retarded. God help us.

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  28. I can relate. All of the list is ptsd. Everyone after and even during a sociopath hijacking is effected. PTSD is all those things, the full list with slight variations person to person; everyone doesn’t have flashbacks that overwhelm them, and some have very little self doubt or self blame, some more fear even terror or anxiety than others. Depends on many, many contributing favtors.

    Like

  29. Nailed it. It’s nice to know there is a name for it
    and we are not alone. Narcissists tend to do
    Reverse psychology a lot and play victim in actuality, they prey on innocent victims.
    I am still recovering after 20 years and living with ptsd. It makes it even harder when there is children involved because they try to brainwash them and blame EVERYTHING on the other parent. Typical Narcissism!

    Like

  30. It’s very difficult for anyone believe until they themselves witness it. Mine isn’t with a romantic partner, but my sibling who is fifty years old. She conned my mother into selling our house to move in with her, so mom could pay her mortgage, she stole my deceased aunts CD’s that were left to me and paid off her house, now she’s trying to ditch my poor mother, as she doesn’t need her money. And she is making my life miserable. I recently had to evacuate to her home due to hurricane Irma, when I walked in the house, she started on me. She didn’t realize I had a friend, and when he walked in behind, she simply couldn’t stop herself at that point. I had warned him she would find something to create chaos as soon as I walked in the door. He couldn’t believe it, he admitted that he thought my stories were exaggerated “sibling rivalry” until he witnessed this with his own eyes. She didn’t stop there, as she was of course drunk and continued throughout the evening. It’s unbelievable to a normal, empathetic person, but I was relieved to have someone else witness the craziness. She has been gaslighting and manipulating everyone since I can remember. She abused me terribly both physically and emotionally. She did it to her own children, her two oldest boys left at 16 and no longer speak to her. She still doesn’t admit she is in the wrong, even though no one talked to her! I feel for anyone who has had to deal with this, it is pure torture! A living hell.

    Like

  31. Thank you, I’d never heard of a narcissist until after I finally left my ex. I one across a group on FB and as I read and learn more about it is when I realized this is exactly what had happened to me. Yes, day to day living is a struggle within my own head. And trust is very hard and feeling like I’m always being talked about behind my back. Anxiety is hell most days.

    Like

  32. This hits the nail on the head for me and my narsaccistic experience. I wonder if I will ever overcome the damage I endured and become “ME” again. I do not know how to get rid of the demons!! It is especially difficult because my abuser roams free and tries to contact me a million times a day with “gentle, nice, sweet; the person I loved communication” in which I try to ignore but feel if I know his thoughts, I feel safer. I entered into a new relationship and I try my best to show love and support, but many times I see De ja vu in his actions and words that are just like my ex. I then pull back and hide. He hates it if I mention Acting like my ex even though it is exactly the same sometimes. It seems to get worse the longer we are together. I can not ever go through that experience again. I lived a year in hell and I can never do that again. My current boyfriend is amazing 99% but like I mentioned, he sometimes acts exactly like the ex. He has trust issues, thinks I lie, gets upset over little things I may say or do, and now seems to want me to say how high when he says jump. I can’t do that!! It triggers bad thoughts and i freak out. Literally run and hide, ignore, not speak, submiss.

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  33. This is all what I went through. I find myself crying when I read this because I wish I could’ go back in time, hug myself and say, ‘you’re not crazy. This is not a normal marriage. Leave now.’ So much of me was used up as narcissistic supply. It’s taken years to rebuild what he broke to feed his own weak ego. The real problem: so many health care workers and people who are supposed to ‘help’ don’t seem to appreciate what this abuse looks like.

    Like

  34. Thank you

    Like

  35. Terrified forever, numb hd to toe. Numb brain, its all true… they will kill you. You must escape, run, and Never Look Back!
    They lure u in and take your all. Including your spirit. Torture you physically & mentally as well, you see… They Enjoy it.
    Its a power play to them, Get Away Any Way You Can. Victims Destruction thier goal, then they smile & move on to another supply stashed person to destroy. And So Completely. What Souless Reched Things!

    Like

  36. I am only beginning to see the person I married being married only 2years with this man. Part of me wonders if he knows he’s doing it, part of me thinks he knows he’s doing it and doesn’t care. Any issue or problem I bring up is somehow my fault or made to be my fault then when I tell him, oh it’s my fault he back lashes and says, did I say that? or I didn’t say that and usually has an accompanied attitude with it. although I can say he’s never laid a hand on me or my 6 m/o daughter, ( he is a loving dad as far as I can see) his ways haven’t changed in the past 2 years. I have had some help recognizing his ways and how to get out. it wasn’t until recently I started doing research on the vic/abuser relationship. these stories are a lot more serious than mine at the moment, but give me a glimpse of the future I could have- and for a new baby and mom, I don’t want this. Thank you for putting this out here! I am currently trying to get help (I have seen a psychologist to try and see if I have any issues and he told me over the 3 months I saw him that he didn’t understand why I was there, my mental state did not seem to show any signs of needing the help). This article has helped me realize the problem isn’t myself. Having my daughter has only opened my eyes even more over the actions and reoccurrences I’ve witnessed over the past year alone (the whole time I was pregnant and the last 6 months) I can’t live like this… I know I’m strong but I guess this is my test of how strong. I will take the advice of ensuring I don’t do this alone, completely. I will ensure I have someone with me, my gut even says I need to. I really appreciate this article.

    Like

    • He knows what he is doing. What he doesn’t know is how it hurts you. He has no empathy so even when your distress is obvious he’s able to dismiss it by projecting or ignoring your humanity altogether. Narcissists are notorious for their deranged rhetoric, double standard and ruthless logic. Blaming is their forte. Not compassion. You’re an appliance to him. Useful but easy to replace when he decides a better model is in order. He cannot regret or feel remorse because he cannot care about you or anyone else. Remember the npd is often a self created coping device created by a person who is so woefully self loathing and insecure he hates himself. If you can’t love you, you can’t really love anyone. If you love yourself, there’s no way you’d ever hurt someone else, especially someone who loves you.

      Like

  37. Thank you for the posts. I’m going through a divorce. My husband is a narrcist. It’s not easy bc I still love him but I have to be free + happy. Everything I read describes him. We only been married for 18 months. Dated for 1 year. I was blindsided by his behavior and constantly being belittled, accused,hated,taken advantage of,etc. How could someone do these things to some who genuinely loved and cared for them? It’s mind boggling to say the least. So, I’m moving forward with my life and trying to get away from him.

    Like

  38. I am trying to raise 2 children with a narcissist. i already had a problem with clinical depression prior to meeting him and now the depression is just stagnant. He is making it almost impossible to continue any relationship with my oldest adult child from a previous relation and with my mother. The mental abuse continues. I dont have enough money to break free. Im not making excuses I am trapped.

    Like

  39. Wow… spot on is my response..

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  40. Exactly. Thank you for writing this.

    Like

  41. Such a good article it helps putting a name to the abuse.I now know my former husband was a narcissist, even with extensive counselling the scars go deep.We have three children of course it’s their fault for not having a relationship with him.My fault for not understanding his needs…I still have to work hard everyday to believe I can do more and I am worth more.He took 20 years of my life, when the policewoman asked what I was going to do as they didnt manage to convict him. I said I’m going to get on with my life and be happy as I’m finally free,I play my piano again,I paint again and I make my own decisions.Life is precious as are my children were doing ok
    Molly

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  42. It can be a parent to a child also.

    Like

  43. I’ve just started a relationship with someone with PTSD. I see now all the struggles. He’s great when he’s in but when he’s not in I feel so lonely and unloved. I see this relationship will not ever go anywhere. I’ve been devorced for only three years. I was in a marriage of thirty years. Obviously I have some major decisions to make.

    Like

  44. I am in the fortunate position of having escaped. I have my own flat and enough for my needs. My two children are so happy that I have left him. He professes not to understand why I wanted to beak up as there was nothing wrong with the relationship. Getting talked at for one to two hours every morning then blamed for wasting time, threatened with homelessness or destroying my cat. My children not allowed to visit or me to visit my mother? I left him and got my own home with my children but after they left he wheedled me back after a year apart. What a fool. Once secure he resumed the abuse. I found it hard to see a way out but I prayed and yes, prayers are answered. The only difficulty I find is motivating myself to do the many things I need to do to turn this shabby flat into a lovely home it will be.I am stagnating, so helpful to say that this is just the start of the recovery. I swim most mornings and that helps to motivate myself to look after physical health. I sometimes sit all day, he still phones almost daily and he has promised to pay a cheque for money I spent on refitting his flat. I feel that I will recover but it worries me that this is a second relationship that I have felt abused and manipulated. I am 64 now and healthy and have an optimistic outlook, perhaps I should not expect to find love as I attract these parasites.The love of my children and the freedom of independence I hope will strengthen and heal me. Prayers are answered, my ex has moved into sheltered accommodation as he has developed Parkinson’s. TheLord works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. Amen, stay strong sisters, we will emerge stronger and happy.

    Like

  45. That’s how I still feel now 6 months after separation. PTSD Exhausted emotionally with nothing left to offer another. I’m in denial. I am a victim of a Narcissist sporned by a Narcissistic Mother. I believed I could change his lazy, hopeless, money orientated ways, make him grow up, take responsibility and stand up for himself and me. I’m still hoping God will perform a miracle on him. God did help me to escape by a series of events, we were forced to separate interstate from each other, move in with our elderly Mothers to care for them until they die.
    I know he’s mentally sick.
    Will he ever get well?
    I still pray for a miracle. I still wear my rings and use the title of Mrs. He is my second husband.
    My first husband fathered 4 x children with me. I hung in there for 30 years with an angry, abusive, jealous, overbearing MSP from whom I repeatedly tried to escape. One day he left the cage door open and I never returned home.
    I think I’m attracted to parasites?
    I’ve survived them both. I’m in such a good position and feel truly blessed.
    How do I continue to recover and not fall back into confusion? I am so badly heartbroken by Number 2.
    I still have relapses of sadness, loss, injustice and glimpses of hope. I am confident my positive outlook, my honesty and resourcefulness will serve me well.
    I just need to remind me that I can do anything if I put my heart and soul into it. And that’s why I’m still hurting. I invested my heart and soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I’m hearing you, in every way possible I’ve never been so broken shattered I lived with a nacartisist for over 15 years until one day around 3-4 months ago his last words to me by txt was fckn every Sunday fck fck that was it haven’t hear a thing from him since then but before that I was his rock he’s never loved as much as he did me but strangely it was never shown in anyway possible there for 5 years it was like just emptiness no physical contact not even a kiss nothing but he was telling me what he wanted me to hear I still can’t come back down to earth to focus on this how @ what he done to me so much hate towards him, he’s done so much wrong I have lost my friends family I have no one nothing I’ve cryed all the tears I can I just want the anger @ the hurt to stop but it’s only been a few months yet it’s like it’s been years I would rather someone bad the shit out of me instead of going threw this mental abuse, it’s so hard I go to counselling doesn’t help it feels like I’m in this great big dark hole @ can’t get out no family no friends nothing I once was a strong person but he has ripped that clean away from me,I’ve been in two relationships where one used to physically bash me the next one my husband I come home @ caught him in bed with another woman but this one well he’s at the top of the food chain he’s the abuser of the abusers how is it that people can do that to you @ don’t give a dam @ still get on with there life like it’s just all ok, so much anger @ hate that’s what I have hate

      Like

    • Hang in there Shirls! You deserve to find happiness!

      Like

    • I’ve been in an abusive marriage for 23 years with my narcissistic husband. I have thrown him out with restraining orders multiple times over those years. I have forgiven him over and over again because I kept hoping for a change in his heart. I realize now that he will never have that change in his heart because a narcissist does not believe he has done anything wrong. My husband held a hammer up and threatened to hit me with it, two weeks before I had to go in for open heart surgery. The kicker?? I could have had him arrested but I didn’t. It dawned on me then how used to the abuse I had become and it alarmed me. Now I am seeking help to get legal things in place before I toss him out for good. I am recuperating from my open heart surgery yet he is still abusing me. That says it all. He will be gone!! No, he won’t change!!

      Like

  46. Thank you thank you, I’ve been at my job for 20 yrs. I’ve never been wrote up (disciplinary action) for anything. After being thrown out of my home by my narcissistic husband. I’m about to be fired. I’ve been told I’m a bitch. I’ve missed a lot of work. People that are supposed to be my support system such as my union representatives are turning their back on me. He also works there and he tells a different story. Although they have known me they have not seen or comprehend what I have endured. I didnt go around advertising what I was willing to put up with. I’m beside myself. My self esteem has bottomed out. I can not explain to them why I’m irritated or impatient. I’ve had a 5 day no pay. I just got a 3 day no pay for attendance. I have tried to stay to myself but it doesn’t matter. My mental confusion and pain shows in ways I can’t seem to control. I’m always apologizing. But all they see is I keep doing it. I’m wondering how can I get the people that don’t know read your arrival and see that’s me. That’s what I do. That’s how I feel. That’s what I endured. Was it a smart thing to do. NO! That doesn’t matter now I’ve got to learn from it and move forward. What they don’t understand is I can’t stop it from effecting my behavior. I don’t like it. I don’t do it intentionally. My fear,my insecurity,my on guard feeling,my doubt. I’m trying so hard but sometimes it controls me. They think I’m just a bitch.

    Like

    • I’m so sorry.
      You aren’t alone.

      Like

    • Leave the job leave the job he has enablers leave the state get off the grid his grid.

      Like

    • Only people that have been in similar posistion would understand and know what you are going through.this sucks…but sometimes you got to hit rock bottom in order to start the ascent to working on you and you alone. Join a domestic abuse support group if there is one.

      Like

    • Hi,
      Please don’t ever blame yourself. You are not the problem. Narcissists are sweet talkers and always tell others that the other person is doing all the wrongful things when they are actually the ones doing those very things. I’ve lost two jobs because of my narcissistic Ex. If you have to look for another job, please do. You don’t need the added stress! You are a Survivor and you are stronger now! After being with a narcissist, you can conquer anything! Bless you & take care!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lyn,they should all have acting Oscar’s, they are living some illusion script and force it on us and call it life,, it is insane and yes, they are brilliant actor’s,

        Like

  47. It was very helpful for me

    Like

  48. Thank you for this eye-opening article. I’m still trying to digest it and simply can’t all at one time. So much I want to say, but don’t even know where to begin. I’m simply nauseous right now. I always knew there was a problem and now I have identified it. Twenty-eight years of terrible abuse, in and out of a mental health facility TWICE, and I just learned WHY! Thanks again. Will try and get my thoughts organized so that I may be able to communicate in much more coherent fashion at a later time. My prayers to all of you who have lived this hell.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. I can’t add much more to what has been said here over the years of responses. Five years free now. My word of caution is DO NOT confront the narcissist alone; my mistake nearly cost me my life. At the time I had no clear picture of what I was dealing with. I caught him cheating….again and in the pyramid of lies created. I was in a rage and returned home unexpectedly to let him have it. He was drunk grabbed me by the throats and squeezed until I lost consciousness. I woke up
    On my basement floor. I remember it being like a more happening is slow motion to someone else, I had disassociated that much. When you leave, leave with everything you own. I packed an entire house 4 bedroom when he was out in 6 hours with the help of people I never knew existed. Friends called sons, husbands, brothers who showed up in an hour. The
    Police when called will only give you 20 min to grab your years worth of stuff. By the next day the narc will change the locks, close accounts and screw you the best they can to serve their agenda. Take only the things you can PROVE are yours. Do not destroy property, no matter how much you want to! This is imparaitive when dealing with the court system. It will descredit you if you do. I had detailed receipts, bank records, and 8 years worth of emails that proved to the judge who was the liar. It took me 1 1/2 years to get to court and 4.5 years, 2 attorney’s and finally a collection agency to get paid my awarded settlement. It was about the principle and righting an injustice at that point. Even a 60/40 split was worth it.
    I still have PTSD, anxiety and insomnia but in my heart of hearts I know that I did everything I could. I did find romance again, with a much kinder, gentler man. He’s never asked me and I don’t plan on ever telling him my story. Somethings are best shared with a therapist. You see I am mental health provider myself. I drive 2 hours to another town so no one recognizes me. No one is beyond a narcissist’s grasp, no one indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a nurse, and would like to give an urgent message to this woman who said her Narc choked her and she passed out. You are urged to go to the ER and request anMRI– to evaluate your carotid arteries. It is possible that there is damage, and a clot can be growing. You could have a stroke. Sometimes a woman will have a stroke that week, or several months later, or even about 2 years later. You need a certain kind of MRI. Look up The Strangulation Institute, Dr. Bill Smock– he is educating police officers regarding what to tell victims of domestic violence when they go out on DV calls. In fact, you can probably find out what kind of MRI you should get by asking Louisville police, because Dr. Smock has given them small card to carry with them to tell women about this. God bless you, I hope you will be fine.

      Like

    • Oh, yes, PTSD,suicide attempts, depression, etc,, years of a life, comes down to one 20 sack and confronting or talking to them, at all, on truth and how YOU FEEL is worthless,, we do it,, as we are human, but they are sick and make us sick,

      Like

  1. Pingback: Signs That You’ve Been Abused by a Narcissist | Academy of Angels and Creativity

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