Signs That You’ve Been Abused by a Narcissist



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.



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.


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”.



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. 


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.


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.


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.

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. 1,081 Comments.

  1. I did record my husband and his verbal,emotional abuse.This man actually got a PFA on me ,he is a sick man,but in public,cool,calm and pretended he was the victim.I actually play back his recordings for my own sanity,he tried to gaslight me constantly,totally brainwashed me so when I listen to his rants and verbal abuse I press on to get healed of all his lies and control!


    • It’s quite an amazing talent that they have. You just described my ex. Good luck to you!


    • Narcissists are always number one to themselves and expect nothing less than perfection from their spouses. You are married to them because you fit the image at the time and must maintain it if you are going to be part of their lives. Narcissists have very strict rules for you and none for themselves. In fact they break all the rules and create new ones that are often immoral, unethical and illegal whenever it suits them.

      When you are married to a narcissist you are never at peace and cannot be your real self. There are distractions–nice homes for some, trips, gifts, important people that you meet, a certain kind of lifestyle for some. But there is no authentic caring, empathy, compassion, giving, true affection or intimacy.

      Many women and men who are married to narcissists have grown up in abusive families. There they learned that it was all about survival–moment to moment and nothing else. Fight or flight was the name of the game. You were hyper vigilant at all times. Some of these individuals develop post traumatic stress as a result and have nightmares, anxiety disorders, depressions and phobias. These problems are left unresolved and continue into adulthood and are still present when you marry the narcissist. As a result you are a prime victim for the abuse that he/she dishes out in abundant amounts. When the doors of your home are closed and no one else is watching, the narcissist is free to treat you like dirt–to demean you, to scream at the top of his lungs any time it strikes his/her fancy. The children cower in their rooms as the non stop screaming wind up begins and endlessly proceeds to great crescendos of unfettered rage. You are the psychological punching bag and do you take the blows. Day and night for some is an absolute hell that many will never understand.

      What is often activated in you as a result of this extreme verbal and sometimes physical abuse is the residue of childhood trauma that you contain. As a result the non narcissistic spouse is constantly catastrophizing: “What is he going to do next? Will he scream and terrorize the children again? What is his next threat? Will he insist on a divorce? Will he make me believe again that I am the one who is crazy? At night in your bed as hard as you try you cannot sleep. He is next to you snoring away. You both hate and fear him (or her). You don’t see any way out of your dilemma. You worry so much that your headache or gut ache is continuous.

      For some of those who are married to narcissists the time comes when you look clearly at what is happening to you and say—-No More!!!!!!! I will find a way to be free from this nightmare of a man (woman). Whatever, I have to do to sever and end this “relationship” I will find the way. This takes a lot of courage but it can be done. I have been in touch with those who have achieved this and after the struggles of releasing themselves from the man or woman who kept them psychologically bound, they are now free to lead their own lives and their children are much better off as a result.

      First, recognize who this man or woman is. This person suffers from narcissistic personality disorder—a serious character disorder that is not inclined to change. It is etched in the psyche of this individual. Remember, he is always right; you are wrong. He/she rages most of the time. He is not empathic even when you have been in horrendous physical or emotional pain. He/she is about image only and the narcissistic supplies he can get from you.

      Gather people around you whom you trust and can call upon. Read about the NPD. Knowledge is power for you. It will open you eyes and mind and in the end it is your ally. Create a freedom list of those things that you will do to extricate yourself from this non-marriage. While you are moving through this process, start to take very good care of yourself. You deserve this and have been deprived of self care most of your life while you always took such impeccable care of him/her.

      Take time each day to quiet your mind and learn to calm yourself. This can be any activity—gentle stretching, yoga poses, listening to healing music, journaling, gardening, walking, etc. Eat well to maintain your strength and exercise in a way that works for you. Be proud of yourself and go one step at a time. Do not be judgmental as you separate from the narcissist and move into your own personal orbit that has nothing to do with him. Learn to be self entitled to inner peace, to spontaneity, to your creativity and to humor and laughter. You can do it!


  2. All we can do is try to help the others understand. I will link this article to y site:


  3. There is hope. 17 years with one.


  4. I was inspired by you! Posted my blog here WordPress!


  5. Narc Mother…always brings up my 3 day stay at a psych hospital. my OUI, my failed marriages. She is deliberately hateful, demeaning, petty, jealous, mean, causes so much drama, lies, and bad mouths me.
    She has done so many underhanded things….and I still was there, thinking if I did more, she would change. Then I got fed up. Depressed, confused, angry, sick, tired!

    I’m moving in 8 days…No Contact right now. I told her I recorded a conversation and will record any future converstions. She has not harassed me since. Wait till moving day, and when I am away from her neighborhood! I anticipate more drama and bullshit.


  6. My mom died 5 years ago. She was a narcissist. I’m a mess. Where can I get help?


    • Maria. For starters deal with YOUR own healing. Healing is a process and you may not be ready to deal with issues with your mother just yet. Focus on YOU right now. It’s not selfish, its self-care. Get therapy. Seek spiritual solace. Get a support system. There are a few groups out there for women who have been through abuse. But for now I am suggesting this site called Grief Share – its If you sign up they send you daily comforting emails for a year. I am guessing your relationship with her may have been delicate, but there’s still going to be that season of grief and mourning. It’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up for any of that. Be compassionate towards yourself and know that you are not alone. No matter how she treated you, know that you are a precious soul who is worthy of true love and good treatment.


  7. Best article on the subject I have read in awhile. I grew up with a narcissistic father, I’m 43 with my own children but he still has a hold on me. I need therapy,but cannot afford it. I have these huge gaps in my memory from childhood And it gas carried into my adult life.
    I cant remember hardly anything, except the extremely traumatic incidents. I have failed at so many things because of this man.


  8. I have been in therapy for three years, presenting with thoughts of “there’s something wrong with me, but I don’t know what. ” My childhood consisted of an alcoholic, narcissistic, and belittling father, a mother who was emotionally and physically unavailable as well as unwanting the two children she was given custody of in the divorce. Sexually abused for years, beginning at the age of 9, continuing to be mentally abused by my father, I find myself unknowing how to healthily parent my own three children or “be happy” in my marriage.

    I find shame in myself for becoming the person who blames their problems on their childhood, but I struggle to break free from the mentality I came to see as reality. “I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve. …., I’m stupid, I can’t. ….”

    Reading this article brought an incredible amount of tension and anguish to me, physically and emotionally. These people ruin those around them. When its family, even after there is separation and placement of a bubble to protect myself, there is no getting away from it. I constantly live in fear and feeling as though I am ruining/breaking my children.

    Thank you for this article! I didn’t know it until I read it, but I’ve needed something like this to share with my husband.


  9. Thank you, thank you for this blog. I have been in treatment for almost 4 years now. I have learned that my adoptive father is a huge narcissist and that because of that I was attracted to my husband who is also narcissistic. I have complex ptsd and multiple personality disorder. Every day is different and very much a struggle, but I have freed myself of this bondage…now I just have to KNOW on a daily basis that I am free.


  10. Thank you for this article and for putting into words what I have never quite been able to. If only I could not see him. Unfortunately he has most people fooled and until my children are out of school I have to have contact with him.


    • I think they have most people fooled. They have more than one face, and it’s the one they show the world that fools most people. Very frustrating when you need to talk about it, because – at least in my case – no one would believe it. Then the self-doubt starts all over again. Am I wrong? Is there something wrong with me?



        These individuals are extremely skilled , Infact it’s the only real skill they have they are very dangerous people and to obtain a diagnosis is near impossible as the disorder in itself represents being able to fool people , the only realistic way to catch these people is to video them in secret


  11. I did not know this condition’ exists or that I have been a victim of a narcissistic man for 10 years. When I met him I was a very confident, fun loving person … 10 years later I am just an existing shell with no heart or strength to run my very successful little business to the point it has almost closed, no strength to show or feel emotions etc and I do not think I can ever trust a man again! So many of the words written could have been about me, explain so much of what has happened to me …. thank you. I will use this to hopefully rebuild myself and my life but in the meantime I will continue to cocoon myself in my safe new world.


  12. Yep that’s what they did to me.They killed my soul.Try growing up with 3 of them.My Mom always told me they were my best friends and always would be so I kept trying.Now I am 56 and wasted my whole life on these people.2 siblings and a cousin.Also my Aunt as well .It was pure hell and I don’t believe I will ever get over it..


  13. Wow! This is the best article I have seen to date about this issue! I think I may know and identify with this article….I am a victim of a narcissist…..I have been with this “man”…. I prefer to call him a bully. He is a master manipulator, emotional abuser, fear monger, and moire! I must say he was a real charmer at the start… Then we moved away from our families….that got me all to himself! Time for him to work his magic! I am so masd at myself to say this but yes…I gave up my power! Biggest mistake I ever made! I told him all my secrets…not realizing Yeats down the road they would became ammunition to be used against me! Its been years of…its all my fasult….EVERYTHING is my fault! I’m not supposed to have my own thoughts…I’m supposed to think like him and agree with everything he says. No mind of my own!!! He hates most people….judgemental of me…makes me feel guilt and shame…I’m such a dirty girl!!! Demeaning names….oh god!!!!and I’m tired….I just told him today….I think we are done…I don’t know who I am anymore….people say they don’t know how I did it….staying all these years…and I say I don’t know why I did it!!!! I honestly could write a book….I’ve kept journals!!!! So ladies! Watch out…..I wish I had gone into this in as totally different way! Maybe in another life!!!


  14. I work with someone who is critical if my work. I am starting to exhibit the feelings and emotions that I had when I was married to my NPD husband 4 years ago. I am terrified I will fall apart at work and since I am 100% self supporting (that alone is amazing since I couldn’t work for 5 years the last years of my marriage) I am uncertain what to do. Should I sit her down and explain my memory losses, my anxiety and my over reacting to criticism? I know she likes me and has no idea of what she’s doing to me. But she makes me feel stupid. She actually harangued me because I couldn’t remember an incident she thought I should. She said “You don’t remember anything!” Very upsetting especially since before met my ex I was very good in my field. Any suggestions would be helpful as I am getting depressed and my stomach is churning constantly. I don’t want to go back to crazyville.


  15. After 33 years of being married to the narcissist, I now know WHY and am now looking for appropriate therapy.
    Excellent article.


  16. Amazingly true! Can’t help but find a bit on myself in this writing. Thanks!


  17. Reblogged this on Diary of a Disenchanted Diva and commented:
    I found this blog entry after looking for info on feeling disconnected from life, from my emotions, from the world around me. I have to be this way just to get through what I need to, paperwork for this country, keep my financial fears at bay, be a good mother to my daughter…she’s the only one I don’t feel disconnected from. I know it’s a self-preservation tactic, and I look forward to the day I can be my technicolour self again.


  18. Reblogged this on The Dependent Independent and commented:
    I could not resist reblogging this.  It is a MUST-READ.


  19. About 6 months ago, i sought treatment after a narcissistic event with my mother left me feeling suicidal. The therapist recommended this book to me that changed my life. I finally figured out why i could never trust or feel safe in my relationship with my mother. After being able to recognize that my mother is a narcissist, i started to see that i am also married to one. I feel anxious all the time and now have started to develop health problems due to the constant stress i’m living under. The worst part, being an only child, i have no safe place to let go. My husband and i have been married for 15 years, but until a few years ago, he traveled for his job a lot and was never really around, but he took a job 4 years ago with no travel at all, so he’s around all the time now and i find myself really getting to know who he really is now. It’s not nice. He shows one side to his extended family and the people at work, but he is very different at home with us. I’ve started to realize why i feel so isolated, powerless and worthless. I can never do anything right. If i so much as mention anything to him about anything, he starts winding up my words, misconstruing what i’m saying and what my intentions are for saying it. I get very confused talking to him, he turns every conversation into an argument so quickly, i’m not prepared for his attack and then he starts calling me weak and stupid and a b****. This is how every communication event goes with him. I just feel stressed all the time. Constantly walking on egg shells. I doubt myself, am i crazy? I think, another person can’t make you crazy, but after reading this article, i’m starting to see that it is possible. I’m not sure if his narcissism has gotten worse or if i’ve become more aware of narcissistic traits after reading that book about my mother, or if just being around him more has made me more aware of who he really is. I have no close family or friends, my mother is off-the-rails narcissistic, my husband moved us 500 miles from my nearest relatives who i don’t really even talk to anymore and he cut ties with his family mostly. So i’m pretty isolated. I have 2 teenagers who keep me grounded and busy. I try to keep an even keel around here for the kids’ sake. They are very keen observers to their father’s personality, but i try to shield them from my feelings of inadequacy. I’ve started having some stress-related health problems recently and i just hope to get my youngest son raised before something happens to me. My younger son is a very real target to my husband. Probably because my son had him pegged when he was very young, he never trusted his father and would tell me what a jerk he was when he was very young before i even had it all figured out. There were so many things in this article that hit home.


  20. can anybody advise of anywhere that they have been successfull in obtaining support or any kind of assistance towards recovery , my ex wife now has my 4 children and is abusing my children emotionally and physically and despite social services and child protection services being involved she manages to hurt my kids and be sitting there with visible physical injuries On them and she manages some how to get away with it i am in desperation as to what I can do next


    • Melvyn. As far as emotional support, a suggestion is Divorce Care at You can find the nearest one to you, or/and sign up for their daily comforting emails that will be sent for a year. The plus is you have people to support you through it, and they explain a lot of what you are going through. You need to take care of YOU and seek healing as well, as it will enable you to have the strength to deal with all of this, AND be strong for your children.


  21. please can you help me I am in a serious mess as a result if being in an 18 year relationship , obviously I have been rendered financially ruined so have limited funding and am in a desperate situation trying to obtain support groups and my local mental health team refuse to discuss this issue stating that nvs is not a recognised diagnosis and I am flabbergasted that this is the case why on earth is there no help when the impact on the victim is so damaging I am completely lost and if I fail to obtain help I am sure my while life will end in disaster


  22. help ……. my partner wont let me go he keeps contacting me charming me ect but I know if I go back things will just go back to the way it was all the horrible names and feelings and actions things will never change … I love him so very much and I want to let go but I cant because he wont let me what do I do ???


  23. Thank you for this article!!!
    I have just finished a relationship which was exactly as you have described… I feel I have escaped something very very dangerous, but I also feel stupid for not picking up (or, rather, paying due attention to) warning signs.
    On the night we ‘broke up’, he was on the point of moving in with me. It was a stressful – and yet should have also been happy? – situation.He started raving about how he was going to kill someone. I kept asking him to curb the violence of his words… he would, for a bit, but then start up again. It was upsetting me but he did what he always did on other occasions when I had been distressed : said he was leaving and dumping me at the (psych ward of the) local hospital. He would NEVER just give me a hug… only threaten complete abandoment and dumping at the ‘loony bin’. Nice.
    He claimed to have received a secret message on my own home landline, using his secret code name, claimed it was a message from his ‘handlers’ asking him to kill someone. (BTW, although he was claiming to be targetted by ultra violent, above-all-government-control gangster-type entities, he showed absolutely no concern for my safety, even though these claimed entities had called on my home phone!!!). He went off his nut when I accidentally damaged the foot of his ‘$1000 sofa’… I couldn’t take any more, went outside to sit in my car… and started crying. He didn’t look for me for half an hour and then, he would only yell at me. All I wanted was a hug… I told him so. He COULDN’T do it. Instead he changed the subject back to him – He claimed he was a ‘Bond’ – (as in ‘James Bond’) – and that 5 years ago he had had to kill his previous ‘handler’. He claimed to have been recruited by the Russian mafia.
    He told me he was going out straightaway to kill his former real state agent, and he asked me if I would stop him. I said shit yeah… he asked how? I said I’d call the police. He looked at me with a look of the deepest disgust and said ‘you are the most evil person in the world’. And yet, I was not – have never! – wanting to go out to kill someone…???
    He had also consumed half a bottle of whiskey.
    To try to calm him down – he was crying – I got him to sit down in the bedroom. I was still upset, but could see he was also upset, so tried to reconcile. He referred to things I had confided in him in past discussions of domestic violence – turning them against me (for instance, he told me that noone likes me because I am an ‘opinionated arsehole’ towards ‘everyone’. I know this is not true. Nevertheless it was very hurtful – intentionally hurtful!). When I turned around, he was holding his pocket knife against his arm threatening to cut himself. At this point I started screaming in utter distress. At this point, also, he switched on his mobile phone to record the audio of my distress!!!!
    I lost it. I was so distressed I tried to leave in my car. All I wanted was to die. He called the abulance. When they arrived, I noticed his demeanour changed dramatically to cool, calm and reasonable… none of the yelling and abuse or threats of beforehand. He was in complete control of his actions.
    I ended up in lockdown suicide watch for almost 2 weeks… all my family plans for Christmas were ruined. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.
    He spoke to my mum – told her I would never be able to have a proper relationship with anyone; told her that I had to give back the ‘gift’ he gave me around my birthday (a brooch which, although I was keeping safe, I have not been able to find – I believe he’s taken it himself anyway and just wants to accuse me of thieving), and (in the same breath) asked for his herbs and spices back and would I hand over the Christmas gift I had made for him? Yes, seriously.
    Unfortunately, I am just the sort of person – shy, introverted, suffering from PTSD due to longterm previous domestic violence, quietly-spoken, somewhat isolated physically from my family – to attract this sort of person/fella. I know now that there is nothing pyschiatrically-speaking ‘wrong’ with me – I have episodes of depression and anxiety which are directly related to PTSD and a sensitive/emotional personality.
    His family are intelligent and were very warm towards me – his parents even came by to ‘apologise’. I have no issue with them.
    I am concerned he may be violent – not towards myself, but others. I believe I have so let him and his narcissism down he will never approach me again (PHEW!!!).


  24. I have spent the last two days reading everything I can find on the internet about this. I have a “best friend” who I find impossible to get away from…..weak, pathetic, lack of self-respect – all those things I’m feeling about myself. My other friends will soon give up on me and I can’t say I’m surprised. I’m sometimes terrified of turning my mobile on when I’ve tried to distance myself. I’ve got to somehow find the strength to do something about it and I’m so happy that I’ve found these sites. It’s very, very insidious. It’s crazy but it’s almost worth moving to get away from it.


  25. left a club over meeting a narc, chatted me up flirted with me, all then dumped me for someone else, never have really got over it, felt lost empty iside, why me? Called him all the names of the day for using me, never heard back from him again. NO apology nothing, just cut me out like I never existed.


    • Incredible to hear these stories. I know there was something there, but could never put my finger on it. Same, same, same. All the stories have a little part of my life story in it. 22 years living with that feeling of being wrong all the time, knowing in my mind that what I said was true. The mirroring aspect of this disease is mind boggling. You can literally make a statement and he will turn it be on you. All the tears and years knowing it was wrong. God showed me the signs, but I wasn’t in a place to hear them. It took a major cheating event with pictures and videos to get me to say no more. It was like a switch. I said divorce and I didn’t look back. Now 4th time is a charm. Finally filing for divorce. It took 335 days to get him out of the house. He still plays games with me, my children, the lawyers to get what he wants. It will take years to heal, but getting away from him is the first step. He will try everything to make you stay and doubt yourself. Just stay strong, cry when you need to, talk to your friends/everyone and get out.


  26. Living this nightmare now. I have set in motion the plans to leave though. This has been the MOST debilitating situation I have ever been in. I have cut off every single friend and family member so they will not find out how weak I have been to put up with this NPD maniac. I am not the same person I was 4 years ago. I may never get back to the non anxious, eggshell walking, panic mode life I had before. These maniacs are not human. They can’t be. My Narc had a horrid child hood, which I truly believe is what caused his mental state. But it’s not my job to rip myself in pieces to fix him. He has a long trail of destruction, past and current. I now know the SIGNS of these types of people and will NEVER allow this kind of person near me or my kids again. The leaving part is the most difficult. Not because I give a damn, but because they FREAK out and well, you know the rest.


  27. I agree with another reader that out of everything I’ve seen online on this wretched topic, this article is so eloquent, so spot on, so intelligent that it gave me great strength, the strength to leave an in many ways wildly remunerative (and thus seductive) but utterly soul-destroying relationship without wasting much time. Having grown up with narc parents and a very abusive mother in particular, this last relationship was not my first adult relationship to have mimicked the early fateful ones, but it was the most dramatic and the most over-the-top one by far. I had worked very hard and painfully to get myself out of the hole following a prior narc relationship, so that when finally the mask slipped and the scales fell from my eyes it was not so difficult to orient myself again because I was lucky enough to find this article almost immediately following my visceral and crazed need to get away from this person. I have read the article many times over the last few days. It had the power to detach me from the situation and LIBERATE me emotionally enough on the first day to gain the necessary emotional and geographical distance to stimulate me to WANT to get back into my life, the one I had been in danger of losing. You, the author, are SO fantastically eloquent in describing this particular emotional experience. Thank You. You’ve helped me tremendously and will no doubt help others.


  28. This speaks directly to me right now. My husband I believe is a narcissus. He blames me for everything that has gone wrong in our marriage. I have turned into someone that I don’t like. Angry all the time. Wanting punishment for him. I feel like a failure. I didn’t have great self esteem before but after 22 years of being with him I have absolutely none. How do you bounce back from that kind of pain? I can’t trust anyone with my heart.


  29. I am stuck in this right now & have been for decades.

    No money to escape or anyone to turn to either. I can either live on the streets with nothing & freeze or take the continual narcissistic abuse.

    I would not wish this on anyone its the worse possible form of domestic abuse.


  30. I’m in the middle of a custody battle with a narcissist..I just lost my job because of him and I’m thinking…real hard..about walking away from him and my kids. I can’t do it anymore. Today it’s my job, tomorrow..3 months a year from now it will be something else. He won’t stop until he wins and I’m not strong enough to do it. My kids are little I have a long road ahead and I can’t do it. You hit the nail on the head with this one! I’m sure your talking about my ex.


  31. How do you ever recover from this when you have grown up in it and all the family play the game. I just don’t know who I am. I just feel so empty. Hollowed out. I cannot make head nor tale of my family. I wouldn’t know normal if it slapped me up the side of my head. I just haven’t known anything else.


    • Start over with a new life, new friends. You know, we are told to honor thy mother and father-that is true. It means to respect them as far as being your parents. But it does not mean you have to like them or their crap. That goes with other family members. Parents have to love and respect their children and will be judged heavily if they do not. Because they are a gift from God. So, having said that just spend you time with people more worthy of you as a person. From your comments it seems like your soul (self conscious) is telling you something-yes? No family is perfect-mine isn’t but I have members that try to play the blame game for their stupidity. As soon as you see the manipulation-walk way. You can find yourself by not telling them what is inside your head. Protect yourself.

      You are worthy! Get counseling! There is a beautiful life out there with good people. Learn to identify the losers! You are ahead of the game already-step out of the fire.


  32. Thank you for this article. It answers so many questions for me, and helps me understand so many things, like when I sought therapy but was kicked out because I couldn’t articulate what was wrong with me. The one thing I wish I could do is post this article t on my Facebook page, with a note to people who know me, to shed some light on what many might think is strange behavior that I didn’t even understand myself.

    The difference between me and most of the people who are examining the effects of NPD on their lives is that my abuser is my stepmother, who came into my life when I was four. I have been dealing with this for 59 years and as much work as I have done on myself, it still never ends. I visit one day a year, for Christmas, and for days, weeks, even months beforehand, I endure what I call a newsreel: the unspooling of images and memories that broke my heart and break it all over again as the newsreel plays out. I have to grab myself by the scruff of my neck, shake myself, and stop. Just stop.

    I didn’t even know about NPD until a few years ago. Another book that has been instrumental in understanding myself is Motherless Daughters, by Hope Edelman. I don’t know how many of your readers were raised by a narcissist who took over after the death of their very young mother, but it might be important for those who were.


  33. This is amazing and I’m so incredibly glad this exists. I just recently discovered that my father the narcissistic profile so well and it explained so many of my insecurities. I have been researching like crazy and have even joined some support groups. I’ve also started a blog to share my story and my road to recovery. Thank you so much for this!! It has helped significantly. My heart cries out to everyone who has been a victim to this horrible thing. But there is hope…I am my own person. I am a real person and I’m slowly discovering who she is. tiny bits of her appear everyday! Sometimes I lose sight, but it’s a slow process. I am eager about the future for the first time in my life since I left my narcissistic father’s household. It still isn’t easy and there are battles ahead, but in the end it will be worth it. Because I am worth saving. And so are you. No matter what they say.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Reblogged this on Write the Past…Dream the Future. and commented:
    I had no idea this blog existed and I’m so grateful for it!! Please read! I’m so glad this is becoming more recognized.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. It all makes sense now. I never knew it had a name. For ## years, he “expects” or “needs” compliments for everything he believes himself to be, for what he is, for what he is going to do, for being perfect in every way… And I am the crazy one..

    But I am too old to start over again. I merely exist in my life. I am isolated and in the midst of my own living hell and I can’t tell anyone. They would not believe me, because “he is such an awesome husband”, who loves me so much. But it’s all horseshit. Living with someone like this is just a facade. Nothing seems real or genuine. Feelings are faked, but faked very well to the point that I felt for years it felt like it was me. But I understand now. It has a name.

    So thank you for this very informative article. I need to re-read it. Right now, I just have this vast sense of relief and I need to savor that.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I can totally relate to the nice, great guy facade that has fooled so many people. I was even fooled, thinking that I was the problem for over 15 years. Now that I know, and it seems impossible to get out cause of my health and financial situation, plus being isolated with no where else to go (except to my NPD mom, who is worse)……I know I must not give up hope and do whatever I can to be free.

      So can you….it’s never too late. Wouldn’t 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years of being free be better than the hell you’ve been living in. I believe in you, in us all. There is a way out, our minds and situations have just convinced us otherwise. The best advice I’ve read is that “being stuck is an illusion.”


  36. it’s heartbreaking to see how many of us are suffering. I have been trying for 2 years to escape my NPD,but he wont quit. I miss who I was 😦 I feel nothing but darkness and noone understands.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I miss me so much. I don’t know if my ex was a narcissist for sure, but I know I’m not myself anymore at all. I isolate, rarely smile or laugh, I hope for a pill or booze to relieve my pain that won’t it. I’d kill myself but I have kids, I hate being hugged or touched.. I hate most everything. I feel so guilty for allowing such things from her, but I always believed it was all for a reason. Like a yin yang, I took the good with the bad. At one point she ended up with an std out of nowhere. 😦 She’s long gone, breaking more hearts and now marrying another. And I’m just this broken pathetic fool sending love emails and then hateful ones.. I need to get back to me. I’m not some one who does these sorts of thing.. But now I am. Sign 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa,

      I was with a poop like that until two years ago. Yes that person was a narcissist. Truly you are more worthy. These losers want us to stew in their muck. Trust me you are so much better off. Get counseling. It does help and you will find the joy in life as you once had. Really, when you look back did you really have that many good times? Focus on your kids. The emotional investment on them pay far more dividens than the emotions you gave to that ‘nothing’ that did not respect you. You know what hurts them? That you have moved on and are happy. My ex-jackass was such a narcissist that he felt he was a humble martyr and did not understand why bad things happened to him (he did dumb and obnoxious things to people and they did not put up with his bull).

      This person is not worth your wonderful life. You have a lot to give. Now, if this dirt bag cannot respect you (or anyone for that matter) they are not worth the time. You have value. You have merit. Quit sending the e-mails and heal. Get healthy, quit drinking and taking pills. Your children need you and in their true eyes they see you as the wonderful soul you are. Take one step at a time. You have a lot to give! It is also time for you to get respect. Get rid of that baggage, that cancer. As we drive away from the ‘mountain’ it gets smaller and smaller….You will get back to you-believe me!

      Love, C


  38. I feel these people should be accountable for every evil thing they do….. Their sick twisted bastards who destroy your fucking soul….I hope they all live in and go to hell….control freaks… Cheater… Liar…phoney… Pathetic human beings…. I know I lived it for 11 years…

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I am crying. I’ve done MANY hours of research on NPD/NS. I’m advocating others while still trying to stay strong for my kids. Out of all the article I have read. This will be the one I show everyone. This hit closer to home than any of them, and still is validating that all NPD play by the same rule book. I’ve heard those exact words, I could have written this myself. Thank you.


  40. Thank you so much for this article. I keep reading it to give me strength. I am slowly taking action and reading this makes me realize I’m not just imagining everything that is “wrong” with me. I used to be such a strong person and I gave my power away. Every time I read this article I grow this power inside me that has been dormant for so long.


    • I didn’t know that the sicko relationship I had with the soul squasher has a name and is a real, legitimate disorder. What a relief to give it a name and to know that I am not the crazy. I keep reading these articles over and over for strength and support.


  41. Thank you for sharing this post & giving me answers. Numb, exhausted & worthless is exactly how they leave us feeling. I’m only just learning about all this & hopefully never get myself caught up in this situation again. I’ve been co dependant too long & didn’t even realise I was doing it. I’ve now realised I need to save myself & not others, through intensive therapy. Thank you for educating me.


  42. Thank you for this post. It’s taken me a long time to realise why I am always exhausted & feel physically & emotionally drained all the time. I felt the need to help my abuser & was afraid to abandon him. When I was alone, I started to get stronger, as soon as I saw him the headache started to return, along with all the confusion. I’m now starting to see the pattern & gaining strength through articles like this, so thank you for educating & sharing this with the world. Liz


  43. A great, to the point, spot on description of what it’s like to be with someone with NPD. It’s only something that can be truly appreciated by someone who has had the misfortune of being in a relationship with one of these sick and twisted individuals. Anyone who hasn’t experienced it, could not even begin to imagine what it’s like. Mind destroying is the best way to describe it.


  44. I finally divorced from my NPD wife in February this year after years of hell. I’m just starting to meet women again and taking tentative dating steps. Whilst I don’t propose going into the hellish detail and bring up the subject unnecessarily with dates, how do I broach the subject of my past experience when it is inevitably raised. My experience is that many people don’t understand the issues and that it is rarely perceived that a man can be a victim of abuse. Do you have any pointers as to how I should handle this issue honestly and openly without being too alarmist so as to frighten away future potential partners?


    • Just be real with the new person, just like you stated. Tell them you know it might overwhelm them because it still overwhelms you at the thought someone could wake up every day with the sole thought of destroying you, but that you can them as much as they want to know. Then show them the article. I had a friend tell me “anyone who deserves you will understand and not judge” and it’s true!


    • alltoocommonlife

      I’m a woman who is trying to date after divorcing an abusive man. Everyone asks me about my divorce, my ex, and our marriage. I try to keep it simple for as long as possible. I typically say “He drank and he wasn’t always nice to me.” Try to keep it simple. Don’t bring up the diagnosis since it is overused these days. Most people won’t understand and it’s not your responsibility to teach anyone, especially anyone you just met. Actually, you don’t have to explain anything to anyone unless you want to. I’ve learned that going into any details with a person affects me later because it brings up memories I’d rather forget. I suggest seeing a counselor, maybe look into attending a support group of sorts (I attended Celebrate Recovery and completed a 12 step study), and wait until you’ve healed before you attempt dating. I attracted several men who displayed red flags; one I let slip by for far too long and it crushed me. All that work to get myself healthy went down the drain in minutes. You’ll attract people as healthy as yourself. Learn to live in the silence of your empty house, grieve, journal, and find yourself again. The first good sign is being able to live with the quiet of your mind, with just your thoughts and no other distractions like music or TV. Also be careful not to pick up bad habits in order to numb yourself or cope with the pain that comes once you’re out from under the chaos and things become clearer to you. For now, do the things you love and spend time with those who love and support you and your decision to end the marriage.


    • Hi David
      being real is important but an understanding from people who have not had experience with a npd person makes us seem too sensitive when we talk about them. I don’t usually reveal much in the early phase I’m more interested in working the person out and seeing how they behave etc. I’m probably hypervigilant but once you’ve had experience with a npd prson you never want it to happen again. Goodluck…


  45. this is a mighty good post, I like it 🙂


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