“But They Didn’t Hit Me” – Narcissistic Abuse IS Domestic Abuse


This is a topic that comes up frequently.The target’s lack of ability to recognize that the narcissist’s treatment of us is abusive.  October is domestic violence/abuse awareness month. Many lay people believe that domestic violence is only those actions that involve the physical abuse of an intimate partner.

For those of us who have been physically abused by anyone, we can tell you that if you remove the physical abuse from the relationship, what remains, are a number of other abusive behaviors: psychological, emotional, verbal, spiritual, financial, legal and sexual that continue to occur long after the physical abuse has ceased. The general lack of physical lashing out by a narcissist (probably only to protect their own court records or reputation criminally/socially, etc.) does NOT mean that abuse is not happening.

Let’s define abuse to remove any doubt.  Domestic abuse  is a pattern of behavior which involves the perpetration of power & control, isolation, intimidation, threat,  violence or other abuse by one person against another in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual or same sex relationships, and sometimes also involves violence against the children in the family. Domestic violence can take a number of forms including physical, verbal emotional, economic, sexual, spiritual, and legal.  The severity of behaviors exists on a continuum and can range from mild, subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and violent physical abuse that results in disfigurement or death.

Not only do the types of behaviors exhibited by the perpetrator of the abuse define it, it is just as necessary to look at the feelings expressed by the target; our reaction to the treatment by the narcissistic person.

The reason that we choose to further define the abuse as “Narcissistic Abuse” is because this type of abuse is somewhat different in terms of its insidious nature than overt domestic abuse and is a very specific manifestation of domestic abuse because of the facets of the personality of the disordered perpetrator which dictates the particular abuses used and why. It’s been said that all physical abusers are narcissistic, however not all narcissists are physical abusers.

In order to help others who are suffering this form of domestic abuse recognize and act on their awareness and find their way to freedom, healing and recovery, we’re going to give you some things to look for specific to the narcissist’s special brand of abuse.

Let me begin by saying that at this point in my recovery, I purposefully avoid dredging up the painful details of what it felt like to be back in the throws of narcissistic abuse. The sheer inescapability of it and the enormity of the pain urges me to want to lock it away permanently. In regaining my sense of happiness, peace and self esteem, it’s very painful to feel the opposite of that stability to recall details of my abuse. Id rather lock it away in an impermeable space and wrap it with a big bow marked “Recovered” or “Healed” than I would, pull items out of that vault and re-experience them emotionally. I’m willing to do that however, in order to help others just as stuck as I was, realize that they too can wake up, get out and move on; a narcissists abuse is NOT the end of YOUR journey.

Here are three unique ways that narcissists abuse their partners and the resulting feelings that targets experience: 

1. There are 2 sides to your abuser and this confuses you, causes cognitive dissonance, sadness,  and leads us to blame ourselves as the narcissist blames us.

Ask any person who knows a narcissist intimately and they will tell you that they are two faced. Narcissistic people possess TWO identities: Their public, “masked” image and their private hidden devil. In the past, this facet of abusive personalities was called “Jekyll and Hyde”.

The cause:   Narcissistic personality disordered individuals have a chameleon like identity. Meaning, their identity will change to be whatever earns them the most positive feedback and reward. (supply) Their identity in the initial meeting stage will be geared towards winning you over. This part of the narcissistic abuse cycle is called the “love bombing” or valuation stage. The narcissist will build you up in an effort to stroke their own egos by association, manipulate you and to get you indebted to them so that you prove yourself that you’re worthy of their time once they start devaluing you. The narcissist will be putting in overtime trying to woo you. However, don’t be mistaken: the wooing is NOT to make YOU feel good, it is about mirroring. They will prance, dance, flatter, cajole, impress, charm, and seduce you into liking them; because when you like them, they get to feel like they’re looking in the mirror and seeing themselves smiling back. They feel good about you digging them. Also important to note that in this initial impressing stage, they will pay keen attention to who you are as a person, your strengths, your vulnerabilities, your deepest desires and they will use and gear their efforts to woo you specifically to who you are as a person.

How you will feel: At this stage, you’ll feel honored, doted on,  placed on a pedestal, attended to, wanted, loved, admired and probably slightly embarrassed by all the fuss. This type of seduction and pursuit is abnormal but instead of associating it negatively, we sense how rare it is and feel singled out in a “too good to be true” romance where we are seen, known, wanted and adored. The reason it’s called love bombing, is that all our hopes, dreams and desires, are being used against us as a weapon, in the guise of “love”  to get us to turn our brains off and ignore the fact that we’re being drawn into an obsessive, toxic relationship with a self serving, self gratifying and insatiably empty & cruel narcissist.  We throw caution to the wind, associate this rare love condition as soul mate love. This will be encouraged by the narcissist as well – they individualize their form of manipulation to our greatest hopes and desires and as a result we fall hard and fast.

Once the narcissist feels that they’ve got you where they want you; entrenched and invested in the relationship, they will begin to let the mask slip. This results when they come face to face with your humanity. You may inadvertantly criticize them by asking that your needs be met (remember: your feeling sad or mad is personalized by the narcissist and they will take it as a direct reflection of how great they are so if you feel bad, they see themselves as bad – and will lash out) or some other indication that you are not a perfect reflection back to them that they are magnificent and without flaw. Perfect for perfect is what they want to have in the mirror looking back. This leads to the narcissist devaluing you. Where you once were the awesome, most loving person on the planet,  you in your “disobedient” imperfect let down phase will become the most loathesome person on the planet who drives them to despair. Before you know it, youll be an undeserving nothing and the narcissist will be the superior rock star who puts up with your lowly self.

Much like a child, in their narcissistic stage as a toddler, “devalues” its toys when they find them to be either taken away or having to be shared with another toddler, they’ll shout in a tantrum, “Fine! I don’t care!  I didn’t like that teddy bear anyway”, an adult narcissist will use devaluation of their once adored partners to lessen the painful emotions associated with rejection through their partners independent thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

How the narcissist lets their mask slip is that when faced with any form of rejection or blows to their ego in or out of the relationship, they will lash out and behave both aggressively and abusively towards their partners. They’ll be both covert and direct, flippant, demanding, ordering, pushy, insulting, snide, sarcastic, cutting, they’ll throw up past transgressions or insecurities you’ve revealed, they’ll threaten telling bosses to get you fired, loved ones that you’re crazy or will speak so loudly so that neighbors can hear the narcissist’s insults and put downs in such a way as to humiliate you, they’ll deny things they’ve said, or tell you you’re going crazy, they’ll disappear and refuse to talk to you, using silence to hurt and punish you, they’ll question friends, read your emails / text messages, they’ll cheat on you, begin grooming new supply, they’ll smear you to your friends and family, get others to fight against you or attack you, they’ll accuse you of atrocious lies, they’ll hide things and tell you you misplaced them (gaslight), and on and on. This list is both extensive and exhaustive.

Here’s the thing about a narcissist’s emotional and verbal abuse: it is so insidious, so humiliating and cutting (without empathy) and covert that you’re entirely confused and are so worn down that you actually believe the horrible things they’re saying about you. You’ve already admitted to them how shameful you felt. They use your greatest insecurities and shames against you. You can’t fight back. You’re crippled. You’re so in agreement with their abusive words towards you that you can’t see straight to stand up for yourself. You don’t think of things to say back or to disagree or to not let the words hurt you, you simply take it all in and absorb the truth and hostility and hate of a person who said that they adored you more than anything.

You can’t see the forest through the trees to call it abuse because you’re so confused you don’t even recognize that the narcissist did something extremely cruel to hurt you or to put you in “your place”.

How you feel: At this stage, You’ll feel demoralized. You so badly want that doting and loving prince charming narcissist back that you’ll do anything to get him to come back. You become destablized. It hurts terribly. You’re falling from a pedestal you didn’t asked to be placed on, all the while you’re blaming yourself for it happening, you feel like you can’t do anything right, you feel worthless, your self esteem slips, you want the love you “had” and you want the kind person who was nice to you to come back and you just can’t seem to fix whatever this very serious problem is that you’re causing. Which results in your confusion and one way ticket to hopelessness and despair.

Which leads to the next facet of this abuse: We Blame Ourselves

The cause:  It’s twofold. 

  1. The narcissist by their very deflective nature is a projectionist and blamer. They don’t accept accountability and responsibility; it’s always someone else’s fault because the narcissist’s image of themselves is perfection. Their defense mechanism of projection is in overdrive and they see every flaw they can’t detect in themselves all over you and they go about shaming you for having traits that you don’t even have.
  2. Targets are raised to be overly responsible. Especially if the target was raised by a narcissist, we grow up with poor boundaries that are not assertive against someone blaming us for things we didn’t do. Narcissistic parents blame their kids for getting in trouble and causing all the families problems (scapegoated) and learn very early on by their primary caregivers that the way to be loved is to be responsible for all the failures, successes, and feelings of the people (irresponsible narcissists) around us.

When the unmasked narcissist responds to an ego insult (narc injury), their verbal abuse crosses our boundaries, sinks deep within our hearts & souls and becomes part of our absorbed identity from the blaming narcissist. We erroneously believe that if we caused it, we can fix it and maybe if we just do whatever the narcissist told us to do or not do that we will be able to stop (regain control of) our future abuse. It’s a response to helplessness that only sinks us further into the abusive cycle.

Narcissists want people to blame and project upon who aren’t going to tell them to take a hike. They know that blaming us & watching us flail as we take responsibility for our own abuse disables us. They don’t want us to escape the cycle until they’re ready to discard us, so shortly after their burst of abuse in whatever form, they’ll bring us back full circle to the love bombing and building us up, behaving in their initial charm & wooing manner to draw us back in.  The negative cycle repeats itself and breaks us down over time until we’re desperately hopeless and as empty as they are.

How you feel:  Weighted down. Hopeless. Responsible yet inept. Angry. Sad. Inert. Stuck. Unloved. Desiring. At this point, you are so busy trying to figure out what is wrong with yourself that you have no time to focus on or hold the narcissist accountable. We just want them back. They tell us multiple times a day that everything would be PERFECT, harmonious, just as we want it, if ONLY……… we could fix _______________________. And the wild goose chase is on.  They are relieved of responsibility while we are too distracted to call them on their crap. As a result of the confusion and amalgamation of pent up emotions, we begin to feel anger. Anger that we have been taught is NOT allowed to be directed at the narcissist. They are the pure person in the relationship and your anger is entirely unwarranted and as they tell us “Makes us appear ______ (crazy, unbalanced, vindictive, etc – projected trait or insecurity used against us) so that our anger turns inward, towards ourselves which defines our depression. We spiral further and further into confusion, depression, self critical (narcissist induced) hopelessness and self hatred eventually.

For me, this was the most difficult part of the abusive relationship and one I cannot stand to recall due to the feelings it brings back. By nature, I am non confrontational. I just don’t like wasting precious life and time, arguing. Especially when the crux of the argument is petty and pointless. Every argument centered around the same exhausting theme: somehow I wasn’t proving / showing / loving him enough to get the goal we both desired: a peaceful, loving relationship (or so he pretended). I wanted that. He said he did too.  But so it goes with identity disorders. They’re so chaotic.

Secondly, Im action oriented. It felt like trying to swim through quicksand attempting to solve something I couldn’t solve. He was an insatiable, perfectionistic, impossible to please, narcissist who was invested in winning, not coming to a mutually satisfying compromise. He had a hidden agenda, he had no intention of meeting me halfway or having the relationship I wanted although he told me frequently that he did want that, but I was preventing it. I felt stuck; like a hamster in a wheel. He worked my tenacity against me.


Here’s the all time crazymaking facet of the narcissistic brand of abuse.  They are the ones with a personality disorder. Yet, they get us to think we are crazy.

The cause:  Projection. Projection is a defense mechanism whereby the person discharges their unwanted pieces of themselves and their feelings, typically shame are cast off onto an outer object / person who absorbs and takes on the narcissist’s unwanted (rejected) parts of themselves. For instance, if a narcissist is having affairs, they’ll often accuse their partner of cheating and being a ‘horrible person’ when in fact it is something that they cannot admit to and take responsibility for.

When the narcissist projects their flaws and shame onto their partners, at this point the partner is vulnerable, with lowered boundaries and already self blaming because of the narcissists negativity and verbal abuse, the projections are absorbed and the target takes responsibility for the cast off traits.

How you feel:  The result is that the extensive and pervasive boundary crossing, blame, acceptance, shaming, etc. begins to make the receptacle target feel inundated, flooded and probably just as chaotic inside as the narcissist feels. We feel like an isolated island, sinking, alone, desperate and pathetic,  while the narcissist looks completely fine on the outside, to others, in the community or to your friends and family who they’ve been playing up to for longer periods, because they don’t have sustained contact with these people and they can keep up their mr. / ms. perfect face to the outside world.

Part of the narcissist agenda at this time is to prepare us for the discard. Not in that they warn us or give us any indication we’re going to one day “be dead to them”. But they’re preparing the outside world to get ready to see a “mad woman”. They begin telling everyone we’re crazy. Such a far cry from the adored and loved person we were in the beginning and even are at times during this phase of the abuse. They smear campaign us. The “best defense is a good offense” approach. How cruel. This really shows the depths of a narcissists cruelty to us as human beings, people they’ve feigned loving. To begin to discredit us for being nothing but loving to them. It’s so senseless and so disheartening. We often don’t know this is going on at the time. But we honestly feel crazy. Under the exhaustion of all the intense emotion, the narcissist constantly drumming up drama and turning every conversation into a heated debate, constantly accusing us of things we aren’t doing, or that we don’t really love them, dangling the carrot of their peace and loving kindness yet never delivering. It’s maddening.

We begin to act out, we show our overwhelm, we’re exhausted and we’re confused. We don’t know how to articulate or express what’s happening, we try to, but it comes out in an odd manner, we’re very self blaming, yet we’re starting to blurt out about the narcissist’s behavior and people are starting to look at us, especially if they’ve already heard from the narcissist that we are losing it, and they judge how we come off. We sound bitter, unappreciative, unforgiving, or in the end, “the bad guy”. The narcissist needs to be the good guy / winner at all costs and our craziness ensures that we look like the loser. We personally, don’t care one bit how we look to others (our image) but we become very worried about ourselves, our sanity, our mental state etc. (doubt ourselves) and  how we’re coming off, because we can see on people’s faces that they don’t understand, don’t believe us or simply…DONT CARE.

It’s a very scary time to think you’re losing your mind. It’s frightening to think that you’ve always been a very strong, together person with no history of mental issues and  now you’re feeling like maybe you should be committed; just like the narcissist said. This is a very dangerous time for target suicide. The narcissist is so abusive and cruel at this point that many narcissists have taunted and actually pushed their partner to suicide. They simply can’t take all the blame and crazy making and in an attempt to gain peace, simply put themselves out of misery. Please if you’re feeling this way (and many many of us did) just give this number a call 1 (800) 273-8255 FREE  and talk it through with someone who cares. Many phone counselors are becoming aware of narcissistic abuse and even if they aren’t, they are there to listen, empathize and help you plan your successful recovery from domestic abuse.

Not once, did my narcissist hit me with his fist to hurt me. He didn’t have to. His words, lies, manipulations, threats, put downs, games, and abuse did it for him. Narcissists see themselves as too lofty, crafty, slick and insidious to be brute force abuser. They’d rather destroy you slowly, methodically, insidiously and covertly. They’re the cadillacs of abusers.

Theyll say what they did wasn’t abuse at all and theyll probably then describe how you deserved and are responsible for whatever you’re feeling and that you’re crazy for thinking it was abusive. Well, that’s good that the narcissist put it that way, because that shows their disorder. That’s not an honest, responsible or sane response to a person exposing them for being domestic abusers.

Thank goodness, we don’t let the narcissist define our reality or our identities any longer. We don’t let them push around and tell us what we can think, feel or can say. We are not letting them control and abuse us any longer. We found our freedom. We tell our truth. We feel our feelings. We developed our boundaries. We no longer let a narcissist’s abuse of us define us or twist reality around on us. We don’t accept blame or responsibility for behavior that isn’t ours. We own our own behaviors. Abusing the narcissist or being crazy, isn’t one of those. Their stories are not our stories. Their lies no longer affect us; and if they do we pursue the path of justice and legal action if necessary.   We are not abusive. We were targeted. We did not deserve to be treated the way we were by our abusers. We are survivors of domestic abuse; more specifically, narcissistic abuse.

These are just a few of the abusive  things narcissists, in particular, do in  relationship with others which is defined as abusive. With each symptom of their disorder, they exhibit specific behaviors relative to how they act out and perpetrate on others the shamefulness at the core of each defensive trait they possess. If you recognize any of these dynamics in relationships you’ve experienced, please look a little further into the definition of narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse which is a current epidemic in our culture. There are many survivors who are now thriving and recovering successfully after learning about this form of abuse by a person with narcissistic personality disorder as defined in the DSM – The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders.

You deserve better than this.

Break Your Silence, talk to someone you trust. Do not try to reason with the narcissist; they are invested in being blameless and playing the victim. You are the aggressor in their minds.Go no contact, once you’re ready, (the sooner the better). It’s best to just jump, go cold turkey and break the addiction to this cycle of abuse and this destructive person as difficult as it is. You’ll begin to feel clear headed and sure of yourself in short order, and you’re SO WORTH IT!


Posted on October 7, 2015, in Narcissism. Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It is hard to speak to people about this and I know I am not alone. This gave me some motivation to go no contact and will continue my recovery on getting my life back. We do not deserve this treatment and now we will begin to create and protect ourselves from these life form monsters. Believe that you can break free and once you do, you will feel like a new you. Stronger than ever!!


  2. Your article was my life for six years. I just never saw it. I’m still trying to break free. Everyday is hard but your article was helpful. Thank you


  3. Wow. This just couldn’t be more perfectly described.

    I survived 17 years and the worst has been since the divorce. It doesn’t help that my ex is a public figure, and in a position of authority.
    I highly recommend therapy at EMDR for Complex PTSD.


  4. It true


  5. Absolutely spot on!


  6. I really appreciated the projection piece – I was told repeatedly that I was not emotionally available when I was too emotionally present. The narc was emotionally unavailable….sigh…lesson learned and moving on – #doorslam!


  7. It feels all words narrate every single day for the past 19 years. Bit by bit every day was a confusion. In the end of the day, I would feel what did I do to make him so mad. He would demand every single moment of the trip to market, my ATM, my phone details and many more. I would not object as my feelings were pure but still something was wrong. I could not understand. So many nights of tears and sleep and a feeling of loneliness in a crowd. What is wrong with me, I would ask. But pray and pray. The kids were my solace. I would love them and make myself available to them. The natural acts of kindness were a solace. Anything and everything was objectionable, a thing as petty as giving a loaf of bread to a hungry stray dog. Then came the blast, a bomb blast of infidelity. I took it, overcame it, for my kids. I lost my mom to this. She couldn’t bear it. But now I am trying to fight, a silent war. I want my kids out of this, safe and prospering. I know I will survive. I know what I am and I don’t need any verification from anyone. Yes, but presently time is tough. I want to reach out to others and help them, help them understand, give them a vent, because behind the public mask is the reality which is very difficult to prove and equally difficult to feel that we will be believed of the twin personality we deal with everyday.


  8. Thank you for the courage that it took for you to write this. It is exactly what I have lived with for the past 32 years. Yes. It has taken me this long to find the strength to leave. Through counseling and the help and support of my friends and family, I am healing. Because of people who are brave enough to revisit their horrible, life shattering experiences and write about their abuse, people like me find strength and encouragement. Words simply don’t express my gratitude. Thank you for helping me.


  9. Allisonne Ramsburg

    Thank you very much for this. I held back gut-wrenching tears many times reading through this.
    I’ve been doing a lot of research lately and it feels so good to know that, though I do have some disorders, that I alone am not the one responsible for the problems in our marriage. Nearly every boxed has been “checked off” in relation to his actions.
    Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.


  10. Thank you

    I am leaving a man diagnosed NPD. Woman number five or six he has been engaged or married to
    Chronic pathological liar
    Huge narcissistic rages
    A full reign of terror during his verbal assaults that lasted for hours against me and my children. Hurtful accusations based on a teeny piece of truth twisted to monumental disproportions

    I had a relative (who is also a police officer) say that since he hasn’t hit me it was a low blow and a distortion of truth to call it “abuse”. This is from someone in law enforcement.

    I am stunned. I have been smear campaigned in a. Campaign as big as the last election.
    And I lived in utter terror trying to figure out what I did to anger this man so much.
    He could explode any time any hour for any reason.
    I was despondent and depressed within a month of the wedding due to his tirades and constant belittling between the episodes of rage. Then there would come the love bombing and the victim statements about how I just don’t trust or love him enough. I wasn’t going to take the risk of letting him hurt my kids or destroy my sanity.

    Thank you for sharing
    Spread the word
    Abuse isn’t just being hit
    Narcissistic abuse is insidious and lasts longer than an actual bruise.

    They said I was overreacting


  11. Wow! This is my life. I’ve been with my husband for 7 years. He has few friends and always states he’s better off being a loner. He is desperate for attention from his father, which he never gets. To everyone, he comes across as a great step-dad, very involved with my child with school and sports. He loves to take the credit. I work multiple jobs and don’t get to spend as much time with my child as he does. I have been the sole support for 5 1/2 years. I didn’t mind because he was always a great dad and has taken care of things at home. Slowly, he has pulled away and acts mean and selfish towards me. If I try to talk to him, he always turns it back on me, like I’m crazy or “it must be that time of the month because you’re acting like a lunatic “. He constantly interrupts me, and others, when speaking. The worst part us the coldness, silent treatment, or screaming over me to “shut the f$&@ up”. He pushes me out of my own bedroom and has no problem with the fact that I’m crying in the other room. I have had a terrible year of grief over suddenly losing my mom. We were very close and I miss her terribly. It was then that I learned my father had dementia and now I’m responsible for him. My husband has been extremely supportive helping take care of him, doctor’s appointments, taking him wherever he wants to go and household things. I appreciate all of this! The problem is the lack of empathy and hurtful things he says, like ,” It’s been long enough since your mom died, you shouldn’t be grieving anymore “, or “your dad is batshit crazy “. He doesn’t believe in God or heaven, which is his choice. I do believe that I will see my mom again and that she’s in heaven. When my child asked him what happens when you die, he said, “you go in the ground, the end”. He has no problem going to sleep knowing that I’m upset and crying about the same arguments regarding his non-emotional behavior. He’s very sensitive though if someone in his family hurts his feelings. He has low self esteem and is on antidepressants. He has more compassion for animals than humans, he tells me this when we see a sad story on the news about a child being killed, that it would affect him more if it was an animal. He wasn’t like this when I met him. He was very loving, supportive, empathetic and said he was finally happy. He was truly attentive and interested in my day, my thoughts and my happiness. I am so tired and emotionally drained from my current situation. I rarely have any time for myself. I work in the medical field and give emotionally all day and want to come home to the supportive man I fell in love with. I am depressed, out of balance and don’t feel like myself anymore. I just don’t know what to do, if anything, to salvage our relationship.My child is very close to him and loves him immensely. I don’t want to hurt him. He’s made it clear before that “counseling never helps anything”. I am definitely a people pleaser. .


  12. I left my marriage after years of abuse. All of the above…love bombing, craziness, overwhelming, insanity. 3 years on and still wading through the quicksand to recovery. Does it exist?


  13. This is a very helpful article. Thankyou.
    And be careful of that abuse. I thought it mostly ridiculous and told this man to leave the house when it started. The rest of the time he was delightful and I loved being with him. Now I understand I compartmentalized the abuse. And learnt what not to talk about – our relationship primarily. However his wife (about a year before I met him so had no involvement) committed suicide. I now understand why. Very chilling to come to this understanding and why this abundance of information on the internet is so important. Observe don’t absorb. See it for what it is – utter codswallop. But none the less hurtful when the sudden and dramatic discard occurs. Brief text to inform me he has a new partner. Then silence. No response. Very hurtful. No closure.


  14. That’s it exactly. I lived this. I’m free now. Thank you for the courage it took to write this.


  15. This fits what I went thru for 3 years. Never marriedhim but he ruined me and it’s hard to believe I was so niece. I was mad at myself for letting the manipulation take over me. I turned to the Lord and was strong enough to get away but not before he ruined me mentally and financially. You are so right that I forgot most of it as not to dig up bad memories. I am happily married and wish I could someone but I don’t know if I would have listened to anyone. He never let me have contact with anyone.


  16. I believe that I have been in this type of relationship. I was on the brink of contemplating suicide. My partner and I share a 5 month old together. He blamed my hormone changes for him lashing out on me. The story you told describes my life. I remember how he was in the very beginning and thinking to myself this is too good to be true. Then he slowly started showing his true colors. He would blame me for him drinking so much or staying away. I begged and pleaded with him to get him with me. He never thought that he was doing anything wrong. This New Year’s Day he decided to hit me. He said that the reason why was because he thought I was truly going to kill myself because I talked to him that I was depressed. He would ignore those cries and pleas from me. I would get called crazy all the time and that I needed to take some crazy pills to get better. Since New Years night he has not been home. He got arrested for 4th degree assault with minor injury. He is allowed to contact through text since we share a baby girl together. He talks about how truly sorry he is and how he will stop drinking. He wants his family back. How the only reason why he hit was because I wasn’t going to kill his love and mother of his child. I feel like he is playing on my sympathy to try to come home because he did have it made. I was the main provider. I feel lost and confused. I still love him and miss him. I’m hanging on to the hope that he will get better and be the family man. Do you have any advice on what to do. Does this type of person ever change for the better? Is there hope for my family to be whole again? Or am I still hanging on to something that is always going to be destructive and completely ruin mine and my children’s lives?


    • Please don’t go back. The abuse will get worse. I escaped finally after 22 yrs after multiple attempts. We have 3 kids together I thought I was doing the right thing in staying but once I got away I realised that they too were being abused. My children all had counseling and were old enough to decide to go no contact with their dad. We’ve spent the last 2yrs being abused online, stalked, harassed etc. He is obsessed I can’t see the end of it. But I’m me again, making my own decisions without worrying what he thinks. I’m so much stronger now


  17. My ex husband is a narcissist and I have only in the past few months found this out and I am so glad I did. BUT… Now he has my two very young daughters and has custody of them right now… I am healing but my daughters (ages 10 and 2) won’t have a chance to heal until they are away from him. We are currently battling in court with custody issues. Any advice??


  18. This is not a perfect world, and the only perfect people are it seems psychoanalysts , if you want perfect then die, because that’s the only time the world will be everything you want only you won’t be conscious of it..


  19. Oh boy, did this ever resonate with me. I’m six years out of that relationship but reading this took me back. I found a book called ‘Walking on Eggshells’ and it helped me understand how I was being worked over. So happy to be past this, safe and happy.


  20. I’m day one from a very devestating narcissistic abuser who did hit me. I had enough. Thank you for your insightful article; I hope the courts will soon recognize the abuses as more devestating than physical abuse; I saw him in your article and I’m hopeful that I can survive.


  21. And my WIFE IS THE EPITOME OF This !!!!!


  22. I’ve saved a link to this blog and since I”m feeling particularly overwhelmed and insane this morning I started to read. You describe exactly what I’ve lived with for 3 years. It’s insane!!!

    How do I pick myself up and move on? How do I believe in myself again? How? I have hardly any money and he took all my self esteem. Where are the resources? I need help, more for my kids than me, however, they need me.


  23. I’ve recently left my husband and after several sessions my counselor thinks that my spouse may be a narcissist. I’ve read several articles on this website and everything I’ve read sounds like it fits perfectly. Sometimes to the point that it brings me to tears, yet I still question if he is a narcissist. I’ve been physically abused, but he stopped doing that a few years ago, but the verbal abuse continues, along with horrible comments about my family. I no longer have friends; I let those relationships go years ago because he said I wasn’t spending enough time with him and if only I would…I tried so hard. The only thing that doesn’t fit is cheating. I haven’t caught him at it, though he did come up with a VD several years ago. Since then I’ve repeatedly been accused of cheating, though I never have. No one really knows anything is wrong with me because I think I’m putting on a good front. He’s filed for divorce just this week after he “trespassed” (according to police) into the place I’m currently staying just last week and vandalized my grown daughter’s bedroom. Because I didn’t know who it was, I called 911. According to him, that was the final straw. There’s been too much damage done-a wife doesn’t have her husband arrested! How can I know for sure that my husband is a narcissist? I question that maybe I’m the narcissist or if something is wrong with me and it’s not him. I don’t want to mistakenly end a marriage.


    • Be strong. The fact that you even contemplate the possibility of being a narc is a sign that you are Not. He would never admit to being the problem.
      I too have wondered if it really is just me not trying hard enough or being too demanding. Write out the differences between you and it will help light the fire you need to leave. If you write out how he has reacted to perceived slights to his ego or authority it really does help illuminate the abuse.
      Has he insisted on having his way when you disagree? Has he overreacted by yelling, throwing things, name calling? Do you act this way when someone hurts you? Probably not. That’s what they love about us! They hurt with impunity. We under react and stuff our pain and reflect on the fight and their points to see if it’s valid. They NEVER do this! They see themselves as knights in shining armor “saving” us from ourselves. It’s laughable, but true.
      Be strong. Find a friend you can confide in. Tell them everything and ask their opinion.
      God is a good place to find hope and peace. Read encouraging books. Find a good daily devotional book you can relate to. The peace in the midst of the storm helps keep you grounded in reality. The Lord loves you and He fights behind the scenes to free you from the slavery of abuse. He knows you and your worth is far above rubies. Ask Him to guide you through it. Ask Him to make a way of escape and He will! He really will.
      Much love to you and I will pray for you! Don’t lose hope. The narc wants you to believe he is the only hope you need. He wants you to think there is no way out. He wants to keep you off balance, always second guessing yourself and your motives when he would never do the same. He is incapable of seeing things from your point of view. No matter how you describe or compare it to “normal” relationships. He sees you as weak. Don’t be. Don’t let him define you through his crooked lenses. You are a valuable human being deserving of love and respect.
      Cling to the hope you find outside of him. Mentally take a step back and see the forest through those trees. The way he treats you is painting a larger portrait of life with him. We just can’t see it when stuck in the details.
      God bless and good luck!


  24. I’ve recently left my N husband but I didn’t know he was an N. My counselor mentioned the possibility and now after reading several articles, I know what my husband is. How did I live this way for 18 years and not know? Many of your articles could have been written about me. This finally explains how his ex-wife, bosses, and co-workers were “crazy” according to him. This explains his verbal abuse and crazy making after a few instances of physical abuse, which he stopped doing. I thought he was better! This explains his convincing me I couldn’t remember things, alienating me from my family, and convincing me to let my friendships go, his extreme jealousy, his accusations of my “affairs” that never happened, even convincing me I gave him VD after 11 years of my fidelity. His most recent offense? Breaking in to where I am staying (I had to move out of our jointly owned home) and even telling me how what he did was brought on by me because I wouldn’t come see hiim.


  25. This was amazing. I, too, am I survivor of narcissistic abuse. I’m really happy and feeling fabulous. I’m about to launch a program about health and happiness when I realized it all stems from everything I did to heal myself and live a happy and balanced life. All of a sudden, I was hit with all of these emotions that I forgot about, did a search, and found this. Thank you for sharing this. This describes EXACTLY what my 16 year relationship was like. It took me 7 years to get the courage to leave my marriage once I realized it was unhealthy, but I did, and I’m the better for it.


  26. I spent 9 awful years with an abusive narcissist. It was pretty much exactly like this, especially the inability to articulate the problems, even to myself, the confusion, and the despair. Thanks for sharing your story.


  27. Thank you for this. Brought tears to my eyes. Im a recovering target however still attracting these types. I have now learnt to value myself and my solitude as im too scared to trust. The honeymoon stage is beautiful and exciting for me it presents red flags and i pack my bags and run. It took me too long to escape and now i realise it was not me but the reflection of my narcissistic partner. We are forever joined at the hip due to children but never will i fall into the trap…. still licking my wounds but such a better person on my own. There is light at the end you just need to be brave and walk away…. in some instances RUN…..


  28. Thank you so much for this blog. It’s bringing some sanity to the world of crazy that I have been living in. I’m just now realizing that my husband is a narcissist and I’m learning as much as I can on it. I have 3 kids with him so getting away is going to be even tougher, but thank you thank you thank you for this blog. It’s telling my life, and my last 12 years of a miserable marraige were not my fault…it was all narcissistic abuse. WOW It’s seriously feels like ‘m walking out of a heavy fog.


  29. It’s like you’re describing my relationships and life to a tee! But HOW DO I OVERCOME???
    The need for my recovery has one to a critical point.
    I’m 40 years old, and have been divorced for nearly 4 years. I am the youngest of 4 children, and the only daughter in my family. I was raised by our mother, who is a narcissist. My father the narcissist left when I was just over a year old. He didn’t visit or help support his family, thus we never developed a relationship. My brothers were older, and remember him, but I do not.
    Due to money constraints, and my mother’s fear of abandonment, I lived with her throughout college, until meeting my narcissist husband. He had been married and was father to two beautiful little girls. He needed me, he obsessed over me. He turned on me. Just exactly as you’ve described time and again in these articles. He left me utterly depleted in every way imaginable. My only choice for my daughter and me, was to move back to my hometown. Back to my mother. It’s been nearly 4 years, and I’m still just so depleted. The distance from my ex has allowed me to see things more clearly; but the reintroduction of my mother (because she is my mother and I can’t stop loving her) keeps me stuck. She needs me, she obsesses over me, and now my daughter. She treats Laural the same way she treated me. Laural isn’t me though. I had big brothers who made me tough and quick. A snarky uncle who argued with me, and helped grow my tenacity. Laural has none of that. I fear for her. She is subject to these people because of me, and I am so combatted, that it’s difficult to communicate how to handle it all effectively. My life is literally crumbling. I’m having trouble finding work, every day causing me to become more beholden to my mother’s financial assistance. I live in fear every day of losing what I have. Again I ask, how do I overcome?


    • Victoria I hope that since you posted this you have read more articles and have begun to plan your escape. Yes………you have to take that first step and know that nothing is going to change in your life until you get out and stay out. There are people and resources who are out there to give you a change to recover; please, please for the sake of yourself and your child, make a plan, work the plan and get out.


  30. Thank you. I am so tired of feeling crazy for standing up for myself. When I decided not to take the abuse – it just intensified every time I would speak up for myself. Everything is my fault and the abuse is ok because he is “treating me how he feels”.


  31. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you for putting into words, exactly how I have been feeling and painting a very real picture of what these relationships look like! I chose to walk away from a 7 year relationship just before the discard happened. After so many discards previously, the writing was on the wall. Yes, it has been difficult, but it sure helps knowing I was not “crazy” like he told everyone I was.


  32. What a great article. Thank you so very much for sharing.


  33. How can a narcissistic parent only focus his or her behavior on one child?


  34. Very good- Thank you for sharing and write this- I could see my mom (thanks God she’s dead) and my sisters- all narcisists act the same. My sister’s husbund commited suicide because she abused him exactly like you described.

    they’re terrible…I’m safe now!! Thank’s God!!!


  35. Moved out one year ago; divorce in process but he is battling everything. Feel raw still. Afraid not so much of him but what he will do- what? Custody of our kids? Tried that and eval study said I was fit parent. Lose my family? done. he did exactly what was described- an alignment with my N parents who side with him now; friendships? by end we had separate lives. Home? He wouldn’t move out so for my sanity I did. Money? Lied about income and final hearing not scheduled yet; but I know he WILL try to leave me w nothing. I didn’t know how far back abuse went. read my journals recently. it went way back- things I forgot. He began trying to make me “mentally unstable” in 2008, the year he upped his game. I became physically sick, all the time. Diagnosed with Fibro and CFS, fours years later Celiac. But I was so sick all the time and ignored by drs. He is a dr and ignored how sick I was. He KNEW. Yet, I feel like a bad wife and mother. Yes I was, but due to illnesses. I start to explain what he did; but why? He fits this perfectly. Covert things. Never good enough. I was demanding. He worked hard. we had 3 kids; he did NOTHING for me health wise but get angry. Chronic pain lead to pain pills. Yeah and then addiction. Then drinking. He didn’t have a clue- perhaps too busy with on-line affairs “never followed through” HAH. Porn. No sex w me. My fault. My friend knew the addiction would kill me. she made him get me help or she would. I was insane mostly from the gas lighting. I came home after 30 days and he did not want to throw out his booze. Then, since I was improved physically and mentally, he really upped his game. The gas lighting was awful. And he began to sabotage my recovery by making meeting attendance impossible. He then said I owed him my recovery since he was breadwinner and pays for alt health treatments since no drugs for pain; marriage counseling he quit when came to his crap and he “didn’t get results wanted” meaning in me. He was creating his image then; how HE worked on marriage. One night, I seriously thought I had to have a brain tumor because the way I KNEW things happened but he swore did not. He was letting me look into hospitals for this and get more psych treatment. I was playing right into his plan. He had tried for so long to push me into insanity. Push me to kill myself. But somehow, I kept going against his plan. I could never, and only to close friends recently, say “he wanted me to kill myself” because it sounds crazy. A friend texted me “GAS LIGHTER” one night I was about to commit myself. Then he had gas lighted me in front of the councilor too. It was not me. Yet so many years of the abuse had occurred, I was nothing. One night it escalated. He choked me to near unconsciousness. I lost it. Sum it up- he set me up by recording me so when I called police, I went to jail. Even now, want to say “sounds crazy BUT I SWEAR TRUE” because I doubt myself. He had everything exactly where needed by then. My family came to help “the victim” and said I needed help etc. No money, friends from AA helped. Charges reduced, I filed and moved back. For the children and no money. My phone was bugged or where I was staying at the house. He was playing the victim to everyone. My lawyer finally was able to get emergency hearing so I had money. I have spent the past year almost agoraphobic. BUT SOBER! He began dating the next victim when I still lived there. Of course, the new life with her and the new friends and I am the lunatic ex. But I am finding my voice. I am healing!

    I rambled. But this was first I have read of driving the N victim to point of suicide. And how all the court docs and everyone thinks I am the N based on his word. All the things mentioned are my story. THANK YOU


  36. Thank you for dredging up the details of your experience to help others understand. Narcissistic abuse is paralyzing and its so difficult to express how truly insidious these God-less creatures are. My ex-narc is a monster, but you would never see it unless you had prolonged, direct experience of him. I have been under a horrendous attack for over a year in a custody battle that he insists on. He is relentless, dishonest and cruel and because I left him (narc injury) he is obsessed with hurting me in the most vile of ways; take my 2 year old son from me and get his supply from a baby. Does he care about the needs of my son? Nope. Does he see that our son loves and needs his mother? Probably, but he’s out to “win” at all costs by continuing the abuse through litigation. It’s a form of torture that trumps any physical pain and ex-n enjoys it. During this battle I’ve heard many people (lawyers, police, relatives) say, “well you shouldn’t have had sex with him.” Love that. Um, if I knew he was a monster, I would have run and not looked back. Narcs are master manipulator’s, you don’t see them coming and by the time you understand what they are, they have probably sunk their talons in so deep, the paralysis has set in but you will still have to fight for your life. If you have a child with a narc, their life and your life will be a living Hell. I weep every single day for my son, I am terrified for him and his future but I’m fighting with everything I have/am to protect him. If I could give any advise to my sisters out there, if you are dating a guy and they have any characteristics of a narcissist, do not have children with him until you KNOW he truly has empathy..a narc isn’t capable of care for others. Wait and watch..for a long time..don’t let them dupe you. BE AWARE!! No child should have to go through this type of abuse.


  37. What a wonderful article…it is scary how accurately this describes my marriage.


  38. Great article, just when I think I’m over that asshole, thoughts come back. I was a positive, independent, successful in my career, happy person until I met him. Everything in this article is him, he discarded me in the most cruel manner and only because I stood my ground, he didn’t like that. He let his mask slip twice and he scared me. He’s a unsafe man, and I really don’t know him at all. I’m just glad I got out before he trapped me further. thank you again I really needed too read this tonight, as I was feeling lonely, I miss him, but he never loved me, it was a game to him nothing more.


  39. OMG.. perfectly well written. exactly.


  40. This is one of the best descriptions I’ve read thus far as to what it’s like to live with a covert narcissist. Thank you.


  41. Narcissist are like customers in a store they are always right! Therefore you must quit working for them. The job doesn’t pay anyways.


  42. Ana, you have just described my life for so long. Nobody, except people who have actually lived this experience can understand. I too have been to the point of suicide on several occasions after my narc left. I became numb and unable to function. It seemed like every time I started to get out of the what I call “the pit of Hell” or the bottom of the “trash can”, he would knock me back down. Further and harder than before. I too did everything he had asked me to do in order to get him to come back. Even if it meant compromising myself or my spiritual beliefs. I loved him with all my heart and gave my love unconditionally. I believed him every time he would say, “I am done with her”. He would tell me he wants to work on our relationship and reconnect, only to find out that he was still seeing her. I trusted him and thought, “he would never lie, I knew when he would lie”. I trusted him even though family, friends and even my adult children kept telling me he was lying to me. Even today, I find myself still wanting to believe certain things about him and our lives together. I hate the feeling of being addicted to him.

    I am now in a new relationship with a wonderful man that is not only the opposite of my ex but he treats me and his equal. He is caring, loving, patient, supportive and has taken the time to educate himself on narcissism, and tries to understand when I have bad days or triggers bring me down. He is calm, respectful, trustworthy, always talks up to me. I am a nursing student also, so my classes and studying take me away from him a lot. His response to this is, “it is temporary and I understand that”. Something my ex would never say. Even with all this going for me, I still find myself thinking about my ex and wondering, what if? I know that it would literally be the death of me if I go back, but I would loose any support of my entire family, including his, my friends and children. I love my new guy very much and see myself with him for a very long time, I am still drawn to my ex.



  43. Reblogged this on RubyJen and commented:
    100% ACCURATE!


  44. It is absolute crazy to me that you are able to put everything I went through knto words so perfectly. Every time I start to doubt if he was an N or if I am doing the right thing by going NC, you’re post re-affirm everything for me and help keep me strong.
    I have my first appointment with a domestic abuse counselor next week and I plan on printing a lot of your posts and highlighting all the areas that pertained tk y relationship w my ex N (and that will be A LOT of high-lighting).

    Thank you so much for your posts.
    They have gotten me through this entire ordeal w my sanity intact (as much as it can be after a relationship w an N).


  45. Looking for a support group, face to face meeting…I live in Palm Beach County Florida. I am a victim of Narcissistic abuse and it still continues even tough I have divorced my husband. its been 15+ years, I really need some support


  46. When I left my husband everyone, friends, police, social workers, lawyers and judges all said I was abused. I did not think so. Test the social workers gave me screamed of abuse but I was so accustom to it I did not see it. 16 years later I see the abuse so clearly. Why did I stay so long? Why did not anyone get involved? I slowly realizes first that my mom was a narcissist, my dad enabled her. My ex insisting they stay in our life was selfish and lacked empathy. My brother is a flying monkey and maybe a narcissists himself. My sister in law worst. My mom damaged the whole family. My ex was damaged from abuse before joining this dysfunction. I was the scapegoat. It took about 16 years to figure it all out. The slander took it’s toll but now I know the truth I speak up to help others like the social workers did for me when I first left. I am strong and thankful to have gotten away. I still wish often I had a stable loving family but maybe helping others is God’s plan.


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