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I am going to learn to say “no”

Did the honeymoon end the day you started holding anything back?

How often do you agree to things you don’t feel good about simply to avoid rocking the boat?

Girls are often taught the importance of saying “no” to a man if they want to earn his respect, but how is this done once you are married (or in a relationship) and saying “no” just makes your partner mad?

Not being able to say “no” or take “no” for an answer is a big part of the pattern of behaviour known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Just like a child, a person in narcissistic defence may sulk or have tantrums if they don’t get their way.

Tantrums in an adult can take many forms such as …

  • A person becoming uncooperative, unreasonable and provocative as soon as you stop going along with their plans.
  • Pulling faces, moaning and complaining when you need their co-operation or respect.
  • Acting impatient and as if it is a major imposition — and you are deliberately holding everything up — when you express your needs and wishes.
  • Withdrawing their love and acceptance if you do not give them what they want.

Tantrums also can obviously include yelling, screaming, insults and violence, lies, manipulation or theatrics; all used primarily to get a person’s way.

The worse the tantrum the more important it is you learn to say no and also keep yourself safe from intimidation.

Some good ways to go about this are laid out in our chapter on Limiting abuse in The Love Safety Net Workbook.

Because ultimately letting a person get away with intimidation and coercion (whether emotional or physical) to get their way is as bad for them as it is for you. It is what is known as a person being ‘spoilt’ and it will continue as long as they feel it has any chance of working and no one puts limits on them making these kind of demands.

Things sometimes need to get worse before they get better and standing up to tantrums is definitely one of those times. It takes courage to learn that sometimes it is okay to leave people unhappy with you saying no to them for a while, but riding through this discomfort will give you a whole new relationship skill set of your own.

People in authority generally are better as saying no when they need to and learning this skill may cause conflict in the short term – but in the long term it will certainly gain you respect.

Kim is the author of seven books on the topic of relationships and emotional intelligence.

A prolific multi-media content innovator, Kim has created and shared a library of articles and multi-media educational tools including radio shows,
movies and poetry on 'The NC Marriage', and 'The Love Safety Net'.

This Post Has 71 Comments

  1. So true.

    I have been saying no for years now and although he still doesn’t respect me as he’s always too busy sulking and rebelling, at least I have my own self respect and self worth back. He’s never going to be happy with anything I do, good or bad. His loss!

  2. I totally agree with this post. I have a fiancee who used to throw terrible tantrums if I told him we could not spend money on something. Happily, he is now begining to realize the value of holding onto finances for later use. I put my foot down and stopped giving into his tantrums, silent treatment, etc. It works!

  3. Kim everything you have talked about is as fare as I can tell the same person I was with,with ownly one exseption if I said no or asked about finances ,or unowingly maybe said the wrong thing chances were high that I would be visciouly attacked, and running for the door. I tried to get help for us abut somehow I was always to blame for her outburst. It got bad and at the end I feard for my life.left and never whent back? I read your material constantly I’m in hopes maybe she will admit what she has doneand ask for help but I doubt it.

  4. I would just like to ad ,I’m on my own now and you have helped me a great deal with my recovery, I’m still a long ways from being healed, but I will continue to follow you and steve for guidence,and I just want to say thankyou!!

  5. Learning to stand up for oneself is the key…gaining your self-respect back that was eroded over the years….figuring out how and why you allowed it to disappear is key….but once you figure that out you can begin to slowly reclaim yourself…to stand up for yourself against the other person(s)….to realize that you can be nice with boundaries…simply by telling the other person that what they are doing is not acceptable anymore.

  6. Kim
    I appreciate your blog today. I have experienced the tantrums firsthand from my husband when I have tried to say no because of something that wasn’t good for myself or our family. For a long time I felt as though I was being selfish or inconsiderate when I would want or try to say no to every whim of my husbands. The most confusing part all these years of this specific issue has been trying to understand why my good reasoning for not wanting to do something or not thinking something was a good idea never really mattered to him. The reality was if he thought it was a good idea then I was supposed to think it was a good idea without question. That never felt quite right to me. Understanding NPD better is starting to help me better understand the reasons why a lot of things happened in our past. Now I need to move to the next phase of stopping by reactions that are not helping our situation. Thank you so much for the information.

  7. I have often described my husband’s behaviour as tantrums. I have learnt how to say no and this infuriates him no end, our relationship is not in a good place. It gets to a point when it is hard to see the good in a person who shows so little regard for you. My husband goes through stages of being fairly calm, but at times he becomes quite manic, accompanied by an increasing agitation with me. I am trying to be strong as we have small kids but sometimes I wish I never had to see him again, I find him exhausting! Like having another kid who is a real brat.

    1. Keep pushing through with it and for your kids sake please get the steps we offer in our Steps to Peaceful Home.

  8. This is so perfect for me today. I finally stood up not only for myself but for truth! I feel so good today, full of energy and zest for life. I was sinking, my house was a mess, I was not taking care of my life in a positive way. I thought that being a loving Christian woman meant not confronting the abuser. Then I read about Christ and his life. He was a powerful truth sayer. He never cared about hurting their feelings! He cared about saving their souls.

  9. After 33 years of marriage, I finally said ‘no’ to the anger, despising, put-downs, cold shut-downs, etc,and my wife decided that she was too superior to stay with such a bad husband.

    After creating the illusion to all our friends that she was so frightened of me, she left.

    Oh man it hurts – you lose your wife, she treats you like ‘nothing’ after all the years we had together and then you leave the region and your friends as a disgraced man.

    Someone said somewhere that when you are separated from someone with NPD, do not ever expect any kind of closure – I know exactly what they mean 🙁

    This hurts so much. I will rebuild my life despite feeling like I would rather quietly die and go to heaven.

    1. With understanding and time comes healing and I have a feeling that one day you will be very glad that you made the stand you did.

  10. Hi Kim

    I tried to say no particularly when he was demanding sex in my relationship with my ex but the tantrums that ensued were so hard to deal with that I often gave in. I frequently felt scared of him. I will read your information as I haven’t yet worked out how to say no in the right way and stick to it. Thanks as ever for the input.

  11. I’ve got one person at I work with that is in another City and he is narcissistic. I only communicate with him via email. My wife is controlling and vindictive and we are starting counseling soon. I think my passiveness has caused me to get myself into situations I don’t want to be in. I am trying to work on being assertive and taking a stand. I have a delicate situation due to my children, I don’t want them to have to grow up like I did through a divorce but in my case it was the best solution due to physical abuse.

  12. Saying just, “No,” is harsh on adults and children; and I have found that if you phrase it right, you can get the same result you want without the tantrum. The below is meant for a child, but can work on an adult as well. Try one of these next time and see if it doesn’t help diffuse the situation.

    8 Ways Not to Say No

    1. That’s an interesting idea, can you tell me more? This is a good one to use when the request is a big one with parts that are not very clear. While clarifying the idea, the child may identify some of the problematic issues on her own, which is much better than an adult pointing them out.
    2. I’m wondering about…. this is a good way to point out a concern without directly stomping on the idea.
    3. Why do you think this is a good idea? Requires the child to analyze the idea and make a case.
    4. Can you give me three reasons why this is a good idea? Similar to the last one, this one is especially good for older children. Finding worthwhile reasons to support the idea means that they have to really think it through, and possibly look at it from your point of view.
    5. I can say yes, if you… Gives the child a chance to make the idea work. Could be the child isn’t willing to work with your requirement, but it puts the responsibility back on the child, rather than on you.
    6. Can you see a problem with this idea? Encourages the child to find and solve the problem himself. If it turns out to be an nonviable idea, he will figure it out on his own.
    7. Not now, but you can ask again later and the answer might be different. Sometimes, this is really true. The idea is fine, but the timing is wrong. Ideally, give a specific time the child can ask again.
    8. I’ll think about it. This gives you some time to really think it through. Just remember that this answer can’t be given forever. At some point, a choice must be made.

    1. Hi Charolette,

      Yes how to say no is certainly important and these are all great suggestions. When you are dealing with someone in narcissistic defence however getting into too much talk can be a trap. People with NPD are very manipulative and argumentative and can waste a lot of your time and energy if you try and reason with them too much. “I don’t see this conversation going anywhere productive and so I am not prepared to talk about this any longer” is a good way of saying no when this happens. Children do need to learn to take a simple no for an answer sometimes too. Being able to face fair and square that we are not going to get what we want and deal with the sadness and loss directly is a very important emotional skill children need to be coached to learn. Once the loss is faced with that intense feeling of sadness the silver lining then comes and we can move on. I have heard this called parents needing to have the courage to be the “angel of disappointment” for their children sometimes. Life won’t always sugar coat things for our kids and we too need to have the courage to let our children be angry with us sometimes without this throwing us off our centre or making us reactive.

      My son for instance has a problem with being addicted to computer games. In the past we would hedge around the issue using delaying tactics and many of the suggestions you make here but in the end this did not help him let go of his problem. Once I took a stand and gave him a very clear and unambiguous no, first he was angry with me and then a week or so later the tears began to flow. After that he could make room for new things in his life and now he plays basketball and has begun learning the piano. The tears and sadness – once he faced it (and I had the courage to bear it) cleared the way for a new beginning. This is one of the gifts sadness brings us – but only once we have had the courage to face our loss fair and square.

  13. Hi karl here in the usa, hope all is well
    down under,shure would be nice to visit there someday… Any way you may not Know but ive been divorced/seperated from my narc ex for almost 3years now, so i’m having to deal with being Single again, and at times it really sucks..
    I get so many BS stories and lies from women its crazy,they will make up almost anything to deflect your efforts for courtship,dating..i’m having to Learn to challenge every thing they say, because it is almost always a lie or deceit of somekind..single and Frustrated…karl

  14. I see myself guilty of some of this behavior, specifically:

    Pulling faces, moaning and complaining when you need their co-operation or respect.
    Withdrawing their love and acceptance if you do not give them what they want.

    I have become so fed up with insults, that I do withdraw quite a bit. When I try to tackle our problems with him, I do complain. This problem is so deeply complex. He definitely abused us, does the “crazy making” thing to me often, but I have the hardest time, limiting the intimidation without withdrawing. That’s my biggest problem right now. Also his past infidelity comes up to haunt me. Even though i think it’s over, and he is trying to earn money and be nice to us, I am having trouble with forgivness, because I don’t really know what happened and I never will and , he’s not sorry, or maybe he is, but he got away with infidelity and ruined my love/sex life in the process and I resent it. Things are bad, financially, emotionally and most importantly our child is confused about his parents.

    I appreciate your work, it just feels like giving up myself to go along with it, and that is breaking my spirit a little bit. I know I need to break my co-dependent behavior.

    1. The Love safety Net Workbook will help you learn better and more effective ways of dealing with your jealousy and sadness and saying no. Hang in there – what you are doing is understandable but there are more effective ways of handling this that you can learn.

  15. For 33 yrs I allowed my bully husband to rule over me. Fear is a powerful motivator & motivated I was to please. Self preservation was necessary both of body & soul & yes I loved him. What is it with that? They tell you they love you too – love you almost to death! I put up with abuse all those years, sometimes believing I would one day turn into the perfect wife that he could love & respect, sometimes wanting to leave but too frightened to do so not knowing what he might do to me if he found me, often wondering if I was just the crazy one after all! Finally after being kicked out he wants me back. Suddenly I have peace. Suddenly I have friends who respect me & actually enjoy my company. My self esteem & confidence are returning & fear has all but disappeared. And he wants me back because he loves me. He kicked me our in a violent temper & I’m the bad one because I’m not rushing back to him. I have given up everything & yet I have gained so much. How do I go back? How do I go back to live in fear & dread every day not knowing what mistake I make (or that he makes) that I will have to pay for with what he calls “the treatment”. He could have killed me or worse caused untold serious damage far worse than death. Dramatic I may sound but tell me how do I go back.

    1. Hi Peg, You do not have to go back but you need to play smart and make sure you are safe. There are 2 different tactics for dealing with the situation you are in now at the end of Back From the Looking Glass and both won from hard life experience. You need to be very careful and play very smart now because yes your story is dramatic and once it really sinks in to your husband that he has lost you the most dangerous time of your relationship will begin. Play it safe and play it smart and please get our advice.

  16. Kim could saying no also mean setting conditions. For example, after years of emotional abuse including serial cheating, I made a condition that there can be no more secret email accounts and / or that need to have access to them. He has dug his heels in citing free will. Should I back away on this one? He has created a new email account and gave me the password and said that he is phasing out the old ones but they are still active.

    1. Hi Allyson,

      It is very hard if you then have to come up with consequences of them not meeting your conditions and even harder if the consequences are things that will negatively affect you too because then you will become a kind of policeman in your relationship and the condition you have set will too easily become a battle of wills between you. It is much better if you can simply let them know what the consequences will be of them crossing your boundaries again and make the consequences if possible come from an outside agency. One warning and then you act. So for example if you partner is irresponsible with shared money you might say “If you make any more major spending decisions without consulting me I will need to talk to the bank about having our accounts separated and get them to talk to you about getting automatic deductions set up on your account for your share of the bills. There is a lot more on how to affect this kind of boundary setting in The Love safety Net Workbook.

  17. Thanks for the insight and help into this craziness. At least I am aware of what’s going on now, and I’m working towards gaining my self respect and life back. Thanks again.

  18. Hi, Should a person even get into a relationship like this or run? I read lots of books and your site helped…but I don’t know if I could handle a relationship like this. I get sad and then he rejects me when I am sad. I try to forgive…but I can’t shake the sadness. He only wants to be around a happy person who has endomorphins. I think he has an endomorphin addiction…anyone who had the glow he is attracted to. No glow and he gets rid of them. He wants his ego stroked constantly and has a temper..and verbal put downs. He is like the book Mr. Unavailable by Lue. Thanks.

  19. Because I love myself and him, I release control, codependency and let go. I cannot wait for him or share his burdens he had before me. So hard when he gives just enough attention and love to keep my hanging on to hope for more. Just okay is not happy. I say NO more contact.

  20. Adult brats are simply big bullies and a its big shame. When they get old and their short-term memory fails, all they will have left is their insecurities and addictions. It is the number one reason in my book why people should learn to handle their emotions in a healthy way. Don’t turn into a manipulative crab-apple alcoholic! It will be too late to change your brain of your own accord by then for sure!

  21. hi, saying no is something ive struggled with my whole life, Ive had a few moments when I used it and I felt on top of the world. My partner becomes rebellious when i say no, he says ‘ ok, we’ll see how far you get with no’. At first I was intimidated and feared another infidelity episode, but Ive recently started saying ‘ its your life, and you make the choices’. This scares the hell out of me cos he might just go and find another woman who’ll do what he wants, but Im pleasantly surprised that he does not storm out anymore, and my fear is becoming less/confidence is increasing. He still calls me names and swears every day though which Im not sure how to put a stop to.
    Thank you Kim and Steve for your advice.

  22. I lived with the tantrums for 20 years,moved to his country,tried to please him everyday by cooking,cleaning ,raising 3 kids.It was never enough.If i wanted to discuss something,it was often i dont want to talk about it.
    He got mad at the kids if the shirt wasnt tucked in,if our dtr didnt have a dress on to church,there was no room for changing things and see it from another persons perspective.
    I did mess up with another guy,somebody who was a great listener.
    we tried marrige counseling,but she was not able to come thrue to him.she finally told me that I have to realize that he is an adult with a mentalhealth issue and that his tantrum will probably never end .

    last week he moved out.I feel sorry for the kids ,but is looking forward to live in a house where no adult person is yelling at me.

  23. Oh yeah when he doesn’t have things go his way he is now punishing me he wont go anywhere with me, he wont take a vacation with me he won’t go out to dinner with me, he won’t go for a walk or ride the bike he only eats with me in the house and watch tv that’t it, no intimacy kiss good bye. He has been doing this for almost five months hoping I will give into his whimes its not going to happen I am done with his misbehavior its my way or no way I have friends and family I can do things with…Stubborn and annoying every once in a while he shows his face how much he wants it his way and the look is unbelieavable and frightening at the same time. SICK man big time and won’t go for help or read anything I send him of advice you give sad but true

  24. I am dealing with all of the same things. Tantrums, depression, financial instability, former infidelity, loss of emotion, etc. I am so lonely and hurt and angry. If someone could give me a job lead where I could see my kids off to school and when they get home, I’d be gone from this nightmare in a heartbeat. Any one who can hire me for clerical, please respond to childofgodisreal@yahoo.com

  25. i have been victimized by my inability to say no for a long time- especially the last several years. how do i say no when i know i am being lied to, being manipulated, used for money only yet still find some redeeming quality in her that i think i can somehow change? how many thousands of dollars per month must i pay to hold ransom my true feelings hostage– for example my grief over the loss of my previous wife and loss of my chance of parenting my only son— when the woman i mistakingly married makes me feel guilty for still not have been able to heal over the two above? both of the above, plus my marriage to her were within the past five years. i still have not divorced her because i didn’t want to mess things up for her green card– for her family- which i am somehow “responsible” for — never mind logic, reason, my own feelings, etc.

    i am trying to learn to say no– because the alternative- sadly– is a feeling of total hopelessness, never ending grief and perpetual limbo.

    thank you for your email and ability to think aloud and share my feelings. i think in many ways my case is one that nobody can possibly relate to- which i know is wrong.

    thank you again.

    aloha
    jmo-no!

  26. I have recently chosen to say no to a female friend of mine who often said I was her best friend, but she put me to the test a lot of times. I felt she was checking up on my time to get me to spend time with her and go out with her because she has few friends (probably because she is demanding and sulky). It was hard to say no because I didn’t want to offend her – but I said NO in a polite and firm way – and she obviously IS offended because she sent a couple of curt texts, then has not communicated with me since. I feel a bit sad, but if she gets over it, she will have grown, I think. I wish I had said no sooner because the sadness is changing to relief, I don’t like being ‘stalked’ even in a small way – and that’s how it felt a times. Funny how it seems we have to give something up so we can grow stronger.

  27. Kim, my husband of 3 months if exhibiting this sort of behaviour. I moved to his house and as we both have furniture when we talked about main bedroom i wanted to put my suit in the master bedroom and he wanted his. He took his out and put mine in. Now he wont sleep with me in the main bedroom. I m so angry and dont understand him… He swears and shouts… I regret marrying him

  28. My husband accused me of having an affair. I confronted him by saying we could both take lie detector tests and clear it all up. He said to use the money to file for divorce because he was tired of it. We have been together six years and married for four. We have been in therapy because of his inappropriate emails and him actually meeting a high school friend he reconnected with on Facebook while out of town on business. He has also had sext messages on his phone. He admits all this in therapy. He says he hasn’t “crossed the line” and doesn’t want to but he has a fear of going all in emotionally and he will always hold something back. I quit spying on his phone and emails two years ago because I know it is pointless. The therapist said I need to weigh the good and the bad because no one is perfect. He is very loving and is my best friend. I just don’t think I can live with infidelity and feel it will certainly happen if it hasn’t already. Therapist said he is narcissistic. She has a PhD.

    1. I believe the exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook may help you get past the lack of trust you are both feeling. If he is your best friend as you say image what could be if you built trust!

  29. Hi Kim, Thank you for all of your insight and wisdom. The information on your websites and books have been very helpful. My boyfriend of 16 years can not say no to our daughter and and I feel I’ve grown a lot, however I’m at the point where my 2 year old daughter is beginning to mimic some of his put-downs, for instance she pointed her finger at me and said “you are a joke” I looked at her and said “you don’t understand what you are saying” but I know she is testing me, and he doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with it – everything is my fault. I can not allow my daughter to grow up this way and am making arrangements to leave with help from family and friends. I want him to have a relationship with our daughter, but I can not live this way any more. I feel I’ve done my part over the passt two years after my insightful midwife told me he is a narcissist and I found your site, but the progress is too little too late and I want to protect my daughter. He doesn’t know I plan to leave at the end of the month, but senses somethings cooking and tensions are high. Any advice on safely leaving would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Anne, It is very wise that you plan this very carefully. The latest edition of Back From the Looking Glass has 2 scenarios you can use for leaving safely. Please do give them a read over before you make the move. A relationship is a system and if system failure sets in (rather than you managing a system transition) and he feels he has nothing left to lose this is when serious violence can occur.

  30. I get the tantrums and drama all of the time. Then he will leave and come home being an even bigger pain. I will try to ignore him but I feel very nervous. Usually a lot of whiskey is consumed while he is away. I am working on the confusion and anger. Trying to value myself more than anything.

    1. Please do not ignore him as this will most likely enrage him more. Saying no to someone with these problems is not something to take on lightly. Please get advice from our Steps to a Peaceful Home Package before putting any plan of action in place!

  31. Being co-dependent, I’ve had to learn to say ‘no’ to myself as well. Looking at my own behavior, immaturity and how it was also affecting my situation was not an easy task.

    I love how this is laid out in ‘Back From The Looking Glass-13 Steps Towards a Peaceful Home’ with the ‘Love Safety Net Workbooks’ and the ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-Dependence’. Your ‘Emotional Stupidity’ ebook really hit home as well.

    Without these I don’t think my husband and I would be this far and happy with the progress we have made together as a couple, as husband and wife.

  32. I still can’t break free from my supposedly “ex” who still runs my life while being “free” to be with whoever. I’m primary caregive to his 2 children (from different women) and his “pillar”, doing everything for him, still being intimate and still financially supportive of him and his kids, though I know its wrong. He can be so charming and wonderful and we seem back to happy life together, then it all falls apart when the lies are revealed…and they always are. When I find out and call him on it he throws gigantic tantrums and abuses me no matter where we are. Yesterday it was in the supermarket and carpark. He was saying “I’m going to punch you in the face, I’m going to punch you in the face…” so proud of myself I stood up to him and said “go ahead, here I am” he was so deflated it took the wind out of his sails. I’m getting there.

  33. Saying “No” is a necessary lesson for myself, my hubby and son. Learning to accept a “no” will help all of us. But we also need to learn to say “no” also. To put a stop to the behavior that is hurting our relationship and future relationships. I did start saying “no” to how I was being treated for 10+ years. It took me a long time to learn how to say “no” without the anger to come back at me, but it has worked. Hubby has listened and talked to his Doctor about many of the behaviors. It is still a “working on” progress, but I can finally see some light at the end of the dark tunnel.

  34. Last fall it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to say no and start standing up for myself. It is difficult for me, as I easily feel intimidated, and this though my husband is not the slightest bit physically abusive. Verbally abusive yes. I have always maintained a decently good sex life with him through our whole 12 year marriage despite his verbal abuse, spite, & selfishness, but last fall I announced that I would not be having sex with him again until he developed a habit of helping with the dinner dishes. I mean this is a man who wouldn’t help with the dishes on Christmas day after I’d been cooking all day and was 8 months pregnant. A man who wasn’t doing the dishes when I was nursing a newborn infant and was also on crutches. So I decided enough was enough. Oh, he tantrumed, and I felt scared but I held strong. He did the dishes, with much anger and pouting. He also taught the boys to do the dishes, but they are too young for him to be able to leave it all for them. After about a month, we resumed our sex life. After a few months, he was doing the dishes regularly with a decent attitude. I still need to reaffirm this sometimes, but generally standing up for myself worked! I am trying to remember to do it in more situations. It seems to be at least one of the main behavior changes that I need to make.

  35. I love this explanation of a tantrum from your post: “Acting impatient and as if it is a major imposition — and you are deliberately holding everything up — when you express your needs and wishes.”

    That is SO exactly it. And being on the receiving end of such behavior really messes with your mind. It really makes you feel unimportant, and you know there is something missing from the situation, but you don’t see that it is LOVE… love on their part for you & concern for your needs. Or at least that is how I’ve reacted to it.

    But I finally, last fall, realized that there is such a thing as being “too nice”, and that I wasn’t doing anyone any favors, my husband included, by being “too nice”. Even if it does rock the boat to stand up for myself.

  36. Hi all,
    I think my husband’s tantrums are one of the worst traits of his narcissism.
    I used to try to get him out of the tantrum, until I realised I was playing into his hands, so now I just ignore him. I finally realised it’s about HIM, not me.
    I read a book called ‘Beyond Codependence’, which helped enormously.

  37. I have moved back in with my husband after reading back through the looking glass. so far, it is working. I took charge of my home, stayed calm, and firm, and showed him love and that I was not going to leave. I own my own emotions now (after reading about co-dapendancy) and leave him to own his. he used to leave and ignore me for days. now, he knows it is his choice and I have boundaries. he can be happy, or not, but, I will quietly push his ‘stuff’ back to him, and get on with my own independant life. he has learned the lesson that if he doesn’t shell out crap, he can have love, and not trouble. so far, so good..x

  38. I have been reading your material and I have to agree. My spouse constantly overspends even when i try to set limits. the last time he purchased a major item a 4-wheeler he did behind my back and didnt even consult me before purchasing it. The finances are an on-going battle so are the adult tantrums as well as his non-stop flirtatous behavior with other women. Sometimes I feel like I just cant take it anymore. I would really like to have someone to just share my life with instead of the constant selfishness and inconsiderate behavior.

    1. Hey Terri, It is vital you get onto the steps in our program (Steps to a Peaceful Home) and separate your bank accounts as soon as possible!

  39. Love this! – “Acting impatient and as if it is a major imposition — and you are deliberately holding everything up — when you express your needs and wishes.”

    I’ve already been through my own Hell and finally kicked him out nearly 4 years ago. The really sad thing is that he acts this way with our adult children and they feel so caught in the middle.

    I finally grew the you know what’s to put him on a “No Contact” rule (our kids are older) and it’s driving him absolutely nuts. I love it!

  40. You can also say no to your relationship. It doesn’t have to be this way. Other people don’t challenge you this way, they make you feel loved instead of scared.
    It is hard, it is difficult and after a year I cannot say that I am over it, and it will probably take a lot more time, but I am free, and I learned a great deal about myself (and about him, i cal him a die-hard NPD who doesn’t want to give in). I don’t have another relationship and I don’t want to, but I really enjoy the uncomplicated love i feel for my children, family, friends or just people I meet. And the best part is, I am happy with who I am!
    I look back at myself as if it wasn’t me, I was gradually being made dependent, afraid and thought I could not live without him. But I am stronger now, it made me strong, and saying no to people is not very difficult anymore. But I also recognize the manipulators much better. I think we all have to learn to set our boundaries, but it is not so hard with people who act ‘normal’ and have a normal respect to other people’s boudaries.
    Love yourself and do what you feel is right.

    1. Hey Lou – I agree completely. In my opinion people need help learning better relationship skills and to build solid boundaries for themselves whether they feel it is right to leave or stay. In my book too many people believe that the answers lies in simply leaving. To me whether a person leaves or stays is not so important and really must be up to the individual, what IS important is that you learn to take care of yourself and do what is right for you regardless of what anyone else thinks about that.

  41. Saying “no” is the most important way to say, “I love you”. Whether it’s raising children or correcting the family pet, boundaries must be established, and then a clear course to follow. NPD doesn’t respect “no”, therefore, doesn’t understand that a sexual act is not love, but is something that was developed to secure a relationship in a “marriage”. NPD doesn’t see anything but a quick fix relationship. I signed the divorce papers 2 days ago, after 5 years of knocking myself out trying to get through. Finding him in our “bed” in our “house” with whomever he wanted, and being laughed at by his family, who completely supported his actions. Last year, after the 5th postponement of the divorce, and a year after having to file bankruptcy, I stated to everyone I’d had enough! Come get him, everything we had worked for was gone through his actions, and petty temper tantrums. I’d also had the last beating I was taking, so everyone knew I’d reached the end.

    Where will I go from here? Only God knows. I’m down financially drained, and recovering from heart surgery, but I’m alive and see a need to do something about the US system. Retraining law makers, enforcers and judges may take the remaining part of my life, but knowing I fought Domestic Violence is worth all the self satisfaction there is. In the words to the old Heart song, “I’m not going to live in silence. I’m not gonna live in fear.”

    As far as relationships, I just want to get well, and better educated, and become a better person in case there is another relationship. Best to you all……..

    1. Hey Linda, You are on the right track for sure, congratulations on the strength of character you are building. That is real wealth. 6 or 7 years ago when I decided that I was going to become an expert on Emotional Intelligence I was in a terrible situation and had no idea where it would lead me. I wouldn’t have believed how much better my life was to become if I had been told. It is still hard sometimes and my instincts want to take me in the wrong direction but I hold on to the principles like my mast and then one way or another things improve. Not overnight and the road isn’t always an easy one but when I look back now I can’t believe how far I have come!

  42. This is so true! It really dosen’t benefit you or the people in your home if you let them take advantage of you. They learn nothing and you get more of the same!

  43. I have been dealing with this since my son turned 15 he is now 20
    I say no and run. If I dont run he breaks everything in my home car or where ever.
    I am scared for my daughter and myself.
    I have no place to hide.

  44. Thank you Kim for this blog. It comes at a perfect time for me because I am reading you book and materials and have started implememnting you suggestions. I do see a sloooow progress in both his behavior and the quality of our home life. It’s weird because in part of setting boundaries I have started to say no to him and he definately doesn’t like it. I noticed it especially when it comes to sex. I used to pretty much give him what he needed when he needed it, even when I was severly tired or had other things I wanted/needed to do. Now in the last few weeks I started expressing my needs and if I was tired explained it to him and didn’t give in to him pushing me. He has a hard time accepting no and has a tendency to hunt me all night trying to convince me but I am proud to say I lovingly and gently stood by my boundaries and let him deal with his feelings and temper tantrum.
    Again thank you for all the help you give us. You and Steve are such a blessing.

  45. Hi, I am ok when my son who is starting to be narcissistic has a tantrum. I tell him to stop, but when the guy I love has a tantrums, it stops endomorphins. I am not up to dealing with tantrums and other behavior like I used to deal with it when I taught Junior high kids. I am more intimidated by someone who should be my equal…than kids. I try not to take it personally. I get jealous knowing he has many women he flirts with. I don’t know that I could handle it since I know he may never be 100% loyal. Women are like a box of chocolates…he wants to test each one…thinking the next one will be even better. He wants someone who is his equal who will “put him in his place”. I get too shy…freeze up..can’t talk since what I say he will say the opposite…like oppositional defiant disorder. I love this person…but backed away…but miss him.

  46. Hey Everyone!
    Make sure you check out Kim & Steve’s updated home page. They add things periodically to help us. I’ve just viewed an added video/movie and it really helps me with my current dilema. Plus it helps remind us when we may forget somethings.

  47. Neil on July 10 really hit home for me. My husband & I have been living separately for over 2 years now. Because of his actions my trust in him is gone. He is the one who left. It is amazing to me how he can turn everything on me. He has said he’s sorry so now I am in the position of looking like an unforgiving, bitter woman. Long story.
    He tells me he loves me and is trying to a point. However, I can’t see that he’s taking full responsibility for his actions. Sometimes I crumble when trying to hold him accountable. Still looking for hope though & do see some progress. Or is it the same roller coaster I’ve been on for 20+ years? Still wait for the rug to be pulled out from under my feet.
    I hate that my marriage is probably over because I got sick.

  48. Hey Christine B!
    I’m guessing that most of us here can relate to worrying when the rug will be pulled out from underneath us. I’ve also used the metaphor of how Lucy pulled the football out from Charlie Brown just as he was trusting her to keep it in place(Peanuts).

    Do you have any of Kim & Steve’s ebooks or materials. Kim had described it as living within the ‘present’, holding the narcissist accountable for the present, not past doings or goings on. At the same time rebuilding or re-establishing the break down in trust and attachment. Have you discussed this with him during your 2 yr separation, the trust issues?

    I too have difficulty from the intense emotions connected from the past. And at the same time realize that by holding onto those emotions(other than the trust) is in essence shortening my life span-literally!

    Have you told him what would need to happen to rebuild your relationship? Do you see some of the co-dependency traits within yourself?

    As brief as possible, can you explain about how you got sick, your illness?

    Hope to hear from you again.

  49. I am confused now as my partner left me more and more and finally left now almost two months ago after I brought in the police as he threatened me the night before again. Very awkward how I did that looking back and I think the main reason why is is scared now coming back home. Not a safe home with the police, that’s how it arrived I guess. I still love him and would still live my live together with him, but I don’t know where he is at the moment or how to connect to him. I have become much stronger after he left and want to make it work. Just don’t know what’s the right move to connect to him again. I sent him ‘attachment texts’ for a while, but stopped that as everybody said better give him time and space. Am very upset, regardless of the exercises in the workbook. I just want him back, me being codependent or not. Please help.

  50. … no, there is more. I just have a very strong feeling that this should not be the end. Very strong going beyond everything I ever experienced. I cannot be that wrong.

  51. Hey Guus!
    Whatever the reason was for the need to call the police, obviously the need was real and crossed a boundary of your safety.

    What you are feeling and going thorugh is what I call very normal. Have you seen many of Kim & Steve’s videos? They are available on their homepage, and their youtube channel. There is one concerning this very thing.

    How long has he been gone? Please do not go into detail about the event(s).

    Hope to hear from you again.

  52. Listen none of this gets easy 49 years with the same old crap handed to me, its getting worse cause now he’s getting paranoid over everything has to lock the bathroom door when showering has to sleep in another room with furniture in front of it. He won’t take me out to dinner, won’t take me out for a date, or vacation he brings home food for himself, he’s got to be the selfish man in the whole world. He hides everything has a PO Box for his mail, hides his cell phone with a lock on it. He’s afraid of me who does nothing but tell him I am here if you decide to go to the Va and get some mental help. He has lost it, he use to be a half way decent guy that made me laugh now I look at him as a sick weak person no respect for him because he’s so into himself and uses people to get what he wants and throws fits when he doesn’t get his way and when I want to talk he walks away and won’t listen. WOMEN take heed this does not go away and the older he gets the worse its getting. I am 62 and not wanting to start over so i live a life to please myself and live with him like a room mate only. We have five granddaughters in common that’s pretty much sums it up sand but true

  53. My boyfriends tantrums started about 7 months after we started dating. It’s funny because this is the first time I have about others calling them “tantrums.” I thought I was the only one. After he throws his fit, we can talk things out civilly but it normally still ends up being my fault and I just give in.

    It has been 3 years now and I finally decided not to give in to him this time. He threw the biggest fit he ever has, even got into my personal space by knocking things out of my hands. I stood there and let his rage build and then fade till he stopped. We live together so, I went about my day and came home to tell him that I’ve had enough of his tantrums and I left. I took my all my things and staying somewhere else.

    There hasn’t been a day I don’t think about him and it has gotten a little easier each day. He is a mess. I have never seen him so upset. I can see that he is heart broken and hurting. He said he will show me he can change, but can he? We are young. I am 25 and he is 26. Is it worth it to work this hard at only the beginning of a relationship when we still have our whole life ahead of us? I don’t know.

    1. Hi Katherine – Only you can answer that question!

      Your story is a great one to highlights why leaving is not always the best leverage to use to put a limit on adult tantrums. One warning then action is always our rule but the consequence will be easier for you if they are something a little easier to manage such as you need to start controlling your temper better or I will need to talk to your doctor/the police/your boss/our minister etc. about how you are behaving.

      The trick is however that you must go through with this otherwise it is just and empty threat. I would suggest you read Back From the Looking Glass first (it will only take you a few hours) and then decide if you are up for it.

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