Don’t Try This With a Narcissist

If a friend handed you a book on how to outsmart your rebellious teenager, would you give it to your teenage child, telling them about the new methods you are considering trying out on them?”

Or maybe you would consider leaving it up to your suspicious looking neighbour to purchase and set up your new home security system for you?

In a much similar way I need to warn you that if you are living with someone with narcissistic tendencies, please don’t sign them up to our website or give them our books to read hoping this will help them.

I know it might be tempting to think your narcissistic partner is the one who needs changing and so they should do the work, but expecting that is simply going to give all of your power away.

What our program and books are about is teaching you to get stronger and learn better leadership skills – while you also learn to protect and defend yourself better.

This can help change your narcissistic partner’s behaviour for sure – but the steps and exercises are for you and not them.

I know some people worry about what will happen if their partner finds out they have purchased our material. My suggestion is to just say that you are doing a course in relationship skills to help you be a better wife or husband and then ask if they want to do it (The Love Safety Net Workbook) along with you? My guess is that the answer will probably be no (even if they say yes) and then you won’t have to hide anything from them, because they will actually be avoiding it!

So you don’t need to feel guilty or hide anything – but you certainly should not take the decision to encourage your partner to read our material lightly!

Isn’t that great news? You see in this situation the power is in your hands and not theirs.

And as much as you may think that you are just an innocent victim and there is nothing you need to do differently – my bet is that in our program you will learn some major shifts you can make to become someone with influence who commands more respect from the people around you.

The next mistake I don’t want you to make is thinking you can set boundaries that change your partner’s behaviour before you create a strong bond of attachment.

It is a tricky balancing act and I do not think you should ever tolerate allowing yourself to be abused, but I also know that some of the advanced work such as contacting the police and the bill of personal rights in the Love Safety Net Workbook should only be attempted once you have done a lot of work on your attachment.

If you don’t heed my advice on this, you are likely to anger you partner further (and perhaps put yourself in more danger) while also driving them away.

But forming attachment is not about you trying to please. Quite the opposite it is about you being as warm and friendly as you can – with little need for that being reciprocated, because instead you have found a focus on your own life.

Your partner will never be able to meet you half way if you do not leave any space for that.

So please don’t just follow the bits of advice I give on this blog ad-hoc, go and check out our page on how to deal with narcissism in your partner and then go ahead and subscribe (if you haven’t already) and make sure you read the page on the 3 things you should stop doing (on the private pages you will gain free access to) before you try out many of our ideas here. Otherwise you may end up starting with the wrong steps first and escalate the fighting and lose your relationship, all because you were scared you might be encouraged to spend a few bucks on an ebook!

There is a story I love about a butterflies struggle to leave it’s cocoon, it is tempting for someone watching to want to try and help – because the whole process looks so painful and takes many hours. But if you step in and cut the cocoon off the butterfly it will never leave the ground and soon die – because forcing itself out of the cocoon is what pushes the newly hatched insects vital fluids into its wings.

Try and remember this the next time you think you might need Steve and my personal support or some other person to come in and save you right now. You are going to need to learn to pull in help and support sure – but that is a skill in itself and no one can really do the real work that needs doing now except you. We have had people who are crippled, blind and even dying of cancer use the steps we offer and get themselves out of the relationship corner that they had been stuck in for far too long. And this all from following the basic steps in our 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence and Steps to a Peaceful home package.

If they could do this what excuse do you have not to find the courage to save yourself? It is a bit like deciding you are going to get fit at the gym. People can only support you so far before you have to start taking the steps yourself if you really want to get stronger.

So please remember that you need to be very cautious about showing your partner our material and you also need to work on building your attachment and your own emotional intelligence skills before you start making any big effort to modify your partner’s behaviour towards you.

This doesn’t mean you need to tolerate abuse; you are always capable of changing your own reactions which may mean removing yourself from the situation for awhile, if you have to, while studying the rest of our steps. There is a method to do this, without escalating the conflict, at the end of Back From the Looking Glass if you need it.

Take care and please don’t chintz on your own safety. Because while we offer hope for people living in narcissistic /codependent marriages, this is not a situation you can or should take lightly.

68 comments

  1. Darlyn Reply

    Hey Kim!
    Another great article. You have a knack for keeping things on the same topic, tying it all together and phrasing. This further more reinforces all of your and Steves’ information, materials, videos and ebooks.

    I read your materials, info, and ebooks without hiding them from my husband. If he asks what I’m reading, I just tell him about relationships but most importantly narcissism or NPD. Then he quietly becomes quiet.

    Since implementing all of your and Steves’ info and especially the steps and strategies in the ebooks, I put the focus on me just as you mentioned, my husband took notice of that and has made changes for himself(and us). Even with the occassional ripples or back stepping, using your steps helps return us to our path towards a peaceful home.

    Can’t thank the two of you enough. It is the two of you that I have found to be most helpful in dealing with NPD.

    I remember your video of ‘What Not To Do’, and refer back to it when I need that reminder.

  2. curtis Reply

    Steve &Kim,I want to thank you so much for your posting theu really help and inspire me for hopein this marriage,this is a very difficult situation,when everything is my fault,nothing I dp is good enough,and the total disrespect,I look foward to receiving your e-mail,I really wish I could afford to subscribe,however my every penny has to count for something,but I still just need you to knoq you all are a God sent

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Curtis and welcome! A basic subscription on this blog or on our site is free. Also if you need help getting the books please contact me at kimcooper66@gmail.com I should also let everyone reading this know we now have a Gold Membership Level (look at the top of this page) which is for people who want to help us be able to afford to keep giving out free downloads to people who need them.

  3. RA Reply

    I have implemented much of your advice in the last few years with several members of my family (only one of whom is narcissistic)to great effect, but if they had known what I was doing it would have unraveled quickly.

    One outstanding example is the greeting. My son is not narcissistic at all, but he is laconic and at the age when young men do not really want to listen to their mothers. I have always greeted my children in the morning and hugged them before bed, but I started to really look at him when I did it. I opened my eyes a bit and smiled – not really saying anything – and tried to show how much I cherish him. I would hug him like it was really good to see him – again, without saying anything. It took a little while to “take,” but after a week or two, he started to light up also when I’d look at him. He started to seek me out, especially in the morning, so I could greet him. It has made a world of difference in our relationship.

    Such a simple thing; such a profound effect.

    Thank you, Kim and Steve.

    Where did you first learn this?

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi RA – Well done with your son! You know that greeting thing was something I noticed myself. Once I started looking for role models for myself I noticed that all the people who I really felt a strong connection with were people who greeted me very warmly. Then I started to notice that popular people did this with everyone! When I really started looking at it I found it amazing. How a person greets others is even a great marker for how influencial and successful people are in their lives.

  4. margaret Reply

    This is exactly what I was praying for. My husband has the NPD but it is stemming from and complicated by a disease in his temporal lobe that prevents him from attaching at all, or being intimate etc.

    I had begun detaching as he went off his meds that were making our marriage possible, but stimulating that part of his brain to produce the adequate blood flow and neuro-transmitters (sorry, Kim, sometimes the brain is part of it too, read Dr. Amen’s brain scan in formation it will add into what you already know about the diet and brain issues very well :)) and I find every time I detach he detaches even more, so I wasn’t sure what to do.

    He called the police on me yesterday, and their advice was to get out completely of the situation (I had hung onto his neck to get him to stay as he had promised intimacy after a month away from us, and then reneged at the last minute)

    Anyway, he makes me look crazy, but I have begun taking control of my life, we’ve been apart almost constantly for a month, and I’m seeking outside help, consulting his diagnosing doctor, etc.

    The thing I’ve been puzzling over is that the more detached I get, the more remote he gets and it just goes on and on and on. As I’m expecting a baby, number 6, in two months, I do want him around soon.

    Anyway, I will pray about specific attachment steps as well as the detachment, although without the medications, I’m not sure it’s worth any effort even if I lose a marriage completely before baby Mattaniah comes 🙂

    In Jesus, and thanks for the advice again so clearly laid out (I have been giving away strategies, he found this site first and was all over the help for narcissism before he went off meds of course, now he’s completely well and grandiose and bipolar seeming….etc.) MB

  5. Marcus Reply

    I made a mistake just mentioning in an email that I thought my girlfriend was a Narcissist.She just got a little defensive and shrugged it off however.. saying..I am anything BUT a Narcissist.. I didn’t sit and debate the issue I just tried and drop the subject. Now I am hoping she forgets about it so that I can get the ammo I need to defuse her verbal abuse and other cycles.I am working on my codependency and my issues to stop future arguments. That is all I can do.

  6. Carol Reply

    I now have to live with two of them as my son is living with us now. Hubby promised to have a contract with him before he moved in, but gosh, gee didn’t get done. Now that he is moved in, all bets are off and my husband constantly enables his behavior. He claims of course that I am a heartless mother, because my parents were, and that everything he does is because he, and only he, has unconditional love for my son, and I don’t. I know the best thing for all of us is for my husband to move out with my son, let the two of them deal with each other, should be fun once they don’t have their narcisstic supply in me. But that would be a burden on their part, require action and show respect for my boundaries, so it “isn’t gonna happen! ” according to hubby and son. Since I have horses and other animals that I am responsible for here, it would be very difficult for me to leave. But thank God, I have my horse, and many good friends, many places to escape to! I agree that going to counseling, offering reading materials and websites can work against you with these types. they do not look at this material thinking about themselves, they look at it to find chinks in your armor, not theirs. And yes, I can be passive aggressive (actually working on Patience and Thought), and narcisstic (actually self preservation). I am learning to let my house be a little messier, spend more money on myself, and ride my horse off into the sunset when they are intolerable. The hardest thing for me is that I used to be a “people person”. After dealing with this for 32 years, I am becoming a recluse and really could care less if I have contact with any thing human! God bless us all, we all have our burdens to bear.

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Carol and welcome! It is great you are focusing on keeping yourself happy and please make sure you do keep contact with those friends of yours!

  7. Rooda Reply

    Again Kim, I thank you for the advise. I have told this guy I do a lot of workshops on relationships so I don’t make the same mistakes with others that I did with him. And there is nothing in the entire world it seems that willl bring him back into my life no matter what I do. And I know that eventually I get so angty and so frustrated since I want one kind word from him and he wont give it to me and although he ended wih me long ago, he still tells me to call him only once a day and not more and i’ve been increasing it lately. I have nol idea why he even says this? Does he miss me? does he like my compliments? Does he really care on some remote level? and is too afriad that i’ll attack him again and then I do end up aattacking him or as he says complaining since he wont say one kind word to me and he only sees my anger and not all the niceties I’ve said to him which are from my heart. He wont respond and there’s nothing I can do about it and i know the one thing I haven’t done is to stop caling or e-mailing him and this attachment disorder i have is terribel, but i loved him so much when it was good between us and i grew up in such an abusive family, it’s a wonder I’m still alive. I fought a good fight to try to keep my sanity and this is what I get? A man who dumps me and is a narcissist and who can’t deal with a wonen’s anger at all. and isn’t in my life at all and yet, reads my e-mails or some of them and listens to my voice mais, so obviously he hasn’t un hooked either or he wouldn’ do this and he wouldn’t lead me on in this way. I have rached out to others and when I have better days I do go to groups, to a living food group and to a spiritual group and anytime I meet some new friend they move and it’s uncanny how this happeens, but since I’m a senior and live in a senior place, many people go back to be near their families and then Im alsone again. I can’t maintain any consistency with anyone since my best friends, 30 to be exact either died or moved from this state. People I spent a of time with and now that I’m in a wheelchair and have no liver or colon function I can barely move out of bed most days. My declining health is a huge factor in my lonliness and my clinginess to him and this attachment disorder is huge for me. aqnd my mother was a multiple so I’m so used to this pattern of trying to get the good mother to come back and what can I do to make her love me? and what can I do to make ths guy at the very least rspond t me in some kind wqay and I know if I stopped contcting him it would help; me enormously and i’d have maybe some chance of him the wanting to contact me. But, this dreaded fer of truly letting him go scares the begeebies out of me and I know it’s a transference because I felt so loved and cared for by him, more than anyone in my entire life and it all turned sour and I know that I proejcted to many unresolved anger issues on him and I went back to therapy and worked through so much old baggage nnd i don’t feel as hostile at all anymore towards him, but he stilll wont respond. All i know to do is to stop calling him at least with so often like i do. and I don’t know what it will tqake for me to come to this place. Thanks for all you and Steve do. Ronda

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Rhonda – Once you face the fact you have already lost him it is going to hurt like hell but also that will be the point when the silver lining starts shining through for you. You have accessed our blog so in that you are not alone! Looking for kind words from someone who will not give them to you is wasting the energy you have right now and will destroy your self respect. You need to start giving the love you need to yourself. Do you have someone who will wheel you to a park to look at the roses? And if not can you enjoy imagining them in your own mind? There ARE people who will give you kind words and a little kindness and attention here and I bet in some other places in your life if you let go of the idea of getting love from him. You need to start looking in the right places and not the wrong places – but first and foremost you need to be loving towards yourself 🙂

  8. Amy Reply

    Thank You Kim another great article and so very true. I have finally made the choice to focus on my physical and emotional health while trying to grow attachment and being more patient with him. I have taken your advise of taking natural sublements, stopped drinking alcohol, focus on a good diet, getting enough sleep and started a work out routine. Taking time for myself and my children. I feel soooo much better calm and even without the constant rollercoaster. My partner is not quite sure what to make of it and has had moments when he got jealous and controlling because of his hurt feelings of not being the constant focus of my attention. I reassured him that I am here and love him but also reconfirmed the fact that I need to and have the right to do things that I want to do. After a few little temper tantrums he realized that I was not budging of my boundries and continue to do what I need to do for myself and kids and so he has no choice but to move on and accept it. Thank you all you do. With your help I am finally taking control of my life in a good way. I will forever be greatful to you both.

  9. Day by Day Reply

    I agree with Kim that it is absolutely the best choice to not share this blog / these articles / info on NPD with the N in your life! If I had to guess statistics, I would venture that 99% of the time, doing so will evoke anger and defensiveness in your N!

    Kim, you are spot on that the best strategy is to take these resources, and work on yourself as an individual. You can never go wrong by improving yourself as a person, right? The forthcoming better “new you” may or may not evoke personal growth in your N, but either way, you are better off!

    Great reminder! Thanks again!

  10. Sue Reply

    Very wise advice. Even now that things are easier to manage at home, all my workbooks and background reading sit with my study books (psychotherapy training) so I can hide them in plain sight but stay safe. As far as my other half is concerned, it’s all part of my course.

  11. S.L. Reply

    Thanks, Kim ! You really care…God Bless You Always! The hard road you have taken is a blessing for many of us with your devotion to sharing, hope and personal responsibility. I want you always sending your e-mails to me. Your information on one web page started my healing and hope. At that time, I would have hesitated to believe my husband would change, but he is working hard and realized when I started on my road to getting healthy and staying in my marriage that the change in me caused some reflection. I will not become a victim to abuse again for love that is a sick self love created in a very sick home that was called healthy…but was a closed home to anyone but indoctrinated family. Keep up the love and good work and healing and sharing. You and Steve are just the best ,one other comment…my doc said five things to stop a conversation for are swearing, use of you word you, use of the word never, yelling, and use of the word ever. Blessings.

  12. sukulina das Reply

    I am seeing changes in my husband the more calm and less needy I become. I followed your recommendation of reading Christian Carter’s book. Just instituting changes in body language have been huge. Posture, tone of voice, and looking him in the eye. I had a bad habit of not looking my husband in the eye. I can see how I was communicating that I am lower status by doing that. For the first time we had a conversation as equals. He often hinted at wanting someone who would stand up to him, but I never knew what that would consist of. It also meant he would no longer be the father figure I was trying to get approval from.

  13. Laurie Reply

    It never crossed my mind to tell him that he most likely has NPD as that would have just given him ideas about how he could continue to make me look like the crazy one 🙂

    Back in the spring, our situation really came to a head and the result was that my two teen daughters and I ended up completing about four months of counseling after a social worker became involved.

    He, on the other hand, though everyone knew he was the problem causing all the other problems, even though he signed an agreement to get some counseling, after waiting months to finally get in to the behavioral counseling that I had picked (or the social worker was going to do so) had an epic hissy fit after going only once.

    Thanks to what I’ve learned from Kim and Steve, I had already anticipated this move, and so wasn’t caught by surprise.

    For the first time in 17 years of marriage, he played the threat of leaving us card, a move designed to get him off the hook for any more counseling.

    In the past, I would have let his crazymaking moves upset me enormously and suck me into all kinds of placating gestures (as I’m a homemaker without much support)…but this time, I remained detached, reminded him that I was still there for him but it was up to him to stop stiff-arming his family…and initiated a conversation after two days of him playing many of his usual tricks, in which I reminded him of the particulars of why exactly he was supposed to go to counseling, refusing to let him blameshift and confabulate his way out of it. I asked him to own the decision to not continue with the counseling, which he finally did do.

    That was a first for him; normally, he would just continue his game playing until I volunteered the result he was after.

    He may or may not have consequences imposed upon him from the social worker for his refusal to continue counseling; time will tell. It took so long for him to get into that particular program that the social worker had already closed our case, but I believe I can contact her to re-open it if things get worse. I don’t really believe that counseling would have helped him, anyway.

    After that conversation, I continued with my plans for the next few days, ignoring the silent treatment, the withdrawal, and the poor-me-I’m-no-good-for-you-and-the-girls act.

    I even made plans to go to a babyshower next month for one of my extended family, something I’m quite pleased with myself over doing as he had me so isolated from all my family and friends.

    He’s happy as a clam now, of course-what a relief to not have to expose himself to a counselor!

    My point of sharing all this is that simple confrontations, such as telling him or her what you are learning from this site and suggesting there is something wrong with them, don’t really do much good as the only person you have control over is yourself. Learning to value yourself first and decide what you will and will not tolerate does have an effect on the way others respond to you, even a someone as hyper-focused on their own self as a narcissist.

    Progress has been painfully slow for us, but it IS there.

  14. Fran Reply

    Hi Kim , I can’t believe you just gave us this advice! I was praying if I should share the book that you suggested to read, Hold Onto Your Kids by Neufeld & Mate, with my N husband. I can’t thank you enough for suggesting this resource. It has given me SO much insight into him. Do you think this particular book shouldnt be shared as well? I thought it would give him insight into himself. Ive heard him allude to himself that he doesn’t know why he has so much -I forget the word he used- but something to do with a hateful attitude. That book just spells out all the different types of behavior that rises out of not having a healthy good attachment to parents in deference to having attachments with immature peers – I thought he might be able to spot all of his bad behaviors & want to change. To have a chance at feeling free from those chains & getting healthy. As I’m saying this I think I’m realizing that I would be expecting him to act in a “normal ” way. And like you just said, the temptation would be that it would just be much easier & less painful for me for him to come to this realization on his own. I’m really serious about me changing though. I now do realize my co- dependent ways. And have become acutely aware of my bad, shameful behavior towards him in response to his narcissism. My pastor just gave a service on the book of Esther in the old testament. Maybe your familiar with this book? He made the point of saying how the sin of pride was what Haman was guilty of & that we act just like him when we demand love & respect just because of our position in a relationship. Haman wanted Mordecai to respect him- to bow in his presence because he was a royal official, but M wouldn’t do it cause he would only bow to God. So H finagled it so that M would be hanged high on a gallows for everyone to see. That’s how Ive been with my husband. Ive wanted people to know that he’s terrible to me & would say little things that would allude to that. I would be bitter towards him & his friends because they have like their own little tight loving “family” , & I’m always criticizing him for all the hurtful things he says & for always being out & about & never being home taking care of his family. He has been unfaithful to me in the past but I havent brought that up. Ive been trying to “take” love that was not being given to me. So I ve turned out to be as guilty as he has been of not loving me. Boy oh boy. How can I possibly expect him to have a chance at getting healthy if I’m constantly on him? Then I look like the offensive party. It’s just so hard. I don’t want to look like im condoning his behavior & I do think he should be aware that how he’s behaving is hurting me.

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Fran – Yes it is a balancing act indeed between keeping rapport and setting boundaries. I think that Hold on to Your Kids would be a great book to give him however – if you can get him interested and he is making progress – you might be a little careful however if he might notice that you are using some of it’s strategies on him!

  15. Kimberly Reply

    OK!!!! I want to tell everyone on this list to listen to every word Kim says! She is trying to clean up my mess now all because I showed my guy the boundaries trying to MAKE him UNDERSTAND. Back fired!! We now are broken up a second time. I thought that if I had my boundaries on paper that I was setting up my fortified castle up around me. That I then would be protected! LOL NO! NO! NO!!! IT made it worse. Yes by boundaries did not get crossed but the attatchment broke. I have to laugh at myself because we need to laugh!! Isnt this a journey we live? WOW. I have no idea where it goes from here, but I certainly will not be throwing my papers in the face of the one I love and pasteing them on the wall!Kim? I feel you should start making youtube videos or skits to give others visuals of how to set boundaries. Just a thought. Thanks Steve and Kim.:-)

  16. Tanya Reply

    I find it is really hard to know when suffering on behalf of another person is helpful, and when it’s just taking part in a negative dance. Sometimes it’s good to overlook things and be warm even when someone’s behavior makes you want to gag. At other times it’s important to set boundaries and not let someone abuse you. For me it is very hard to know the difference. Is that a codependent thing, or is it hard for everyone?

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Tanya – I think knowing you need to decide that is healthy! I call it choosing your battles. This helps you keep rapport so you have more leverage to tackle the things that matter.

  17. river Reply

    We need another Kim + Steve to write about those still involved with or recovering from narcissistic parents and family systems. When there is a seriously disordered parent, I think all the other family members get involved in the family relational system that results. Any offers?

    river

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi River and welcome! I couldn’t agree more. Steve and I are a little reluctant to talk about other members of our family but these patterns of behaviour are learned and so obviously they are passed along. I have a short ebook about this called Choose Happiness that was a give away a few years ago that I will have to make available again soon.

  18. Tim Reply

    Hi kim and Steve .
    I suppose the most important comments I can add , is any information a person who has narcissism can acquire to highlight Thier battle is a great tool for them to win the internal fight !. Really when You think about it a narcissist is someone with unhealthy self esteem and unhealthy ways of personally dealing with it :(.
    On the relationship front , a partner is someone who compliments the lifestyle and dreams of the other , if not your codependency is your main source of relationship . Dont get me wrong , a little codependency is healthy as is a little narcissism , it’s just when the markers get a little high in these areas that people fall over and take the partner with them . Me I bought your ebook due to having narcissism and codep in my marriage . I now have a situation where healthy self esteem , goals and dreams and visions are being lived and solid relationships are being formed .
    Keep up the good work for the good cause :)))
    Cheers T

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Tim and welcome! Yes I agree that people have to naturally compliment each other. Working too hard to “fit” with someone you have nothing in common with is not healthy at all. On the other hand people can balance each other too. I am very introverted and Steve is very extroverted for instance. We have that balanced now so our life is organised so that he gets to deal with the people in our life more while I get time alone to work. We still push each other to stay balanced in ourselves too though. For instance because he is a great people person I get more social invites than I would on my own and on the other hand I have helped him learn to have the patience and focus to get desk work done daily. We are going to be starting to offer our musical services DJing presentation nights and parties soon and again Steve will be out with the people while I sit and work behind the gear – but still being a team in that regard. What we share is a love of really good music – but the expression is different and that is okay!

  19. Nekisha S Reply

    Thank you for sharing this it was a great article. I really need to devote more time to the workbook and maybe setting a schedule. Although my marriage is improving (slowly) i still have not mastered what I need too and when I am triggered by my husband and his ways it backfires. Thank you Kim and Steve for all your help!

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Nekisha and welcome 🙂 – Yes the workbook is something I go back to sometimes still. I put it together so I would remember the very best of all of the research I had done. It is amazing how there are things in it that once were not so important to me but as I progress suddenly they are everything.

  20. Shasha Reply

    Hi, Narcissism maybe due to Celiac. Tests may not work to diagnose it and doctors may not be trained in it. Not eating gluten/dairy/soy/sugar and taking vitamins/good oils and LDN and more may help. Drugs may hurt and they may quit drugs. Alternative medicine may help the body/brain and help moods/personality. Thank for your awesome site!

  21. Jan Reply

    Hi Kim,

    I have read a few of your articles but haven’t purchased your books yet. Can you tell me, do your practices actually work with Sociopaths with Narcisstic tendencies, or only straight-out narcissists? Because if you’re dealing with an actual sociopath (who might be just a check-of-that-old-freezer-in-the-garage away from being a serial killer) then surely the only solution is to run as far and as fast as you can? I mean, it’s not always easy to tell if your dealing with someone who is just playing along with you, allowing you to imagine that genuine progress has been achieved, just so they can laugh all the harder when they pull the rug out from under you AGAIN.

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Jan, The thing is that our advice is about de escalating the conflict and also the competition in the relationship and this is going to put a person in a safer position no matter what the diagnosis. I have worked consulting with psychologists working with women with psychopaths and sociopaths who were too afraid to try our steps and exercises and so instead jumped in and pried the person involved away from their disordered partner only then to find themselves in a battle with a psychopath (who is now angry as all hell) over their wife and kids (not a good place to be). This is one of the reasons we gave up on the idea of a therapists directory – because I couldn’t be sure the therapists really understood that the methods we suggest are more powerful (at de escalating the potential for violence) than leaving is. This is not to say that a person cannot choose to leave. If they want to well and good but that needs to be planned out very carefully and working through steps to de escalate the conflict.

      Running away from an angry dog might sound like sound advice – unless you know something about dogs.

  22. river Reply

    Kim, thanks for your reply. I’ll watch out for the ‘Choose Happiness’ one.

    I have a message for Ronda, hi Ronda if you’re still listening here. Following on from what Kim said, if the roses in the park dont quite do it for you, I have another possibility. You seem to have lots of self awareness about what is happening for you, and your refer to ‘attachment disorder’. However, arising from my own experience, its one thing to understand, but to be able to change this compulsion so that you are free takes effort, it is a compelling desire. Have you considered going to SLAA, and treating this also as a form of addiction? In SLAA, (sex and love addicts anonymous), you should meet others who have been where you are, but who have found ways to overcome these problems, they have ways of helping each other to do this.
    Good luck, its not an easy journey, but it can be worthwhile.
    river.

  23. Shyama Reply

    Hey Kim,
    this is a wonderful article. First I thought I would never make this happen. But now I’ve realized after I read your blogs news letters and every thing, some specialty that was inside me had sharpened up. And I think as always you say in your writings its all about how much we can take care of ourselves. As much as they feel we are independent and strong, much more they will attract to us. And by practicing these qualities,my leadership qualities also were improved. And I’m really thankful for you about that.
    😀

  24. KIM Reply

    I agree w this article completely. It’s true,
    letting the N know you have it all figured out would make YOU FEEL better…justified even…but it would only HURT YOU in the end results. I listen to Kim And Steve and they are RIGHT. For instance, my N chose to make an unwise decision this past weekend while we were out of town attending a wedding. I set my boundary IN MY HEAD and chose to leave situation and do a lil window shopping….it took all of FIFTEEN minutes before I was having a good time and it was interrupted by a text MSG from the N saying, “Okay enough…where r u? Let’s go have lunch.”…..and he discarded his former silly plan. WORDS do NOT solve problems with a narcissist…only ACTIONS….and sometimes NO ACTION.

  25. Linda Jackson Reply

    I don’t think I will ever understand my NPD friend. He is so very very odd. We have been going along somewhat fine than suddenly the silent treatment and I never know what’s the trigger. After last night I just could not deal with his behavior any longer. This morning my head was hurting and my heart started to palpitate very fast. It was stress. He and I had had a very insightful conversation early yesterday and I thought we would finish since he had to go but seemed interested in the conversation we were having. I tried to contact him and he ignore me until this morning. His behavior came totally out of left field. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced. Agony. I felt so much physical oppression until I became ill. When I think we are alright then bam something he creates happens.

  26. Rebecca Reply

    This has been the most painful and worse situation that I have EVER gone thru…. as an adult. Understanding what these kinds of people are capable of is truly frightening and more painful than what I have ever expected! I am hanging in there, but know that after this is over… I will BE STRONGER and SMARTER and NEVER allow ANY OF THEM TO ABUSE ME AGAIN!

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Rebecca and welcome! Yes it can come as shock how hard someone’s heart can truly be – but they are hurting from this too and while you cannot expect that you can reach them by making them feel sympathetic towards you (it needs to be actions instead) this does not stop you from being sympathetic. Living in narcissistic defence is really a hell place to be.

  27. Guus Reply

    A bit late, this post. Hope it’s not too late for me/us. You might want to put this in red letters in your e-book: first attachment, then the rest.

  28. Ellen Reply

    Strange that my husband has no interest in reading any of this material. I don’t need to hide it and he is not interested in the least. I’ve never showed it to him but have explained that a couple in Australia are helping me. He is responding very well to the changes in me. I used to let him take over responsibilities and decisions. Now I get more involved about where we will eat, driving, what we do with the money, even ordering the food for him. He needs a hearing aide bad and I used to resent it that he was unwilling to get one (vanity?). Now I like that he depends on me for everything. His false power and pride is diminishing in light of his need for me to lead and take care of things. I can see now how my easy going co-de pendant personality led to his increased narcissism over the years. He is 64. I don’t slack off and let him get the upper hand. The morning greeting is especially helpful to ward off bad moods and behavior. It’s never too late! But it still puzzles me that he is totally uninterested in this website!

  29. Darlyn Reply

    Hey Guus!
    I’m not trying to be rude or anything, it is actually outlined in ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ as the 1st thing to accomplish as the ‘4 Pillars Towards A Peaceful Home’. And I honestly think that if a person doesn’t have along with that ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ atleast for starters that things may be confusing. Have you watched Kim & Steve’s video of ‘What Not to Do’? I don’t remember the exact title. I do know as I previously commented, there was obviously a legitimate reason for you calling the police.

  30. Elisabeth Reply

    I had a seven year remote relationship with a NPD,he left me for another woman 8months ago. looking back today, I am so grateful to be healed from the hurt(after the no contact rule was eventually applied)however I am now equipped with so much more wisdom that I can apply.

    I have recently met another NPD,someone I have known about 24yrs ago, and should I have not had the bad experience with my ex,the narcissist,I would have had fallen right into another trap of yet another narcissist as I was attracted to him instantly as well. Thank God that I received the courage to free myself from this person.

    I do realise that being in a marriage with a narc could be unbearable but this site is also proof that there is hope to possibly save a marriage with a narc. I also strive to link as many unhappy people to this site as possible,I realised knowledge is wisdom and wisdom is freedom and could bring happiness again.

  31. kathy Reply

    Hi, by reading signs/symptoms of this nasty way of living. I’ve realized my 34-yr-young daughter is narcissistic. What a heart break, and relief. She is an only child. I was co-dependent until I took the 12 step program. My ex-husband,a very co-dependent feeds her sickness. We both lived in Ohio. She graduated from college in’96,in central Florida. I wanted to be with her and she liked the idea of me moving closer to her. I am a hospice LPN so I felt confident in getting a job. I now work for the best company I ever have in my 34-yrs of nursing. I do not want to move. I have SAD n can’t live in the gloomy climate of Ohio. My daughter,husband, n my very precious 19 mo.young granddaughter ( I was told today ” it’s going to happen” move back to Ohio. They have been talking about moving for months. They don’t want their daughter n (she’s pregnant) going to this counties schools. They r both school teachers. She has her masters’, but chooses to stay at home,even though house is upside down. They are staying w daddy n step- moms now until Aug to find husband a job n a home. She has been on/ off upset n disrespectful to me since 2004, when I moved here. We got along when she was in college n since I’ve been here she’s cold, never affectionate, finds wrong w me constantly. I’m divorced x 2. Sine co-dependence classes I’ve learned my mistakes. I’ve apologized to her for being a piece of crap mom, she said “it’s ok”. Like the behavior no empathy. She continues. I can’t bear the thought of not seeing my seet granddaughter when I want, we have a close bond. My daughter said ” I’d thought you’d consider moving for ur granddaughter sake”. I am seeing a counsler (sp) she said my daughter sounds narcissist. Bingo. Any suggestions from your expertise I really need. Thank You.God bless you.

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Kathy and welcome – It is not an easy problem to deal with. The Love Safety Net Workbook is probably the best place to start. I also wonder how close you are to her husband? He may need your support as well.

  32. Joyce Reply

    After reading and seeing your articles on your website for at least a couple years; I have finally decided I need to take a huge step forward. I have been co-dependent to my narcissistic spouse for over 47 years! I fit the co-dependent to a “T” as does my husband, the perfect NPD. Yes, I have received lots of counseling throughout the years and I even had started proceedings for divorce when only married five years! Of course, I took him back after he sweet talked me once again, as he said he missed his two children so much! (I promised I would never do a divorce again!) I have learned a lot through the years, but have so much to learn, because he STILL tries to be extremely controlling and is always trying to put me down! He is not physically abusive, which is one reason why I thought this problem was really all my fault. We were young when we married and I was his doormat and maid, never even questioning or trying to defend myself. (My Mother was also co-dependent and so I thought this was the way it was suppose to be.) Yes, he had affairs, lots of girlfriends, as well as a drinking problem, lots of DUI’s for many years. I just simply put up with it and of course,it was all my fault, right?? (So I thought!) Thank goodness for my three kids and a full time job, which helped me through the years! Well, I have learned in the past few years that it wasn’t all my fault. I do have friends and hobbies, which help keep me busy. He STILL keeps putting me down even now, especially in front of my friends and tries to make me look bad. I’m not sure how to defend myself anymore, so I’m hoping the book I ordered will give me some good food for thought and insight on how to help build up my self esteem as gets very low at times. Maybe it has gotten much harder for me now, since we are both retired. I find myself on the defense most of the time, because of his put downs. He is intelligent and a “jack of all trades”, so of course I am stupid and ignorant! I am sure he doesn’t love me, but he also doesn’t want a divorce. I need to know how I can live under the same roof with this man. He also does not get along with any of his family except for one sister, but he is as charming as can be to most women, especially if we are at a gathering or around other people. I really enjoy your e-mails and blogs, just thought I could keep my self more positive by your books as well. Thanks for seeing a need for this problem, which I never knew existed for many years!!

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hey Joyce, Congratulations on taking that step 🙂 Changing these patterns in your relationship probably won’t be easy – but there are lot’s of us here to support you!

  33. One strong woman who walked away Reply

    Obviously, none of you have ever had the hands of your NPD partner around your neck, choking the life out of you, with all your children watching!

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi One strong woman who walked away.

      I think you will find people here who have been in similar if not the same situation and I would like to make it clear that we are not against walking away. My concern is you being able to walk away safely and also protect your children during future visits. In my case leaving was not the solution – but many people who work through our program do leave. We also provide steps to help facilitate this if that is your choice. My problem is with people who suggest leaving is the ONLY answer and pretend that it is an easy way to keep yourself safe. Unfortunately that is not the truth and leaving can make the fighting and potential for serious violence much worse. One way or another this is not an easy problem to deal with and takes strength and courage either way. The steps we offer will help with this whether you leave or whether you stay.

  34. geegee Reply

    How can I handle a co-worker I dated for 3yrs. Just found out he’s had NPD just by the way he was treating me and reading up on it. I’m getting the D&D now. Also he cheated on me with another coworker and we all still work together. I see them everyday! He lied and said they wasn’t, but she made sure I new. She is unsure if we had anything going on and I never said anything. She don’t speak to me anymore anyway because of him. I’ve been doing pretty good getting through my days. If you can help

      • geegee Reply

        I think so, but things don’t look to good at times with them. I see some of the same stuff he done with me before I knew what it was all about. I still speak even though we don’t talk, just for work purposes only and he would speak, but it’s like it hurts to do so like not looking directly at me with his head down.

  35. geegee Reply

    And why am I feeling sad for him and her now? I’m a very positive person with high self esteem and been on the job longer than them both, but I just got caught up in this experience that I knew nothing about.

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Maybe you can say something like “He is sweet sometimes isn’t he? That is why I fell for him just like you have.” and then just get on with your work.

  36. Titti Reply

    I am sick in fatigue syndrome mainly because of my relationship with a narcissist. Hos can I forgive him? And how can I trust him to support me being healthy again. When I take steps to recover he make sure I get sick again. I dont know how to do with my situation. This behaviour is so difficult to deal with. I can not live with him knowing he is doing this to me. Is there any hope for our marrige?

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      You cannot trust him to support you being healthy again – you need to do whatever you must to take care of your health. He probably doesn’t even know how to take care of himself!

  37. Laura Reply

    This is all great information but I am concerned about something I’m not finding much info about. It is a cruel game a narcissist plays for selfish reasons and learning how to deal with them can help the victim but how can you actually trust a narcissist after they show this side of them? Isn’t love about being there tor each other through difficult times? I will purchase these ebooks today and start learning how to deal with him but he has crossed the line with cruel words and he tells me I am nothing. He has to power to stop my pain but he is enjoying watching me suffer and the belittling gets worse with every fight. He’s to stupid to realize the permanent damage he is doing and I cannot understand how this is love in anyway. Is it possible for a narcissist to love someone they belittle just because they know they can get away with it? Can a liar really actually quit lying ? How can you ever trust someone again who has no regard for your feelings when you need them the most?

    • Kim Cooper Reply

      Hi Laura and welcome, these are all great questions.

      Our advice is about you learning to set effective boundaries where you are not dependent on trust to keep yourself emotionally and physically safe. The power needs to be in your hands and not his!

      After this over time you can see if trust grows between you or not. For some learning to respect yourself will earn your partners trust very fast but not everyones marriage will survive. When you learn to set these type of boundaries against exploitation some people decide that they do not want to continue and finally have the strength to leave, other times the person with narcissistic tendencies will walk away.

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