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(For Part – 1 in this series click this link)

Step 2 – Build Trust

Humiliation, Abandonment and Betrayal

You probably cringe just reading these words. Because psychologically they are some of humanities worst fears.

And as much as you may feel it necessary (or even fair) to threaten your narcissist partner with any of these — it is not going to help if your intention is really to tame them!

I remember reading that threatening to leave a child behind is one consequence you never should use as a deterrent. Likewise humiliation and betrayal are not teachers of anything but disrespect and anger.

The narcissist has already suffered these torments as a child growing up and if these being used as punishments didn’t improve their behaviour back then – they are not likely to help now.

So how do humiliation, abandonment and betrayal look when played out in a child’s life?

Humiliation

1. Publicly drawing attention to a child’s physical shortcomings or psychological weaknesses.

2. Privately doing the same – but in a haughty or disrespectful manner.

3. Talking about a child in third person while they are present.

4. Talking about them in social situations while drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Abandonment

1. Leaving a child to go hungry.

2. Threatening to leave them behind if they don’t hurry.

3. Telling the child’s other parent or grandparents etc. that time is being spent with a child when really the person is spending it elsewhere (using the child as an alibi).

4. Leaving a child with a TV, computer or toys as their main form of company.

5. Drinking or taking drugs in the evening during time which should be spent with children.

6. Not paying attention when the child is talking.

Betrayal

1. Allowing the child’s other parent to abuse them without taking action against that other parent or talking to the child about it or believing them.

2. Neglecting a child for a new partner or romantic interest.

3. Allowing the child’s other parent or a new partner (step parent) to humiliate a child.

4. Selling your child into prostitution.

Now the reason I have made these lists from the perspective of parenting is to really hit home about how emotional most of us feel about this kind of abuse.

And I hope this helps bring into perspective — that opening these old wounds is not sensible as a form of remedial therapy.

If your narcissist partner was humiliated, abandoned or betrayed as a child – you threatening to leave them, trying to make them jealous by flirting with other people or putting them down in front of others is only going to make them resentful and angry.

If you want to leave – start taking action and get our advice in the last chapter of Back From the Looking Glass and do that wisely and safely. But leaving has nothing to do with using leaving as a threat.

And if you don’t want to leave — then stop threatening that you will — and instead let your narcissist know you are making some changes, but that you are not going to leave and that your intention is to stand by them.

Building trust is very important in any relationship and (as hard and unfair as it may seem) this is even more important with people who are manipulative, exploitative or abusive.

This does NOT mean leaving yourself open to be exploited or that you should build trust to try and please this person, expecting they will suddenly be nice (and play fair) in return.

I will have more for you next week on learning to stop being a soft target – but for now I want you to stop trying to force the issue if you are pushing any of these nasty buttons.

It is common advice that threatening to leave – or playing hard to get, flirting etc. are ways to get a person more interested in you. But divorce, desertion and physical abuse are also very common — and so my strong advice is “Don’t play with fire!”

And if you want to become an expert at building trust (and in doing so improve all of your relationships) please get started on the exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook. We have now received over a thousand testimonials from families that this book has helped. So if you haven’t started on the exercises in it yet, I wonder what you are waiting for? How bad do things need to get before you decide it’s time to do our boot-camp?

Narcissist Taming Part 3

 

Kim Cooper

Author of seven books on the topic of relationships and positive mental health.

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', 'End The Blame Game' and 'The Love Safety Net'.

This Post Has 35 Comments
  1. This is excellent advice. It’s true that when narcissists feel threatened they fight back and it will only make matters much much worse. They are willing to do anything to pay back even a perceived mistreatment, so I would go out of my way not to embarrass a narcissist in any way. It’s also true that you can’t just ignore their behavior. I tried both over a period of 30+ years and neither worked at all. I would highly recommend following Kim’s advice. Her suggestions are the only ones that have a chance of working, and even if your marriage isn’t changed, at least you will change and can have a life worth living.

  2. Eventually, the ‘bending like the reed’ way worked best in our house. Confrontation and fire with fire didn’t work.
    Not making out I’m any sort of goody two shoes, but I couldn’t beat my NPD partner at his own game even if I had wanted to. I could have played the threat of abandonment card because it is the closest to an Achilles heel he has.
    There have been opportunities to gaslight him, once I saw he has a real fear of forgetting things or getting muddled, a hangover from one of his mother’s way of making him feel small, pointing out his deficiencies rather than his good qualities, I’d hope I’m better than that.
    The message in this article is very sound. I know that being kind, firm, caring but strong is highly unlikely to rub off any time soon on my husband, but it does lead to a more settled, peaceful existence in the marriage. I do take opportunities to praise and support him, an experience I took for granted in my childhood, it was just how my parents treated us, but he never had. I know as an adult, not all kids get the sort of love and care I had. I know that kids grow up with the bullying and humiliation my husband had to deal with until he left home in his early twenties to marry me.

  3. Sue, the weird thing in my marriage is that my husband would feel taken advantaged of whenever I praised him. He would get all puffed up and say he had to do everything, when in truth he did very little and was lazy. Anytime he did anything worthy of praise (I looked for opportunities) he would feel sorry for himself. It was truly a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. He also has a drinking problem which probably contributes to his laziness. I wasn’t strong for years (but I was kind) because he was so intimidating and would create absolute chaos. So we had been married 25 years before I became strong, and then I wasn’t as kind, but I tried. I wish I could have applied Kim’s strategies earlier. We are separated with no plans for divorce, and it may be too late for us to live together again, but I am trying to apply some of the principles in case there’s a chance. At this point I am much happier living without him.

    1. Hi Everyone and welcome Kali and Yasmin 🙂

      Debi – you might like my very short article here called don’t build me up – don’t put me down.

      I think the thing to remember with people with NPD is that they have usually grown up with so much emotional manipulation that they are very sensitive to it. Someone praising you can feel like you are being condescended to or manipulated and so can easily backfire. What works better is very specific and detailed praise, but only where it is due. Like if you say – “It was great that you helped us clean up last night”, it doesn’t mean that much – where if you said “Thank you for putting the vacuum away in the right place. It is annoying when it sometimes gets left out or put away wrong and everything gets tangled up in it in the cupboard. That was a big help.”

      The other issue is with praise that many people with NPD had unrealistic expectations put on them (like the unrealistic expectation that kids will just naturally learn how to use technology without any help from adults). So praise can be a real source of embarrassment and shame for these people if they are being praised for things they know they really are not as good at as their parents pretend and believe (like “Oh our John is just such a wiz with computers” when really he is just goofing around and looking at porn!).

  4. Thank you Kim for your latest blogs on taming the Narcissist .They are really excellent and give us a great insight into why we really should change ourselves and not try to change him.But try to change the dynamics of the relationship. Also threatening to leave him or trying to confront him ,makes a narcissist angry and vindictive (like when a cat is cornered ,it will scratch)

  5. Yeah, don’t threaten. I said the “D” word, asked him to leave for a few days as he was behaving horribly, and much to my complete shock(probably no one else is surprised), he decided to “never come back”. And he said he had been “unhappy for a long time” (Say, what? We had only been married a year and 5 months!) It’s been two years since he left. It didn’t take rocket science to figure out after he left that he had started calling another woman before he left. This man went from adoring to just horrible, very fast, which makes me think the adoring was mostly an act or perhaps some feelings similar to love, but only cuz he was receiving so much from me…don’t know, just guessing. In any event, I think the outcome would’ve been the same no matter what I did nor didn’t do…just when. I did not know what I was dealing with then. It’s only afterwards, when consulting with therapists and then finding this site, that I figured out he was NPD. My heart broke from this– big time. Waited for so long thinking he had just freaked out and would be back. I pray that I will heal and grow from this, but it sure feels like I will never be the same. I’m getting better, one day at a time, with God’s help, a good therapist, this site, etc, etc. Still a ways to go. Good luck to all of you. May your marriages be beautiful. God first.

  6. “1. Allowing the child’s other parent to abuse them without taking action against that other parent or talking to the child about it or believing them.”

    Kim, would you categorise allowing an elder sibling to be abusive? For a while, my mother used to encourage my elder brother (only sibling) to beat me until I cried (as a means of “disciplining” me). My father used to come to my rescue but was the weaker personality and later gave into my mothers demand that I was a “problem child” and needed to be punished by my brother. Both my parents are now deceased but my brother is still psychologically abusive. Have you encountered this situation before because nobody I have confided in understands this.

  7. My husband does not like to work at all. Instead he says he likes to hire others and oversee their work. He says that is his strength. I did all the housework by myself and he liked to supervise and tell me what I was doing wrong, but he never demonstrated or set an example.

    He likes praise for thinking of ideas, but he doesn’t have too many good ones. Whenever he does, I praise him and his mood improves. If I want more info on an idea, he cuts me off. Then he implements his idea impulsively with out thinking it through. After that, when a good idea didn’t work because he invested too much money or did it in a way that was doomed for failure, he would blame me for thinking the idea was good. So I had to be very careful about the good ideas that he wasn’t willing to discuss. He did not like to invest time in planning, which is essential for most ideas.

    He does not like praise for manual work because he thinks if he does something well, he might have to do it again. Whenever I would comment on how the yard looked after he mowed it, he would say something like, ” Yeah right, I worked my butt off, what were you doing?” But if I went outside to help with the yardwork he would run me off because he said he didn’t like for people to watch him work. I would ask him to give me a job to do and I would tell him that I wouldn’t watch him, but he wouldn’t have it.

    I found out that he took frequent breaks and drank alcohol, and I don’t think he wanted me to know. So again, he didn’t like doing the work, but he didn’t want me to help because he was keeping secrets.

    It would take him all day to do a job that would take others an hour or an hour and a half to do.

    Trying to improve our relationship was a real challenge. I learned some things, but it took time, and he had already developed extremely bad habits by then.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Kim’s suggestions have a good chance of improving marriages. I would just recommend that they are started as early as possible.

  8. Gerard,
    I was so pleased to see your post. Recently I watched a segment about sibling abuse on the evening news. I did some googling and found the website and the author of the study. It turns out that at least 10% of domestic violence and murders are a result of unchecked sibling bullies. I myself was left alone and unsupervised with my sister for large amounts of time. My sister had been molested by my uncle and was very mean and difficult. My mother chose to ignore her and blame my sister for the abuse. As a result of my sister’s pain, I became her verbal and physical punching bag. I was younger, more compliant, and easier to get along with and my mother favored me my sister was intensly jealous She tried to kill me with a long knife. She called me “Ug” short for ugly. She threw me in a gravel pit and I almost drowned. She insulted me in front of her friends. She peed in the toilet and shoved my head in it. She stripped me of my clothes and made me run naked outside. Now she is telling lies to my adult daughter trying to get her to side against me. For many years I dismissed my suffering as normal sibling rivalry. After some pretty intense work at “The Ultimate Journey”, I discovered that the hurt was real and the abuse was wrong. The hardest thing to deal with now is my mother and her continual unwillingness to see the wrong or do anything about it. My family won’t validate my feelings of hurt or abandonment by them. I stay away from my sister as much as possible but she is trying to infiltrate my own family now. The hurt just never stops.

    1. Hey Gerard and Ellen – Yes I do agree Gerard – I don’t talk about my sister much on this site as I have blocked all contact from her for nearly 5 years now. My experience was similar to yours Ellen – but more on a psychological level of name calling and her getting other children (often strangers and she would pretend she didn’t know me) to gang up on me, when we were on holidays or I was at the beach near our home. It was all the more embarrassing because she was younger than me but more popular and less socially awkward. I was forever told “Look after your sister” and it took years before I reached the conclusion that I couldn’t do that and that I cannot help her. As you say the hurt just never stops. It was because of her however that I decided I was not going to accept it when I was told that there was no hope for Steve and that I should just walk away. I had already seen how that doesn’t end the trauma and with Steve and I having three kids together I was determined for a better outcome. I think that most dysfunctional families have narcissistic and codependent siblings and have written a post on that (and a short ebook you can find) here …

      http://narcissismcured.com/blog/how-do-narcissism-and-codependence-begin/

  9. Hi Sue I know how that feels, that terrible heartache. I began a relationship 4 years ago with a man I fell deeply in love with but in no time at all after we began to live together his behaviour changed and it was awful. I was shell shocked. And it was this that brought me to this site and I have to say its been a life saver.

    As a result I have had to recognise my chronic codependence and I now attend regular meetings at a coda group.

    Its painful and hard not to refocus all the source of my problems on my deeply wounded partner especially when he can be so vile.

    We did have a break through a couple of years ago when he agreed to see a counsellor and did so for about a year and a half and things then seemed to shift. I was over the moon because despite everything I really love this guy because when he was stable he was great to be with. However this came to an end and he didn’t persue it and sadly he has got worse and the insights he seemed to have gleaned as a result of seeing this lady have just evaporated. Its as if he has gone right back and some.

    However he has made the decision to leave which although I feel really really sad about I am also relieved as it was his choice. On the advice of Kim I have never threatened him… maybe he sees me as weak. To be honest I think he is relieved too

    However the point I am making is I am so much stronger because of the work I am doing on my self focusing on my codependency, via the books here and the coda stuff. Believe me if you practice it daily it does work..I feel sad really sad but not heartbroken or devastated. Thank God.

    Love and best wishes

  10. Geraldine,
    It worked out well that it was his decision, and you were smart not to threaten. I know what you mean about being relieved and sad at the same time.

  11. Does anyone besides me ever get Tired of having to work so hard all the time to try to keep peace in your relationship?? I have been married to a man with NPD for 7 years. I have applied and reapplied Kim’s suggestions, and they have truly been what has saved our marriage until now. But, sometimes it is so hard to not be angry, not be hurt, not be anxious, scared, or to feel like a door mat when there is one lie after another. When you never know what the next day will bring. When you never know when the lies are about yet another women. When you have to hide money or your bank bag from your business from your own husband. Sometimes it all just piles up, and I get so tired of having to be the one who doesn’t say the wrong thing or threaten or yell, or praise or don’t praise. I know that I am responsible for my own emotional happiness, but why cant I want my husband to want to show me kindness, or show concern for my feelings, or show appreciation to me? It gets so lonely sometimes,. and sometimes I just dont feel like I am being true to myself.
    I love my husband and I have worked so hard and want to continue to work hard to save our marriage, but I just dont know what to do on days that I get so tired!!

    1. Hey Patti, Yes this work is tiring sure – but I can’t help but wonder about some of what you mention in your comment when you say you have applied our suggestions but that his abusive behavior has not changed. The steps you mention that you have taken are all good and valid – but what about you limiting the abuse? If you follow through the steps in Back From the Looking Glass, 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence and The Love Safety Net Workbook – you should 1. Feel yourself progressing towards bigger and better goals in your own life. 2. Leave him in a position where he can continue with his lies or double life any longer OR 3.He will walk away from the relationship and leave you in peace.

      So I am wondering if you have got our books or if you are just applying advice from this blog? That always concerns me slightly – because the information on the this and my other blogs is really just intended as support material to help people while they are working through the steps in the books. The steps you mention are the preparation that is needed in getting yourself ready – but are not what is going to effect the change. This is not just about saving your marriage. Maybe you can do that and maybe you can’t – but after working through all of the steps you should know either way because a. Your relationship will be a happy one OR b. It will have ended and with you feeling strong and okay about that.

      Many of the steps will be very scary and sometimes hard But ultimately the process should feel empowering and not draining. So please if you can let us know more about what books you have and where you are up to? The four legged stool exercise at the end of the Workbook is where you should really start pulling it all together!

  12. Hi Kim,

    I have purchased Back from the looking glass and read it all.
    It has been nearly 2 months since I started to apply your advices and I have to say that things have gotten much better.
    I have managed to control myself and to avoid escalations until yesterday.
    My narcissistic husband has been trying for a while to start a fight but without success.Yesterday I could no longer control my anger and we ended up having a big fight in front of the kids (hate myself for allowing it).All started with him treating our 4 year old daughter in way that made her cry and made me go crazy.
    It ended up with him forcing the room door on me while I was trying to get in to talk to him and with me threatening him with the police,cause he was going a bit too far with his reaction.
    The children were crying and later in the evening he tried to make me feel guilty about all that happened and was projecting all his wrong doings on me.
    I am becoming a better person now and although I argued back,I didn`t let myself be convinced by his words.
    Anyhow,I need your advice for something else.Everytime we have an issue he resorts to talk to an old friend of his.This is someone I am starting to think is a bad influence for my husband.Why?Because he does not respect his own wife and is always giving the worse advice to my husband too.
    I happen to have access to hubby mobile phone and although I don`t really usually look into it (don`t want to obssess),I did it this morning to understand what this friend was up to.I found a conversation between the two of them from just moments before hubby came to confront me again in the evening.
    So when my husband tells his friend we had a big fight and that I threatened him with the police, his friend told him that women do those things on purpose.So according to his friend I forced myself on the door so that I could accuse hubby of violence.
    Now I understand why my husband was still polite with me even after the fight but turned into an angry beast after I saw him typing on his phone.
    This is not the first time and once again he bought into his friend words : women are not to be trusted!
    I would like to have this man out of our lives but I don`t know how to do it.It is difficult enough for me to try to change things between the two of us.I don`t need someone from outside making things even worse for us.
    Kim,please.Do you have any advice for me?How can I remove this bad influence from our lives?

    1. Hi Eva, I don’t think you can remove him – but if you continue with the steps and exercises there will probably come a time soon where you can bring it up with your husband. You need to have a statement prepared in advance that you have even practiced if you can. You need to be matter of fact and not leave it open to argument or discussion. It should also start and end with some specific praise if you can like … I noticed how you are showing more patience with the kids in the morning lately and I really admire you for that. As for your friend George however – I don’t know why you think you need advice from a man like him – look at how he treats his wife! – You are much better husband and father material than he will ever be. I think you should start listening to your own conscience and stop letting George’s advice let you down.

      If he gets mad about that so be it – you are better at handling that now. He will get over it and it will have been said just make sure that you let the doubt about what you have said about his friend nag at him and don’t you nag! Just mention it once and then leave it for at least 3 weeks and see what happens 🙂

  13. Hi Kim,
    Thank you so much for yor wise words!At the moment hubby is still acting mad so I decided to still be nice with him,so that he has no justufication for his behaviour and also to give a good example to the kids,since I promised them mum would do what she could to make things better.
    Anyhow I will indeed wait for hubby to be calmer before I bring the subject up.
    Once again thank you.

    You sure are an angel in disguise Kim 🙂

  14. Hi Kim,
    Actually I have read The Love Safety Net workbook, emotional stupidity,the little book of empathy, which I gave to my husband, and since I left the last message I purchased and read 10 steps to overcome co dependence.
    I found your site about 5 years ago when a psychologist diagnosed my husband with NPD and told me to divorce him quickly. I researched NPD and found you.
    Its a long story, with lots of details, including affairs, hidden credit cards, overdrawn accounts,extensive lies etc. etc.
    I know that I struggle with co-dependent issues and have worked in counselling and read many books, and have tried to follow your advice. For the most part it has helped myself and our marriage.
    There has been alot of “3 steps forward- 2 steps back” for both of us.
    Although my husband has made great strides in some areas, he continues to lie about seemingly senseless things. He still struggles with money and lying about money, even though I have taken over the bank accounts and finances.
    I have an auto-immune disorder, complicated with fibromyalgia. (and right now my menopausal hormones are all over the place) Between the pain and the medications, I do get overwhelmed at times with all the work it takes. I have a hard time not letting the lies worry me into thinking that “there’s more to the story”, and I begin to resent the fact that I have to wonder, and I start to take it personal instead of letting him own his junk independent of me.
    I know that I still have work to do!! And the 10 steps to overcoming Co-dependence has been a great boost to me!! I’ve written my goals down and printed a card with the 10 steps (personalized to me) and I carry it with me every day! I know the healthier I become, the less power his NPD will have over me! In fact the other day, I addressed an issue about money with him. I let him know what I was prepared to do if it happened again. I didnt yell, scream, act hurt, or try to make him feel bad. I just matter-of-factly told him what would take place. He just looked at me with a look I have never seen from him before and said he understood. It was the first time that I really could see how my behavior could change his behavior. Up till now I could never see that and resented that I would have to change to change him!!
    I appreciate all you do here Kim and you sharing your story with me. thank you so much!

    1. Hey Patti, Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Your example of healing will also be a positive influence on your husband I’m sure! I just had a similar experience with my eldest son – who has always been strong willed. Once again he had been rude and spoken to Steve and I with contempt – but while telling him that was unacceptable I also stayed calm (which I don’t always manage). I looked him straight in the eye and said very calmly that I was going to make him a promise. I said that maybe when he was older he would look back on that promise and thank me for it. I then said “I promise that I will NEVER give you your way when you are aggressive, rude or contemptuous towards us. So if you want to be 100% sure that you won’t get your way – all you need to do is speak to me that way.” I then explained that I saw no other way to help him stop getting so nasty and angry when really he should be negotiating respectfully. After that I was very relieved but also surprised when he said. “Good – because I really really do want to change that. I don’t know why I get so angry I hate it that I do.” So hang in there Patti and you hold your ground. Somewhere inside your husband he knows that what he does to you isn’t fair.

  15. To those that experienced sibling abuse: some of these stories were truly horrific and my heart goes out to you. I was very much abused by my three older sisters, but not to the degree that one or two of the people on this site have been – at least not physically. I have learned how to be happy and at peace in my life in spite of severe illness and nearly dying a couple of times – but contact with my sisters still leaves me (at least temporarily) disturbed, even now that I am in my fifties! So pathetic. But they just can’t seem to stop, so I have as little contact as possible. Fortunately none of us live in the same state. I didn’t realilze how seriously damaged I was by the childhood and adolescent abuse but it all became painfully clear after getting severely ill as I approached middle age; they again became abusive as s…. It’s true that just ending relationships doesn’t always give us true peace but it certainly can give you a lot more peace than hanging in there sometimes does. I think the choice is always individual – it boils down to finding out what exactly it is that makes us the happiest and most at peace. Hanging in there with relationships has its rewards, but going it alone can sometimes be equally rewarding and no one need feel they have to keep in contact if it is making one’s life hell on earth. I personally feel great as long as I don’t see my sisters.

    1. Hi Dale, Yes I agree that there are some relationships you just have to end up walking away from. I do not feel great that I have had to cut all contact with my sister – but I do feel better than when I leave any kind of door open in my life to her abuse. On the other hand I am also very glad that I unlearned the victim role that I learned from growing up with her (and parents that left us unsupervised and at a loose end way to often). Unlearning that victim role has taken my marriage from hell to heaven.

  16. Ok, The wait song pulls at the heart strings for sure. Waiting for these guys to crack seems like an eternity at times. Doesn’t it? I don’t know where they get all that energy from…………..

  17. Hi Kim,

    Can you please clarify something for me. As this is something I continually struggle with. I completely understand that humiliation, abandonment and betrayal are some of our biggest fears, and this is particularly the case for someone with narcissistic tendencies. It’s clear to me from daily experience how harmful they can be to someone with this disorder.

    So.. things like calling the police, telling them they will discuss things that you’re concerned about with people they respect, trying to let people they care about know about their bad behaviour etc. (e.g. like the example of suggesting calling their mother for a lift when they take off with the car), we know those things will create humiliation and feel to the N person like the ultimate betrayal. How do these two things coincide? Do we say that those things are okay because we’ve warned them first? Or because they created a situation where we had no choice but to do them?

    I have avoided until recently creating consequences that I know will trigger major issues with humiliation and betrayal, as I know that those are my husband’s greatest fears. Now that I have taken the major step of calling the police I haven’t heard from him for four weeks, apart from one brief interaction that confirmed for me he felt entirely betrayed. When and if we ever manage to sort things out it is likely he will carry this with him, as well as humiliation over the fact that since he has left I’ve needed to rely on my family for lifts etc.

    Has this not created the very situation this blog talks about avoiding?

    I hope this makes sense. I understand both perspectives (boundary setting v’s not playing with fire) , but holding them in mind at once and understanding how the two interact is challenging.
    Thanks!
    M

    1. Hi M and I am sorry to hear that your husband has taken that path. If you follow the guidance in our books we do try and make that line a little easier to walk, but yes it can be difficult. The trick really is in you yourself fully grasping that you are not betraying your husband or shaming him but that his own actions have led to this situation. A good script I recommend often is “I don’t know how to deal with you when this happens and I am very worried about you – so I am sorry but if it continues I AM going to need to ask for outside help.” Also making sure you let people you ask for help know that you are concerned for your husband should help them to hopefully be more sensitive to your situation. I wonder if your husband is not contacting you because he feels betrayed or if he is scared of getting in trouble with the police? The other possibility is that he is punishing you and trying to make you feel that calling the police was your fault. This is why it is essential that you know that it was his own actions that caused you to get help and really only he can control that. As hard as it must be – the more you can focus on your own life and goals now and stay warm to your husband and leave a door open for him to return if he chooses to – while not letting him emotionally manipulate you any longer – the faster he will see that he needs to take responsibility for his actions himself.

  18. Okay, thank you. I thought that was likely what you would say, but it certainly is a hard line to walk, so I value your input.

    All those possibilities are certainly likely, as is he may have taken up with someone else who flatters his ego and who he can talk to about how crazy I am!

  19. My own narcissiistic home is like that. I can be like that as well. Knowing how much I do to help my parents anc feeling like every time i need help with something its knowiing how my boyfriend can be very lazy about it. I on the other hand am not lazy but when it comes to going to certain places I have a hard time getting him to be on time. Because at the given time I cannot afford a vehicle and am barely able to pay off loans from college. I feel beat. Some times talking to him openly and honestly its like he shuts out trying to punish me for his incompitence. Just like my parents are doing to me. I don’t need that right now. i am already stressed i don’t need additional stress. If you are going to do some thing do it i say to him don’t punish me for it. I am exhausted, if he tells me he is going to be at the house at 4. Be here at four don’t blame me. When we talk about our future together i am barely able save he talks about us and doesn’t do anyfhing about it how will we ever move forward. I feel like with my circumstance I am being held back. My parents wants control. Here I am trying my best to keep them from takig control while asking his help. My parents always will play favorites with siblings and they always chose my younger sister.

  20. I cannot be independent i work part time in a retail store. I don’t get much support and here I am doing my best to keep my mind focused on what I need to do while looking for job number two without being negative. Its a terrible habit coming from a negative narcissistic home. Being the blame for other people’s incompetence when they can just say I am sorry. No more excuses. I am so done from my own parents looking down at me and keep nagging me like I am 12 i am 25 years old why can’t they treat me like it. Its so overwhelming.

  21. I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and married for 7 years now. I literally googled why does my husband hate women so much a few days ago and now here I am. I am so sad. After reading up a bit he fits the category of cerebral narcissist exactly. I was in shock. I have always wondered about his sexuality. An( I always had the feeling that he doesn’t really love me. The fact that he could never say the words without me having to ask him confirms this. He never compliments me at all. And he never initiates sex. He just always has something bad to say about women and everything revolves around him and his needs. As much as I would like to patch things up in our marriage, I feel that I should move on for my own sake. I will always pity him but I’ve realized that I love myself a lot more than he loves me. My focus for the past 10 years has been on him and now it’s time for me to focus on myself and my kids. I can only take care of myself.

  22. OMG This is the worst website,hurtful to abused women.Telling abused women to stay in relationship and work on it (being hurt )is just wrong.

    1. Hey Anna – Maybe you should keep reading as we do not say that you should necessarily stay, just that leaving is not the easy answer that many people pretend it to be (and often makes the conflict and abuse worse). In our case divorce was not the right answer. Learning that abuse is not a one way street and how to better handle your side of the conflict has been empowering to many of our readers over the years.

    2. Anna, some of us are choosing to look at our relationships from a more empowered and humble place. I have not been a victim, however harmed I am. I have been a volunteer.
      That is something I am healing with the help of the Cooper’s insights and several other forerunners now available via internet. It is my wish to explore every options, even when it seems new and different and against the old guard, to heal my relationship and ultimately the people in it. I would hope since you found this site that you would read further before so harshly judging.

  23. Hi Kim
    Thank you for your insights and effort to make this information available.
    In my narc’s case, he was sexually molested by one older brother and tormented by being wrapped up with a blanket over his face and nose by another. This happened until at least the age of 6 or 7. I seem to experience him with narcissistic traits and also co-dependent traits. Often he is clingy and smothering then dismissive. Is this the same as the worship/de-value cycles? I dont know where to start with the dis=respect, setting boundaries, or building trust?

    1. Hi Amie, It can be a hard balancing act for sure. this is why we wrote The Love Safety Net Workbook. It has exercises to keep track of your work on all 4 areas at once. We call them the 4 pillars – because yes you need all of them in place at once!

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