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The Narcissism of Waiting for Your Prince

Steve loves the story of Blue Beard and I will share with you why …

Blue Beard was the richest guy in town and lived in a castle on the hill. This may have been why that even though the young girl (who he sought to marry) and her sisters had instincts that something was wrong with him, (after all that strange blue beard was right there on his face) they chose to ignore their instincts and avoid seeing the truth.

Steve will often ask, “If you are with a narcissist why did you ignore your instincts?”

If you are familiar with the story you will know it was a VERY bad situation this young girl walked into – but in the the original version of the fairy tale, which you can read in ‘Women who run with the wolves’ by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, there was a happy ending for his wife and her sisters.

I believe Blue Beard is a symbol of the unhealthy ego and in this story Blue Beard was destroyed.

I remember Blue Beard when he lived in our house and he wasn’t just in Steve but also in me.

If you are the partner of someone with narcissistic tendencies you need to see that there is not just an unhealthy ego in your partner, but that it is in you as well. Because if there wasn’t you wouldn’t have fallen so hard for this person in the first place or held on so long after discovering their ‘other side’

I will give myself as an example … I was attracted to Steve; he was charming, the captain of the football team and had a rich dad who was also a narcissist. I wanted to believe the lies he was telling me, even when my instincts could clearly see his lack of compassion for me along with many other danger signs. I wanted to hold onto ‘the dream’ even after we were married and he was regularly rude and abusive towards myself and the kids. I didn’t tell too many people what was going on because I was ashamed and I didn’t want to let go of my dream of us being the perfect couple and better than other people.

Can you see the unhealthy ego in this? Are you perhaps guilty of this too?

Do you need to lose your partner – Or maybe your own false pride?

 

Things did not improve until I let go of this narcissistic dream – and that took a lot of grieving. I didn’t throw out the baby with the bath water however. Letting go of the dream didn’t mean leaving Steve behind. Getting help from community services and the police and police social workers is a very humbling experience. It takes admitting you are not better than anyone else. Instead of wanting to be a princess carried off by my prince, I decided that I was going to need to face the fact that Steve and I were both broken people in need of help and that it was going to have to be me (and not some knight in shining armour) who would lead us both out of the mess we had created together.

In terms of social acceptability our problem was a big one and very humbling to admit. The problem however, was not going to go away without me admitting we needed help and accepting that help. So this was the beginning of how I killed Blue Beard. No more prince and princess in the castle in the sky. Just me and Steve and the kids doing our best putting one foot in front of the other one step at a time. I did not throw my relationship away for another ‘roll of the dice’ as I see women do everyday, while kidding themselves that their prince will come ‘next time’. They throw away their husband but not ‘the dream of the prince who will save them’ and guess what? Because the unhealthy dream is still there they end up in the same situation all over again.

Are you stilling clinging to a fantasised reality of who your partner is and what they are really capable of?

Now of course you may decide the person you are with is not worth the effort I put in, but in the end I believe that whether you stay together or not will not be as important as whether or not you give up the unhealthy dream. If you want the pain and the conflict to end you will need to tackle the parts of yourself that seek privilege and entitlement through a partner. Because if you don’t it will lead you straight back to Blue beard’s castle every-time.

I was blaming all our problems on Steve while also expecting him to be the hero and save us. I was seeing him as a monster while demanding he be our saviour. This of course was ridiculous. He may have been immature and irresponsible, and he was indeed hurting us, but he was no monster, just a damaged human being (and I had my gaps too) and there was no way he knew how to be the hero I wanted him to be.

So after years of grief I finally accepted this and decided I would need to stop waiting for a hero and be my own hero instead. I was going to have to drop my unrealistic expectations and get us help. I saw I was going to have to stop complaining and get in and roll my sleeves up and do loads of dirty work that I had been avoiding. Like sorting out our finances, finding some work and putting more love and time into the care of our kids, while finding the strength to walk away from Steve if he was rude or wanted to fight.

Once Steve saw me getting in and doing the tough stuff and not taking any more childishness from him (while also showing him that I was not going to abandon him) he slowly began to see that he was safe with me and that I was not going to keep asking him to be the big darling he was pretending to be with others, because deep down I knew that was really all an act! When I stopped wanting him to be the illusion, it became easier for him to be himself.

Imagine how scary it would be living your life pretending to be more than you are while having someone close to you demand that you keep up that act – even at home when you are trying to get some rest. I finally understood why Steve would freeze up and end up going into a rage when I demanded that of him, it was the only way he could deal with the helplessness of his situation.

The truth is your partner can’t be the great person they pretend to be for other people; you know them too well and you are there every time they walk off stage. It is an act which they can’t keep up behind the scenes and you of all people should be able to see this. They will treat you like a fool (and despise and disrespect you) for not seeing the act is a scam and for you hanging on to your tattered dream. They will also feel angry that you only want to see the act and refuse to see the truth of how damaged and angry they really are and that they don’t have a clue how to save you!

I had to accept that if anyone was going to be a hero it was going to need to be me.

This is why I talk about reparenting. I realised there were people and situations Steve needed protection from and this sometimes included himself. Once new tougher boundaries were set I then also began to realistically gauge Steve’s ability to be useful and trusted and to very slowly give him responsibilities he could manage, with guidance and support, until slowly he became able to take on things I could rely on him for. Handling accounts, getting the taxes done, parenting the kids, cooking and shopping, working in jobs that taught him solid skills. Jobs where there was no chance of him getting carried away with himself, but where he was valued for his help.

I have found that many partners of people with narcissistic tendencies will complain that their partner is good for a long time and then suddenly goes bad again and they can’t figure out why. If this has happened to you – you need to ask why? What has changed that means they don’t feel acceptable being who they really are? Who is pumping their ego and encouraging the lie? In my experience the person doing this will usually be in this game for their own benefit, no matter how innocent it may seem. Like say perhaps a career advisor who would see Steve as a potential star client (to make themselves look good) when they saw his charming smile, rather than reading the facts and seeing a man making very solid progress but who desperately needed to keep his goals realistic and centred around a stable home life.

At times when I have seen that Steve has slipped back into defense and become negative, prickly and arrogant, I immediately look for the cause … and it is always there! Then like a parent I step in and I sort it out. The need for this has grown less over time as Steve has learned to pick these situations himself and say “Thanks for believing in me, but really I am fine right where I am now and I hope that you can live with that.” You see, he hated being sucked into ‘the game’ probably as badly (if not worse) than we did. His episodes of getting too full of himself (as with anyone) caused an enormous amount of shame. Of course people with NPD have feelings. Their accomplices just rarely let them feel safe enough to say what sometimes needs to be said like … “Thanks for believing in me but I don’t know if I can really be trusted to do what you are asking of me. I think that will be a bit too much for me right now and besides I really just need to be getting home.”

Are you asking your NPD partner to support you in ways that they simply are not equipped to? Are you still hanging on to the dream of a life where you are superior to others in some way? Ask yourself these questions honestly. An honest relationship takes discipline and hard work. Raising children responsibly is both challenging and rewarding but it takes dedication and skill and selflessness and patience and humility. These are virtues that do not come from a desire to be better than others. They are disciplines and practices meaning that they require physical acts that are performed over and over, like exercise or prayer.

Steve and I might not be royalty on the hill (with a dirty secret) any more, but we are a great success story from a social group that statistically could have ended up, divorced, destitute, dead, in jail or just plain bitter. I am proud of that and I think that is a healthy kind of ego because it has been earned. I also have compassion for those who have not fared as well as we have. Please let go of the unhealthy dream and don’t walk into Blue Beard’s castle again.

If you have the steps in Back from the Looking Glass please get to work on them. Your partner has got away with being a narcissistic and irresponsible child for their whole life and you are only now learning to stand up for yourself – so get in and roll up your sleeves and make sure you are prepared to give this your all, because I can assure you they will not lay down their pride without you proving you are stronger than they are!

Humility gives us strength!

Kim Cooper ^_^

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 42 Comments

  1. Oh, how I wish I had found you guys a long time ago! Mine just left…and believes I abandoned him before that (when the charming facade wore off). The real agony of this is that everything since then has shown that he has turned off any “love” for me, replaced it with hurt and anger, and gone on to an attachment to the next! My adoring, loving husband is no more! Because of my own issues (“the dream”…co-dependence and some emotion regulation/anger issues)I lost him. I never thought he would leave as did not understand crap about relationships or either of our problems and when help was sought, it was not the right kind of help or too late.

  2. You just said it all Kim, my exact life and the changes in thinking Ive been trying to make, even though they go against every instinct and fibre of my being. This is great advice for people like me who want a quick reminder of what to do when bad habits and old problems start to rear their head again and you think you’ve done all the hard work and it’s back to same old thing. Once again I plucked up my inner courage and warrior princess strength and I tried using what Ive learnt from your writings and waited for the bombshell but nothing bad happened, only a surprising sudden show of closeness and intimacy from my partner, albeit a week or so later. It has rekindled something that I thought was lost forever so I thankyou for your continued support Kim. ‘Prince Charming is in Rehab’ is my new bible.

    Sincerely,
    Claire

  3. Wow…you’re words have inspired me. Thank you for sharing your strength and reality. I love the part about giving up the dream of living on the hill in the castle. I never wanted the castle. I wanted a spouse who could be there for me emotionally. It is not the case with a Narcissistic marriage, but if I have no expectation and take care of myself, set boundaries I know I can make it. We have been seperated 7 times now in the last 22 years and are JUST NOW going to counseling together, church together and spending time with one another. I pray it works out, but I’m not going to be devestated if it doesn’t. I know I’ll be okay no matter what. Thank you for your words of encouragement Kim. You understand the dance we do. I’m grateful for this web-site..Debbie

  4. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going, and the tools to do so. I have all your materials, and sometimes the journey gets too rough for me to continue. So I appreciate you reminding me that he is hurting too, and is not fortunate enough to have the tools to get better. Today, I am physically ill with a flu bug, and at my wits end. Because my narrasistic attitude was getting the better of me today! Thanks again for the encouragement, and sharing all you have been through.

  5. I would just like to say to all partners the ones that stay and the ones that go. You have the strength of 100 people. I left after 8 years and have spent the last two years healing and re-building myself. I now look after myself and feel a breath of fresh air everyday. I have met someone that does not suffer from NPD. I feel like I am the luckest person in the world. So never underestimate yourself or love with the right person.

  6. WOW such perfect timing. I was told when I was pushing and pushing for him to tell me why things changed between us, “You got knocked off your pedestal and Im not prince charming to put you back on it, Im not a knight in shinning armor and never will be”. He could not live up to the expectations he thought I wanted from him. I can see now, I really did have those high of expectations of him!! Also.. I have come to the realization. I absolutely am NPD also. How can I not be, I thought we would be the PERFECT couple. Thank you so much for this article. I will keep it close to my heart and heed its words. You have both been a bright light for a person in a very dark place.. Im beyond grateful for you both ~ Stacey

  7. Hi, Awesome summary of how you help your husband! I too wanted the Knight in shining armor…to save me. I didn’t like it when my mom would call me an angel and I knew I was not perfect, but I looked for that dream in a guy. I would feed his ego and tell him he was “perfect” for me. He was a perfectionist and kept trying to prove more things each year. I think he wanted someone to take care of him…even though he pretending to be strong and take care of others. He was two faced…verbally hurtful in private and big smile in public. I wondered what was the real person after see 6 different ways he could be. You site offered the best help…others said to run. I didn’t want to run. He cut off contact. I still want him back in my life. I am very sad.Thanks for your insights and site! It will help millions of people…advanced knowledge! Happiness….

  8. I see it all so clearly now. yes, I expected my former friend to ‘always be there for me as he said that I could always count on him and I was trying to make something work that he didn’t even want but was dishonest. I did wear blinders since after we got along so well, but in that first five year period one time he was so rude to me and I didn’t defend myself; I just got a stabbing pain. And tried to rationalize it away. He came on as my caretaker and I realized that I was trying to rescue him since I clearly saw that he couldn’t express his feelings.and I really thought he’d listen to me and I cold teach him. Very co=dependent and also narcisstic of me. I wanted the nice guy back and he got more and more abusive and then when i got pissed and had no idea how to express my anger and did it in a very inapproriate way, he got even more abusive and told me, “I had ruined our friendshiip. ” never taking any responsibility for his horrible behavior Many women told me they wuold have slapped him and left long ago, but, no, I wanted my Prince back, my savior and he never did come back instead he dumped. Suddenly he dumped me and it’s been almost two years since he’s said a word to me and i’ve kept calling him and on ocassion he wrote, “You can call me once a day.”but he never would talk to me again. I can’t believe that I’ve still been calling him all this time and still missing him but I’ve been very isolated since I’m home bound and lonely, but, he’s no longer interested in me at all. Then all of a sudden he’s sending me a supposed growth group book to read like Change yourself and people around you will change. I have changed myself and have gotten a lot stronger and am a lot more separate from him and i know his weaknesses and no, it was horrible with the two of us being abusive towards one another. I reponded to his suggested that I read this book with people have to do a lot of work to change themselve and yes, we can influence others but we can’t change others. kIm, I tried for so long with this guy because for years he was a great listener and a great support and we had so much in common, but I wore blinders and couldn’t see it coming that he was planning to dump me for a long time as he later told me. Why i can’t seem to let him go? I’ll tell you why, because i don’t believe in giving up on people, but doesn’t it take two people to want the relationship? He’s no longer interested and when he sends me about a book to read like he did, he doesn’t even want a response from me and he certainly wont answer me. So, he’s ended with me and I think, what is wrong with me anyway?. The guy hasn’t spoken to me in almost two years and I feel like he’s still in my life. I’m living a fantasy and I know it and I’m waiting for this person who has nothing to do wtih me any more to suddenly wish to relate to me? i’ve gone overboard with compliments towards him about our good times together and he ignores everything. So, if a person ignores everything, I’m wasting my time. I wanted us to both want to work through our friendship since it was so good once but it takes two to want to save it. Don’t you think? He felt like my family all wrapped up in one person so I know I was trying to redo my family of origins, so much like both my parents and my brother, it was totally uncanny how I got attracted to him, so similar to my family of origins both the good and the bad. I guess I was trying to change my history through him. I wonder when the old stuff stops staring me in the face when I know at least intellectually what I’m doing and yet can’t seem to just accept that it’s over. either a person wants to work though problems or they walk away and he’s walked away. I’ve tried everything i know to do but what I haven’t done is to stop writing him and talking to his voice mail and I know i must. Thanks for your support and your sharing Kim. Ronda

  9. Kim, I just can’t figure my narcissist out. I never expected my husband to be a hero. In fact, my past history has been that I go for what would be considered the underdogs. Maybe part of that made me the one in control because I usually had to do more in the relationship, but I met my prince charming and yes he did seem to have it all together. That was the role he presented not what I demanded. When I realized he didnt have certain skills (ie money management) since I’m a financial analyst I offered to take it over….I was smart enough to not let him think it was because he was incompetent but because he travelled a lot for business and it could be one less thing he needed to worry about. I constantly told him he could relax a bit and be him….and being him meant he wanted to control everything, he could not accept he needed help, in fact the last thing he wanted me to do was step in. He wanted to control everything and do as he pleased and even when he made a big mess of things he didn’t want me to help fix things either. It was like watching someone bang their head against a wall, because of their own pride. Right now we have been separated for almost four months. After several affairs, He’s moved on. I have no desire to ” move on” – as you basically said their is no prince charming and I’m not about to go chasing a fairytale. I’m glad you encourage people to work at it and don’t give up, but perhaps some people’s narcissism is so bad nothing makes them feel secure.

  10. You talk about a dream that would make me feel superior. I just want to use the talent God gave me. He may be giving me that chance, and that creative side of myself gives me the will to live. Otherwise, I’m anxious to receive salvation, something which can never be earned. I like women, but relationships outside friendships aren’t worth the trouble to me, and it would truly drive me nuts having a woman in control. I don’t even think they should be allowed to vote.

  11. This is the most insightful article to date as it relates to my own reflection and requirements for self-examination. It takes two to tango and I can see how I have been consumed with my own will to win the fight by not appearing weak and able to slay the dragon. My shrink days I can portray my NPD husband as a monster and I said yes in agreement as that is how I can see him in certain instances when I am caught up in my own ego and battle of the wits to not stop in my tracks to see just how wounded my Dearest really is. If I could step out of my own pride and wounded self, I could live and love more consciously with the knowing that my parter may be the stimulus to my negative response because there is something in me that needs to prove something. It is only with humility and honest introspection – true grit- that the good stuff may find a place and path to flow and follow. Honesty is the portal to path to conscious loving via the personalities disordered in both of us. Pure and profound read for me. Many heartfelt thanks! Much love to you both, D

  12. I walked away from a man with NPD because it was a dangerous situation–from the way things spiraled downhill on our third date it seems he had not taken his meds so that he would be able to have sex with me, and when the sex didn’t happen, he actually set his shirt on fire. He came out of his kitchen and stood in the living room doorway with his shirt sleeves burning. Super girl jumped up from the sofa to help him get the shirt off and cool his arms under cold water and put on burn cream. It seemed that he became charming–as though he really cared for me–after his self-destructive act, as though I had saved him whereas before this incident he was cold, distant, even nasty. He offered to drive me home in the morning, that I could stay in his guest room. He was too uncoordinated to drive. don’t know if he then took his meds after realizing I wasn’t there to have sex, and that perhaps he had also been drinking. I told him I would take a taxi home and call him tomorrow. He did not show a response to my leaving. When I did call, he was furious and wanted to end the “relationship”–not a relationship anyway since we had only met a week earlier. I think he was so angry because he felt I had abandoned him. He must have suffered much from emotional negligence as a child. It is helpful to me to write this since it was hurtful to me to be slammed by him but I am proud of myself that I was not co-dependent with him and did not stay with him that night as he wanted me to do. I had grown up with co-dependence and a mother who regretted having fallen for Prince Charming. I could see from this experience how my mother could have fallen and also how ill my father really was. Neither of them received any help for their relationship. No one understood it! It is good to have some understanding of NPD. Thanks for it and for reading my post.

  13. Thank you kind so much for the enormous help, I feel so lost in all this and am only just getting my head round this enormous problem. My now husband and I have been together for 11 years and I just can’t read enough on this subject as I can see it has all come together now all the problems but now I need to deal with them. Please carry on emailing me, many thanks and kind regards

  14. My husband had a long term affair while things were bad at home. Our son was living with us for health reasons with his two children. I worked a full time job and faced two surgeries in one year. Then we found out our Grandson was being sexually abused. He left emotionally and let me handle it all. He ended the affair and is back trying to put our marriage back together. He’s ready for some fun now that the tough part is over.

  15. Kim, I have ordered your books, I read your blog, I’ve followed your advice. It’s very helpful, and I’ve managed to stay with Mr. NPD because I have a special needs son who loves and needs his Dad. But I have to say, don’t you just get sick of being the parent? Don’t you get sick of being the one to lead, and just want a partner you can trust, and who really cares because that’s who they are? I mean really, are our needs as women ever going to be met by men who wish they were alone and still little boys?

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      In my situation with some parenting Steve grew up! And that is what parenting is really all about I guess – helping someone to grow up – not remain a child. I would also say that I needed to do just as much growing up as he did and so even though I had to take the lead in making that happen – it wasn’t strictly me playing the adult to the child in him. Instead I had to play adult to the child in us both!

      I really feel for you with a special needs child – I know that can be tough. Our youngest son suffers from Aspergers and we took him out of school for over 2 years when he was foundering. Steve over the last 5 years has been his official carer and also home schooled him. Steve has done good at it too and our son is back in school now and even got voted school prefect this year; last night at dinner my very socially well adjusted teenage daughter said that he isn’t Aspergers anymore – that was high praise indeed coming from an older sister who is forever teasing him for being weird and a geek as well as constantly correcting him!

      I suggest that you look at the exercise at the very end of the Love Safety Net Workbook. It will help you find which of the 4 pillars needs the most work now in your situation. You have put so much into this and I think you may have come further than you know – if you look now at the area you are weakest in and work on that it might all come together faster than you might believe possible. That area tends to be our blind spot. There is a lot of new things to take on with our program and people obviously tend to work on the ones that are easiest and come the most naturally first.

  16. WOW!!! SUCH a great reminder today!! Exactly what I needed:

    “I was blaming all our problems on Steve while also expecting him to be the hero and save us. I was seeing him as a monster while demanding he be our saviour. This of course was ridiculous. He may have been immature and irresponsible, and he was indeed hurting us, but he was no monster, just a damaged human being (and I had my gaps too) and there was no way he knew how to be the hero I wanted him to be.”

    Kim, thanks once again!!

  17. I love the work you have done, Kim. You said you are from a social group that statistically could have ended up divorced, destitute, dead, in jail or just plain bitter. I think the realization and acceptance that we are in that social group is the heart of looking reality in the face and letting go of that dream you speak of. It can be a combination of dreams, unrealistic expectations (though we have no idea how unrealistic at first) and cultural training. Shouldering the responsibility for leading us out of that tangled mess because I realize he can’t—without abandoning him—is something I had to do, too. Like you, I did not believe in throwing people away.

    I worked 12-step programs for years, and heard in those rooms that when we switch partners hoping for the prince next time, we just end up with the same guy again. Sure he has a different name and a different face, but he is basically the same guy. But there are benefits to hanging in there and taking that responsibility. It’s not a popular thing to do, and it’s difficult to find support while we do it, so I am really glad to see this space for people who have chosen what you can truly call a “road less traveled.”

    I was a very wounded and very naive and very young lady when we got married, and I had no clue how wounded he was. When I had to pick myself up off the emotional floor I had fallen to, I had to find healing for myself and for him at the same time. My husband and I are 66 and 69 now and are still learning and working, step by step, day by day. When I look at the family we have today—our grown children and grandchildren, problems and all—it is better than an alternative where there were multiple partners and multiple people in our lives.

    I think a lot of times when we are trying to be that “perfect” couple in everyone else’s eyes, we may be laboring under the false impression that they are way more perfect than they are. The truth is that everyone has their woes of different kinds, and you can’t compare pain, and none of us is perfect. And that’s OK. Because it’s the direction of the journey that matters.

  18. Kim, The best thing you ever said regarding dealing with narcissistic behavior was the concept of “SNIP!” That works every time! It does not change his behavior. But rather, by me purposefully NOT trying to change the behavior, and just removing myself from it immediately, I feel calmer. And that changes the toxic environment. And pretty soon, the moment resolves itself. And I don’t mean just in really bad situations. I use the “snip” concept in just little instances, before they “escalate” as he calls it. If you can master the snip, you are well on your way in my opinion.

  19. My Prince couldnt stay away from hookers, porn, strippers, and dope. This was a secret life he lived for years until I caught him. He was so mean, controlling and verbally abusive. I just don’t see how I caused any of that. He ruined my career, and I have lost all my assets. He was a con artist, lier, cheater. I didn’t pressure him to be my savior, just asked that he be honest and stay away from prostitutes. How hard is that? He refuses to even admit he has a problem and denies eveything he has done. He has never even said he was sorry or wrong. He just continues to distort the truth and now believes his own lies. It is sad and I have left and come back several times to only be treated worse each time. Because when I came back, he had to punish me for leaving him. I do not believe he can be helped beacuse he will not admit he has a problem. I hate that I gave so much of my life to this man. In my case, there was nothing to work with.

  20. Wow, this line right here really caught me attention, because for me it is very very true!
    “Your partner has got away with being a narcissistic and irresponsible child for their whole life and you are only now learning to stand up for yourself – so get in and roll up your sleeves and make sure you are prepared to give this your all, because I can assure you they will not lay down their pride without you proving you are stronger than they are!”

    My relationship started exactly like Kim’s and many others describe. Charming, charming, charming. I’ll try and make my story brief, but know, that I do see a light at the end of my tunnel!
    When we met he was a charming, controlling, drug abuser who physically and mentally abused me. I was the girl who used to laugh at woman who’s story went like mine for not being strong enough to leave them. I never thought I’d ever stay with a man with any of these traits like most woman… why bother?

    It wasn’t until I realized the power in the quote about about proving you are stronger than them that they decide they need to/want to change. I will never be physically stronger, but I will never tollerate being physically abused again either. It has not been easy at all!

    Step 1: We seperated, I had a restraining order and demanded that the drugs be gone.
    Step 2: We went to counseling, and I no longer allowed him any control financially until we both could get control emotionally.

    It was amazing what transformations I started seeing. I saw him start to take control of his anger and his actions. Instead of lying about everything he started to admit when he screwed up and ask for help in how to manage the things that completely debilitated him in the first palce. Sometimes it was as easy as return a shirt at the store that would take him weeks to accomplish. He wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to abandon him!

    I started seeing where his abandonment issues truly came from. He is still broken, and I too am rebuilding. Together we still have lots of work ahead of us, but I’m here to tell you and I am no longer the victum of physical abuse, and there are no more drugs. The lying has reduced to insignificant white lies, he is taking on a little more responsibility and make a true effort to spend time with me. And, the best part, we are communicating.

    I like to say that we rescued each other. I wasn’t at fault either by any means, but I refuse to let this get the best of me. I try not to use any labels, but I do know that I no longer take his immaturity no matter what he acts like. I walk away and come back when I am ready rather than when I’m told. It is very very difficult to do to say the least because sometimes I get very angry myself, but I know that if I can be the bigger person, not nag, refuse to discuss the past, and keep to my strong boundaries, everything negative seems de-escalates rather quickly.

    I just want to say thank you.
    Find the boundaries that work for YOU while keeping yourself safe.
    I’m so glad I stumbled across your site.

  21. My husband left us for the second time. My anger and codependancy I now see is propelling his tendancy for NPD. He went from truely prince charming to running to back again, perfect, and now, gone again. He is all accross tbe board of I love you, Ive never loved u. He says hes never coming back, but still comes in the evenings several times a week to see our 4 small kids. He has me confussed at every turn. I was hoping for advice on what book is the best to buy first in my situation of being separated. And any advice for me on how to handle this? I love him. My kids love him. So far there is no affair. Just lots of hurt for us all. I want to mature, and save my marriage.

    1. Hi Fee, As painful as it will be the first thing that I think you need to look at is how you know he is not having an affair? It is not something that he will probably be honest about and most people with these symptoms run some kind of double life.

      If you subscribe to this site on the page http://www.narcissismcured.com you will be directed through a few more pages of information and then you will be given the chance to buy our books at a discount. I would recommend special offers 1 and 2 for you to start with. It will be best if you read all 3 books first (they are not super long) before you put a plan of your own together of where you think you need to start the work. I would suggest that building your attachment is going to be first priority since he is not living with you – before you work on limiting the abuse.
      Only you know your situation however and you need to be the judge once you see all the steps that need to be put in place. Some people find that there is one point that really stands out and working on that alone can change things completely. Other people may need to put all of the steps in place and it may take much longer.

      The difference really depends on how long it takes to build trust and rapport.

      I know it must be very difficult on your own with small children and I really feel for you and urge you to spend as much time as you can being good to yourself and taking care of those precious kids of yours. There is a part of your husband that will probably crave some of that good mothering too!

  22. My narc had been trawling the net, or even widening his net so to speak the whole time we had been seeing each other. After two years he has gone and I am left asking myself what just happened. I am sure he was a N psychopath. I have been having trauma counseling for 6 months and my therapist agrees with the “diagnosis” of him. I can say in the beginning we would talk on the phone for 5hrs and in the end I couldn’t talk for 5 seconds before he cut me down. Your site did get me through some tough times but I thank god those times are over. Thank you.

  23. WOW… WOW… Kim, I have bought your CDs although I couldn’t get them to work very well here in the U.S. By the time I wanted to face “the situation” again, the “situation” would have already blown up and then I would not read.. Up and down… fighting.. loving… fighting.. fighting.. other women… mood swings… eating disorders, porn addiction… God… My life has sucked the last 4 years. I married Prince Charming after literally being sung “Those Eyes” on a Cruise Ship. He is the consummate actor, barbershopper, salesman… liar, begruding, prideful, unforgiving, hard hearted, and worst of all selfish… Me co-dependent… holy ghost junior… the “good” one, the “caring” one… impatient.. verbally attacking and a bitch. Yup… a lot of adjectives and a lot of heartaches… I can’t take anymore of the up and down and being ADHD and him ADD along with the narcissim, life really sucked then and it still does. I gave up last week after being divorced for 2 of the last 4 years, and still hung on to hope that he would admit something was wrong with himself… Very rarely he would admit to being wrong but that was usually a ploy to get back into my good graces… But the roller coaster had to stop. I have told him about you, and gave him the information… but he won’t listen and won’t believe… Now he stalks me.. is going to my church, and my life still sucks!

    1. Hey Christine,

      Are the CD’s you mention data CD’s by any chance? If you bought them with the books on them you should be able to read them on any computer.

      Your story is exactly why we say that you need to take time to study our material and learn better ways of responding. Because otherwise often the problems will not go away even if you separate.

      I hope you will take the time to go back and read through everything and then start putting a plan into place. You cannot be half hearted about this battle or in another 5 years you will still be complaining of the same things.

  24. 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.

  25. Hi Kim,
    You and Steve have been life savers. For 28 years I was the classic co-dependent for my husband with NPD. Your material kick-started my understanding of the multi-layered problems in our marriage. Thanks to you I stopped blaming him (his multiple affairs, his lies, his manipulations) and took full responsibility for myself and the part I played in enabling him to behave that way. I’ve discovered a strength I didn’t know I had and have found the parts of me I really like.
    I took a stand with him, telling him the affairs and lies were no longer acceptable. He feigned loving change while becoming even more devious. I filed for divorce and he became angry and “played at” reconciliation, while blaming me for the problems. I admitted my issues but held him to be responsible for his. When his behaviors continued I moved out, then witnessed from him a strange mixture of sweet wooing, fury, smoldering resentment, and simultaneous development of another affair with a woman he knew I disliked. He hinted often he wanted me to move back home, but did not exhibit real change. I don’t think I ever had his attention until I actually signed the divorce papers. He showed up at the courthouse looking stunned.
    I am now in a monogamous relationship with a wonderfully attentive man who cherishes me – but am still seeing other men and not looking for a savior. I look to myself for wholeness and happiness.
    My former husband, who I will always love, has begun calling and visiting. He says he would like to be back into my life, wants monogamy, wants a different kind of relationship. I am keeping him at arms-length and expect from him the same good behavior I expect from every other man I am seeing. We hold hands and exchange warm kisses in public, but there is much ground to cover before deciding whether to re-engage. I know what I want in life, what kind of relationship I want, and I know I deserve to be treated respectfully. I know I also have a responsibility to act like an adult in the relationship I want. Old triggers will be dangerous minefields to avoid. Please wish me luck as I wish good things to you and Steve. You have both shown much courage, and give me the strength to believe.

    1. Hey Donna, I wish you good luck for sure (-: but you know I don’t think you are going to need quite so much luck now! It is amazing how attractive strength is!

  26. Hi,
    I haven’t posted on this blog for a while as i have been concentrating on healing myself and getting back to work after recovering from a physical injury due to a push through a glass door from my N ex. I feel much stronger but still have very deep feelings for him and have had occasional and brief contact with him. He has recently pled guilty to the charges against him which caused me harm, and so the case will not need to go to trial. The last two times I have seen him we have again been very comfortable in each others company, and I have felt close to him again. He says he still loves me and wants to reconcile. We have agreed to take things slowly. I would love things to work out with him because we were so close and I do still love him but it would take so much after what happened. He says he is getting help and i have told him that if he is serious about wanting to reconcile then he should be involving me in his rehabilitation. A part of me remains hopeful that we could still have a future together but I am unsure after the cheating and lies, if I would ever be able to trust him again. Any advice?

  27. Hey pensive!
    If I remember correctly, isn’t he mandated for some kind of counseling or program? Where is he staying currently? How are your injuries coming along?

    I am at my daughters house sitting and only have their laptop to use. Which I am unfamiliar with so my apologies in advance for my short replies.

    I’m not sure how involved with his rehabilitation you should be. If it was me I would want to remain in the loop with the professional he is seeking help with. Although, do you remember Kim & Steve writing about the hazards of counseling with persons having NPD?

    Hope to hear from you again.

  28. Wow Kim,
    I just recently posted a 8 x 11 on my mirror and refrigerator
    In large letters stating: ” Be Your Own Hero”! your article is very timely for me.

    I used the verbage “Knight In Shining Aromor” to describe what I was looking for in my husband. I wanted him to heal all the wounds from an alcoholic and absent father and an emotionally cool and distant mother., who denied my father’s
    Alcoholism and taught me to de valve myself and not trust my instincts, yet I forgive them both. I know they were wounded children.

    To answer Steve’s question why did I in gone my instincts on being with my narcaist, because Steve my mom taught me to.
    She also Taught me to not trust my feelings or instants.

    my naracist lives a double life, I believe he is addicted to pron and may struggle with his sexual idenity. He has refused me intimacy for 3 years.

  29. Wow! I love your articles and have some of your ebooks. They have already helped. If I knew what I know now, I would have had the skills to stay in my first marriage.
    My second marriage has been an even bigger challenge. But now that I have found the truth, I (we) have been making progress.
    You have helped me see my part in the dance of narcissism and given me skills to practice (and boy, do I have a lot of opportunity to practice.) If I forget and fall apart, I’ll soon (sometimes within moments) have a second chance.
    Our marriage has improved and I have glimmers of hope that I try to reign in from time to time. I try to enjoy the journey and let God lead the way. I sometimes see images of my future and it is happy. So I hold onto those images during the dark and lonely times.

  30. Hey Kristi!
    Have you seen Kim & Steve’s video titled ‘Why You Can’t Trust Your Relationship Instincts’?

    Hope to hear from you again.

  31. Hi Kim (and Steve!), I really appreciate the life-saving info and encouragement you guys provide. I bought some of your e-books a couple of years back, and am sure I will eventually get them all. Thanks to you two, I have learned as much about myself as about my NPD spouse (now my ex-wife). The confusion of 25 years was dispelled by your books and the info on this site. I realised why she behaved like she did, and was shocked to realise my own co-dependency and my own role in the hell I went through in pursuit of a happy marriage.

    Of course, I am still learning.

    My wife is/was a classic NPD sufferer. During more than 25 years of marriage she had numerous affairs with other men (affairs that began just weeks after our wedding, and that she ALWAYS let me know about in the most hurtful way she could). The affairs really hurt me for the first ten years or so, but after that I just didn’t really care. What I did care about was the almost daily abuse, and the confusingly inconsistent cycle of changing from being the perfect woman (well, perfect for me, I thought) into a female Bluebeard. Although outsiders used to tell me how lucky I was to have such a perfect wife, she was very often physically abusive to me in private (she liked to attack me while I slept), and the emotional abuse was pretty much constant. She also white-anted and eventually destroyed my career and reputation, she lied outrageously to my friends and colleagues so that they stopped bothering with me, and she stole money from our joint account and squirrelled it away. She is now quite wealthy, while I am extremely poor.

    I wanted to save our marriage, but when I began to carry out your advice on how to deal with an NPD spouse, she reacted very badly (rage, freeze-outs, unbelievable levels of nastiness and personal attacks) and then dumped me for another guy (a wealthy married doctor who has since dumped her). Because I still (!!!) loved her, and because she was the mother of my children, I did not want a messy divorce. So I told her I would not fight her for the properties, the money, etc. That was a mistake. She took EVERYTHING. The money, the houses, the furniture, the cars. Everything. Whatever she did not need or want at her new place was sold, given away, or destroyed.

    After becoming depressed and losing my job, I became homeless and destitute for about six months. I was suicidal and constantly asked myself why my life had turned out this way. Typical codependent behaviour!

    But I ‘turned the corner’ last year when my daughter convinced me to go to Centrelink and get some assistance. I started to recover at the first Centrelink interview to assess my situation, when a staff member gave me a bag of food and offered to personally lend me money to tide me over until the initial Centrelink payment arrived.

    It made me realise that no matter how bad things are, there are still kind people out there who care and will help.

    I have a job now, and somewhere to live, and a car. And strangely, I am happy. Despite being able to carry all my worldly possessions in two gym bags on the back seat of my old car, I am happier now than I have been for at least two decades.

    I have not had any contact with my ex-wife for more than a year. She always blamed me for any and all of her problems, but she seems no happier since the split.

    What saddens me is that my children are now both in serious relationships with people who are alarmingly similar to their mother. My son’s GF is practically a carbon copy of my wife. My daughter’s handsome, popular, successful BF displays narcissistic tendencies that make me worry he is a male version of my wife. But neither can see it, both are ‘in love’ and young enough (in their twenties) to think they are bullet-proof, or that they can handle things, or that ‘love’ will overcome any problems. I tell them I used to think like that, that I know it doesn’t work, that they are heading for unbelievable amounts of heart ache. But I cannot convince them they are making the same mistake I made when I was their age.

    Thank you again Kim and Steve for the life saving work you are doing here. I mean it, it genuinely IS life saving. I hope you can continue it.

    1. Hey Christian, I am so glad to hear that you are learning to care for yourself! The experience you have been through will help your children over time. Sometimes it takes a long time to learn these lessons (and overcome our codependence) but what other choice do we have!

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